What images are conjured up for you from the title? Is it a cute girly cartoon? No. It's a dark and twisted, sexually charged pseudo-supernatural "thriller" from Nic Roeg, the 79-year-old auteur who previously created Walkabout, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Don't Look Now, Castaway and Bad Timing, all in the period 1971-1986.

So what's the deal with the title? The Puffball is a type of wild mushroom which resembles a woman's swollen belly, and this is a film about pregnancy.

Or something.

I'm not really sure what it is about, to tell you the truth. I'm not even positive that the writer and director knew, because it is supposed to be adapted from a book by Fay Weldon, and from what I have been able to determine (I haven't read it), that book is brimming with wit and clever dialogue. Although the script for this film was written by the son of the late Weldon, I see no sign of wit, and gathered not the vaguest inkling that the writer or Roeg tried to put any ironic distance between themselves and this preposterous story about Norse mythology, Celtic voodoo, aphrodisiacs, rabid stable couplings, stolen spirit-children, sperm, and rocks with holes in them. I suppose the self-important humorlessness should come as no surprise. Roeg has been in the film business for fifty years and has continually demonstrated that he lacks even the slightest sense of humor.

Of all Roeg's earlier films, Puffball is most similar to Don't Look Now. It takes the earlier film's premise of a normal young couple trapped in a menacing, ominous Venice and transports the couple to  the menacing, ominous Irish countryside, where they unexpectedly create a pregnancy and stir up deep feelings of envy in the local harridans, especially a woman who is trying futilely to become pregnant and feels that the outsider has stolen her child.

There were exceptions among the critics, but most of the scribes who profess to like Roeg's earlier films found this one to be like an unintentional parody of them, with all of the director's familiar devices exaggerated to ridiculous extremes. There is, for example, obvious sexual symbolism, some of it not so symbolic. Come to think of it, it's not really symbolism when you can see sperm squirting into a womb from the inside, is it? Let's just call it sexual imagery. There are several seconds of what appears to me to be an actual penis violating an actual vulva, as shot in extreme close-up, porn style, but disguised by fancy colored lenses and an absence of hair. Or maybe it is symbolism and it's actually something extremely similar to a penis penetrating something extremely similar to a vagina, in which case it takes the award for the most heavy-handed symbolism of all time, since it looks exactly like real coitus. This is far beyond the ol' "train entering a tunnel" device.

And the symbolism is actually subtle compared to the stereotypical Irish rurals and the oppressive Celtic musical cues!

If those Roeg fans found this movie difficult to watch, you can imagine how I felt, because I don't even like his "classics." I always find his narratives jumbled, his themes too-too serious and self-important, his execution very close to high camp, and the overall effect inevitably soporific. I mean, c'mon. I sat through two hours of Don't Look Now to find out that Sutherland's vision of his dead child was actually an evil dwarf. As I pointed out in my review of Don't Look Now:

"You know what the explanation really was? There was a serial killer wondering around Venice, skulking in and out of the shadows, and that is whom Sutherland mistook for the ghost of his daughter. So what's so odd about that? I'll tell you. The serial killer was an evil dwarf who looked exactly like a ten year old girl. So what's so unlikely about that? Well, I might have bought into it partially, except that the serial killer skulked around Venice in a shiny red overcoat. I know that I'm neither short enough nor evil enough to think like an evil dwarf, but if I were an evil serial-killing dwarf, I'd try to dress a little bit less conspicuously."

Since the people who like Roeg's best movies generally found Puffball unbearable, and I find many of Roeg's best movies to be laughably awful, you can probably figure out how I felt about this one.

While there is always a lively debate about the genuine merit of those earlier films and a significant amount of disagreement about Nic Roeg's proper place in the directorial pantheon, there is absolutely no dispute about his place in the film nudity Hall of Fame. When it came to getting hot chicks naked and testing the limits of censorial permissiveness, Nic was as good as anyone in any era, so his films are always must-watch fodder for horndogs. Amanda Donohoe is stark naked throughout Castaway as is Jenny Agutter in Walkabout. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie were rumored to be doin' the nasty for real in Don't Look Now, and The Man Who Fell to Earth features several scenes with naked young girls doing various things to Rip Torn's penis while the camera rolls.

Roeg doesn't fail us in Puffball from a nudity standpoint.

  • there's a little vixen running through the woods.
  • and some hot rural sex scenes featuring Kelly Reilly. (Somebody else did these first two clips, by the way. It would have been silly of me to duplicate them, but I added the two below.)
  • and more barn sex, this time with Miranda Richardson. There's no nudity from Miranda, but the scene includes the close-up which is either penetration or pseudo-penetration (seen here).
  • and, of course, the aforementioned internal cum shot, in the form of stock footage from high school sex-ed class (seen here).


  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








The Untouchable


Isild Le Besco plays a young French actress who is told by her mother on her birthday that her father is Indian, and that she met him on the banks of the Ganges. Isild drops out of a play she was very excited to be in, takes a sleazy part in a grade B film, and uses the money to travel to India, looking for her biological father. She meets an "untouchable" on the plane, sees some of India, and does eventually locate her father.

Variety said, "A strong candidate for empty French art film of the year." I am in complete agreement with that assessment. Acts two and three of this film play more like a travelogue shot by Michael J. Fox without taking his meds. In the unlikely event that there was a point, I totally missed it.

IMDb readers say 5.0, but with few votes.  IN French and English, with a little Hindi.

Le Besco does full frontal getting a massage.








Something Wild


From a recent 'Fun House" film clip we have Melanie Griffith in "Something Wild." Melanie gives up some nice T&A.


Executive Power


Our second feature is a "Babe in Bondage" with the lovely Andrea Roth in "Executive Power." Lousy movie, just a brief nipple, but she's a hottie. Caps and a clip with the brief nudity.








Notes and collages

The Hole


Keira Knightley



The Vampire Lovers


Madeline Smith






Three from Wolfsbergen:

Plus Kristin Sutton in 7 Angels in Eden








Victoria Silvstedt is caught in see-through panties

Sharon Stone caught by the paparazzi. The ol' butt needs some toning

Lina Romay in Exorcism


Lina Romay in Night of the Skull

Kathy Shower in Baja Run

Kathy Shower in Bedroom Eyes

Kathy Shower in Irresistible.

Jane Hayden in Killer's Moon

Film Clips


Reese Witherspoon in The Man in the Moon (1991). Reese was about 14 when this was filmed and the nudity was done by body double. It cuts to Reese just as she leaps into the water, and you can see from the capture to the right (which is actually Reese) that she is wearing some clothing on both the top and bottom halves of her body.

The women of The Sisterhood (2004), notably Jennifer Holland, Michelle Borth and Kate Plec, but others as well in this ridiculous (2.5 at IMDb) David DeCoteau film about lesbian sorority vampires.

Ji-hyeon Lee in La Belle (2000)

Two women from Blink (1994): Joy Gregory and Madeleine Stowe

Katja Schuurman in Oesters (2002)

Sophie Marceau in Firelight (1997), captured from HDTV (1920x1080)

Some Russian films, about which I know nothing: