We would like to apologize for our absence the last two weeks. Life changes have led us astray, but during our sabbatical we uncovered a true gem. The Fireworks Man or Angela The Fireworks Woman – which the latter makes no sense as a title – is not a gem because it’s good cinema, but rather an expose on a known director’s seedy beginnings.
The Fireworks Man is a 1975 Porno – a new arena to CineNiche. When you search this film, Abe Snake comes up as its director. No one has ever came forth to declare the name, instead speculation falls under two possibilities: Peter Locke, the film’s producer or the more likely candidate Wes Craven who has a cameo in the film. While interviewing Porn Kid from Odd Obsession we learned a myriad of seedy facts about our beloved horror maker. After Wes quit teaching and met Sean Cunningham they made a soft core sex mockumentary called Together (1971), which Sean calls a piece of sh*t and will never release in the US. The duo then raised some cash to do a hardcore-XXX-rape revenge film, but according to David Hess he made the film a R instead of X. Of course this is an ego-trip statement but the facts are these: Fred Lincoln (Weasel) made his start in porn and has since 1976 directed over 300 X rated films, Sandra Peabody (Mari) was in the X-rated Love-In ’72 and continued a porn career after, Jeramie Rain (Sadie) started in the soft core film The Abductors, and it was Lucy Grantham’s (Phyllis) only film role but proves she would have went all the way. So while Hess had only done voice work in the terrible Charles Bronson film Cold Sweat and Marc Sheffler (Junior) came from comedy clubs they may have had an influence, but Last House On The Left came right before the success of Behind The Green Door and Deep Throat which proved porn to be a profitable market.
Here is where Craven’s career becomes fascinating, between Last House in 1972 and The Hills Have Eyes in 1977 there is a five year gap of inactivity and for a struggling new director to be dormant for half a decade could completely ruin him. He did in fact keep busy and has always kept quiet about it too. After Last House he met Peter Locke and worked on his X-rated opus It Happened In Hollywood. Here he edited the sex and worked as an assistant director. He went on to edit a softer film called Carhops, and in the same year this so called Abe Snake directed The Fireworks Man. In regard to this film, all research indicates Abe Snake is Peter Locke, but Locke was always proud of his stint in the adult film industry and his films are all labeled as: “directed by Peter Locke,” the only exception being The Fireworks Man.
The synopsis of this film feels like it was created by a doctor of philosophy with a degree in psychology. We begin with a monologue of longing from Angela (Jennifer Jordan) about her brother Peter (Eric Edwards) and soon after this we witness their desire manifested in a rather subdued but nonetheless hardcore love making. To complicate matters even more than the incest; Peter is studying to become a priest. He tells her what they’ve done is wrong and forces her to promise to stay away. Her desire does not end, instead it intensifies in his absence. When she goes to see him he sends her off to be a servant for an aristocratic woman who uses here as a sexual slave. Angela blossoms and her second visit to Peter and subsequent denial leads her to a secluded adventure on the sea that ends with her nearly drowning. She is saved and molested and saved and molested ad infinitum. Each time Peter denies their future Angela grows more promiscuous until finally she’s the main course at an orgy. Peter comes to rescue her. He turns away from his faith to be with his sister.
Again, like in Last House, we are given exploitation Bergman. Without the sex scenes, what is left is an existential tragedy about a man turning from God and forced into sin because his heart is filled with desire more so than faith.
As far as porn is concerned this is a masterpiece and whether you believe Craven directed it or not, his connection with it is bound by the fact that he acts as the titular character – Wes Craven is The Fireworks Man.