A rather pretty ginger haired 60’s swinging stewardess type walks into a lushly red carpeted, walnut paneled hotel room and removes her odd tearaway garter belt and giant underwear. A really disturbing black she-male in a blonde fright wig undresses and starts making out with her in closeup. S/he’s got a lot of white powder around his/’hir’ lips.
Is there some deep symbolic meaning to all this we’re not privy to? Was ‘hir’ thing powdered donuts or something? And why would director David W. Hanson subject us to this genderbender horror show?
Either way, it drags on in painful slo-mo, or what feels an awful lot like it, for a full 8 minutes before we finally get the title card for the film – which simply notes the title, nothing more. Best part? We never see either of these people again!
A different girl, less attractive than the first, wanders out of a dodgy looking split level to sketch in some heavy brush. Seriously, why would she go sit out in a thatch of tall dead grass? Some guy walks into frame, presumably implying rape. The rest of the credits roll, a full 11 minutes in, to inform us that this production is “Copywrite 1969 Cine-Art Productions”. Seriously. “Copywrite“.
This is the sort of film the recently departed Mike Vraney made the stock in trade of his Something Weird label for decades – low rent, obscure indie sexploitation of the most forgettable order. Of course, for aficionados of this sort of thing, that makes this disasterpiece absolutely priceless…
“Ex-cop” Jack Webb type Gunner Sloane (Dave Haller) gets taken on by balding, sweatervest and tie sporting Mr. Fairchild (Jay Rannie), a colorblind, fashion impaired dresser who also happens to be the father of the aforementioned rape victim. Well, at least he’s got an interesting spread, complete with a wall size bookshelf whose bottom row is taken up by booze (!)
The girl in question (‘Regina’, Lee Sherry) undresses for the camera. Unfortunately she’s sporting two nasty looking bruises from her earlier encounter. Displaying all the sensitivity of a jackbooted kommandant, Fairchild yells and browbeats his daughter for not giving a specific enough description of her assailant…
For his part, Sloane seems to be more interested in heading over to the local shrink’s office (which suspiciously bears the exact same walnut paneling and bright red berber carpeting as the earlier hotel room) to bang willing receptionist Judy (Judith Lowe, who also appears to have a thing for the ladies) on a convenient leatherette couch.
And why not? After all, Fairchild himself, much like the pre-credits couple of sorts, winds up completely incidental to the rest of the picture! Seriously, the final scene even includes this bizarre bit of dialogue to reference the fact…
“Boy, if the commissioner ever hears about this one.”
“Not half the bird old Fairchild’ll have when he hears about it.”
“Fairchild? Who the hell’s Fairchild?”
“I’m with you, buddyboy, who’s Fairchild?”
Oh, nobody really…just the guy who hired you in the first place…
“Just between you and your girdle, though, I don’t think I’m going to deliver for the client this time.”
Next up, Sloane pays a visit to his girlfriend (‘Velvet’, Sandy O’Hara), a low rent bottle-red nightclub cigarette girl, to exchange some ridiculous banter and engage in a spat of pseudo-feminist debate. Seriously.
“You know, sweetness, it’s a good thing you got me, because with your morals, you’d be the loneliest broa…young lady in town.”
An Andy Milligan-worthy sequence follows shortly thereafter, where Velvet awkwardly and apparently unsuccessfully beats off an assailant with a rickety looking umbrella…inside the house. Seriously, who keeps an umbrella handy by the bed?
Meanwhile, the baddie assaults and kills one victim after another, until Sloane pretty much stumbles across the fact that the assailant is someone he’s already had a run in with…
Despite being filmed in the Massachusetts area, with its grotty yet engaging feel falling somewhere between Herschell Gordon Lewis and Barry Mahon, Judy practically screams Florida sexploitation. With a similar aesthetic to Lewis’ Something Weird (the film), Gruesome Twosome or Wizard of Gore but with the added seediness and nudie angle of a typical Mahon short, this one is pure nirvana for SWV addicts in enforced withdrawal.
More mumblecore than either detective story or adult theater fare, it bears the best and worst elements of all three styles, capped off by a ridiculous script, the exact same set used for at least four different locations (beyond the aforementioned, tag in the psychiatrist’s office and Fairchild’s place as well) and some amazingly wooden acting all around. I loved it.
Next up, we get Bobby O’Donald’s The Night Hustlers, from a year prior. Interestingly, while Judy felt very Floridian in origin, this film actually is, as can be inferred by the presence of Lewis starlets Andrea Barr (of both the Gruesome Twosome and Just for the Hell of It) and Linda Lee (of the Magic Land of Mother Goose).
Stranger still, while Judy would seem to originate from a 16mm A-B roll source, that film looked absolutely vibrant, while Night Hustlers (from a 35mm blow-up negative) comes in far worse shape, with a smeary nigh-blurriness and instances of both grain and apparent print damage (check out the drug party ‘orgy’ sequence) playing against otherwise reasonably bright colors throughout.
No matter, really, as while ridiculous enough to touch many a funny bone, this is the lesser feature by a Mississippi mile. Boy, is it ever…
A guy with a ridiculous French accent (presumably pseudonymous and decidedly un-Gallic star ‘Marcel Delage’) sings the world’s most absurd song over the opening credits, much akin to a bad impression of Maurice Chevalier by way of Julio Iglesias.
This performance is so abominably bad in every conceivable respect, I only wish they included a CD of the soundtrack as well – it’d be in the player on a daily basis. “She’s da guhhhhhl…she’s a cheeeeck…she’s a tantalizing cheeck, she’s miiiiiine aaaaall miiiiine…”
Apparently faux-Frenchie and his buddies are supposed to be vice cops (oh, yeah, sure) sharing stories of busts over drinks one evening. That’s pretty much the entire film in a nutshell – no wonder it doesn’t even break the hour mark.
At least their corner of the flat is interesting, with an oddball art nouveau fireplace, swinging 60’s Italianate armchair and…did they seriously throw down rolls of rubber flooring to cover where they’re sitting? Did that same flooring make its way into the cramped bar sequence at the half hour mark? Did O’Donald really assume nobody’d notice?
The decided high point of the picture is a completely crazy mix of striptease act, live sex show and homoerotic spectacle hosted in a dingy back room by a hilariously slick MC (Carliss Cook). After a quick strip number by a horse-faced blonde, a bunch of half naked men fight each other for dibs at climbing to the top of a greased support pole for a chance to be the first to bang the stripper, all for the delectation of the tiny but boisterous backroom smoker audience (who cheer them on like heavy betters at a boxing match).
There’s a no-talent warbler who thinks he’s a 50’s style lounge singer (Joe Varo), terrible go go dancers in varying stages of dress, each of whom sport absurd new-wave sunglasses and who eventually turn the place into an impromptu stripshow, and a weird looking girl in perfectly hideous underwear who speaks with an even worse fake accent than ‘Delage’ and rolls around moaning crazily for a good 5 minutes without even once attempting to touch herself (one ‘Ami Amar’).
Particularly when paired with the oddball entertainment of the leading feature, you really can’t go wrong with this bizarro B-side…
All told, another winning Something Wierdesque combo from the folks at Vinegar Syndrome, albeit more for the Hanson film than the beamed in straight from Venus O’Donald effort.