In a not so distant past, during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the world of porn films and vintage adult movie posters, which had the purpose of advertising them, were radically different from everything we can encounter today. Looking at them now, as they portray barely covered girls inspired by the pin-up culture, they almost make us giggle, being rather innocent and “vanilla” compared to what we’re used to seeing in our age. To think that these films were made just a half century ago and that, even with such censored aesthetics they were highly controversial and at times banned, only makes us reflect on the state of straight-up hardcore porn industry in the 21st century. This is why these vintage adult movie posters take us back to the time when suggestive seduction and saucy imagery were the very core of erotica and sex appeal, with all their metaphors, wordplay and clever humor. Although they were not particularly politically correct, they did play along a couple of social movements of their time, like feminism, with women being superior to men in poster depictions, for example.
Because adult movies were shown in theaters, the posters had the role of luring the viewers in and convincing them to buy the ticket. To achieve this, some of them feature photographic imagery while others have actual graphic artwork that is still very popular among fans and collectors of pulp paperback and magazine covers. At times, and quite often too, the movie posters are far more interesting than the films themselves; while they’re trying to convey provocative pictures, they also had to put emphasis on movie titles that were usually parodying those of famous movies, like Flash Pants, or were simply playing with words, like Bottoms Up. All in all, the vintage adult movie posters were artworks of their own category, and in this article we will list the ten most interesting ones over the course of a few decades.
Even though most of the adult movies of the 60s and 70s have faded into cinematic history--and their stars have retired into elderly care homes for the well-endowed (giving new meaning to the term "nursing home")--what remains, as a lasting legacy, are the posters. If the poster art in this book evokes those far-off days of suspender belts, stockings, and eye-popping, gravity-defying brassieres, not to mention outsize Y-fronts, then that alone is worth the cover price. It's practically cheaper than a movie these days, anyway. Over 150 adult movie posters from the 60's and 70's are inside, all of them full page and almost every one in color too! Classic taboo fare like "Debbie Does Dallas" and "The Opening of Misty Beethoven" is represented alongside such forgotten wonders as "Lust Combo", "Room and Broad" and "Assignment: Female".
Hot Lunch is a 1978 adult movie directed by John Hayes which, as any other film of the genre tends to, had an actual plot. As long as one hour and seventeen minutes, it portrays Andrew, who gets fired from his job and is facing a divorce from his wife. His new job helps him pay the divorce lawyer and on the way gets him more action than ever before. The poster sees a very provocative woman about to serve… dinner, while the tagline states “This Main Course is Finger Lickin’ Great!” Even though Andrew eventually became encyclopaedia salesman, it is the poster which makes us wanna go see the movie.
Produced with a relatively high budget of its time, The Opening of Misty Beethoven was released during the Golden Age of Porn, which kicked off in 1969 with the Blue Movie created by none other than Andy Warhol. It was filmed in Paris, New York and Rome, and for an adult erotic film it was very well done. The film is about a sexologist who tries transforming a low-skilled prostitute into a goddess of passion, developing feelings for her in the process. When it comes to vintage adult movie posters, this one is a classic: the original version sees a young, dressed women about to reach her crotch, while in versions released in Scandinavia, she is completely naked and much more suggestive.
A classic, Deep Throat portrays a woman with an unusual birth defect who comes to a doctor for a solution - but this solution is not something she could ever imagine. It was directed by Gerard Damiano, whose main star was Linda Lovelace, whose career was launched in this very work. This was one of the first pornographic films to feature a plot and character development, for which it earned great attention and was the first to start the "porno chic" trend, even though it was banned in some jurisdictions and was the subject of obscenity trials. The poster, even though not very sexual or provocative, stands as one of the cult examples of vintage adult movie posters.
French Kittens was the 1978 adult movie also known as Hollywood Goes Hard and while it mostly received negative criticism from both established critics and the audience, it was meant to be a parody on Bernardo Bertolucci’s own erotic drama Last Tango in Paris which, on the other hand, was a huge hit. Its poster, however, is much more interesting, as it features two young women in lingerie pretending to be cats and drinking milk from a plate on the ground. The actual cat present in the picture doesn’t exactly help it, and the the degree of degradation couldn’t be lower… unless you also read the tagline.
Another famous movie parody, Trader Hornee picks on Trader Horn, the vintage safari movie. Proclaimed the best adult film of 1966 to 1970 at the 1977 Erotica Awards, it sees Detective Hamilton Hornee’s expedition to Africa in search for Altona, heiress to her father’s fortune. Altona, as we can see from the poster, is a magnificent, blonde, elephant-riding goddess worshiped by an entire tribe, The film was directed by Jonathan Lucas and starred Deek Sills as Altona and Buddy Pantsari as Hamilton Hornee.
”She's radio's answer to Fanny Hill - turn her on and she'll turn you on! Her throat will really get you up... in the morning!” This is the famous tagline of the 1973 adult movie The Dirty Mind of Young Sally, which follows Sally McGuire, portrayed by Colleen Brennan, as a buxom pirate radio host. She gets tracked down by the police when she has live sex with her technician Toby, and later with a competition winner. Not knowing it's her, Sgt. Dimwittle is tricked to have live sex with her too. Couldn’t we have guessed all this from the poster? The image couldn’t be any more symbolic…
Focusing on a team of cheerleaders attempting to earn enough money to send the title character to Dallas, Texas, Debbie Does Dallas was the most successful video release of a porn film in its time, selling 50,000 copies when it made it to videotape. The main character Debbie, played by Bambi Woods, soon realises performing sexual favors will get her to her goal faster than cheerleading, which is exactly where the plot of this adult movie thickens. There are a few versions of the film poster, but they both feature the protagonist in all her glory, wearing cowboy hat and not much else.
The plot of the 1980 Female Athletes is rather simple: the publisher of a sports magazine graphically recalls how she got to the top of her profession… and the story involved sex in the swimming pool, on a boat, on a pool table, even double penetration. Considered the best work of director Leonard Kirtman, this adult movie features something men just couldn’t resist: female athletes, which is why we can see them involved in many sports of the vintage poster. No wonder it was such a big commercial success at the peek of a new decade.
Directed by Zebedy Colt, who also starred in the film, Farmer’s Daughters is about three, you’ll guess, farmer’s daughters. The movie, in not such a great production, features a great amount of rape between its protagonists, which makes us want to focus on the poster only. Starting with the entertaining Cock-a-doodle-doo… tag, we see the girls wearing - or better yet, not wearing, farmers’ clothes and horsily waiting for the farm hand Fred to arrive, so they can start their sexual adventure. This is one of the most famous examples of the American hardcore pornography films, and one of the most famous too.
Now here’s one of the vintage adult movie posters that bear strong reference to the comic book art and culture - hell, even its name is Souperman! The 1976 film, written and directed by Fred J. Lincoln, has quite an interesting story: evil Luther is plotting to stop people from having sex by spiking their drinks with a secret formula and Souperman, as always, must stop him. I think it’s necessary to say that one of the characters is called Clark Bent, and he works at the Daily Clit magazine. Souperman, however, doesn’t fly, he merely runs and, well, has sex, which is probably more than fans of such idea could ever hope for.
All images via AllPosters.com, used for illustrative purposes only.
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