Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"San Francisco Grindhouse Triple Feature" 2xDVD

This selection of marginal 70's-era sexploitation (aka early hardcore porn) doesn't offer much aside from a curious look at the depths and budgetary constraints of the era. Centered around San Francisco (in itself a hotbed of creativity and free-thinking since the sixties), these three films failed to impress me.

First was "Wendy's Naughty Night", directed by Nick Philips (who, oddly, went on to direct horror later in his career). This 1973 skin-flick was hippie hardcore at it's not-so-finest, complete with weirdly whimsical musical soundtrack. This one was a weird tale of damaged, but free-spirited Wendy, who supported an deadbeat artist boyfriend, but loved to frolic in the sack (when not with her therapist reminiscing about her lesbian inclinations). As it is, "Wendy's Naughty Night" is a mess, with flimsy plot, very little dialogue, and awful acting. And the action was nothing to remark about, either. 

"Siv, A Swedish Girl" was also the work of director Philips, and despite a mismatched audio track (bad overdubbing), this 1971 hardcore features a trippy psychedelic jazz soundtrack. Definitely a period piece, "Siv" is forgettable at best, with most of the "action" being mostly nude writhing. Poetic voiceovers are hackneyed, with amateur imagery and silly effects. Other adjectives I'd use to describe "Siv" are haphazard and disjointed. The murder-suicide "climax" is absolutely unexpected (and, I"m sure, off-putting to period moviegoers who simply wanted a good time), and certainly points to director Philips' future in horror, but it doesn't change that this is simply a bad movie.

Attached to the disc with "Siv, A Swedish Girl" are a series of Joe Sarno trailers, which fare much, much better. Seventies gems like "Butterflies", featuring the amazing Marie Forsa, are previewed here. The great sets and cinematography in these trailers make the feature-length films on this set look just heinous!

The third disc in this set, lest we forget, is an afterthought from 1976, directed by Tom Hofmann.This one features the always-entertaining Joey Silvera as a regular joe who, in need of some cash, takes a job as a porno star, much to his girlfriend's chagrin. Well, the girlfriend, played by Linda Wong, decides to "get even" by hanging out with some swinger friends, so you can imagine the obvious here. It's not a noteworthy or particularly memorable film, but the action does get wilder and steamier than the two supposed "marquee" names in this "grindhouse" collection.

All-in-all, some pretty forgettable work, and worthy only as a time capsule of the early-to-mid-seventies scene. 

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