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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Playgirl Killer
Playgirl Killer
Platinum // Unrated // September 19, 2001
List Price: $12.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted November 19, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

CineSchlockers should be well versed in the work of Herschell Gordon Lewis by now. Among the Godfather of Gore's many contributions to exploitation cinema was his discovery of actor William Kerwin. The late Mr. Kerwin, who often worked under the name Thomas Wood, was a leading man who knew his lines, took direction and wasn't hesitant to lug heavy lighting cables around when called upon. A true professional, not a star, which is exactly why Lewis repeatedly cast him in such classics as Scum of the Earth and Blood Feast. Between making pictures with Herschell, Bill joined his brother Harry in scenic Montreal to shoot a flick they'd dreamed up called Playgirl Killer (1966, 86 minutes).

The movie: Bill's an artist. You can tell by his beatnik mustache and goatee. It also helps that he's quick to haul out a sketch pad when his lady friend is sunning on a big ol' rock by the lake. He frantically outlines her figure onto his paper until she changes positions. "DON'T MOVE!!!," he howls. She giggles and ignores him. In a rage, he snaps up his trusty speargun and fires. She clutches the spear that's pierced her stomach and falls bloodied into the lake. You see, Bill's also a homicidal maniac who must now hoof it away from witnesses and soon the fuzz. Somewhere there must be other broads who need killing and Arlene is just the sort (Jean Christopher). She's a dirty little minx who beds her sister's crooning fiance (Neil Sedaka), but not before he chews up about five minutes of screen time with his squeaky-clean caterwauling. Eventually, Arlene's left to close up the family estate for the winter and that's when Bill literally walks into her life. He's hired as a handyman, though isn't handsy enough to suit her. It's dang near an hour into the flick before the next body falls. When it does things get a heap more interesting thanks to the creative use of a walkin freezer and an archery set. CineSchlockers should note that Mr. Sedaka also sang a catchy little ditty about jellyfish in William Grefe's immortal Sting of Death.

Notables: No breasts. Five corpses. Poolside frolicking. Chaste striptease. Horseback riding. Gratuitous dream sequence. Skinny-dipping. Peeping. Bitch slapping. The ol' doped drink trick.

Quotables: Arlene makes her move, "Bob, would you be a dear and put some oil on my back?" And later makes eyes at Bill, "Oh, I'm not married. I don't even have a boyfriend, because that's all there is around here -- boys."

Time codes: First of two Sedaka dance numbers (12:31). Naughty Arlene's fanny is visible through her neglige (39:25). Bill has psychotic nightmare with a nautical theme (1:19:50).

Audio/Video: The fullframe print is in remarkable shape given its age. Nothing troubling about its utilitarian mono track either.

Extras: Animated menus with audio. Trivia game. Modern teaser trailer having little to do with the flick. Neither does the chesty, knife-wielding model on the cover. Cast bios (from notes on Mr. Kerwin provided to the producers by yours truly). Keepcase snobs may balk at the Super Jewel Box.

Final thought: Lewis and Roger Corman did the murderous artist thing with a lot more panache, but Kerwin, as usual, is in it until the bitter end. Scan discount bins for this one. Recommended.

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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.
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