Comfortable and Furious

Icky Sex in Movies: Part 3

Mechanical sex: Frank and Patricia Cornell in The Stepford Wives (1975)

We all like a bit of encouragement, especially in the bedroom department. Perhaps such reassurance becomes even more important during marriage when the same-old, same-old threatens to turn those vows before God stale. How to keep that crucial spark alive?

Well, in the little town of Stepford the problem’s been solved by the far-reaching ingenuity of men, although our two suspicious heroines Joanna and Bobbie (Katharine Ross & Paula Prentiss) oddly believe something is amiss. How on Earth can they feel this way when there’s so much confirmation that Stepford’s women are happy? Stupidly, they try to get the town’s sisters to abandon their submissive, house-proud ways, even when continually presented with firsthand evidence of their bliss. For example, observe their little afternoon trip to Frank and Patricia’s home in which they inadvertently overhear the upstairs couple having sex. “Oh, yes! Oh, yes!” the unseen Patricia moans. “Nobody’s ever touched me the way you touch me. You’re the best, Frank. Oh God you’re the king. You’re the champion, Frank. Oh, you’re the master!”

Now at this point Joanna and Bobbie are unaware Patricia has been murdered and replaced by an identical robot (except for its much bigger breasts), but such a development doubtless has the potential to turn every one of Stepford’s men into a sex god.

And I don’t see how any woman in her right mind can complain about that.

Holocaust horniness: Max and Lucia in The Night Porter (1974)

“Have you come to give me away? Have you?” Max cries as he grabs hold of Lucia in her nightdress, slaps her and throws her to the floor. “Why did you come? Why? Why? Why?” A moment later as they lie on the hotel room carpet he’s pressing his anguished face against her bare upper arm. Then there’s another undignified scuffle, some name calling and yet more caresses.

Oh, dear. These two don’t seem happy. They’re obviously neck deep in a toxic mix of violence and tenderness, of abuse and neediness. Well, they are a former SS guard and concentration camp inmate in the early stages of rekindling their sadomasochistic passion so I guess we should cut them some slack. Hmm, now they’re ecstatically writhing and Lucia’s yelling: “I want you!”

I think I’m supposed to take the Vienna-set Night Porter seriously, but it’s such a load of solemn art house bollocks that I couldn’t buy into any of it. Now I would never underestimate the perversity of sexual relationships and suspect there was some intensely twisted shit that sprang up between the Nazis and their favored captives, but this paper-thin examination is too often ridiculous. Still, the salacious Night Porter caused a big stink in its day and remains likely to make sensitive souls object to its notion that the Holocaust might have been a bad thing but at least it generated some great nookie.

Its whole feel is icky, but it’s not graphic and I often couldn’t help finding it comical. Just look at the WW2 flashback in which a crop-haired, topless Lucia (Charlotte Rampling) prowls around a brothel in a peaked Nazi hat singing a Marlene Dietrich song. At its conclusion Max (Dirk Bogarde) presents her with a fellow prisoner’s severed head in a cardboard box as he chuckles and she bites her fingers in distress. I think that’s called foreplay.

Look, I dislike Night Porter because it fails to build on an interesting central idea while adopting a tedious sheen of seriousness. This is art, good people, it appears to be trying to tell us, but it’s little more than a pretentious, talky bout of naughty dress up. Secretary will give you a better insight into S&M while at least proudly exploitative trash like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS didn’t make the Nazis boring.

Finger lickin’ good: Dr. Victor Mott in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

Now as you may have already worked out, I’m not a woman. Thank God. I mean, it seems such hard work, especially when it comes to the body. All that leg-shaving, trips to the hairdresser, makeup routines, monthly oozing, hormonal swings and baby stuff. Plus, they have to put up with male crudity. Far too many things to think about and deal with. Doubtless it’s a fulltime job and I hate work of any kind.

I’m also glad I don’t have to hand over good money for an (invariably male) doctor to examine and prod my rude bits. Just look at happy-about-to-become-unhappy housewife Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra). She’s preggers and so pops along for a first consultation with her obstetrician, Dr. Mott (John de Lancie). He’s tall, well-groomed, personable, keen to get rid of the attending nurse and even keener to get the gown-wearing Claire flat on her back for a physical examination. As he kneads her breasts, he talks about the weather and his love of taking a walk after a rainstorm. Surely he’s merely trying to put his patient at ease? Something’s not right, though, and it’s showing in Claire’s tight expression. “Relax,” he tells her as he parts her drawn-up knees. And then, in a deeply icky moment, he slyly removes his latex glove and slips it into the pocket of his white coat. Off to work he goes as his other hand caresses her swollen belly.

Like I said, I’m not a woman, but this marvelously restrained and convincing scene creeps me out no end. God knows what it does to a watching sheila, let alone a pregnant one.

Heady times: Jane Baker and Fred Kellerman in Macabre (1980)

Now I’ve had a bit of bedroom action over the years and I like to think my sexy technique has occasionally satisfied a lady or two, but I gotta admit I don’t think I’ve ever made them miaow like a cat, levitate or cause them to burst into flame while enjoying the most glorious orgasm in the history of womankind.

Indeed, when I watch the movies and see how some ladies respond to the caresses of their lovers I end up feeling a tad… inadequate. Take Jane (Bernice Stegers) in Lamberto Bava’s utterly bonkers Macabre. This middle-aged, adulterous woman leaps off the bed whenever her mustachioed lover Fred (Roberto Posse) walks into the room. It’s clear that just being in his arms is heaven, let alone when he starts burrowing between her legs. She gasps, pants, calls his name and runs her nails down his back in uncontrollable ecstasy. God, this leather-jacketed stud knows how to push a woman’s buttons. I really do think she’s ready to miaow. No wonder she’s upset when he goes and gets killed in a car accident, leaving her covered in his blood alongside.

As it turns out, his death is a mere blip on the road to true love. Or sexual fulfillment, anyway. Hmm, do you think you can work out where this one is going? Macabre’s uproarious genius, though, is how far it pushes things. Jane, you see, has been keeping Fred’s severed head in her locked freezer as that was all she managed to squirrel away from the crash scene. And so she regularly pulls his swede out of the icebox to once again enjoy bouts of bedroom bliss. Now do you understand why the movies sometimes make me feel a touch insecure? I mean, I’ve got a dick and I can even move it around with a degree of competence, but no lady has ever responded to my feeble efforts in the way Jane does to Fred’s frozen noggin. In fact, going by her delirious response (“Fred… Yes… My love… Now, Fred, now!”), I’d have to say his lovemaking prowess has improved since he lost both life and body.

Set in New Orleans, one of Macabre’s many strange aspects is how handsomely filmed it is. You’d think with such a ridiculous, schlocky storyline that it would be on a par with some wretched Troma effort, but everything from its writing and acting to score and direction is more than acceptable. Talent and money has been sunk into this thing. Its action-packed opening twelve minutes set things up brilliantly as we enjoy some nice establishing shots of the city as well as meeting one of the nastiest brats in cinematic history. The fearless Macabre’s only real fault is that it’s obvious what Jane is up to, but it’s still a heady (!) mix of insanity, blindness, grief, passion, loneliness, tragedy and, of course, the maddest bout of cold play you’ll ever see.



, ,



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *