Fantasy Club (1975) Road Service (1973) and Easy Money (1971)
Yeah go on, I'll review some After Hours Cinema, I told Al Sex Gore. I mean, what's the worst that can happen? Well, it was certainly an experience, I'll say that much! If you've ever wondered what the grimy audiences of 70s fleapit cinemas were actually watching then wonder no more: After Hours Cinema has the answers you seek, should you seek them.
First up (and brace yourself for more bad double entendres along the way, mostly intentional) is Fantasy Club (1975), a peculiarly comedic spin on porn where the characters spend a fair bit of time grinning inanely or making lame jokes in-between sex sessions. The premise is this: a group of down-at-heel New Yorkers join a Swinger's Club (which gives you free tee-shirts advertising same!) where various fantasy scenarios are catered for in a house set up for the purpose. Most of the 'fantasy rooms' look like something between a cupboard and a disco but that apparently doesn't get in the way of a good time, and all the standard fantasies are present and correct. Soon everyone is 'gainfully employed' and the camera revisits them from time to time as the framing device is finally abandoned. This was a bit of a baptism by fire: the print quality is pretty bad (even for what it is) and means that everyone appears a rather unappetising angry red colour, so unless burns victims are your thing, this one might be more alarming than erotic. As a historical document though (don't laugh) this was quite something!
Next we have Road Service (1973), a film which slings every type of wrongness at you from the get-go. It also shows just how much things have changed, as a lot of 70s porn thinks nothing of unselfconsciously using rape as a standard plot device. We meet an, erm, unusual family: mom is concerned that teenage daughter Barbara needs to go out and get laid, but Barbara is perfectly happy with a bit of inappropriate voyeurism at home, so much so that mom suggests a visit from a multiple rapist on the loose might do her the power of good. Bang on cue, a strange man arrives at the house with 'car troubles', but is he the nogoodnik? Visitor upon visitor arrives from here on, all of whom are, shall we say, enthusiastically greeted by the family…the sex scenes here are more variable and range from cringeworthy to much more natural, but rest assured this is no mood piece!
The last film in the set is Easy Money (1971), in which a couple decide they want to make it rich with a little help from their friends. While the guys talk business, the girls are packed off for a walk along the riverbank where they make a gold panner's afternoon - mind you, the guys aren't exactly miring themselves in paperwork and have a few adventures of their own. As the voice-over reminds us a little later on however, money isn't everything after all, so the couples revert to non-lucrative fucking and, again, that's the plot devices forgotten. Of all the films though, Easy Money probably has the most erotic scenes - in some cases the amateur nature of the filming works against these films (some of the shots are quite terrifying) but in some cases, the couples' lack of awareness that they're being filmed makes a nice change to more camera-conscious material. Although there are differences between them, it's probably easiest to treat these three films as an entity as they have far more in common. The 'plots' are fairly tongue in cheek (sorry) and the films veer from deeply wrong to less deeply wrong, occasionally pausing for something a little gentler. That said, these films are all definitely, definitely authentically sleazy and scream 70s in every sense. After Hours have made little attempt to clean up these prints (and really, what would be the point?) so what you get here is as close to the genuine experience as you'll find. Do people sit down to revisit these films? That I don't know, but at a running time of 200 minutes you certainly get plenty for your money.
This DVD release is fairly no-frills but you do get some trailers: brace yourselves for Filth on 42nd Street, Grindhouse Virgin 2, Honeymoon Suite Triple Feature, Kink-o-Rama and Sex Education Double Feature. There's also a chance to get your mucky paws on the catalogue if that little lot isn't enough for you. New York Fantasy Club is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and has passable sound quality.
Review by Keri O'Shea
|Released by After Hours Cinema|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|see main review|