Café Flesh

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Café Flesh
DVD cover
Directed byRinse Dream
Mark S. Esposito (uncredited)
Written byRinse Dream
Herbert W. Day
Produced byF.X. Pope
Stephen Sayadian
CinematographyF.X. Pope
Edited bySidney M. Katz
Music byMitchell Froom
Distributed byVCA Pictures
Release date
  • 1982 (1982)
Running time
74 minutes
CountryUnited States

Café Flesh is a 1982 post-apocalyptic cult pornographic science fiction film designed and directed by Stephen Sayadian (under the pseudonym "Rinse Dream") and co-written by Sayadian and Jerry Stahl (credited as "Herbert W. Day"). Music was composed and produced by noted music producer Mitchell Froom (and later appeared in his album, Key of Cool).[1]

Two sequels, Café Flesh 2 and Café Flesh 3, were released in 1997[2] and 2003, without the participation of the original creators. The sequels were written and directed by Antonio Passolini and did not have the same degree of popularity and cult appeal as the first film.


In the aftermath of nuclear apocalypse, 99% of the survivors are sex Negatives – they become violently ill if they attempt to have sex. The minority sex Positives are forced to engage in carnal theater for the entertainment of the Negatives at Café Flesh. Everyone is excited about the arrival at the club of the famous Positive Johnny Rico, and one Negative woman is beginning to question her negativeness as she and her boyfriend grow more distant from each other.


By the early 1970s, the pornographic film industry had gained popularity, through the success of films such as Behind the Green Door and Deep Throat. During this period, there were many attempts to create artistic pornography, including The Devil in Miss Jones. There were also non-pornographic films with hardcore sex, such as I Am Curious (Yellow) and In the Realm of the Senses. By the early 1980s, home video technology shifted the porn industry, and pornography theaters were becoming less successful.[3]

In 1982, Café Flesh, which mixed sex, satire, and avant-garde theater, was released. The film was created and co-written by Stephen Sayadian, under the name "Rinse Dream",[4] and journalist Jerry Stahl, under the name "Herbert W. Day".[5] Sayadin and Stahl made the film in two separate parts, using the non-pornographic elements of the film to attract financiers.[3]

Two actors involved in this film went on to notable work in mainstream productions. Lead actress Michelle Bauer, using the name Pia Snow in this film, became a prolific B-movie actress.[6][7][8] Richard Belzer, a noted comedian at the time who later became known for his role as John Munch in Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, appears as an audience member, but does not appear in any of the sexual scenes.[9]


Scholar Bradford K. Mudge has said of Café Flesh, that it, "Like all great satire...stands in parodic opposition to the very generic forms out of which it evolved. Its brilliance results from a bifurcated vision: it dramatizes at once the death of pornography and its disturbing resurrection as culture itself. In so doing, the film marks a juncture—historically arbitrary to be sure—when 'pornography' is finally capable of critical self-reflection, capable of seeing its own 'imagination' as distinct from but integral to both its aesthetic predecessors and its larger cultural environment."[10]


Café Flesh won the 1984 AVN Award for Best Art Direction - Film and has been inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame.[11][12] Café Flesh 2 won the 1998 XRCO Award for Best Video and the 1999 AVN Award for Best Video Feature and Best Special Effects.[11][13]


  1. ^ "Succinct Bits of Melody in Search of a Film Score", by Jon Pareles, December 17, 2005, Retrieved 2007-09-25
  2. ^ Cafe Flesh 2, retrieved 2019-02-22
  3. ^ a b Peary, Danny (1988). Cult Movies 3. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc. pp. 52–56. ISBN 0-671-64810-1.
  4. ^ "The Next Best Thing To Being There", by Robert Rossney, Wired 3.05, May 1995. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  5. ^ "Alfspotting" Archived 2007-08-13 at the Wayback Machine, by Kim Morgan, Willamette Week, 1998-09-30. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  6. ^ Cafe Flesh (1982) film review by Alan Jones Archived 2011-07-09 at the Wayback Machine, BBC Radio Times, Retrieved 2007-09-25
  7. ^ Michelle Bauer IMDb listing, accessed June 24, 2007
  8. ^ Michelle Bauer Atomic Cinema profile Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, accessed June 24, 2007
  9. ^ Peary, Cult Movies 3, plus Philadelphia Weekly repertory film review Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, accessed June 24, 2007
  10. ^ "How to Do the History of Pornography: Romantic Sexuality and its Field of Vision" by Bradford K. Mudge. Romantic Circles. 2004. Accessed October 15, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "AVN Awards Show". Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  12. ^ [1] Archived August 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Web Page Under Construction". Archived from the original on 2000-10-18.

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