The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

All the Devil’s Angels

Robin Bougie
Posted September 22, 2005

Uncovering the John Cassavettes of classic adult cinemaThe history of smut has as many unbelievably odd characters as it has movies, and it seems one who takes an active interest in this sordid cinema is always uncovering a quirky previously unknown filmmaker or performer worth obsessing over. The cool thing is that it’s nearly always someone who has flown under everyone else’s radar, and you get that raw discovery high usually reserved for treasure hunters and palaeontologists. Classic porn is — even today with a new resurgence of interest — the most under appreciated and under documented genre of film history. In that vein, may I introduce you to a weird little pornographer named Ted Roter.

Ted Roter was one nutty Belgian cheese log. M’man was a sex industry pioneer who got his start co-directing the infamous Ray Dennis Steckler atrocity LEMON GROVE KIDS MEET THE MONSTERS in 1965. His next film, the softcore/drama classic NORMA (1970), about a woman’s shattered sex life had the memorable campaign proclaiming “Norma… she’s not quite normal.” Neither was Ted.

In the mid seventies, Roter decided to go blue and came into his own as a hardcore director who often starred in his own films, proving to be very competent wearing both hats. In fact he once aptly proclaimed himself the John Cassevettes of porn, and under the nom-de-fuck Peter Balakoff, he created a series of unique L.A. hardcore movies released under the banner of Belladonna Films. Much longer than the usual 70 minute skin flick of the mid ’70s, his output was sometimes maddening, oddly tasteful, and yet totally and wonderfully unconventional.

ALL THE DEVIL’S ANGELS (1979) is one of Ted’s better movies, and one of the few thankfully available on video thanks to Alpha Blue Archives and Something Weird Video. The plot is dangerously schizo, with the storyline constantly leaving you in an engrossed state of bewilderment. The fractured and dreamlike story line is not so unlike the legendary cut-ups created by William Burroughs and Bryan Gysin and popularised by David Bowie and others. Just when you think you’ve got the plot figured out, you suddenly get the sense that the copy you’re watching has been accidentally edited out of sequence, and your mind races to try to put the pieces back into place. One section of the film has Ted playing a Belgian shrink who specializes in patients who believe themselves to be possessed by the devil. He lectures at schools, and also runs his nuthouse filled with perverts, horny girls and nurses. Ted’s usual blonde leading lady, Gena Lee, plays Jean, a Nancy Drew-esque undercover mystery girl who infiltrates his freaky scene and constantly seems to be retracing her character arc instead of forwarding it. This connects us to the film’s other plot, which has Ted as a hooded sex shaman who gathers his followers to fuck and suck each other while praying to Satan. In other words: WTF?devilLARGE.jpg

The casting is surprisingly excellent, but not always of the highest caliber when it comes to thespianism. Ted himself is fucking great and easily believable as the older and wiser psychiatrist, and the dozen or so girls cast are cute in an plain everyday manner — and don’t look at all like todays gaudy, jaded, porn stars. In fact, nearly all of them had never stepped in front of a movie camera before or since — in porn or otherwise.

In terms of humpy-pumpy, this is jam-packed with somewhat uninspired ham-slamming indicative of the era, and yet Ted executes the filming of it with the lyricism of a Euro art wanker. There’s a wide degree of kink here as well, with the audience coyly introduced to a female dominated underground society that Ted somehow manipulates for his own pleasure. The “good doctor” seems to constantly be engrossed in some ego laden conversation while having some glassy eyed negligee-clad young patient down between his legs gobbling his knob while he creepily coos “Good girl. Gooood girl…” These entertaining scenes aren’t the only “little girl games” on display. A bunch of the snotty teen inmates sneak into a young dimwitted patient’s room, and make him kiss their dirty feet. Later, wearing hot pants — they taunt him (like girls at summer camp) into flashing his skin flute, and then laugh at him.

Ted Roter is a vastly overlooked and very special porn auteur who passed away 6 years ago at the age of 70 while living in New York, and ALL THE DEVIL’S ANGELS is a remarkable, almost unheard of, and nearly indecipherable glob of fuck-art-trash.

Comments

2 Responses to “All the Devil’s Angels”

  1. miker460
    November 22nd, 2005 @ 8:34 pm

    ahhhh.. I think you might want to check your facts. It is nice to see history being rewritten after his death and I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, but at the very least you should know where he died.
    M. Roter

  2. Robin Bougie
    November 23rd, 2005 @ 3:34 am

    Sorry if the death location is wrong. I feel bad and meant no disrespect, but I got it from the IMDB. If you have the corrected info, I’d suggest letting them know, since a lot of people refer to that site and generally accept the facts on there as… facts.
    Here is the listing:
    http://imdb.com/name/nm0049392/?fr=c2l0ZT1kZnx0dD0xfGZiPXV8cG49MHxrdz0xfHE9dGVkIHJvdG9yfGZ0PTF8bXg9MjB8bG09NTAwfGNvPTF8aHRtbD0xfG5tPTE_;fc=1;ft=22

Leave a Reply





  • Support The Gutter

  • The Book!

  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

    ~

    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

    ~

    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

    ~

    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

    ~

    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

    ~

    Neill Cameron has re-imagined the characters of Parks & Recreation as members of Starfleet. (Via @neillcameron)

    ~

  • Spilling into Twitter

  • Obsessive?

    Then you might be interested in knowing you can subscribe to our RSS feed, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter or Tumblr.

    -------

  • Weekly Notifications

  • What We’re Talking About

  • Thanks To

    No Media Kings hosts this site, and Wordpress autoconstructs it.

  • %d bloggers like this: