Point of Terror (1971)
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The legendary Peter Carpenter started his film career starring in a Russ Meyer film, VIXEN. He then made three other films before disappearing from the face of the earth. And what films they were. BLOOD MANIA and this one, POINT OF TERROR (I haven't seen "LOVE ME LIKE I DO" but with such a great title, I'm dying to see it). Carpenter stars as a lounge singer who sounds/looks like Tom Jones. The story is totally inconsequential. It's about people scheming to murder other people who murdered other people, etc. Basically, people using people because of money and greed kinda of story.
With better production values than BLOOD MANIA, POINT OF TERROR sometimes looks/sounds like a Russ Meyer film, without the extreme excess that's usually found in Russ Meyer's films. But the rest is still there: sex, trash, hopelessly dated dialogue, violence, buxom babes, beefcake, greed, 1970s gaudiness, did I say trash? It's Russ Meyer-lite.
I love everything in POINT OF TERROR: the music (did Carpenter really sing those songs?), the fashion, the sudden sporadic bursts of violence, the focus on sex, sex, sex. The swingers dialogue: "Hey, Chickie". The acting. The tackiness of it all. Though not as memorably over-the-top as BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, POINT OF TERROR is, IMO, much more entertaining than the over-baked BTVOTD.
Favorite scenes: the opening credits, with Carpenter singing/dancing in a red fringe get-up. The beginning on the beach (Dyanne Thorne's bikini is definitely not sexy). The musical bits. The sex scenes (the triptych one is cool). The scene around the swimming pool when the husband confronts Thorne. Ole! The "surprise" ending. But nothing beats the scene with Leslie Simms, as Fran, in that purple hat. Fran is such a badass! Arf.
Michael J. Weldon, of Psychotronic Films fame, wrote in his books that he hates Peter Carpenter films, which surprises me because Peter Carpenter films are so perfectly Psychotronic: entertainingly bad. The main reason Weldon (and other fan boys) dislikes POT and BLOOD MANIA is probably because the focus is mainly on hunky Peter Carpenter (both films were produced by Carpenter himself...ah, narcissism). But for me, this obvious difference is what makes these trashy movies unique/one of a kind.
Long live Peter Carpenter.
A tacky Tony Bennett-style lounge singer abandons his pregnant girlfriend when he becomes intimately involved with the bitchy, high-strung wife(and soon-to-be widow) of a bigshot record industry mogul. Just to prove what a no-class opportunist scumbag this creep is, he soon takes to screwing her dim-witted stepdaughter as well.
If you're on a hunt for cheap thrills in the immortal 70s drive-in/grindhouse tradition, Look no further than POINT OF TERROR...it's such an uncurbed blast of raffish overindulgence that it makes something as famously profligate as BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS appear subdued by comparison. Surprisingly, it actually works in a fallacious, all-wrong sort of way, though a preposterous non-ending cripples it significantly.
A potentially gratifying watch for fans of excessive, tawdry thrillers, and such a distinctly 1970s relic that you might come away from it smelling like Hai-Karate.
Lyrically speaking, the theme song "Lifebeats" (which is repeated throughout) is the narrative that clues us in on the inner world of Sir Trelos. It is this song that he cuts for his first record that proves to be too much for his new rep Andrea, as she abruptly halts the recording session with a dash of her hand, barking out a "FROM the TOP!" It was either ending too soon for her, or else she just couldn't sign off on the vocal at that point. Either way, it gives us another chance to hear it some more. The singer does have his moments vocally-speaking, but we all do when we play American Idol Home Edition. The draw for Trelos' fans is obviously not in his throat.
I recommend you watch POT, but better still, really listen--
"Lifebeats turning into Lovebeats... Lovebeats turning into Lifebeats, moving in and taking over me...".
Pushed as a horror flick (check out the poster), this is actually a pretty bland thriller-sexploitation melodrama. The film's only fantasy type element is that Trelos wakes up at the end and discovers it was all a dream...right before meeting Andrea for the first time. Cue ominous music. Lead Carpenter sure seems to like himself as he produced and co-wrote the screenplay in which he sings and shows of his muscles a lot. He also co-wrote and starred in BLOOD MANIA the year previous to this. Future ILSA star Thorne is good as the manipulative Andrea though.
After reading the other reviews here, I feel the need to warn people away from dollar store versions of this film because the nudity has been completely edited out and this movie has nothing else going for it.
To give an example of just how shoddy a product the EastWestDVD print is, there's a section that's five or more minutes long that repeats in its entirety.
I don't know what annoys me more, that the print was mutilated, or that I'm going to have to track down a uncut version and suffer through it again. Why do I do this to myself?
BOMB (out of 4)
I need to admit that I have no idea what this film was about or what it was trying to say but here's the so-called plot. Tony (Peter Carpenter) is a nightclub singer at the Lobster Lounge where he's hoping to catch a break but most of the time he ends up in the beds of older women. Lately Tony has been having grisly nightmares of women being brutally murdered. Soon, one of these older woman (Dyanne Thorne of Ilsa fame) offers him a record contract. Tony, thinking he's going to get popular, starts acting like a star, which upsets the older woman.
Make any sense? I really don't know what the horror elements are doing in this film because it's mostly about Tony and his record contract. The horror elements are mainly shown through the nightmare images but trust me, hearing Tony sing is a lot scarier than anything we see violence wise. I kept watching this movie and expecting it to turn into a horror film but it remained a record contract film with a few doses of mystery, which were just downright boring and hard to follow as well.
The director at least knew to make the women get naked and yes boys, that includes Ilsa herself. Dyanne Thorne might not be the best actress around the block but she's got a lot of what the others don't have, if you get my drift. There's also another silly sex scene on a huge boulder (wouldn't that cause bad scratches to the back?) that the director shows using split screens. The film is bad enough to get a few laughs, especially the look at the bar, which seems to be decorated out of colored tin foil. Point of Terror fails on all other levels but I'd recommend you giving the soundtrack to someone you really hate.
Tony Trelos (Peter Carpenter) is a "Tom Jones" style singer at The Lobster House. He is eyed by Andrea Hillard (Dyanne Thorne) of National Records. She is married to Martin (Joel Marston- an Eric Roberts style actor) who is in a wheel chair. She is constantly cheating on him and is upset he is always spying on her because he suspects her of cheating-go figure. Oh yea, love triangle with the daughter (Lory Hansen) who is finally introduced when the film is two thirds over.
Available on multi-packs. Not worth the time to watch.
Guide: sex and nudity (Dyanne Thorne aka Ilsa)
Peter Carpenter, who co-produced, must have had a whale-sized ego. How else to explain the lingering crotch shot as he lights a cigarette or the lengthy butt shot when he steps out of the shower (without a drop of water on him)? Not to mention a nude side-angle shot in which Tony's leg just barely obscures his one-eyed wonderworm. If he hadn't died suddenly in late 1971, Carpenter could have been a Playgirl centerfold.
He also sang his own songs, and what songs they were! One seems to feature the lyric, "Life beans turning into lima beans." (I probably heard it wrong.) Incredibly, the music was produced by veteran songwriter Hal Davis, and a closing credit states that the recordings were "Courtesy of Motown Records." Were Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, and Stevie Wonder not bringing in enough cash to satisfy Berry Gordy, Jr?
Some of my favorite parts of POINT OF TERROR: a sex scene on the beach using split screens to show the fornicators at different angles (I counted six); Andrea topless in a swimming pool--with a rack so big, it's amazing she got her head under the water; Andrea's husband Martin, who can't seem to keep still, even though he's crippled from the waist down; when Martin becomes so angry that he tries to beat the crap out of Andrea from his wheelchair (it doesn't go well); when Tony goes home with Andrea's drunken pal Fran (Leslie Simms); when Tony goes horseback riding with Andrea's stepdaughter Helayne (Lory Hansen) and gives her a horsey-ride of his own; Tony also knocks up his main girlfriend Sally (Paula Mitchell), but dismisses the pregnancy as her problem. Sally, however, doesn't see it that way and gets her point across to Tony in a most severe manner. Let's just say, he'll never make another record.
I've heard this film described as "Russ Meyer lite," a fitting description when it's compared to Meyer's overblown BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. I like POINT OF TERROR better though, if for no other reason, that there's no male character who shows himself as having female breasts and changes his name to "Superwoman." (I wish I had made that up, but no.)
The second piece of celluloid sleaze that Peter Carpenter wrote and starred in after the atmospheric (and underrated) "Blood Mania," "Point of Terror" is a significantly less thrilling picture—far more talky and significantly less moody. It also seems to be cribbing elements of "Blood Mania" in a lot of ways, as it follows borderline identical plot arcs that have been minutely tweaked: Man becomes involved with wealthy woman. Woman is unstable and a murderess. Family member enters the picture and complicates matters further. Same formula, different canvas.
The film is peppered with some of the most ridiculously "seventies" musical numbers you'll ever see, and also boasts a significant amount of skin from a buxom Dyanne Thorne and the hunky Carpenter. There is a nice doubled-over twist at the end of the film that is clever but rather cheap, and the general impression I got after it was over was that Carpenter seemed to have wanted to do-over "Blood Mania," but this time invoke as much of Jess Franco's "Succubus" as he could.
All in all, "Point of Terror" is a middling thriller that, while mildly amusing, is more or less a rehash of Carpenter's prior (and better) film. It is, like "Blood Mania," relatively well-shot, but it lacks the performances and moodiness that made the former so watchable. For a piece of grindhouse sleaze, "Point of Terror" is watchable, but it's lacking both in spirit and inventiveness. 5/10.
This just never grabs the opportunities for a believable, conceivable story, and just gave me a reason to toss out this DVD that was a part of the Millcreek "Pure Terror" collection. Perhaps the acid trip survivors of the early '70's got it, but the only thing I got was ripped off. Peter carpenter survives with his dignity, if not his pants, on, but the acting by the blonde bimbo harpies is something that makes Patty Duke's braying in "Valley of the Dolls" seem calm in comparison. Their acting is even more bellowing than some of the early John Waters films which are at least fun watching. This was just hideous from the opening scene.
Instead this feels more like a softcore thriller, with a bizarre lead role for Peter Carpenter, who seems to be channelling the spirit of Tom Jones (or he wishes to, at least) for the most part. Carpenter plays a nightclub singer (the musical scenes are excruciating) who hooks up with a femme fatale, played by the frequently topless Dyanne Thorne. Thorne, of course, is notorious for her role as ILSA, SHE-WOLF OF THE SS, and she proves to be a statuesque and arresting presence in every scene here.
POINT OF TERROR has much in common with the psycho-thriller genre that flourished in the wake of Hitchcock's PSYCHO. I was particularly reminded of the excellent Hammer film, A TASTE OF TEAR. However, the execution is so cheap and cheesy that it's impossible not to laugh at the thing, despite the best intentions; that twist ending in particular is a real hoot. B-movie lovers will delight in it.
The movie is cheesy but a bit fun to watch. The opening of the film is a real hoot - I found myself laughing out loud as Peter sang and danced with the opening credits rolling. I thought to myself "is this guy trying to imitate Tom Jones?" LOL. It made for a fun and funny opening scene.
The rest of the film isn't all that bad, it's watchable, but it's not a good horror film. If you want see a really good Carpenter horror movie then find one by John Carpenter not Peter Carpenter. If you want a laugh then you might like 'Point of Terror'.
As success-hungry lounge singer Tony Trelos, Carpenter doesn't disappoint, regaling the viewer with further diabolical warbling throughout while squeezing into more ridiculously tight fashion disasters. Tony's unmistakable sense of style and rugged manliness doesn't go unnoticed by the ladies, with big-breasted queen-bitch Andrea Hilliard (Dyanne Thorne)—wife of wheelchair-bound music mogul Martin (Joel Marston)—soon digging her claws in, promising Tony fame in exchange for sex.
Their special arrangement soon begins to go awry, however, with Andrea dragging her heels in getting Tony his record contract and Martin becoming suspicious of his wife's unorthodox business arrangements. An unfortunate pool-side 'accident' puts paid to Martin's jealousy, but when Andrea's sexy step-daughter Helayne (Lory Hansen) shows up at her father's funeral, catching Tony's roving eye, and the singer's ex-girlfriend announces that she is pregnant, the stage is set for further acts of lustful violence.
Deceit, death, money, greed and sex: Point of Terror features all the expected ingredients of a regular murder/mystery potboiler, but distinguishes itself with a glorious excess of trashiness; not only do we the get all the gaudy early-70s trappings, with strong primary colours and some groovy split screen editing accentuating the tastelessness, but there's gratuitous nudity (narcissist Carpenter taking any opportunity to bare his ass and Thorne, the one and only She Wolf of the SS, flaunting her impressive assets), alcohol and drug abuse, sexual harassment in the workplace, and random violence, including a frenzied knife attack and a high-dive onto some rocks. It's far from great film-making, but it sure is entertaining.
Unbelievably, the film's outrageous finalé manages to be just as jaw-droppingly nutzoid as the opening credits, with a shock twist and a trite cyclical narrative device that makes a mockery of all that has gone before, but which somehow suits the whole crazy affair to a 'T'.
This is not a good film. The Lobster House is decorated with tinfoil, Tony Trelos looks like a disturbing mixture of Tony Curtis and musician Herb Alpert, and a lot of screen time is used showing him with his shirt off. Note that Carpenter who plays this ambitious Vegas sleazebag is also writer and producer. Scenes of Helayne and Tony horseback- riding is pure (and poor) excess, and Tony's crazy/ridiculous songs are downright awful. Pointless scenes of flashbacks to Tony's unhappy and clichéd childhood are seemingly endless. The ending with it all being a bad dream, and then a bad dream within a bad dream is not clever, just stupid. Some sequences appear experimental. I guess this isn't intentional, but proves a laughable lack of basic filmmaking skills. A clumsy and boring movie. Avoid. Avoid.
This is not a good film. The Lobster House is decorated with tinfoil, Tony Trelos looks like a disturbing mixture of Tony Curtis and musician Herb Albert, and a lot of screen time is used showing him with his shirt off. Note that Carpenter who plays this ambitious Vegas sleazebag is also writer and producer. Scenes of Helayne and Tony horseback- riding is pure (and poor) excess, and Tony's crazy/ridiculous songs are downright awful. Pointless scenes of flashbacks to Tony's unhappy and clichéd childhood are seemingly endless. The ending with it all being a bad dream, and then a bad dream within a bad dream is not clever, just stupid. Some sequences appear experimental. I guess this isn't intentional, but proves a laughable lack of basic filmmaking skills. A clumsy and boring movie. Avoid. Avoid.
Though this is in a box set called "Horrible Horrors," it's barely a horror movie. We see a flashback to the death of the record producer's first wife. We see a death by drowning, and another by falling, and another by gunshot. Essentially, this is more the story of a small-time lounge singer who's willing to do anything to rise to the top.
The last scene of the movie involves someone waking up screaming. Was everything we watched a dream, or a premonition? Easier just to call it bad writing, a "horrible horror," and a waste of time.