Sexcula (1974)

Rating:

Canada. 1974.

Crew

Director – Bob Hollowich, Screenplay – David F. Hurry, Producer – Clarence Frog, Photography – Boris Van Bonnie. Production Company – Prog Productions Ltd

Cast

Debbie Collins (Sexcula), Jamie Orlando (Countess Fellatingstien), John Alexander (Frank), Tim Lowery (Orgie), Bud Coal (Gorilla/Logger), David F. Hurry (Picnicman/Drunk), Marie McLeod (Benchtest/Hooker), Julia Simons (Stripper), Toni Parllee (Bride), Ron Solo (Bridegroom), Paul Lomont (Best Man), Mary Lang (Bridesmaid), Bill Oleander (Preacher)


Plot

In the present day, a woman revisits her abandoned family home and discovers the diary of her ancestor, the Countess Fellatingstien, written in 1869. In the diary, the countess tells how she brought to life a man she had created. The only problem was that her creation Frank displayed no interest in sex. She was forced to bring in her aunt, the notorious seductress known as Sexcula, to see if Frank’s sex drive could be invigorated.


Sexcula is a fascinating artefact. It lays claim to being the only Canadian pornographic film ever made. It also never received a release and only had its theatrical premiere in Vancouver (where it was shot) nearly forty years after it was originally made. As is explained at the film’s premiere at the Vancity Theatre in 2013, it is probably the only pornographic film to ever be funded with tax shelter money. The reasons for its lack of release are unclear, although what emerges during the Q&A is that the producer failed to get the US distribution deal he was hoping for and, having received his own funding back via the tax shelter program, simply sat on the film.

Sexcula gives the initial appearance of being part of the pornographic vampire films that were being made around this period. Others included the likes of Dracula Sucks (1978) and Dracula Exotica (1980). However, one should clarify by saying that Sexcula only appears to be a pornographic vampire film. While the poster plays up the vampire angle, it is in fact a pornographic Frankenstein film and there are no vampires in the film (apart from a single shot where Debbie Collins turns to the camera with a pair of fangs). There has also been a substantial history of Frankenstein pornographic and erotic films too with the likes of The Erotic Adventures of Frankenstein (1975), Frankenstein – Italian Style (1977), Lust for Frankenstein (1998), Mistress Frankenstein (2000) and Bikini Frankenstein (2010). The theme of the monster created for sexual purposes prefigures The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) in a number of ways.

John Alexander, who played the role of Frank, makes a guest appearance at the screening – hidden behind hat and dark glasses because he has a respectable career as an actor under his real name. According to him, the film started out as a light-hearted softcore romp but was pushed to become much more of a hardcore film by the producers who were seeking to exploit the then successes of Deep Throat (1972). One suspects that this is part of the reason that the film starts in certain ways and then degenerates into incomprehensibility in its latter half where the script has clearly been thrown out the window – in particular, there is a wedding scene near the end where the bride and groom start making out in front of the preacher and end up in an orgy with the best man and woman that has nothing to do with the rest of the film, doesn’t even share the same characters.

On most levels, Sexcula is poorly made. The director and cinematographer have little clue about staging scenes in any interesting way. The film is indifferent to the period setting – with telephones and modern lights turning up in the supposed 1869 era. This does lead to the occasional breaking of the fourth wall – during the wedding scene the camera pulls back to show the crew filming the scene and at the end the husband addresses the camera direct then walks off.

The film is not without its moments of complete dementia. In particular, there are the scenes where the hunchbacked lab assistant is trying to hump Countess Fellatingstien’s female creation (and constantly being interrupted). Not to mention the utterly bizarre scenes with an actor in a completely unconvincing gorilla suit who gets to wrestle with the naked hunchback and in one long extended scene gets to molest and then appear to rape a nude dancer (before all is revealed to be part of an act). Mostly though, the film consists of sex scenes most of which are not particularly hardcore (ie. almost no penetration shots and no cum shots).



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