Fantasm (1976)

In the seventies, my little home country of Australia put out quite a few sleazy sexploitation gems to keep up with the more permissive times. Titles like Alvin Purple, and Pacific Banana come to mind, as well as this anthology piece produced by Aussie cult guru Anthony Ginnane. I think it's time to delve into this particular arena, so stand by for a few of these to grace these pages. Fantasm was an Australian and American co-production, and even featured porn legends John Holmes, Candy Samples and buxotic Russ Meyer stalwart, Uschi Digard, in seperate "episodes".

The film is indeed episodic. There's no real story, and comedian John Bluthal (pictured above) is the only link, playing a cliched German psychologist called Professor Jungen Notafreud, guiding us through various "female" - so we're told, but of course they're male, though and through - fantasies. The premise of the film is that showing and admitting to these fantasies enables the sexual 'id' to be fulfilled. Here are short descriptions of the episodes. Some of them are only a few minutes long, so there's barely anything to write about them!

Beauty Parlour: A naked woman who, we are told by the professor, regards herself as ugly, is brought to orgasm by staff (men) in a beauty parlor who make her over, including her nipples, style her hair and shave her pubic hair off.

Card game: A woman is passed around for sex with the men at a poker game, where her husband continually plays bad hands. Eventually all the participants partake in an orgy.

Wearing the pants: A frumpy housewife catches a sneaky transvestite in her backyard, stealing her undies from her clothes line. She then ties him up and sodomizes him with a dildo in her kitchen.

Nightmare Alley: A woman is dragged into a boxing ring and raped by a black man, as she wanders past his gymnasium. Naturally, she enjoys the experience. Don't show your radical feminist friends this one. Come to think of it, probably best to not show them the film at all!

The Girls: Two women in a steaming sauna find each other attractive, and the more buxom woman (Uschi Digard, of course) seduces the younger one.

Fruit Salad: A woman fantasises about a mystery lover (John Holmes, looking particularly unfit and ugly) jumping naked out of her pool and smearing her in fruit and whipped cream. They then jump into the pool, and have sex.

Mother's Darling: A mature, huge-breasted woman (Candy Samples) seduces her own son, a returned soldier, in the bathtub.

Black Velvet: A black woman strips for three men.

After School: A large-breasted woman dressed as a cartoonish schoolgirl drives her fuddy-duddy old teacher to collapse with her ample assets. His glasses fog up many times.

Blood Orgy: A girl has forced, ceremonial sex at a black mass.

There wasn't much that was hugely erotic, or even that funny, in Fantasm to my sensibilities, but John Bluthal does provide some amusing vignettes as the professor. His inane antics link in with each chapter, like the table of strangely wandering fruit that segues into Fruit Salad, or his organ playing in the last episode featuring devil worship. I'm not really sure if the sex scenes throughout were real or simulated, it's hard to tell in most scenes. Probably a bit of both, with such a mixed international-type production. Fantasm is a rough and ready production, with jump cuts galore. Still, the music is classic seventies sleaze, and at least the women are real and wobbly, not glazed like hams, frozen concrete-like and stuffed with silicone. The appeal of this film now is probably more as a time capsule to a raunchier cinematic sensibility long gone - which is a bit sad.

There was also a sequel, Fantasm Comes Again made soon after in 1977. I probably won't review this, as it looks to be pretty much a complete re-tread of the first. There's just so much other original Antipodean sleaze out there to write about, but the first one is completely worth a look.

© Boris Lugosi 2005.


Review written: 06/22/2005 20:30:21