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This super-obscure movie was recently shown at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, TX as part of its "Weird Wednesday" feature, and it was well worth doing a little traveling to catch it (if I remember correctly, the last time this movie played in theatres was as part of a double-bill with THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS, so you KNOW it's been a long, long time!). I enjoy grindhouse/drive-in ("Joe Bob Briggs-type") movies from the '70s, and THE ROOMMATES certainly fits the bill. The movie starts off as a cheesecake romp with four lovely college coeds finishing the school year and getting ready for some fun in the sun during their summer break. They have the requisite wild party (described by some as an "orgy" but consisting mainly of binge drinking, heavy petting, a strip chess game and the aforementioned sit-up contest) then go off on their summer adventures (more or less separately, but all at or near Lake Arrowhead). Heather (Pat Woodell, the original Bobbie Jo Bradley from PETTICOAT JUNCTION) takes it easy at the family summer home along with her visiting younger cousin Paula (Christina Hart). They discover a young man camping out on the property and allow him to stay in a shed in exchange for chopping and gathering firewood. Carla (Marki Bey) works at a local library and catches the fancy of the deputy sheriff (not to mention some leering library patrons), Beth (Roberta Collins) works alongside a waterskiing instructor and pursues a relationship with a married man, and Brea (Laurie Rose) is a nurse at a summer camp and takes a somewhat sheltered teenage boy under her wing. As mentioned in other reviews, giving each girl her own separate story line was pretty much standard formula at the time for these movies, then once the summer adventures were well underway the film veers sharply and introduces a crazed killer who starts bumping off beautiful women at the lake. The individual stories continue as the summer goes on, leading to a frenzied climax at a country club gathering. Fans of '70s movies will love the wild clothes and hairstyles, and while the music is rather simplistic and minimal (reminiscent of background music from an early 70s diet cola commercial) it's still fun. Throw in some super-cheesy dialogue, a rather dysfunctional family who run a resort hotel, some biker thugs and several lecherous middle-aged men with a preference for jailbait and you've got one far-out, funky flick! THE ROOMMATES drew a pretty decent crowd at the Alamo Drafthouse (mainly college-age and mid-to-late 20s) and although the print was quite scratchy and the color didn't age well at all it got a pretty favorable response from everyone. It was great seeing everyone enjoying and really getting into a freewheeling movie from a bygone era, and they certainly don't make 'em like THE ROOMMATES anymore! Looking forward to the DVD release in 2009 from Dark Sky Films!
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