Wednesday, July 23, 2014


2014/Published by FAB Press

A large 144 page trade paperback, Robin Bougie’s lovingly-assembled Graphic Thrills takes us on a journey through the world of classic XXX adult film poster art produced between 1970 to 1985, the years widely considered to be the golden age of the genre, before the home porn video market really exploded and the artwork was gradually replaced by generic VHS photo boxes (just as the movies themselves made the eventual transition from being shot on film productions to one-man camcorder cheapies). 

Assembled chronologically, and featuring one poster per page, with a review and insightful notes on each title (often including quotes from some of the performers or filmmakers involved), Graphic Thrills covers such well-known landmark titles as Deep Throat (1972), Behind the Green Door (1972), The Devil in Miss Jones (1973), Insatiable (1980) and Café Flesh (1982), but the bulk of its pages are devoted to more obscure movies such as Barbie’s Fantasies (1974), Midnight Hustle (1976), Hot Cookies (1977), Hot Lunch (1978), Pussycat Ranch (1979), Honey Throat (1980), Carnal Olympics (1983) and many more. For uniformity of design, all of the posters in the book are American one-sheets (typically around 27 x 41 inches in size).

Some of my favourite titles featured in Bougie’s study are the ones which capitalised both on popular social trends (i.e. - CB radios in 1977's Breaker Beauties) and mainstream cinema hits (like the Rollerball riff Rollerbabies, the Shampoo parody Blow Dry, the Westworld/Futureworld spoof Sex World, and the obvious Star Wars cash-in, Star Babe). Along with all the fun, however, some genuinely noteworthy and/or controversial classics are included, such as Alex de Renzy’s Babyface (1977) and Pretty Peaches (1978), William (Maniac) Lustig’s The Violation of Claudia (1977) and Roberta Findlay’s The Playgirl (1982). And of course, familiar names like John Holmes, Seka, Vanessa Del Rio, Jamie Gillis and others pop-up regularly on the poster credits (as does the obvious visage of Farrah Fawcet on the poster for 1978's Little Orphan Dusty).

Accompanied by an introductory essay that provides the reader with a nicely concise rundown of the history of pornographic cinema during the years which the book covers,  Graphic Thrills is a stunning tribute to this immensely popular ‘porno chic’ period of adult entertainment, and a must-have for anyone interested in the history of the genre, and of exploitation poster art in general. The artwork on some of these posters  is incredibly beautiful - like the best vintage paperback covers, they are gaudy, titillating and lurid but often remarkably well-realised, and it’s a pity that many of the artists who provided the work remain unknown. Author Bougie briefly discusses the frustration of trying to track down any information on many of these artists - people who in most cases probably did not care or want to be remembered for their work in this field, but at least the results of their genuine talents can now be appreciated by collectors and celebrated within the pages of this book.

The US $35.00 price tag might seem a little high, but like all FAB Press books Graphic Thrills is beautifully put together and printed on high quality glossy paper stock, and Bougie has clearly taken a lot of time and effort to clean-up and restore each poster for maximum visual impact. A terrific effort from the author and publisher of the cult Cinema Sewer magazine (and series of compendium books, also published by FAB Press), and well worth adding to your film or graphic art library shelf (or just to your collection of dirty books hidden under the bed) . A limited (500 copies) hardcover, signed edition is also still available while stocks last. I believe a follow-up volume is in the works.