SUBJECT: ASSC Book Review: Grindhouse
DATE: Tue, 07 Jan 1997 23:40:36 GMT
Grindhouse: The ForbiddenWorld of Adults Only Cinema
My first introduction to adult films occurred on Good Friday, 1961. I was 18 years old working for a small firm on Howard Street in San Francisco. We were given the afternoon off, and being a good Catholic boy, I headed immediately to a Market Street theater that was showing The Immoral Mr. Teas, Russ Meyer's first nudie-cutie film. Little did I know that it was a history making new genre. I just thought it was new to me. Later events led me from adult movies to strip clubs to adult movies (during the 70s Golden Age), and back to strip clubs again.
The paths of strip clubs and adult movies have always been closely intertwined. As Grindhouse explains, some of the first adult movies were burlesque features with striptease artists, singers, production numbers and sketches. These movies later evolved into the adult videos we know today. What Grindhouse authors fail to notice is that the circle has closed many times as adult movies spawning feature dancers...todays version of the striptease artist...and strip clubs spawn adult performers.
Because of this relationship between strip clubs and adult movies, ASSCers might find Grindhouse an interesting addition to their library. Regular RAME subscribers probably already own a copy. A chapter is devoted to each decade from the 1930s. The 70s would probably be the most interesting for ASSC as it provides some information about the Mitchell Brothers, and where they fit in all of this. David McCumbers book "X-Rated" is the best on that subject, but it is now out of print.
Grindhouse is well written, and generously illustrated, but I would have preferred that they provide the specific release dates of the movies they mention. I would also have liked them to bring their coverage through the present day. They have a one page discussion of what might be called the "VCR era," but that is about all. Of course, nothing much of value has been produced in the late 80s and 90s in my opinion, and that view may be shared by Muller and Faris. The bulk of feature videos these days are formula rituals involving silicone-inflated Robochicks being porked by the same 5 aging guys. Or they are amateur films like Ed Powers' efforts. Incidentally, Ed Powers is part of the cyclical nature of adult films. From Grindhouse (pg 110):
"In sex films of the sixties, women rarely partnered with an attractive man. Rather, they had their choice of lecherous old conventioners, unkempt beatniks, paunchy businessmen, or dirty rapists."
Ed Powers, one of the ugliest and least appealing people ever to work in porno, apparently was not the first of his kind. In Ed's defense, Tom Byron beats him out for "worst" honors only because Ed looks like he showers between films. it could be an illusion.
One great feature of Grindhouse is the number of movie poster reproductions that are provided. The full color posters occupy the center signature of the book which is printed on better quality calendered (glossy) stock than the rest of the book.
An interesting book that should be available from any legitimate bookseller in the country (B. Dalton, Barnes & Noble, etc.). If you cant find it locally, you can order it from http://www.amazon.com. I think it was about $13 (8.5x11 in, 150+ pages, perfect bound)
This takes you right to their review of Grindhouse: