HELP WANTED FEMALE (1968) – The Dungeon Review!
I had Watched Aroused for my favourite horror films of the sixties feature which made my top ten for 1966. Unfortunately I never got around to watching the other two films in Something Weird’s triple feature; Rent-a-Girl and today’s subject review Help Wanted Female. Rent-a-Girl was definitely the weak link in the set but it is not without a few sterling moments. Actually, I really shouldn’t use the word “moments” as every scene seems to go on for an eternity. The director William Rose really needed to spend some time in the editing room. I really adore Darlene Bennett who has turned up in several films I have watched during Stepping Into Something Weird. Bennett has two significant scenes in Rent-a-Girl. In one scene she is forced to endure a sort of water torture and in another she plays a game of strip billiards. By no means should my comments about Rent-a-Girl prevent you from buying this Something Weird Video triple feature it was an excellent investment and well worth owning just for Aroused, Help Wanted Female and the bonus material. Help Wanted Female is a delightful blend of funny, strange and twisted with exceptionally watchable performances. The bonus material (taken from The Something Weird Video site):
• Digitally Remastered!
• Original Theatrical Trailer for Aroused!
• Bonus Kink-O-Rama Short: Lesson of the Strap!
• Gallery of Sick Sixties Sex Stills with Audio Oddities!
• Total Running Time: Over 3 and 1/2 Hours of Sex and Psychological Sickness!
Warning: This Program Contains Nudity, Sexual Situations and a Unique Way of Bathing Darlene Bennett!
This is Jo-Jo. Jo-Jo runs a karate school aptly named Jo-Jo’s Kung Fu. That ain’t the only thing Jo-Jo’s got going on! This unfortunate man accidentally bumped into Jo-Jo knocking the books from her arms and then accepted a ride with her. She tells the man she has to drop the books off at a friends along the way. Once they get to the friend’s house she initiates sex and later robs and kung-fu chops him!
This is Luana; fellow hustler, friend and roommate to Jo-Jo. Luana is a call girl who is about to go on a big date with Mr. Sebastian Gregory who will pay her $200 for three hours of her “services.” $200 was a lot of dough back in 1968!
Mr. Gregory drops some acid and tells Luana about himself and his girlfriend Barbara. Mr. Gregory and Barbara have become bored of one another. The only thing that seems to get a rise out of Barbara is pain. She burns Sebastian and then asks him to cut her thigh with a knife. The obvious next step is to pick up a teenager hitchhiker and kill her for amusement.
Luana is having a little difficulty believing the mellow-mannered, playful Mr. Gregory’s story and figures it is just the LSD doing its thing.
This is teenage hitchhiker Tina. She is wooed by Barbara with compliments about her beauty and potential to be a successful model. Tina accompanies the couple to their home where they take a variety of photographs in various states of undress. There is no film in the camera but Tina knows no better. Tina doesn’t suspect a thing until Barbara is plunging a knife into her stomach.
Barbara and Sebastian let the poor girl stumble through the house bleeding from her gut while bizarrely cheerful music plays. Tina eventually finds the bathroom and falls to her knees at the tub. The couple follow Tina into the bathroom and Barbara hands Sebastian a knife to finish off the job.
The poisonous relationship between Barbara and Sebastian could not possibly end well. Sometimes all you can do is have a nice cup of tea and try to mellow out and go with the flow. When kinkiness turns to murder! It is a cautionary tale for men everywhere!
Luana is very entertained by Mr. Gregory’s story but her three hours is almost up.
Mr. Gregory goes on to tell Luana about his day at the beach with Barbara. Damn I love this scene!
Luana gets a shock!
Luana attempts to call Jo-Jo who is mid-class and can’t hear Luana whispering on the other end.
Jo-Jo is not above doing a little striptease herself. She is not only a master of martial arts she is a fine sexy broad. She develops a little crush on Mr. Gregory after he coldcocks her. A crazy and very entertaining finale with a double twist is the cherry on top!
“My feminine hygiene is letter-perfect.”
I have to admit that Help Wanted Female was more comedic than I was expecting but in the case of this film it works beautifully. I chuckled and laughed regularly throughout. It made the intense scenes seem all the more biting. There are only two scenes of violence in the film and it is questionable as to whether they even happened. Poor Tina wandering through the house holding her blood-oozing gut while a cheerful ditty played was one of my favourite scenes. The bag over the head scene takes the cake, but it would be a terrible spoiler for me to tell you about it and it is too yummy to spoil! I could say the same thing about the day at the beach scene; another favourite. All three of these scenes are very well-executed. The film ranges the genres never really landing on anything in particular. IMDB lists it as drama which I think is the default category for films that they don’t really know how to list. I would call Help Wanted Female a comedic, sexploitation mystery-thriller. It has a significant amount of nudity, a touch of violence, some great laughs and top-notch performances. All four of the actresses in the film have very skinny resumes and sadly it does not list which actress plays which character. Joy Kahl and Dianne Michaels have two credits each including Help Wanted Female while Inga Olsen has just this one film. Lucki Winn has them beat with her mighty three which includes The Wild World of Batwoman. I thought the three female leads in the film were all a lot of fun; natural and charismatic. I especially enjoyed Jo-Jo! I could have watched an entire film about Jo-Jo and her exploits! Tony Vorno aka Sebastian Gregory who plays, you guessed it, Sebastian Gregory is a riot! Vorno has considerably more on his resume than the ladies starring in such fine underground fare as The Hang Up. There really wasn’t anything I didn’t enjoy about Help Wanted Female. It never felt weighed down; if anything it seemed to be over too soon. The icing on the cake was the double twist at the end; you could even say triple twist. I have to agree with (and borrow) Something Weird Video’s words on Help Wanted Female. “Help Wanted Female is a kookie cult film just waiting to be discovered — with or without acid.” This is the second film I have watched directed by John Hayes (the first was The Hang Up) and I found both mucho entertaining! I absolutely can not wait to dive in to the rest of Hayes’s films! Hayes appears to have a wealth of titles available. I am starting with The Garden of the Dead which should be arriving on my doorstep in a matter of days. Help Wanted Female comes highly recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: John Hayes
Starring: Tony Vorno, Joy Kahl, Michael Lincoln, Dianne Michaels, Inga Olsen, Lucki Winn