Detroit’s Sinful Cinema Scene – 1972, Part One
4-21-72 – Detroit, meet Christina Lindberg! You will know her as One-Eye in a couple of years.
1972 was a serious turning point for the Exploitation industry with a number of influential films playing in Detroit and the war between the supporters of the growing Adult movie scene and those who wanted it gone escalating beyond the war of words to the point when the Detroit News announced that they would stop printing ads for X-Rated films early in the year – thankfully the Free Press would continue to print the ads up until the 80’s. Films were getting bolder and the sexuality was pushing the limits while imported Horror and Sexploitation films were breaking barriers and shocking the mainstream while the growing Urban Action scene was giving the Downtown cinema centers it’s own voice after Hollywood’s Dream Teams had trouble connecting with the changes all around them during the turn of the decade. Companies were springing up all over ready to shock, exploit, titillate, cause trouble, get kinky, occasionally make the viewer think and question, and sometimes make viewers wonder what the they saw enough to see it all over again.
1-21-72 – Detroit gets “Together”! The breakthrough sex film of 1971, following up on the Art of Marriage, was hitting the Detroit and Toledo market and sparked the careers of Director Sean S. Cunningham (Friday the 13’th) and Wes Craven (Last House on the Left, A Nightmare on Elm Street) as it played on many screens that did not play these films much. Marilyn chambers went onto greater fame in the Porno scene which caused a major re-release hyping her appearance.
The Wyandotte would later focus on Adult films, especially in it’s Annex.
In the next week, it played Toledo at the Showcase Cinema on Secor. This was the big happening!
2-11-72 – You can not forget Ginger!!! The second of the Ginger series is arguably the best of the three, and it is seriously on the rough side. The opening minutes featuring an abduction into the girl-selling ring that sets the scene are very memorable, and will be forever be in my mind as The Abductors was bought as a used VHS without any cover. The well-played vision on the tape added to the sleazy and dirty feeling I wanted from the film, which lived up to that moment very well with slight touches of humor which lightened things up a little.
The Abductors played for years, especially in Ginger-focused double and triple bills.
3-1-72 – Detroit meets The School Girls on Ladies’ Day at the Adams! This US release of the first Schoolgirl Report film through Fine Films was possibly the one that seriously sparked the brief popularity of the trend that seriously could not be made in this manner today, but back then was a regular feature on the Exploitation circuit. There were other films that played well, like the UMC release of Eva was Everything but Legal and Cambist’s release of the Danish film Relations, but this was the one that set the scene for a good part of Mid-70’s Sleaze.
2-25-72 – This legendary double bill “In Violent Vision” released by Howco was a hit thanks to the classic “Die From Fright” guarantee, and remains something of interest to Cult Sin-ema fanatics although only the later has kept a solid following. I can imagine that this was Joy N. Houck’s way to sell His Wife’s Habit under a different name while pairing it with the more effective Night of Bloody Terror, which appeared on the Exploitation circuit for a long time, including a few surprise Late 70’s showings. Both featured future star Gerald McRaney, who’s performance in Night… is a highlight.
4-21-72 – The same day that Detroit was starting to get to know Christina Lindberg, the Trans Lux Krim was showing a couple of risky films for the time while also having one of the few ads that carried the real titles of both films! As you might already know, the theater would show HG Lewis’ class-SICK The Gore Gore Girls (one of the few showings that you might be able to call “First Run”) and by December, it would turn into a double screen theater.
7-28-72 – One of the breakthroughs for Sybil Danning in the US, and another hit for Entertainment Ventures, Inc. David F. Friedman’s company also released the B at the Krim. The Big Snatch, here known as The Big Grab, was part of something called the EVI “Rear Window Series” of films that were films that were a little rougher than the standard fare for the company. In the Early 90’s, Siegfried was the focus of a release through a then-young company called Something Weird Video which alerted Friedman, who then joined forces after a meeting…and of course the rest of the story is “Keys to the Vault”, classic video releases, brilliant Exploitation releases for the Digital age, and DVD Commentary brilliance.
A look into Detroit, 1972 has to include one of the first ads for Deep Throat in a time when the full title was printed before it was just known as Throat for a coupe of years after. We know a good part of the Deep Throat story, so I will mention that the 6 Mile was one of the many theaters to go Adult by 1970 and Porn by 1972 which led to one of the first showings of the Gerard Damiano hit in the Metro area. The theater decided to go out of the Adult Movie industry by 1980 by turning into the Eighties theater which lasted only a short while before it turned empty and then raised.
In July, 1973, The Follies Theater in downtown Detroit burned down while showing the film. It too was one of the many theaters that went to Porn after starting out of the Family Theater and finding out by the Mid 60’s their films were not as “Family” anymore.
9-15-72 – This British Horror Tease flick was a hit through The 70’s, even pairing up with The Devil’s Rain by the later part of the decade. Ann Michelle seriously was a sight! Quaint by today’s standards, this has a charm to it!
9-18-72 – Following hot on the heels of the success of the School Girls (Schoolgirl Report #1), the “Underaged and Oversexed” genre of mostly imported films had a major hit with this which played for years under different titles like Love Under 18 and Love Under 21, although they were seriously fooling nobody. This was a release through United International Pictures, who had more mainstream success with some Martial Arts films including From China With Death and Kung Fu: The Invincible Fist.
10-20-72…into the Atlas/Guild/Mel/666-Mile scene
10-6-72 – One of the rare finds of the advertising of Toys are Not for Children, a very dark film by Stanley Brasloff of Anybody, Anyway/Behind Locked Doors infamy. This was a release by Maron Films, who’s owner Mel Maron went to work with Group 1 by 1973.
10-6-72 – I have always read that the film was actually in Black and White. No matter, I also heard that it’s quite sophisticated. Directed by Curt “She Came on the Bus” Ledger.
11-22-72 – Strangers gets this wonderfully creepy ad. All that I know is that it’s an Aquarius Releasing film and stars Rene Bond and Ric Lutze.
8-4-72 – Getting into the Occult with Dark Dreams, a 1971 film that had some promotion in ’72 in the Metro Detroit area. Featuring Harry Reems (I can imagine some viewers going “Hey, didn’t we just see him in Deep Throat the other day?!!!”) and Tina Russell, this was released as part of Frank Henenotter’s Sexy Shocker Hardcore Horrors line of Something Weird Video
9-2-72 – this ill-fated film was reportedly premiered to an Occult group in the Detroit area. It’s better known under the title of the Witching and is an interesting curio in Orson Well’s career. Not great, but worth a view as part of the Early 70’s Occult Exploitation scene.
12-6-72 – I’m ending this part with the Krim getting ready to be twinned with Deep throat at the second screen while the EVI Rear Window film The Adult Version of Jekyll and Hide was going to be on the main screen! behind the Green Door will take it’s place and would pay into the new year.