Central to both films’ wild generic hybridization and downbeat themes is screenwriter Herbert W. Day who, as Jerry Stahl, wrote scripts for some of the most successful television programs of the eighties and nineties, including Moonlighting, Alf, Northern Exposure, and Twin Peaks, and whose struggle with drug addiction was chronicled in the memoir Permanent Midnight. Although Stahl has never acknowledged this, Café Flesh is based on the premise of cult sci-fi novelist Tom DeHaven’s Freaks Amour, published by William Morrow in 1979, which told a strikingly similar post-nuclear mutation / sex cabaret story.
Many thanks to adult film historian and preservationist Joe Rubin, who patiently explained the history of the distribution of film prints through the x-rated theatrical market in the late seventies and the industry's measured and multi-phase embrace of home video. Rubin and his colleagues at Vinegar Syndrome continue to do excellent work in the preservation and restoration of classic adult films and cult movies for DVD, and their online streaming service, ExploitationTV, offers full 1080p streaming of a range of XXX, horror, and international films from the Vinegar Syndrome catalog and elsewhere. Their work deserves our support.
The academic field of media studies has produced a diverse and incredibly well-researched body of work on the porn industry, its history, its products, its key players and some of the social implications of its enduring popularity and struggles with censorship. These titles feature some of what I consider the best writing from scholars in the U.S. and the U.K. on the topic. The Feminist Porn Book contains thoughtful essays by performers, media makers, and activists as well.