Rich Texas cowpoke John Leslie is getting married to a mustachioed Huggy Bear lookalike (well, you could say Max “the Mack” Julien, if that makes hir any more appealing to you…) named “Lily” (one “Flower”, which combined with her oddly androgynous looks and prominent stable tattoo, invites the question of whether s/he was some streetwalker pickup rather than a typical adult film starlet).
His flighty if attractive daughter Peaches (Desiree Cousteau) is more perturbed than she really lets on, running off and driving crazily through the Nevada desert before winding up with amnesia and effectively abducted by two sleazy criminal types (Joey Silvera and some guy named Ken Scudder, who gets the Lennie role).
“Your Uncle Percy is a pervert! Well, I don’t think he could cure anything, especially not amnesia…”
From here, our unlikely heroine falls into one cinematic grotesque of a situation after another. Did I mention it’s all played for laughs? That’s right – despite being taken while unconscious, being subjected to a high colonic and a forced lesbo bondage orgy, Pretty Peaches is very much a comedy in the sense of Candy or Little Annie Fanny, with Cousteau causing or naively stumbling into one bizarre sexual episode after another.
Eventually, Peaches has a chance meeting with quirky psychiatrist Paul Thomas, whose idea of a physical involves a bit more than the average MD, progressing from solo examination to seeking a group consultation at a baby oil-drenched suburban swingers event.
“Trick or treat, give us a bag of money and we’ll tell you a secret.”
Cousteau, a thickset if well proportioned Southern fried Toni Tennille type, is far less obnoxious with her dumb act than either of her successors in the titular role despite a deliberately whiny Betty Boop delivery, all comic eubellience and endearingly silly poutiness throughout.
Leslie and Silvera, alongside Thomas and faux-accented maid Juliet Anderson attempt to pull up the rear on the acting front, despite having far less screentime to work with. Hell, even “Flower”, whatever her true provenance, pulls off the many double takes and shock reactions required of the role with surprising aplomb, and manages to deliver lines with far more facility than, say, a Nina Fause ever could.
Well shot throughout, there are a few interesting locations (Thomas’ home, the closing swingers’ party, Silvera’s loft) and a few snazzy outfits towards the denouement (check out how Thomas and Cousteau arrive decked out to the orgy…and in keeping with our likely hypothesis, can you believe the silver lame pants on “Flower”?!?)
As ever, the print is absolutely stellar – there’s really nothing new to add, given Vinegar Syndrome’s nigh-flawless track record at producing some of the best transfers of vintage grindhouse in the business.
Extras include trailers for something called Baby Face 2, which appears to be a sort of mid 80’s sex comedy along the lines of Hot and Saucy Pizza Girls and features a number of recognizable faces of the era – I’m certainly looking forward to seeing this one – and the odd Linda Wong vehicle Femmes De Sade. There’s a 10 minute chat with 60’s sexologist Ted McIlvenna, who shares his memories of DeRenzy and his career and a longer VHS-sourced excerpt from an interview with the man himself.
DeRenzy, whatever one’s opinions on his cinematographic and aesthetic merits (which are worthy enough), is famous for one thing: being a class A pervert with a weird sense of humor. Anyone walking into one of his productions who hasn’t yet tasted the fruits of his twisted bloom (or similarly minded proto-gonzo auteurs like the Dark Brothers) is sure to be taken aback by what the guy rattles off in stride – even the interview provides a few wide eyed spit takes, and that’s just the guy sitting there talking.
That said, his films definitely fall under the aegis of 1970’s grindhouse era “porno chic” in their comparatively large budgeted productions, use of location footage and attention to aesthetics combined with actual plots and scripts running further than the back of a cocktail napkin or two, which is something totally alien to more cynical modern era affairs.
As such, for those interested in delving into what is effectively the last frontier of period cult cinema, Pretty Peaches does come recommended, certainly on the basis of its rather attractive and likeable leading lady if not for its often bizarro freakout twists on far more standard adult fare.