Feb 21, 2021

ABOUT VZ1

 

What is this site about? Why would anyone screencap and synopsize thousands of sleazy movies?  It's all right here.  

WHAT IS VIDEO ZETA ONE?

I watch a movie - typically of a sleazy and obscure variety - post screen captures and provide a "walkthrough" or synopsis of the film, ending with a brief review and star rating. Spoiler alerts apply to every single film, as the summary goes from start to finish. 

THE BACKSTORY

I spent a lot of time in the eighties going to video stores looking for any exploitation film I could find.  It was often a scavenger hunt; you'd try several mom-and-pop video stores until you came home with something like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988) or The Kill (1968).  It wasn't an obsession or anything like that; just something I'd do after work living in San Bernardino. 

For several years during college and early years of marriage and having kids, I sort of forgot about these sleazy cult movies.  Then I got the Psychotronic Video Guide by Michael Weldon, and it all came rushing back. Even before the eighties video store, there was the late-night movie, the drive-in, etc. So many films - an uncountable supply - had been released, and seemingly forgotten or at least only appreciated by niche groups. If only we could watch them again...

Then Netflix came along which made many of these long lost films available.  Even something like Black Belly of the Tarantula (1971), which is not exactly an obscure underground film, wasn't going to be at your local Blockbuster (which had, by this time swallowed up most mom and pop video stores).  But you could find it with a couple clicks on Netflix.  Subsequently, you started to see podcasts like Junk Food Dinner spring up which were able to share the trash cinema love - and, of course, there were an endless amount of blogs on cult films.  And, finally, torrents have made anything and everything ever released available.

SO WHAT IS THE POINT? 

Now that everything and everything is available, I suddenly find myself like a kid in a candy store. I mean, you could spend the next several years just exploring Brazilian sexploitation films and not reach the bottom of the well. I feel the need to watch as many as I can; it's sort of a bucket list thing.  No, I don't have cancer (at least I hope to god not).  But it's something I just want to do.  I spend my day working my ass off, doing what other people want me to do, so in the evening I like to do what I want to do. And for the last few years, that's been watching trashy movies. 

So, I could watch a few thousand of these, keep it to myself and call it a day.  Or, I could do like a lot of folks and have some kind of record of watching them (Letterboxd seems like the current way to do this). However - and this is probably the biggest point of all my blabbering about this - I actually don't care about the reviews. You know the saying - opinions are like assholes, yada yada.  It's my least favorite part of every movie walkthrough on VZ1 - the last bit, the review, feels like a pointless chore.  What I want to preserve isn't my feelings about a film (because who gives a shit) - it's the memory of the film.  The Psychotronic Video Guide didn't waste too much time on Weldon's hot take on a given movie; it was more about who was in it, some neat facts, and just an overall "hey, this movie existed, isn't that amazing?"  Thus, if I'm going to memorialize each film, the best way is with lots of pictures, and a synopsis that gives a good picture of what it was all about.  And so that's where we are.

BUT ISN'T THIS REALLY JUST ABOUT NAKED ACTRESSES? 

Yeah, kinda.  I'm generally not going to even look at a film unless it has some degree of T&A. It's largely sexploitation films. Indeed, the nudity and sex is often the focus of many of these walkthroughs.  

So, what's up with that?  If I'm going to preserve the memories of these films, the nude scenes, in my book, are an important part - often the most important part (especially if it's a sexploitation film).  You don't post a pictorial review of Just One of the Guys (1985) and not include that iconic image of Joyce Hyser showing her boobs. That would be criminal.  And by the same token, you don't talk about Wheeler (1975) and not mention a naked Linnea Quigley getting beer poured on her and having to hump a dead guy.  Them's the rules.

Subsequently, we have a pretty good record of who's naked in these films.  We're not Mr. Skin or anything, but like The Psychotronic Video Guide, a lot of effort is put into determining who's who.  Again, if we're preserving the memory of these films, it just makes sense to dutifully include who is in it.

I DON'T SEE A LOT OF COMMENTS.  DOES ANYONE EVEN VISIT THIS SITE?

If you've managed to trudge your way through this text so far, you can see that monetizing or even publicizing this site is of zero interest.  I don't go to other similar sites or Facebook groups and try to get people to visit VZ1.  It's truly a labor of love, and I'd do it if no one visited at all. But we do currently get about 5,000 visits per day - which isn't huge. Over a million views overall. 

I'd love to see more comments, as they are often interesting tidbits about the films.  However, I understand this isn't a format like other social media which inspires conversation.  I initially was not keen on going with a blog for that reason - and going instead with Facebook, Tumblr, etc.  But a blog seemed to fit what I'm doing the best. 

YOU SEEM TO POST MULTIPLE MOVIES PER DAY.  DO YOU HAVE A LIFE?

To really pull back the curtain - I have a job which requires travel.  So, I'm away from home for most of the work week.  I could sit in the hotel and watch Family Guy reruns or turn on Seduced by the Demon (1978). I choose the latter. I'll often watch several in an evening and schedule them to be published at times throughout the week. 

I actually have a full life, with a family and enjoy camping.  I live right near a mountain with beautiful trails.  But when most Americans settle down to have their brain melted by cable news or reality TV, I click on Bikini Hoe-Down (1997) instead - and I think I'm better for it. 

SO MANY TYPOS. EVER CONSIDER PROOFREADING?

Nope.  This is a labor of love and all, but I'm sorry, I don't consider this important enough to make it like work. This isn't a scholarly journal, it isn't something I'm providing for work, or anything I'm being paid for, or even anything that would impact anyone's life in any way... so why should I spend time making this process into a chore?

That being said, I do cringe when I go back and read and there are glaring errors - I'll use "their" when I should have used "they're", "who's" when I should have used "whose", etc. But it's still not worth the effort to polish it up.  

THE RATINGS SYSTEM

Blood Games (1990) gets ten out of ten stars.  Is it really as good as The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather?  Yes. In fact Blood Games is better than those movies... but on a different scale.  Let me put it another way: Michael Jordan gets only 1 out of 10 stars if I'm rating on figure skating. Ratings and reviews are so ridiculously subjective, it doesn't matter much anyway - but at least have an appropriate context to make the ratings make sense. 

Thus, when I'm assigning stars to a VZ1 film, I'm looking at raw entertainment value and level of trashiness. Deductions for anything remotely boring, or missed opportunities for gratuitous nudity. For instance, if your film includes fun and/or trashy items like a scene with a video arcade or a nude satanic ritual, then points are added.  So, for instance, the Mexican film Narcosatanicos diabolicos (1991) is obviously total garbage when viewed against No Country for Old Men when on a broad IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes scale.  However, on a VZ1 scale, it excels thanks to its fun satansploitation elements, plentiful nudity. Plus it has Tun-Tun, big eighties hair, acid washed fashions, explosions, upskirts, bad music, violence... you get the picture. 

THIS IS A CULT AND EXPLOITATION FILM SITE... SO, WHERE'S THE EXORCIST AND EASY RIDER?

This is like walking into a mom-and-pop video store in, say, 1984.  Yeah, there's a copy of Texas Chainsaw and Superfly on the shelf, But we've seen those a million times, and, besides, they really don't fulfill our aforementioned T&A requirements. But what about that tattered box on the bottom shelf titled The Passion Pit (1969)?... What delights might that hold instead? It could be the greatest, sleaziest movie ever made.  Let's give it a shot instead of the well trodden cult films. 

This also is why I spend so much time exploring films from non English speaking countries.  I mean, if you are into trashy films, you are really missing out by limiting yourself to just American and dubbed European films.  Lately, we've been exploring Brazilian films and there have been some real bangers that I'm so thankful that I found.  How unfortunate for a sleaze cinema connoisseur to have never seen an Argentinian Tristán film, or not know Berta Cabré or Zerrin Egeliler

PORN?... SEEMS LIKE WE'RE LOSING FOCUS.

Admittedly, I'm a little late to the game when it comes to recognizing that pornos are worth a look.  Not modern pornos, which seem to not even try anymore to be like a "real movie". In contrast, how can you look at Pro-Ball Cheerleaders (1979) or Hot & Saucy Pizza Girls (1978) and say that doesn't fit with the VZ1 repertoire?.. Just because it goes all the way, doesn't negate the other elements which fit right in with exploitation cinema.  In other words, penetration is not an automatic disqualification on VZ1.  

And I'll just add that I considered not looking at films from the 2000s - of any genre. It seems like we should stick to films from maybe the sixties through nineties, right?  But we'd miss out on some worthy films that shouldn't be excluded just because of the number in parentheses after the title.  We'd miss out on Slink (2013) and The Halfway House (2004).  And time flies - Barely Legal (2011) is a decade old - not exactly on the "New Releases" shelf.

WHY DON'T YOU POST DOWNLOAD LINKS SO WE CAN ACTUALLY WATCH THESE DAMN MOVIES?

I considered it; it makes sense.  But it seems like something I'd have to keep up with and may actually get in trouble for.  So, the cons outweigh the pros at this point. 

And so... I guess now I'd like to invite anyone with a comment, request, idea or anything to post it here. Maybe of the 5K of you who visit per day, we'll get a little feedback over time (as I plan to leave this as the "About VZ1" page for a while). Cheers.


19 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this “look behind the curtain” I’ve been enjoying your blog daily for 6 months or so. I love the format of your entries, a great combination of text and images, and your comments are spot on and often hilarious.
    I trace my love for trashy movies probably back to watching MST3K back in the early 90s. I still watch it and Rifftrax pretty regularly. Also, a fan of the “How did this get Made” podcast. Reading your blog has really expanded what I’ve been watching. I even started a list of movies to watch and check them off as I go.
    Your absolutely right that the internet and streaming has greatly increased what’s available to watch. The free service Tubi has tons of exploitation entries. Prime video has a lot also. Adding links to your posts would be tough because what’s on streaming services constantly changes and what’s on random websites can be problematic because of rights issues or just the safety of the sites.
    Here’s a first movie suggestion, “Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw”. Nude Linda Carter on a crime spree. This was suggested by Prime after watching “Bonnie’s Kids”.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback and kind words. Yes, "Bobby Jo" is a damn fine recommendation. Isn't Joe Namath in that as well? (Too lazy to look it up right now). Anything with a naked Wonder Woman is worth a watch; however, as I recall, it was just that one scene sitting in the stagnant pond. Anyway, hope you keep coming back! Cheers.

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    2. Another recommendation, Hellhole (1985). Pretty good WIP-ish flick with Julie Landers, Edy Williams, Mary Woronov and everyone's favorite chin Robert Z'Dar in a small role.

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  2. I like your site so far -- I'm a big fan of Euro-sexploitation, e.g. director Hans Billian (though it's a shame so many of those great films are not subbed or dubbed in English). Keep up the good work.

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    1. We did Die Jungfrauen von Bumshausen on VZ1, but there is clearly a lot more to explore here with Billian and German sexploitation in general. Thanks for the feedback!

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  3. I’m pretty sure I discovered your site after searching for articles and pics on the movie Whirlpool sometime towards the end of last year, and have been coming back daily, for the most part, ever since. Please keep on doing what you’re doing — I like the screen caps/synopses approach, and always find something interesting here, no matter the genre. Euro-horror and gialli are my favored niche films, but I grew up watching Skinemax in the 80s and appreciate anything related to sex comedies and erotic thrillers from that period — and beyond, actually (I like some of the post-2000 movies). BTW, I second your opinion of Blood Games — that movie was 20 times better than I thought it would be. If you don’t have the Vinegar Syndrom blu-ray, it’s well worth the money.

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    1. Euro-horror, gialli and Skinemax... a man after my own taste. I often travel down odd rabbit holes (currently went down South American sexploitation films), but I'll always go back to those genres. Glad that your'e enjoying the site and thanks for the feedback! (And yes, I "third" our opinion that Blood Games rules.)

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  4. Just wanted to know how do you manage to Watch different language films and understanding them without subtitles

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    1. Great question. I can speak Spanish so that helps with a ton of the movies covered on VZ1. I can follow Brazilian films somewhat. For German and Turkish films I need subtitles. And when I can't get subtitles - boobs are the universal language.

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  5. It's fun to see the plethora of these kinds of films that are out there. Some nights I'm not in the mood, so I'll quickly spacebar through and maybe back up if I see a particularly extraordinary set of tits or some other interesting frame captured. Other nights it is indeed fun to read your comments.

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    1. Definitely a far cry from Retrospace which had so much engagement on each and every post. This is much more low key and less family friendly.... but it's still nice. I think the days of blogs in general are long gone in the rear view mirror. But going to Facebook, instagram, etc. just didn't make sense for what I'm doing.

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  6. How can you keep never-ending titles to your slide show of videos?

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  7. Can I make a suggestion -- have an area devoted to your favorite films or favorite genre titles, e.g. top 20 films overall, or top five WIP films, etc. Great job on this site!

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    1. Yes, I've definitely been tempted to make some top ten lists. Anything from "Top Ten WIP films" as you said, to "Top Ten Girls on Ladders" scenes. they're definitely coming; but I want to have more movies under my belt before I start proclaiming top ten anything. Maybe when we hit 3K movies I'll start periodically issuing lists. Great suggestion!

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  8. I was just looking for some naked pictures of Berta Cabre, and I stumbled on this blog. I think it's the greatest thing ever, and I'll be checking in again, for sure. I've never commented on any blog before, but I just had to offer encouragement for this worthy endeavor. Have a great day.

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  9. I've really enjoyed reading and looking at your posts, and appreciate the level of detail in the reviews. It's a heck of a fine site overall, and the only disappointment I have is that I was not immediately able to order a copy of My Sister-in-Law, because it seems out of print everywhere, after reading your post about it! (I settled on ordering another movie with Fenech, Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh, instead, with fingers crossed.)

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  10. Thank you for making this site. I had no idea so many of these movies existed. I just wish there was a site I can watch these movies.

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  11. Hi. I just discovered your site a week or so ago and have had a blast working through you list of films. Some which bring back memories from my teen years babysitting in the 90's watching movies I couldn't at home and being shocked by the nudity. Many I have never even heard of but might try to track down for fun. Thanks for your hard work!

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  12. Thanks for the great synopses and photos from hundreds upon hundreds of vastly unappreciated films. You have earned yourself a seat in exploitation heaven.

    One question, though... how come Video Zeta One has never covered the film 'Zeta One'? Seems like low hanging fruit.

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