Monday, January 02, 2006

I'm going through the Richard Fleischer memoir of his father Max and annotating it page by page for a review that will appear here this week.

In the meantime I'm posting another story from the archives that might be of interest.

Today I was going through some files and happened upon a piece I wrote (and never got paid for) for a magazine distributed to strip clubs. It's much more about low-budget film making than anything else, certainly than the T & A biz.

I love interviewing people about film making and Leslie Glass was happy to speak with me in between her sets as a featured dancer at a local club.

Glass, the subject of the piece, died a very untimely death of cancer in 2000. She was fun to talk with and had much more going on in her life than just being in the fringes of show business.

The long dark hair. The finely shaped features. The creamy complexion. Acclaimed Penthouse model Leslie Glass has got what she describes as "the Anne Rice look"

"Don't you think I'd make a good vampire?" she asks with a laugh.

Well, at least Leslie makes a fine vampire vixen from Venus. Leslie stars with Michelle Bauer, Theresa Lynn, and J.J. North in the Ted Bohus horror spoof Vampire Vixens from Venus which is now available on home video.

"I really wanted to get into acting," explains Leslie on why she made her acting debut in the low-budget romp.
The tall brunette model who has graced the cover and interior pages of the acclaimed men's magazine many times, and has been in several of the Penthouse videos, has long harbored an interest in acting. She hadn't acted on her ambitions until Bohus' production company called Penthouse looking for talent.

"They called Penthouse, and told them they needed some models with good bodies," recalled Leslie, who fits that casting call as any reader of the magazine certainly would agree.

Don't ever make the mistake of thinking that Leslie is just another centerfold star and would-be "scream queen." Leslie is bright, articulate, and uses her much of her earnings for the passion of her life of helping animals.

Leslie has founded a non-profit center in her native Baltimore, MD to care and treat strayed and abused dogs and cats. This center is the dream of her lifetime, as over the years she had helped 600 animals get the medical treatment and the homes they need. Still under construction, the [name] center will open this year, and will feature the world's second cancer treatment center for dogs and cats. Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione has helped by allowing Leslie to use the trademarked "Penthouse Pets" name in her fundraising "Pets for Pets" campaign.

Get into a conversation with Leslie, and it's easy to understand why Penthouse has often asked her to represent the magazine in various public appearances around the world. Besides being a knock-out, she's a smart and savvy spokesperson. Her recent promotional trips have included Russia and Hong Kong. So popular is Leslie that she holds the title 1994 International Pet of the Year. But, does she ever have problems with people who think of a centerfold model as a "bimbo?"

"Sure, but if you talk with me for any more than a minute, you'd know I'm not a bimbo," Leslie says emphatically.

Describing Leslie as goal-oriented is something of an understatement. She has worked hard to achieve her fame at Penthouse, and to reach her personal goal of building her animal shelter and clinic. There is a new world for her to conquer, though, and that is acting.

Although she's had plenty of experience in front of a camera with her appearances in Penthouse videos, Leslie realized she needed more experience, and gladly accepted the role in Vampire Vixens from Venus.

The film was shot in two weeks in July 1994, and features Leslie as one of the three title characters. Leslie admits she had some doubts about the movie during production.

"I thought it was cheesy," she says candidly. "But when I saw the film I was pretty impressed. The special effects were great, and it's was really comical."

The film does feature several topless scenes, and although Leslie has appeared nude in print and on video before, she'd rather do roles in which nudity is not included.

Leslie, Theresa Lynn, and J.J. North star as the titular vampire vixens. Their mission on Earth is to extract the liquid part of human bodies, and to do that they transform themselves from their hideous natural state to forms more pleasing to horny men. Once a guy is interested, they waste little time strapping a helmet to his head extracting his precious body fluids and leaving him resembling a pitted prune.

As they leave a trail of dried remains around New Jersey, the police begin to investigate under the barely competent leadership of one Detective Lieutenant Oakenshield, played by Peter Grimes. His efforts to get to the bottom of the mysterious deaths is sidetracked by a not-so-chance meeting with a lovely woman played by scream queen favorite Michelle Bauer who just happens to be the ugliest Venusian of them all.

The emphasis on comedy rather that t-and-a or gore is refreshing to see in a low-budget genre film, and that's what director, writer and special effects artist Ted Bohus had in mind. Bohus, who has made a name for himself with films such as The Regenerated Man and The Deadly Spawn, wanted to do something "light" instead of horrific, and wrote the script for the science fiction comedy.

Bohus is a big fan of Michelle Bauer and he was impressed with Theresa Lynn, and J.J. North. For the last alien, Bohus had decided on actress Stacey Warfel, but she had an untimely motorcycle accident which sent him looking for a replacement.

After sending out casting notices, Leslie auditioned for the part, and Bohus knew he had his fourth alien. "She was very enthusiastic, looked great, and carried some weight with her title of 1994 International Pet of the Year," he recalls.

Although she lacked acting experience, she did impress Bohus in front of the camera. "She came prepared," Bohus says. "With a low budget film, actors have to come prepared and know their lines."

The production of the film went smoothly, according to Bohus, except for a scheduling mix-up which prevented Leslie from being on the set the night the opening scene was shot. This scene introduces the three aliens who transform themselves into beautiful women. Without Leslie there, the scene couldn't work, and on a low-budget film, time is most definitely money.

"I went through the roof," Bohus admits. " I told everyone to leave me alone for a while and I thought of a way to work this out." Bohus' solution? The transformation device for the third alien isn't working correctly. When Leslie was able to join the production, Bohus shot a scene in which the vixens manage to get the device to transform one ugly Venusian into the beautiful Leslie.

Bohus was impressed enough with the newcomer that he would certainly consider Leslie for another role.
For the time being, Leslie is taking her new acting career one day at a time, and is very grounded about her future.

"I've got to start at the bottom, and work my way to where I want to go," she states. Yet, Leslie is going to tackle acting the same way she has worked in modeling...on her own terms.

By living in Baltimore, she believes she "misses a lot of roles," but yet she doesn't want to live in Los Angeles.
"I don't want to get caught up in the politics of it all," she explains, alluding to the competitive pressures of getting a role. "I know a lot of the women out there are clawing each other on the way to the top."

How does she evaluate herself in her first acting job? "I was impressed with myself," she says with a laugh. "I memorized everything in the script."

Hard work doesn't bother Leslie, nor does paying her dues, and this writer is willing to bet Vampire Vixens from Venus is the start of her new career.


SRBissette said...

VAMPIRE VIXENS, Ted Bohus -- ah, what a rush of memories!

THANKS for the piece, Mike, another solid piece of interviewing and writing. Great fun, too!

Marty said...

Hey Mike, having fun w/ your blog. I remember Vampire Vixens from my Movie Shop daze. Did I ever tell you I met Ted Bohus at last years Chiller? Good guy. Gave me a couple of free movies and I bought a DEADLY SPAWN t-shirt off of him.

Mike Dobbs said...

I liked Ted. I haven't seen him in years, but we were both staples at Chiller Con when Steve and I would hare a table.

I noticed the other day at Media Play a copy of the Deadly Spawn and I was tempted to buy it. I've got a "big box" VHS copy.

Marky Mark said...

Do we really need to hear about you and Steve haring that table?

SRBissette said...

I never, ever "hared" a table with Mike, Mark, you potty-mouth, you.

We did once coordinate a meter violation, though.