By dissecting each entry individually, we will uncover the reality behind the randiness and the indignation beneath the indecency. Let's start with:
Plot: Marie is a minx, the kind of sexually curious gal who all adolescent males gravitate toward like a heavy metal concept album. Ripe to be deflowered and initiated into the ways of carnal companionship, she even gets excited over the sight of her gin-soaked parents doing the Sealy shuffle. Hoping her horny third cousin Phil will pop her post-pubescent cork, Marie puts the make on him as they listen to records, and before you know it, our naïve little lady is a full blown, 'do it with anyone' whore. While a determined doctor will later classify her as a nympho, Marie makes such never satisfied slags look like Puritanical prudes. She obviously gets it from her gratuitous guardians. When he's not busy pickling his liver, Dad is diddling his halfback-like secretary. And Mom is so desperate for some personal petting that she travels to local dive bars to pick up rough trade. One of her more swarthy swipes, a mook known as Herbie, takes a semi-shine to Marie. Naturally, that's all our amped up little skank requires. She beds the lewd lummox, and then brags about it to her distraught parent. Convinced they must cure her, Marie's mother panics. This leads to more sex, a botched abortion and a visit to the hospital – where hunky doctors make for available bedside mannerisms for our always anxious Alley Tramp.
You've got to hand it to Herschell Gordon Lewis – a bad script, a selection of subpar actors, and acres of unattractive flesh still can't flummox this fascinating exploitation legend.
Apparently, he could make a competent if cracked motion picture out of the phone book, a selection of lemurs, and a leftover Laugh-In set (as a matter of fact, he did…it was called Miss Nymphet's Zap-In). Here he's hampered by the less than thespian tendencies of Julie Ames (as our oversexed center of attention Marie) Ann Heath (as her erotically itchy mother) and the stilted Steve White (as randy relative Phil), and yet he somehow manages to make a thoroughly compelling and completely entertaining romp. True, his effort at cinematic quality is listed just below cow flops on the universal scales of artistry, but when the results are this over the top and hysterical (both literally and figuratively), all one can do is sit back and enjoy the jaundiced journey. If you look carefully, you can see the cast reading their lines off of out of frame cue cards (or worse, pieces of paper casually laying in front of them) and no one understands the notion of nuance. Conversations are either inert or screamed at the top of one's lungs, and just when we think we've seen the worst emoting ever by an exploitation entity, Ames and/or Heath add another element of inexcusable excess to their characterization. Frankly, their freak-outs are more fun to watch than any of the flesh peddling provided. As with most of his films, Lewis is light on the nookie and heavy on the hissy fits. Perfectly complimenting his already legendary canon, this long lost relic reconfirms this director's definitive place among the grindhouse greats.
Over 18…and Ready
Rating: Nice and Sleazy
Plot: Lyn is every exploitation producer's dry dream. . A wannabe Tinsel Town talent, this otherwise unexceptional secretary has no problem with the casting couch…or bed…or pool…or trip to the beach…or photo shoot…or car backseat. She will literally do anything, and anyone, to get her dirty haired hulkiness before the cameras. So when prowling producer Barnie Merritt – who just so happens to be Lyn's boss – begins looking for a lead in his latest S&M sex epic, our talentless typist begs for an audition. And why not – she's noted for her 'dictation'. After he sees Lyn's bumpy lady lumps sans clothing, and gives her a couple of sack romp tryouts, our heroine has the part. Unfortunately, Lyn didn't know that landing the role would require her to bed no only Barnie, but his lesbian wife Billie…and their always available maid…and Gary, the guy who took her winning nudie snapshots. As a matter of fact, Lyn doesn't just sleep her way to the top – she covers all available angles with her 'between the sheets' sense of purpose. When she learns that her continued success relies on living with the Merritts and more or less becoming their sex slave, Lyn finally balks. After all, she may be Over 18…and Ready!, but she is definitely not prepared to be anyone's permanent on-call paramour.
More or less an excuse to see chubby actress Mary McRea in all manner of breast exposing situations, Over 18…and Ready! is about as disconnected an exploitation experience as one can have outside a Doris Wishman opus.Wanting to be an excitable expose about the bare bodkin business, but really nothing more than a clothesline narrative accented with numerous numbing softcore scenes, this incredibly odd grindhouse goof packs more pounds of naked actress into 66 seedy minutes than a dozen similar skin flicks. Front and flopping is the wanton and wooden Ms. McRea. Blessed with a bosom that only 50 extra servings of coffee cake can create, this rolly polly puddin' of a performer is supposed to be going through a dark, depressing journey of the soul, a pornographic Pilgrims Progress in which her risqué resolve is tested time and time again. Instead, what we get are lots of shots of our prize pig taking a bath (but never once washing her heroin-chic grease mop of a hairdo) and giving herself over to static scenes of slap and tickle. There is nothing inherently erotic in this otherwise full frontal assault, but what is onscreen is eminently watchable. Thanks in part to the horrendous acting from everyone in the cast, the almost always undressed body types that provide their own level of baffling non-beauty, and a narrative that makes the movie business the biggest gang bang since the fall of Rome, we end up with a ripe, ridiculous bodice ripper that rates highly in hilarity as it festers with failed dramatics. You won't believe a thing that happens in this snails paced pseudo smut – but you'll definitely dig the vile vibe it gives off.
.The A/V Club
Black and white never looks better than when it's given a good preservationist's polish by the wizards at Something Weird. Thanks to the availability of original negatives, clean stock elements and direct contact with the people responsible, Mike Vraney and his crackerjack staff can deliver amazing 1.33:1 full frame transfers like these. While Over 18 has a few editing defects (right before the nudity, one can see white demarcations toward the sides, perhaps indicating where censorship suggestions have been made), Alley Tramp looks terrific. Nothing captures the suggested sleaze of these ersatz sex films better than a masterful monochrome image, and SWV delivers a desirable pair of prints. As for the Dolby Digital Mono mix, there is nothing new or novel about its flat and featureless elements. Aside from the sensational '60s jangle rock score provided for Tramp and the jokey jazz of Over 18, the aural elements here are unexceptional.
Rating: Nice and Sleazy
For quality over quantity, SWV really outdoes themselves here. First up is a collection of terrific trailers, each one offering untold moments of misguided fun. Perhaps the most memorable are ads for The All American Girl, Lola's Mistake, Monique, My Love and The Teaser. In addition we get another strange sampling of peepshow smut ("Smoke Rings") and two classrooms shorts that prove more engaging than educational. "Toward Emotional Maturity" is supposed to teach girls about the responsibility that comes with adulthood. Unfortunately, all it really has to offer is an out of control teen going daffy and delinquent. Finally, "Teenage Diary" is a Christian scare film that preaches to the perverted. It warns that if you don't follow the Bible, your attempted love life will be nothing but a serious of sinful traumas. Jeez, tell us something we don't already know, God. Sadly, the usual exploitation gallery is missing from this presentation. Here's hoping it's getting a well deserved revamp before appearing on another Something Weird disc.
Grindhouse Grade: Nice and Sleazy (Highly Recommended)
For sheer storytelling chutzpah, for the obvious acknowledgement that acting is these performers secondary career path, for the ability to view a hefty gal's sweaty armpit, over and over again, in extreme closeup, Alley Tramp/Over 18…and Ready! are Highly Recommended reasons to add this sensational slutfest to your DVD collection. No one can manage the mediocre like Blood Feast's founding father, and if you ever wanted to know how bulimia was invented, a few minutes in Mary McRae's back fatted presence is proof that, sometimes, an eating disorder is desirable. All kidding aside, Something Weird truly does deliver on its desire to overwhelm us fans with as many memorable, misbegotten classics as possible. Long legendary and now finally available, Alley Tramp truly lives up to its hopeless heritage. Add in Over 18's gluttony as gratuity and you have a delightful pair of gutter girl greats.
Want more Gibron Goodness?
Come to Bill's TINSEL TORN REBORN Blog (Updated Frequently) and Enjoy! Click Here