Monday, May 02, 2005

Requiem for Skinemax (c. 1984 - 1987) or Alice in Wonderland Revisited

Like most kids who hit puberty during the mid-80s, I spent many a weekend staying up late to watch the Playboy channel, despite the fact that the cable box scrambled its signal (the cable company where I grew up, ran the Playboy channel right next to MTV, which was handy for whenever the parents made late night trips through the living room. If I placed the rotary dial in the right position, the scrambling was minimal, and I'd get to watch the channel in 20 second intervals, which was enough back then).

Whenever the scrambling was against me, a safe second choice for contraband skin was Cinemax After Dark. Ahh, Cinemax, I wonder if you still live up to your legacy of providing soft core films for the puberty-afflicted-teenage-boy. I also wonder what those without cable did for soft-core kicks back in those days.

A movie I remember sitting too close to the screen for was Alice in Wonderland, this low-budget-ish 70s production which I don't remember much of, except that Skinemax was showing the soft-core edit. I promptly forgot all about the movie about 10 minutes after business was taken care of (if you know what I'm saying, and I think you do).

Forgot all about it, that is, until one of the goons found and purchased a DVD-copy of the unedited print online. It arrived this weekend, and as said goon is currently out of town, I didn't feel too guilty about snagging the copy and holding a private screening in my room.

I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised by all of what I had forgotten, or more accurately, didn't pay attention to when I was fourteen. For instance, it's a goddamn musical. And not some cheesy bad singing, three person synthesized orchestra musical, this production boasted a full orchestra, and singing that was at least on-key.

It's almost like finding a time-capsule filled with antiquated porn; the thing feels like it was made by someone who thought that the future of porn lay in staying truthful to Burlesque, with more than passing homage to Burlesque's cousin, Vaudeville.

I mean, let's be realistic here: The movie's humor is barely above sophomoric, but hey, at least there's an attempt. Compare that to any modern porn.

Actually, let's do a modern porn checklist:

Modern Porn/Alice In Wonderland
  1. Boob Jobbed Women/No
  2. Horse-Hung Guys/No
  3. Gonzo Footage (I.E. - Gaping, gang bang, DP, anal-to-oral insertion, etc.)/No
  4. Meth Heads and/or Junkies/No
  5. Morally Repugnant Scenarios/Not really, no*
  6. "Fuck my asshole/clit," "Suck my dick," etc./No

(*-Keeping in mind that, by this point in our civilization, the topic of incest has already been exploited several times over, and not exclusively by the Taboo series. Even still, the mention of it in Alice is used as a throw away gag. In fact, it seems that inter-racial coupling is a much bigger deal for the filmmakers than anything else. A jigaboo bugaboo, if you will.)

To be fair, however, here's a list in which we see what Alice has that modern porn is lacking:

Alice In Wonderland/Modern Porn

  1. A song entitled "His Dingaling's Up!"/No
  2. Knowingly ridiculous excuses for sex scenes/No
  3. Half-Assed Sex Positive "Message"/No
  4. Realistic examples of everyday humans/No
  5. Laugh-In style montages/No
  6. Pubic Hair! (remember that?)/No

The whole thing was refreshingly quaint, really.

And, look, I know how eye-rollingly ludicrous it is for me to be waxing rhapsodic over outdated porn. This is an instance, though, where the novelty of what I saw pointed out the flaws of everything I've been used to.

(Cue gags about "waxing" anything, at this point.)


At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the checklists of both lists, I'd say I'd rather watch this than any "modern" porn. -Rood1


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