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Case Number 05380: Small Claims Court

Buy Cool It, Baby / Mini-Skirt Love / Venus In Furs at Amazon

Cool It, Baby / Mini-Skirt Love / Venus In Furs

Something Weird Video // 1967 // 217 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron (Retired) // October 14th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge Bill Gibron says this disc makes Sex and the City look downright prudish.

The Charge

"I like to do…everything!"—Mistress Marna

The Case

When Connie Price finds herself the victim of the tag team blackmailing pair known as Monica and Herman, she turns to the police for help. Thankfully, her understanding husband, who just happens to be a detective with local law enforcement, takes on the case (he also forgives his gal for the sex film that started this experience in extortion). Eventually, we learn that Monica is a mean, vicious vamp who places men under her power with a combination of humiliation and flabby thighs. Herman just so happened to be involved in a local nudie cutie camera club when he runs into the maniacal miss. When they are both pinched for pornography, the local DA has a prurient proposition: He will hire the couple to run his own personal "house of pleasure." They supply the expertise; he will add in some juicy jailbait. One such unlucky foundling is the newly orphaned Valerie. She thinks that the local prosecutor is cutting her a break making Monica and Herman her new foster family. But according to the film, the only thing this duo fosters is sleaze. Soon, their newfound ward is participating in all manner of perverted play dates, including a starring role in a weird warped near-Satanic sex sacrifice. It's up to the fuzz to put a stop to all the group groping. Someone has to tell these craven criminals to Cool It, Baby.

Billy is a teenage shutterbug who always seems to cram his camera in the most inopportune places. When Mom has an affair with her acting coach, Bill is there with his…35mm in hand. Dad gets a glimpse of the scandalous still life and goes berserk. Mom tries to apologize for her indiscretion by placing a knife in Pop's belly. With one guardian dead and another headed for the loony bin, Billy is all alone—that is, until oversexed Aunt Janet shows up. This redolent relative immediately makes a beeline for Billy's body and thus begins an incest-based game of scat and mouse. Aunt Janet "helps" Billy in the shower, and does Divinyls style things to herself while alone at night in bed. Eventually, Billy has a bad dream and needs comforting. The resulting parental love pushes the inbred bedding boundaries over the edge. Before we know it, it's five years later and Billy and Janet are living as a couple. But this does not deter Jan from accepting a pass made by a door-to-door lesbian for a roll in the carpet. When Billy again shows up with his lens in his lap, our duo becomes a threesome. And wouldn't you know it—Mom is getting released from the funny farm. Eventually everyone gets involved in the only game the whole family can play…which is not called Mini-Skirt Love, by the way.

David is a big city shoe salesman, which means that the closest he gets to excitement is rubbing a metropolitan lady's bunions. So naturally he becomes obsessed with Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's timeless classic to masochism, Venus in Furs. Dave is so taken with the tome that he starts envisioning conversations with the title character, who chides him about trying to make love to a fantasy. What this imaginary goddess doesn't understand is that Dave's typical day is one long extended hallucination. He envisions accosting a gal on the subway. He sees himself as part of a corrupt chorus line of footwear wanting woman. Even a trip to the library results in a bevy of bikinied babes running out into the Manhattan sun. But when Dave runs into the enigmatic Marna in the young adults section of the book depository, he is suddenly swept off his overdeveloped pectorals. He finds himself on a psycho-erotic country estate where all manner of lewd and lascivious acts are taking place. Large assed gals are getting milk baths. Women are beating men with shoes. Guys are getting tied up with nylons, and large gatherings of people are reading bedtime stories (oh my!). Dave wants Marna all to himself, but she likes to "share" her wares with the rest of her houseguests. Fed up and angry, Dave storms out. Marna convinces him to stay. She swears she will only belong to him…oh, and that super-chunky gal pal who she sees on the side. It's a knock down, drag out fight to the fetish as Dave tries to vie for a normal guy on girl combination.

Like a visit to an insane relative, or a bad bedtime story written on LSD, Cool It, Baby is a non-stop barrage of debauchery that just gets more miscreant as the narrative plows ahead. Presented as a searing legal drama (except the courtroom is about the size of a small walk-in closet) with endless testimony from monotonous method witnesses (they all take their role as deposers far too seriously), this tale of a misfit madam and her exclusive club of ill repute has to be seen to be besmirched. Every bit of oral testimony is illustrated in this exercise in excess, with the level of ludicrous vulgarity increasing exponentially. First, it's the story of a "slightly salacious" photograph operation. Then it's the tale of a pornography ring. Soon, white slavery is added to the unwholesome list. Then bondage and torture take center stage. By the end of its running time, Cool It, Baby (the title is never explained) has dabbled in additional atrocities like underage prostitution, freakish fetishes, bestiality, and a strange act called "The Ritual." While it's too way out to describe, let's just say that it involves lamb's blood, a pissed-off swan, some levitation, and a cabal of crackpots all dressed up like a combination of John Merrick and the Unknown Comic. Don't get the wrong visual idea, though. As much as it talks a good game, Cool It, Baby shows nothing more than pendulous breasts and half-dressed men who should know better than to be seen sans wifebeater in public. With its stilted, near ad-lib quality dialogue, wealth of weak-willed gents, and pounds of over-plump pulchritude, Cool It, Baby should take its own advice. At certain points in this perplexing plot, the movie comes damn close to imploding.

At least Mini-Skirt Love gets its plot pointed in the right raunchy direction from the very beginning. Even though it has very little to do with the title fashion item, this movie is a seedy little slice of suburban rot in which mothers bed lovers and aunts seduce nephews in a never-ending cycle of sinfulness. The narrative nuances of Mini-Skirt Love are so surreal that they really help to cement the tacky, tasteless tone. Billy is played by an actor who appears 30, not 15, and the initial scenes where our hero must act like a germ-free adolescent are classic. There's nothing funnier than seeing a man pushing mid-life crisis rolling in the grass, carrying his school books on a rope, or kicking his feet in the air like a moron. At one point, you'd swear he is wearing feety pajamas. Aunt Janet, who's a good foot shorter than her ward and seemingly pushing a similar linear milestone, time wise, spends a lot of time making goofy faces and touching herself. Director Lou Campa loves to give his audience aural cues and clues as to what is happening, and every time Janet gets a jones for some sex, a bizarre percussive score arrives, complete with flailing tom toms and crashing high hats. Mom's return from the booby hatch is also given a sonic suggestion. Whenever the woman speaks, a discordant wind-up music box plays in the background, the better to suggest the off-kilter gears turning in Mammy's tawdry temples. Not sexy so much as incredibly sordid and about as distasteful as exploitation gets, Mini-Skirt Love is every young male's fantasy fudged up by an incredible "ick" factor. All guys want to come of age at the hands—and other "objects"—of an older, more experienced woman. But when the love lessons are this "free" and "loose," it almost defeats the prurient purpose.

Our final tainted tidbit is Venus in Furs, and before you get your hopes up of either seeing a cinematic recreation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's famous book, or hearing the Velvet Underground's timeless tune, heed this warning. Like all the films in this triple feature, producer Lou Campa could only afford four generic songs and a 14-page screenplay, so don't hold your breath waiting on anything remotely resembling entertainment to occur. Indeed, Venus in Furs shoots its dialogue wad in the first ten minutes, when our hero has an overlong debate with the imaginary deity Venus over how to have fun and make love. After all this verbal volleying, the rest of the film plays like a mute version of The Masochist's Handbook. This is the kind of movie that misinterprets chess as sexy, ping-pong as ding-dong, and the recital of bad romance novels aloud as the height of peculiar passion. Our lead loser Dave is a muscle-bound boob who spends far too much time with his shirt off (he's like a lost Captain Kirk on the planet of abnormal sex practices) and his obvious talent is his ability to ripple. He can't act to save his steroids. Marna, our wanton miss, is about as enticing as a dead dog, yet she saunters around like the hottest piece of perversity in the Swingers Union. Disconnected, incoherent and bordering between dreams and reality so tenuously that you sometimes feel like you too are sleeping, Venus in Furs is an eccentric, dada-ist step in the strange direction for Campa (though he turned the directorial duties over to Joe Marzano) and crew. Where once his films were merely sleazy, with Venus they've gone completely over the oddity edge.

As is the standard practice with all their triple feature titles, Cool It, Baby / Mini-Skirt Love / Venus is Furs is long on cinematic shabbiness, but short on bonus content. Aside from two trailers and the standard stills galleries, there is nothing else here to add any substantive value. Visually, all three films look fairly decent. Their black and white wonders are captured in clear, pristine prints. Occasionally, the image can be a little soft, but this has more to do with the original camera work than any transfer issue. And don't worry your poor little sonic sensibilities. The Dolby Digital Mono here is crisp and distortion free, the better to hear those same four horrible pseudo-rock songs over and over and over and over and over…

Though not as familiar to fans as the Findleys, or the suburban sexcapades of the Sarnos, Lou Campa deserves a seat in the hierarchy of reprobate monochrome movies. Cool It, Baby / Mini-Skirt Love / Venus in Furs are three of the choicest chunks of exploitation ever to misrepresent their purpose. Whoever named these movies should be shot. The terrible titles barely do justice to the juiciness found inside.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Something Weird Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
• None
Running Time: 217 Minutes
Release Year: 1967
MPAA Rating: Unrated
• Classic
• Exploitation

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers
• Gallery of Exploitation Art with Radio Rarities
• Gallery of Harry Novak Exploitation Stills

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