I was genuinely saddened all day yesterday after reading about the death of porn star Marilyn Chambers. She starred in my favorite adult film of all time, 1980's Insatiable. I'm not into straight porn like that, but I do enjoy that flick for its kitsch and porno-chic factor (I know it's a very gay thing to say about a straight porno, but the wardrobe is great!). She also starred in Cronenberg's Rabid, in a very early (1977!) and thus unfathomably bizarre porn-to-mainstream crossover. As an adult-film actress of yesteryear, she was a definitive underdog. I think that finding out that someone so dirty-glamorous back in the day died in a trailer park is what affected me the most. The fall seems further than the ascent. Per the 2006 2-disc special edition of Insatiable, which includes a really fantastic film-long commentary with Marilyn, she seemed like a nice lady. I clipped part of another of the set's special features, an interview in which she talks about that film, Behind the Green Door, her softcore work and her life and its disappointments. The segment below might as well be her own eulogy. Bucking the stereotype associated with her career ever so slightly, I'm glad she was at least reasonably eloquent:
My favorite of Marilyn's pop-culture contributions, though, was her music. She didn't record an album or anything, just some tracks here and there that managed to encapsulate the seediness of disco and her industry. I went on at length about Insatiable's theme, "Shame on You," a few years ago, but I recently found an extended re-edit of the track. You can listen to it here. That song still regularly pops into my head. Not bad for a cheesy porno theme! There was also the slightly inferior "Benihana," which Michael Zager of "Let's All Chant" fame produced. I love that it could have been named after the restaurant. This woman fucked, sang and ate kitsch! Save me a space next to that great teppan in the sky, Marilyn.