Director Herschel Gordon Lewis is, of course, most famous for his "gore" movies like "Blood Feast", "2000 Maniacs", and "The Wizard of Gore". While I find these films pretty overrated, his stuff outside the "gore" genre like "Year of the Yahoo" or "She Devils on Wheels" is often downright unwatchable. So I was pleasantly surprised by this entertaining JD (juvenile delinquent) movie Lewis made very early in his career. Uber-voluptuous man-eater Virginia LeCompte plays perhaps the most unconvincing "seventeen year old" in the history of cinema. She convinces her parents to let her go out with nice guy "Tony", but then borrows his car to rendezvous with her real boyfriend, an older, corrupt police detective at the home of a beatnik paint/sex offender called "the Beard" who her cop beau is shaking down. The heroine gets herself in trouble after agreeing to pose nude for "the Beard", so for some reason her would-be boyfriend/sap "Tony", "Marie", a girl who is in love with him, and all their friends rush to the rescue of this obnoxious, ridiculously overaged "juvenile" before her "virginity" (yeah, right) is jeopardized.
The plot is ridiculous, but in a very entertaining way. Like a lot of 50's JD and beatnik movies this contains a lot of laughably ripe dialgue ("You're transmittin', but I'm not receivin'--you dig, daddy-o?"). There's also some entertaining rock songs by a live band including the theme song "The Prime Time" and "Teenage Tiger" ("She's a teenage tiger/Got the devil inside her"). There's a gratuitous flashback catfight scene between the heroine and another ridiculously mature-looking "teenage" girl (they hilariously roll around on the ground in poodle skirts clawing at each other's faces). Lewis does a good (i.e. competent) job directing this film, which very much anticipates thematically the later, more famous exploitation film "Scum of the Earth" he did with David Friedman and "Color Me Blood Red", one of his later gore films about another deranged--but much more murderous--painter.
Karen Black has an early don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it part here. I don't know if I buy the story that she had nude scenes that were cut out. JD films of this era typically had a lot of exploitation elements, but they never had nudity, and this movie was made a year or two before Lewis and Friedman had gotten involved in any "nudie-cutie"-type stuff. Besides if you want to see Karen Black naked--or for that matter Karen Black in actual ROLE--you'd be much better advised to watch one of her later movies. This is not great, but it's pretty entertaining
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?