I’m not claiming to be an expert, because this is my first real issue of the esteemed and faithful magazine that I’ve owned, and I can’t really attest to actually READING any modern issues (although can any man nowadays?) save for those few times, to my horror, I stumbled upon my father’s porno stash in year 7. Of course, what I do remember is enough to contrast what I’ve seen of issues from a bygone era, free of bare, open, in your face, vagina. Even before I had misfortunately cracked open my dad’s early 2000s release of Playboy to one of those revealing pages, I knew what I was getting myself into from the magazine’s general reputation at the time (and present). Of course, I didn’t sit staring at that forbidden photo, having my eyeballs rot out of my head, but I didn’t put the magazine down either. Turning the page, and hoping for not so low of a shot, I found intriguing articles regarding politics, familiar estute actors giving interviews, and a hilarious dirty joke section.
Now, I’m not being pessimistic; they were great articles, and readers can find similar content in older Playboy monthly’s. However, the magainze has become what it’s reputation has given it from the beginning, a “porno mag”: a forbidden realm for men to stare at open female genitalia, rectums, and penetration. Again, Playboy has never been “clean”, but it got by on being what founder Hugh Hefner dubbed as “a parallel of naughty and nice, but always innocent”. Therefore, sexuality was simply a suggestion, and left up to the readers imagination. There’s something in Japanese Anime culture called “ecchi”, meaning “more erotic than sex”. Like many children who grew up in the 90s/early 2000s I went through a brief anime phase (Thank God), but if there’s something I took away from it, that term would be key to my later appreciations. Simply put, it’s a word that perfectly describes old Playboy issues, and the women featured within. Although many were featured in full frontal nudity, there was always a chaste quality about each individuals, as if they were unaware of their nudity to the world. Most photos from the 60s to mid 70s showcased barely clad women indulging in their favourite activities such as reading, sunbathing, surfboarding, or about to play softball.
I was first drawn to Miss June 1974, Sandy Johnson some years back when I indulged in my love for everything 70s. Like a good friend, I couldn’t give a general statement as to why I was so captivated by the decade, but one thing was for certain I adored the women it was filled with. They were natural, sensual, strong, sarcastic, and full of personality. Sure my new and beloved issue from the aforementioned date features a full section on anal sex, but not once does it use either term nor reveal an open rectum. Instead, the idea is hinted at among a spread of innocent and girlish women revealing their rump or gently pulling down their panties. Even a photo of a man’s front is depicted against a female’s backside, however, missing is any hit of visual penetration.
Okay, I admit, Playboy did this to themselves. Like any lucrative business, it’s survival of the fittest, and to survive one has to adapt to the times. With the video age came in the increase in porn sales, which meant that photos of women in more chaste settings were becoming old hat. This does not even compare to the state of things to today with the internet age which offers porn for free. Moreover, the 1970s was a decade filled with pushing the sexual envelope, especially in Hefner’s industry. One can find several social cartoons jibing at the mere hint of sexuality in film and photos, silently suggesting for more. Unfortunately what these curious and adamant citizens didn’t realize was that, once the envelope was open there was no where else to go.
Now back to Miss Johnson; when I realized my deep appreciation of ladies of the late 60s/early 70s, there was only one resource to rely on, and here we are today. Upon first glance at these strong, and yet effeminate women, I found myself captivated by not only there looks, but personality. Looking through a list of centerfolds one stood out, and that was of a bubbly, nude, 19 year old in a green baseball hat and holding out a bat as a tap dance cane. As previously mentioned, it was as if she had no knowledge of her nudity, but embraced her state as natural as she beckoned on lookers to come and play with her.
The point is, despite it’s lack in graphic pornography, Playboy has always had a forbidden tone. However thanks to the digital enhanced, and free porn infused age, this is nearly gone. When I saw my “new” June 1974 issue had arrived in the mail, without I second thought, I ripped open the packaging and clear covering. Standing in awe I took in it’s smell, and pink girlish cover announcing a featured excerpt of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s new novel based on their work with the Watergate Scandal, All the President’s Men. Opening it’s pages feelings of a forbidden joyous nature swept over me. It was as if, within those pages, I saw myself as a 15-year old boy clad in red chucks, jean flares, and a tight red T-shirt running home with a snagged copy and hiding under the porch with a flash light.
What a great little time capsule of the mid 1970s! Showcasing women in all their natural beauty as well as their personalities. Great piece Hannah, so well written :)
Eve Meyer in photo taken by husband Russ Meyer (m. 1952-1969)
Generally considered to be director William Castle’s most popular film, The House on Haunted Hill is famously known for its promotional gimmicks during its 1959 theatrical run where in selected theatres an elaborate pulley system that was installed by Castle himself, was used to allowed a plastic skeleton to be flown over the audience at the appropriate times during the film. Today The House on Haunted Hill has become a much loved cult classic known for being more camp than creepy. I’ve been enjoying the film for many years. It’s my favourite film to watch late on a Saturday night. After repeated viewings I began to notice something rather interesting. Everything that happens in the film can be explained in practical terms as one particular character is revealed to be literally pulling the strings which begs the question, is the House on Haunted Hill really haunted?
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Vincent Price … Frederick Loren
Carol Ohmart … Annabella Loren
Elisha Cook Jr. … Watson Pritchard
Carolyn Craig … Nora Manning
Richard Long … Lace Schroeder
Julie Mitchum … Ruth Bridges (Robert Mitchum’s sister!)
Alan Marshal … Dr. David Trent
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
Geoffrey Rush … Stephen H. Price
Famke Janssen … Evelyn Stockard-Price
Chris Kattan … Watson Pritchett
Ali Later … Sara Wolfe
Taye Diggs … Eddie Baker
Bridgettte Wilson-Sampras … Melissa Margaret Marr
Peter Gallagher … Donald W. Blackburn, M.D.
Released theatrically on October 29th 1999, House on Haunted Hill was the debut film produced by production company Dark Castle Entertainment that was founded by film-makers Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis and Gilbert Adler. The goal of the newly formed company was to remake William Castle’s horror films of the 1950s and 60s but fortunately moved on to producing original films after only two remakes; the other being the abysmal Thir13en Ghosts from 2001. House on Haunted Hill performed poorly both critically and financially, falling over $3 million dollars short of its $40 million budget. It’s become mostly forgotten by horror fans, pushed into that far dark corner where many other horror remakes and unwanted sequels dwell. I however have been a huge fan since seeing it at my local cinema back in ‘99. The engrossing atmosphere combined with plenty of shock value along with some very twisted and horrific imagery plus the visually striking production design created a movie-going experience that was truly terrifying and memorable. The film also pay wonderful homage to the Castle’s original, mainly through the film’s star Geoffrey Rush as amusement park mogul Steven Price who’s in Vincent Price mode the entire time but with a slightly more sinister edge.
I enjoy revisiting this much underrated remake again and again, experiencing the same sensations I felt when first seeing it 15 years ago. And remembering how much of a crush I had on Ali Later at the time. It still is a funky old house, ain’t it?
I first saw this film a little after it’s release to home video as my uncle recorded it off a premium movie channel. In those days, I was often left at my grandmother’s house until the wee hours of the early morning while my father indulged in his select pleasures. For my uncle, simply sitting home and watching film of the like was enough in those days, and during these (said) wee hours we would view films like The House on Haunted Hill. My primary reason for enjoying this one was the brief appearance of James Masters who played Spike on my favorite tv show at the time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Aside from that, I think I most enjoyed the modern flare combined with an eerie early century atmosphere. Moreover, the wide variance of colorful characters was appealing to someone my age at the time and keeps things interesting. Many images where visually shocking, but I kept my eyes peeled until the very end. Some how, my dad always showed up before the last bit anyway, and I only finally watched it in year 8. I ended up watching the original in year five on a website that showed classic B movies for free as they were public domain. I recall being rather disappointed at the ending in comparison to the newer one.
Nothing compares to film posters of the 1970s, there’s just something about them. John Boorman’s Deliverance from 1972 is one that stands out. Visual striking, sinister and psychological along with subtle hints relating to events in the film itself such as the bottom poster of the four protagonists carrying a canoe. You’ll notice the very interesting refection on the water, a brilliant piece of foreshadowing. It’s nothing some I spotted at first glance but that’s the intention.
"The rest of course….is history." - Jennings, The Omen (1976)
I’ll never forget how I felt the first time I watched this scene. It sent a chill down my spine like no other. In my opinion it’s the scariest in the whole film. The film being the 1976 horror mystery The Omen where photographer Jennings played by David Warner reveals to the film’s star Gregory Peck as the very distraught husband and father what first appears to be an abnormality in a series of photographs, but soon proves to be a bizarre and frightening foreshadowing of past and future events. This significant scene creates a sense of pending doom that lasts for the rest of the film. They say the camera never lies.
My best mate perfectly captures what we all felt during this thrilling classic…really want to watch this now. I first saw this film in year 5, but year 6 began my obession and chronic hypochondia. Therefore, I found myself refraining from taking photos of myself for a while, or inspecting them of faults toward my neck.
Stellan Skarsgard as the psychology graduate student, Erik, who’s dissertation on sexual behaviour becomes a personal study on clinical nyphomania after he (literally) stumbles upon a young girl who suffers from the plight. Touched by her innocence and raw life story, Erik is determined to help the girl cease her behaviour, only to fall in love with her in the process.
Anita: Swedish Nymphet (1973)
Erik (Stellan Skarsgard) comforts Anita (Christina Lindberg), and tends to wounds recieved from a jealous flatmate of his after Anita slept with a male she fancied, as well as other male members of the house. While the females look at Anita as a loose woman who distracts the male members from their group work, Erik notes that both the negative attention from the females, and positive from the males makes her worthwhile; her worthlessness being the main reason for her sexual compulsions.
Promotional photo of Jack Taylor’s woman-in-prison film, The Big Bird Cage (1972). From Left to Right, the tall, blond one time actress Karen McKevic, blaxploitation icon Pam Grier, the slender model and Price is Right girl Anitra Ford, sweet faced carol Speed, and Candice Roman.