A STORY OF 'O's...
By alicebg, May 1 2012 06:50AM
There's nothing I like better than closing loopholes. My favourite example is the 25-year gap between my buying the book of David Hamilton's Bilitis and finally getting to see the film from which it derives (expect a review of the latter to appear sometime under the 'lesbian movies' heading). You see, when it comes to erotica and porn - and many other things - I am extremely patient, as the following tales will further attest...
Prowling around on the internet - as I am wont to do, whether gainfully employed or no - you tend to turn up things long forgotten. One of them, as my Facebook followers will be aware, was a curious erotic short film called Desire: An Erotic Fantasyplay. A rare example of a "lesbian" movie actually pitched at a lesbian audience, almost twenty years ago I owned a copy on VHS which I disposed of for reasons I can no longer quite fathom. Courtesy of certain dodgy websites (you'll know which ones), the film can be more-or-less completely reconstructed in ten-minute chunks, and it rather sticks out like a sore thumb (or some other swollen appendage) amid the usual fare of free porn sites. For Desire is a self-consciously 'arty' production, filled with dream sequences, silhouettes, curtains blowing in the breeze, weird eastern-tinged music and food erotica; that never quite adds up to more than the sum of its scattergun parts.
Directed by Cheryl Newbrough, the movie stars Debra K Beatty as Fiona, an oversexed lesbian who is busy corrupting the the distinctly unworldly Cori (the luscious Anthoni Stewart) over the course of a dirty weekend. Into this idyll strolls Fiona's masseuse/old flame Adrienne (the fabulous Monique Parent), and the situation escalates into a rather delicate menage. Desire has moments of supreme eroticism which sadly bump up against equal moments of pure daftness, and it's nowhere near explicit enough to really be the almost suffocating celebration of female sexuality that it aspires to. Similarly, the art sequences have a welded-on feel and don't really fulfil their function of informing us about the characters' deep-seated dreams and desires. So overall a failure, but a very interesting one, and it's a film you really should check out if you get the chance.
Long before Desire - in fact almost thirty years ago - I first latched on to the Queen Diva of sex-positive feminism, Susie Bright. Bright was one of my heroines - she was into girls and she was into porn and she didn't care who knew it. A film she noted as having a particularly deep influence on her libido was a 1983 production called Aerobisex Girls. And, wouldn't you know it, in a particularly dark and dusty corner of the internet, I found it. And it's horrible - Susie, what were you thinking?
I'd summarise the plot of Aerobisex Girls, except it doesn't really have one. Suffice to say the film revolves around an aerobics class (duh) which quickly and predictably devolves into an all-out lesbian orgy (involving an array of toys and several gallons of baby oil). It has a ludicrously pretentious opening in which the central character's lesbianism is explained as a consequence of her negative experiences with men (this notion had a lot of play back in the 80s) - I was genuinely surprised that Ron Jeremy didn't show up in the finale to 'cure' the entire cast of their Sapphic affliction.
Aerobisex Girls certainly has an uninhibited style about it (the women involved - all blessed with stunning 80s hair - are clearly not averse to sex with girls), but its fleeting moments of genuine eroticism occur purely by accident as it rumbles along a predictably sordid path. Frankly, it makes Desire look like the Citizen Kane of lesbian erotica, and I'd like to think we could set the bar a little higher than that.