Oh my stars and garters, it’s time for another installment in our Great Grandporn series.
First, I really cannot stress enough that there is absolutely nothing under the sun that your grandparents did not know about or at least have access to. We already know that some grandparents were into femdom, and there’s a chance your Great Pep Pep crawled around wearing a taxidermied pony head while your mom’s mom’s mom whipped his cherry red ass with a riding crop that was never designed to be used on people.
And people old enough to remember the Civil War invented hardcore porn films.
So this shouldn’t come as a surprise: Fetish films haven’t really changed all that much from their earliest incarnations as stag films. Because Internet™, porn is a pretty ubiquitous part of modern Western life, but before that, you had to know where to look. That meant seedy sex stores on the outskirts of the worst part of town (or, you know, Times Square), and if you were really lucky, knowing some basement uncle who had a collection of “girlie films” he’d watch in a basement full of other basement uncles.
These amateur films were short, silent and usually produced anonymously to circumvent censorship laws. They were passed around and screened in private, and while they were often screened in frat houses, back rooms and other places inaccessible to women, they did play a role in jumping BDSM from the boiler room to the big screen.
In the first scene in this example, a lady is forced to hold a plank against her feet with the inexplicable addition of some kind of mouthpiece, thereby exposing her tender vintage buns to the mercies of a leering-top-knotted flogstress. In the second scene, we have some semi-hog-tied tickling, and in the final scene the same woman has her breasts, back, and face whipped with a belt while ensnared in some of the sloppiest rope work you ever did see.
In the 1960s, “the fetish industry” wasn’t really a thing yet, so if you wanted gear, you were probably going to the tack store, or making it yourself. Where do you think riding crops come from?
Of course now with the commodification of the sex industry, we have infinitely more complex and professionally fabricated equipment to achieve the same basic effect:
BDSM and fetish gear is so ubiquitous that I get contacted about twice a year from a “medical supply company” in Iran trying to sell me beautiful Dirge-branded sexual torture devices. Do you know how hard it is for me to say “no” to that? This is your one advertisement, AAS Instruments (I don’t know if they pronounce it “ass instruments,” but I do, and I don’t care.):
In this clip (tracked by a song to which you can absolutely sing Creepy Girl from MST3K), you can really see your pep pep’s carpentry ingenuity when the fierce Tura Satana-esque dominatrix goes ham sandwich on the mousy schoolgirl and breaks out a strange but effective spanking…stocks…board…thing:
These kinds of films were made by, viewed, and titillated people born during the Second World War. The 1960s are inarguably one of the most-transformative cultural periods in American history and as such are of great interest to me as a publisher, writer, and cultural steward. You can see the conversation appearing on the fringes during this decade; in the pages of Bizarre Magazine, in the psyche of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, and in these stag films around which people crowded in backrooms.
“Hey. There are a lot of us.”
That’s why I’m closing this article with the Piltdown Man of 1960s fetish stag films, Olga’s Girls. Considered grindhouse, this film by George Weiss (producer of Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda?) made this film and its sequel, Olga’s House of Shame, very much in the stag tradition in terms of composition and content; but this series made “roughie” sexploitation a thing by billing hardcore S&M (check out that breast torture!) as the main attraction in a feature-length film.
This took the stag film from the back room to the big screen. We are spanking hineys and mangling boobs in the big time now, and this would lube the way for the maturation of fetish films to “come of age” in the 1980s. Olga is the missing link; something contrived to satisfy a need. Unlike poor Pilty, Olga got to stick around.