San Antonio Sin in 1977
5-6-77 – An ad for what I think is Dieter von Soden’s 1971 German Documentary Forbidden Sexuality at the Aztec 3 that used Warhol’s famous recommendation for The Lickerish Quartet to mislead the public to see something that could send you to The Scene of Screen 13 located in a special level of Hell…that’s Exploitation! OK, now that I have your attention, it’s time to check out a Late 70’s scene that’s filled with sleazy stuff, last run madness, and the kinds of things that make the Scene so entertaining.
Like many areas filled with theaters trying to bring in the audiences through the Late 70’s, San Antonio, TX had a lot of wild and sleazy films playing in the Late 70’s as well as some Last Run Drive In flicks and other notable titles which all bend in together very well. The Aztec 3 was the Downtown center that’s actually still open, unlike a lot of the theaters in this post, although sadly not being used as much as it should.
Any information that can be offered is seriously welcome, including corrections!
4-2-77, The Woodlawn had plenty of the good stuff, and in this case the famed Tinto Brass film Salon Kitty, then known in The US as Madame Kitty. The theater is now a renovated performing arts center. As for the San Pedro, I seriously don’t know when it closed up shop, but can mention that it was a place for the X-Rated films in the Late 70’s, here mentioning Radley Metzger’s cool film which was a hit on the Adult circuit – clearly they were no Lackland!
1-29-77 – Armando de Ossorio’s Demon Witch Child made it’s way to San Antonio with The Devil’s Crypt, which reportedly was the AKA for Luigi “Nude for Satan” Batzella’s The Devil’s Wedding Night.
The Mission was the last Drive In standing by 2007 and there were reports of movies being shown in the building the lot had by 2009, but it’s demolished as of now.
The Town Twin was on the East End of the City, right near Kirby – West of I-410 on Dietrich. Reportedly closed in 1983, it’s well-remembered like the other two drive ins in this ad with a snack bar that operated as a restaurant. Sadly the land is still waiting to be used again.
The Varsity was on Culbera, just West of when Route 421 moves to Bandera – the Woodlawn was a few miles north of that on 345/Fredricksburg (That’s Fred Rd.!).
The Universal was in Universal City in the North East area on 218/Pat Booker. It looks like that it turned into a Pawn Shop after it closed. It had a history of changing owners through the years and had a time when McLendon, although I think that by this time it was with Santikos chain.
2-4-77 – Wanting the Euro-Exorcist action that the Santikos Theaters had the week before, although this time featuring a woman as the possessed which leads to some very exciting freak out scenes, the Movies 4 in the South Park Mall on Rt. 13/SW Military and the Windsor Park Mall’s Cine Cinco had Beyond the Darkness, a re-title for Walter Boos’ Magdalena starring Dagmar Hedrich rolling in front of the camera for all to see. reportedly, both of these were UA theaters, although by this time they seemed to be waiting for another company to get them…enter Santikos!
1-21-77, The Woodlawn goes Eurosex on us and offers this well-played combo of Teenage Sex Report and Devil in Her Flesh under their Late 70’s AKAs. Devil/School Girl was later turned into Inside Laura Antonelli by 1979. This was the Beacon release of two well-traveled films with The Teeny Boppers/Teenage Sex Report picked up from Cinemation which closed up shop in 1976.
1-21-77 – the Lackland showing the X-Rated version what was known in the Exploitation circuit as Voodoo Heartbeat. Around the area of the South Park Mall, this Santikos DI specialized in some good stuff! Reportedly, it closed in ’86 still with the Adult films.
…while the Woodlawn was with the Schoolgirls once again. This one featuring a non-credited Christina Lindberg and originally the 4’th in the original European run of the series. It would be later called Sex Education by MPM.
…while the Colonies North would show Jean Rollin’s Fly Me the French Way, a film that featured Annie Belle in a small role. The theater was once known as the Cinematex, but would quickly change it’s name later on. In 1972, the Santikos chain got the theater and played high-profile films but the Porno chic era saw many theaters change to Adult films by the middle of the decade. While Santikos went more mainstream in 1976 with the Northwest (still open and with 14 screens), several of it’s theaters were moving into the spicy films enough to part with the company by the end of the year.
4-29-77 – The Texas was in the downtown district and running like a second-run theater buy this time. this showing of the House of Exorcism looks like something that the Woods in Chicago was showing by this time. It would close down soon and raised in the Early 80’s.
9-16-77, The UA theaters would have Argento’s classic Suspiria at their theaters. Although this was not a massive out-of-the-gate hit, it generated a serious fan base that grew through the years and would provide a great B Sot choice for films like Damien: Omen 2. Joseph Brenner picked this up for showing with Eyeball in 1978-9.
1-2-76 – Super Dude was originally called Hangup when it was with Brut which was then-distributed through Warner Brothers, but the change of hands went to Dimension where it played it on the Urban Action circuit. It was Director Henry Hathaway’s final film.
2-18-77 – the Lackland gets down and dirty with Diary of a Sinner! That Girl is a Tramp is a film by Jack Guy starring Bente Nielsen that was refused classification in Australia. which was AKA Jailbait (no wonder why the alternative title was used!!!). Guy is better known in the US for Hitlers last Train, one of the lesser Nazi Exploitation flicks, but this was the one that got the actual screen time. That Girl… was distributed by the Florida based indie Cineworld, a company that started off with Musical Mutiny, The Love Pirate, and the infamous Flesh Feast before moving onto more Adult fare through The 70’s.
Nielsen was also to be seen in Reflections from a Brass Bed, Distributed in The US through Hemisphere.
5-6-77 – The Universal City Twin and the Josephine taking the Highway to Hell with their second features that week! The Woodlawn played an EVI film as it’s B slot.
4-1-77 – The Texas rocking it with the Martial Arts while the ‘Jo added on another Hell Ticket for the B slot.
No look into the San Antonio Sexploitation scene is complete without looking into a time when four of it’s theaters joined up under the “Pussycat Theaters of San Antonio” banner, certainly NOT linked to the legendary California chain. As you can tell, the Josephene and Woodlawn was already headed to Porno during it’s last days as Santikos Thearers – note the blocked-off S in the ads. The Josephine was located on the north side of the Downtown District ready to go Adult at any time, and it was known for plenty of those films.
The Westwood Twin was on the west Side of the city north of the corner of W. Military and Marbach, just going West of the later street. It would reportedly later turn into a cheap seat house after the Porno Chic days ended.
9-16-77, and two more ex-Santikos theaters were joining the Porn world, with the Colonies North going the Art route with the legendary Story of O.
12-2-77, the Lackland still with Santikos and playing Adult films. Love those titles!!! the Lackland was reportedly still showing Adult films through the Early 80’s until it’s close in 1986.