Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Brick Dollhouse (Tony Martinez, 1967)

Do you like boys? Do you like to get high? Do like nude parties? Do you like orgies? If you answered yes to all of these questions, than you'll feel right at home with the sophisticated ladies who populate the hedonistic world of David F. Friedman's The Brick Dollhouse, a movie that was, according to its promising tag line, "filmed in color so you can see it as it is." A fast-paced thrill ride filled with intrigue, lust and more plot twists than a Kafka novel... are words you will never hear bandied about in association with this movie. Oh, and by the way, are Kafka novels known for having plot twists? You know what? Never mind, as I bet this film isn't Kafka-esque in the slightest. No, the words you will probably hear in association with this movie are as followed: Pedestrian, asinine, pathetic and ramshackle. However, there's no way in hell I'm going to use any of those words. You wanna know why? What do you mean, no? Whatever, man, I've come too far to stop now. The reason I'm not going to use any of those words is because this film is aesthetically superior to almost ninety percent of everything that's ever existed. Sure, the film is severely lacking in a few key areas... (A few?) Okay, it's lacking in a shitload of key areas. But you can't look me in the eye and tell me this film doesn't ooze aesthetic perfection.

Not really a film in the classic sense of the term, The Brick Dollhouse is basically a series of scenes cobbled together in order to showcase the unique styles of the late 1960s. Yet, to comply with the rigid standards that state that films should be "about something," David F. Friedman (the brains behind the whole operation) asked screenwriter Joe Delg to concoct some cockamamie story revolving around the murder of a fashion model. But make no mistake, this film is about shooting on the cusp of being chichi women with fierce hair smoking pot at pot parties, cha-cha dancing at pot parties and playing strip spin the bottle... at pot parties.

When the film opens, and we see the principal cast coming home from another one of these wild pot parties. Three women, Sherry West (Peggy Ann), Danielle Dubois (Janice Kelly) and Carmen Espinoza (Tina Vienna), enter the room of Min Lee (Joyana), only to find her lying topless on her bed with an apparent gun shot wound to the thorax.

Judging by the shocked facial expressions each woman displays after seeing Min Lee's dead body, it's obvious that Danielle Dubois is going to be my favourite character.

I mean, the way she puts her finger in her mouth (a clear attempt on her part to stifle the scream that was surely forthcoming) was off the charts in terms of  adorableness.

It was obvious that Danielle Dubois was David F. Friedman's favourite as well, as she gets the bulk of the attention in the early going.

Filming her taking a shower, filming her getting dressed, filming her... Well, you get the idea. David F. Friedman and I both love Danielle Dubois and we don't care who knows it.

I want to say Janice Kelly was chosen to do most of the film's heavy lifting, dialogue-wise, because she's the best actress. But I'm afraid I can't do that. It's simply, really, I caught Janice Kelly on several occasions looking directly at the camera. And I'm not talking about the kind of fourth wall breaking Tracey Adams gets up to in Invasion of the Samurai Sluts from Hell, where it's evident she's doing it on purpose. No, every once and a while I would notice Janice Kelly stare right into the lens. Anyway, I'm not going to let the fact that Janice Kelly breaks a number of acting rules in this movie diminish my admiration for her as a human being.

After Min Lee's body is taken away, Lt. Parker (George French) tries to piece together the events that lead up to Min Lee's death by interviewing her housemates.

Starting off with, of course, Danielle Dubois–you know, because she's awesome–Lt. Parker asks her tell him all about Min Lee. Lounging leggily on a chair, Danielle tilts her head slightly and noodles with the question for a few seconds. Instead telling Lt. Parker all about Min Lee, she goes on this long tangent about taking a shower.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think the tangent was about Danielle taking shower at all. No, what we're witnessing is a blatant attempt to kill time on behalf of the producers of this film. And, I must say, I have no trouble with this whatsoever. Seriously, I could watch Danielle Dubois take a shower, towel off (yes, slowly pat dry your supple flesh, you sleazy harlot, you), put on makeup, select a pair of panties to wear (she goes with a red pair), select a pair of blue shorts, and pick out a green sleeveless top for hours on end.

While the scene where Danielle Dubois does all these things is no longer than five minutes, it does eat up a lot of time. In fact, I think the movie is already half over.

Attending a pot party, Danielle Dubois lounges topless, smokes from a hookah, and... that's pretty much it. I'm not sure if every scene is going to be like this, but every one so far has been the epitome of pointless.

Take the next scene, for example, after leaving the pot party, Danielle Dubois goes home, gets undressed, and crawls into bed.

The character of Carmen Espinoza has been itching to tell her side of the story to Lt. Parker, but he tells her to wait her turn every time she tries to interrupt him. When he finally does let her speak, he calls her "Miss Chili Pepper." Racist much, Lt. Parker?

My favourite scene in terms of pointlessness is the pool party sequence. Nothing really happens, but the atmosphere is so 1960s, that one might think the whole thing was an elaborate parody of the 1960s.

Featuring great hairstyles, amateur astronomy, hot chicks dancing in bikinis, pool side chess matches, meat being grilled by men with hairy chests, leggy babes doing their nails and pipe smoking, this scene is a real scene, man.

Seemingly going from one pot party to the next, we're quickly whisked to another pot party, this time a modest shindig being held in a garden.

"Is this weed head bothering you?" And with that line, we're introduced to Sandy (Frankie O'Brien), Min Lee's tough-looking lesbian roommate, who rescues her from this so-called "weed head" on several occasions.

At first I was like, "weed head"? That's a bit harsh, don't you think, Sandy? Then we get a good look at this so-called weed head. And, yep, Sandy's right, this guy is definitely a weed head.

At any rate, just when I was ready to declare The Brick Dollhouse to be Janice Kelly's picture, along comes Helena Clayton as Linda Sherman, a gorgeous redhead who speaks with what sounds like a fake English accent.

You see, unlike Janice Kelly, Helena Clayton doesn't look at the camera, and she clearly knows what camp is. Now, I don't know if this was done on purpose or not, but while stripping near a koi pond, Helena throws one of her shoes in the water. Not only was her errant shoe toss campy, it was the funniest, most entertaining thing to happen in the entire movie. And from that moment on, it put me squarely on Team Linda Sherman.

"There's nothing more relaxing than a massage." You said it, Sandy. Now take that unruly-looking massaging device (which I'm sure is available at Obscura Antiques and Oddities for a paltry 1,600 Cdn.) and drag it all over Linda Sherman's pussy.

Who killed Min Lee? Hmm, should I spoil the ending? Nah. If you've got an hour to kill and are not averse to films that boast bright colours and other stuff, you could probably do a lot better than The Brick Dollhouse. On a positive note, I will be seeking out more films that star Helena Clayton, you can count on that. The way she just showed up like that and blew Janice Kelly off the screen was an impressive sight to behold.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Taming of Rebecca (Phil Prince, 1982)

Nowadays, your average serial killer has to worry about the authorities poking around their hard drives looking for "unseemly" material after they're eventual arrested. But back in the 1980s, the authorities, after they kicked down the serial killer's door, would head straight for suspect's living room and start examining the contents of their VCR. And what do you think they found when they pressed play? That's right, the first thing they typically saw was a deranged George Payne, a.k.a. "The Dean of Discipline," screaming a blistering barrage of insults at a cowering Velvet Summers; who, of course, has a safety pin in their nipple. Hitting the eject button almost immediately, the authorities had just watched a scene from the infamous The Taming of Rebecca, an Avon Production directed by the equally infamous Phil Prince. While the scenario I just described might sound a tad far-fetched, I have read that this film was in fact found in the video cassette recorders of at least two serial killers when they were arrested. Knowing this going in gave the act of watching the film an added layer of danger. Sure, there are literally millions of people out there who watched this film who didn't turn out to be serial killers. But the fact that two did... well, you know, like I said, it gave the film... (An added layer of danger?) Yeah, that. But it gave it a certain cachet, too.

It also didn't hurt that the film itself features dirty anuses, rape caves, pissing on flaccid cocks, pissing on flaccid floors, the music of The Stray Cats, a man with a full head of hair, pussy fisting, father-daughter toilet incest, lightning bolt necklaces, knee socks, hot New York accents, spanking and whipping.

I'm sorry, did I just include a man with a full head of hair as one of this film's selling points? Holy crap, I did. Now, granted, there are quite a few wonky selling points in that particular group, but a man with a full head of hair? What was I thinking?

Wait a minute, I just remembered why I included a man with a full head of hair as one of my selling points for this wonderfully fucked up movie. It's because George Payne's hair in The Taming of Rebecca is, with a doubt, the fullest head of a hair I've seen in a motion picture in decades.

I know, watching me go on and on about the hair sitting atop the head of a sadistic lunatic must seem strange, especially when you consider the fact the movie I'm talking about not only boasts a skinny headband-wearing Sharon Mitchell prancing around town in a short tartan skirt, but has a scene where the gorgeous Cheri Champagne sits on a bed with her legs crossed (her creamy thighs mashing against one another with a scintillating smoosh). That being said, don't judge me until you have seen his hair in action. And by "action," I mean, acts of cruelty and degradation.

To see George Payne cause others pain and suffering will bring a tear your eye. Oh, and not because he's forcing a safety pin through your nipple, but because he looks so good while doing so.

Just for the record, he doesn't actually force a safety pin through anyone's nipple in this movie. No, he forces someone else to do it for him. He might be a sick twist, but he ain't no monster.

Believe or not, George Payne's character isn't the only sick twist in this film. After jumping in her daddy's car, Rebecca (Sharon Mitchell) calls Miss Zorda (Stella Stevens), the, I'm gonna say, principal of a local school for sexually abused boys and girls, on a payphone and asks her if she can take refuge there.

When Rebecca arrives... Oh, and before she arrives, we're treated to the theme from Halloween. On top of that, I could have sworn I heard the music of either Cluster or Tangerine Dream as well.  Anyway, when she arrives... Oh, and before she arrives, we're treated to the sight of Sharon Mitchell walking down the street in her school uniform (a tartan skirt and white knee socks!). Yum.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes, when Rebecca arrives at the school, she tells Miss Zorda all about her troubled home life.

What the fuck! Would you look how spacious that bathroom is. Mine's the size of a broom closet, yet this sick twist is living it up in a home with a giant bathroom. I mean, look at this guy, he's playing with his genitals on the toilet with his legs extended to their full capacity. In my bathroom, I can't even turn around without knocking over something and this guy's sitting on the toilet like he's Larry Craig. It's not fair.

Tired of playing with himself, Rebecca's daddy (David Christopher) calls for his daughter and tells her that he needs her to make her old man feel good. Hmm, I wonder what he means by that. Standing in the doorway in a pink nightie with white doily-like flourishes around the edges, Rebecca watches in horror as her daddy swings his floppy cock around like a deflated, floppy cock-shaped bag of day-old mucus .

In order to remedy the slack nature of his floppy cock, Rebecca's daddy instructs Rebecca to suck on it for an extended period of time.

After his floppy cock is not even close to being floppy anymore, Rebecca's daddy tells Rebecca to sit on it. Now, you're probably thinking to yourself: How is she supposed to sit on it? It doesn't look comfortable at all. Do you see that patch of hair between Rebecca's legs? Well, inside there is an opening. And believe me, when Rebecca's daddy's super-stiff cock gingerly slides into this opening, the comfort level he's about to experience is going to be insane.

In an unexpected twist, Rebecca's daddy then orders Rebecca to sit on his face. It's unexpected because cunnilingus isn't usually on the menu in these types of situations.

Told to get on all fours, Rebecca's daddy gives Rebecca's ass a good spanking. Oh, and get this, after each smack, Rebecca's daddy demands that she thank him for spanking her.

Finishing things up in the bathtub with some rough doggie-style action, Rebecca's daddy ejaculates a smidgeon of seminal fluid in the general direction of his daughter's face. The end. Oh, wait. It looks like Rebecca's daddy wants Rebecca do something else for him. Leaning back against the wall at the base of the tub, Rebecca's daddy tells Rebecca to, and I quote, "Pee all over my cock, daddy likes that."

A shocked Miss Zorda looks at Rebecca with an air of disgust and disbelief after she finishes giving her a sampling of what life is like at home.

Bringing Rebecca to meet the other "students," who are listening to The Stray Cats in the school's rec room (complete with a pool table and a David Bowie poster), Miss Zorda introduces her to Saundra (Velvet Summers), John (Ron Hudd), Barbara (Cheri Champagne), Bob (Jamie St. James), Cindy (Ambrosia Fox) and Paul (Tony Mansfield).

As the final introductions are being made, guess who walks in the room? Why, it's The Dean of Discipline himself, Dean Minindao (George "Shut the fuck up!!!!" Payne). Oh, man, you thought Rebecca's daddy was a sadistic piece of shit. Honey, you ain't seen nothing yet.

It's when Dean Minindao's secretary, Linda (Niko), is giving him "dictation" in his office that I really started to take notice of George Payne's beautiful mane of thick lustrous hair. What's his secret? Castor oil? Monkey cum? At any rate, the sex scene between Dean Minindao and Linda is actually quite tame as far as sex scenes go. No one yells dehumanizing obscenities at the top of their lungs, no one expels pee on anyone, and no one is related to one another. In other words, yawn. Just kidding, it was kinda refreshing to see two people simply fuck for a change.

"That Minindao... he's such a jerk-off. And Zorda... did you see her in the gym the other day? My god, that woman didn't have any underwear on. She's a real sleaze. She's going to get hers one of these days." And with that line, we're introduced to the gorgeousness that is Cheri Champagne's Barbara. I know, we were introduced to her during the rec room meet and greet, but this is the scene where Cheri Champagne does some of her best work. I mean, the way she says, "jerk-off," with her thick New York accent will cause your toes to curl.

Sitting on the bed in a yellow dress with her legs crossed, Barbara, and her friend, Cindy, start talking, or, I should say, tawking, about "The Cave." When Rebecca hears about "The Cave," a subterranean netherworld where Dean Minindao supposedly carries out more serious acts of punishment, she doesn't believe that it actually exists.

In order to become more enlightened, cave-wise, Rebecca calls in the guys. After briefly discussing The Cave, one of the guys... the one in the aviator shades... wait, two of the guys are wearing aviator shades... The skinny guy in the aviator shades suggests that they have an orgy. Without even giving the suggestion much thought, the gang are taking their clothes off to what sounds like Suicide.

Hopping to her feet, Barbara pulls her yellow dress off with quick hiking motion utilizing the cross-armed technique. As the dress goes swooshing past her mid-section, you'll notice that Barbara isn't wearing any panties. You know what that means, right? Yep, Barbara is a hypocrite. If you remember, Barbara calls Miss Zorda a sleaze for not wearing panties. And, as Barbara's cross-armed hiking motion just proved, she doesn't either.

Just as the skinny guy in the aviator shades is about to get up to his wrist in Barbara's vagina, Dean Minindao bursts into the room. Busted.

The first feel the brunt of Dean Minindao's wrath is Rebecca, who is whipped ("You like that? No? Good!!!") and raped in his office. But not before the line, "Don't ever stand behind me... ever!!!" is uttered; my personal favourite of his many outbursts.

After that, it's John (the muscular guy in the aviator shades) and Saundra's turn, where Dean Minindao forces John to shove a safety pin through Saundra's nipple.

When we finally do enter The Cave, most people will either be too traumatized or too exhausted to carry on (even though the film is barely an hour long). However, the too outre for words performance given by George Payne is the real reason the stick with this movie. Seriously, the improvised bile that comes out of his mouth as he torments his victims is like listening to vile poetry being read by a coked up mental patient. "How so??? How so??? Don't fuck with me!!!" Ah, the unpleasantness of it all.