Sep 12, 2014

Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Fantasy

For whatever reason, pseudonymous English writer Lewis Carroll’s novels have proven to be fruitful material for celluloid erotica. Indeed, arguably the most notable example of this is Jonas Middleton’s hardcore arthouse horror effort Through the Looking Glass (1976), which is based on Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871), which is the less popular sequel to the author’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Additionally, both French auteur Louis Malle’s sometimes sensual surrealist work Black Moon (1975) featuring Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro (who was no stranger to nudity and even pornography, although he does not go unclad in the film), as well as Cecil Howard’s shockingly artsy and kaleidoscopic porn fantasy Neon Nights (1981) demonstrate blatant Carroll-esque elements, not least of all because they both star a naïve blonde girl who becomes immersed in a striking fantasy realm of mystery and intrigue. Of course, the most blatant example of Carrollian celluloid carnality is the pornographic musical Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy (1976) aka Alice in Wonderland directed by horror hack turned pornographer Bud Townsend (Nightmare in Wax, Terror House) and starring fashion model and Playboy cover girl turned porn star turned semi-mainstream actress Kristine DeBell (Meatballs, The Big Brawl). Produced by porn mogul Bill Osco, who is notable for producing the first mainstream adult film, Mona the Virgin Nymph (1970), as well as the erotic Flash Gordon spoof Flesh Gordon (1974), Alice in Wonderland bears the seemingly strange distinction of being a fuck flick that was picked up and distributed by 20th Century Fox, though they cut three minutes of the work so they could receive an R-rating. Luckily, in 2007, the now unfortunately defunct label Subversive Cinema released the film on DVD in both its hardcore and softcore versions, with the former being the version I had the marginal delight of recently viewing. Undoubtedly, out all the Carroll-themed fuck flicks, Townsend's Alice in Wonderland is the most innately juvenile as a work that genuinely seems like it was created to appeal to children, thus making it quite at odds with Middleton’s genuinely dark and depraved blue movie masterpiece Through the Looking Glass. Of course, considering porn films and musicals share similar structures (e.g.: little bit of storyline, ‘action,’ little bit of storyline, ‘action,’ etc.), it should be no surprise that someone would make a sing-a-long porn movie, but I would be lying if I did not admit that I forwarded through most of the songs in Alice in Wonderland, which reek of 1970s retrograde raunch. Indeed, while Townsend’s smutty musical is worth a see, it is far too ‘cute’ and pathologically ‘positive’ to compare with the great works of the porn genre, as it is more or less a piece of cheesy post-counter-culture propaganda with Afrocentric undertones that reminds one how much hippies suck. 

 Alice (Kristine DeBell) is a somewhat bitchy, severely sheltered, and innately immature librarian who rebuffs the advances of her prospective boy toy William (Ron Nelson) insulting his shirt because it has another man's name on it (To Alice's credit, it is rather pathetic and emasculating when a man wears the jersey of their favorite sports player, especially when it is a white man wearing the jersey of a negro football or basketball player).  As William accurately states of Alice, “The body is all grown up…but the mind is still a little girl.” After William splits from the library after their (non)lovers spat, Alice finds a vintage copy of Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and says to herself: “That’s funny…I never read this when I was a little girl.” Indeed, had Alice read the novel as a little girl, she might not be an adult virgin. After singing an absolutely horrid song in the library, a discernibly Hebraic “White Rabbit” (played by cult/TV actor Larry Gelman, who is best known for his roles on The Bob Newhart Show and the Odd Couple) appears out of nowhere and says to her, “You can grow up…there’s nothing to it. Everybody grows up. I grew up.” Since the White Rabbit is in a hurry to be at the Queen’s party as it might result in her having his head if he is late since “the Queen’s a bitch,” he jumps and disappears through a magical mirror in the library. Intrigued by the rather overweight four-eyed White Rabbit, Alice also jumps through the magical mirror and lands in a room with one normal size door and a miniature door. Since she cannot find a key for the big door, Alice goes through the little door, but not before drinking a special lotion that shrinks her body, thus making her the proper petite size for the wild and wanton world of Wonderland. Indeed, Alice may be a virgin, but her erotic encounters with the people and beings of Wonderland will certainly change that. 

 After Alice, who cannot swim, falls into a lake and is saved by a furry creature, she is dried off by said furry creature’s equally furry comrades in a chapter of the film that is abbreviated with the tie in: “Alice makes new friends…AND GETS A LICKIN’.” Alice puritanically believes that, “If it feels good, there’s a good chance it’s bad,” but the furry creatures touch her otherwise with their wandering tongues to prove her wrong. A talking rock also teaches Alice that there is nothing wrong with diddling one’s naughty bits. After being introduced to the merry world of masturbation, the White Rabbit pops up and startles the prudish virgin. The White Rabbit brings Alice to a tea party hosted by the Mad Hatter (Alan Novak), who has a label on his large goofy top hat reading “9 7/8,” which indicates how many inches long his member is (clearly, he embellished the number!).  After whipping out his willy, the Mad Hatter convinces Alice to touch, lick, and eventually suck it, which she does in a rather childlike fashion, but it is ok since the hat man is a quick shooter. From there, Alice goes with her friends to help Humpty Dumpty (Bucky Searles), who fell off a wall and sprang a ball and now he cannot get his ding-a-ling up. Even viewing a live lurid show of a twosome of naughty Sapphic nurses performing 69 on one another cannot help Humpty get a hard-on, but luckily Alice comes to the rescue and uses her newly acquired oral sex skills to rescue his damaged dick from perennial flaccidness. After Alice gives Humpty an erection, all the characters sing, “His ding-a-ling up. His ding-a-ling up. We got his ding-a-ling up,” and the egg man falls off the wall again, thus revealing that his dick is nothing more than a cheap dildo. After hanging with Humpty, Alice meets silly sibilings/lovers Tweedledum (Bree Anthony) and Tweedledee (Tony Richards) who, aside from having jolly old good incestuous sex with one another, sport goofy yarmulkes. When the incest session gets old, Alice and her comrades leave and happen upon a whore (Gila Havana) attempting to revive a black Jewish knight (Bruce Finklesteen), who is actually a queer with a white knight boy toy (Jason Williams). Indeed, with all the eclectic perverts in the area, it is no wonder why the place is called Wonderland! 

 When Alice encounters the King of Hearts (John Lawrence)—a bongo-banging Afrocentric pimp daddy who, like many black power types, seems to prefer blonde-haired cracker chicks over his own kind—she comes close to losing her virginity as the black monarch uses stereotypical negro pimp speak to con her into bed, but their sexual encounter is cut short when the white trash bitch Queen of Hearts (played by Juliet Graham, who appeared in various classic porn an exploitation flicks, including Gerard Damiano’s 1975 S&M hit The Story of Joanna and Joel M. Reed’s 1976 trash-fest Bloodsucking Freaks) catches them in the act and calls for the virgin’s head much to Alice's horror. Of course, as the Queen tells Alice, “You misunderstood me, doll. I don’t want to cut off your head…I want you to give me some head.” Against the Queen’s demand for instant sexual gratification, Alice’s new friends refer to a vintage copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to prove that she deserves a fair trial. If Alice is found guilty, she must give head to the Queen, but if she is found innocent she must face the even more perturbing punishment of giving the fat old Judge (J.P. Paradine) head. Of course, during what amounts to a surrealist show trial featuring a song and dance, including the negro King banging on bongo drums, Alice is found guilty. While giving the Queen of Hearts head, Alice manages to pleasure the mad monarch so much that she faints in delight, thus enabling her to make her escape with the help of the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter. After falling into a lake, Alice ends up in the real world and makes up with her boyfriend to whom she subsequently loses her virginity. In a rather silly hippie scene, Alice and her boy toy go skinny dipping in a rocky river and the films concludes with the following storybook epilogue: “And so Alice settled down…got married…raised a family in a house with a white picket fence…filled with kids and a little…Arf! Arf!...puppy…and they all lived happily ever after…Be sure to pick up a copy of Alice’s New Book “Fear of Shrinking.

Aside from a couple weak cumshots and passive penetration scenes, Alice in Wonderland seems more or less like a cheapo spoof of the classic fairytale made for sexually curious teens, though, somewhat dubiously, the film would surely appeal to younger children as well as it is certainly less sophisticated than an episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show. Personally, I was completely put off by the film’s innately lighthearted tone, conspicuously cliche post-hippie “peace and love” and “live and let live” messages, mind-numbingly mindless celebration of hedonism, and truly vomit-worthy sing-a-long songs, though the work certainly has its rather memorable “magical” moments, especially when Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall sporting a dildo instead of his real wang. Indeed, if you’re looking for a more ‘evil’ and ‘esoteric’ take on Carroll’s novel, the part pseudo-documentary/part psychedelic celluloid trip Alice in Acidland (1969) directed by John Donne is certainly more effective in that regard, even if it is true retrograde trash. A work where virtually all the male characters are gay or ambiguously gay, the King is an Afrocentric pimp who plays bongo drums and fucks cracker cunts doggie style while they eat fried chicken, the Queen is a less than aristocratic mudshark who looks like a haggard white trash whore that was found at a Texas truck stop, Alice acts like a half-retarded bitch who will commit any sexual act so long as someone gives her a semi-logical reason to do so, and the White Rabbit seems like a pedophile Rebbe who uses goofy make-up to lure in little kids, Alice in Wonderland is certainly a work that the viewer will never forget, whether they want to or not. Considering the rumors that Lewis Carroll was a pedophile who may have wanted to marry an 11-year-old girl, Townsend’s version seems to take a more ‘subtextual’ approach to the classic fairytale, especially considering the truly adolescent-like and pedomorphic lead really seems like a petulant preteen princess who's giving blowjobs and cunnilingus for the first time. Somewhat surprisingly, in 2007, an Off-Broadway musical entitled Alice in Wonderland: An Adult Musical Comedy based on the film was staged at the Kirk Theatre in New York City, thus demonstrating that the fetishistic filmic fairytale has developed a certain amount of respectability and artistic merit over the past couple of decades. Additionally, an amateurish animated porn flick entitled Alice in Wonderland: A XXX Parody (2011) directed by W. Crawford that is vaguely in the satirical spirit of Townsend's film was released a couple years ago. Somewhat interestingly, the 2007 Subversive Cinema DVD release of the film features a somewhat recent featurette entitled Alice In Wonderland 30 Years Later: Back Down The Rabbit Hole where a couple of the flick's cast members, including elderly Hebrew Larry Gelman (aka “The White Rabbit”) and Lena Romane (who claims to have starred in a whopping 800 to 1,000 different fuck flicks during her rather long career!), reflect on the work some 30+ years later.  Notably, all of the subjects of the doc rightly agree that pornography has degenerated drastically in terms of both artistry and morality since the release of Alice in Wonderland, including Hebraic hack porn star/director William Margold, which says a lot considering the man is so depraved that he once confessed in a interview with Rona Barrett that he would be willing to perform in a sex scene with his own daughter.  Indeed, it certainly says a lot about our contemporary zeitgeist when a Lewis Carroll adaptation featuring Alice giving a half-ass blowjob to the Mad Hatter seems totally ‘old hat’ nowadays.

-Ty E

No comments: