Café Flesh  

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"Able to exist, to sense… to feel everything but pleasure. In a world destroyed, survivors break down to those who can and those who can’t. 99% are Sex Negatives. Call them erotic casualties. They want to make love, but the mere touch of a person make them violently ill. The rest, the lucky one percent, are Sex Positives, those libidoes escaped unscathed. After the Nuclear Kiss, the positives remain to love, to perform… and the others, well, we Negatives can only watch…, can only come…to…"-- Café Flesh, opening screens

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Café Flesh (1982) is a film co-directed by Stephen Sayadian (under the pseudonym "Rinse Dream") and an uncredited Mark S. Esposito and co-written by Sayadian and Jerry Stahl.

Music was composed and produced by noted music producer Mitchell Froom (and later appeared in his album, Key of Cool).

Two versions of the film were released: a hardcore version, and a softcore version. The softcore version was shown in mainstream cinemas. The film has often been shown on a double bill with Liquid Sky.

The film is a post-apocalyptic cult pornographic science fiction film.



In a post-apocalyptic world, the entire population is either sex positive or sex negative. The sex negatives, who become nauseous if they try to have sex, attempt to satisfy "the lust that war has made insatiable" by watching the sex positives get it on, staged as Dadaist performance art with props like phone booths, typewriters and salon hair dryers. Publications such as TimeOut London noted the film's prescience of AIDS-pandemic. [1]



By the early 1970s, the pornographic film industry had gained popularity, through the success of films such as Behind the Green Door and Deep Throat. During this period, there were many attempts to create artistic pornography, including The Devil in Miss Jones. There were also non-pornographic films with hardcore sex, such as I Am Curious (Yellow) and In the Realm of the Senses. By the early 1980s, home video technology shifted the porn industry, and pornography theaters were becoming less successful.

In 1982, Café Flesh, which mixed sex, satire, and avant-garde theater, was released. The film was created and co-written by Stephen Sayadian, under the name "Rinse Dream", and journalist Jerry Stahl, under the name "Herbert W. Day". Sayadin and Stahl made the film in two separate parts, using the non-pornographic elements of the film to attract financiers. The film became a success at midnight showings. An R-rated cut of the film was shown in mainstream theaters.

Two actors involved in this film went on to notable work in mainstream productions. Pia Snow changed her name to Michelle Bauer and became a prolific B-movie actress. Richard Belzer, a noted comedian at the time who later became know for his roles in Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, appears as an audience member.

Two sequels, Cafe Flesh 2 and Cafe Flesh 3, were released in 1997 and 2003, without the participation of the original creators. The sequels were written and directed by Antonio Passolini, and did not have the same degree of popularity and cult appeal as the first film.

Pages linking in as of May 2021

Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head, Michelle Bauer, Jerry Stahl, Mitchell Froom, Richard Belzer, Stephen Sayadian, More Human than Human, VCA Pictures, Adult Film Association of America, List of members of the XRCO Hall of Fame, Golden Age of Porn, List of science fiction films of the 1980s, List of apocalyptic films, Unsimulated sex, Nightdreams, Droid (film), Adam Film World, 16th AVN Awards, 22nd AVN Awards, List of cult films: C, Cult Movies 3

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