The world of classic exploitation cinema has lost one of its true giants, with the passing of prolific producer/director Harry Novak at the age of 86. Many people may not know the name Harry Novak, but if you visited the drive-in and grindhouse/flea-pit cinemas during the 1960s and early-70s, you have probably been exposed to plenty of his films. Some of his incredibly long list of credits as either producer or distributor (sometimes both) include the nudie-monster classic KISS ME QUICK (1964), the LSD psycho-sexual shocker MANTIS IN LACE (1968), Ron Garcia’s demented softcore sex fantasy THE TOY BOX (1971), the gritty low-budget crime drama A SCREAM IN THE STREETS (1972), and the uber-psychotronic 1973 Danish flick THE SINFUL DWARF.
Not to mention William Rotsler’s SUBURBAN PAGANS, THE SECRET SEX LIVES OF ROMEO & JULIET, COUNTRY CUZZINS, PLEASE DON’T EAT MY MOTHER, WILBUR AND THE BABY FACTORY, MIDNIGHT PLOWBOY, TOYS ARE NOT FOR CHILDREN, THE PIG KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, AXE, THE BLACK ALLEY CATS and the list goes on and on. Distributed under his Box-Office International banner, most of Novak's titles were released on VHS in the 1990s, and later on DVD, by Something Weird Video.
Australia also got a decent education in Harry Novak in the early days of home video in this country, with some of the great local labels of the early-80s (including Star Base and K&C) digging out scratchy old prints of Novak titles like HITCH HIKE TO HELL, KIDNAPPED COED, MANTIS IN LACE and WHAM BAM THANK YOU SPACEMAN, and sending them out to an appalled but hungry suburban family audience.