Something Weird Video // 1968 // 145 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // October 8th, 2004
Pretty women...sexy women...dead women!
Fresh off a two-year tour of European hot spots, the bohemian bum Peter wanders back to the pad of his pal Leo, a struggling painter who's found success as an art teacher (complete with live nude models). While Pete wants to hang out and explore his photographic stylings, Leo and his harpy-like wife Mona want him to get a job. And what kind of employment best serves a '60s slacker with no visible means of morals? Why, cheesecake cameraman, of course. Before you know it, Petey is a panderer of pulchritude, a producer of pin-ups featuring barely dressed babes. Seems like Lady Luck is finally smiling on the unattractive shlub. But wouldn't you know it, during his travels, Pete witnessed the self-mutilation rituals of some Italian nut-jobs and, now, every time he sees red, he goes bonkers. Before a potential victim knows it, Pete is looking for a means of making murder. With a couple of alluring ladies all ready pushing up the cosmopolitan daises, Leo and Mona may be next in line. Or maybe Pete will learn that it's better to carve than to re-cleave -- yourself, that is. A few self-inflicted wounds later and this is one plucked-up paparazzi who understands what it's like to be The Beautiful, The Bloody and the Bare.
Ann and Terry are typical late-'60s city girls. They have their typing pool careers, their nondescript love lives, and their weekend jaunts to the country for go-go dancing and sexual assault. So when Mr. Bradley, a kindly old bird watcher, saves Annie from the raping ways of a bearded lothario, she naturally takes a shine to him. And when the ladies' lumbering land yacht runs out of petrol, they coincidentally find themselves at Bradley's doorstep. Mr. Bradley and his strange sister seem like such a nice couple. They are charming and accommodating, more than happy to let these damsels in distress spend the night in their moody mansion. But once they've settled in, our suspicious heroines start noticing little things -- like the windows have iron bars...and the doors are suddenly locked...and in the closet there are lots of ladies dresses...of varying sizes! Turns out that Mr. Bradley is a mortician-turned-sex freak, a madman who is experimenting on girls to find the perfect passionate plaything. And he can't wait to work his scientific method on Ann and Terry. But be warned: anyone trying to escape gets the taxidermy treatment in the basement "museum." It's a dire date with depravity for our dithering dames as perversion awaits them...Behind Locked Doors.
Like Kiss Me Quick without the songs, comedic gags, or juvenile jollies, or a Herschell Gordon Lewis gore epic that forgot the claret but kept the comely lasses, The Beautiful, The Bloody and the Bare is a series of men's magazine layouts sandwiched onto the flimsiest of plotlines. This salacious saga of a nutty nudie photographer and the life-drawing artist who exposes him to New York's finest flesh figures has acres of ass, bushels of boobs, and enough obtuse poses to keep exploitation-loving chiropractors happy for hours. As our whacked out Weegee, Jack Lowe looks like Gilbert Godfried's gimlet drinking father, flush with a combination of carnal Kodak knowledge and a non-specific bloodlust -- or at least, that's what we are led to believe. For a long time, it looks like this early '60s skin flick will merely be an excuse to show pert particulars for untold moments of monotony. If ever a movie was made to prove that excessive exposure to nubile young ladies wearing less than their birthday suit was boring, The Beautiful, The Bloody and the Bare would be it. From the droning voiceover of our narrator -- the henpecked hubby Leo -- that drains any emotion or interest out of the idea of naked women in art class, to Peter's very last minute psychotic freak out that is mostly experienced from behind a closed door (complete with rather unconvincing muffled primal screams), this is a movie that would rather hint at what happens than actually come right out and show you. Not that it is really interested in its madman-with-a-maroon-mania mischief. This is just good old-fashioned oogle-vision, nothing more and definitely a whole lot less. What could have been a nice mixture of tits and torture, butt with disemboweling, turns into a static stinker drenched in stage blood. The Beautiful, the Bloody and the Bare has potential out the easel. But it never really develops beyond its obvious photonegative attributes.
Behind Locked Doors, on the other hand, has been a much-anticipated title for fans of Harry Novak's nonsensical erotic horror excursions since the trailer first hit SWV DVDs. And with a premise predicated on a horrible house of evil erotic eccentricity, the setting is ripe for some ridiculous ribaldry. But no one could anticipate how completely kooky this movie turns out to be. Opening with a 15-minute love-in/happening, complete with generic rock music and random acts of half-dressed hay baling, one thinks they've accidentally wandered onto a blue version of Hee-Haw. Then the puffy, portly Daniel Garth -- as the accent-affecting Mr. Bradley -- shows up, binoculars in hand, and starts playing a combination of Peeping Tom and Good Samaritan. Before we know it, our heroines are sitting in a decaying old manor as Mr. Bradley chides them on their city-wise ways. By the midway point of this film, nothing even remotely risqué has happened (except for the aforementioned straw polling) and we wonder when the weirdness is going to erupt. Well, no sooner have our ladies avoided a lesbian love scene than primal peculiarities abound.
Terry, a suppressed Sappho sister, sniffs the hand that touched her bedmate's "monkey." She then turns the mitt on herself, Divinyls style. Mr. Bradley shows up and explains his sex experiments to the girls, who aren't pleased to learn their place in his predicament. He makes love to Terry (in an oddly cropped, grainy close-up) and then oils up his bulky bod to get slick all over Anne. If you ever wondered what it would look like if a liver-lipped show salesman drenched himself in bear grease and groped young gals for hours on end, then Behind Locked Doors will provide such emasculating entertainment. Yet for all of these quirks, and more that have to be seen to be believed (including the mannequin menagerie in the basement and the hairiest assistant known to mankind), Behind Locked Doors is kind of a drag. Actually, it's a stone cold sobering slide into stupidity. It drawls on for far too long to make what is basically a one-note point (guy has a house of sexual horrors...fine) and hardly delivers on the debauchery it promises. Still, the performances are kind of creepy (again, Garth makes mumbling and slurring his dialogue seem sinister) and the overall tone is nice and grindhouse grim. Fans of the more abnormal examples of eerie erotic exploitation may find what's behind these locked doors to be a lot of fun. Others will feel duped by the lack of prurient pandering and/or additional plot point padding.
Following their typical archival short/trailers motif in the presentation of these titles, Something Weird unearths a couple of kooky gems amongst the usual collection of carnality. The movie ads are all intriguing, with the goofy BJ Lang... (a Mickey Rooney vehicle that appears to be about a twisted transvestite) and the gratuitous The Sinful Dwarf as real standouts. We also witness four archival shorts, each one more misguided than the next. A young gal shows us the exciting world of nude modeling in Part Time Pin-Up. How to light a nude pictorial is explained to us in Playgirl Models. A burlesque-style comic gets a behind the scene glimpse at the wacky world of nude posing in Sex Workshop. And a couple of comely lasses out LaLanne Jack as they partake in nude calisthenics in Sexycises.
Visually, The Beautiful, the Bloody and the Bare appears almost brand new. The colors are sharp and there are few defects. Behind Locked Doors on the other hand, has a huge amount of emulsion scratches, a few instances of hack-job editing and a weird solarized look to its photographic palette. Our Triple B picture gets top billing in the transfer department for its pristine presentation. The Locked up lunacy, on the other hand, is just a mess.
If all you are interested in is seeing girls of varying degrees of desirability dropping their dungarees for endless shots of their skin sacks, then The Beautiful, The Bloody and the Bare / Behind Locked Doors is the droopy double feature for you. But if you are somehow hoping that flesh and fear could combine to craft a titillating terror trove, you'll need to find other films to shiver your timbers.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 145 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Archival Short Subjects
* Harry Novak Exploitation Art Gallery with Soundtrack Greatest Hits
* Harry Novak Exploitation Still Gallery
* IMDb: The Beautiful, The Bloody and the Bare
* IMDb: Behind Locked Doors