Musings About Music In Film

The Pussycat Syndrome

R-7083478-1433321505-9794.jpeg This 1983 Greek and West German adult film is kind of like the last gasp of adult films before the VCR really exploded, meaning that there's an actual score composed for it by Gerhard Heinz, who was the subject of Private Records' first release on their VAG (!) Records imprint, Sex Fever. It's a strange concept in the days of streaming internet gonzo pornography to conceive of a storyline for an adult film, much less hiring a composer for one.

For Gerhard Heinz's score to The Pussycat Syndrome, the music falls one of two ways. The first style of cuts are those which are quite lush and romantic, like the opening 'Pussycat Syndrome Theme' and 'Husband and Wife'. There's also something about 'Erotic Dreams' - which is sleepy and relaxed, much like 'Moments' – and it's quite impressive how laid-back this score is. One would expect that an adult film score would have a lot more – ahem – pounding rhythms, but as this film is set in the sun and sea of Greece, the composer opted to let the music reflect the laconic pace of the Greek isles.

The second style is more of what one expects from the soundtrack to an adult film from this era – funk guitar certainly, but more upstrokes and piano than wah-wah guitar. A prime example of this is the first vocal cut, 'Top Set.' The music's pretty solid, but one of the lyrics (“The top set's going jet”) repeats ad-nauseum. The vocalist has a nice faux-Donna Summer thing going on and the cheesy bounce of the cut really makes it appealing, so it's a shame that the vocal is just so obnoxiously repetitive. Such is the case for all of the vocal cuts, really. 'C'Mon, Let's Do it' kind of makes me want to brain myself. Additionally, the line “crack your sacroiliac,” combined with the jaunty, Schoolhouse Rock melody would be an immediate boner-killer, if ever there was one.

The first really upbeat number on the score that isn't a vocal track isn't until side two's 'Boat Dance,' and it really does live up to its name. It has a good beat and you can dance to it, plus there's flute, so it's like strangely bacchanalian cocktail jazz. 'Sight Seeing' and 'Play Time' are similar in tone, but work a stronger island vibe. Actually, it's a little bit in that Greek folk music vein, basically stealing the standard rhythm from 'Zorba's Dance' by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.

'A Woman's Touch' is all warbly analog synthesizer. I can only assume the scene which it soundtracks is in soft focus. I also want to hope that's either a theremin or an ondes martenot on 'Love,' because something like backing a scene where two people gently and lovingly have sex is so outre and weird, it makes me absolutely gleeful. The best track on the entire LP is 'Love (Disco Version),' which melds the upbeat and lush styles wonderfully. Were that the entirety of The Pussycat Syndrome had been remixed like this. That would've been something.

Notes on the physical product worth noting are that those of you with children will need to put this in plain paper covers. There's a lot of nudity, and while not X-rated, it's certainly a hard R. Also: yes, it is on hot pink vinyl and it does come packaged with a vibrator – specifically, the Lady Finger vibrator with ribbed shaft. Mine is silver.

-Nick Spacek

The Pussycat Syndrome is now available from the Vinyl of Austria Group Vienna, a sub-label of Private Records