Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vintage Ad Mat Invasion

I'm not sure how I did it, but I snuck into this heavily policed flicked on a school day and got momentarily groped by an old bloke reaching for his coat. The grope was more shocking than the movie. Polanksi is interviewed and shares some vague views on "snuff", but the purported snuff film in the movie is segments from Wes Craven's Last House on the Left. Ripped off!

Now, the "snuff" we imagined back in those days has been well and truly eclipsed by the reality of atrocity videos posted on the net. For sheer, sickening brutality, nothing comes close to the Mexican chainsaw beheading video currently doing the rounds, or the truly horrendous videos (there are a couple) documenting the real life murders of innocent people by the 'Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs' (thankfully tucked away in prison). 

Wiki link:  h*tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dnepropetrovsk_maniacs    (replace * with 't', of course)

Back in the 70's, nothing could have prepared us for the extreme nature of  this material, or predicted the means by which it would be globally 'distributed' and propagated. 

For mine, the whole "snuff" myth never made sense, anyway, because nobody could possibly get away with marketing and distributing a movie in which "actors" were actually killed. What gets done in private is what gets done in private, but the issue of publicly exhibited "snuff movies" is an issue for idiots.

Melbourne had a healthy grindhouse culture in the 70's and I made sure I was part of it. Unfortunately, I wasn't even a teenager for half of the 70's, so my grindhouse ambitions (and cred) were thwarted by age and my mother's Catholic sensibilities.

And speaking of Catholic sensibilities... My mother bought a Catholic newspaper called 'The Advocate'. I had no use for this rag until I discovered their extensive film listings. A priest with cinephilic yearnings would review the good, the bad, and the ugly playing at the 'pictures'. He would then sort his past reviews into four or five categories including Highly Recommended, Recommended With Reservations, Not Recommended, and, the granddaddy of them all, ADVISED AGAINST

It became quickly apparent to me that under the Advised Against category was a cinematic stew of exploitation magic. Films I remember appearing in that section were The Night Porter, The Passage, Straw Dogs, 'Tis Pity She's A Whore, A Clockwork OrangeCruising, The Decameron, Vampyres, and, of course, The Exorcist and Tower of Evil -- essentially, the movies that would shape my entire pulpy life and the lives of folks reading this blog.

I don't know who you were, Father Film Reviewer, but I thank you for advising me against the films I grew to love... and a bonus thank you is also in order for you because you practiced cinephilia on me, not  pedophilia.   


I feel sorry for youngsters today who'll never know the magic of exploitation triple bills at sleazy hardtops and drive-ins.

A bucket load of false advertising and a collage of bald-faced lies. Dave Prowse's 'Monster' turned up for the ad mat, but his Horror of Frankenstein is MIA from this program. In Aussieland,  Horror was initially paired with Scars of Dracula

One of Russ Meyer's ladies is lending her face to the ad, too, but there's not a Russ movie in sight.  

I saw none of the triple bills above at the time, but I did get a schoolboy kick out of the title Spermula. Unfortunately, I also got a kick from my father when I walked around the house yelling "Spermula is cumming!" over and over again to my siblings and mother.

I saw this double at Melbourne's wonderful Silver Screen Art Cinema, the notorious home of Killer Fish's notorious three month long run.

First in line for this one. Hot for Barbara Bach, too. What young lad wasn't? 

A couple of years later, the Dendy Collins Street went porno.

Rode my bike to the Burwood Drive-in to see the first film on this program, The Decameron. Couldn't stay for the other two because my bedtime was around 10 pm. Damn parents and their damn school night rules!

I was on a first name basis with the manager of Detroit's Northgate theater. The place smelt of butter spilled decades ago and the carpets were stickier than a bukkake set. 

Fairly obscure poster for the brutal and nihilistic Death Wish 2


  1. I love these old newspaper ads. They make me feel pretty nostalgic for the 70s. I too mostly missed out on the grindhouse experience by just a few years (44 now), but managed to get to a couple in Europe in my early teens, around '81 or '82. I'm glad I didn't miss out on the drive-in deal though. Went to dozens of drive-in doubles throughout the 70s (thanks to a movie fanatic mother), and 80s.

    As far as the whole snuff thing. I've had a few arguments with people over the years, trying to convince them that the whole thing is essentially a myth. In the end I just direct them towards the definitive book on the subject: David Kerekes' & David Slater's Killing For Culture: An Illustrated History Of Death Film From Mondo To Snuff (Creation Books)

  2. Aylmer -- KILLING FOR CULTURE is one of my favorite books of all time and it does represent the most sensible, if not the most final, word on the subject.

    I remember seeing a book one day about one man's search for snuff movies, but it's title eludes me. Should have picked it up. I didn't because I flipped through it and it sounded unnecessarily hysterical.

    I was very young during the exploitation/grindhouse era, so my initial exposure was to the ad mats, not so much the movies. I saw what I could, but a ten year old can only do so much on a bike with a tiny allowance and occasional cash from empty beer bottle sales.

    Having a movie fanatic mother must have been a bonus. My dear mother was a bit of a fanatic -- a fanatic about getting between me and my movies!

  3. I amused my partner (who lives in New Zealand with family in Australia) to no end talking about R rated movies here one day. She thought I meant porn, and I had to explain that here in the States R meant kids couldn't see it unless they were over 17 or had an adult with them, and that XXX was for porn.

    I love your blog, btw. I'm old enough to remember the Toldeo Blade having porn ads along with the mainstream movie ads.