Dries Vermeulen's blog

Illusions of a Lady (1974)

In order to raise funds for his ambitious Through the Looking Glass, as idiosyncratic a genre film as can be imagined, Jonas Middleton bastardized an R-rated script he allegedly wrote with then girlfriend Christa Helm, the tragic starlet who appeared in Gerard Damiano's offbeat horror flick Legacy of Satan and whose 1977 murder has never been fully solved.

The Debauchers (1971)

Hindsight is a beautiful thing. Tempting though it may be to read The Debauchers as some sort of prescient "roman à clef" as to the tragic fate that befell its lovely leading lady at the behest of her wicked spouse, still free from facial hair yet soon sporting the whiskers to twirl for maximum evil effect, as the seventies dawned the Russells were easily hardcore's most harmonious couple, free-spirited love children who would fuck for a buck without a care in the world. The quintessential hot hippie chick and cuteness personified, Tina quickly rose to the top of the heap with Jason seeming very much the supportive husband for the world to witness, neither one missing a beat when it came to expressing their limitless devotion to the other in press or public. Their fornication fairy tale ground to a cruel halt when Jason laid eyes on a then underage Jean Jennings while producing Armand Weston's S&M flavored The Defiance of Good in 1974. This alienation of affection drove Tina to drink, if not quite causing then certainly contributing to her untimely death from stomach cancer in 1981 at the all too tender age of 32, as Jason would now put her down with equal passion previously reserved for securing stardom. Substance abuse reducing her to enforced unemployment, looks sadly dwindling at breakneck speed, she was to suffer the ultimate humiliation - in a twist right out of Edith Wharton - as her former mate acquired her services as make up person for his current paramour, a job she unfortunately was in no position to turn down...