Circle of Power (aka Brainwash, 1981)

Welcome back to B-Movie Enema. This week, I’m going to talk about that thing we all love to do in our free time – training retreats! Woot woot! How exciting! Yaaaaayyyy – being forced to give up a perfectly good weekend to be bored out of our minds at a seminar!

Yeah, this movie goes by a few names, but the most common are either the original title, Brainwash, or Circle of Power. It also had the names Mystique and The Naked Weekend. This was based on a narrative nonfiction book called The Pit: A Group Encounter Defiled. That book was written by Gene Church and Conrad D. Carnes and was published in 1972. Basically, it’s about the practices that went on during a four-day training weekend for executives run that involved folks from companies run by one William Penn Patrick. More on that later.

After this movie came out, the writers did a follow up called Brainwash – likely in conjunction with the film’s title. The appeal was that there was this brand new phenomenon called “encounter group training” that began to crop up in the 60s and 70s. This could help people with various business skills or interpersonal communication or even with relationships. Oftentimes, these were kind of viewed as someone, who was seen as something of a guru, trying to train others to think and react the same way to situations. In a lot of ways, this not only evolved for business practices into the 80s but, for personal stuff, think of your Tony Robbinses or other self-help folks who ran seminars.

The book helped expose some practices. This movie came out during a huge explosion of controversy that dropped at a particular event. These things will be covered here in just a moment, but let’s start by talking about our star of the movie – the recently departed Yvette Mimieux.

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Mean Johnny Barrows (1976)

Welcome to this week’s B-Movie Enema. This week, we’re following the exploits of Mean Johnny Barrows as he tries to bring himself up out of the gutter and get back at the Man for always standing in the way of him and his prosperity.

Now, you may look at that opening salvo for this article and think, “Sweet! This is Fred Williamson in a blaxploitation classic!” I don’t blame you for thinking that. I thought that too. However, it’s not. It’s not listed as a notable blaxploitation flick. It’s more of a crime drama than an exploitation movie. Yes, it is directed by Williamson himself and he likely got that opportunity because of the 70s black cinema coming into prominence. Yet, this seems to transcend the blaxploitation moniker.

I’m sure there will be elements here. I mean he’s dishonorably discharged from the military. He’s busted for being drunk. He’s homeless. He’s not able to be with the woman he loves. He blames these things on the Man, and there’s probably fair reason to. So, yeah, the mistake thinking this is part of the blaxploitation subgenre that was running through black cinema of the time is acceptable and understandable.

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Monamour (2006)

Welcome to the conclusion of Tinto Brass Extravaganza here at B-Movie Enema. So far, we’ve featured a comedy with some fairly mixed morals on sex and love in Cheeky!, followed by a very good drama about an Italian aristocrat falling in love with a Nazi officer in Black Angel, and then a mixed bag of shorts in the anthology Private. Now it’s up to our final entry, the 2006 drama Monamour, to tip the scales to one side or another in terms of full on quality.

I’ll admit, that while not everything in Cheeky! is something I would like to deal with as a lover of a free spirit, I absolutely cannot deny that there is lots of very pretty things to look at whenever Yuliya Mayarchuk was on screen. It made the movie watchable and kind of vaguely enjoyable for its raw sexuality. Hell, I’d say the movie dropped any pretense of sensuality to just give us a lot of Ukrainian beaver cinematography.

Private is split 50/50. Half the stories were interesting or sexy, and one was even kind of sweet at the end to put a bow on the whole anthology. But that didn’t pretend to be sensual either. It was anywhere from 12-15 minutes of the private lives of very horny couples. VERY horny couples. Black Angel was where Brass dumped all his effort into actually exploring sensuality. It had an aging woman aching for excitement even if it had to come from something wrapped in the uniform of objective evil. As an aging person myself, well, well, well past his prime in most everything except for eating McRibs and writing about B-movies, I can identify with that.

Monamour seems to be a bit of a return to that exploration and need of a return to sexual excitement and spontaneity.

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Private (2003)

Here we are in the third week of Tinto Brass Extravaganza at B-Movie Enema, and, so far, we’ve had a sex comedy with very confusing messaging and a very serious erotic Nazi drama. This week, we do something different again – we have ourselves an anthology. Private, as it is titled here, is made up of six independent vignettes.

The vignettes largely deal with couples and their various sexual turn-ons and either retelling stories that feature them or a pursuit of doing these things. Mostly, we’re looking into the lives of normal people who have kinks. The title in Italian is Fallo! which is translated to English as Do It! However, Fallo is also the Italian word for Phallus. So it’s a little bit of a play on words again as with the Italian title for Cheeky! a couple weeks ago.

Just guessing, but I assume all the potential titles that you can use for this film all tips the film’s hand at showing these private moments of couples, their perversions, and the tendency of these people to want to, or be encouraged to continue to, keep doing what they are doing. I will give Brass one thing – he has lovely free association with his titles and plots. Also, the Italian Fallo! cover of this movie looks like a dick with a giant set of balls. Also, the Private DVD cover looks like an American back room porno tape.

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Black Angel (2002)

Welcome back to B-Movie Enema and this month’s theme, Tinto Brass Extravaganza!

Wowzers did things get started in a real weird way last week with Cheeky! That movie created all sorts of incredibly confusing thoughts and feelings. Taken on its face, it’s about this drop dead gorgeous woman and her sexual exploits from Italy to England. Taken on a slightly different level, it’s more of a sexual fairy tale of twists and turns in a world where EVERYONE is getting laid. Maybe, just maybe, it really is meant to be taken on that face value based on its popular English title. On the other hand, its Italian title is a play on the words for transgress and betray. Using that, it’s (potentially) a much darker movie than you think. It’s not something to compare so much to the popular Emanuelle films, but instead a much more immature porn film.

So to fix that, this week, we’re looking at Black Angel – an erotic Nazi film.

I sure know how to pick ’em, don’t I, Enemaniacs?

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Cool As Ice (1991)

Gather ’round, kiddos. On this Christmas Eve, hear this tale of horror that was unleashed onto the world one day shy of a fortnight before Halloween in the year 1991. Yes, it was said that this creature would stalk only the flyest of small town honeys. It was said you could hear him coming as the wind would whisper:

“Alright stop… Collaborate and listen… Ice is back with my brand new invention.”

It is then, when you realize something will grab a hold of you tightly. It shall flow like a harpoon daily and nightly. Will it ever stop, you wonder… Yo, I don’t know.

You are now in the grasp of Vanilla Ice, and you will be Cool As Ice.

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The Candy Snatchers (1973)

Welcome to the 299th B-Movie Enema article!

This week, we have something that isn’t too common a thing around these parts – a movie loosely based on a real life event. The Candy Snatchers is a 1973 exploitation cult classic about a trio of kidnappers who snag a girl and ultimately bury her alive while waiting for their ransom to be paid. We’ll go into more about the actual movie in just a moment. First, I want to talk about the real world connection this movie has.

In 1968, college student Barbara Mackle was sick during the 1968 flu pandemic at a motel in Georgia waiting for her mother to pick her up so she could care for her at the family home in Florida. Someone knocked on the door of the motel wearing a policeman’s cap. This man claimed her boyfriend (and later husband), was in a terrible car accident and was injured. Mackle let the “officer” in, but it was actually Gary Krist and accomplice Ruth Eisemann-Schier (posing as a man). The couple kidnapped Mackle and buried her in a ventilated box outside Duluth, Georgia while they attempted to collect ransom. After three days of being buried alive, Mackle was recovered after Krist left a tip with vague directions on how to find her. Aside from pretty bad dehydration, Mackle was alive and went on to show no other ill effects of being kidnapped. Krist and Eisemann-Shier were both arrested later, Esimann-Schier was deported to her native Honduras after spending 4 years in prison and Krist spent the next 40+ years in and out of prison.

While there is much more to learn about the Barbara Mackle kidnapping, one more item of note, Ruth Eisemann-Schier was the first woman to ever appear on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.

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B-Movie Enema: The Series Episode #24 – Psych-Out

Jack Nicholson, Susan Strasberg, Sam Rockwell, and Bruce Dern star as hippies headed for a real bad Psych-Out on this week’s B-Movie Enema: The Series.

This episode is available only at the website or Vimeo, but you can still subscribe to the B-Movie Enema YouTube Channel for the other videos and episodes!