Archive for Suzzan Landau

SUBMISSION (1969) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in movies, Something Weird Video, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by goregirl

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I had seen a trailer for Submission and was interested in the film just based on that. It was pushed up the queue after seeing the film’s lead actress Jennifer Welles in Career Bed. As an added bonus it was part of a Something Weird triple feature DVD that also featured Joe Sarno’s Vibrations. I have loved the hell out of Sarno’s stuff and Vibrations was one of my co-host David’s favourite Sarno flicks. Check out his thoughts on Vibrations (1968) here. I have been very pleased with most of my SWV purchases but this one is the crown jewel. There is very little dialog throughout Submission; not a single word is spoken until eight minutes in. It is a slow but steadily paced drama, that is disturbing, sad, strange and enthralling. Jennifer Welles plays the lead role of Vickie in the film. Vickie is infantine, innocent and a touch simple. She is surrounded by dolls, musical carousels and candy. Although child-like Vickie is also a woman with sexual desires. Vickie is kept in “Submission” by her boyfriend Barry. Fucking Barry; his arrogance, his patronizing, his entitlement, his voice, his violence, his smirk, everything about Barry made me want to spit. He controls every aspect of Vickie’s life; thinking for her, speaking for her and making her crawl and beg for candy bars like a dog. Submission focuses on one particular event in the duos life but is peppered with flashbacks that fill us in on the character’s pasts. Submission is one of the most beautiful, disarming, hypnotic and completely unique films that I could not say enough good things about; but I will try.

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Vickie’s child-like wonder of everything around her makes her endearing and yet empathetic. She goes to a candy store and enthusiastically chooses candy bars. When she pays for the chocolate she pulls a large hair ribbon and some garbage out of her pocket before she pulls out her money which she keeps folded in a handkerchief. She can not resist going into a pet store upon seeing a monkey in the window. And then again I can not resist going into a pet store myself!

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Barry is an oppressive, cruel hustler not to mention a voyeur, rapist and murderer.

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Vickie has become involved with Barry who keeps her submissive with toys, candy and sex. Barry with Vickie in tow is planning on taking a job with a wealthy fashion designer Ms. Staples who he intends on murdering and robbing.

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“Vickie is a little tired from the trip. Would you mind if she went up to bed now?”

Barry speaks for Vickie often and tries to avoid her interaction with their “mark” as much as possible. Instead of going straight to bed however Vickie decides to take a bubble bath and Ms. Staples and Barry walk in on her. A scornful look from Barry let’s Vickie no he is displeased.

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Vickey masturbates with a lit candle. This is at least the fifth film I have seen during my Something Weird Video feature where women have masturbated with candles. Although this was the first time the candle was lit.

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Who the hell is this? Seriously?! Who in the hell is this. It is a nice looking scene and sexy too, but who are these people? That is DEFINITELY not Barry unless Barry had reconstructive face surgery. It is never explained, so I guess they are just people who Barry watched having sex? I have no idea.

Also…Can anyone confirm for me who that actress is? She looks so familiar!

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Vickie brings Ms. Staples breakfast in bed. She tells Vickie that she could be a model and plays with her hair.

“I like it very much, but I don’t think Barry would.”

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“She’s gone.”
“Barry, I like her, I don’t think we should.”
“Cut it out huh?”

Vickie rips the head from her clown toy and throws it at Barry and than yanks hard on his shirt. “I’m going to get you for that” Barry warns and Vickie in response flees the room.

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They find a projector and some film and watch Ms. Staples engaging in a lesbian orgy.

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Vickie comforts Ms. Staples after Barry assaults her. The two engage in a wee bit of frolicking.

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Vickie does the buttons up on her blouse as she contemplates Barry’s cruelty.

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Submission

The finale is magnificent and I loved the final couple of shots which initially focuses on Vickie and then Ms. Staples.

Submission is a story that focuses on two seriously dysfunctional characters. One lovable and empathetic infantine and one arrogant, predatory and criminal. Their dysfuction is what they have in common. Ms. Staples is just another one of Barry’s marks, or so it seems. Ms. Staples has issues of her own but she sure does sum Barry up in a hurry; and then again it doesn’t take Freud to pick up on this guy’s asshole vibe. Flashbacks are scattered throughout Submission of Barry raping other women as well as the details surrounding their previous “mark”. A big part of what made Submission so appealing was the cast but especially the talented Jennifer Welles. Jennifer Welles is perfect as the child-like Vickie full of wonder and sexuality. Welles is a beautiful woman and a fascination to watch; she captures your attention and delivers a wallop without speaking a word. Gary Judis who plays Barry and June Adams who plays Ms. Staples are also very well cast; I was surprised that this was the only film on both Judis and Adam’s resumes. This one is all about Ms. Welles though. Submission is quite unusual and the mood and atmosphere is intense, sexual and perverse. You never know what might happen in the next scene. Submission’s peculiar, daunting music adds a curiously effective vibe to the picture. I’ve never seen anything quite like Submission or more accurately, I have never experienced anything quite like Submission. The film’s lack of dialog makes it a very visceral experience. The imaginative visuals are a real trip. When I use the world hypnotic I am speaking literally; the combination of the images, the pace and the music put me under a spell. I have watched Submission three times in the last week and I look forward to visiting it again in the future. With the exception of the seemingly random strangers having sex Submission is perfection. Submission gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Allen Savage

Starring: Jennifer Welles, June Adams, Sue Beaudry, Sheila Britt, João Fernandes, Gloria, Suzzan Landau, Sharon Miller, Natalie Shilvers, Kristen Steen

THE ULTIMATE DEGENERATE (1969) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in movies, Something Weird Video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2014 by goregirl

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I was not intending on reviewing a Michael Findlay film before my co-host David’s feature but I really only want to review my favourites from Something Weird Video’s catalog. I only watched a handful of Something Weird Video films in the past week and other than a couple of Joe Sarno’s (and I’ve already reviewed two Sarno flicks) the only one I felt really enthusiastic about was Michael Findlay’s opus The Ultimate Degenerate. At this point I have seen five of Findlay’s directorial efforts and have dug the absolute hell out of all of them but thus far The Ultimate Degenerate has been the Ultimate Findlay!

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I am guessing that Michael Findlay is an admirer of Hugo Haas as he included at least two nods to the director in The Ultimate Degenerate. In the first picture above is a shot of New York and if you look at the marquee to the left you will see That Woman is playing. The second picture above features Carla (Suzzan Landau) who is standing in front of a poster for Hold Back Tomorrow (it is actually written in French La potence est pour demain). I instantly recognized the names Cleo Moore and John Agar on the poster and when I looked it up I was thrilled to learn it was Hold Back Tomorrow; a film I had by chance watched just a few weeks before starting this Something Weird Video feature. I have seen two films directed by Hugo Haas that I enjoyed very much; Bait and Hold Back Tomorrow. I have read a couple of pieces on Haas both of which referred to him as a hack. I don’t like the word hack and I don’t like when it is used to describe director’s work that I enjoyed. Although I have seen just the two Haas films neither reflected the work of a hack. Haas made films on a low-budget that is true but both of the aforementioned films featuring the lovely Cleo Moore are pretty great and definitely risqué stuff for their time. Both of these Haas films have a seediness that suits the material well. I could see how Michael Findlay might have found inspiration in Haas’s work. Of the five Findlay directing efforts I’ve seen they have been considerably more salacious than others from their period. I will be checking out more Findlay and Haas stuff in the near future.

Hold Back Tomorrow

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“People are a lot like cars except when they’ve had it they don’t put them in the junkyard, they put them in the crazy house.”

The film opens with narration by the film’s central character Maria played by Uta Erickson as we are shown footage of cars in a junkyard. Maria informs us that “Six months ago things were different.” Maria was living in New York with her girlfriend Tammy (Donna Stone). Thinking she was alone, Maria does a little striptease for her neighbor Mr. Elsworth. Maria as it turns out was not alone and is scorned by Tammy; “You’ll give old Elsworth a heart attack.”

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Maria’s girlfriend Tammy is pretty uptight, Maria on the other hand is a voyeur and a borderline nymphomaniac. Maria realizes it is time to part ways with Tammy.

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Maria answers an ad in a New York sex paper. The job is in Vermont and pays $500/week for three weeks working for a man named Spencer (Michael Findlay). She is to meet his assistant Bruno (Earl Hindman) at Coney Island the next day.

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Little did Maria know that Spencer was watching over Coney Island from a ferris wheel.

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Bruno picks Maria up as planned and they drive to Spencer’s home in Vermont. Once they arrive, Maria is shuffled downstairs to a theatre where there are three women dancing and spraying whipped cream on each other.

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Maria is brought upstairs to meet the eccentric Spencer. Maria undresses for Spencer with a little assistance from Bruno. She is than shot up with one of Bruno’s aphrodisiacs.

“Don’t worry, this is a harmless aphrodisiac of my own concoction. Don’t be afraid. In a few moments after the fluids coursed through your veins you will experience the most delicious sensations.”

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Perpetual rehearsals but never any actual shows. The perverts Spencer claims to cater to don’t exist. Spencer is a deluded madman. His nurse died a couple of years previous and he has been on the verge of insanity since.

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Maria is taken to a room upstairs where she meets Sally (Cindy Freemont).

“Maria.”
“What is it?”
“After you finish showering don’t dry yourself; just stand in the doorway.”

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Maria awakes to find Carla (Suzzan Landau) exercising topless at the end of her bed.

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Carla escorts Maria to the theatre where they watch Sally perform with/for her “butch”.

“That’s Sally’s butch, Spencer likes to watch them in bed together.”

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Whipped cream obsessed. Whipped cream is an ongoing theme in The Ultimate Degenerate. And really, who doesn’t like whipped cream? This is one of Carla’s photo shoots for Spencer.

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Another one of Carla’s photo shoots; Dora (Janet Banzet) is posing for Lesbian photos with Maria. Carla’s cartoonish Betty Boop like voice barks at the two women to mash it up and make it look like they mean it.

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Spencer can not seem to achieve the level of excitement he desires and shoots up more junk. The spectacular psychedelic firepot dancing scene had me tripping along with Spencer who eventually falls into a brief drug coma.

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“Jeez, that’s all I ever see around here is broads chewing on each other.”

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Bruno tells Maria that Spencer’s fantasies have gotten weirder. Bruno tells Maria that he walked into the dressing room in the basement to find Spencer with his hair brushed down flat on his head wearing someone else’s glasses while Laura grinded her feet into his chest and he pretended to be in pain.

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Bruno relays another story to Maria when Spencer had a huge plate of boiled corn brought to him.

“I think he just read The Sound and the Fury and got excited by the scene where the guy rapes the girl in the barn with a corn cob.”

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“He himself has no sense of humor. But he is a very comic figure.”

Spencer wanted Conchita (Rita Vance) to look like she was in great pain for a photo shoot. Spencer got frustrated when Conchita’s performance did not live up to expectations. I have to agree with Spencer she really did a brutally bad job of looking like she was in pain! Spencer fixes the problem by pulling out some pliers and going at her nipples to get a real reaction.

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“Roll up your sleeve, I’m going to give you another stimulant.”

Spencer believes he is giving Maria another one of his “harmless aphrodisiacs” but he does not know Bruno has substituted Spencer’s concoction with something that will have Maria tripping balls in a bad way.

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The film’s final act after Maria has been doped up is the pièce de résistance of The Ultimate Degenerate!

The Ultimate Degenerate is funny, crazy, titillating, violent and sleazy; in other words it is everything I look for in a film. Michael Findlay’s unusual quirky accent and delivery is completely unique; I really can’t think of another actor who has his cadence. Growing up a huge horror fan and seeing a ton of films where women are tortured to death and raped mercilessly the “degenerate” acts committed by Spencer don’t really seem all that depraved. I mean who doesn’t like whipping cream or watching women dance naked by a firepot? Granted most people don’t have a theatre in their basement where women perpetually practice for a show that will never be put on. I think that speaks more to Spencer’s mental state than his degeneration but The Ultimate Mental Case doesn’t have the same ring. The Ultimate Degenerate features just one other male character other than Spencer and that is Bruno. I rather liked Bruno even though he is a total bastard. This was Earl Hindman’s second appearance in a Findlay film; the first was The Kiss of her Flesh. Hindman is best known for his role in Home Improvement as Wilson; Tim Taylor’s neighbor who is always obscured by a fence. There is loads of nudity in The Ultimate Degenerate; it would be impossible to review the film without including some. So many adorable and sexy ladies on display here! There were a lot of women I recognized from other Something Weird films and Findlay himself tended to work with a lot of the same women from film to film. Uta Erickson, Janet Banzet, Suzzan Landau, Rita Vance, Kim Lewid, Donna Stone and Cindy Freemont all appear in The Ultimate Degenerate and have made appearances in at least one other Findlay flick. Like so many of these low-budget underground films The Ultimate Degenerate is dubbed. Obviously Findlay dubbed himself but I think it may be his wife Roberta Findlay who dubs most of the women. On IMDB she is noted as providing “voices”. The Carla character’s voice was too much; I think it would give me a headache having to listen to that voice for any longer than the few minutes it was featured. The visuals in The Ultimate Degenerate are really primo! I hope I did a good job of capturing the awesomeness of the tripping out scenes because they are truly a hypnotic treat. I have watched forty-seven Something Weird titles at this point and The Ultimate Degenerate and its final chapter ranks high among my favourite viewing experiences. It is a perfect introduction to Findlay’s work and to the parade of fine and sexy broads of the world of underground cinema. The Ultimate Degenerate gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Michael Findlay

Starring: Uta Erickson, Michael Findlay, Earl Hindman, Janet Banzet, Suzzan Landau, Yolanda Cortez, Rita Vance, Kim Lewid, Donna Stone, Clint McCook, Cindy Freemont, Roberta Findlay.