Case Number 09461: Small Claims Court


Something Weird Video // 1966 // 146 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron (Retired) // June 15th, 2006

The Charge

Invisible Man! Invisible Woman! Invisible Sex!

The Case

Agent 0069, code-named Poontang Plenty (Ian Fleming is now officially drilling a hole to DaNang with his grave spinning) works for S.I.N., a strange crime syndicate whose initials are never explained (some possible solutions: Stupid Incoherent Nonsense? Skanks Inciting Nookie?). Along with her leader, Dr. Sexus, an oddly Asian beer barrel who resembles Uncle Fester if he were cast in the road company of Flower Drum Song, she plans on taking over the world, by crook...or by hooker. Seems Professor Drake, a dopey doctor working in his Upper East Side lab late one night, had his eyes befall a stunning scientific sight. After zapping some junk with a few high-frequency bu-fu rays, he's developed an invisibility pill. S.I.N. wants the unseen formula for its own devilish purposes. As a result, we get seedy seductions, carnal kung-fu, gratuitous nude model photo shoots, and some of the most ludicrous love scenes ever conceived. Poontang may have plenty of "powers" to offer up, but her high-crime skills are kinda crappy.

Over in another part of exploitation suburbia, Henry is a husband so henpecked that roosters laugh at him behind his back. He is such a wimp that his wife runs around the house nekkid, knowing full well that her limp wick of a spouse won't be squeezing her casabas any time soon. Frankly, this full-figured gal should put on a potato sack or two. Her pendulous fleshiness is obviously adding to Henry's tent-pitching problems. Anyway, our ersatz-stud stumbles upon an auction (it promises MODEL SHIPS, Henry's secret shame) and he ends up inadvertently bidding on a big trunk. Inside he finds the Invisible Man's diary, complete with a formula for making people imperceptible. Since Henry has just received a prescription of adultery from his doctor (MDs sure were different back in the swinging sixties) to cure his bedroom hang-ups, Henry decides to use the recipe for non-detectability to visit his horny neighbors. All manner of pantomime petting ensues.

Director C. Davis Smith was a direct disciple of the ditzy Doris Wishman, a woman whose exploitation skills were so creative and corrupt that no one -- not the great leaders of the French New Wave nor the innovators of Independent No Wave Movements -- were capable of following them. Something Weird's presentation of The Girl from S.I.N. sees several Wishman regulars -- Sam Stewart, Bob Oran, Mary O'Hara -- doing their arcane acting thing, while Poontang Plenty's Joyana (gotta love those lousy single-name attempts at stardom) makes for a pretty fetching front woman. Smith obviously picked up a few of Wishman's more memorable habits -- including his own perplexing performance problems as Professor Drake. He fails to offer any dialogue, so the movie is presented with a narrator announcing the plot points. The same sensationally skuzzoid settings are used, with New York turning into a grimy pit of gratuity in which eccentrically decorated alcoves dwell. Sexus lives in what can best be described as an Orient-inspired hideout that looks like the kind of nightmare you'd have after eating too much La Choy Chinese Food (thank you, Lucille Ball). Drake's lab, on the other hand, looks like a closet in a one-bedroom walkup. The scenes of invisibility are handled with sloppy slapstick aplomb, and when Poontang pops her top and does her version of the third degree, there is barely a sizzle from the porn-prepared peanut gallery.

Henry's Night In is a much better example of balderdash mixed with the bare bodkin. Indeed, it is safe to say that this oddball offering from individuals unknown (no crew listed, just a couple of the cast members) is a lost classic. Part of the reason for this film's fun and frolic is lead loser Forman Shane. He makes Henry into a likeable louse, the kind of guy you root for even if it's mainly because his wife is a shrew in need of a good taming. Honestly, how this couple ever got hitched, let alone consummated said matrimony without physically maiming each other, is a minor mystery. After the opening suburban comedy with Henry getting lanced by his lover left and right, the rest of the film turns into a live-action men's magazine. Over the course of this invisible va-va-va-voom, Henry happens upon a group of ladies who know how to pose to give the guys permanent pause. One Miss in particular stands out. In a remarkable bubble bath sequence, this hopped-up honey gets so enamored of her own mammaries that she folds, spindles, and massages them to within an inch of their lung life. Thanks to the loving close-ups provided by the camera, we can see each jug given its individualized jollies in pristine monochrome amazement. By the time we arrive at a hen's party, which threatens to turn Sappho at any moment, we sense that Henry's Night In has lost its lunatic fringe. Then our unseen instigator unleashes a squadron of rubbed-out rodents to the shindig and, suddenly, it's the naughtiest nudie watusi this side of a Barry Mahon short.

Had this double feature been all there was, Something Weird's latest release would be one of its best. But the exploitation experts up the ante by giving us one final piece of perplexing peeping called The Naughty Shutter. Shot in Texas, this 50-minute featurette is a full-blown farce on Longhorn tranquilizers. It is the sedate story of a New York journalist (though his down-home accent would make George W. Bush sound positively preppy), a mysterious camera that takes "opposite" pictures, and a hotel full of idiots. Going the voiceover route once again, this comedia del farte is filled with insane sequences, drunken homoeroticism, and a hostel that looks like the hallway inside someone's shotgun shack. As our lead lumbers around trying to regain the unique photographic device, we are treated to terrible acting, microscopic sets, and more hideous skin occlusions than found in a junior high school locker room (boys or girls, you choose). The nudity here is just nasty, with scenes of sun worshippers showing off their stretch marks. It makes Shutter stutter in the flesh department.

This is typical SWV stuff -- forgotten and freaky, mired in a mindset that figured on well-oiled raincoat regulars enjoying the voluptuous view. In addition to this motel Hell movie, the DVD also offers up a Chevy sales pitch from 1952 (featuring an invisible buyer, to tie into the overall "unseen" theme) and the usual trailers and sexploitation gallery. Technically, the disc has defects, since these films are not forged from the most pristine of prints. The full-frame transfer of The Girl from S.I.N. is faded but fine, while Henry's 1.33:1 image has some initial missing element issues before finally smoothing out substantially.

More importantly, these titles prove that comedy and crotch shots can coexist without canceling each other out. We can laugh and leer at the same time, enjoying butt and buffoonery with equal effortlessness. Something Weird Video has done it again, offering a trio of twisted titles so clever and peculiar that there is no way for the modern moviemaking machine to match them. These oddball offerings are from an era where sex was scandalous, and needed something to dim the glare of gratuity. Thankfully, The Girl from S.I.N./ Henry's Night In used laughter to lessen the "body" blows.

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Scales of Justice
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile
Studio: Something Weird Video
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

* None

Running Time: 146 Minutes
Release Year: 1966
MPAA Rating: Unrated

Distinguishing Marks
* Full-length Featurette: "The Naughty Shutter"
* "You're Ahead, Mr. X": Chevy Automotive Short
* Trailers
* Gallery of Underground Sexploitation Movie Magazine Covers
* Audio Oddities

* IMDb: The Girl from S.I.N.

* IMDb: Henry's Night In