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Joseph Sarno, one of the most noted directors of ’60s sexploitation fare who also dabbled in the horror genre, has died at the age of 89.
According to The New York Times, Sarno passed away in New York City on April 26. “He was one of the pioneers of the American sexploitation film and a driving force in the sexual revolution of the 1960s,” Michael J. Bowen, who is writing a biography of Sarno, told the paper. “The films were gritty, down to earth, with a very distinctive style. At their best they were very dirty—they just did not have explicit sex.” His best-known titles included CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, INGA and SWEDISH WILDCATS, and he combined the softcore with the supernatural in 1973’s VAMPIRE ECSTASY (pictured above), a.k.a. VEIL OF BLOOD and THE DEVIL’S PLAYTHING. In recent years, he collaborated with Alternative Cinema to bring all the above titles and more to DVD in restored special editions, and directed his final feature, 2004’s SUBURBAN SECRETS, for the company. “We are all devastated by the news,” Alternative’s Michael Raso wrote on its blog. “Joe was a great man and loved by everyone at [Alternative] Cinema who had the wonderful opportunity to work with him.”
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