Thursday, June 23, 2022

freakboy on film: SHE MOB (1968)

The blu-ray of she mob

Screenplay by Diana Paschal / Directed by Maurice Levy & Harry Wuest (according to IMDb) 


Brenda is having a good day.  She is a smart, successful businesswoman.  She has a luxurious home.  She has just been serviced in the bathtub by Tony, her live-in gigolo.  


Brenda and Tony in SHE MOB
Brenda pays Tony for the splish-splash

Big Shim is having a good day.  She is a smart, successful criminal.  She is proud to have recently busted a few cohorts out of the slammer.  She has just had a voyeuristic experience with Baby, her girlfriend. 


Big Shim in She Mob
Big Shim and her cone bra will not be ignored

Tony is having a good day.  He is a handsome, successful sex worker.  He is driving a new car that Brenda bought for him.  He has just been hired on the side to provide service for Big Shim’s three cohorts. 


Sweety East is having a good day.  She is a smart, successful detective.  She is happy with her wildcat roommate.  She has just been hired by Brenda to rescue Tony because the good day has turned bad. 


Sweety East in she mob.
Sweety East to the rescue

Big Shim has gotten wind of Tony’s lush lifestyle with the rich businesswoman, so she decides to hold him for ransom.  Brenda can’t afford a scandal, so she is willing to pay whatever it takes to get Tony back unharmed.  Sweety East agrees to disguise herself as Brenda for the ransom drop and will name her fee after the job is done.  


That’s the plot of SHE MOB in a nutshell.  I stumbled upon this obscure film while browsing through the Vinegar Syndrome website and I was drawn in for two reasons.  First, the crazy trailer seriously entertained me.  Second, the intriguing description (“Imagine an alt-Earth FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! as realized by a young JOHN WATERS”) may have peaked my interest, so I ordered a copy.  


Comparing SHE MOB to Russ Meyer’s classic and early John Waters isn’t completely inaccurate.  The plot contains similar elements to FASTER, PUSSYCAT KILL! KILL!  There’s a group of strong women out to score some loot.  There’s sexual tension between two of the women.  Plus, there’s plenty of violence, especially as Big Shim and her cohorts torture Tony.  Then there are a few characters that could’ve escaped from a John Waters film.  I can even imagine some Waters regulars stepping into the roles.  Mink Stole would’ve captured the electric energy of Twig, one of the cohorts, as she is constantly dancing in almost every scene.  Mary Vivian Pearce would’ve nailed the sultry boredom emanating from Sweety East as she investigates in her skin tight detective outfit.  Last, but certainly not least, Divine in the dual roles of Brenda and Big Shim would’ve been…well…divine!  Alas, that version only exists in the faraway alt-Earth.


Big shim licks her lips in she mob
BigShim loves my casting choices

All that being said, SHE MOB never fully captures neither the frantic pulse of Russ Meyer nor the offbeat drum of John Waters.  It is generally entertaining, but drags a bit.  I blame the off-kilter pacing on the director(s), and some of the actors, more than the screenwriter.  The highlight of the entire film is Marni Castle as Brenda and Big Shim.  Especially Big Shim!  This unapologetically tough as nails lesbian, with her equally tough cone bra, is the MAIN reason to see SHE MOB.  Though Monique Duval as Sweety East has her moments, but I might have gotten more out of this character if I had seen the TV series HONEY WEST (1965-1966).


In conclusion…

I have mixed feelings about SHE MOB.  I was initially disappointed to a certain degree but repeat viewings have made me appreciate it more.  So, while not great, SHE MOB is worth watching.  Plus, it is interesting to note that, according to the back of the blu-ray,  the film was shot in Texas and features “actresses culled from Jack Ruby's infamous Dallas nightclub.”  So, SHE MOB is, like, historically and culturally important or something. 


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words. 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


P.S.  SHE MOB was the fourth place winner in a Twitter poll I conducted to decide which film I should review now that my blog serial is over.  


So, click the pic ⤵️ to check out the first place winner…


Gender nonconformity in take it out in trade


~~~~~~~~~~~

Click the pic ⤵️ to read my blog serial…

Haunting sturgeons by john L. Harmon


Thursday, June 9, 2022

freakboy on film: YENTL (1983)

Yentl movie poster

screenplay by Jack Rosenthal & Barbra Streisand / directed byBarbra Streisand  


“What the hell is happening on this blog?  He goes from promoting puppet porn to blogging about…Barbra Streisand?!?  Surely this is a sign of the Apocalypse!” 


That’s probably what you’re saying and I can’t blame you for being confused.  I am so NOT a Streisand fan.  (Papa, can you hear the collective gasp of exaggerated horror from all the bitter old queens in the world?) The only other film I’ve seen her in is MEET THE FOCKERS (2004) and I still loathe myself for sitting through such dreck.  As for her singing career, well…I’d rather listen to my cat puking up a hairball. 


As for YENTL, the plot has been on my radar since I was a kid.  Anything that plays with gender expectations has always interested me.  So, last Sunday evening I plopped down in the recliner, switched on TCM, the same cable channel that introduced me to Andy Milligan, and mentally prepared myself for YENTL.  Though I almost switched it off because the TCM announcer announced it was a musical.  Believe it or not, I had no idea.  I thought it was strictly a period piece drama, which, according to the announcer, is what Streisand originally intended.  A couple of songwriters convinced her otherwise and I convinced myself to watch it anyway…or maybe I was just too lazy to get up from the recliner.  


Barbra Streisand as Yentl

                                Yentl, probably about to sing


The film revolves around Yentl (Barbra Streisand), a Jewish woman who wants to study her religion like the men folk do.  This is forbidden in 1904 Eastern Europe because God forbid women use their brains to do anything other than make babies and almond cookies.  Well, after her father jump-starts the plot by croaking, Yentl flees her oppressive village disguised as a man.  If the villagers would’ve seen her sneaking off, all the gossipy women would’ve fainted and the men would’ve called her a demon.  Personally, as someone whose mom mainly wore jeans or slacks, I was cheering Yentl on.


Barbra Streisand as Anshel

                     Yentl as Anshel, also probably about to sing


Anyhoo, Yentl, now going by “Anshel”, is admitted into a religious school and finds herself in a complicated love triangle.  Yentl has developed feelings for Avigdor (Mandy Patinkin), but he sees her as a man.  Besides, Avigdor is betrothed to Hadass (Amy Irving), so he is taken, but not for long.  


Amy Irving looks bored as Hadass

                      Hadass is longing for the singing to stop


A family secret is revealed about Avigdor, forcing Hadass’ parents to dissolve their engagement.  Now Avigdor is ready to split town on the next steam engine unless “Anshel” promises to woo and marry Hadass.  This way Avigdor will still be in Hadass’ life in some way.  Yentl agrees to this because she doesn’t want to lose Avigdor, even though he still believes she is a man.  Will this emotionally messy deception to become a throuple work or will lives be destroyed if Yentl decides to throw herself a gender reveal party?  You’ll have to watch to find out. 


Mandy Patinkin is nude as Avigdor

               Avigdor tries to stop the singing by getting naked


Mandy Patinkin is electric as Avigdor.  It’s impossible to tear your eyes away from him, especially in the skinny-dipping scene.  Amy Irving as Hadass is sweet and more complex than her initial subservient demeanor would suggest.  Then we have Barbra Streisand as the title character.  From when she is longing for more out of life to maneuvering through a man’s world as a man to the tough decisions she has to make in the name of love, Streisand is believable and sympathetic as Yentl.  Now only if she didn’t sing so bloody much! 


Barbra Streisand continues singing as Yentl

Please pass the earplugs.  There is no stopping the singing!!!! 


Sorry, but my filmic gods help me!  The songs multiply like bloated bunny rabbits that blur together.  I understand the lyrics are supposed to reflect Yentl’s internal thoughts, but this could have been done in speedy, non-musical prayers to God or her dead daddy.  Maybe if Streisand ever directs a reboot, she’ll go with her gut instinct and cut the endless songs.  


(SIDE NOTE: Mandy Patinkin, an established Broadway performer at this point, doesn’t sing a single note) 


I must add that Barbra Streisand does a good job directing the film.  She knows how to frame a scene to best capture the emotions emanating from the script.  It amazes and impresses me that a film dealing with the Jewish faith and gender nonconformity would get made by a major studio in the conservative, moral majority landscape of the 1980’s.  Especially since it was all directed by a woman.  Well done, Streisand & MGM. 


In conclusion… 

YENTL is a good film, but the songs keep it from being a great one.  On one hand, I enjoyed it for the plot and the characters, even though It is disappointing that the story mostly shied away from fully exploring the homosexual overtones.  On the other hand, I found the film excruciatingly painful when the singing would start.  My apologies to any bitter old queens out there, but I haven’t been converted to a rabid Streisand fan who openly weeps at the song The Way We Werewhile obsessively clutching the FUNNY GIRL soundtrack.  I’ll stick with Julie Brown as my diva obsession of choice, thank you very much. 


(SIDE NOTE:  I owe IMDb much gratitude for the spelling of character names) 


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words. 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


P.S.  Don’t have a conniption!  SHE MOB will be ganging up on you sooner or later!  


Until then, click the pic ⤵️ for more fun with shredding gender expectations…


A scene from Ed Wood’s Take It Out in Trade


~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s Pride Month 🏳️‍🌈, so now is a great time to haunt the queer streets of Sturgeons…

 

Haunting Sturgeons by john L. Harmon

Saturday, May 14, 2022

freakboy on film: LET MY PUPPETS COME (1976)

 

The vinegar syndrome blu-ray of Let my puppets come


“No, eBay, I don’t need puppet porn.” 


That’s what I said as I examined the email recommendation.  A large chunk of my Andy Milligan collection came from eBay, so I understood why they would suggest such a film.  I deleted the email and tried to ignore the ping on my filmic radar.  Then a friend snarkily reminded me how there’s a difference between need and want.  


Well, I told myself that I didn’t really want LET MY PUPPETS COME, even as I lost a couple of eBay auctions.  Then on one fateful Saturday morning, I noticed an auction ending around noon.  There wasn’t a single bid, so I placed one for $1 more than the reasonable starting price.  I then shut off my tablet and went about my Saturday, attempting to act like I didn’t care if I won or lost.


“OMG, I won the puppet porn!” 


That’s what I exclaimed, perhaps a tad loudly, as I checked my email while eating lunch with my sister at Runza Restaurant.  I was shocked that nobody had outbid me, despite the same thing happening last year with Andy Milligan’s THE WEIRDO (1989).  Anyhoo, I paid for my surprising win the minute I arrived home and waited for either the puppets or the police, whichever would come first.  Well, the puppets came and I anxiously popped in the disc. 


Jimmy and the executive brothers
Jimmy, a dim bulb, comes up with a bright idea 

Things are looking bleak for executives Fred, Ned, Red and their father Gramps at Creative Concepts Systems & Procedures Brothers Unlimited Inc.  Their investment in Big League Bocce has tanked and they owe money to the New York mafia.  What are these puppets to do?  Along comes delivery boy Jimmy to save the day.  He suggests that the brothers produce a skin flick to generate enough revenue to pay off their debts.  Well, it sounds easier than selling heroin, so Fred, Ned, Red, Gramps and Jimmy dive deep into the 1970’s hardcore porn industry.  


Lash is ready to discipline
Is there anything I can do to make you feel uncomfortable? - Lash 

They receive technical assistance from a couple of film experts.  Lash, who lives for leather-bound discipline, is recruited as cameraman.  Geppetto is called in to add some class to the smut and to literally create the cast.  His son Pinocchio tags along and immediately begins sticking his nose in everybody’s business.  To top it off, a woman of a certain age is there to watch over the filming for a group called Urban Women for Decent Pornography.  Will this porno be decent enough for Urban Women?  Will the rather surprising musical moments be a hit or a miss?  Will the addition of commercial parodies help lengthen the film?  Will the mafia kingpin arrive to break kneecaps and collect his money before Fred, Ned, Red, Gramps and Jimmy can complete shooting their skin flick?  You’ll have to watch to find out. 


Geppetto looking classy
Geppetto, a puppet who makes puppets 

Sure, I’ve seen MEET THE FEEBLES (1989) and THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (2018), but those puppet films did not prepare me for LET MY PUPPETS COME.  I sat through that first viewing in a naughty Muppet Show fever dream daze, with outbursts of startled laughter.  Did they just say…?  Did they just do…?  I wasn’t sure what to think, but I knew I wanted to know more.  So, my second viewing was with the audio commentary on. 


Film historians

Heather Drain and Samm Deighan provide an extremely entertaining and informative discussion of this different kind of puppet film.  I was surprised, in a good way, to hear that writer/director Gerard Damiano was also the mind behind the infamous 1972 crossover hit DEEP THROAT.  There was an amusing shock when they revealed a Disney connection through an actor, playing a very human chauffeur, who would later go on to provide the voice of Jafar in ALADDIN (1992).  They also talked about how LET MY PUPPETS COME was inspired by a an off-broadway stage musical with the terrific title KUMQUATS.  Last, but not least, I found it wonderfully refreshing to hear these two women geek out and celebrate 1970’s hardcore porn.  


Madame and Pinocchio
Is that a nose on Pinocchio’s face or is he just happy to  be in this film? 

Well, with the newly acquired knowledge, I had to experience LET MY PUPPETS COME again and I found myself seriously enjoying it.  No, not like that.  The crazy-absurd film suddenly made perfect sense and was a total trip and a half!  I’ve watched the entire film a few more times since then and have often skipped around to my favorite scenes when I need some cheer.  One scene in particular involves Pinocchio becoming human and singing an awesome song about the new all-American boy.  It is bizarre, wild, wonderful and probably politically incorrect nowadays.  However, if you’re easily offended, you really shouldn’t be watching puppet porn or even reading this blog. 


Pinocchio becomes a real boy
Pinocchio contributes to the delinquency of adults through glam rock 

In conclusion… 

Yes, eBay, I did need puppet porn and my filmic life is all the better for it.  So, if you want to experience something hysterically shocking and joyously raunchy, grab some grapes, take a swig of “Lusterine” and prepare yourself for the sights you will never unsee in LET MY PUPPETS COME! 


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words. 


Freak Out,

JLH 


P.S.  LET MY PUPPETS COME was the third place winner in a Twitter poll I conducted to decide which film I should review now that my blog serial is over.  


So click the pic ⤵️ for the fourth place winner…


Big shim demands you click her


…and click the pic ⤵️ to learn about the second place film… 


Paxton Quigley is waiting for you to click him


~~~~~~~~~~~

Click the pic ⤵️ to read my blog serial…


Haunting sturgeons by john l. Harmon


Monday, March 28, 2022

freakboy on film: THREE IN THE ATTIC (1968)

Three women pose provocatively on the dvd cover of 3 in the attic


Unlike many of the crazy films I’ve experienced over the last year, this one did NOT ping onto my radar through my Andy Milligan obsession.  Instead, I must thank the cheesy, far less sexy Vampira/Elvira knock-off named Svengoolie.  I was watching his horror movie show on ME-TV when he got to my favorite part…the cast!  He talks about the various film and television roles the actors are best known for since it’s probably not from the wonderfully schlocky movie he’s showing.


I can’t recall what film Svengoolie was presenting, but he mentioned Judy Pace was in the controversial film THREE IN THE ATTIC.  My interest was peaked by the title and the word controversial, so I grabbed my phone and searched IMDb Here is what my phone read to me…. 


When three coeds discover that the campus Casanova is dating them

all at once, they lock him up in an attic and take turns having sex with

him…to drain the stud of his potency.”


I started laughing, perhaps inappropriately.  Then I asked the world, in a most incredulous tone, “How have I not heard of this film?”  In the days that followed, I watched the trailer and searched streaming sites.  I found it listed on Epix, but instead of subscribing, I decided to look for a physical copy.  There was one very inexpensive DVD on eBay, so I snatched it up without a second thought.  Maybe it was a hunch that THREE IN THE ATTIC would be my bag or perhaps I really do have a filmic problem.  Either way, I took a breath and popped in the disc. 


Christopher Jones as Paxton quigley
Paxton Quigley


The IMDb synopsis is basically spot on, but there’s a little more to it.  Big stud on campus Paxton Quigley, who even gets his own theme song*, meets Tobey.  Tobey is an intellectually driven young woman from a nearby women’s college .  This unlikely pair seem to fall in love and their future looks bright.  That is until Tobey’s parents butt in, causing friction between the lovebirds.  


Yvette Mimieux as Tobey
Tobey


Maybe this is why Paxton Quigley is seduced, his words, by another young woman from the same college as Tobey.  Eulice is an artist looking for a good time and a subject to paint, both of which she finds in Paxton Quigley.  He puts the ass in class as he takes Eulice to a cheap motel he frequents so often that he receives a discount. 


Judy Pace as Eulice
Eulice


As if Paxton Quigley wasn’t already a big enough dirty-ho-playa’, he has a collision with some flowers and yet another young woman from  the same college as Tobey and Eulice.  Janet is a new age hippie-chick looking for inner peace while indulging her id.  She nearly doesn’t fall for the so-called charms of Paxton Quigley until he claims to be queer.  It’s 1968, so of course Janet must use her womanly flower power to “save” him. 


Maggie Thrett as Janet.
Janet


Tobey, Eulice and Janet do not know about each other’s involvement with the same man because Paxton Quigley has a hook-up schedule, which also includes watching Bonanza on his day of rest.  His bed-hopping goes on for a while, but Paxton Quigley eventually seems to want to give up his philandering ways and settle down with Tobey.  Tobey, however, has other plans.


Judy Pace as Eulice, Yvette Mimieux as Tobey and Maggie Thrett as Janet.
Hell  hath no fury like 3 women scorned!


The three women have figured out what’s been going on, so they do what anyone would do.  Lock the scoundrel in an attic and give him exactly what he wants.  Yes, Tobey, Eulice and Janet take turns having sex with him.  What seems almost like a titillating prank turns dark when Paxton Quigley goes on a hunger strike.  Will Paxton Quigley be the first casualty of the sexual revolution?  What is Tobey, Eulice and Janet’s end game?  You’ll have to watch to find out. 


Yvette Mimieux is intense and complex as Tobey, especially when the attic plan is set into motion.  Judy Pace is fun and fierce as Eulice, especially when she’s being sexually aggressive.  Plus, she gets the best line in the film… “True love just makes me sick.”  Maggie Thrett is trippy and a bit crazy as Janet, especially when she’s in full-tilt new age hippie-chick mode.  Christopher Jones is frustratingly likable as Paxton Quigley, even when he’s being an utter creep.  This is probably because he emanates a chilled James Franco vibe. 


Christopher Jones As Paxton Quigley
Paxton Quigley dreaming of watching Bonanza.


Director Richard Wilson does a serviceable job.  There are some interesting visuals, especially in a dream sequence.  Though generally the look of the film reminds me of made for television movies from the 1970’s, which is not a complaint.  Low-budget and unpolished holds my attention.  What also held my attention is the story.  Writer Stephen Yafa creates four memorable main characters and an intriguing premise.  The plot slows down a little in the middle, and maybe doesn’t dig quite as deep as it could, but the story has enough controversial situations and dialogue to keep things interesting.  Honestly, it is probably more controversial in 2022 than it was in 1968.


In conclusion, THREE IN THE ATTIC is not for everyone.  I enjoyed it because the story is a step off the beaten path and it’s not to be taken too seriously.  The amusing animated end credits of a couple discussing the film illuminates the satirical edge.  So, if you want something a little different, put some flowers in your hair and experience THREE IN THE ATTIC.


Movie poster for 3 in the attic, with text that reads,  You're Paxton Quigley, a legend in your own time. But you're being cut down in your prime by a trio of vengeful young women, merely because you gave your affectionate services simultaneously to all three.

*⚠️WARNING!⚠️ 

Paxton Quigley’s theme song will become your new earworm! 🎵 


Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words. 


Freak Out,

JLH 


P.S.  THREE IN THE ATTIC was the second place winner in a Twitter poll I conducted to decide which film I should review now that my blog serial is over.  


So click the pic ⤵️ for the third place winner…

Lash demands you click him

 

…and click the pic ⤵️ to learn about the first place film…


A scene from Take It Out In Trade (1970)


 ~~~~~~~~~~~

Click the pic ⤵️ to read my blog serial…


Haunting Sturgeons by John L. Harmon