View Full Version : Sleaze...who makes it better?

Todd Jordan
01-30-2012, 09:49 AM
American versus European sleaze/smut/porn...who made it better and why. Notice I said "made"...we're talking stuff that's from the 70s and 80s.

I have no preference, but I do have an affinity toward dubbed porn. Not sure why, other than that was how I first saw softcore...those old Private Screenings VHS tapes like Wild & Willing, Women Without Lovers, Island Women...maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's something to do with my pubescent years really having an impact on how my kinks as an adult are. In American smut, most of the time when people are screwing it's just a bunch of ohh's and ahhh's, but with a lot of the overseas-produced stuff the people talk as they're boinking. I really dig that. Some of the stuff they say (dubbed) is a riot.

Alison Jane
01-30-2012, 09:52 AM
It seems to me that American stuff (of this type) that tries to be funny attempts to do so through witty dialogue but Euro stuff does so through bizarre situations and unintentionally out of place comments. They have a sort of fairy tale feel to them as they're in locations more foreign to me and just the way they're filmed seems more dreamlike to me. Even when they're hc it's secondary to the story and usually doesn't have the dirty feel most American stuff has. It focuses more on the act than the body parts.


Ian Jane
01-31-2012, 10:52 AM
To make a broad and gross generalization, I'd say that generally the European stuff, particularly from the 70s through to maybe the mid 80s, tends to have a bit more elegance to it than the North American stuff. I mean, it's all still porn and it's all still smut when you get right down to it, but from a visual stand point the European stuff seems to be made with maybe a bit more care in terms of framing and locations and production values. A lot of this probably has to do with the availability of fancier and more historic looking locations maybe?

I wonder though if the Europeans see this differently, in that maybe to them, because they're used to the locations we find interesting, they think American smut films are more interesting in terms of locations?

Of course there are exceptions - Sarno and Metzger being the two most obvious ones, but they worked in Europe a lot and took back to the US with them a very European sensibility in terms of technique and even in terms of pacing and storytelling, and maybe that's why their stuff is widely considered far better than average?

Don't get me wrong, I love my dirty 70s NYC lensed smut and my freewheeling, pot smoking California lensed free love bump and grind movies and don't know that I even necessarily have a preference (I love porn from all continents!) but I can definitely see very obvious differences between the two styles and for can completely understand why someone might prefer one over the other.

Robin Bougie
01-31-2012, 10:21 PM
Well, the best vintage Euro and the best American releases are ALL amazing, but it is when you get down into the lesser lights that I am able to make a distinction -- and I prefer North American.

I just have so much more of a connection to the players, the locations, the humour, and so on. Especially that which involves New York/times square. The history of these films is half the fun for me, and finding out the stories behind the films and performers. Not speaking french, Spanish or Italian -- I've never been able to do the kind of research I can on the 70s and 80s porn industry in the US.

And there is just as much of the stupid fake oooohing and AAAHHing in Euro smut as American, so I don't get that.

Ian Jane
02-01-2012, 10:09 AM
The dubbing of the Euro stuff can sometimes result in a completely different sort of experience than was probably intended by the filmmakers (the Erwin C. Deitrich stuff that Alison and I have been devouring the last few months generally falls into that category) and can provide a lot of unintentional (?) humor where there might not be otherwise. I like a lot of Euro stuff for that reason.

As far as the locations thing goes, Robin, I get what you're saying. I geek out over the Times Square footage in the old NYC XXX'ers too (I even geek out over that stuff in mainstream movies) but I also appreciate the more lavish locations used in the Euro stuff - though they often through in some pretty seedy locations too, a few of them have extended scenes in European adult book stores and what not. They're never as gritty as the American stuff is, but they can offer an interesting alternative.

I do understand what you mean about the research/history angle though. There's so little written on that European stuff and a lesser amount still available in English that it can be tough to dig deeper on a lot of this stuff.

Todd Jordan
02-01-2012, 03:32 PM
And there is just as much of the stupid fake oooohing and AAAHHing in Euro smut as American, so I don't get that.

I'm just speaking from my experience. Dubbed porn seems to me more talkie than non-dubbed. Just my observation.

Robin Bougie
02-05-2012, 06:15 AM
Don't get me wrong, I loves me some euro-smutz. I'd hate to have to choose between only ever seeing one continents output over the other.

Another pet peeve about it though: What is with all the fake cumshots? So many 70s euro movies utilize the girl-letting-white-paste-dribble-out-of-her-mouth-while-doing-bj move. Was it really so difficult to get the popshot? You see it in old North American porn on occasion, but it seems far more rare. They must have really thought they were fooling someone.

Alison Jane
02-05-2012, 11:24 AM
...but I also appreciate the more lavish locations used in the Euro stuff - though they often through in some pretty seedy locations too, a few of them have extended scenes in European adult book stores and what not. They're never as gritty as the American stuff is, but they can offer an interesting alternative.

Personally, before I started getting into films like this, sex was a very taboo subject to me. I would never discuss such a thing. I think the Euro stuff presents it in a much more romantic and pretty way. Yeah, I dig the WIPs and stuff like that, but the sexual appeal of that, to me, is not the sex, so I don't really look at them the same way. Sex on a more carefree and almost happy level, as I was introduced to in films like Tinto Brass's stuff (though s/c), has made me a lot less reserved. I don't prefer h/c but I can deal with it in the Euro stuff when it's part of the story and usually a silly one at that.

Lars Jacobsson
03-19-2012, 06:11 PM
My five cents:
Porn - America
Sleaze - Europe

I'm more into sleaze but do watch the occasional 70s porno now and then. And when it comes to hardcore you americans got us europeans beat by a mile! All the weird and evil Jamie Gillis/Zebedy Colt-style roughies, as well as the odd, poetic one-offs like Through the Looking Glass, The Love Garden and Angela, The Fireworks Woman (the two forms of XXX cinema i'm mainly interested in) are US made. European 70s XXX is in most cases almost as dull as modern day porn. Take a guy like Joe D'Amato for example: he made some wonderfully sleazy, nutty softcore films but his hardcore work is with few exceptions lifeless, unsexy and very boring to watch.

When it comes to sleaze/softcore I prefer the european variants. Classier, better production values, better stories and hotter people. US sleaze of the kind Harry Novak and David Friedman produced and companies like Something Weird likes to release on DVD often strikes me as cheap, workmanlike underachiever cinema made to feed a market as cheaply and with as little effort as possible. I have a hard time getting into american softcore - in my opinion it took hardcore pornography -with a new generation of (non-huckster) filmmakers- to make America produce good smut films.

Of course there are (many, many!) exceptions to every rule.

Ian Jane
03-19-2012, 07:42 PM
I dunno... 70s and 80s French hardcore has been growing on me lately. Maybe because we've been digging through some of the Alpha France releases but I'm definitely developing a strong appreciation for the aesthetic that the French bring to the table, particularly in terms of how they dress the ladies. There's a classiness to it that works that the US stuff tends to lack and that the Italian stuff can't match.

I still love me some American rough stuff and yeah, they usually win for flat out dirt and grit but these days I'm having trouble deciding between a lingerie clad Brigitte in a Gerard Kikoine film vs. a dolled up CJ Laing in a Shaun Costello picture. I guess the plus side is that there's room in my life for both and I don't really have to choose, I can dig'em both as I see fit.

Alex K.
03-19-2012, 07:49 PM
Oh boy, the 'made' part curtails many Japanese examples I was going to list. Japan pretty much dominates the weird porn market of today.

But back in the day clearly Europe takes it. America comes close with roughies like Forced Entry and Water Power but Europe brought us Walerian Borowczyk's The Beast. Then again, Japan could take it if we count all of those Pink films from the 70's and 80's.

Robin Bougie
03-20-2012, 01:14 AM
Japan pretty much dominates the weird porn market of today.

Absolutely agreed. They put the rest of the world's porn to shame these days. They are in their hardcore heyday right now, the same way America and Europe were in the late 70s.

Randy G
03-20-2012, 01:57 AM
I find much of the europorn of the 70s frustratingly skimpy on story and notably less weird and ambitious than US porn imo. I think it probably has to do with US porn appearing to be more part of the 60s/70s counterculture than the euro stuff and the requirement to have more plot in the US to avoid obscenity charges inadvertently gave directors more room to experiment and be ambitious.