British artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen followed his mesmerising debut HUNGER with film SHAME, an examination of the life of a 30-something New Yorker named Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a sex addict ravaged by his insatiable desires. With SHAME still haunting our minds and libidos almost a year later, THN takes a look at its favourite sex maniac films. But first a warning. If you believe in the influence of cinema to corrupt or if you suffer from a weak disposition we suggest you click away now.
Our first sex maniac film is in the ‘Nympho’ sense of the word. For those of you who have ever pondered that age old question – ‘How far does a girl have to go to untangle her tingle?’ – the answer is right here.
10. DEEP THROAT
Released to an unsuspecting public in 1972. The star of the film, Linda Lovelace, frustrated at her inability unable to achieve orgasm, seeks advice from a doctor who soon discovers that by some freak of nature, her clitoris is actually located in her throat and, surprise, surprise, there’s only one human appendage that can reach that far. After the doc refuses to marry her, he gives her a job ‘treating’ his male patients until she finds the perfect groom.
This is the film that made porn respectable amongst the middle classes and many celebrities from Jack Nicholson to Truman Capote have confessed to enjoying its particular fruits.
The actress herself, Lovelace, whilst originally claiming to have enjoyed the filming in her first two biographies subsequently changed her mind and claimed she was held at gunpoint for most of the shoot. I doubt the truth will ever be known but one thing about Linda is certain, she’s responsible for a lot of sore tonsils.
Although the oldest film on the list it refuses to go away. The movie was seen as recently as 2008 when it aired uncut on Dutch TV to a staggering 907,000 viewers as part of a porno theme night, take note Channel 5.
Made in 2008, this is the second of Chuck Pahlaniuk’s novels to be adapted for the screen. The distribution of anal beads as a marketing device for the film says all you need to know really, but in the interests of the uninitiated I’ll continue. The story concerns Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell), a scam artist who tricks people into saving him by pretending to choke in restaurants. He’s also a sex addict, when he’s not trying fulfil his sexual appetite with the milk maid at the colonial theme park he works at with his compulsive masturbating best friend, he’s in the hospital visiting his dementia stricken mother (Anjelica Huston). Who, incidentally, believes her son was conceived by a DNA sample from the foreskin of Jesus Christ himself.
Blackly comic, subversive and offbeat, it may disappoint those looking for another FIGHT CLUB but CHOKE is a darkly enjoyable movie and probably the only one in the list you might be able to watch with your family.
If ever a film about history had a history it would be this one. Scripted from his own novel by Gore Vidal this 1979 film about the titular Roman emperor, whose rule was one of violence and excess, was initially penned to be a high brow historic epic.
But the film’s producer Bob Guccione, owner of porn magazine Penthouse, felt it wasn’t near sexy enough. So unbeknownst to anyone including the cast – Malcolm Mcdowell, Peter O’Toole and the Queen herself Helen Mirren – Guccione surreptitiously shot real sex scenes with porn stars and inserted them into the final edit.
Immediately banned on its release for scenes of graphic nudity and incest the film has recently been passed, in all its toga tearing glory, uncut by the BBFC. Way better than any other sword and sandals epic made before or after this is a must-see, although I doubt they’ll be using it any secondary school history lessons anytime soon.
Directed by Jorg Buttgereit, this 1987 Germanic horror film’s main character is Rob, his occupation is to sanitise death scenes, the similarities to ‘Sunshine Cleaning’ stop right there. Whenever he gets the chance Rob likes to take his work home with him, this usually amounts to the odd internal organ or two that he can sneak away surreptitiously, but when he hits the motherlode, a full bloated corpse of a drowned man, no-one is more pleased than his girlfriend. A ménage a trios swiftly ensues and it seems their love is getting stronger.
Rob’s girlfriend soon dumps him and runs off with the corpse claiming it to be a better lover, that’s when things get really out of control, what better way to annihilate an already fragile ego. While she is busy replacing the corpses rotted member with 8 inches of sawn off broom handle (complete with condom), he’s working out a way to get her love back and I think you can all guess what that entails.
If I had to choose one word to sum up this movie it would be moist. Squishy is a close second.
6. PINK FLAMINGOS
Notorious sleaze queen and criminal Divine has worked hard to gain the title of ‘the most filthiest person alive’ but the egg cart gets upset when a heroin selling, hitchhiker impregnating, married couple by the name of Raymond and Connie Marble try to steal her crown. Released in 1972, ‘King of Bad Taste’ John Waters’ second feature film instantly became a bona fide cult classic; it was one of the first midnight movies screened at the now legendary Elgin Theatre, and it’s not surprising. The film leaves no perverted stone unturned as we are treated to chicken sex, incest, a star turn from the man with the dancing asshole. The final coup de grace, and the act that wins her back her filthiest person’ crown, Divine eating a freshly laid poodle egg, no cutaways or CGI here folks, could this be where the term shit-eating grin originated? Enjoy.
Made in 1975, this is pure David Cronenberg. The film was originally called ‘Blood Orgy of the Blood Parasites’ which should give you some clue as to where we’re going here. A mad scientist engineers a parasite designed to elicit a more sexually aware human society. His experiments turn lethal when the aphrodisiac spurting bloodsucker breaks loose. As the hallways and swimming pool are overrun by growing hordes of psychotic sex-crazed killers, the survivors realise that escape is the only way to avoid getting infected by the epidemic themselves.
Littered with references to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, SHIVERS first brought Cronenberg’s twin obsessions of science and body horror to an unsuspecting audience. The film’s unsettling and original exploration of disease and sex is even thought by some people to be an uncannily accurate description of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.
The most recent film in the countdown (2009) comes from Danish enfant terrible Lars Von Trier. The story follows a couple named only as ‘She’ (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and ‘He’ (Willem Dafoe). After She falls into a fit of depression following the death of their son, her psychiatrist husband takes it upon himself to cure her and what better place than an isolated shack in the woods, Eden. Tired of her husbands’ know-it-all attitude she soon retreats into her own area of expertise – gynocide, the killing of women thought to be witches. It is about now that hell comes a knocking. The scenery becomes like a Bosch painting, a fox informs us ‘Chaos reigns’ and She gets to work on both herself and her incapacitated husband with the contents of the toolbox, the outcome of which will have both sexes of the audience wincing and grabbing at their crotch.
Definitely not a feel-good movie or one to watch if you fancy a bit of titillation but if you like your horror with a grand helping of psychodrama, ANTICHRIST is definitely one to take to bed with you.
3. THE PIANO TEACHER
Always one for pushing boundaries, Michael Haneke’s films frequently go where others fear to tread. This story follows Erika (Isabelle Huppert) a middle aged piano teacher who still lives, and sleeps, with her controlling mother. When she’s not treating her students coldly she spends her time self mutilating, sniffing semen-encrusted tissues in sex shop video booths, or trawling drive-in cinemas so she can impart her voyeuristic gaze on couples having sex. It’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it?
When the handsome, talented, Walter (Benoit Magimel), falls in love with her, she responds to his overtures with sexual games, tormenting him with his inability to bring her to orgasm. He reluctantly follows her rules, which brings about a Freudian hell storm for both of them.
Certainly not for the faint hearted or those looking for a bit of light entertainment but like all of Haneke’s films it offers rich rewards for those brave enough to take the plunge.
2. BLUE VELVET
David Lynch’s bizarre and nightmarish 1986 masterpiece, BLUE VELVET is the film that brought Dennis Hopper back from the brink of obscurity, and what better character to do it than Frank ‘I’ll fuck anything that moves’ Booth – not just a sex maniac but a full blown psychopath in every sense of the word. After the discovery of a severed ear, Jeffery (Kyle MacLachlan) decides to investigate, his research leads him to the apartment of Nightclub singer Dorothy Valens (Isabella Rossellini). From his hiding place in the wardrobe he assumes the role of a child watching his parents and learns just how freaky sex can be as the nitrous oxide-sniffing Frank proclaims ‘baby wants to fuck’ and delves into the most overt oedipal sex scene ever committed to celluloid.
Uncomprimisingly dark, BLUE VELVET is a true cinematic masterpiece, the impact of which has reached far beyond its era. Lynch’s flare for mixing the bizarre with the everyday has never been better realised, it really is a strange world.
1. SALO OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM
On November 2nd 1975, just weeks before the film’s premiere, its director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, was found horribly murdered. His detractors were quick to call his death justice for inflicting such an abomination of a film upon the Earth.
The story itself is based on the book of the same title penned by the original sex maniac himself, The Marquis De Sade. Transporting the setting to Italy during the waning days of World War II, Salo tells the story of four Aristocratic Fascists who retreat to a chateau and begin using innocents to satisfy their most primal desires – mainly sexual humiliation and torture, both psychological and physical. The film is on assault on the senses and unflinchingly depicts the entire spectrum of depravity from shit eating, copography for the purists, to Bunuel-esque eyeball slicing.
Without a provocateur like Pasolini I doubt we would have seen the likes of Haneke or Von Trier and while journalists are all too quick to band around the word ‘shocking’ this is one film that truly lives up to its reputation. To watch it is a filmic rite of passage but be warned your brain will feel violated for weeks afterwards.
So there we have it a smorgasbord of depravation. As with any list there are some that didn’t quite make the grade, NIGHT PORTER, EMMANUELLE IN AMERICA, HAPPINESS and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT to name but a few. All are worth a watch, maybe not with your date though, unless you fancy yourself a Travis Bickle or, lucky old you, they’re a sex maniac themselves.