Deep down inside you're dirty! Do you hear me? Dirty!
Surfink | Racine, WI | 05/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just picked this up recently and it's quickly become one of my favorite SW DVDs. The two films are quite different: Scum of the Earth, David Friedman/H. G. Lewis's final nudie as partners (with virtually no nudity!) comes across like a high school play about pornographers, while The Defilers has the look and feel of an early-1960s B&W TV drama punctuated with ... unsettling violence. Both movies feature several cast members from Blood Feast and the other Blood Trilogy movies.
Scum of the Earth's world-weary, boozing photographer Harmon (William Kerwin [Blood Feast]) snaps photos of pert blonde cheescake model Sandy, who's anxiously awaiting "retirement." (All her shots are taken with a scarf covering her chest.) She's also forced to pose in (implied) B&D shots ("Remember, I'm not double-jointed!") with hulking, violent misogynist brute Ajax. The chief smut peddler, Lang, smokes a big cigar, quotes Mozart, and plays with head-nodder dolls and a wind-up mechanical monkey. Harmon and Sandy recruit Kim (Adults Only regular Vicki Miles [Allison Louise Downe], one of the worst actresses of all time) to be groomed as her replacement. Mal Arnold (Blood Feast's mad caterer Fuad) plays surly, menacing, violent Larry, one of Lang's salesmen and apparently world's oldest teenager ("Don't forget, I'm a minor"). Harmon convinces Kim to show "the upper half" for $500 badly-needed tuition money, and she freaks out at another shoot when they photograph her face! Kim pleads with Lang to let her out of the deal in the hilarious "straight talk" scene: he excoriates her at length ("Deep down inside you're dirty. Do you hear me, dirty! You're damaged goods, and this is a fire sale."), working up a literal lather as the camera cuts in closer and closer on his sweaty, contorted mouth. Blackmail, (implied) violence, and more G-rated porn shoots ensue before the finale, which includes a baseball bat murder, shooting, police chase, suicide, and surprise wedding engagement between Harmon and Sandy! It all sounds quite lurid on paper, but it's actually rather quaint; you really expect Wally and the Beave to stroll around the corner any second. Scum of the Earth does share a rather, um, deliberate pace and minimalist production values with Friedman/Lewis's gore movies, but delivers plenty of entertainment value for aficionados of this sort of thing. Similar to Ed Wood's Sinister Urge, but with even funnier, highly quotable dialogue.
In The Defilers (directed, photographed, and edited by Lee Frost [Love Camp 7, Chrome and Hot Leather, Incredible Two Headed Transplant, etc.]), Carl Walker Jr. and Jameison "Jim" Marsh, two bored, jaded hipster hedonists, cruise their convertible to cool jazz and neck with their big-haired, ponytailed girlfriends (four of them) on the way to the beach, where they drink, skinny-dip, make out, and frolic in the sand (lyrical EZ-listening interlude here). Sadistic misogynist Carl (Byron Mabe, director of She Freak, The Acid Eaters, etc.) demonstrates his theories about women ...by variously pinching, spanking, and cigarette-burning his girlfriend Joanie. He further elucidates, "There is only one thing in this whole crummy, square, infested life that counts. Kicks! Kicks! Kicks! You dig me?", but his rich daddy (also obviously played by Mabe in glasses and mustache) is threatening to cut him off financially if he doesn't start showing up at the office. Meanwhile, virginal blonde aspiring actress Jane Collins ("introducing Mai Jansson") arrives in Hollywood from Minnesota on a Greyhound Scenicruiser and rents a room from degenerate Mrs. Olson. In a dingy "dungeon" love nest at his father's factory, Carl spanks frosty Kathy into submission ("Don't! Stop! . . . Don't stop!"), while Jim seduces Ellen in the car ("You wanna feel my muscle? Start the countdown.") While copping from creepy Mrs. Olson, Carl and Jim meet Jane, and later, after Jim reels off a list of possible kick-producing activities ...She's kidnapped, terrorized, and assaulted, mostly by Carl, mostly off screen. Eventually the more sensitive Jim rebels, and Carl meets a gruesome end straight out of one of Friedman's gore films. Defilers plays kind of like a really kinky episode of Surfside Six or Perry Mason, Mabe is really over the top (better as an actor than director), and Jerome Eden (Blood Trilogy) as Jim occasionally bears an uncanny resemblance to Ben Stiller (!!). The violence is sporadic and not very graphic by today's standards, but still packs a bit of a jolt; gorehounds will find it very mild, while sensitive fuzzy-sweater types will probably be appropriately shocked and sickened. I found The Defilers mildly disturbing at times, but for the most part campy and entertaining, with rich early-'60s atmosphere, some screamingly funny dialogue, and Frost's crisp, moody B&W cinematography major assets.
Extras include an entertaining and informative commentary by David Friedman and Mike Vraney (apparently distributors were disappointed in Miss Jansson's "charms"); a wild trailer collection, some fun and campy (All Women Are Bad, Confessions of a Psycho Cat, Banned, Curse of Her Flesh), some REALLY sick-looking (The Pick-Up, Ultimate Degenerate), some just stupid (Sex Killer, Sock It To Me); two OK shorts, "Intimate Diary of Artist's Models" (4:00, color) featuring "Ajax" and "Sandy" from 'Scum' in standard nudie-cutie photo hijinks (see what's under Sandy's scarf!), and Naked Fury (10:00, color) wherein a photographer shoots photos of twin girls wrestling in their undies; and another 8-minute Trash-O-Rama exploitation art gallery. Prints of both features exhibit the usual light speckling and blemishing, but are otherwise plenty sharp with excellent tonal values and detail. A must-have for exploitation and Adults Only fans!"
Supposedly the best and the first of the "Roughies" on one D
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""All you kids make me sick...no better than the girl who sells herself to a man. You're worse...Now, you listen and you listen well. You're damaged merchandise and this is a fire sale...Down inside you're dirty. Do you hear me? Dirty!"
Of all the clips cut together to introduce a Something Weird Video it is those words from "Scum of the Earth" that stand out, so I was certainly looking forward to seeing the entire movie. With "The Defilers" and "Scum of the Earth" as a double-bill, this DVD offers supposedly the "best" and the "first" of the "Roughies."
Remember to click on "Let's Go to the Drive In" on the main menu so that you get the complete experience, which includes not only lots of naked women but also Julie Andrews too (she explains the Motion Picture Association of America seal). You can never have too many clips from intermission at the drive in, and who does not want to buy boxes of popcorn with mermaid pictures on them? We get the trailer for "The Defilers," which thinks that if you show still shots instead of action clips then the nudity and violence will not offend anybody. There are also very long trailers for the skin flicks "The Pick Up," and "The Curse of her Flesh," the short, "Naked Fury," which is actually about a photography session with two models who were very good sports and apparently natural born wrestlers, and the trailers for "The Sex Killer" and a second one for "The Defilers."
"The Defilers" (1965) is supposedly based on a true story about two guys who decided to make a woman their sex slave. You think you know which of the two guys is the real sicko, but you end up being wrong, which I suppose counts as character development. This was the first film producer David F. Friedman made after splitting with Herschell Gordon Lewis, and the idea was to make the best looking "Roughie" ever (shooting angles are key here for making it look like a real movie). In the commentary track for "The Defilers, Friedman explains how he and Lewis invented the "Roughie," which is shot in black & white with more violence than sex to set it apart from the "Nudie Cuties" (e.g., Doris Wishman's "Nude on the Moon"). Friedman has read a book about a kidnap story and made this movie about "two spoiled AHs that kidnap this poor girl" and taken her to their private hideaway. The two AHs are Carl Walker, Jr. (Byron Mabe) and Jameison Marsh (Jerome Eden), introducing Mai Jansson as Jane Collins, from Sweden via Spank McFarlane's acting school. You have Friedman's trademark whipping scene, lesbian scene, and so on (he talks about following the rules and going down the checklist). The standout scene is Jameison on the beach with the tease of undoing the string bikini, which certainly qualifies as an erotic scene compared to the rest of the film. "The Defilers" was shot in five days and $11,000 and really does look better than anything else I have seen in this genre to date, and director/cinematographer Lee Frost deserves the credit on that score.
The Drizzle Guard might be one of the great inventions of the 20th century and I just love the countdowns to show time. Then we have trailers for "All Women Are Bad," an indictment of the fair sex, "Sock It To Me Baby," and "Banned," which is supposedly about the making of a film that was banned. These are long trailers; the concept of teasers is clearly lost on these people. Following another short, "Intimate Diary of Artists' Models," we are back to trailers for "Aroused," "The Ultimate Degenerate," and "Confessions of a Psycho Cat." All of these trailers have more nudity and violence than either of these movies and indicate much more of an anti-woman bias than the two films on this DVD.
When you finally get to "Scum of the Earth" (1963) you are surprised because you sort of expected a trailer for it. But there are even bigger surprises in store. Directed by Lewis ("Blood Feast," "2000 Maniacs") there is none of his trademark gore and for a "Roughie" there is virtually no nudity. Kim Sherwood (Vickie Miles) is a high school student who is talked into doing some modeling by Sandy (Sandy Sinclair) for Harmon (Thomas Sweetwood)) the photographer. But it is a set up. Offered $500, the price of her college tuition, for doing some nude shots where her face will not be seen, more revealing photos are taken and Kim is offered a choice: Do more nude shots or her dad (Edward Mann) copies. Kim resists and has to visit Lang (Lawrence Wood), the head of this little pornography ring. This is where he suddenly launches into the infamous speech. What is so weird is that he goes from having a relatively calm discussion with Kim to suddenly reading her the riot act on being "dirty." Also, the speech is shot in a series of progressive close-ups, unlike the rest of the film. Then the cinematography and Lang both go back to normal. Weird. Lang has a couple of bad apples working for him, one of whom is Larry (Mal Arnold), a self-proclaimed "minor" who want to do more than just pose with Kim, and that is where a baseball bat becomes more than just a prop.
Once you finish the three-hour tour through the DVD go back and listen to the commentary track for "The Defilers" and check out the Gallery of Drive-In Exploitation Art with Sex-Hygiene Book Pitch. The common denominator in these two "Roughies" is that in the end good triumphs over evil when one of the bad guys decides he is not as bad as he thought. "Defilers" is a 4, "Scum" is a 3, and the DVD extras are a 5. Altogether this is a 5-star introduction to the genre, especially since you get "the speech.""
The Best of 60s Sleaze
Dr. O'Boogie | 04/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love these type of films! They're some of the best "so bad, they're good" films you can find. To me, Mike Vraney's Something Weird Video is a Godsend. As a kid in the 60s, I knew about films like these from looking at the ads in the back of cheap detective magazines but never knew where they were playing. Not that any ticket taker would let me in! But they always perked my prepuberescent curiosity like Playboy did.
I'm not going indulge too much on these films, previous reviewer Surfink pretty much covered it all and I agree with most of what he writes. But what I like about these old-time sexploitation flicks is the gritty bare-bones look. Aside from saving money, the black and white film actually serves to create the intensity and rawness of the films. What you get here is not the polish of Playboy magazine, but the cheasy working man's mags like Modern Man, Topper and Adam among others all on celluliode.
Filmmakers like David Friedman (who produced both of these films) and Herchel Gordon Lewis (who directed one of these) along with others like Doris Wishman and Harry Novak were some of the most profitable filmmakers around. They knew what sold and knew it didn't take much money to make it. But they also knew where the lines were and never crossed them. Hardcore was an absolute no-no! Even when hardcore became popular, they steered away despite the fact it ended up eventually putting them out of business. They were always gentlemen with the ladies that acted for them and was always on the up and up with them.
My favorite thing to do is listening to David Friedman's commentary with SWV owner Mike Vraney on these titles and others of his that SWV has released. He gives such great insight on the behind the scenes of these films and the exploitation film business in general with wisdom and great humor. He talks of how great it was working with these ladies and how innocent things really were on the sets. No sex was going on between the actors on or off camera. In fact, a lot of these girls (and maybe some of the guys too!) were virgins and stayed that way well after the films were made! That's just the tip of the iceberg, I would love to meet this guy, who is now in his 80s and running a carnival in Alabama. I could talk all night with him!
So pop this one in and watch it, then watch it again with the commentary, you'll really learn something. Other titles by David I recommend are "A Smell of Honey, A Swallow of Brine", "The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill/The Head Mistress" double feature, "Space Thing" and many others all with great commentary. Then check out the award winning documentary feature "Mau Mau Sex Sex" about David and his exploitation comrade Dan Sonney and get an even bigger feast of background on this genre. Also go for Harry Novak's "Kiss Me Quick", his commentary is just as good and even more outragous, "Oh, look at those beautiful boobs! And this was before silicon!" You get the idea!"