• Graphic Thrills: American XXX Movie Posters 1970 – 1985



    Graphic Thrills: American XXX Movie Posters 1970 – 1985
    Author: Robin Bougie
    Released by: FAB Press
    Released on: March 1st 2014.
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    One of the most interesting aspects of exploitation movies is the advertising art. Sell the sizzle, not the steak, right? In the days of drive-in theaters and flea pit inner city cinemas you didn’t need to make a good movie, you needed to launch a great advertising campaign. A lot of that has changed in this day and age where internet access is freely available and information on any pretty much any current release is easily accessible but back in the seventies and into that eighties, that was not the case. And if that mantra was true for drive-in pictures, low budget blaxploitation quickies, cheap horror pictures and softcore sexploitation grinders, it was doubly true for porno movies. Yet, despite the undeniable importance of adult movie advertising from the porno chic era, somewhat understandably that aspect of the industry seems to go without the proper examination and credit that it deserves.

    With the FAB Press release of Robin Bougie’s Graphic Thrillers: American XXX Movie Posters 1970 – 1985, the tide starts to turn. There have been plenty of coffee table books published over the years that have covered movie poster art from various genres. Looking over at my bookshelf I can spot one covering blaxploitation pictures and another covering Hammer Films. There are plenty of books that cover noir posters, horror pictures, action movies – you name it. And now there’s one to sit alongside those books that covers vintage porn, and it’s just as worthy of the valuable space on your bookshelf as any other entries you’d care to name.

    Bougie, best known for the long running underground comic style movie zine Cinema Sewer, starts this full color 144 page book with exactly the sort of introduction you’d expect – an overview of the ‘porno chic’ era and an explanation/overview of a few highlights from the era. You know, how softcore became hardcore, the importance of Deep Throat, notes on a few key players, stuff like that. You may or may not glean any information from the introduction, it’s all going to depend on your own personal interest and knowledge in movies from this segment and from this era but it sets the scene for the bulk of the book’s content, and that’s the beautiful reproductions of classic poster art.

    The images and taglines that producers and their respective art departments came up with to entice potential customers off of the sidewalk and into the theater was nothing short of sensational. Gaudy, tacky, ridiculously and of course, frequently very sexy these posters existed the only sort of bait out there in an era before online trailers were commonplace. They HAD to catch your eye, get your attention and make you want pay hard earned money to venture into that dark, shady palace of celluloid sin. Some worked better than others, and Bougie’s collected a whole bunch – some good, some bad, even a couple of ugly ones.

    But there’s a lot more to this than that. Yes, we get slick, glossy, large sized reproductions of plenty of classic adult pictures but each one includes not only directorial and cast credits but ‘something’ written about it. Given the obscurity and sometimes the pedestrian plotting of some of these pictures, Bougie may or may not go into detail on the movie in question. Sometimes we get a review, some thoughts on what works and what doesn’t, a list of highlights and things to look out for, all of which is interesting enough. Just as often, however, Bougie eschews the plot synopsis and the like in favor of trivia or related information. A good example of this is the page that covers Carter Stevens’ Rollerbabies. Instead of an overview of the film itself we instead get some background information from Carter himself about how the title came to be, who wrote it, where it was filmed and why the movies exists in the first place!

    The book gives us some insight into what makes Behind The Green Door an interesting movie but also provides some background information on Marilyn Chambers, her importance in the industry and some details on what would inevitably become her fate. Memories Within Miss Aggie cover Darby Lloyd Rains’ career and director Gerard Damiano’s importance while the page for Soft Places lets Dorothy Lemay, by way of an interview from a vintage men’s magazine, discuss the ‘mean side’ of headliner Annette Haven. Pandora’s Mirror is represented with the obligatory poster and run down but then allows, through some quotes, director Shaun Costello to provide his input here as well.

    The end result is a ridiculously readable book, which is interesting when you think that the main focus is actually the imagery. Bougie has done what he can to research who did what in terms of the artwork on display here, but realistically speaking it’d be impossible to track down everyone who painted or illustrated these posters. Many of them artists who were involved here were doing quick work-for-hire jobs and it’s understandable that a lot of them don’t want anything to do with this part of their past because of the ridiculous stigma that’s still attached to films like the ones covered here.

    Speaking of which, here’s the rundown of the movies covered in this, hopefully the first volume in many, of Graphic Thrills:

    Mona / The Flanders And Alcott Report On Sexual Response / Deep Throat / Behind The Green Door / The Devil In Miss Jones / Oh, Fanny! / Resurrection Of Eve / Sexual Fantasies U.S.A. / Sexual Witchcraft / Barbie’s Fantasies / Memories Within Miss Aggie / The Seduction Of Lynn Carter / Around The World With John ‘The Wadd’ Holmes / China Girl / Farmer’s Daughters / The Pleasure Masters: Kikko & Lil / Satan Was A Lady / Blowdry / Dominatrix Without Mercy / Easy Alive / Femmes De Sade / Hard Candy / French Kittens / Midnight Hustle / One Of A Kind / Rollerbabies / Saturday Night Special / Sex Wish / Souperman / Tapestry Of Pleasure / Babyface / Breaker Beauties / A Coming Of Angels / Desires Within Young Girls / Eruption / Fantastic Orgy / Hot Cookies / Mary! Mary! / Odyssey / Sex World / Soft Places / Star Babe / Unwilling Lovers / The Violation Of Claudia / A Woman’s Torment / Black Silk Stockings / Debbie Does Dallas / Fiona On Fire / Here Comes The Bride / Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls / Hot Lunch / Hot Teenage Assets / Intimate Illusions / Little Orphan Dusty / Love Airlines / The Other Side Of Julie / Pretty Peaches / Teeny Buns / Telefantasy / Thoroughly Amorous Amy / V – The Hot One / Candy Girl / The Ecstasy Girls / Getting Off / Honeysuckle Rose / Hot Legs / Hot Rackets / Librianna, Bitch Of The Black Sea / Ms. Magnificent / Mystique / Pussycat Ranch / Sissy’s Hot Summer / Summer In Heat / Summertime Blue / Afternoon Delights / The Amorous World Of Bella / Beyond Desire / Body Candy / Bon Appetit / Champagne For Breakfast / Her Name Was Lisa / Honey Throat / Insatiable / Princess Seka / Prisoner Of Paradise / The Satisfiers Of Alpha Blue / Taboo / Talk Dirty To Me / Tinseltown / Tramp / Ultra Flesh / Any Time Any Place / Beyond Your Wildest Dreams / Bizarre Styles / Little Darlin’s / Love Goddesses / Nothing To Hide / The Oui Girls / Outlaw Ladies / Pandora’s Mirror / Ring Of Desire / Skin On Skin / Velvet High / Weekend Cowgirls/ Café Flesh / Consenting Adults / Peepholes / The Playgirl / The Stimulators / A Thousand And One Erotic Nights / Carnal Olympics / Co-Ed Teasers / Corruption / Girlfriends / Midnight Heat / Never Sleep Alone / Sexcapades / Silk, Satin And Sex / Aphrodesia’s Diary / Dirty Blonde / First Time At Cherry High / Great Sexpectations / White Hot / Sex Drive / Shauna: Every Man’s Fantasy

    So yeah, that art. It’s fantastic. Bougie’s writing compliments it wonderfully, as blunt and sometimes crass and in your face as it is well researched and informative, but the art… some of this stuff will make your eyes bleed in the best possible way. Most of it seems to have been fully painted, and much of it is quite dramatic. Be it the gothic horrors implied in the image used to promote De Renzy’s Femmes De Sade or the less than subtle imagery used in the black and white poster for Sexual Witchcraft, the one thing that all of this art has in common is that it’s pretty much impossible to turn away from it. Some designs are simple – Behind The Green Door really just uses a simple, albeit very attractive, picture of Marilyn Chambers and the follow up, Resurrection Of Eve, uses a bold, brash font… and another picture of Chambers – but just as many, if not more, of them feature bright, garish and attention grabbing designs, sensationalist imagery that DARES you to watch. Blowdry features a woman riding a giant hairdryer. Dominatrix Without Mercy features a dominatrix, presumably merciless, dominating a man and a woman. Soft Places plays up leading lady Annette Haven’s likeness in interesting and lingerie clad ways while Honeysuckle Rose features a woman in her undies with her legs spread, a giant rose in bloom behind her. Subtle? No, of course not. But rad nevertheless.

    As the seventies turn into the eighties (the posters here are presented in chronological order) the posters start to favor photography over painted art but they’re still interesting. Talk Dirty To Me puts Jessie St. James right up front and looking good, The Oui Girls more or less follows suit with Anna Ventura while Outlaw Ladies gets the three starlets in a circle with panties over their faces as some sort of tribute to wild west bandits?!?

    All in all, this is a solid combination of fantastic graphic art and design and informative reading. It’s all genuinely interesting, quite fun to read, and a treat for the eyes. The high quality reproductions of the poster art is done on heavy, glossy paper and it looks great while Bougie provides a welcome context for each of the images he shows us. Great stuff.

    For more information on Graphic Thrills check out the FAB Press website here and Robin Bougie’s site here!

    And check out this rad preview in the video clip below!


    Comments 4 Comments
    1. WestgateGallery's Avatar
      WestgateGallery -
      It's awesome having The Bougieman in full color for once! This would be fantastic even if it were nothing but sizzling posters, but like Ian said, Robin's breezy, fact-stuffed, ever-witty style pushes it into Instant Classic territory! These one-sheets have started to trend as collectible Pop Art. I know that because I just launched an online movie art gallery and original-poster boutique at westgategallery.com, and our X-rated section has ALMOST EVERY painted poster in the book for sale, as well as super-rare foreign XXX posters for American films, including gorgeous huge Italian 1 & 2-panels, almost all with completely different outrageous art! I've been in touch with Robin, who mentioned including some of these in a sequel to Graphic Thrills. The gallery is named after my childhood porn theatre in Bangor, ME. I never actually went inside, but their daily newspaper ads were a constant source of intrigue for my twisted little mind. (We also had a drive-in near my house that was one of many in Maine that showed hardcore porn double features all summer long.) If you have the slightest interest in 70's sexploitation and/or deviant modern art, you'll be so happy you picked this up. And if you'd like to own some of the posters inside, mention Rock!Shock!Pop! and get 15% off 1-2 items and 20% off 3 or more. Christian
    1. Robin Bougie's Avatar
      Robin Bougie -
      WOW! Great review, Ian. You really touched on pretty much everything that I would hope to see covered when talking about this book. Nice overview, man.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Thanks!
    1. Lalala76's Avatar
      Lalala76 -
      I've absolutely no idea why I never ordered this. I've just remedied that one. The hardback edition looks to be great.