Cinema for Circle Jerks

Tacky, 3-D porno flicks from the '70s aren't the sort of film you'd expect to find on the Angelika Film Center schedule. Nonetheless, the art-house multiplex is screening Lollipop Girls in Hard Candy, a lost hard-core artifact from the Me Decade that's strictly for the tongue-in-cheek, midnight-movie crowd.

This film comes hot on the heels of yet another astoundingly awful 3-D '70s skin flick, Disco Dolls in Hot Skin. Despite its overwhelming lameness, the movie had a three-month run at the theater. The center's managing director, Kristian Salinas, attributes that film's success to its kitsch-savvy irony. When these films were new, people went alone, he says. "Now you go with your friends and it becomes something of a party atmosphere."

The fact is that both Skin and Candy have been making the rounds at revival houses, art-house theaters and college campuses all over the country. When Skin originally screened at the Rice Media Center two years ago (when Salinas was the film director there), local audiences didn't know how to react. But as soon as the first money shot was established, the crowd went with the flow, so to speak. "I think that the assumption was that it wasn't hard-core," says Salinas. "And then, when they realized, 'Oh, it is,' it was different. As soon as they got over being uncomfortable, everybody enjoyed it. I mean, people talked about it for months."

Despite Internet reviews declaring it even worse than Skin (both films were directed by Norm de Plume), Salinas suspects that Candy will be a hit among Houstonians. And more choice skin flicks may be on the way. "When I was back at Rice," remembers Salinas, "I got many, many phone calls from people asking about these titles." He also got a lot of calls from people offering to lend the theater vintage titles from their personal collections. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

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Craig D. Lindsey
Contact: Craig D. Lindsey