“Raw Sex Begins With A Rainy Day On Skid Row!”
Well, how can you argue with that?
This 1966 exploitation film was directed by Roberta and Michael Findlay, two of the most influential adult filmmakers in early “Sexploitation” cinema history! For this film, Michael went by the name of Julian Marsh, and Roberta was Anna Riva – oh, and she also starred in the film!
Time to celebrate their incredible cult cinema work!
Roberta Findlay was born Roberta Hershkowitz in 1948 in New York City – and met her husband Michael Findlay while they were both students at the City College of New York..
Roberta married Michael at age eighteen, and their provocative movie careers got underway!
The couple collaborated on several sexploitation features together in the 1960’s, including the “Flesh” trilogy.
“The Touch of Her Flesh” in 1967 was the story of a cuckolded gun dealer named Richard Jennings (played by Findlay) who is disfigured in a car accident after finding his wife in bed with another man.
After recovering from his injuries, he goes on a killing spree, murdering prostitutes and strippers with a variety of unique implements, including poison-tipped rose thorns, blowdarts, a crossbow, a scimitar, and a buzzsaw!
The success of “Touch” led to two sequels, “The Curse of Her Flesh” and “The Kiss Of Her Flesh”, both released in 1968; both films followed the formula of Jennings recovering from life-threatening injuries sustained at the end of the previous film and returning to kill prostitutes and strippers while plotting elaborate revenge against individuals who were directly involved with his wife or knew of her affair!
Kiss was intended to end the series, with a title card informing the viewers that Jennings’ demise was positively the end.
After parting ways with Michael in the early 1970’s, Roberta went on to direct 35 films – and they were some of the wildest exploitation of the era!
Findlay also worked on various films as an editor, composer, producer, and cinematographer – with dozens of credits in each category.
“Take Me Naked” from 1966 was a lurid story written by Roberta Findlay about a depraved Peeping Tom whose fantasies involve his neighbor (played by Roberta Findlay). Michael Findlay also appears as the “Angel of Hell.”
Beginning with “Take Me Naked”, Findlay explored sexuality from a woman’s point of view, but every bit as daring and erotic as a male Director!
“The Alter Of Lust” from 1971 was one example, but there are many more like this as well:
Her work was X-rated, pushing the boundaries at the time – this was still an age where censorship and police raids were common in certain parts of the country.
And what of “The Clamdigger’s Daughter” in 1974 – The daughter of a poverty-stricken New England clamdigger falls in love with the son of her father’s rival.
Her 1974 adult film “Angel Number 9” – also known as “Angel On Fire”, was released with an ad celebrating that it was made by a woman!
Even though her forte was sex, she was involved in this graphic shocker!
Earlier in the 1970s when the Findlays were still a team, they made a film called “Slaughter”. It was a poorly received cash-in on the Manson murders, depicting the exploits of a murderous biker gang built around a drug cult.
In 1976, a new ending was shot for the film, purporting to show the film’s crew murdering a girl after the completion of filming. It was then released under the name Snuff, with the tagline “The film that could only be made in South America… where Life is CHEAP”.
In order to promote the film, there was manufactured controversy around the movie’s release, with Actresses hired to portray feminists opposed to the film.
These Actresses successfully made it onto several local news programs, helping to generate genuine controversy around the film’s release!
It has always remained a lightning rod for the debate on whether the killing in the film was real, which of course it wasn’t – but the myth goes on!
Findlay went all-in on XXX-rated film at this point, including these:
In 1977, a bizarre tragedy involved her former husband:
On May 16, 1977, Michael Findlay was killed in a helicopter accident on the roof of the Pan Am Building in New York City. The accident occurred shortly after the 5:33 PM arrival of the New York Airways helicopter from John F. Kennedy Airport. It was in the process of taking on 21 passengers for the return trip when the landing gear failed and the aircraft tipped on its side while the rotors were still running.
Shocking to be sure…
Roberta used a pseudonym when she directed this 1979 adult film starring John C. Holmes and Samantha Fox.
Rikki O’Neal starred as the title character – more on her in another post.
I shared the story of star Samantha Fox and you can see more of her adult work by clicking here:
Findlay continued to direct adult features throughout the 80’s , She left the adult film industry after the controversial “Shauna: Every Man’s Fantasy” (1985), about the tragic suicide of porn star Shauna Grant.
Grant was an early 80’s XXX-rated superstar before her tragic death – see here story here:
Findlay’s last two last films were more mainstream: “Prime Evil” and “Lurkers” in 1988.
In addition, Findlay and her late partner Walter E. Sear founded the recording studio Sear Sound in New York City.
Here story reminds me of another trailblazer of that early sexploitaiton era:
Pat Barrington had a wild career, and you can see more of her here:
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Let me know if you’ve seen the work of Roberta Findlay!