If adult films are the bastard children of cinema then peep show loops are the bastard children’s own bastards. Made for home use and the seedy back booths of porno emporiums, these rough-hewn 8mm marvels packed all the flesh and sex possible into an under-ten-minute space. They weren’t pretty or gentle. Instead, they cut right to the heart of carnality and went for the gusto – and this quality has made them a modern-day fetish item for a legion of adult film enthusiasts who were too young to experience this phenomenon yet yearn for the outlaw days that spawned these smut-capsules.
This craving has inspired Impulse Pictures to add another line of product to their array of vintage sexploitation in 42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection, Vol. 1. This disc offers fifteen loops broken down into sub-categories of five loops for particular themes: boy-girl, girl-girl and group couplings. The loops are presented in their original, sound-free format but, in a nice touch, the producers of the disc have supplied the sound of a film projector as a soundtrack for all the loops.
As the first paragraph’s description of loops suggests, the shorts included here cut to the chase and spend most of their running times presenting sex in a vintage porn style, including tight closeups the sexual activity in an “open heart surgery” style. That said, there is fun to be had here if you’re in the proper lusty mood. As Robin Bougie astutely points out in his liner notes for this disc, these loops have a sense of fun and a playfulness lacking from modern adult filmmaking. The participants all seem heady with the rush of the sexual revolution, with lots of smiling and a playful mood during the various couplings.
Loops were also a training ground for performers looking to get into feature-length work so you’ll see a few future lord and ladies of lust-cinema romping around in these quickies. On the female side, there are appearances from a young Annie Sprinkle, Lisa DeLeeuw and Sue Nero, the latter involved into a group-sapphic coupling where the changes of partner and position are so frenetic that the proceedings resemble a sex-crazed game of Twister. On the male side, you might notice Marc Stevens, Herschel Savage and a pre-“Johnny Wadd” era John Holmes. Holmes is amusingly dorky in his style here, with greasy, awkwardly slicked-back hair and facial mugging that suggests his future hamminess in sync-sound productions.
In short, 42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection, Vol. 1 is good vintage fun for the sexploitation connoisseur and a reminder of when smut could be as fun as it was forbidden.