Next on this month’s Vinegar Syndrome schedule, we have a trio of obscure sorta-roughies from someone named Ralph Ell.
First up, Darby Lloyd Rains, in her natural brown hair tones and a disco-ready bob, is a crusty domme with an underwear sniffing live-in servant (Barbara Carson) who she verbally abuses between clients.
Some guy with more tats than a yakuza drops by (and this is 1975, remember – even sailors didn’t sport that much ink!) with a young and still halfway attractive Annie Sprinkle and they have a threesome (with some rather redundant orders getting thrown around every now and again).
A dorky 70’s proto-yuppie (Alan Marlow, complete with perfectly coiffed helmet of hair, grey slacks and thin turtleneck sweater) drops by as a house sitter (!) and asks uncomfortable questions of Carson before promptly leaving to grouse about gender bending and the glam scene in the park (!) Completely out of the blue, he gets picked up by a black chick who seems to find his mopey ass attractive for some unknown reason…oh, of course, she’s a hooker (Melva Jackson). You’d think she’d broker the deal before going back to “his” place…
Now it comes out, he’s Rains’ brother. After walking in on her boffing a Florence Henderson lookalike (Nancy Dare) and both of them seeming entirely unperturbed by the discomfort of such a situation in the real world, she leaves Mrs. Brady to little brother, who after two separate scenes shows us exactly why “the ladies call him Mr. Speed”. Geez, guy…a little self control might make a girl happier…
Oh, look, Carson has a tribal band, a good 20 years before the Lolapalooza crowd made that a suburban white kid thing. Is everyone in the cast a sailor or hooker? The 70’s never saw so much body art…
Anyway, she gets with Marlow…geez, does every female in the damn film have the suburban housewife bod? I mean, hey, doesn’t bother me none, but it’s far from what you’d expect to see in one of these, particularly in such a large percentage of the cast…
At the end, Carson gets chewed out by Rains in both senses of the phrase and a disgusted Marlow packs his things and splits. There’s a lot of intercutting between the ladies doing their thing and Carson sitting in the kitchen moping (in front of a homemade empty liquor bottle candle, yet!). Roll credits…er, end title card.
It may or may not surprise anyone to know that these three features, while directed by this Ralph Ell person, were produced by none other than Leonard Kirtman and lensed by Doris Wishman sidekick and occasional sexploitation director Chuck (“C. Davis”) Smith. Hell, certainly explains the gritty, low end feel!
Next up, our intrepid trio returns, along with a fair portion of the cast (Dare, Sprinkle, Jackson) for the inappropriately mistitled “Teenage Masseuse”. Not a teenager…or even a college kid, for that matter…in sight, it’s pure hullabaloo (for better or worse!)
The biggest change this time is that the “name” draw is Bobby Astyr. Instead of his usual likeable funnyman routine, here Astyr is…well, dreams of being, anyway…an abusive dom who’s apparently brave enough to use zippered underwear (ouch!) Jackson looks pretty good in that dungeon setting, have to say that much.
While Astyr is lost in dirty dreams, Mrs. Brady…er, Dare makes inappropriate use of a dime store elephant statue and bedpost while that creepy yakuza wannabe, who’s also a peeping tom, apparently, drops in to give her an assist (okay, he waits till she’s alone the next morning, but whatever).
OJ Simpson tries to sell her a hot watch on the street corner, then offers her the job she says she’s looking for…back at her place, of course. Afterwards, she gets a visit from a really weird looking girl (even by comparison!) who also offers her “work”, which surprise, includes Annie Sprinkle as well.
Oh, wait, now she’s working at a house of ill repute! When the hell did that happen? So the homely girl gets with a stylish brother, our pal Jackson from the first movie messes with a guy who looks like either a 70’s gameshow host or a used car salesman (check out that pink and white checkerboard suit!) and they all go full on Carlos Tobalina.
Then an old scruggly, hairy backed guy shows up, looking for all the world like he just fell off the local fleapit barstool, and winds up with Annie Sprinkle doing the Japanese soapland thing, minus the soap. I’m wondering whether this guy was the director or producer, actually…
Finally, OJ manages to get Astyr as a client, and he winds up living out his nasty dom dreams with…surprise, surprise, his wife Henderson…I mean Dare. She looks a whole hell of a lot better in that zippered underwear than he did, that’s for damn sure!
Aww, a happy ending. It’s just like The Pina Colada Song, except with kink. Where was Rupert Holmes when they needed him? Hell, that was 5 years after…maybe this is where he got the idea from!
Finally, we close out the disc with the weirdest of the bunch. One of our old “favorites”, the bleh Bree Anthony sports a huge, hideous ‘fro and talks with the worst French accent this side of Pepe Le Pew. Did I mention her horrible shave job? I guess all the pubes went to her head…
Apparently she was in a three way relationship with Lamont from Sanford and Son and what may be that same weird looking girl from the last movie, but with an oddly fetching blonde streak or two in her hair. Still doesn’t save her…but the hair is nice!
They boff to what seems like the entirety of Led Zeppelin’s “heartbreaker”, and it turns out that this is all some flashback, because Lamont is dead! Cue Redd Foxx shouting “‘Liz’beth! I’m comin’ for ya!”
Harry Reems shows up as an investigating detective, Bobby Astyr shows up with Kareem Abdul Jabbar in tow as a pair of mobsters (“a real tall man, with a large…”), a big fat broad going by the clever pseudo of “Anna Banana” (because she’s always eating a banana, get it? Somehow I don’t think eating bananas put her in that plus size bracket, sorry…) boffs a soul sister while Kareem watches, Reems boffs the same spandex enormity before hauling Astyr and Kareem in and pretty much everybody in the cast has to suffer through a round or two with Anthony. Yawn…
Well, it’s safe to say this is one of the more unaesthetic releases we’ve seen from Vinegar Syndrome. They’ve done their usual stellar cleanup job, but even with the prints so vastly improved, let’s face it – produced by Leonard Kirtman and lensed by Chuck Smith. You’ve seen their films, you know the score.
Plus, it’s New York adult cinema. You can’t expect Hollywood pretty girls and marquee wannabes, this is more about slumming theatricals and post-hippie rebels without a cause out to prove that free love and Reichian orgone will save the world. The onscreen types are therefore more real and recognizable…but did you really want to see your third grade teacher, your spinster aunt Margaret and the checkout girl at the local 7-11 doing the deed on the big screen?
Personally, I was amused by two of the three films here, for all the laughs we’re having at their expense. Given less of the prurient interest and more of a “plot”, the first two films could easily have wound up as a Something Weird double feature back in the day…maybe Chuck Smith brings that with him, I don’t know.
“More”, I could have done with a whole lot “Less” of, though. Like a good hour and 5 minutes worth, or pretty much its entire running time…at this point, it’s almost a neon traffic warning: Bree Anthony, the mark of quality!
Fans of seedy New York cinema of this genre and era may well want to give this triple feature a spin – if nothing else, there’s a few laughs to be had.