Smart sexploitation satire Viva slinks its way into cinemas this Friday.
The film is a dead-on recreation of the sleazy, flesh-obsessed movies which used to tour the grindhouse circuits in the 1960s and ‘70s.
So, in dubious celebration of a criminally ignored sub-genre, here's a selection of the sex-trash flicks you really ought to shift uncomfortably around in your seat to...
Bad Girls Go To Hell (1965) - Doris Wishman
There’s a nasty moralising tone to this short and sleazy skin flick. Housewife Meg is raped and murders her attacker. She legs it – and is raped again pretty much everywhere she goes.
Unlike the campy Russ Meyer films where the breasty women dominate the weasly menfolk, there’s a leery Puritanism here. Which sucks, because it puts us off all the nudity.
Next: Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! [page-break]
Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) - Russ Meyer
Meyer’s trash masterpiece, featuring three outrageously buxom strippers on a violent thrill-seeking drive through the desert.
The most famous of Meyer’s fleshy exploitationers, oddly, doesn’t feature any nudity. But it makes up for it with the bit where a man is beaten to death by terrifying lady star Tura Satana, the hilarious/horrific knife-throwing fight and a sick/slickmurder by sports car.
Next: Barbarella [page-break]
Barbarella (1968) - Roger Vadim
Sexplotation hits the mainstream with a super-camp adaptation of saucy French comic Barbarella starring Jane Fonda is the futuristic sex lady.
Barbarella owns a custom sex aid called the Orgasmatron (It is an orgasmatron, but it's called Excessive Machine' in Barbarella. I've been told. Not that I've studied the movie at length or anything - ed) and at one point is subjected to sexual torture (it doesn’t hurt: “What kind of girl are you?! Have you no shame?”)
Mostly, though, the film is remembered for a teasing opening sequence which features Fonda stripping off a space suit in zero gravity (and, hence, in slo-mo). We have lift off, etc.
Next: Supervixens [page-break]
Supervixens (1976) - Russ Meyer
The quintessential Russ Meyer sexploitation blueprint: a series of impossibly comely women who find themselves irresistibly drawn to an apparently average man. (Unsurprisingly, Meyer himself was a bit on the plain side).
People’s clothes are constantly at the point of falling off or bursting, sex scenes happen at random and as if by accident, and you'll spend most of the film pondering on whether Meyer was breast-fed for either too long or too little.
Next: Myra Breckenridge [page-break]
Myra Breckenridge (1970) - Michael Sarne
Misconceived adaptation of Gore Vidal’s transgressive novel. Raquel Welch – who had already jiggled very effectively in One Million Years B.C. – stars as the beautiful, bosomy, sexually aggressive and (spoilers!) secretly transgendered Myra.
She's on a campaign of... something. That bit’s mostly lost in translation. She does rape a college jock with a strap-on, though. Just - y'know - to add substance.
Next: Nude On The Moon [page-break]
Nude On The Moon (1961) - Raymond Phelan/Doris Wishman
In the best tradition of sleazy genre flicks, the title here tells you all you need to know. We’re going to the moon, and there’s going to be boobs. Space boobs.
Two scientists come into some cash and build a rocket. They arrive on the moon only to find… wouldn't ya know it? - a nudist colony! (And, er, blue skies, but we’ll look past that bit). Results: hilarious and gravity-defying.
Next: Caligula [page-break]
Caligula (1979) - Tinto Brass/Bob Guccione
The orgiastic fiasco which ambitiously attempted to unite mainstream Hollywood, arthouse sleaze and outright pornography, and instead fell into an outrageously enjoyable pit of filth and depravity.
Written by Gore Vidal (again) and directed by classy Euro eroticist Tinto Brass, Caligula featured a cast of proper actors including Malcom MacDowell and Helen Mirren.
After a chaotic shoot, producer and Penthouse founder Bob Guccione took control of the film and peppered it with hardcore sex scenes.
Thanks to various editing squabbles and international censorship laws, it exists in tons of different versions. All of them are filthy.
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