Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Pulp Culture
Alyssa should
be grateful for
'exploitation'


August 6, 1998
By Franklin Harris

Everyone hates an ingrate -- a lesson Alyssa Milano should learn before it's too late.

The former child actress turned television siren has launched a crusade to rid the Internet of images of her appearing nude in several made-for-video thrillers.

The irony is that those images are the main reason Alyssa avoided the pitfalls of childhood stardom to attain the success she enjoys today.

Alyssa gained her initial fame as a star of the ABC sitcom "Who's the Boss?" and parlayed that career into her own exercise video for teens.

But nothing endures forever. "Who's the Boss?" was canceled, and the teen-age Jane Fonda faced unemployment or -- worse yet -- a possible future hosting infomercials for the psychic friends.

This isn't the picture you are looking for.
This isn't the picture you are looking for.
As she entered her 20s, the time came to take drastic steps. So, Alyssa entered the world of low-budget, direct-to-video exploitation films. These films' main virtue -- as Alyssa well knew -- was their shameless inclusion of utterly gratuitous nudity. Gratuitous nudity being, as any film connoisseur knows, the only kind of nudity that is any fun.

First was "Embrace Of The Vampire" (1994). "Embrace" came to video in both R-rated and unrated versions -- both of which displayed more of Alyssa than her fans had been used to seeing.

In it Alyssa portrayed the typical college girl who, after falling under the spell of a sinister vampire, develops an uncontrollable urge to remove her clothes at the least provocation.

Needless to say, it became a cult hit and was followed by "Poison Ivy 2: Lily" (1995), a direct-to-video sequel to the Drew Barrymore film "Poison Ivy," which, incidentally, can be credited with reviving Drew's career as much as the sequel revived Alyssa's.

Unsurprisingly, Alyssa's career regained life. She became a regular cast member of "Melrose Place," starred in more movies (some actually shown in theaters), was cast in leading roles in movies of the week and found her picture splashed across magazine covers.

All this, of course, was thanks to a couple of exploitation films.

And the Internet.

It seems that part of the popularity of "Embrace of the Vampire" was fueled by the numerous nude images of Alyssa that her fans had taken from the video, transformed into still images (or "screen captures") and published via the Internet.

Nude images of Alyssa are among the most-sought celebrity nudes in cyberspace -- and are among the easiest to find.

This fact has prompted Alyssa and her mother, Lin Milano, to threaten lawsuits against anyone who publishes Alyssa's nude image on a Web page.

While the laws backing them are murky at best, the Milanos have managed to intimidate many webmasters into removing Alyssa's images.

Still, the law isn't the point.

Alyssa Milano's career would almost certainly be just as dead as those of most other child actors if it weren't for films like "Embrace" and "Poison Ivy 2" -- and the attention brought to those films by Alyssa's nude photos on the Internet.

Alyssa's actions are unseemly at best and an insult to her fans at worst.

There are far worse things in the world to be than a sex symbol.

An ingrate is one of them.

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