Jess Franco’s Succubus – A look into it’s US Cinema flight


5-16-69, Chicago

Jess Franco’s Succubus was one of the few serious hits of the Arthouse/Sexploitation wave in the Late 60’s not least due to a wonderful advertising strategy by AIP, who were still at the top of the game and had the Trans-American sub-division to unleash the spicy films. I can imagine that the surreal erotica was possibly a tough sell in The US, but as it was a very stylish, erotic, and interesting film which had that perfect Sexy Kinky Psychedelic Nightclub flavor, there was some success and notoriety. Although first-timers to the film today may laugh that it was an X, it was spicy enough at the time to earn the rating and to cause some outrage among the mainstream at the time.

As it still had some playing power for the Early 70’s, it would later wound up as part of AIP’s special multiple feature shows, usually with other notable erotically charged films.


5-25-69, Chicago – Today, first-timers would wonder what would have been cut as X was a different animal then, but it was very early in the MPAA Ratings Game.

5-9-69, Los Angeles – The most talked about promotion encouraged the reader to call the theater to find out the title and look up the meaning of the word in a dictionary. Once again, it was 1969 and I’m sure that the word Succubus was a bit of a problem for papers that had a tight editorial control in it’s movie ads, although there was no problem in it being mentioned in the reviews…along with words like sleazy.


6-11-69, Cincinnati – AKA “Exclusive”! Sadly, the theater was demoed in 1982.


7-9, 13, and 16-1969 – Detroit had a unique ad which seriously told it like it was!


7-11-69, St. Louis – The Midwest attack continues!


8-20-69, Ogden, Utah – Here, the title was mentioned. Three in the Attic was a sizable hit for AIP that played for years after it’s first run in it’s multiple-feature shows.


8-20-69, Dixon, Illinois – the famous ad!


8-8-69, Ottawa – The Mall should be known to all Exploitation fans as it was the place to find these films in the Ottawa area before the Porno area stole it’s thunder by 1974. It would be a good guess that the programmer already know about Jess Franco by this time as the classic Diabolical Dr. Z was also playing as a good match for Succubus…but then again I might be dreaming.


9-5-69, Kansas City – Formally the Paramount, the Towne was a 4-screen theater which sadly was torn down in 1972 after a long life starting in 1919.


10-25-69, Kansas City ad surrounding areas – the DI showings using the mysterious ad. Maybe the ad censor was ready to give the title the chop after it’s first run in the area.


10-11-69, Uniontown, PA – This time, the B was Tom Laughlin’s classic Born Losers which introduced Billy Jack to the American film scene. By then, the “call the theater” gimmick was no longer necessary.


10-10-69, York, PA – The Southern went onto to play Porn as well as the area’s showing of A Clockwork Orange. The building on 30 E. Jackson turned into a Spanish church.


12-13-69, Toledo – It took a while to get to the Glass City, but it finally found a spot at the Miracle Mile, located on Jackman located I think North across the street from the Miracle Mile Shopping Center which closed in 1986. The shopping center that took it’s place houses Allied Record Exchange (at least something worthy is still in that area!).


11-6-70, Chicago – AIP threw Succubus into a Drive In blend with A Bullet for Pretty Boy (with Fabian), Chasity (the flop starring Cher that was given another chance when the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour was a surprise hit), and de Sade (with Kier Dullela and Lilly Palmer).


10-8-71, Chicago – A very interesting double bill with one of the lesser known White Coat films of the day was at the Cinestage – the theater where HG Lewis’ Wizard of Gore was advertised with a fake GP rating.


3-5-71, Clovis, NM – AIP’s Trilorgy ’70 Experience was not exactly one of AIP’s most successful shows, but at least it offered Succubus another run.

4-16-71, Hamilton, OH – A more fitting double bill featured the then-hot Kama Sutra with a twist of the ad line to make Succubus sound like a new film.

3-5-71, Washington Court House, OH – Considering that “12 and under free” line, I wonder if they were checking the cars for kids for this show.


11-10-72 – Succubus was a natural for the growing list of imported films at the Drive Ins, in this case with Hemisphere’s youthful Swinging Stewardesses and the slightly controversial Tropic of Cancer.

3-16-73, Chicago – another Windy City Drive In showing surrounded itself with two other films released  in The US in 1969 for a fading taste of an era that already ended with the rise of Porno. Thankfully, both Succubus and Paranoia were fine examples of the wave of imports while The Curious Female had a period charm to it. After that…

~ by screen13 on April 9, 2017.

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