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August 12, 2012

Movie Review: New York Grindhouse Superstars: Kathy's Graduation, School Of Sexual Arts and Tycoon's Daughter

Review by Alain Andbasquet

Situation: You, being the classic adult film lover, are knocking back a couple of 40's with one of your friends and start telling them about all the great films from that era of outlaw cinema. They? Are still way skeptical, with visions of hairy nutsacks, horny pizza boys and bad acting in their heads. Okay, fine. You're obviously going to need some evidence of a more physical kind (not that kind of physical, perv) to prove them wrong. After all, there are two kinds of adult films. The ones that can function as both a movie and an adult film and then straight up sleaze, in all of its sweaty and awkward dangling glory. After Hours Cinema DVD release, “New York Grindhouse Superstars” is completely and a 100% in the latter category. Even better for you smuthounds, it's a triple bill, all helmed by one of the most notable directors of that era, Shaun Costello.

Buy New York Grindhouse Superstars on DVD

Starting off the proceedings, we have the “Tycoon's Daughter,” a film that initially is influenced by the real life kidnapping of heiress Barbara Jane Mackle, which also heavily inspired the uber-gritty and amazing “The Candy Snatchers.” (Not a porn, though anyone reading this should know that.) For two or three minutes, there is a sense of something potentially dark, like a sleazier “Last House on the Left.” But since this is a tried and true spank film at its core, any sense of crime film realism is thrown out the window with an assortment of goofy scenarios, bad acting (from people that are usually good too!) and a non-script. Oh, and more graphic close-ups of awkward sloppy balls than a teabagging party. Seriously, there is gay porn with less loving shots of wangs and hairy bobbing man-ass. To the extent that it almost feels more bisexual than anything else. Women? What women? It's wang-a-pollooza!

On a happier note, there are some notables in here, including the legendary and always likable Marc Stevens, who is the most polite thug ever and the underrated Jeffrey Hurst, as the most New York sounding Iowa farmer ever. There's also a long haired hippie type guy who plays a randy hired hand who is pretty funny.

From left field, the “Tycoon's Daughter” is followed by “School for the Sexual Arts” aka “Art School.” Already, it's a huge improvement, since the editing is a little more fluid, the lighting is better and the ladies get more attention. (Having some amazing lasses like the firecracker C.J. Laing and Candy Love, who was also in Zebedy Colt's “Sex Wish,” only amps up the quality.) The plot? A bunch of pretty and lusty women are in an figure model drawing class and want to knock boots with the male model, among a couple of others. That's pretty much it, which is fine since this is a straight up prurient, but for being that, it's not bad. Anything with C.J. Laing in it is automatically redeeming.

Another notable thing is Alan Marlow, one of the unsung male stars from this era, singing and playing guitar while getting some oral love. Awesome, and even better you can't see every pore in his scrotum. Winning!

Rounding out our trilogy is “Kathy's Graduation Present.” Leave the cap and gown at home and your brain too, because we are getting nasty and stoopid! Our titular Kathy (Cedar Houston, which has to be one of the most unlikely porn girl names EVER) is sad and allegedly virginal. Emphasis on allegedly, since she's pretty open to letting her best friend (Annie “Hell Yeah” Sprinkle) lick it up, until she gets all borderline “The Bell Jar.” Being the most awesome friend ever, she decides to host a big ole orgy to cheer her friend up. Of course, that is not before coming up with the brilliant idea that loving up on two dudes at once would be the perfect picker-upper. And if you guessed that she tries out the dudes beforehand, you would be correct-a-mundo! One of the lucky devils is none other than the man himself, Jamie Gillis. There's no need to mention how cute Annie Sprinkle is. No matter what seedy and depraved thing she is involved in, Annie Sprinkle always seems so fun loving and clean. Not bad for someone who is known as being pee happy!

After Hours achieved what they had set out to do with this set, which was to provide some vintage, East Coast blue movies. You can almost smell the intoxicating aroma of urine and spooge that undoubtedly wafted all throughout the theaters. Now if you are hoping for some Criterion type remastery, then forget it. These prints have all seen better days but given how no one was thinking in terms of film preservation back in the 70's, it is a miracle that they have survived at all. Plus these are grinders, going into it expecting “The Abyss” would be about as smart as wearing a Yanni shirt at a Mayhem concert. Think about it.

Now the appeal to some viewers is going to be the Shaun Costello factor. One of the more interesting and in some ways, weirder directors out there, the man's name has some clout for those who love this genre. He went on to helm a legitimately good piece of filmmaking with “Waterpower,” but here, he is obviously still in his one-day-wonder days. You can see the nebula of skill in “Art School,” but if you are expecting these films to be even near the quality of something like “WP,” then guess again. That said, it is interesting to see someone grow at their craft.

So, back to scene one. You're half-drunk and ready to prove your skeptical amigo wrong. What to throw in? “Waterpower.” Wait till that doubting bastard is out the door, so you can enjoy all the grimy fun by your lonesome.

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