Top 10 70's Euro Trash Starlets

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Kier-La's Top 10 Sexadelic 70's

(originally written for Celebrity Skin Magazine)
Thanks to Sam McKinlay

For most eurotrash fans, the DVD explosion has been a long time coming. Relegated to underground trading and collectors' circles, the pleasures of euro-thrillers, crime, westerns, and erotica suffered from poor picture quality that often obscured what attracted many viewers to these films in the first place: namely, the women. Because most of these actresses would b dubbed with voices other than their own for the export market, judging their acting became secondary to assessing their other, more physical talents. As the artistic center of many eurotrash efforts, their presence is largely what made the films work, crossing borders and generations with awe-inspiring agility. Now, with companies like Blue Underground, Synapse, Anchor Bay, Shriekshow (and more!) determined to give eurobabes their due, fans finally have cause to rejoice. While every eurotrash aficionado has their favorites, the following are my nominations for the top ten sexadelic 70s euro-starlets - some of whom can be fully experienced courtesy of recent DVD releases, and a few others who've missed the radar of the acquisition department and languish in relative obscurity on these shores.

rosalba neriRosalba Neri may be the ultimate eurotrash queen. Like fellow starlets Femi Benussi and Orchidea De Sanctis, she's luscious and seemingly omnipresent, appearing in over 85 films and the subject of the 2002 German documentary Rosalba Neri: The Italian Sphinx. With early appearances in films such as Mario Bava's Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), and Jess Franco's Castle of Fu Manchu (1967), her talents only really started being utilized after she appeared in the outrageous Top Sensation with Edwige Fenech in 1969. Known for her uninhibited lesbian scenes, Neri's in top form in this Ottavio Alessi overload. The early 70s saw an explosion of Neri films, among them Lady Frankenstein (1971 - directed by Mel Welles of Spectreman fame), Joe D'Amato's The Arena (1973) where she acted alongside American exploitation stalwarts Pam Grier and Margaret Markov, underrated director Duccio Tessari's Tony Arzenta (1973) with Alain Delon (and a bad red wig) and The Viterbury Stories (1973), one of a huge wave of bawdy Decamerotics. One of her most memorable roles undoubtedly comes courtesy Fernando Di Leo's Slaughter Hotel (1971), where she plays a nympho in a residential clinic run by the sketchy Klaus Kinski.

ewa aulinAulin was a 16-year-old Miss Sweden when she began her career in exploitation cinema, starting with prolific erotic aesthete Tinto Brass' Deadly Sweet (1967), followed by her breakthrough role as the teen temptress in Giulio Questi's Death Laid An Egg alongside European mega-stars Gina Lollabrigida and Jean-Louis Trinignant (a role she would re-imagine for The Double (1971)) Aulin was unleashed on American audiences with the movie adaptation of Terry Southern's psychedelic Candy in 1968, where she floated through the muddled incestuous subplot with an endearing naivete. 1972-73 were Aulin's banner years in terms of onscreen skin, appearing in a few of the better Decamerotics, including My Pleasure is Your Pleasure and Vittorio De Sisti's Fiorina the Cow, but her piece de resistance - whose steamy lesbian sequence was cut out for American release - was Joe D'Amato's Death Smiles on A Murderer (1972 - also starring my fave euro-hunk Luciano Rossi as her lovestruck hunchbacked brother). In 2002, the German TV doco Ewa Aulin - Die Zeit mit mir als Candy was assembled in tribute to this Swedish nymphette, whose career was brief but momentous.

laura gemserOf the countless women who've headed up the Emmanuelle knockoffs, this Indonesian beauty is in the top of her class, proving so popular that her films would often be re-titled to capitalize on the Black Emanuelle fad. A favorite of Joe D'Amato for his numerous Emanuelle outings (and others, including Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, 1980), Gemser revolutionized the character so that she reached mythological - and some would say feminist - proportions. While subject to a passive existence in the French components of the series, Gemser's Emanuelle has agency and a purpose. Her job as a photojournalist led her through sweaty jungles (Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals AKA Trap Them and Kill Them, 1977) and the darkest corners of a snuff movie ring in the controversial Emanuelle in America (1977), a red flag on any banned-movie list for the bestiality inserts it once contained for foreign markets.

edwige fenechFenech is another European staple that has yet to be fully appreciated this side of the Atlantic. Fenech emerges like a super-sexed hybrid of Audrey Hepburn and '60s starlet Elsa Martinelli (The 10th Victim). Her early career saw her appearing in a slew of German sex comedies (The Blonde and the Black Pussycat, 1967) and though she would later become known as a giallo postergirl as a result of her roles in Giuliano Carmineo's What Are Those Strange Drops of Blood on the Body of Jennifer? (1967 - Released by Anchor Bay as The Case of The Bloody Iris), Andrea Bianchi's Strip Nude for Your Killer, and several Sergio Martino efforts (All The Colors of Darkness, The Strange Vice of Signora Ward, The Case of the Scorpion's Tail), comedy was where she was at her most charismatic. Her unabashed approach to nudity necessarily led to her turn in the increasingly popular Decamerotics (The Beautiful Antonia, First A Nun, Then a Demon (1972), and That Babe Ubalda, All Naked and Hot (also 1972)), as well as the farces The Virgin Wife (1975) and Lucio Fulci's La Praetora (The Judge, 1976), the latter of which is considered by many to be Fenech's finest hour. It should be noted that sex comedies kept the Italian film industry afloat during a troublesome ten-year period, and Fenech was one of the most integral components of that explosion.

florinda bolkanThe staunchest of eurobabes, Bolkan was equally at home in high-end period adventure stories (Royal Flash, 1975), Academy Award-winning police thriller (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, 1970), countercultural cameos (Candy, 1968) or sleazy giallo films. While not a salty sexpot of the same calibre as Neri or Fenech, Bolkan's angst-ridden performances have won her a legion of devoted fans. Her role as the represses housewife in Lucio Fulci's Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971) turned to pure gold when she appeared in a surreal lesbian sequence with the alluring Anita Strindberg, and led to a reappearance in Fulci's Don't Torture A Duckling the following year. Footprints (1976), Luigi Bazzoni's follow-up to The Fifth Cord stars Bolkan as a paranoid repressive that echoes her character in Lizard...Another exploitation turn saw her in Franco Prosperi's intense rape-revenge pus The Seventh Woman (1978) alongside euro-hunk Ray Lovelock (and an offensively-placed AC/DC song), but Bolkan's best work is in the Gianfranco Mingozzi period epic Flavia the Heretic (1974), as the tormented devotee who must reconcile her spirituality with her feminist ideals.

Rollin's regular duo of succulent succubi were most irresistible when they appeared onscreen as a pair, and while usually relegated to background minion roles, the identical twins admittedly outshine their leading co-stars with their silent charisma. Discovered by Rollin as teenagers, the two were forbidden from associating him by their mother, who saw him as a bad influence. She didn't know how bad - aside from his artsy lesbian vampire films (La Vampire Nue, 1969, Lips of Blood, 1975) the two also became staples of the hardcore films he made for extra cash under the pseudonym Michel Gentil. Among the most legendary of these is the bizarre Phantasms (1975, released in the US as The Seduction of Amy) and the newly restored Baccahanales Sexuelles (1973).

stephane audranOne of the two famed Nouvelle Vague spouses (the other being Anna Karina), the sultry Audran married Claude Chabrol in '65 and has been a staple of his films ever since, for better or for worse. For some fans, the inaccessible is the most beguiling, and those worship at the temple of Audran, compelled to satisfy their lustful reverence with glimpses of skin beneath period lingerie. Luis Bunuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) sees her clad in no more than a bra and slip for the first quarter, as does Chabrol's The Unfaithful Wife (1968), part of the recently-release Chabrol boxed set which also features Audran essentials Les Biches (1968) and Le Boucher (1970). A resolute seductress whose gaze threatens certain castration, Audran is a class act who stands out among her peers.

soledad mirandaThis Spanish hottie hardly needs an introduction - a restrained actress of mesmerizing beauty, she was granted iconic status when a car crash took her life in 1971. While appearing in a myriad of films throughout the 1960s, including several sword and sandal epics (Ursus, 1961; The Prehistoric Sound, 1964), swingin' 60s sexploits (The Black Cats, 1964), and even the odd western (Sugar Colt, 1966), Miranda was immortalized as the aesthetic centerpiece of numerous Jess Franco films (often credited as Susann Korda). Her turn as Lucy in Franco's Dracula won her the lead in the obsessive director's Vampyros Lesbos (1970), She Killed in Ecstacy (1970), Eugenie de Sade (1970) and The Devil Came From Akasava (1971). While her life and career extended into the 70s by just over a year, her image will be forever imprinted on the minds of the viewers with whom she became acquainted in that short period of productivity.

The doe-eyed Anicee Alvina established a penchant for nudity early in her career with the lesbian psycho-drama Le Rempart des Beguines (1972), Friends (1972), and the latter's follow-up Paul and Michelle (1974), in which she plays a 14-year-old runaway (she was 18 in actuality) who shacks up with a precocious teenage rich boy. The simulated underage nudity was quite shocking at the time, and is the only thing of note (other than the Elton John score) in this otherwise tedious film. From there, she caught the attention of noted French surrealist Alain Robbe-Grillet, who cast her in his Playing With Fire (1975) and Slow Slidings of Pleasure , which was rigorously denounced by the Vatican upon its 1973 release. Firmly established as an erotic starlet, her career thenceforth maintained that debauched direction, with a 1975 Playboy spread and appearances in Jean-Pierre Berckman's Isabelle and Lust (1975) and Dino Risi's The Forbidden Room (1977) alongside veteran actors Vittorio Gassman and Catherine Deneuve. Sadly, the only Alvina films readily available in the US are Friends and its dull sequel.

christina lindbergLindberg is another sweet-faced sexpot that started her career in nudies early on. The Swedish starlet's first film on record is Maid in Sweden (1969), and was soon followed by What Are You Doing After The Orgy? (1970), The Swinging Co-eds (1972), and a few of the infamous German Schoolgirl Report films, among them Campus Swingers (1972) and What Schoolgirls Don't Tell (1973). She ventured into hardcore with Anita, The Swedish Nymphette (1973) and the film most eurotrash fans know and lover her for, Thriller...A Cruel Picture (released stateside as They Call Her One Eye). The latter is revered as a predecessor to nihilistic rape-revenge films such as Baise-Moi for its use of hardcore during the rape sequences. Lindberg retired from acting in 1980, but resurfaced in 1993 as the writer, producer and director of Christinas svampskola, a documentary about edible Swedish mushrooms (which has since become a much sought-after collectors' item).

Kier-La Janisse