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Case Number 09541: Small Claims Court

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Deep Jaws / The Dicktator

Something Weird Video // 1976 // 185 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // June 23rd, 2006

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All Rise...

While Judge Bill Gibron enjoys a lame sex farce as much as the next exploitation fan, he found very little to like about this pair of Manuel S. Conde-produced carnal comedies.

The Charge

Sex and Sin from the Double D Drive-In

The Case

Uranus Studios is running out of money. Their high-end arthouse fare is flopping at the box office, replaced by films featuring "heady" gals eager to please. The bigwig boss, desperate to stay solvent, concocts a strange scheme for saving the company. Skimming some of the money given to him by the government to create a space-race saga, our savvy studio chief plans on making a quickie smut film and using the perverted profits to mollify the bottom line. Hoping to cash in on the recent blockbuster status of a certain killer fish, the stupefyingly surreal story of nympho mermaids in heat becomes the basis for this exercise in smut. While a ragtag team of lowlifes tries to figure out the required NASA project, amorous auditions are held. Eventually the scripts get confused and, unbeknownst to everyone, there's skin flick on the government negative and vice versa. It will take a miracle to keep this crap from drowning under the weight of its own dirty Deep Jaws. Sadly it sinks like a stone.

In the meantime, the United States, in an effort to stem world overpopulation, has developed a super birth-control pill for men. Unfortunately, it works far too well, rendering the entire planet's male population sterile. With the United Nations and several friendly (and several not so nice) nations breathing down his sweaty neck, our Commander-in-Chief devises a plan. He will send a CIA agent out to locate any males who were not privy to the impotency potion. Sure enough, five guys are found—a fat-fudge Japanese samurai, a rude Russkie writer, a South American shepherd who "loves" his flock, a drag queen straight out of the Castro, and an African-American anthropology student. Giving each one the cool code name "The Dicktator" (and a little genitalia pendant to wear), these procreating putzes are combined with some fertile femmes and the regeneration of the human race begins. Along the way we get some political satire, racially insensitive shtick, and a decidedly decent job of combining sex with silliness—that is, until the last 10 minutes.

Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover—or in this case, the Manuel S. Conde-produced sex farces—by their title. Deep Jaws, for example, is a very dumb name for a proposed satire on Hollywood. What we get instead is a bad bedroom romp a la Can I Do It 'Til I Need Glasses? Director Perry Dell and writer Walt Davis have the proper cast of characters. There's the reluctant, adulterous studio chief, the executive who has his own form of "stress relief" nearby (naked nurses who flex their chests at him while one applies a rectal thermometer), and Mrs. Studio Chief, a matronly old battleaxe who beds the Secretary of State (here renamed Dr. PISSinger). Toss in their stupid son, a lothario cruising the European continent looking for the next Garbo (and consuming mass quantities of Spanish Fly), and a collection of quasi-comely lasses, and you have the potential for a fantastically funny—and quite sexy—satire. If only they knew what to do with it all. Certainly, some of the scenes work. When the studio head's spouse is visiting her presidential paramour, she exposes her rather ample and amiable bosom. Since the role is essayed by Ms. Mounds herself, Candy Samples, there is a lot of cleavage to compute.

Sadly once the three hobo stooges show up, a trio of toxic anti-comedians who are supposed to make the legitimate movie, the entire film stops dead. Buck Flowers, a famous face in the business (he starred in The Dirty Mind of Young Sally, among other classics), stands around and picks his nose, adding nothing but his own noxious odor to the proceedings. The attempts at slapstick are stupid and the sex turns from erotic to erratic. In the end, the entire film falls apart, as visuals don't match dialogue, entire plot points are dropped, and a set-piece stunt finale fails to impress. Had it tried to stay as focused as it was in the beginning, this would be one of the better examples of the gratuitous goof genre. As it is, Deep Jaws is all foreplay in service of a pathetic climax—literally and figuratively.

At least The Dicktator tries to maintain its level of lunacy. Up until the flawed finish, this is a horribly odd hoot, the kind of movie that inspires uncomfortable, freaked-out laughter. Not really a subtle film, this non-PC product has an African member of the Security Council scarfing down fried chicken, the President describing his allies with all manner of unrelenting epithets (lots of slurs and slang here), and women as nothing more than specialized sperm receptacles. Still, it tries to be a Hellsapoppin' humpfest with the impregnating scenes the highlight—and in some cases—lowlight of the entire narrative. During the sheep dip sequence, Rene Bond tries her best, pouring on the Spanish accent and even emulating an ewe for our reluctant reproducer, and the imminently jumpable Uschi Digart shows up to double-breastedly save the Russian scene. Sadly, it all goes astray when our African-American babymaker uses a far-too-serious rape fantasy as a means of ridiculous racial commentary. Director Perry Dell (yes, again!) handles the sequence in a very seedy manner and, before we can absorb its anger and audacity, we go directly to an even more bizarre postscript. As not to spoil the pseudo-surprise, lets just say the highest-ranking elected official in the United States may not be who he says he is—or even human, for that matter. The Dicktator was doing just fine until it flipped out and went weird on us. The last sequences almost completely scuttle the entire film.

Something Weird doesn't dress up this DVD with lots of bonus features, either. Aside from a set of trailers for other Conde films, and the company's standard Gallery of Sexploitation Ad Art with Exploitation Audio, the extras are the weakest aspect of the technical presentation. On the plus side, the sound and image are excellent. The 1.33:1 full-screen transfers are colorful, almost defect free and quite professional. There are times in Deep Jaws where it looks like new footage has been inserted (or perhaps, it's a lesser quality original negative being used for the remastered print), while the big differences in The Dicktator's look can be chalked up to studio vs. location shooting (studio = bright and colorful; location = a little washed out). Overall, the presentation is peachy and, with the usual unaffecting Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack (just ignore the awful title songs, as well as the occasional love laments and the paean to fake Hispanic aphrodisiacs), you've got a decent, if not definitive package.

Both Deep Jaws and The Dicktator are definitely not as funny as they think they are. Buried beneath the Jokes-for-the-John-style jibes and less than effective erotica, there is a truly twisted spirit that borders on the hateful, not the humorous. Over three decades ago, this was the last gasp of the grindhouse, its final attempt at winning back its already waning audience. Sadly, these uneven entertainments probably drove more fans away than they ever convinced to stay.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 75

Perp Profile

Studio: Something Weird Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 185 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Erotic
• Exploitation

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers
• Gallery of Sexploitation Ad Art with Exploitation Audio

Accomplices

• IMDb: Deep Jaws
• IMDb: The Dicktator








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