As their sole offering for October (along with a boxed set re-release of the seminal shockers that make up the notorious Blood Trilogy), Something Weird Video uncorks a true pair of perverted classics. As the leading lover of cinema's sleazoid past, this company's quality control is matched only by the miscreant material they provide for the exploitation elite. This time around, it's aroused adolescents going gonzo as two sexually adventurous gals teach their elders a thing or two about knockin' late '60s kinky boots. First, one of the genre's favorite auteurs applies a saucy pseudonym ('Armand Parys') for a sick quickie about a young lady who, upon losing her virginity, goes Alley Tramp all over her hometown. Then, a wannabe porn princess porks her way to the middle as the almost adult movie business gets a regular reaming from a determined dame that's Over 18…and Ready! Together, we experience all the glorified growing pains of being young, sort of attractive, and incredibly available to multiple members of either gender. Talk about coming of age?!?!
By dissecting each entry individually, we will uncover the reality behind the randiness and the indignation beneath the indecency. Let's start with:
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
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
Grindhouse Grade: Nice and Sleazy (Highly Recommended)