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).
Two sequels, Cafe Flesh 2 and Cafe Flesh 3, were released in 1997 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.
Cafe Flesh was the first adult film to successfully crossover as a midnight-movie hit. Throughout the 1980s it played repertory theaters across the USA and Europe.
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.
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", and journalist Jerry Stahl, under the name "Herbert W. Day". Sayadin and Stahl made the film in two separate parts, using the non-pornographic elements of the film to attract financiers. The film became a success at midnight showings.
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-movieactress. Richard Belzer, a noted comedian at the time who later became known for his roles 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.
Café Flesh won the 1984 AVN Award for 'Best Art Direction - Film', and has been inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame. Café Flesh 2 won the 1998 XRCO Award for 'Best Video', and the 1999 AVN Awards for 'Best Video Feature' and 'Best Special Effects'.