In the early 1970s, the American adult film industry was just beginning to take off. Classics like Deep Throat, The Devil in Miss Jones and Behind the Green Door had all been released during that period, a stable of reliable and talented hardcore actors was being seen more and more in adult productions, and both New York City and San Francisco were being recognized as centers of adult film production.
But America wasn't the only place that hardcore movies were being filmed.
For example, take Sexcula. Shot in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., Sexcula, the Canadian taxpayers’ first (and apparently only) hardcore sex film, occupies an obscure yet unique position in the annals of Vancouver cinema. Featuring mad scientists, a vampire and a gorilla, the film's origins can be laid at both the free love movement together with the advice of an open-minded accountant. Made in Vancouver's Lower Mainland 40 summers ago by a construction contractor with an open lifestyle, Sexcula started as a campy, nudie spoof on classic horror motifs, but merged in production into the then-blossoming “porno chic” genre—an odd choice since no one could legally show hardcore sex onscreen in Canada at that time.
Thus, generous Canadian film production tax credits were used to make a Canadian movie no one in Canada could see—but since that tax sheltering program had the fatal flaw of promoting film production but not distribution of the resultant product, perhaps that makes Sexcula the quintessential tax shelter film.
The plot, cobbled together by a writer perhaps aptly named David F. Hurry, involves a couple's discovery of an old manuscript in an abandoned house. The manuscript chronicles some strange goings-on in the eighteenth century. All told in flashback, the film introduces the lovely Dr. Fellatingstein, a libidinous scientist (and Marilyn Chambers lookalike) who creates a man to satisfy her sexual cravings. Alas, however, the creation, “Frank,” proves impotent, and in desperation, the good doctor calls on her cousin, Countess Sexcula, to rouse his lust. Sexcula gives it the old college try, but upon further investigation determines that Frank is lacking “sex cells.” Undaunted, she uses her feminine charms to abduct eligible men as unwilling donors. There is also a 20-minute long, strikingly more explicit film within the film, shoehorned in to bring the running time up to the 90 minutes required to qualify for the tax break.
Directed by John Holbrook, Sexcula stars Debbie Collins as Countess Sexcula, Jamie Orlando as Dr. Fellatingstein, John Alexander as Frank and Tim Lowery as Orgie.
As far as has been determined, Sexcula screened just twice: a cast and crew show at Vancouver’s now defunct Panorama Studios, and a one-time showing in Edmonton, Alberta in May of this year. But a print was purchased by Archives Canada, and perhaps strangely, the film has enjoyed some kind of an afterlife in certain disreputable circles, perhaps because of having been made available on DVD earlier this year. Stories from the production inspired the Vancouver-made comedy Overnight (1986), which is itself something of a lost film.
This 40th Anniversary Screening of Sexcula offers audiences a time capsule, a glimpse of what Canadian sex fantasy looked like in the heyday of porno. (Warning: Sexcula features explicit sexual imagery that some may find offensive.) Special guests who will attend the event are to be announced.
Pictured: Jamie Orlando as Dr. Fellatingstein in Sexcula