“High Rise” (1973), and the Best XXX-rated Film Theme Song Ever

High Rise

Directed by Danny Stone

Synopsis
Fade in from black. The movie kicks off with a quick, metafictional clip of a bumbling production assistant slamming his hand in a clapperboard. Next, we meet Susie (3-time actress Tamie Trevor, that’s her to the right with her boob out), an empty-headed brunette, reclined on a couch in a hack psychiatrist’s office. “It’s like this doctor, [my husband and I] just don’t fuck anymore… Nothing I do seems to tickle his fancy.” she confides. Then, bizarrely and out of the blue, she admits to having been intimate with a frog back in high school.

“A frog? You mean you actually had sex with a frog?” her psychiatrist probes.

“I was very young.” Susie clarifies. “He took advantage.” Then, continuing, “I really do like to fuck and suck, but I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

The “doctor” weighs in with his expert opinion, urging Susie to engage in “fresh, novel, sexual experiences” with strangers and use those experiences to astound her husband in bed that same night. Sounds legit. The bubbly young woman then bangs her way through a high rise apartment building while searching for an apartment of her own.

The rest of the story is broken up into four additional segments, each of which is preceded by an illustrated title card.

[continued below]

Review (SPOILERS)
In Batteries Not Included, Susie rings a doorbell at random. An infantile, toy train obsessed man-child named Herbie (Harry Reems in his forty-four hundredth porn appearance) answers. Susie invites herself in, takes a moment to admire the man-child’s impressive toy collection, then turns her attention on him. Pulling her boobs out of her top, she seductively states that, “…A girl is the best toy of all.”

In A Tale of Six Titties, Susie knocks on the door of a pair of lesbians that turns her into a clam dinner. Toward the end of this sequence, the clapperboard guy from earlier calls the action so he and the rest of the film crew can take a break.

In Ménage à Twat, Susie collapses in pervy, Sex newspaper reading Jack (Jamie Gillis making his six-hundred-eighty-nine thousandth porn appearance)’s doorway. Jack drags the buxom, blacked-out broad to his living room, brazenly disrobes and gropes her, Susie comes to, is apparently down with said groping, and… Well, from there, it’s Bone City, population 2. After a while, a frustrated voice calls out from the bedroom. Jack has a wife, and it’s her. “…Will you get the fuck in here?!” she yells. “I’m horny as Hell!” Mrs. Jack starts to service herself. Porn magazine pages take up every inch of wall space. Jack and Susie walk in… Aw golly, I’m sure you can hazard a guess as to what happens next.

Susie’s carnal conquest comes to a head when she enters a full-blown sex party in progress in Aw-gee (like “orgy”, get it?). Couples bang to all sides. On the left, a dude swings away at a punching bag. An obscenely big-breasted go-go dancer jumbles her boobs in her hands. Another flexes her pecs like a strongman. A stuffed bear comes to life, I think. A functioning stop light alternates colors. Posters of historically relevant people hang in the background. To make matters more hippy trippy, the entire exchange is intercut with dated 70s graphics and shots of various non-performers breaking the fourth wall.

Finally, a mild mind fuck of an ending (thankfully, it ain’t in the literal sense) that ties in with the intro to bookend the action.

High Rise 5

While High Rise adheres to the same rigid blueprint every sexploitation and classic porn movie does (“You had the boy/girl scene, the girl/girl scene, the orgy scene, and then the kiss-off.” sexploiteer and career H.G. Lewis collaborator David F. Friedman is quoted as saying), it’s also original enough to merit reviewing all these years later. Eh, maybe.

Conceived as a low-risk, high-reward investment by first-time director Danny Steinmann (credited here as Danny Stone; the seldom heard of The Unseen, the rape-and-revenge classic Savage Streets, and the oft-maligned but honestly not that bad Friday the 13th: A New Beginning round out the filmmaker’s résumé) while attending a showing of the almost appallingly profitable mainstream porno Deep Throat, High Rise would appropriately replace that film the following year at the World Theatre in New York, before going nationwide three weeks later. Variety, Daily News, The New York Post, and of course Playboy gave it favorable reviews at the time — not bad for a cash grab that was filmed in just two and half days for a measly $28K.

High Rise’s story, or absence thereof, is probably what you’d expect of a porno’s — illogical, paper thin, predictably structured — its sole purpose, after all, being to sandwich the meat of the matter, or “sex”, as it’s sometimes referred to, of which there’s a generous amount on display, enough to appease any masturbateurs that would happen upon this. Indeed, the sexin’ is plentiful, if markedly less gooey than I had assumed (fun fact: Steinmann declined to film money shots, claiming they were “messy”).

To the opposite point, High Rise’s fun, carefree demeanor, colorful, even psychotropic approach, and self-acknowledgement — Hell, celebration — of itself as a work of fiction give it a small amount of cult movie appeal and serve to elevate the whole one or two notches above other films of its genre, vintage, and budget.

Boasting a little kid’s dream’s worth of retro toys and collectibles, and numerous, rapid-fire close-ups of same, including this riotous reaction shot of a mortified sheep (below), Batteries Not Included was most likely devised as an economic way to incorporate Steinmann’s previous work experience filming toy commercials. Punctuated by an upbeat ditty that repeats, “I’ve been bitten by the kissing bug, the kissing bug, the kissing bug…” and punch line of a climax — Herbie the virgin man-child’s enraged mother busts through his door as he orgasms, smiling Susie greets her with the words, “Oh, hi.”, and continues bouncing away — this second of five segments would have to be my favorite. It’s funny, absurd, almost pop art in terms of its preoccupation with everyday objects.

High Rise 3

However, the ace up the sleeve that really sets this XXX-rated effort apart more than anything else is its catchy theme song that appears in no less than five different forms throughout the film’s hour-five-minute runtime. The first of these variants is an unsuspectedly uplifting, wah-wah pedalin’ funk-groove that may as well have been written for one of those early-1970s, all-black sitcoms, the second or third of them is a near-twenty-minute “Sympathy For the Devil” tribute that sprawls the entirety of the film’s final orgy. Classic porn reviewer Loopnode of the tactfully titled jerkoffzone.net describes the latter of the two abovementioned arrangements as follows:

The guy who is singing, well, talking really quickly would be more accurate, starts throwing in… leftfield namechecks that include Thomas Aquinas, Emperor Hirohito, Madame Curie and Rasputin. He claims The Barber of Seville sprinkles pubic hair on the floor and Frankenstein 69s Lady Godiva. It sounds like they shovelled LSD down the throat of a jazz-funk no-mark and told him to simply list what flashed before his eyes. Bonnie and Clyde, Sherlock Holmes, Keats and Socrates all get a mention. The singer then accuses Popeye of fucking Olive Oyl and says something about the Spanish Inquisition before accusing Darwin of molesting apes and making some lame joke about Abraham Lincoln… You get the feeling you are meant to learn something from this song, that it might be an early attempt at edu-porn, but all we actually learn is that someone really wasted their humanities degree.

Well put. The jam is a campy, rambling affair, a combination of drug induced faux-intellectualism and classic rock — in other words, a must hear, a true sonic masterpiece. Have a listen below the review (2nd vid).

High Rise 4

The Verdict
High Rise is unique in more ways than not for a cheap porno. Relatively speaking, it’s one of the best of its kind — a fun, raunchy wank of a time that approaches but falls short of redeeming, artistic value. At the end of the day, it’s still a cheap porno, largely forgettable if not for the fact that director Steinmann went on to have a hand in one of the most successful horror franchises of all time, and completely skippable in the bigger, mainstream scheme of things. Check it out for its awesome, funkadelic theme music, if nothing else.

Recommendations
this incomplete list of other “Golden Age” porn classics:

Mona the Virgin Nymph (1970)
Deep Throat (1972)
Behind the Green Door (1972)
The Devil in Miss Jones (1973)
Alice in Wonderland (1976)
Through the Looking Glass (1976) MY REVIEW
The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976)
Debbie Does Dallas (1978)
Taboo (1980)
Insatiable (1980)

Total Run Time: 1 hour 5 minutes 28 seconds (Video-X-Pix DVD)

My spirits rise high
When I walk through the park
And feel the breeze blow
The high rise

I get a high rise
When I’m out in the dark
And see the moon glow
Oh, high rise

But the highest rise of all
Is when you call me up and say
“Come to me, babe
Time to be together
Make each moment
Feel like it’s forever
Stay with me
Come play with me
In my high rise”

And when I taste you
The sweetest rain on my tongue
I get that feeling
Oh, high rise

You’ve got the power
To turn old blood to young
A-wheeling dealing
Oh, high rise

But the highest rise of all
Is when you call me up and say
“Come on, baby
Walk on by my awning
Knock on my door
Brighten up my morning
Light my fire
Higher and higher
In my high rise”

Soon I’m gliding down the street
And I am heading your way
The only man I want to meet’s
The one who’s standing in your doorway

And if I’m feeling kind of lowdown
I recall when and where
I first saw you
Oh, high rise

It was a showdown
Cos I knew then and there
How I’d adore you
Oh, high rise

While I wondered
“Where’s your pad?”
You smiled and gladly
Showed me the way

I pressed the button
In your elevator
There was nothing
For me to be afraid of

I felt free
Cos I’m really me
In your high rise

I’m especially fond of this version’s repeated use of the term “High Rise” as every part of speech, and even a way of life. Feel free to contribute missing lyrics. There were just a few that I couldn’t fully decipher.

My spirits rise high
When I walk through the park
And feel the breeze blow
High rise

I get a high rise
When I’m out in the dark
And see the moon glow
High rise

But the highest rise of all
Is when you call me up and say
“Come to me, baby
Time to be together
Make each moment
Feel like it’s forever
Stay with me
Come play with me
In my high rise”

Come on and burst your chains
Let your soul be free
In the kingdom of High Rise
You can be what you want to be

Life is a lot of moments
Strung together in a haphazard way
High Rise helps you grab that string
And get the most out of every day

Say hello to peace
Say goodbye to war
Let workin’ at High Rise happiness
Be your daily chore

Remember the silver trumpet
That old man Gabriel blew
There’s a blowjob waitin’ in High Rise
That’s just as good for you

Dig the cat who invented the wheel
Praise Fulton who harnessed steam
Great inventions through the ages
Came from a High Rise dream

Take Leonardo da Vinci
His Mona Lisa takes the prize
He even invented a flying machine
Leonardo flew High Rise

Biblical prophets prophesy
Philosophers philosophize
Even Spinoza goes High Rise to ?????
That’s how he got so wise

King Arthur and his knights go High Rise
Lady Guinevere is a charmer
But Lancelot’s in shock because he caught his cock
In the zipper of his suit of armor

Now, the dude who wrote King Lear
And Hamlet and Othello
Was none other than Willie the Shake
A real High Rise fellow

Right on, William Shakespeare
He left a lot to mankind
Cos he let himself go on a High Rise
The High Rise of his mind

Moses High Rised the Bible
Goethe High Rised Faust
Donald Duck High Rised Mary Poppins
While Walt Disney Mickey Moused

The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf
Tried the High Rise plan
Daddy Warbucks goes up with Orphan Annie
But goes down on Raggedy Ann

Jove, who gave us Heaven
Neptune, who showed us the sea
Prometheus, who stole light from the sky
Were gods on a High Rise spree

Take ????? to ?????
Petrushka to Firebird Valley
Bravo, Igor Stravinsky
You did it the High Rise way

Marx and Lenin go High Rise
And so does Chairman Mao
And the lawyers, partners, and the legal firm
Of Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe

Timothy Leary goes High Rise
With the passion of a holy roller
He put LSD in a tube of Colgate
And freaked out enough for molar

Michelangelo goes High Rise
So does Lautrec-Toulouse [sic]
Yeah, Malcolm X rapped with Oedipus Rex
About High Rise and Mother Goose

Porky Pig goes High Rise
In a Barnum & Bailey spectacular
Al Capone puts a gun to Attila the Hun
And orders High Rise on Count Dracula

When Governor Perry comes High Rise
With frostbite in his gizzard
He drinks wind and snow at five below
And parts a ten-day blizzard

Girls are bells to Quasimodo
Bells in a High Rise tower
He makes them ring by pulling a string
He bangs them every hour

Everybody come High Rise
Come tread this hallowed soil
Join Mahatma Gandhi with Amos & Andy
And Popeye with Olive Oyl

Take Flo, she’s fond of Ebenezer
And for short, she calls him “Oh”
In a thousand ways he tries to please her
You should see them eff and blow

Al Goldstein knows High Rise
The creator of Screw Magazine
Sold a life subscription to Snow White & the Seven Dwarves
And Mr. Clean

Women’s lib. goes High Rise
To advance the female sect
They stuffed a vibrator up a male alligator
To see if he’d eject

If culture and nobility
And pleasure is your bag
Now, come on, flock to High Rise
You won’t find it a drag

Sitting Bull goes High Rise
So dignified and calm
He wears feathers in his hair
To keep his wigwam

Beethoven, Bach and Mozart
Would not have composed one tone
If they hadn’t scored night after night
In a High Rise flat of their own

I asked Puccini and Verdi
“How ya get a Soprano to sing sweeter?”
Puccini said, “I rehearse her”
Verdi said, “I eat her”

Now, if you’re really flying High Rise
Your virtues are milieu too
Everything you say
And everything you do

Saint Thomas Aquinas went High Rise
When he wrote Summa Theologica
Some Jesuits found it inspiring
Others found it hard it hodgica-podgica

Annie Oakley is a nymphomaniac
Her High Rise has great renown
As a quick gunslinger and a nympho
She has the fastest drawers in town

Molière digs Voltaire
Bob Crane digs Marjorie Main
See Lord Byron fuck his cousin Myron
Through a window pane

Anastasia arrives with Rasputin
King Louie arrives with a queen
And VD spreads to a High Rise
Madame Curie arrives with vaccine

Emperor Hirohito went High Rise
The rising sun will never go again
Cos he lowered the lamp with a Broadway tramp
When he didn’t even have a Yen

Madame Butterfly brings Pagliacci
Carmen brings her matador
The Barber of Seville brings pubic hair
And sprinkles it on the floor

Diamond Jim Brady comes High Rise
In a limousine with a driver
You’ll see Frankenstein doing 69
On top of Lady Godiva

High Rise means be constructive
In the ways you employ yourself
You’re only here a speck of a time
So you may as well enjoy yourself

He painted impressions on canvas
With a brush stroke fine and clear
If Van Gogh had been thinking High Rise
He never would have cut off his ear

Sherlock Holmes goes High Rise
He reformed Bonnie & Clyde
He’s talking to Judas and working on Brutus
And plans to get Jekyll & Hyde

Copernicus goes High Rise
With Plato and Hippocrates
To see Aristotle jerk off in a bottle
While debating Socrates

High Rise helps achievement
It goes beyond pure pleasure
And trains the human spirit
To seek the highest human measure

Henry VIII goes High Rise
With two virgins ?????
They played with his thing, cheered, “Long live the king!”
????? plans to behead ’em

Abraham Lincoln goes High Rise
Cruising for a sweet mistress
If she’s friendly and warm, he’ll gladly perform
The Gettysburg Undress

Darwin went High Rise with monkeys
To put his theories to the test
Until he was half digested
By an ape he tried to molest

Take poets like Longfellow
Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley
Could they have written beautiful poems
If they had been a Machiavelli?

It’s when you’re bloated with hate
You just can’t fly High Rise
And the long hand of fate
Is bound to pluck out your eyes

If that old devil Hitler
Had been a High Rising fella
His balls wouldn’t have burned
In a bunker in his cellar

Yeah, he went to bed with Satan
Adolf sucked hot red fire
So, his High Rise was ashes
On his own funeral pyre

Could you have brought a slave
Toward the coast of Virginia?
No, you couldn’t have
High Rise was deep down within ya

If the North and South went High Rise
Instead of giving in to fanatics
There would be no screams at Andersonville
Or a stillness at Appomattox

In 15th Century Spain
If Marx had a High Rise mission
There’d be no widows, orphans, and martyrs, and coffins
From the Spanish Inquisition

If Cortez had gone High Rise
And made Montezuma his friend
The Aztec nation and civilization
Wouldn’t have come to an end

High Rise looks down on no one
No race, color, nor creed
High Rise wants you to live as you want
And feed your every need

Yes, High Rise is Hedonism
For a brave new breed-onism
Who try every seed-onism
With a daily good deed-onism

To those who plant evil seed-onism
And grow bad weed-onism
And are ruled by greed-onism
Well, High Rise ain’t that greed-onism

They can’t go High Rise
In such a lowdown dirty state
If they don’t shape up real soon
Well, they’ll just evaporate

If you dig the sermon I’m preaching
Come worship Bacchus and Venus
And I swear nothing but my High Rise
Will ever come between us

And when I taste you
The sweetest rain on my tongue
I get that feeling
High Rise

You’ve got the power
To turn old blood to young
A-wheeling and dealing
High Rise

But the highest rise of all
Is when you call me up, you call me and say
“Come on, baby
Walk on by my awning
Knock on my door
And brighten up my morning
Light my fire
Higher and higher
In my high rise”

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9 Responses to ““High Rise” (1973), and the Best XXX-rated Film Theme Song Ever”

  1. I don’t know about the best theme ever, but it did make me laugh. This is one of those 70’s era titles I have never heard of before

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vern,

      Did you listen to the 2:44-long video that pops up in the Reader, or the 16:28-long video at the end of the post?

      You’re right, this is an obscure title. I was having a lot of trouble even finding other reviews on the web.

      Thanks for stopping in!

      Like

  2. I met Steinmann at a Monster Mania convention shortly before he died. I bought High Rise off of him there and he gave me a poster as well. He was very friendly and eager to talk. We actually spent more time talking golden age smut than we did Friday the 13th.

    If you have a tolerance for this type of stuff, this movie is a ton of fun. I’m glad you brought up the song. It’s a winner for sure.

    Great write up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s really cool. From what I’ve read, Steinmann seemed like a fun guy. It makes me mad that the Friday the 13th documentary His Name Was Jason takes shots at him and his entry. One of the interviewees makes a comment like, “A New Beginning was directed by a porn director and looks it.”

      He gave you a High Rise poster, or a poster for another movie? If he gave you a High Rise poster, you should scan in or take a picture of it and upload it somewhere. I couldn’t find any decent-res poster artwork online.

      You couldn’t be more right. You can’t beat the song. I put it on my phone. I’m going to listen to it during my next bike ride!

      Thanks for the comment, my good sir.

      Like

  3. Lol, not too much porn that could be considered memorable because of the music. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well I’m glad someone’s on the case, well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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