Tag Archives: Sex

#235 – Butter Bandit, The

(1976, US, 39 min) Dir Leck Mitchum-Arsch. Cast Bob Flash, Joey Fantastic, Gorey George, ‘Fantasy’ Simon Fenchurch.

An early short from the notorious gay punk filmmaker Leck Mitchum-Arsch here riffing on Last Tango in Paris with Brando stand-in Bob Flash as the dairy lubricator on the rampage, greasing his victims good before having his way with them. This is just the first five minutes – soon Flash has wandered into a petting zoo and makes his way around the enclosures (don’t worry the alpaca, for example, is played by Gorey George) before repairing to church. Of course the tables are eventually turned and the Butter Bandit is taken into the care of the law where he is deprived of all lubricant when disciplined by a station house full of truncheons. Ouch. A scrappy, ramshackle production that has more charm and humour than one would expect from a film about a rampaging anal rapist. This was not the opinion of the real life police at the time of the films festival appearances though and Mitchum-Arsch was before long enjoying his first (but not last) appointment before a judge. 

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#217 – Holy Lover, The

(1996, GB, 57 min) Dir Leck Mitchum-Arsch. Cast Ross Lawrence, Louis Black Ferdinand, Roger Roger.

Though it seemed the day would never come, The Holy Lover saw gay punk filmmaker Leck Mitchum-Arsch (not his real name) plant his flag within the realm of respectability – not that that stopped the film being promptly banned in the film of its production, his new home of Great Britain. To be fair, what can he have expected when he produced a work that revolves around the supposed sexual relationship between one Hugh Wray, an incarcerated lunatic in the year 1796, and what he believes to be the loving spirit of his Lord Jesus Christ? Despite it being based on a terribly reputable source – that of Dr Handrake Masslington’s notes made while treating Wray – those in a position to decide took a dim view of such shenanigans. Despite the intervening years making the sacrilegious content less contentious in the UK, it seems that the rudeness was still very much an issue which seems the reason why the film remains shelved. This is also the reason why I haven’t seen the film under discussion and since none of my colleagues at the Imaginary Film Guide have either we will have to presume it to be of the high standard of his following UK works such as Loggers and A Passage Under Night.

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#153 – Burakkurōzu (Black Rose)

(1988, Jap, 70 min) Dir Helmut Durmou. Cast Setsuko Tanaka, Hiroshi Somai.

In 1986 Francois Fleider accidentally asphyxiated in whilst trying out a new modified harness/pillory post made by famed ‘device’ maker Jan Flugel-Flugel which left the previously secure Durmou without a steady patron. Thankfully his fans leapt to the rescue in the form of his Japanese fan base, the surprisingly well organised Helmut Durmou Appreciation Society, populated by various titans of industry. In honour of his new backers Durmou relocated to Japan for what was supposed to be a brief engagement but lasted until his recent death and was where all his subsequent films were made (barring Hard Light which was made in Italy but with an all-Japanese crew). Black Rose acts as a kind of low-budget aperitif in this respect, focussing on two people in one anonymous room, the kind typical to the average Tokyo apartment block which immediately sets it apart from his previous films which were always set in the opulent past, whether an imagined one or clearly defined era. The reason for this becomes immediately clear when the female lead is presented with the what is the centrepiece of the film – a Flugel-Flugel pillory post of the same ‘Black Rose’ design that ended the life of Durmou’s patron. He’s obviously working some stuff out here and as such he has, unusually, made a slow, mournful film for completists only. Nonetheless it remains a fitting tribute to his indulgent benefactor. His next film, Demon, was him back to form.

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#152 – Château, Le (Castle, The)

(1975, Bel, 91 min) Dir Helmut Durmou. Cast Hal Normand, Lisa Beit, Howard Messinger.

Dormou’s debut Elisa Lees had many fans, among them the middle-aged Belgian millionaire Francois Fleider who adopted the Swiss director as a kindred spirit and supported him with not just the money to make his films but also, for the making of Le Château, the use of his impressive residence in the South of France to film in. Fleider didn’t even ask to be featured in the films he funded, the usual vain request made as part of such a deal – all that he requested was to be present at the filming which Dormou allowed. The first result of this partnership, Le Château is set in an unnamed lush countryside where, once a year, the occupiers of the nearby hilltop castle audition for playthings among the local population and, more than that, said locals line up to be judged. The structure of the film allows for agonisingly long foreplay where what awaits those deemed worthy is hinted at but not fully revealed until the end. Not that this is a tip to those unwilling to wait – steady your fingers on the remote control, press ye not the fast forward button for the build up is the point and half the pleasure for Dormou now betrays a mastery of the suspense of film, of suggestion and denial that makes the release of the films denouement all the sweeter.

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#151 – Elisa Lees

(1972, Fr/Sp/WGer, 82 min) Dir Helmut Durmou. Cast Lisa Beit, Howard Messinger, Peter Feebler.

Serious Seventies kink from Swiss director Helmut Durmou, the man who quietly amassed a fine oeuvre of very personal and highly specialised films over his thirty year career and who sadly died in the first week of this year at the age of eighty-one. Elisa Lees was his first film, made at the age of forty-two with privately sourced funds and follows the awakening of its naïve title character as she is inducted into a new world. So far, so generic as far as these things go but about halfway through the film the dominated becomes the dominatrix and she returns to discipline the men who once held mastery over her. This isn’t done in a mean, revengey kind of way though – Durmou’s films frequently kept their eye on the ball with regards consent and roleplay and the men are all very grateful once she’s done with them with the suggestion floating about that we’re merely bearing witness to a kind of ‘edited reality’ and that there is a larger story at play that we are only glimpsing. It’s a little rough around the edges but Durmou’s classical staging and clear, sharp photography are already on display – he clearly knew what he wanted from the outset.

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#144 – Hot Box, The

(1982, US, 79 min) Dir Leck Mitchum-Arsch. Cast Al Pachinko, Joey Fantastic, Gorey George.

Infamous rebuttal to Friedkin’s Cruising by then notorious (and now respected) gay punk director Leck Mitchum-Arsch here working with almost half a budget for the first time following a half-dozen shoelace shorts with the money allegedly provided by Andy Warhol (though why a self promoter as thorough as he decline credit gives lie to the rumour). Much like Cruising, Detective Corleone (Pachinko) is sent undercover to the homosexual underground (as typified here by the titular gay club) where he’s tracking down a serial killer. Also as in Cruising the detective gets to like the hot man on man action he’s privvy to. The difference being that in The Hot Box the culprit (SPOILERS!!) is in fact the very chief who put him on the case (played by old horror ham Gorey George himself), his motive to attract Corleone’s attention. To cut a long story short Corleone shoots the chief dead and goes back to the swinging manly life he’s grown accustomed to, much to the consternation of his poor fiancé (marvellously essayed by drag queen Fantastic). To be honest it’s about as offensive as Cruising itself was but in more of a fun John Waters kind of way.

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#131 – Howard Schlong

(1973, US, 79 min) Dir Art Blitzen. Cast Harry Pork, Jemma Mitz, Orla Capp.

So, who’s to blame for the truly dire cinematic career of ‘Artless’ Art Blitzen? How about Ernest Lehman? How, you might ask, is the distinguished screen author (or co-author) of such film classics as Sabrina, North by Northwest and The Sound of Music responsible for the tin-eyed cultural crimes of as shameless and inept a smut merchant as Blitzen? Well, I’ll tell you. In 1972, for reasons best know to Lehman, he made his one and only directorial effort with an adaptation of Philip Roth’s classic novel of sex and Judaism Portnoy’s Complaint which was about as well received with the critics as a firebomb in a Kurosawa retrospective. Not only did the critics turn their nose up at the film but it so enraged one viewer in the shape of Art Blitzen (then known as a publisher of Z grade pornography) that he scraped together about a buck and a half and shot his own version which equalled more sex, less Judaism. The fact that it’s lead character (as personified by the sweaty Harry Pork) has been renamed Howard Schlong should clue you in to how much of Roth’s wit survived the process. It’s dire from top to bottom – it looks like it was shot through the bottom of a milk bottle, Jemma Mitz (as ‘The Chimp’) looks as though she’s dropped acid before each take and the boom mike is visible in so many scenes it should, by rights, have been given a co-lead credit. As Roth himself said, “I would have sued but it might have meant watching it.”

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