Sex sells, there is no disputing that fact, with one of the more prevalent mediums to use sex being the movies, where almost since the dawning of the film industry “sex” has been an integral part of the movie lexicon. One of the first films ever to be shown to the public was 1886’s The Kiss, and film that was simply 47 seconds of a man kissing a woman, and sure, Hollywood has expanded on this over the years, and occasionally even added a plot to their films, but the basic idea still remains to this very day, sex sells.
Of course, the minute filmmakers started to use “sex” in their movies groups started crawling out of the woodwork to complain about the amount of nudity, sex and violence in the cinemas, crying “Will someone please think of the children!” Censorship bills were passed and eventually, the Hays Code was formed to ensure that films were not immoral – scripts had to be approved before a film could go into production – and if a studio failed to follow the code they could face serious fines and their films could end up banned from theatres. On the plus side, this made filmmakers more creative and thus sexual innuendo became one of their greatest weapons; fireworks and other types of images were used to clue the audience into what was really going on, so when Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint celebrated their victory over the nefarious James Mason in North By Northwest, we got…
Not very subtle, but nothing the Catholic League of Decency could protest either, and over the years the battle with censorship raged on with different rating systems being implemented to warn audiences about what horrifying events may be in store for them. Rated G was good for the kiddies, PG suggested that maybe parents should accompany the young ones, and Rated R was for discerning adults while Rated X was for the really explicit films, that is until the adult film industry co-opted that rating so Hollywood had to change theirs to NC-17.
We will now be looking at a few examples of films that don’t just dance around the topic of sex but instead not only embrace it but have sex as its primary driving force. Warning, some of these are not for the faint of heart. Click on the posters or links below to read the full reviews.
When porn started getting crossover appeal with regular audiences the industry brought to the world an erotic film that parodied the classic Flash Gordon serials of the 30s in a very campy and bizarre way.
This exemplifies the kinkier and more explicit side of sex in the movies. It was in the 70s that movies that by today’s standards would be considered pornography got proper theatrical releases and were reviewed by notable critics, and this one did with a rather stylish flair.
Not to be outdone by the French we have this S&M entry from America that may be a little over-the-top for casual viewers, as it drifts very close to being actual porn and not just erotica.
This film by David Cronenberg takes sex in an even darker and more fatal direction, as we get a truly horrifying tale on a shoestring budget, one that leaves the viewer with images that will haunt them ever after.
You’ve got to hand it to the Japanese when it comes to the sex and the bizarre as can be seen in this dark comedy about S&M that proves they can really deliver on an “out there” concept.
Though based on a book that gave millions of housewives the vapours, this movie is your standard Hollywood fair that thinks it’s edgy when it’s clearly not and displays a bondage relationship that is anything but romantic.
As the world’s moral compass continues to spin one can never guess in what direction sex in the cinema will go, and we are left wondering, “Will hard-core sex make a return to the theatres? Will groups like the Catholic League of Decency make another comeback and increase censorship?” But no matter what direction things go at your local movie house there will always be someone out in there in the world pushing the boundaries.