One can’t help but be fascinated by the moment in GHOST STORY when Craig Wasson, playing his own brother — wait. He’s not playing Craig Wasson’s brother. I don’t know if he even has a brother. He’s playing the hero’s brother, and in the same film he also plays the hero, Don Wanderley. Interesting choice of name. Musical.

Anyhow, as David Wanderley, the brother Wasson has a moment which one can’t help but be fascinated by, when, backing away in terror from the rotting, cadaverous visage of Alice Krige (achieved by means of Rick Baker effects, I hasten to add), he crashes through the window of the skyscraper he’s in and plunges to his death many storeys below. What makes the sequence fascinating is that, like John Vernon in POINT BLANK, he performs his death plunge nude, but unlike Vernon he goes full frontal. And, in a bit of gratuitous realism that fairly boggles the mind, Wasson’s genitals are seen to WAGGLE IN THE WIND.



Extensive pretend research has failed to establish how Dick Smith and Rick Baker managed to make Wasson’s balls waggle about so realistically — did they attach wires? No. Did they have a wind machine blasting up Wasson’s arse? No. Did they paint the privates with flesh-coloured metallic paint and then position magnets at — NO!

I am forced to conclude that Wasson got the part, a leading one in a large production also featuring John Houseman, Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks Jnr and Melvyn Douglas, by virtue of his ability to make his generative organs wag about at will. His highly developed cremaster muscle, which granted him this superhuman power, would stand him in good stead in Brian DePalma’s BODY DOUBLE (scenes deleted).

This Youtube clip (at twenty seconds in) denies us the full majesty of the effect, since a piece of genital fogging has been despatched — Fly, my beauties! — to cover what we are forced to call the offending area.

Genital fogging, it seems to me, is one of the last great areas of artisanship left to cinema. Like the workshops full of ladies stencil-tinting films in the early silent days, the film industry continues to support squadrons of dedicated artists, hunched over the reels of celluloid in their berets, delicately wielding their cans of spray-on fog, clouding the private parts of the great and good. Japan alone supports over a million of them. If we should ever throw off our prejudicial attitude to the lower abdomen, what shall become of these trained professionals. One pictures them, squatting on the sidewalk or standing by freeway off-ramps, with a cardboard sign reading WILL FOG GENITALS FOR CHANGE, blurring the cocks of passing strangers for a few cents.

You might suggest that they could find work doing faces, making people anonymous when they testify to traumatic experiences on television, but no. Whole other skill.


Actors who have naturally foggy genitals of their own are highly prized. B**t R******s may not learn his lines, but his smudgy nuts ensure he is never out of work.

10 Responses to “Cremastermind”

  1. Japan, where the censors allow all manner of sadistic depravity as a matter of course, had, and I think still has, a blanket ban on pubic hair. My memories include seeing an expensive imported coffee-table artbook of Belloq’s photographs of Storyville prostitutes in which it looked as though a child had scratched out every single pubic area with a pin, and a screening of The Night Porter in which Charlotte Rampling’s pubes were followed around everywhere by an amorphous black blob. Naturally I was mesmerised by this follow-the-bouncing-ball effect, which added enormously to my enjoyment of the film.

  2. I think the Storyville photographs were scratched at the negative stage, most likely by Belloq himself because I remember reading about the emulsion still being wet when the scratching took place.

    Also, are you aware of this?

  3. That’s interesting, Alex. And to think I always blamed the Japanese…

  4. He did have a Jesuit brother, so we might be able to shift the blame over to the Catholics. It’s worth a try!

  5. Well, the Japanese WOULD have defaced (or defannied) the photos if the artist hadn’t gotten there first.

    Pamela Green complained that pubes were banned everywhere in her day (solved by airbrushing), except Germany, where it was obscene if you didn’t have them. So every nudie shot had to have a special hairy German version.

  6. In the Japanese edition of this Pierre Clementi’s pubes are completely blanked out.

  7. Jeff Gee Says:

    There’s a Froggy MacIntyre review of the UNscratched Storyville negatives on the IMDB.

  8. The Japanese fog everything. Pubic hair rather than actual genitals seems to be their problem.

    Every time genital fogging is performed, a “fog negative” is created as by-product, in which everything is blurry EXCEPT the genitals. Screens full of mist with pin sharp genitals moving about them. A bit like the luminous condom scene in Skin Deep. These fetch high prices on the black market.

  9. David Boxwell Says:

    I’ll rephrase Norma Desmond (after watching Maria Schneider in LAST TANGO IN PARIS yesterday): “We had pubic hair then!”

  10. […] I guess GHOST STORY has a place in here […]

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