Pets (1973) Poster


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Guilty Pleasures
lazarillo1 September 2004
One of the guilty pleasures of the 70's drive-in movies was the runaway/hitch-hiker movies. Some sexy mujer dressed in a skimpy halter top and short-shorts or a micro-mini with her hip cocked and her thumb stuck out, hitching a ride while cheesy, hippy-dippy 70's music plays on the soundtrack. In the sexy hitchhiker sweepstakes, Candace Rialson edges out Misty Rowe in "The Hitchikers" mainly because she went on to have a minor exploitation career and a bit part as a co-ed who tries to seduce Clint Eastwood in the "Eiger Sanction", while Misty Rowe went on to, uh, "Hee Haw". Like "The Hitchikers" this film (Rialson's debut) is cheerfully amoral and completely directionless. Rialson's character ties up a middle-age lech who offers her a ride and rapes HIM (that'll teach him) while her partner-in-crime throws his dog off a cliff. She then moves in with a lesbian artist but is too dense to realize it until they end up in bed together. Of course, she can't resist also getting it on with a random guy who breaks into their house, so the jealous lesbian shoots him. She runs away and finally ends up on a leash in some rich weirdo's private zoo (obviously this was NOT a feminist film). There's not as much sex as you'd expect, but Rialson is topless or seriously under-dressed most of the movie.
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super sexy seventies sleaze
christopher-underwood15 February 2010
Although they are linked, this is essentially a trio of exploitation shorts on the subject of possessiveness. We have the stylish black lady happy to humiliate and rob the well off white man, the lesbian artist who takes in a model and the gallery owner who keeps a very special zoo in his basement. Candy Rialson is perfect in the lead as she is used by them all, even if as in Voltaire's Candide, she gets a fair bit for herself along the way. This is super sexy seventies sleaze and with dodgey pop psychology and all, a delightful treat. There is a cute central performance from Candy Rialson as Bonnie, chauvinism a plenty, a sublime theme song and spot on costumerie. Not to mention a girl in a lion's cage and a spot of whipping.
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A supremely offbeat and intriguing 70's exploitation curio
Woodyanders12 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Naive, but brash and sultry teenage runaway Bonnie (delectable 70's drive-in movie goddess Candice Rialson in peak sexy and charismatic form) finds herself lost and adrift in America. The lovely lass runs afoul of a colorful array of evil oddballs who all treat her like an object: violent criminal Pat (an impressively fierce portrayal by Teri Guzman) forces Bonnie to help her kidnap the middle-aged Dan Daubrey (solid Brett Parker), domineering lesbian painter Geraldine Mills (the excellent Joan Blackman) wants Bonnie to be her kept girl and uses her as a model, and, arguably the nastiest of the whole ghastly lot, severely wicked misogynistic rich wacko Vincent Stackman (a tour-de-force warped performance by Ed Bishop) desires poor Bonnie as the ultimate prized possession in his menagerie of caged distaff animals he keeps locked up in the basement of his swanky remote mansion.

Director/co-writer Rapheal Nussbaum and co-writer Richard Reich (the latter adapted his Off-Broadway play) craft an arrestingly seamy, deviant and provocative treat that's a good deal more than just your run-of-the-mill grimy skinflick. Granted, there's more than enough sizzling soft-core sex (Bonnie does just what you think with the bound Dan and forces a hunky prowler who breaks into Geraldine's house to make love to her) and tasty bare female flesh to appease the viewer's more prurient appetites, but underneath the trashy exploitative elements one can discern an oddly affecting melancholy meditation on the need to belong and latch onto something (the recurring folkie theme song "Searching" is especially sad and poignant). Every person Bonnie meets uses and/or abuses her in one way or another, thus making the unfortunate rootless and wandering gal feel more increasingly forlorn and alienated. The movie concludes on a hauntingly ambiguous note which suggests that Bonnie may have made the tragic transition from victim to victimizer. Popping up in nifty bit parts are character actors Roberto Conteras as a creepy gardener and Berry Kroeger as an art connoisseur. The polished cinematography by Richard McGarty and Mark Rasmussen gives the picture an attractive sunny look. Jorge Del Barrio's groovy score hits the right-on funky spot. Essential viewing for die-hard aficionados of 70's grindhouse cinema at its most gloriously bizarre and depraved.
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Rialson Makes This Sexploitation Picture
Michael_Elliott11 July 2018
Pets (1973)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Bonnie (Candice Rialson) ran away from home but her older brother is forcing her back. When Bonnie gets her chance she escapes from him and heads back out on her own where life takes her in a few different directions and with a few different strange people.

PETS is a film that tells you a little of what to expect just by looking at its poster. The poster with a scantly clad lady is clearly telling people that they're walking into a sexploitation film but if you're expecting all T&A and nothing else then you might be disappointed because PETS actually tries to be a character study and I think for the most part it works well.

There's no doubt that the greatest thing about the picture is the performance of Rialson. Is she in the same league as Meryl Streep? Of course not but then again this type of film isn't asking for that type of performance. I thought the actress was very believable in the part and there's no question that she was very easy on the eyes and this here made the sexploitation works flawlessly. Her character has to act with several others and there's no doubt that Rialson just controls the film throughout.

There's no doubt that the film does have some flaws including a few characters that aren't all that interesting but at the same time the movie delivers a rather interesting look at a runaway and the various bad situations she finds herself in. Is PETS a masterpiece? No but it's at least entertaining and worth watching.
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know what to expect, then watch
HEFILM9 February 2010
The lead character does seem to always end up as somebodies pet. First it's a African American Hooker, then a Lesbian painter, then, finally, Ed Bishop as art gallery owner. There are also various little furry friends the various characters own. So that's the thread that runs through this.

It is not a white chick & black chick ride through the night kind of sleazy buddy film that the DVD version seems to be sold as.

It is not particularly well made, the DVD source print is among the worst you'll see (though still worth watching if). It's not amateur time but it's pretty rough around most edges production. The paintings featured are well done and the topless portrait of Candace would be a great collectors item--where oh where is that now? It's better produced than other 70's drive in stuff but very limited in what it can afford to do. Climax which potentially could involve a live tiger ends very quickly for example.

The music is a "Everybodies talking' at me" attempt at ballads and then no score at all. Which hurt as the movie seems to lose energy by the end. In fact the first nearly 40 minutes consists of about 4 scenes one of which lasts at least 15 minutes. So it's not fast paced exploitation, this is fairly low budget affair, don't expect any car crashes.

You can expect some nudity and you'll get it and be pretty happy with what you get. Star Candace does well in the part and certainly willing to go all out when required. Ed Bishop is fun but doesn't really get to cut loose as much as you might hope during the last section of the film.

Not much prolonged violence in this film and it has less and less exploitation as it goes along. Again it's worth a watch if you're in the mood, just know what it is and isn't. The film does take its' time with story, the characters aren't very deep. You think that's a flaw? Well it wouldn't be except that's sort of what you're left with in this film after awhile. It may well have some aspirations to be sort of a "Sleazy Rider" only all of it takes place within about 30 minutes drive of Malibu and Santa Monica. A few nice views of some old rotting piers that are now gone from the coast line. Some 70s music score would have helped sounds like they had to buy canned music and again not very much music other than the songs, which are kind of fun in a bad way. Mostly this film is for fans of Candace or may help create new fans of hers. Certainly this works better than the wretched CHATTER BOX. You can see why she stopped making movies with titles like that in her resume. But this is early on and she seems ready to be a cool 70's chick in exploitation movies which sort of did and sort of didn't happen for her.
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Not bad considering the budget
IndustriousAngel23 November 2018
While "Pets" might be shelved among other "erotic thrillers", it's much too relaxed for that genre, and sexuality is generally portrayed as fun, not dangerous. Dangerous, here, is linked with possessiveness, and so the movie is firmly grounded in the 60s with their non-possessive ways. Also very 60ish - the meandering plot, with our "heroine" Bonnie (nice play) drifting through various more or less strange episodes and always getting some satisfaction out of it. The small scale of the production is clearly visible (sometimes painfully) and takes away some enjoyment, but overall Pets is a fun romp with very few boring moments and some real erotic tension without much sleaze.
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Interesting sleaze movie but nothing special
freakus27 June 1999
A cool 70's runaway flick. Lots of trampy goings on and sleazy softcore sex. Interesting angle at the end with the "Collector" character but this film ultimately is nothing to get too excited about.
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