Thursday, April 8, 2010

How To Launch A Coffin Boner

Are the dead horny? Do they lie in their coffins thinking about sex? Do they masturbate with skeletal fists, and shoot dust instead of semen?

In the darkness of a coffin, inspiration is scarce. A bug tapping on your casket from above is unlikely to generate wood. A worm crawling into your eyeball is not comparable to a Hustler Scratch-'N'Sniff centerfold.

So what do dead perverts do for kicks when nights are cold and mumbled obscenities are met with silence?

My thoughts turn to Russ Meyer today. I read his biography, Big Bosoms and Square Jaws (by Jimmy McDonough) a couple of months ago. It's a splendid portrait of the man, a true original, a magnificent filmmaker, and, in his final years, a victim of greedy, ignorant fuckers who exploited his deteriorating mental state and wealth.

Now, having spent almost six years lying face-up in a coffin in Stockton, California, Russ deserves some inspiration, a gift, a carnal trinket that will ease the pain of subterranean imprisonment, and restore the old urges that charged 27 terrific features.

That gift is the Dark Sky dvd of John Peyser's The Centerfold Girls, a classic chunk of exploitation that serves up an entree of violence and sleaze with a literal dessert of tits.

This '74 effort from producer Arthur (The Candy Snatchers) Marks stars the scary Andrew Prine as a knife wielding sicko who is erasing "dirty girls" who dare to parade their nude bodies in lewd magazines. Like a classical nutjob, Prine (as 'Clement Dunne') tracks down a bunch of centerfold cuties from a particular magazine, Bachelor, kills them, then returns home to cut out their faces from the magazine.

The film's structure is interesting in that there are three distinct stories focusing on the stalking and butchering of various women. The common thread in these stories is Clement Dunne. It's not entirely believable that he manages to locate each girl, but since logic is not this film's strong suit, such concerns are quickly swept to the side.

Of all the American exploitation pieces of I have seen from this period, this comes closest to the feel of a Japanese pink film. Much of it reminded me of Yasuharu Hasebe flicks such as Assault Jack The Ripper. It's certainly not as powerful or competent as that film, but the carefree use of nudity and relentless focus on deviant sexuality felt very Japanese.

Now to why this film could possibly launch a coffin boner for Russ, RIP.

Director Peyser and producer Marks take every opportunity to get their actresses topless. Breasts burst like rabbits from every frame and tops are flung off with riot-like frenzy by the lovely female thespians (and lespians). In one scene, a girl removes her top twice, dresses twice, then removes it again. Why? Because audiences demand it! No woman escapes here without flashing her proverbial assets.
Down in his common law coffin, hand on boner, Russ Meyer would be in his element with this flick. Although the breasts on display are not Russ-approved in terms of size, the master breastmeister would surely approve of the gleeful surrendering to upper body exposure these fine ladies embrace.

As a sleazy thriller, the flick has style and spirit. Mostly mean spirit. Some of the women are really roughed up, and the harsh words bellowed at them by the killer are not suitable for children -- not even most adult children.

Serial killer flicks were not commonplace in '74, so The Centerfold Girls stands as a pioneer in this genre.

Sex, violence, obscene language, more sex, and serial breast exposure -- these are a few of my favorite things... and they're the makings of a raging coffin boner.

5 comments:

  1. I want to bugger Lorna Maitland (as she was in 1964, not as she is now obviously).

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  2. I read this biography a few years ago and loved it. I found it at a book warehouse where 90% of the books were bibles. I was stunned to see it there and happy to buy it. It was very well done.

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  3. Well I have a mongrel.

    But then, I'm not dead- so it doesn't count. Not as pertains to your theme of necro-voyeurism...) Thinks; why do I see a boney Jimmy Stewart- a la 'Rear Window'- binoculars in one hand, and pelvic bone in his other? Just deranged, I suppose. Had Hitch lived, I doubt he would have been averse to exploring this with a deceased Jimmy in 'Rear Window 2; the Second Coming')

    Anyway...back to the mentioned flick. This film is so good, it would- as the Stones put it- make a 'dead man come'...

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  4. I remember first seeing THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS via a bootleg VHS tape and being blown away by its misanthropy. It plays better in repeat viewings, and as black comedy; it's essentially the cinematic equivalent of that evil joke that ends with the wino dropping his pants and saying, "Bitch, this ain't your night."

    What fascinates me is that, for my argument anyway, the three General Film releases that Tiffany Bolling starred in form not only a trilogy of her best work, but also a trilogy of TV personnel gone wild. CENTERFOLD's Peyser was a TV veteran, as was BONNIE'S KIDS Arthur Marks, and Guerdon Trueblood had dozens of TV movies he had written before directing THE CANDY SNATCHERS. It was as if these guys were ready to let their collective ids explode and detail all the things they couldn't do on the idiot box. I was always sad that Norm couldn't make the deal for the Marks package so that the Bolling trilogy could be appropriately boxed together. I guess we just have to do that at home ourselves.

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  5. willy (gervais hamster) -- you sure not now?

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    Shon -- Russ amongst bibles? Very fitting.

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    mandingo -- true, my friend. I think Hitch would be making very extreme material today if he had lived. He's often cited as someone who suggests more than shows, but the guy showed as much as he legally could. He showed and suggested in harmony.

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    Marc -- hilarious and poignant metaphor, Marc -- "bitch, this ain't your night!" Love it.

    Excellent point about the Bolling trilogy, and how these films allowed the TV boys go where they couldn't on the box.

    Very sorry that Norm couldn't get these to market back then, but at least all three will be available over the next few months.

    Yes, a home-made trilogy is the final option.

    Great post!

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