Femmes Fatales Jun 17 2023
A FLESH APPROACH
I've decided to start a nudist colony. What do you think? Any chance of success?


Monica Gayle was a b-movie actress extraordinaire, appearing in more than thirty mostly low budget films, including Switchblade Sisters, The Harem Bunch, The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio, and, quite memorably, The Stewardesses, in which she's onscreen for only a few minutes but performs the lotus position in a way you've probably never seen. We also just saw her in Southern Comforts, which is why we're featuring her today—we figured after all those fuzzy screenshots we needed to give you a clearer look. Posing nude was no rarity for her. She appeared in probably a dozen men's magazines, often quite explicitly. This more modest shot of her comes from an issue of the nudist publication Sun Buffs and is from 1970. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 7 2023
WEST OF DUE SOUTH
California stands in for Dixie as sexploitation goes country.


American movies are made today in many places other than southern California as a way to reduce production costs. Regions like Georgia, New Mexico, and British Columbia have built thriving film industries. But once upon the not-so-distant past the reverse was true. In order to avoid high location costs you filmed in and around Los Angeles no matter where your film was set, even if it looked ridiculous. Southern Comforts, which premiered today in 1971, is ostensibly set in the deep south, but one look at its bone dry Dukes of Hazzard landscapes tells you're about as close to the south as Manhattan is to the Bahamas.

A middle-aged huckster and his three mini-skirted companions drive across “the south” looking to stage a beauty contest, but get stranded in hayseedville and decide to do it in the barn of a gentleman rancher named Colonel Melany, who insists on being paid not only in money, but in flesh. Eventually some girls from around the way show up to compete, and everybody gets naughty in the hay as a hoe-down band plays in the background. When the beauty contest finally takes place, it turns into a group striptease, which is eventually raided by local cops. That pretty much covers the plot.

The director of all this, Bethal Buckalew, who had also made the softcore efforts Tobacco Roody and Midnite Plowboy, understood the box office dynamic of the early 1970s wherein it was enough to guarantee profit if you showed a lot of nudity. While less cynical types toiled with plots and production values, the visionary Buckalew simply trafficked in boobs, bush, and flashes of vulva (which earned this film an x rating). The only requirement for his formula was that a few of his actresses be totally uninhibited and somewhat beautiful, and he's covered thanks to co-star Monica Gayle and a couple of uncredited contributors.

Gayle was the reason we watched this. She was in the cult hit Switchblade Sisters, and clearly she moved up in the world, because Southern Comforts doesn't reach anywhere near the level of her girl-gang classic. But we'll give this movie credit for one thing—it looks like everyone had a laugh making it. Back during the liberated ’70s nobody worried that their awful sexploitation flicks might last forever thanks to digital technology. They figured to have fun, get paid, and maybe, just maybe, ascend into mainstream cinema. This amateurish effort helped nobody's career, but at least—along with a few drinks—it helped our Friday night.
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Vintage Pulp May 1 2021
CUTTING CLASSMATES
Welcome to the school of hard knocks and sharp knives.


How does an interest in bad cinema start? For us it began with Switchblade Sisters. We'd seen scores of bad movies growing up and through college, but after those years we moved toward mainstream movies and well reviewed indie cinema. Sometime after we started our magazine we received a comp ticket to a late night showing of Switchblade Sisters. It was an old b-movie also known as The Jezebels being re-released by Quentin Tarantino's Rolling Thunder Pictures, and we watched it in a landmark cinema packed with people primed to have a raucous time. It was a hell of a night*, and the afterparty was good too.

Plotwise, what you get with Switchblade Sisters is a juvenile delinquent flick about a high school gang called the Silver Daggers and its women's auxiliary the Dagger Debs. Robbie Lee plays the head Deb, while Joanne Nail plays a new girl brought into the gang. Everything is fun and games until jealousy rears its ugly head due to the fact that Lee thinks her man, who's the leader of the Silver Daggers, wants the new girl. Matters deteriorate when Nail sets off a war between the Silver Daggers and a rival gang. These are seriously murderous clans, fully intent on killing each other. Gunplay abounds, blood flows copiously, and the lesson is— Well, we aren't sure. Say no to gangs, we guess.

Switchblade Sisters is atrociously acted in parts, and mediocrely acted in all the other parts, but Robbie Lee deserves special mention for making a three course meal of her role, delivering every line as if she has a case of lockjaw. Someone must have told her tough people speak through clenched teeth. But so do constipated people. Someone should have told her that too. But some movies are more than the sum of their parts, and Switchblade Sisters falls into that category. It's terrible, but uproarious. Dumb, but immensely entertaining. We can't think of many better films to watch with friends. And that's worth a lot in this crazy world. Switchblade Sisters originally premiered today in 1975. 

*The best part of that premiere night was actually showing up for the film. The promotional company had reserved a row of seats for local reviewers. PSGP was our magazine's movie critic. He showed up in this packed cinema and took a reserved seat. Some fratboy-looking chump in the row behind him leaned forward and told him, “These seats are reserved.” It's here we should mention that PSGP doesn't look like what most people would think of as a film critic, so he knew exactly what was happening—this moron, who was not anyone of any importance or authority, and had no connection whatsoever to the premiere except he probably won tickets from a radio giveaway, took a look at PSGP and decided to play citizen enforcer.

Fratboy chump got up and told the people running the premiere that someone had invaded the reserved seats. PSGP saw it happen. Fratboy flagged down someone, had a conversation while pointing directly at PSGP, and probably felt full of power for calling the cinema cops. PSGP savored the next moment, when the guy was told the evil seat inavder was in fact one of the invited critics and was sitting in exactly the right place. Fratboy moron, crestfallen, went back to his seat, and PSGP, without turning around, said, “That didn't work out the way you hoped, huh?” He got good mileage from the story at the afterparty. And the fratboy? He wasn't invited.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 25 2015
STEWING IN HER JUICES
Christina Hart offers a special type of in-flight service.

This Japanese poster for the American film The Stewardesses indicates that the movie played in 3D. That wasn’t the case only in Japan—it played in 3D globally and, because it was produced for about $100,000 and grossed $25 million, became the most profitable 3D film released up to that point. The movie was rated X, but it’s a non-porn film, with no actual sex to be found. Basically, star Christina Hart and her fellow stews party and get laid. That’s it. As a bonus for 60s-philes, there’s a psychedelic approach to the filming and some groovy music, along with Monica Gayle doing nude yoga, Hart making out with a stone bust and displaying one of cinema’s earliest bald groins, and various cast members enjoying lots of softcore nuzzling and wriggling. Does that sound like your bag, man? Radical. The Stewardesses premiered today in 1969.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 29
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
May 28
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
May 27
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
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