Check out who's checked in at the musty old King Edward Hotel in a seedy section of L.A.: Cheryl, a runaway teen who hopes to piece her life together. Little does she know that someone at the hotel has a nasty little pench... more »ant for chopping people into pieces. Welcome, happy campers, to one of the screen's most bizarre works of camp filmmaking. Paul Bartel (Eating Raoul, Lust in the Dust) directs, guiding this loopy foray "with the fervor of a carny barker at a freak show" (Jay Cocks, Time). Murder, fetishism, a dotty aunt, a sham clergyman, corny cops, a Peeping Tom and a guy who's a girl who goes nite-nite with a blow-up doll that has a photo of Cheryl's face taped to it - they're among the feverish parts of Private Parts. If you're without reservations, drop by the hotel.« less
"Hot (for the 70's) teenage runaway Cheryl splits from Ohio and ends up in Los Angeles staying at an old rundown hotel full of weirdos. The weirdest of all is George and he has a crush on Cheryl.
Not as perverse as I was hoping it would be (then again no film ever is), but I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this movie. The story moved along at a nice pace and even though it never perved out in a big way I still felt satisfied and would watch it again.
The picture on the DVD was great, but I wish there had been a commentary track by somebody. Yea, I know Paul Bartel is dead but somebody must have something interesting to say about this film.
Look for a cameo by director Paul Bartel in the park."
A Bizarre Psychosexual Thriller...
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 11/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Private Parts tells the story of the runaway teen Cheryl Stratton (Ayn Ruymen) and her stay in her aunt's shady San Francisco hotel. Cheryl's story is not one of those pleasant coming of age films knee deep in moral values or road movies that enlightens the viewer about the importance of the journey. No, director Paul Bartel, in his first feature, has something completely different in mind, as he presents an extraordinarily bizarre tale of voyeurism, sexuality, and passionate murder.
The voyeuristically loaded opening credits apply camera flashes and exposed body parts, which cue the audience in the direction of the story's sexual nature. The subsequent scene presents the sexual nature of the film in a much more tangible manner, as Cheryl sneaks a look at her friend and her boyfriend. However, Cheryl finds herself caught peeping. It places her in an awkward situation, which she avoids by leaving after she has stolen her friend's money. Here Private Parts pays homage to Psycho (1960) with similarities such as having a girl with stolen money seeking room and board at a hotel. Additional parallels to Psycho emerge as the film unfolds; for example, there is an intriguing bathroom scene.
The hotel is far past its glory days, as the wallpaper shows signs of decades of stains while the heavily use of the doors has left them discolored and rickety. It is a perfect environment for the corrupt and sleazy activities that take place behind the paper-thin walls. Nonetheless, the owner, Cheryl's aunt Martha (Lucille Benson), is very particular about who she desires as tenants, which consists of a peculiar bunch of characters. There is the priest with a taste for muscular youthful men and then there is the young photographer that silently stalks the streets and parks for a juicy shot. On top of this, Martha exhibits bizarre traits including preoccupations with funerals and her pet rat. The location for the story plays a significant part to the story, as all characters in the story are somehow connected to the hotel.
Meanwhile, to maintain the audience in suspense, the first kill enters the story shortly after Cheryl's arrival to the hotel, as her old friend's boyfriend discovers the thick blade of a machete across his neck. The murder leaves little doubt that someone is willing to go through extreme measures to keep something a secret while Cheryl curiously learns about the hotel's secrets. Many of these private interactions take place behind the many doors of the hotel, and often imply an obvious sexual undertone. At the same time, the film generates a feeling that Cheryl is never alone and someone is watching her. The impression of the presence of a stalker does not leave until the grand finale, which truly will have many viewers feel an unpleasant tension.
The youthful curiousness of Cheryl combined with her mature behavior delivers a precociously seductiveness that reminds the audience of Lolita (1962), yet it does not reach the heights of Kubrick. Cheryl helps establish a strong psychosexual atmosphere from the beginning of the film, which remains until the very end through many unusual occurrences. The arrangement with the psychosexual theme and the slasher concept ultimately delivers a genuinely out of the ordinary horror film that unsettles the viewer in an extremely profound psychological manner."
"I wouldn't disturb George at this hour. He's probably stil
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 11/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not to be confused with Howard Stern's 1997 film of the same name (which I liked), Private Parts (1972) is an excellent, early effort from writer/actor/director Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000, Eating Raoul), who, sadly, passed away in 2000. Produced by Gene Corman (Night of the Blood Beast, Attack of the Giant Leeches), brother to Roger Corman, the film features Ayn Ruymen ("The McLean Stevenson Show"), John Ventantonio (Alien Lover), and Lucille Benson (Duel, Halloween II). Also appearing is Laurie Main (Time After Time, My Chauffeur), Ann Gibbs (Dear Dead Delilah), Stanley Livingston (Smokey and the Hotwire Gang), Charles Woolf (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), and Bartel himself, in a humorous cameo as `Man in Park'.
Seems not too long ago Judy (Gibbs) and Cheryl (Ruymen), a pair of midwestern girls, left their humble beginnings behind for the west coast, ending up in a crummy apartment on the beach in LA. The pair eventually have a falling out, partly over the fact Cheryl, who's jailbait through and through, gets her kicks on peeping on Judy and her boyfriend getting their freak on, and Cheryl splits, stealing Judy's wallet in the process. Seems Cheryl has a relative in the area, an Aunt Martha (Benson), who just happens to run a shabby flophouse of sorts, the King Edward Hotel to be exact, in a seedy part of town. Aunt Martha reluctantly agrees to let Cheryl stay, but on one condition, that Cheryl not wander around the hotel alone (a condition she repeatedly violates as the film progresses). This seems like sound advice, given some of the residents like Mr. Lovejoy, the perpetual drunk, Reverend Moon (Main), a phony baloney minister who's got a thing for astrology and brawny, young men, and George (Ventantonio), the creepy photographer who lives on the third floor and has a hobby of snapping photos of couples copulating in the park at night. Anyway, not too long after, Judy's boyfriend comes around to warn Cheryl about an angry Judy (Cheryl stole Judy's money, remember?), followed by Judy herself, both probably wishing they hadn't...Cheryl's room seems comfortable enough, except for the strange noises coming from next door. Aunt Martha assures Cheryl that room is empty, but Cheryl's not convinced, so she steals the master keys and checks it out for herself...turns out it is empty, but notices various peep holes that look into her room along with the bathroom she uses. Also, one of the residents of the hotel has taken a real shine to our little Cheryl, leaving notes and small presents for her in her room. With the stolen master keys, Cheryl begins sneaking into other's rooms, trying to match the handwriting on the notes left for her in her room, and eventually learns a number of things, including information about the mysterious disappearance of a young woman named Alice, who used to live in the hotel...there are many secrets and strange relationships hidden away within the King Edward, the hotel where few check in, and no one checks out...
This was a very odd movie, and I really enjoyed it. The story may not be all that unique, but it's told with flair, originality, and a dark, comic undertone that kept me interested throughout (the seediness and squalor of the characters quickly overshadows that of the hotel and its surroundings). The really interesting aspect for me was how, as the movie started, it just seemed a series of loosely connected events and strange details not really leading anywhere, but later on I began to realize this wasn't the case, as there was a sly subtly in the hinting of the material in terms of the various relationships and past occurrences with the hotel and its residents. I did manage to figure out what was happening before it was actually revealed (although I wasn't 100 percent sure until the story gave up its goodies), but I felt this was partly an intentional choice by Bartel, the director, and not the result of any weaknesses in the story or direction. As far as the characters, there weren't many I liked, but it didn't have an adverse effect on my liking the movie. Cheryl was a petulant, sneaky, ingratiating, thieving little tease who had no problem lying to others, sticking her nose where it didn't belong, and just being a pest in general (she was cute, though)...sounds like a typical teenager to me...and then there's Aunt Martha, who seems kind enough at first (slightly off, perhaps), allowing Cheryl to stay and such, but her quirky ideas and bizarre beliefs begin to illustrate the nature of her reality (or unreality), and how different it is from what many of us would probably consider normal. At first her concern for Cheryl's welfare seems genuine, but then later it seems it wasn't so much concern for Cheryl, but the effect of Cheryl's presence on some of the other residents of the hotel. And finally there's George, who has a strange, exotic air about him, one that quickly turns ominous, as his peculiar predilections (inflatable love dolls, huge hypodermic needles, etc.) become known. Turns out he and Cheryl have something in common, that of peeping, and from this develops a relationship as she feels he's the only one who sees her as something than what is really is (jailbait), but his desires soon escalate far beyond that of what Cheryl could have ever imagined. My favorite part of the film is the last ten minutes, as the humor comes fast and furious as the father of a missing, local teen shows up with the police in tow, looking for his son. As the group begins to uncover certain peccadilloes, their quips and comments are a riot, especially given how naturally they throw them about. Also, the sequence with Aunt Martha's pet rat Whitey and the electrified key ring is a real hoot. Bartel made a number of films, some of them not so great, but when he's working with material that suits him, as is the case here, wonderfully tacky things ensue.
The picture, presented in ananmorphic widescreen (1.85:1), looks very good, and the Dolby Digital mono audio comes through cleanly. There's little in the way of extras except for an original, theatrical trailer.
By the way, the title for my review comes from a line near the end, spoken by an elderly female resident of the hotel, as the police are looking to question some of the hotel residents. There's nothing more appealing than hearing an 80 something year old woman talking about `jerking off'. "
Not for everyone
J. Maniscalco | NC | 09/06/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the reviews thus far are of a far more inferior and rediculous film. This movie is best described by the first reviewer. It had a very strange feel to it, but was remarkably done. There are some very funny, and strange, moments in this film. You must have an open mind to enjoy this one."
One of the strangest releases from a major studio
G. Laughlin | Auburn, Alabama | 10/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This curio was released during the last days of the original MGM empire (1972) and it's good to see Warner Bros. release the more obscure titles they acquired via Ted Turner's ill-fated attempt to buy the studio in the mid-80's (he got the rights to the library in order to have programming for TNT/TCM/TBS).
As for the movie itself, I saw it in Los Angeles in the mid-80's at a screening where the director (the now-deceased Paul Bartel) was present to talk about his experience. He was amazed he was able to make a movie with a bizarre storyline."