Favourite Five Series: Something Weird Video Films Part One
The final week of Stepping Into Something Weird and The Films of Michael Findlay is here. I am feeling very sentimental about this two month-long journey. A feature that was to run only for the month of December but was too much fun to end! I would be perfectly satisfied reviewing nothing but Something Weird Video films forever! As of January 13 I had watched forty-seven Something Weird Video titles. There were still several films left on my must see” list and I tried my best to fit them all in before I had to compile my favourites. Between January 14 and 25 I watched an additional twenty-two films for a grand total of sixty-nine! I realized upon reviewing my list of titles that I had not included the six Doris Wishman films (Bad Girls Go To Hell, Another Day Another Man, The Sex Perils of Paulette, My Brother’s Wife, Too Much Too Often) that David and I had watched together before we embarked on this project! So officially I watched seventy-five Something Weird Video titles for this feature! I feel a particular fondness for the SWV sixties stuff which is so much saucier than their more mainstream peers from the decade. As much as I love and adore them, it won’t be easy-going back to watching Hammer, Corman and Toho. There is so much clothing in other sixties films! All joking aside I have a massive respect for the actors, actresses, directors and crews who worked on these independent underground films. They were renegading, risk-taking, rule-breaking, movie-making mercenaries! I was very saddened to hear of the death of Something Weird Video’s founder Mike Vraney on January 2nd of this year. Vraney took his love and passion for these films to the next level. A collector himself, he was able to make his hobby into a successful business. Many of these gems may have been lost forever had it not been for Vraney’s diligence and affection for the material. Fans like myself have much to thank Mike Vraney for. This may be the end of the feature but by no means will it be the end of my Something Weird Video viewing. One day I will see every single film that Something Weird Video offers. In fact, I forgot to move all the Something Weird titles from the top of my DVD rental queue; so some time in the next few days I will be receiving the double feature Kitten in a Cage with The Girl from Pussycat! If you have been following this project the below choices will not be terribly surprising ones. I have given all but one of these films a full review during this feature with the exception of the last film on this list which was included on my favourite five Doris Wishman films list. These treasures all earned a perfect 5/5 rating. It was especially difficult to choose my ultimate five as I had thirteen titles I gave a perfect rating.
Check back tomorrow to find out what the other eight films were that received a perfect score and which I chose as my next five favourite Something Weird Video films! PART TWO TOMORROW!
Directed by: Allen Savage
Starring: Jennifer Welles (as Lisa Duran), Gary Judin, June Adams, Sue Beaudry, Sheila Britt
Submission is the story of two highly dysfunctional characters; Vickie a lovable and empathetic infantine and Barry an arrogant, sexually predatory criminal. Vickie is kept in “Submission” by Barry with toys, candy and sex. Barry hustles wealthy women. Barry with Vickie in tow takes employment with these women who he eventually murders and robs. Submission is peppered with flashbacks but focuses mainly on their current “mark”; fashion designer Linda Staples. It is a quiet film with very little dialog and a peculiar but hugely effective score that made for a highly visceral experience. Submission’s performers were well-chosen; in particular the gorgeous and talented Jennifer Welles who plays the film’s infantile enchantress Vickie. Submission really blew me away. It is a deliciously unique, sexy, daunting and beautifully filmed curio that was as artful as it was sleazy. Submission is a hypnotic treat and a little known fascination that deserves more attention.
To read my full review of Submission click here.
THE ULTIMATE DEGENERATE (1969)
Directed by: Michael Findlay
Starring: Michael Findlay, Earl Hindman, Uta Erickson, Janet Banzet, Suzzan Landau, Rita Vance, Kim Lewid, Donna Stone, Cindy Freemont, Yolanda Cortez
The film’s “Ultimate Degenerate” is Spencer; a mentally unstable eccentric with unusual sexual fantasies. Spencer hires women through a New York sex paper to come live and “perform” for him. The Ultimate Degenerate is also Maria’s story; Maria narrates our tale as she relays her experiences with Spencer, his assistant Bruno and an array of sexy, horny, often naked broads. Women perpetually practicing a performance that will never be put on, clock fucking, cigar fucking, corn fucking, broads chewing on each other and whipped cream; lots and lots of whipped cream, are just a few of The Ultimate Degenerate’s naughtier details. The Ultimate Degenerate also boasts a finale you will not soon forget! The visuals in The Ultimate Degenerate are a sinfully sweet hypnotic treat; especially the tripping out scenes! There is an incredible amount of nudity in the film and so many adorable and sexy ladies on display; Uta Erickson, Janet Banzet, Suzzan Landau, Rita Vance, Kim Lewid, Donna Stone and Cindy Freemont to name a few. In the end it is The Ultimate Degenerate himself that steals the show. Michael Findlay’s performance is beyond entertaining and his unusual quirky accent and delivery is completely unique. The Ultimate Degenerate is funny, crazy, titillating, violent and sleazy; it’s the perfect introduction to Findlay’s work and to the parade of fine and sexy broads of the world of sixties underground cinema!
To read my full review of The Ultimate Degenerate click here.
SIN IN THE SUBURBS (1964)
Directed by: Joe Sarno
Starring: Judy Young, W.B. Parker, Audrey Campbell, Dyanne Thorne, Marla Ellis, Richard Tatro, Derek Crane, Ella Daphni, Charles Clements, Wayne Roberts, John Aristedes, William Donaldson, Joseph Garri, Mari Kiselle
Sin in the Suburbs focuses on several women in a suburban neighborhood whose husbands “Gotta make that 7:21”. Geraldine Lewis is one of the main focuses of the story and is the neighborhood ringleader of sorts. It is no secret that these women spend a goodly amount of their time entertaining other men during the afternoons. Early in the film Gerldine’s daughter Kathy walks in during one of her trysts and ends up in the arms of the neighborhood divorcee Yvette Talman. Yvette’s boyfriend Louis Muse concocts a profitable plan to take advantage of the sinful suburban shenanigans that eventually results in the undoing of several of the neighborhood’s families. The dialog is sharp and the performances are excellent; particular standouts were Audrey Campbell as Geraldine Lewis; Dyanne Thorne as Yvette Talman, W.B. Parker as Louis Muse and Judy Young as Kathy Lewis. Sin in the Suburbs is a nice looking film full of interesting shots and I really loved the use of the linen masks and matching satin robes which added a delectable, dreamy and kinky vibe. Joe Sarno has been one of my favourite director discoveries during this Something Weird Video feature. However, even after watching thirteen other Sarno films; and enjoying most of them, Sin in the Suburbs still remains my favourite. Sin in the Suburbs is a sexy, sinful, well-acted, captivating melodrama and the perfect way to kick off your Sarno viewing!
To read my full review of Sin in the Suburbs click here.
THE PSYCHO LOVER (1970)
Directed by: Robert Vincent O’Neill
Starring: Lawrence Montaigne, Jo Anne Meredith, Elizabeth Plumb, Frank Cuva, John Vincent, Sharon Cook, Diane Jones, Luanne Roberts, David Astor, Lynn Lyon, Judy Lang
The Psycho Lover focuses on Dr. Kenneth Alden; a wealthy and successful psychiatrist with an unhappy bitter wife that refuses to divorce him and a twenty-five year old mistress named Stacy. Dr. Alden receives a call from a Lieutenant Morlock asking for his assistance with a case involving a young man named Marco Everson; Marco has vivid dreams of killing women that match the facts in some recent murders. Eventually Dr. Alden and Marco’s lives intersect after Alden begins treating Marco. The cast was well-chosen. Lawrence Montaigne looks the part of the respected psychiatrist Dr. Kenneth Alden and has a confidence bordering on arrogant that suits the role well. Jo Anne Meredith looks like a woman who goes to the beauty salon regularly and has an elegance about her but at the same time a touch of tackiness. Her character is a lush but Meredith plays it in a proper “keeping up appearances” fashion. Elizabeth Plumb as Stacy is a sweet, likable, bubbly gal; although a touch too sweet and bordering on air-headed. It is easy enough to see why the anal retentive Kenneth would fall for her though. Frank Cuva is excellent as Marco Everson. The Marco character has the perfect balance of everything that makes a good horror film antagonist. He is reasonably intelligent and unassuming in appearance and when unprovoked could be the nice guy that lives next door. Needless to say, Marco can not always hide the anxiety and threat bubbling just below the surface waiting to boil over. When Marco goes into killing mode he is cruel, brutal, relentless and frenzied to the extent that he literally foams at the mouth. A well drawn character and a spot on performance. The Psycho Lover is an exceptional horror film with intense well-executed murder sequences, an excellent story, strong performances and it is one of the most visually stimulating horror films I have had the pleasure of watching in recent memory.
To read my full review of The Psycho Lover click here.
INDECENT DESIRES (1968)
Directed by: Doris Wishman
Starring: Sharon Kent, Trom Little, Michael Alaimo, Jackie Richards, Buck Starr
Indecent Desires is about a creepy loner named Zeb who finds a ring and a doll in a garbage can. After envisioning a beautiful blonde named Ann as his doll he somehow causes a voodoo-esque connection between the two. This is the beginning of a strange and supernatural journey for the unfortunate Ann. Ann now feels the same sensations that the doll would feel; if of course a doll had senses. Initially Zeb spends his time feeling the doll up. As he caresses dolly’s breasts Ann feels the sensation as well and begins to caress her own breasts. Zeb begins stalking Ann and discovers she has a fiance and the odd young man’s feelings of sexuality eventually turn to bitterness. Indecent Desires is the only Wishman film from this period of her career with a supernatural premise (Wishman would make a XXX and horror film with a supernatural premise in the decades to come). The imagery in the film is quite unforgettable. The little dolly found in the trash gets lots of focus as does its stunning counterpart Ann who looks like a real live doll. Ann is adorable and sexy and spends a good chunk of the film in various states of undress and feeling herself up! Sharon Kent is a beautiful actress and does a terrific and convincing job of a woman who in not in control of her own movements. Michael Alaimo also leaves an impression as Zeb; creepy, quiet and the perfect garbage picking, psychotic stalker. Also memorable is Ann’s sexually charged friend and co-worker Babs played by Jackie Richards. Indecent Desires is Wishman’s most esthetically pleasing and creative film full of sassiness, sex appeal and violence. Its enthralling plot, enthusiastic performances and visuals make for some seriously frisky fun. As is my obsessive way; I have seen 23 of Doris Wishman’s 30 directorial efforts and there is no two ways about it; Indecent Desires is definitely my personal favourite on her resume!
Indecent Desires was featured on my Favourite Five Doris Wishman list; to find out what my other four favourite Doris Wishman Films are click here.