A Dwain Esper orgy!

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the notorious Dwain Esper, exploitation pionneer extraordinaire.

As I mentioned in that post, not a lot is known about Esper. His Wikipedia entry is sketchy;  there are no pictures of the man to be Googled; A full bio has yet to be written and most of the info seems to be anecdotal at best, recounted by the likes of David F. Friedman.

Well, I am pleased to say someone has tackled the inexcusable lack and produced a short documentary that will provide you with some background on the man. That man is named Jack Criddle and his film Dwain Esper: King of the Celluloid Gypsies screens right here:

Now I figure this has whet your appetite for more and , with a full weekend ahead of you, you want nothing more than to lock yourself in your den of sin and subject yourself to a barrage of depraved sights matched with deranged preaching.

Well, i have lined up no less than four features by Dwain that should provide you and your friends ample opportunity for moral corruption.

First off, we’ll start with Esper’s most famous production: Reefer Madness.

Originally titled Tell Your Children (and reissued countless times under the titles Dope AddictDoped YouthLove Madness, and The Burning Question) this tawdry little cautionnary tale was directed by Louis Gasnier and is a tad better than the usual Esper exploiter.

The portrayals of marijuana users is sure to provoque laughter with today’s more enlightened (as in “lit up”) audiences but it’s blatant disregard for facts and the fact it did get seen by many citizens organizations at the time accounts for much of the overreaction that marijuana still faces today. It’s worth seeing for the “piano bit” alone.

Next up is a trio of films directed by Esper himself. These films will make you look at Reefer Madness with a whole new appreciation.

Marihuana sets out to prove that smoking weed is all fun and (nudity filled) games. One puff of giggle weed and the girls just disrobe and run to the beach, giggling into the night. Wheeeeeee!

That is, of course, until someone shows up dead, prompting a lot of questions by those meddlesome cops.

Then comes Sex Madness (originally titled They Must Be Told)  where attendees of a Burlesque revue get their morals thoroughly corrupted by watching piss-poor choreography  and emerge from the theatre ready to do all sorts of sins: a butch secretary asks her co-worker to come home with her;  a man tells his date to call home and tell mom she’s staying over at friends before registering at a hotel as “Mr & Mrs”;  a politician’s son and his buddies impatiently wait for the showgirls to emerge from the artist’s entrance so they can do another type of “clapping” and a man with dancing eye-brows follows a young girl into a dark alleyway which leads to screaming headlines.

Last and by no means least, we come to Esper’s magnum opus. A strong candidate for “craziest movie ever”, Maniac is a full on assault on the production code. It’s writer was Esper’s wife, Hildegard Stadie, who used to work for a local censor board before she banned one of Esper’s film. He famously coutered by marching into her office and not only getting her to reverse her decision but marry him as well.

Masquerading as a sort of educational film on mental illness (title cards pop up sporadically to inform us as to what condition the film’s main character is experiencing), Maniac is a monument to bad taste and a great source of Painjoyment™ to all who have the guts to screen it. It tells the story of a wannabe actor /lab assistant whose boss is conducting experiments on resurrection. One day, the doc hands him a gun and asks him to shoot himself so he can transplant a reanimated heart into him. Of course, the assistant isn’t too crazy about such an arrangement and shoots his boss instead.

Realizing people will start snooping around, he takes his make-up kit and transforms himself as the doctor. he figures that since he’s a nobody, no one will notice he’s missing. He then resumes the doctor’s practice, provoking one massive fail after another: he injects a patient with the wrong syringe prompting the worst bit of overacting in history followed by the abuction, rape and strangulation of one of the old doctor’s newly ressurected patients.

Then, in a fit of paranoia, the “doctor” chases a cat, pops out its eyeball and …

You’ll have to see for yourself.

Reefer Madness:

Pain Level: 7/10

Quality of pain: “Play faster! Faster!”

Marihuana:

Pain Level: 8/10

Quality of Pain: Might make you eligible for “medical use”

Sex Madness:

Pain Level: 9/10

Quality of Pain: Like peeing fire

Maniac:

Pain Level: 10/10

Quality of Pain: Douse the fire in my brain! Agony! Torturing me! 

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About The Cinémasochist

I'd rather just talk about "bad" movies. View all posts by The Cinémasochist

One response to “A Dwain Esper orgy!

  • SAKARA

    the first four minutes of esper’s “MARIJUANA” are semi-documentary, with the terrific joke scene of a drunk seemingly pissing himself up, in a bar, with a woman boringly looking on.

    if only martin scoresleazy’s movies were as much fun.

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