By dissecting each entry individually, we will uncover the truth behind the tickle and the scandal beneath the slap. Let's start with:
One Shocking Moment
Rating: Nice and Sleazy
Plot: Cliff and Mindy are newlyweds who still think it's their wedding night – well, at least hubby is horny 24/7. When he's not ogling his wife with marital bed intent, Cliff's peepers are bugging out at anything in a skirt. Thanks to a transfer to sunny LA, the couple end up in a swinging apartment complex where no one locks their doors, everyone undresses in full view of their fellow tenants, and boobs flows as freely as the booze. Within minutes of moving in, local cocktail waitress Joanie shows up and immediate grabs Cliff's…attention. She invites them to the club where she works, known as Tanya's Place, and before you know it the couple is sipping the house grog and getting to know the owner in a near Biblical sense. It's not long before these marrieds make strange new bedfellows. Cliff goes for Sue, the slut at work, while Tanya sets her Sappho sites on Mindy. Soon, everyone is mixed up, with vows being broken and backs being sensually massaged. After he scores a sizeable account, Cliff is up for a celebration. Tanya decides that an orgy is in order. Not surprisingly, it all leads to One Shocking Moment, and some syrupy melodramatics at the end.
When one thinks of Ted V. Mikels, a certain sleazoid ideal comes to the fore. This is, after all, the filmmaker behind such famous acts of motion picture malfeasance as Dr. Sex, The Girl in the Gold Boots, Astro-Zombies, and of course, the humans as cat food fodder classic The Corpse Grinders. While his efforts typically have more of a drive-in dynamic than a Pussycat Theater vibe, Mikels still made some incredibly gratuitous goofs. One Shocking Moment is a good example of his skuzzball style. The character of Cliff is so over the top in his testosterone laced leering that we wonder if he ever doesn't think about doing the dirty boogie. Similarly, the bullish Tanya keeps dropping so many same sex hints that you not only feel uncomfortable for the mousy Mindy, but every lady in the surrounding vicinity. The plot is way too padded – Cliff is just aching for action, and you know Mindy is going to catch him in fornication inflagranto. Still, Mikels makes us care for these characters, if only enough to forgive him for the numerous narrative missteps he makes along the way. Motivations are never made clear, and it appears that Mikels is implying some manner of moral about leaving home while your elderly father is in failing health. Whatever the case, the overdone dramatics and considerable cache of corporeality make for a deliciously dirty little film.
The Abnormal Female
Rating; Standard Skin Fare
Plot: A rotund shrink with an unusual bedside manner (he substitutes sweating for understanding) talks to a collection of ladies who enjoy their erotica on the incredibly icky side. Vickie loves to beat her beau, teasing him with her affections while whipping the Bejesus out of his behind. Sherry has a certain stigma after being caught 'servicing herself' as a youth. The result is a fetish to feel filthy. Naturally, she achieves this style of seediness by picking up trash in bars and having them talk 'dirty' to her. Sherry's sister Kathy isn't much better. She hitchhikes to pick up available man meat, approaches strangers in the street, and basically believes that a day without anonymous sex is like a moment without air. Finally, Janet tells our hefty head doctor that her husband's constant nagging for a threesome has lead her to love lesbianism. It's the same with Barbara – who just so happens to be Jan's bed partner – except in her case, it's a successful if distant husband who's failing to provide the proper pork diet. After studying each situation for an entire softcore scene, our psychologist comes to a stunning conclusion – the average lady is also The Abnormal Female, and they are in desperate need of some desire reduction.
If you think that your typical exploitation pic has way too much plot, if all you want is a non-stop array of ersatz rig frigging, if the notion of unwashed factory workers engaging in squalid interpersonal spelunking gets you all warm and willowy, then you'll find nothing but infinite pleasures in Abnormal's 60 minute risqué roundelay. Under the guise of getting down to the mental nitty gritty regarding ladies with eccentric lewdness on their minds, director George Rodgers stages stag reel quality sequences of gals going gonzo, and then he attempts to legitimize his smut with pseudo science. The meaty medico, who looks like he'd rather be dining than diagnosing, tries to get to the bottom of each babe's unusual urges. Unfortunately, we never hear their conversations. Obviously recorded without the financial burden of sync sound, Rodgers hired a snooty narrator to explain away every element. He turns every situation into a lame lecture on bimbo biology. This is truly about as close to hardcore as you can get without seeing a glimpse of meaningful male member. Indeed, during a discussion of the infamous ménage a trios, the endless minutes of personal positioning feels like a hodgepodge of XXX outtakes. With nothing else to recommend its raison d'etra except the sex, The Abnormal Female will appear superficial to some. But for anyone looking to peddle that flesh, this is a fascinating copulation compilation.
Maidens of Fetish Street
Rating: Nice and Sleazy
Plot: Nick is a needy nebbish who looks like a meat packer specializing in human headcheese. While seated in his 1928 Los Angeles apartment (complete with '50s furnishings and '60s exteriors) he internalizes his need for the scent of a woman. At the local burlesque house, he takes in the porcine pocket Venus flubbing up the stage. Seeing that much skin gets Nick to thinking about the sexual situations in his life, beginning with the story of his pal Joey. This middle-aged momma's boy is in love with the "soul" of a hooker he's followed since she was a kid (Ewww…). Their 'date' ends up in the usual fashion – Joe crying and the strumpet ashamed. A few more flabby bumps, and Nick reflects on a high society gal named Sandra, who enjoys posing nude for a female friend with lesbian leanings. A couple grinds of girth and Nick in now in a whorehouse, a place where he was once a gigolo (Huh?). Hired by Hilda to be her feeble boy toy, Nick likes to play with the product. This infuriates our ancient madam and before you know it, it's multiple lashes and all out catfights. You see, Nick and the Maidens of Fetish Street are never supposed to mix. Sadly, he has no control over his immature yearnings.
Nothing's more nauseating in the world of the wanton than seeing undersexed men, bodies bloated on too many suet-infused meals and hair oiled with gallons of personal humiliation, pining away for the 'never to be achieved' touch of a woman. Though Nick is supposedly a kept man, a sexual slave to the way over the hill she-pimp Hilda, the actor portraying him has an Alan Sherman-esque level of animal magnetism. It's like watching a horny estate planner engage in erotica with a resident from the retirement home. Indeed, Maidens of Fetish Street asks a lot of its audience. First, the film is supposedly set in 1928, yet we see all manner of hip, hep and happening settings and locales. Nick wanders into a dirty picture pavilion, and rummages through the stacks of Kodak's in clear violation of the era's supposed photographic limitations. Then he settles down to a burlesque act by a woman who immediately exposes her entire breasts – no pasties or fans, no attempt to hide her ample lady lumps behind any manner of staging. Nope, this Roaring '20s tart just lets her bovine beauty bobble in the breeze for all to see. While director Saul Resnick does try to add the proper epoch props (one of the whore house residents dances to a Victrola), and utilizes a narrative that's more flowery than a Bridezilla wedding, there is no denying the modern concepts at play here. Without flappers or polesitters popping up everywhere, this movie is not very realistic. Neither is the numbing nookie.
The A/V Club
It's time for some naughty noir as Something Weird Video unearths a trio of tantalizing monochrome prints. The transfers here are terrific, each one representing some of the best that black and white filmmaking has to offer. One Shocking Moment has a nice neo-noir feel, while Maidens of Fetish Street offers contrasts so sharp you could cut yourself on them. The Abnormal Female is the only less than perfect presentation. The sex scenes are badly lit, and the psychologist material seems a little soft and muddy. Still, for the overall rarity of the titles and the ability to find playable copies of each, SWV deserves plenty of thanks for happy film fans. Sonically, there are no complaints with the typical Dolby Digital Mono mix.
Rating: Standard Skin Fare
The selection of supplements and DVD complements provided on this DVD are, in general, pretty average. The sexless smoker reel – a lame loop called "Punishment Party" – is a badly out of focus frenzy where a gang of gals pretend to beat on a naked member of their party. It is pathetic, not particularly exhilarating. The trailers are a treat, however, though two are for titles already offered by Something Weird – Scare Their Pants Off and Venus in Furs. Add in the typical Sick Sixties Sex Stills Gallery with accompanying audio oddities and you've got an average attempt at added digital dimension.
Grindhouse Grade: Nice and Sleazy (Highly Recommended)
From the cheap seats near the back of the exploitation oeuvre, these uninspired offerings can't hold a craven crotch shot to the efforts of proto porn pioneers like Barry Mahon, Doris Wishman, Joe Sarno or Michael Findlay. No, this triple feature has to be happy representing the frequently mediocre middle ground of the genre. While each movie manages to make its point, with a couple going pleasingly overboard in the process, they will forever remain on the fringes of the raincoat crowds' consideration. Easily earning a Nice and Sleazy score from the new Grindhouse Grading system, you won't be disappointed by the amount of arousal included in these films. If you're looking for something other than softcore shucking, however, you will be probing these productions for quite a while. One Shocking Moment/The Abnormal Female/Maidens of Fetish Street may not be the DVD delight of the year, but it does do a good job of satisfying an exploitation fans substantial sleazy quotient. Just name your kink and enjoy the show!
The Grindhouse Grading System:
Va-Va-Va-Voom - The Tip Top of Titillation: 5 out of 5
Nice and Sleazy – Better Than Average Action: 4 out of 5
Standard Skin Fare – Your Typical Exploitation Elements: 3 out of 5
Not So Nudie or Cutie – Cut Rate Carnality: 2 out of 5
More Stinky than Kinky – Barely Worth the Bodkin: 1 out of 5
Limp and Lifeless – Not Worth Your Raincoat: 0 out of 5
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