Retro Porn Review – Water Power

May 17, 2015
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Retro Porn Review - Water Power

It’s no secret that the adult industry of the 70s was heavily linked to the Italian-American mafia. Just like with any good racket where there was money and vice, mobsters would likely show up sooner or later. By the mid-70s, the “porno chic” tag carried a lot of power and there was plenty of cash to be made in legit smut films.

What’s interesting and weird about the origins of Water Power is that director Shaun Costello was allegedly approached by a slightly embarrassed associate of the Gambino crime family who told Costello: “Look, I’m a grandfather and I’m ashamed to have to ask you this… but they need an enema movie.”

Just like that, Water Power was born. Inspired by the then-recently released Taxi Driver, Costello set out to do his own cab-less version of the Travis Bickle character, for which he thought his friend Jamie Gillis could do a great job. Gillis’ approach to voice-over narrative can be easily associated with De Niro’s own in Taxi Driver. Costello even stole some of Bernard Herrmann’s music score from the classic Scorsese movie — and strangely bragged about it later.

Water Power came out as “roughies” were being established as one of the go-to tendencies in adult film. Here, however, the rape fantasies took a different direction. While consensual sex was clearly not the lead character’s priority, this is not necessarily a movie about a serial rapist. Instead the focus is on a troubled man’s perception of sexual proclivity and his own form of righteous “cleaning.”

The movie follows Burt (Gillis) a man with a strong sex/porn obsession, often found lurking at unsuspecting neighbors’ homes and collecting naked pictures like there’s no tomorrow. On a casual visit to “The Garden of Eden” – one of the city’s clandestine and creative brothels – Burt is exposed to his first live enema. Burt’s eyes light up as a hose goes inside an uncomfortable blonde and brown water sprays out of the poor girl’s asshole almost simultaneously with Burt’s ejaculation.

Overwhelmed, Burt walks out of the brothel and decides to research further into the whole enema situation. Sex has always been a confusing topic for him; while pleasurable and exciting, it also feels dirty and wrong. In Burt’s mind the solution is simple: Fuck the girls and give them enemas. They may resist, but they totally need it, right?

Newspapers are now calling this mysterious guy “the enema rapist”… and he happens to disagree with them. The way he sees it, he’s just cleaning these girls up and doing something good for the world.

Well, just like enemas, this film is not for everyone. Actual sex scenes take a decidedly second place to the enema stuff, and watching the shitty water come out is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea (additionally, that sentence might also ruin tea for some people. I apologize!)

Having said all that, the performances by Gillis and the rest of the cast are pretty damn solid, the story’s compelling and the film — done in four days for $16,000 — looks impressive considering its budget and conditions.

The movie had a hard time finding an audience and was a box office disappointment. These niches weren’t all that well explored back then. Still, a couple of years later it opened in Germany under the title “Schpritz”; finding the success that the less bathroom-oriented American public wasn’t able to provide.

Nowadays Water Power has an undeniable cult status and it’s the classic reference for any enema-related adult film. Even if all that poop-juice rubs you the wrong way, it’s still a fairly well made dirty movie, and those will always be keepers.

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