May 172020
 

“Escape from the Dungeon!”, aired September 26, 2010

Bored to Death is an American comedy TV series (IMDB) about Jonathan Ames, a struggling writer who moonlights as an “unlicensed private detective”.

In “Escape from the Dungeon!” (S02E01), Jonathan meets Drake, a mounted NYPD officer, who needs his name removed from the hard drive of the BDSM dungeon he frequents before it is raided by the police. He says the dungeon is involved in money laundering, not that it will be raided for sex work charges.

Mistress Florence (Kristen Johnson) is not impressed with Jonathan
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Sep 192019
 

The Girl on a Motorcycle, also released as Naked Under Leather, was a 1968 romance/psychedelic film directed by Jack Cardiff and starring Marianne Faithfull. It was the first movie to get an X-rating in the USA.

The framing story is that Rebecca, a young, recently married woman, leaves her husband Raymond in bed, dons her one-piece black leather riding suit (and nothing else), revs up her motorcycle, and rides through France and West Germany to her lover Daniel.

Rebecca (Marianne Faithfull) in full black leather
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Aug 312019
 

Satan in High Heels (1962) is a drama/exploitation film most notable for being produced by Leonard Burtman. Burtman was a major publisher and entrepreneur in the American fetish scene in the 1950s and 1960s. This film and a 1953 film short called Cinderella’s Love Lessons, starring Lili St. Cyr, were his only producer credits. Jerald Intrator, the director, had previously made Striporama (1953), featuring Bettie Page, Lili St. Cyr, and other 50s burlesque queens.

If Bonanza and The Andy Griffith Show were 1962 America as it dreamed of being, Satan in High Heels is the seedy underbelly. Stacey Kane (Meg Myles), a burlesque dancer on a skeezy midway, robs her junkie ex-husband and heads for the big city, where she becomes a nightclub singer and gets involved in the twilight world of quasi-mobsters and sexual deviants. Everybody in this movie smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish. 

Stacey Kane (Meg Myles) in her iconic outfit
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Aug 262019
 

The Duke of Burgundy (IMDB) is a 2014 drama film written and directed by Peter Strickland, and starring Chiara D’Anna as Evelyn and Sidse Babett Knudsen as Cynthia. Shot in the UK and Hungary.

One of the oldest cliches in BDSM is “the submissive has all the power”. This is not always true, nor is it necessarily a good thing, as the life of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch demonstrated. Submissives and masochists can be abusive, as shown by The Duke of Burgundy.

Evelyn (D’Anna) serves Cynthia (Knudsen)

Somewhere in Europe, sometime in the mid-20th century, two women play out elaborate sadomasochistic scenarios. Evelyn, playing the meek maid, comes to the house of Cynthia, playing the haughty mistress. Evelyn’s duties of cleaning and laundry are, inevitably, unsatisfactory, which results in punishment. Cynthia drags Evelyn to the bathroom, closes the door on the camera, and urinates on her. 

Obviously, the MPAA would not give a film could give a film with an explicit golden showers scene an R-rating or even an NC-17 rating. (IMDB says it doesn’t have a rating in the USA.) 

A few days later, they do it all over again. It’s a bit reminiscent of Secretary or the Munby-Cullwick relationship, a private world between two people in which mundane activities are elevated to erotic rituals. 

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Aug 192019
 

GENE BILBREW REVEALED: The Unsung Legacy of a Fetish Art Pioneer (African American Artists Series) is the latest in Richard Pérez Seves’ series of biographies of fetish artists and publishers.

Pérez Seves’ previous work on Eric Stanton gave an interesting picture of a man, his work and his time. However, the author has less to work with when it comes to Gene Bilbrew.

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Aug 152019
 
Poster

Venus in Furs (1967) IMDB

As far as I know, this is the first feature film adaptation of Venus in Furs, or more accurately the first to bear that name. (According to IMDB, there was a short film released in 1965 titled Venus in Furs, though the description sounds nothing like the book.) It was also released the same year that the Velvet Underground released their debut album (having been formed in 1964), which featured the song “Venus in Furs.” I don’t know if there was any direct connection between the two. 

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Jun 052019
 

The People Under The Stairs (1991) is a horror film written and directed by Wes Craven

Though categorized as horror, People is better understood as a contemporary Gothic fable. A young African-American man, known by his nickname “Fool”, is desperate to help his poor family in the ghetto. He breaks into the sprawling home of a wealthy couple who are the neighborhood landlords. The couple, who call each other “Daddy” and “Mama”, look and act like they stepped out of the 1950s, but they and their house is not what they seem. (They’re a bit like Paul and Mary from Eating Raoul, just taken a few steps further.)

“Fool” (Brandon Quinton Adams) confronts “Daddy” (Everett McGill)
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Apr 302019
 

Body Double is a 1984 psychological thriller directed by Brian DePalma.

Jake Scully (Craig Wasson) is a struggling actor who loses a job in a vampire movie because of his claustrophobia. He’s then kicked out by his girlfriend who’s with another man. Down on his luck, Jake agrees to house sit for a friend. The luxury house comes with a view of a beautiful woman in another apartment, who dances nude every night.

When Jake witnesses the woman’s murder, but he suspects he has been set up as a witness. He infiltrates the LA porn scene to find the body double of the murdered woman

Did Jake (Craig Wasson) see what he thought he saw?
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Jun 182018
 

What are the sartorial origins of the black-clad dominatrix? I will skip the more familiar examples from recent years and try to find the earlier examples.

Certainly everyone will remember Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel (“Miss SM Appeal”) in the UK spy TV series The Avengers. Her most overtly kinky costumes were features in the episodes “A Touch of Brimstone” and “Death at Bargain Prices.”

Woman in black leather suit with zippers

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers, wearing the leather jumpsuit costume from “Death at Bargain Prices”

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