Howard Thorne is a rapist in Los Angeles: he meets women at work and at parties or he sees them walking down the street, and he follows them, terrifies them, and assaults them. He also ... See full summary »
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Howard Thorne is a rapist in Los Angeles: he meets women at work and at parties or he sees them walking down the street, and he follows them, terrifies them, and assaults them. He also dreams about these assaults, and he's unclear how much of what he's done is real and how much is fantasy. He ignores his heroin-using wife, Vicki, who tries everything she can think of to get his sexual attention. Howard and Vicki go separately to a costume party where she learns the full truth about his nature and where he is stalked by one of his recent victims. Individualized versions of Hell await Howard and Vicki. Written by
Think of this as more of a sexy art film rather than an erotic sexploitation sleaze fest. Howard Thorne (Nick Moriarty) manages Art Products Inc., a Los Angeles producer of BDSM magazines and stag movies. (The company logo is a parody of Botticelli's Venus wearing a corset, stockings, and holding a whip.) Having lost interest in his sexy wife Vicki (Adele Rein), he has become a serial rapist who can barely control his compulsion to stalk and attack women. Haunted by nightmares and visions about these assaults, the line between reality and fantasy is blurred. Several surreal, quasi-documentary segments attempt to explain his slide into madness and his obsession with the "eternal cruel female".
This is the first film to take us inside the adult underground industry. As Howard makes his rounds, we see the printing of adult materials and an artist doing Eric Stanton type drawings. He watches an 8mm fetish film being shot with two dominant women caressing and flogging a bound man. Whether by accident or design, the director bears an uncanny resemblance to B- movie director Ed Wood.
Howard answers a classified ad listed by Carol (Carole Baughman) seeking a "tough guy". He ties her up and whips her with his belt before raping her. Carol then enlists Cathy (Cathy Crowfoot), a man-hating karate instructor, to help her get revenge. There are some wonderfully surreal dream-like interludes as Howard's nightmarish fantasies gradually become a reality leading up to an appropriately ironic ending.
Director Jack Hill went on to make other offbeat but less creative exploitation films like ''The Big Doll House'' (1971), and ''The Big Bird Cage'' (1972).
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