"You think, maybe, I use too much sex fizz?"—Dr. Breedlove
You have just got to love Something Weird Video and their dedication to the sleaze, sex, and slime ball film genre known as exploitation: the bread and rancid butter of the 1950-'70s independent film producer. As teens explored their hormonal feelings at drive-ins and beefy, over-plump businessmen wiled away their leisure hours in the dark rows of a local Kitty Kat Cinema, producers like Dave Friedman, Bob Cresse, and Harry Novak churned out a non-stop barrage of skin, sin, and gin. Kiss Me Quick represents Mr. Novak's first foray into the realm of the rather cleverly named "nudie cutie," while The House on Bare Mountain is Cresse's transformation of a half completed monster nude into a full blown topless comic gem. Both films reek of the time and standards under which they were made, and both feature enough T&A (a WHOLE LOT of T&A) to make even the most jaded viewer of nudity stand up and pay attention. Preserved here in a double feature DVD, with dozens of bonus features, it is the perfect introduction to the entire exploitation variety of film.
Facts of the Case
Kiss Me Quick: In a lonely cardboard cutout of a castle, during a strobe light storm, Dr. Breedlove (some actor in a bad fake nose, eyeliner pencil wrinkles, and hip John Lennon granny glasses) attempts to perfect his Sex Fizz, giving portions to his Sex Bombs in order to get them gyrating and undulating. Enter Sterilox (another actor doing Stan Laurel on Quaaludes), an alien from the planet Droopeter in the Buttless Galaxy who engages the doctor in a quest for the perfect female specimen. After giving the Sex Bombs (Boobra, Barebra, and Hottie Tottie) a sip of his Fizz, they begin a wigged out dance to some rather scathing proto-punk surf rock music. Nonplused, Sterilox asks to see more women, and Dr. Breedlove cheerfully agrees by switching on his Closed Circuit Television Tom Peeper Device. We are then treated to 66 minutes of women undressing, undressed, and cavorting in exercise rooms and swimming pools, all the while making sure that their best features are front and center. Frankenstein, Dracula, and a strange Grand-Mummy thing round out the cast in a nod to the time period ('64 was a huge year for movie monsters in US popular culture).
The House on Bare Mountain: Granny Good (a tubby Bob Cresse in drag!) runs a finishing school for young girls (the aforementioned House) Her tiny classes of comely lasses are a blissfully bare-naked bunch of babes, exercising and sunbathing while Granny (sounding like a Jonathan Winter's Maude Fricker lawsuit just waiting for adjudication) educates and scolds her "honeys." Prudence, a rather old looking student, comes to Granny Good's to learn all she can about the school and its student "body" (she is really working undercover—more on this later). She discovers that all the hormonally hopped up hoochies can think about, in between showers and naked gymnastics, is having their boyfriend's sneak booze onto campus for the upcoming school social. Little do they all know that Granny is the area's number one bootlegger (the reason Prudence is at the school), and that she employs a gigantic werewolf named Krakow to oversee her distillery. The whole school scheme is a front (good heavens no!). Throw in another amalgam of classic screen creatures, and a party panty-raid complete with gun toting federales and a drunken Dracula, and you have a very campy example of skin sold as silly symphony.
There is no denying that these films are silly, sanguine, and a little shoddy. In Kiss Me Quick, the sets look like they were constructed out of crepe paper and unused refrigerator boxes. Special effects run the gamut from flashing lights to more flashing lights, and the makeup resembles what your best friend might concoct on Halloween after borrowing his sister's makeup kit. The whole thing looks like it was filmed in someone's mildewed basement, and yet there is no denying the high amount of entertainment value present. The surf punk garage band instrumental music, for one thing, is first rate, filled with raucous and rowdy rave-ups that play throughout the various sequences in the film (and even over the DVD menu screens). All of the women are luscious, in their bouffants and spit curls, breasts thankfully free of major surgical enhancement and liberated to move like they have a mind of their own. And while the overall acting is from the "borrow someone else's shtick" school of mimicry (Dr. Breedlove sounds like a thick tongued Bela Lugosi), you can tell the cast is having a wonderful time. This is a non-politically correct monster mash celebration of women as full blown sexual objects, a jeer at the tameness of the times and a leering look and lampooning of lust.
House takes it self a little more seriously, if only because Bob Cresse believes that he is making a movie, not just a moving centerfold. House has more plots, more jokes, and more complications than Kiss, and this actually detracts from the film. One needs a mountain of disbelief suspension to buy the porcine and obviously male Cresse as a woman, and an old woman at that. By the 30th homegrown "honey" that spews from his mouth, you'll be waiting for Robin Williams to celebrate this guy as a lost comic genius (and I don't mean in a good way). We never really get to know the girls in any true fashion (except in the "biblical" sense) and there is nothing here like Dr. Breedlove's Sex Bombs to spice up the mix with some off-rhythm swiveling. Still, this is good-natured naturalism, naïve at its core and naughty in name only. There are acres of ample assets and asses galore, and some genuinely entertaining moments. Just because Cresse is occasionally irritating doesn't mean he's not interesting and often very funny. And there is that feeling, again, that this entire exercise was a joy to make.
Something Weird Video, long at the forefront of the exploitation resurrection, has treated these films with dignity and loving care. Both films are full screen presentations, and have been digitally re-mastered. They are impressively sharp, the stock looking surprisingly new. There are some grain and noise spots on both films, but nothing like you'd expect from something this old. Kiss, in particular, can look a little soft focus-y at times, but this may have more to do with the age of the ladies involved and less with the film quality. Still, the overall picture is so clean and detailed that you can tell when some of the beauties need a date with the electrolysis technician.
Something Weird is also known for their extras, and this DVD package has a barrel full. Kiss features a hilarious and insightful commentary featuring producer Harry Novak and Something Weird owner Mike Vraney. While Harry initially grunts and groans through Vraney's attempts to engage him on the particulars of the scene or a setup, Novak really comes alive when the nude women are on screen, commenting at length about their various attributes and, upon viewing one of the sex bomb's "gifts" up close, utters the immortal line: "Look at those t*ts! What more do you want?"
Along with original trailers for Kiss and House, we get two featurettes filmed at the same time as Kiss with the same cast of "sex bombs": "Hot Hot Skin" and "The Nudie Watusi." There are four archival short subjects, two featuring sex bomb Natasha, AKA Boobra ("Natasha's Suburban Sexercise" and "Strip Tease Queen") and two featuring monsters in more mature machinations ("Werewolf Bongo Party" and "The Vampire and the Vixen"). The quality of all the shorts and featurettes can be pretty hit or miss, some looking wonderfully clean while others appear to be unearthed from your drunk Uncle Al's outhouse storeroom. There are also some wonderfully animated DVD menus reminiscent of the theater marquees of the '50s and '60s and hidden outtakes in strategically placed Easter eggs. Along with the standard Something Weird gallery of exploitation advertising art, presented as a non-step slide show along with radio and voice ads from the era, this package is a three-hour crash course in a kinder, gentler time, when woman were objectified, not vilified, and partial frontal nudity was as far as anyone would push the envelope.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
These films are most certainly not for everyone. Feminists, liberals, and people with distaste for the exploitation of women as sex objects need to steer clear. Mind you, these movies were only made to serve one purpose—to show women topless. They did not need to be funny, they did not need character development, and there was definitely no need for retakes, continuity, or logical plot. The fact that these movies even exist today is a testament more to the fact that sex sells than it is to the value of these films as cinema or art. Some will find them boring and dull and the women overripe and unquestionably not of today's health or beauty ideal. The humor is juvenile and the acting sub-par. Even with the wealth of material presented, some will find it a tedious exercise in the crude, lewd, and rude.
If you are sick and tired of the standard Hollywood blockbuster baloney, or just want to take a momentary break from the norm, this is your kind of disc. It is the perfect introduction to the exploitation genre, and if you have any interest at all in this lost film form, this is the place to start. Be warned, they can become habit forming. By today's standards, these "unrated" movies would rate no more than a PG (something Harry Novak loves to remind us of constantly in the commentary), but as historic artifacts they are priceless. True, this DVD is basically one long lesson in the shape and size of the female chest, but it is also a tutorial on a time lost, on an age when there was something forbidden—and yet friendly—about sex. It makes one misty eyed for this long bygone period in motion picture history. And when one is sad, there is only one sure cure. All together now…"Dance! Dance you sex bombs!"
All parties involved cheerfully acquitted, except for Bob Cresse, whose blatant rip-off of Jonathan Winters is taken under advisement for further action by the court.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
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