Her husband wants to penetrate her, former New York Yankee great Luis Arroyo wants to penetrate her. Hell, even her father wants to penetrate her. What's that? Are you serious? Well, you don't see that every day. It would seem that, while her husband and former New York Yankee great Luis Arroyo make no bones about wanting to penetrate the virginal vagina attached to a mixed up twenty year-old with iridescent knees, her father, in a shocking twist, does not, I repeat, does not, want to penetrate his daughter's grown up pussy with her his equally grown up penis. In fact, I don't think the father wants anything to do with his daughter. On the other hand, the daughter definitely wants to fuck her father. (Um, there must be a more delicate way of putting that.) No, I'm afraid there isn't. (Are you sure she doesn't just want to be with him in a normal father-daughter sort of way?) I won't lie, part of me wishes that was the case, as I love people who are able to have healthy relationships with one another without resorting to behaviour that is icky and gross. But the part of me who enjoys off-kilter sleaze wouldn't have it any other way. And to my utter delight, the wonderfully odd Toys Are Not for Children delivers when it comes to providing me with the type of sleaze that could be construed as off-kilter.
Now, sure, the film might be a tad lacking in the sex and violence department. But it more than makes up for it in other ways. (Other ways, eh? Care to give us an example.)
All right, here's one: The film boasts a scene where a fresh-faced prostitute takes off one of her tan stockings in a slow, deliberate manner.
I know, why didn't they show her taking off both her tan stockings? But remember, this isn't a Jess Franco film. Yes, it would be awesome if every film in existence was a Jess Franco film, but they aren't, so, get over it. Now, where was I?
Ah, yes, slow and deliberate.
Giving a play-by-play account to the blindfolded John sitting at the end of the bed, the newly-minted harlot seems to relish describing the stocking removal process.
And why wouldn't she? It's the cornerstone of being a whore.
Imagine if you took away the act of putting on and taking off stockings from your average streetwalker. Pretty frightening, right?
I would even go as far as to say that without stockings there would be no prostitution. And without prostitution, there would be no civilization.
(Is this film really about a childlike twenty year-old woman who decides to become a trollop in order to reunite with her long lost father?) I guess. Though, I have to ask, couldn't she have just used the yellow pages? I mean, sure, he might not be in the book, but it's worth a try.
Since her mother, Edna Godard (Fran Warren), won't tell her where her father is, and since Pearl Valdi (Evelyn Kingsley), her middle-aged hooker friend, won't tell her either, Jamie Godard (Marcia Forbes) is going to have to fuck every man in New York City until she finds him. (I don't get it, why does she have to do that?) While her mother won't reveal the exact whereabouts of his location, she's not shy when it comes to telling Jamie that her father prefers the company of whores. Using this knowledge, Jamie figures the best way to find her father is to become a whore herself. The only problem is, Jamie is the farthest thing from a whore. In fact, she's so un-whore-like, Jamie won't even let her husband Charlie (Harlan Cary Poe) touch her; by the way, you should have seen the expression on Charlie's face when he finds out he ain't getting laid on his wedding night, it's priceless.
The film opens with the sight of Jamie masturbating in the dark with one of her toys. And, no, not that kind of toy. I'm talking about an actual toy. What makes things even creepier is that the toy she's spanking it with was given to her by her father. Catching her in the act, Jamie's mother, who is sporting a ratty-looking beige bathrobe, tells her, in the most shrill manner possible, that what she's doing is unnatural.
After the opening scene, which makes it clear that Jamie and her mother don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to her father, the film takes a nonlinear approach to storytelling. Meaning, the film jumps around a lot.
Marrying Charlie, one of her co-workers at the toy store, which is owned by Max Geunther (N.J. Osrag), she works at, Jamie, it would seem, would rather sleep with her toys than her husband. Ouch.
As Charlie is bemoaning the fact that his wife won't have sex with him on their wedding night, you'll notice that the film's score was created using electronics. (You mean?) Yeah, the film has an electronic score. (But this film is from 1972?) That it is. (Groovy, man.) Composed by Cathy Lynn and Jacques Urbont, the music is ominous in places, which gives the proceedings an extra of layer of menace.
Do you see that area just above Jamie's thighs? Yeah, well, just because Charlie has had no luck accessing that particular area doesn't mean Eddie (Luis Arroyo) is going stop trying. Who's Eddie, you ask? He's Pearl's live-in pimp. (What's a live-in pimp?) Oh, that's a pimp who does the majority of his pimping from the comfort of the great indoors. Anyway, since Jamie is always over at Pearl's Manhattan apartment (remember, she thinks Pearl is the key to meeting her long lost father), that means Eddie gets multiple opportunities to hit on Jamie.
Using his hand to probe around the bottom of Jamie's skirt (if you look closely, you can see her slip), Eddie decides that Jamie is ready to be deflowered. Luckily or unluckily, depending on whose genitals you're rooting for, Pearl comes home and puts an immediate end to Eddie's lascivious advances.
Frustrated by the fact that his wife won't have sex with him, Charlie hits the local nightclub scene to scrounge up some willing poontang. (Hey, don't talk about early 1970s Lizzy Caplan that way.) Who? (You know, Salee Corso, the short-haired brunette chatting with Charlies who sort of looks like Lizzy Caplan.) Oh, her. Yeah, well, it would seem that Charlie prefers Gloria (Irene Signoretti), a wannabe vivacious blonde. (If that's the case, he's a damned fool.)
"You're a whore, aren't you"?" asks a wide-eyed Jamie while having lunch with Pearl at a fancy downtown eatery. Telling her to keep her voice down, Pearl tries to change the subject, but Jamie continues to badger her. Culminating with Jamie's admission that she thinks being a whore is wonderful, it looks like there's nothing Pearl can do to stop Jamie from becoming a prostitute.
Slipping on the pinkest, shortest mini-skirt she can find, Jamie leaves for Pearl's place. But first she must navigate a group of male perverts who have assembled on the stairs outside her house. Once she gets past them (gingerly walking down the steps), the next scene resembles an episode of Leggy and the City. What's that? You say there's no such program. Whatever.
Of course, when she arrives at Pearl's place, the only person she finds there is Eddie. Transfixed by her iridescent knees, Eddie seems more determined than ever to turn Jamie out. (Does Eddie succeed?) You be the judge.
Boasting a fresh new look, in the next scene Jamie is slowly removing one of her stockings for the crotch-based benefit of her blindfolded client. "I'm rolling it down my leg... more flesh is showing," she coos as she removes them.
You could say Jamie is the victim of bad parenting. No, forget about could, she is definitely the victim of bad parenting. Told in a nonlinear fashion and featuring great performances by its inexperienced cast, Toys Are Not for Children is a bold examination of arrested development run amok. And you know a film has had an impact on the viewer when they can't hear the word "daddy" without cringing. I love you, daddy. *cringes*