A young Zalman King (Galaxy of Terror, the Red Shoe Diaries), looking for all the world like Rush’s Geddy Lee without the John Lennon granny glasses, is a weirdo who stumbles across a carny geek show act.
White coated Logan Ramsey (Head, Joysticks and perennial TV character actor/bit player – It Takes a Thief, Banacek, McMillan & Wife, etc.) and assistant Pat Priest (Marilyn Munster and Elvis costar in Easy Come, Easy Go) work the punters with a combination kissing booth/sideshow act featuring Tisa Farrow (in one of her earliest roles, prior to Fulci’s Zombie, Margheriti’s Last Hunter and D’Amato’s Anthropophagus) as the sleep-drugged victim/centerpiece.
Being a rich freak, King buys the act – not just Farrow herself, but the “Sleeping Beauty”-emblazoned van and sideshow en toto for $20K and spirits the girl off to his palatial home, already occupied by a pair of weird women (Carol White of Hammer’s Prehistoric Women and a certain Veronica Anderson, of no appreciable credits) who collectively vacillate between an uber-conservative 1950’s style prudishness and aesthetic (ranging from cutesy Archie comics pet names and old school suits and dresses to a Wurlitzer jukebox that plays Nat King Cole tunes) and a bizarre 1970’s style sexual experimentation.*
* that said, other than a flash of Farrow’s breasts and one oddball, unrelated strip act (read on), there’s precious little sexploitation to be found herein.
As Farrow is nursed back to health (she’s apparently been drugged out so long that she can’t walk for a bit), King and friends tease and confuse her with nonsensical set pieces where they dress up as nuns and put on song and dance numbers, before getting her to work as their maid and finally pretending she’s a novitiate at a nunnery (complete with King dressed up like a priest).
Despite the obviously unhinged behavior of these three lunatics, she acts like it’s all a wonderful game, and one she doesn’t want to end…so of course, they promptly drug her back to sleep and restart the geek show, sans Ramsey and Priest.
Along the way, there are any number of enormous leaps in narrative logic, including a pointlessly cast Richard Pryor as a cracked out, gibberish spouting wino artist who paints hearts above urinals (in an internally lockable public bathroom, yet) and puts up with King’s pseudo-metaphysical ramblings before dying for no reason whatsoever.
There’s another pointlessly extraneous sideline involving King as a jazz musician, a naked strip act/fan dance involving a cheerleader (don’t ask), and a few folks with odd credits pop onscreen for a minute or two (Ed Rue of Sweet Sweetback’s Baaadasss Song, who had about three credits before moving into foley and sound design, Joseph DeMeo, who’d turn up in the TV movie Get Christie Love before ending his brief career, and most especially Luther Fear, a lifelong bit player who’d turn up in Bernie Casey’s Hit Man, Charles Bronson’s Borderline and even a Pat Benatar video, of all things), but it’s all absolutely meaningless.
Director James B. Harris only got his act together sufficient to craft one obscure film per decade (seriously – 1965, 1973, 1982 and 1988 – the 80’s appear to have been his “busy” decade – and 1993, and odds are you’ve never heard of any of them), and if Some Call it Loving is any indication, there’s good reason for that.
You get the distinct impression Harris was trying (and miserably failing) at making some sort of post-hippie era commentary on the nature of relationships, but much akin to Pryor’s line readings-cum-improv herein, it’s all so much gibberish.
This release comes with a brief interview with the director and another, slightly longer one with the (quite excellent) cinematographer Mario Tosi (Frogs, Something Weird’s Swamp Country, Curtis Harrington’s The Killing Kind), and there’s a commentary track with the director for those who care for them (personally, I’d rather have the isolated interview where the interviewee can be kept focused and on point, and seldom indulge in the “watch along with me” thing, but it’s all down to personal preference).
The facts of the matter? The film is gorgeously shot (the cinematography and mise en scene are positively stellar), the locations both atmospheric and stylishly aesthetic (who out there wouldn’t want to live in King’s manse?), and Vinegar Syndrome’s newly launched Etiquette Pictures line has restored the print to a surprising vibrancy.
There are a few notable names in the cast (as noted hereinabove)…but apart from the “head film” crowd, who may find some hazy “truth” amidst all this random blather to utter a few “like, wow, man’s” to, when it comes to the film itself?