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Case Number 09538: Small Claims Court

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The Ultimate Degenerate / The Lusting Hours / In Hot Blood

Something Weird Video // 1967 // 201 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // June 22nd, 2006

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All Rise...

In one of the rare instances when it's actually true, each one of the titles in this Something Weird Video release accurately reflects Judge Bill Gibron's private life.

The Charge

A shameless tangle of carnality

The Case

When horny lesbian Maria grows tired of her large-chested bed buddy, she begins cruising the want ads for available action. She runs across a notice that promises unimaginable sexual adventure—and a paycheck at the end of the week to boot. Never one to look a gratuitous sawbuck in the mouth, Maria hooks up with hippy himbo Bruno. The sloppy stud works for Spencer, a crippled crackpot who likes his sensual escapades dirty, sleazy, and sort of on the sick side. Spencer's New England home has a basement stage where various women commit unnatural acts with whipped cream and…corn cobs??? When she arrives, Maria does it with Bruno on the dining table, then heads down to the cellar to catch the current show. She takes Sappho-style pictures with some of the other guests and even gives a masturbating Miss a post-shower wet job. Sadly, all slutty things must come to an end as Maria learns that Spencer is a psycho, secretly torturing his patrons to death with a deadly electric vibrator. Worse yet, she may be next on The Ultimate Degenerate's hit list.

Next up is a slice of '60s mock doc dementia, a supposed exposé on the lives of loose women that is really nothing more than a marvelous voiceover lecture followed up with lots of outrageous skin flick footage. First we learn that every one-horse town has at least one whorehouse, all to help the inbred and the imbecilic get their farm-subsidy sated rocks off. Next we move to the world of streetwalkers and escorts. Instead of focusing on the female only, our tour takes a queer quantum leap and talks about the problems of male prostitutes as well. We see a sour stud for hire collecting his keep from a mesmerized matron, picking up a John in the Port Authority bathroom, and getting a beating from this loving transsexual spouse! The final facet up for discussion in the world of sex for sale is the life and times of a call girl. These full-blown fashion plates (who use Harper's Bizarre and Butterfield 8 as their guides to glamour) must struggle with horrendous moral issues as well as finding ways to please their three-martini clientele during The Lusting Hours.

Finally, we have Rita, an immigrant gal whose overdeveloped bosom ends up being the highlight of a cold cautionary tale as Manson family home movie. Actually, there was more hygiene and good humor on the Spawn Ranch than in any of the bovine broads featured. Our heroine decides to use her ample attributes to get a coveted modeling job. Before she knows it, she has fallen in with some repugnant refugees from the Woodstock nation. Actually, these lost lasses are more like Altamont anarchists the way they whip, beat, and berate each other in the name of love. During a drug-taking session, one of Rita's runway pals goes nutzoid and the resulting catfight leaves our lead escaping with her life and the junkie jonesing for payback. Purse loaded with a handy meat cleaver, the deranged doper seeks out Rita, who has holed up with another friend for a little she-on-she soothing. It's not long before the twisted Twiggy goes psycho, slaughtering her pals In Hot Blood for being against intravenous drugs. Imagine that!

In typical Michael Findlay fashion, The Ultimate Degenerate is more interested in tone than titillation. Certainly there is ample breast and bottom action, and a couple of scenes of sleazy carnal caresses. Still, what this movie really wants to be is an exploration of excess, a tawdry and tasteless exercise in fetishism and extremes. Unfortunately, Findlay is hemmed in by the film's format. When something is titled The Ultimate Degenerate, you expect to see some sordidness, not just the average adventures of a nympho. Yet it's not until Findlay breaks out the Mega-watt marital aide that things start to get good and gooey. Still, this movie is a lot of lewd, ludicrous fun, mostly because of the actress playing Maria. Though she is credited as Artimida Grillet, fans will instantly recognize Uta Erickson as the game gal with an insatiable itch. Her natural "assets" and Scandinavian appeal are hard to deny; when she gets good and worked up, it's viewer va-va-va-voom time! The two gals who literally invent the concept of cornholing, however, look about as interested in their produce-based porn as a peacenik on Veterans Day. It's bountiful blank stares all around. Perhaps the biggest strike against The Ultimate Degenerate is that it pales in comparison to those seamy sex splatter masterpieces known as The Flesh Trilogy. Even Erickson's eroticism can't make this Degenerate the "ultimate" anything.

Findlay was rumored to be behind The Lusting Hours as well. For all its pseudo-scholarship, this oddball bit of vignette vice is rather routine. The scenes inside the countrified cathouse are mostly mundane (and occasionally out of focus). The only joy comes from seeing how homely these ho's really are. During the guy-on-guy grooving that makes up the middle of the movie, one has to wonder out loud how the raincoat crowd reacted. After all, men bloated on beer and beef don't want to see a couple of gents sans slacks involved in an ersatz sensual massage. The most absurd section of the film, however, involves those high-priced "on call" girls. The narration makes it sound like these penthouse paramours are moments away from the poor house, what with their ever-rising expenses. Between rent, the high cost of eye shadow, and the toll taken by a trollop's best friend—a towel service that delivers (???), it's a wonder these gals have a single designer gown to sell their virtue in. In between the stripping and the softcore, we are treated to what sounds like real interviews with harried hussies. These ladies are lamentable and morose, each one explaining in sad sack detail how they've been used, abused, contused, and confused by all manner of men. While the notion of pimps and the white slavery syndicate are never mentioned in this magnificently mannered movie, there are enough uneasy life lessons offered here to make The Lusting Hours quite educational. It's just not very arousing.

There is no denying, however, that In Hot Blood is one cold, clammy fish fest. For all its potboiler promise, it's like a music video made by a burlesque band. The nominal plot is provided by yet another voiceover narrator and, as he tells us of Rita's ravishing delights and killer body, all we see is a Hispanic honey who would be happier behind the tortilla-making machine at the local Casa Bonita. This lead actress is a short wasted void with only an incredibly inflated rack recommending our attention, and she is surrounded by members of both the international Janis Joplin impersonators society as well as a few scarred Jean Shrimpton wannabes. The women here are truly abhorrent, that combination of skuzzy and repugnant that reminds you of the hemorrhoids on a long distance trucker's anus. They all have long, unmanageable hair that gets in the way of the gratuity the minute they start to literally bump uglies, and their faces are pitted out and pockmarked as only a hard life of lewdness can create. While some may find this level of naturalism conducive to carnal desire, the vast majority of us exploitation fans will balk at such blousy, bilious babes. Along with photo sessions where the cameraman is usually more naked than his models, an orgy where fat sow sluts use phone cords as S&M devices and some of the most non-erotic body painting this side of Laugh-In, In Hot Blood is loaded with elements that will make your will to live wither and die.

Something Weird really does an excellent job of preserving these perverted entries into the exploitation lexicon for future generations to gag on. All three are offered in the mighty monochrome format and fill the screen with their 1.33:1 black-and-white bounty. Each has issues—occasional dirt, some scratches, a few editing mishaps—but overall, the prints are pretty good. As mentioned before, parts of The Lusting Hours are wildly out of focus, but this must be from the original elements. Unless SWV feels that these women are so homely that they deserve a muddy reminder of same, it is safe to assume that the cinematographer was out to lunch the day these scenes were shot. Sadly, the only bonus feature offered here is a series of trailers for all three films, along with the standard gallery of exploitation snaps.

The Ultimate Degenerate, The Lusting Hours, and In Hot Blood are a decidedly mixed bunch. Of the three, Degenerate is best, followed closely by those lessons in Lusting. Only Blood is unwatchable, but that has more to do with the dames hired to play poon possum than the otherwise routine genre trappings. There is nothing wrong with horny gals going on a fake fornication spree. It's the very foundation of the grindhouse mentality. It's just that when the women resemble lugubrious longshoremen, the stimulant aspects of exploitation quickly evaporate.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 82

Perp Profile

Studio: Something Weird Video
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 201 Minutes
Release Year: 1967
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Genres:
• Classic
• Drama
• Erotic
• Exploitation

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers
• Gallery of Exploitation Art with Radio Rarities








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