A pair of early 70’s hippie hardcore epics return from the dustbin of history in this hoary double feature from the Age of Aquarius.
Howard Ziehm (Flesh Gordon, Star Virgin) joins forces with coproducer Bill Osco (Night Patrol, The Being, the X rated Alice in Wonderland) and codirector Michael Benveniste (Flesh Gordon) for Harlot, which shows that back in the day, folks weren’t so damn uptight.
Putative “schoolgirl” Fran Spector makes her way through both grades and paying the bills by hitching rides and coming on to the guys who gave her a lift, only to wind up charging them for it when things start getting hot and heavy. Her more naive (and much prettier) pal Patty Alexon (who looks a hell of a lot like The Mod Squad’s Peggy Lipton) wants in on whatever Spector’s got going on.
What this translates to is essentially hanging around and watching while homely hippie chick Spector (who looks more like an ersatz Carole King) blows guys while they drive, bangs ’em in elevators and on the roof, and finally initiates her pal into the wild world of unofficial prostitution…which shortly thereafter leads to her death in a motorcycle accident. Gee, thanks, pal!
Meanwhile, Spector boffs her teacher in the john to pass a course, then gets blackmailed into balling their lesbo principal when they get discovered.
“I had you figured all along. You’re a big dyke.”
As Spector diddles herself and pegs a thickly accented mama’s boy in one of her hitch and charge jobs, Alexon gets into a dicey situation with an overweight biker, which goes from “sure, why not” to hiding in trees, streaking through city streets (with old ladies looking on in surprise!) and then shifting gears to a decidedly consensual boffing on the beach, before the aforementioned road accident breaks up the girls’ touching relationship.
Er…yeah, sure. Whatever.
Ziehm and Benveniste keep the action suprisingly up close and personal, which decidedly enlivens matters and leaves Harlot of far more prurient interest than the uninitiated may expect. Sure, Spector ain’t much to look at, but she’s got a decent body and has no compunctions about using it, and Alexon’s pretty damn cute for gals of this genre and era.
Next, a balding drug mule (Howard Alexander) discovers his boring girlfriend is knocked up, which drives him and a friend into a trip across the Mexican border to serve as bag man…if he can find his contact on the other end to work the transaction.
Their search for the elusive contact leads to Alexander balling a not too shabby lookin’ table dancing stripper on the bar and doing a whole lot of touristy shopping in Tijuana, including a few side trips to homely girls’ apartments where they do their best to catch some nasty venereal diseases with one skanky looking hippie gal after another. You know it’s bad when one of the “better looking” ones sports prominent stretch marks and another looks kinda like Joni Mitchell…it’s a pretty sad and sorry affair all told.
“Maybe we can use your friend here…at least he doesn’t seem to be a pre-vert!”
When they finally find the contact, she’s a butch pimpess who stores lifesavers in her snatch (!) Apparently the whole thing was some weird setup and “test”, which results in Alexander having to blow up a rubber raft and “make his way home” by sea. The others all laugh and credits roll. Holy crap, that was horrible.
For every merit of Harlot, there are 10 demerits waiting in Tijuana Blue. It’s almost as if Ziehm were trying to punish the viewer for daring to sort of enjoy the first feature – “here, this’ll teach ya!”.
One can only speculate it was the influence of Osco and Benveniste that elevate the former picture above its station…because the latter is a real stinker, and does anyone out there remember Star Virgin?
These are early 70’s stag films, more or less, so don’t expect the sort of crystalline vibrance you get from later 70’s and 80’s Vinegar Syndrome restorations. But if you more or less know what you’re getting into with films of this vintage, budget and genre and appreciate the sort of thing Something Weird offers in its Bucky Beaver and Dragon Art Theatre lines, Harlot may well be worth a look.
Just do us both a favor and don’t ever speak to me about its co-feature again.