Wild women who need no men!
The life of an urban lesbian is one tough haul. First, you have to learn all the different subdivisions within your sisterhood (including how to spot and spank the elusive and cunning baby butch). Then you need to familiarize yourself with the various "alternative lifestyle" hangouts, like dark alleys, art galleries, and college. And then there is practicing and perfecting the secret handshake of Sappho (here's a hint—it involves some manner of finger waving). Oh, and you may want to avoid the gawks, stares, and unadulterated human prejudice you'll face along the way. See, we live in a society of scientists and statistics, both of which want to convince you that those seemingly natural feelings, those strong sexual longings for feminine fun, are really the result of an evil, bewitching bi-dinopeptic germ. Their proposition is that being gay is a disease, treatable by a course of antibiotics and a trip to Chippendales. Or at least that's what Chained Girls, a pseudo-documentary style expression of horrifying half-truths, would have you believe. In this misguided missive statement about illicit girl on girl action, the sinister she-wolf is portrayed as a deviated deb who is so uncontrollably jealous she would kill to keep her gal, so non-committal that an average relationship between Lizzies lasts only one week, and so pugfug ugly that cow, goat, and cat milk sours simultaneously at their sight. These bulls and broads may be linked, but it ain't via the shackles of shame spouted here.
Meanwhile, over at the weekly meeting of the Daughters of Lesbos, Dominique, Helga, Maxine, and "Madam X" share highballs and a heinous history of sexual dysfunction with each other (and a mostly bored viewing audience). "X" begins this sorry saga by directly linking her homosexuality to a bar pickup slipped Mickey date rape. Helga then teaches us that, aside from Jason Voorhees and various and sundry foot and crotch rots, young ladies can also get a lesson or two in clam smacking from the counselors at camp Midol. Then we have Maxine, a future Lilith fair frequenter who picks up stray hitchhiking flower children and then grinds their gears in the front seat of her love mobile. But the best/worst is saved for last, when we witness Dominique as she bathes with a hippie hottie and then relives the musky moments in a pre-sleep bit of self-satisfaction. She also gets brutally attacked by a peeping tom who decided to move beyond staring and into capital crimes. After diving into plates of muffins and mounds of tacos, these four fatal femmes conclude that it's time to give the glancing goofball who jumped Dom's claim a little penile payback. So out comes the drawing straws, up goes the oyster knife, and off comes the man meat in a completely gratuitous and grotesque strip slice and dice.
Sorry guys. Those of you expecting a rough and randy exploration of the sensual love and masochistic mingling between hardened and heartless women behind bars will have to satisfy your prison perversion somewhere else. Part fraudulent scientific exposé, mostly an intolerant bit of scare tactic propagandizing, Chained Girls purports to be a frank and daring look at the life of the average lesbian in modern American society. What it turns into, however, is a repetitive, didactic preachy sermon against the so-called curable "disease" of female homosexuality. Offering literally dozens of excuses and psychologically "supported" theories as to why a woman would want to throw off the shackles of male sexual oppression and give in to the sinister urge of sister slurping, Chained Girls is like Reefer Madness for the carpet licker. Everything is a warning or a setup for cataclysmic consequences. From the tone and tenure of this slanderous slop, the Sapphic woman is responsible for world hunger, the growing threat of communism, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Missing a real exploitation opportunity to turn on the teat wrangling amongst ladies of like-minded labial skills, we get what amounts to a pseudo-sociological condemnation of any lifestyle outside of one resulting in barefoot, impregnated heterosexuality. There is very little nudity here. The scenes of byke bed antics are antiseptic or left on the cutting room floor and the overall attitude is demeaning and alarmist. For a 1964-5 audience, this must have been as deplorable as watching open heart surgery in 3D and Smell-O-Vision. But in our glamour porn, lipstick lesbian celebratory media, the sad sack bulls and fems of Chained Girls look like lost relics from a different planet. While it's hard to imagine a time and tenure as intolerant as the one shown here, Chained Girls at least proves that some pink progress, for good or bad, has been made in 30-plus years.
At least Chained Girls couches its anti-Sappho shtick in the guise of presenting some manner of sociological dissertation. Daughters of Lesbos, on the other hand, is mean spirited misogyny draped in bad, verbose Harlequin romance style voiceovers and incredibly asexual canoodling amongst the bored babes involved in the separate storyline sequences presented. People could argue, what with the raping and peeping and inhumanity shown to the female characters by the onscreen men, that this movie was guilty of unadulterated male bashing. But what you hear and what you see are two different things. While guys act like reprobate, the snooty, snide woman narrator offers Helen Gurley Brown by way of Aileen Wuornos serial killer-esque monologs on how women are so superior to men in every imaginable way and why the majority of these paunchy perverts deserve to have their hickory nuts hammered home. True, all men in this movie are degenerate animals who want nothing more than to find a way, be it illegal or pharmaceutical, of getting their rude rocks off. But for some reason, the lesbian is also portrayed as being at the willing butt end of far too many of these assaults and batteries. Just like Chained Girls, we get all kind of illogical rationales for why derricks, benders, and jaspers are the way they are (the top three being rape, consent, and a confused inability to get dates) and just like in said film we are treated to a moralizing ending in which the sickness of same sex love is magnified by the inferred (or in the case of Daughters, actual) violent imbalance of these freaked out femmes. Daughters of Lesbos may be more glamorized with its girl on girl antics, but its message is clear. Mess with these man-hating harpies and face a damn good shucking.
Keeping with the theme of tons of teat for tat, Something Weird offers a menu of extras that magnifies the motives of the main movie's marginal Margies into an upfront examination of full-blown fish kissing. We get trailers for several similsexualist epics like The Girl with the Hungry Eyes and That Tender Touch. Add to this the wide variety of Sappho shorts on everything from a lesson in the lesbic lash to stalking the wild womanly asparagus, and you have more lap loving that one can handle. Of particular discomfort is She-Male Surprise where a weird looking couple admires each other's prison tattoos and then get Xena-fied, only to have the "man" reveal her ample bosom to the more than overjoyed partner. Frankly, the short films here will tax your Amy-John tolerance completely, especially with the incredibly atonal soundtrack many of them contain. Perhaps it was some manner of experimentation on the part of stag reel compilers or the mix men over at SWV fell asleep at sonic switch, but there are a couple of times during the bushwhacking that classical music is layered on top of big band and ersatz polka to create a non-joyful noise that would even cause Glenn Branca to cringe into a disharmonious coma. Even worse is the entire jazz disaster score for Daughters of Lesbos, which sounds like someone murdering Coltraine, Mingus, and Monk with a rusty musical chainsaw. Usually these gritty urban sleaze fests have a wonderful cool cat bebop backdrop to exaggerate the cosmopolitan degenerate angle. But the faux fusion farts that make up this noxious noise will have you turking your Blue Rondo post haste.
Even decent full screen monochrome images with minimal specs and defects cannot make up for the misguided music and even more malignant messages presented by these mean spirited movies. In Chained Girls / Daughters of Lesbos lesbians are not portrayed as ultra-hot silicone love dolls blown up and blow-dried for male fantasy consumption. Instead, they are miserable amoral misfit mutts. Now where's the fun in that?
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