Martha Behind Bars

Directed by: Eric Bross
Written by: Charles F. Bohl
Cast: Cybill Shepherd, Gale Harold, Sabine Singh
2005 – USA (Made for TV)
80 Minutes

I have no “ill will” toward kitschy craft diva Martha Stewart and this CBS sequel to MARTHA, INC.: THE STORY OF MARTHA STEWART (2003) didn’t change my opinion. I’ve always found her persona kind of charming. I do like women who can cook and fashion a seasonal bong out of a gourd. With her intellect and business savvy she must be a real control freak, that’s pretty sexy.

Yeah, my early 20s pool boy stamina on a hot summer day, catching Martha’s gaze as my muscles flex out a rhythm to remove the black algae from her deep end. She motions me over to the teak chaise lounge cushion.

“Have a sip of my Pineapple-Raspberry Bellini”.

One gulp leads to another – the thirst is never quenched. The ribald passion of our sweaty affair cooled only by the evening air and the guests who begin to arrive. After several pitchers of Vermouth-Grapefruit Sangria and ignored for too long, I grab the microphone from a member of that smooth jazz quartet. With an internal V8 that’s running hot, I must paint an exclamation point to the lust within.


I smash her beloved bric-à-brac and themed party decor.

As I hurdle endless topiaries into the darkness, I tell myself she can always make more. The sirens screech and the lights flash! Dogs call out for blood! I’m sorry Martha. I will return my love! One sultry evening with a tray of Tuna Nicoise Crostini hors d’oeuvres. All will be forgiven until our final act of sin.

So, Cybill Shepherd reprises her role as the shrewd business woman who’s cover up of an insider trading crime lands her a 5-month stint in a minimum security prison. Written from the facts with no artistic liberties or dirt exposed, this plays like a miscast episode of Dragnet.

Only a third of the film takes place behind bars and these scenes are as light as Martha’s Lemon-Chamomile Cream Pie. We are treated to such thrilling scenes as Martha busted with spices and Martha joining an inmate Christmas decoration contest.

Minimal effort is put into what makes Martha tick and there is no clear character arch to make the production rise above typical television biopic fare. Do yourself a favor and watch the real Martha Stewart make Bacon Cheeseburgers instead.

FILM REVIEW: What Schoolgirl’s Don’t Tell (1973)

aka Was Schulmädchen verschweigen, Secrets of Sweet Sixteen

Should they keep those salacious secrets to themselves? Maybe. This is one heavy burden they’ve placed on my shoulders. Well, it ain’t gonna review itself and nobody else in the galaxy is raising their hand. Let’s get started.

A determined pedophile walks efficiently across a city street directly toward his ponytailed target walking home from school with a group of classmates. Determined, he assertively request her company to share in some candy and frolic with his cute puppy. The curious preteen follows him into the dingy basement of an old apartment building. He takes off her jacket and begins to unbutton her dress. As he licks his lips anticipating his fix, sweat beads up on his grimy face. She screams and tries to run but he’s on top of her. Thrown around like a ragdoll the tiny helpless girl kicks and flails. It’s hopeless.

As our worst fears start to arise, two teenage girls enter the doorway allowing the 8 year old time to escape. Faced with the immediate threat of going back to prison, the man grabs a rusty axe. The teens begin to disrobe. “We’ve been watching you and you can play with us,” one girl says in a sultry voice. Completely nude they begin to seduce the molester. Once his axe is released, they bash him over the head with a board – knocking the scum bucket unconscious. The police immediately arrive and the naked teens explain the horrible circumstances leading up to their actions.

Cut to an office where a psychiatrist and a priest discuss the moral implications of the girls using their sexuality for the purpose of good. Yes, we are watching a Schulmädchen-Report style film directed by  Ernst Hofbauer (GIRLS AT THE GYNECOLOGIST). Hallelujah! Our well-intentioned duo reminisces about another case found within the pages of a diary.

The next vignette involves a teen who overhears her mother’s plans to consummate an adulteress affair at a posh hotel. In order to save the family, she decides to intercept and seduce this home wrecking Romeo.

After a brief cut back to the Doctor and Priest, I was intrigued by where the theme was going. Teen sexuality used for good. I’m in! Well hold on a second there amateur Ebert because we’re going off the rails. Like switching on the projector reel for a completely different movie, the third segment involves a teenage boy trying to get his dopey buddy to lose his virginity. Bizarrely shot with a tiny monkey and dachshund bouncing around teens engaging in sex! This asteroid from space sequence benefits from the addition of Euro grindhouse queen Christina Lindberg (MAID IN SWEEDEN, THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE). I can’t enough of Christina. Love her! She also appeared in Hofbauer’s SCHOOLGIRL REPORT 4. She should have been cast in everything from movies of the week to MATCH GAME 76. That woman deserved to grace a box of Wheaties. Just saying. Alright, back to this film.

Next up is some slapstick involving horny teens, a jealous father and a love stricken postal worker. It’s all over the map but contains an amusing conclusion.

Last but certainly not least is the jaw dropper. A nude woman is chained to an altar beneath an inverted cross, men in black robes do a synchronized dance around her while an African man, in voodoo garb, plays the bongo drums. The scene plays like the Inquisition segment from HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART 2 or an alternate reality where Jess Franco attempted a Broadway production. It’s fabulous! In walks a figure with a red robe praising Satan. A nude woman in a cat mask hands him a bowl of blood. More eerie incantations amongst the black candles until our leader coats his voluptuous sacrifice in blood. Blood! Blood!

Then, like a record skipping, the unholy congregation realize she’s not a virgin. Oh man! Thus begins a truly inspired piece involving a frustrated Warlock who can’t seem to find a virgin in this lousy town. We meet the sleazy photographer who rents his basement to the kooks. Despite the cults evil threats, he jokingly extorts money from them every chance he gets. There’s a virgin, obviously, who is sexually frustrated with her Italian boyfriend. He works in her father’s haunted house as a painter and wants to take an honorable approach. Then you have the father who hates Italians. Approached by the photographer’s girlfriend, the young virgin decides a black mass would be just the excitement she needs. Turns out these Satanist are also professional wrestlers! There’s car chases, race fights and golden showers. The ensuing hijinks follow at rapid pace leading to a satisfying conclusion.

As you can tell from my synopsis WHAT SCHOOLGIRLS DON’T TELL is all over the map and difficult to review without resorting to barfing out the plot points. A full throttle assault on the senses and littered throughout with comic relief from secondary characters. The funniest involving overweight women at a mud spa and the lamest concerning a daydreaming landlord with an unattractive wife.  For the most part, they all succeed in an old fashioned way. After the first two segments, we never go back to our pondering Priest and head shrinker.  I’ve watched two versions of this film a Dutch DVD and a Something Weird Video American release titled Secrets of Sweet Sixteen that was dubbed and neither conclude in reality. Maybe a portal to another dimension will appear in the near future and shed more etheral light on the screenwriter’s intentions.

Anyway, if you’re down for a psychoactive experience, go for the dubbed version. It’s cut a little bit but also has some different scenes. You’re not really going to lose much here; about 3 minutes of nonsense. We’re not talking Goddard so poor English dubbing will enhance the experience. It tends too when it comes to WTF! cinema. Video Watchdog’s Tim Lucas is going to make a voodoo doll after that statement. There is also a German, U.K. and Japanese DVD release but I couldn’t get my paws on them. Maybe you’ll have better luck and can hip me to the specs. Like all these Schoolgirl Report style productions, the cinematography is impressive and the soundtrack is spot on, delivering the necessary whimsical fun. The editing can be confusing at times but this is probably due to the age of the source elements – usual wear and slices from numerous theatrical runs. There is nudity aplenty. A smorgasbord of flesh in both cuts. It doesn’t linger so there won’t be too much drool on your chin.  There’s even elderly bush! We should all start preparing for that to be enticing to our libidos so kudos. That is unless you want to die alone. Never feeling the warmth and touch of a woman ever again. Just waiting to be consumed by the inevitable darkness of nothingness.

It’s not a masterpiece of this unique German genre by any means but it’s very sleazy and a damn good addition to your beer stein collection. I would start off with a dunkelweizen and follow through with some kölsch. Save a rauchbier for the last segment. It would pair perfectly. Soft pretzels and  a mustard you can feel in the nose would be nice too. One thing is for certain, with suds or without, it’s a unique hodgepodge of double vision and double takes from another realm, crack in time or disturbance in the universe. You won’t see it at your cineplex and I’ll tell you my school girl secret. That my friends is what keeps me watching smut.

FILM REVIEW: Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974)

If you’re a lover of Grindhouse and Drive-In flicks and have never sunk your teeth into Laurence Harvey’s WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH (a.k.a. Tender Flesh), stop reading this review. Don’t make a sandwich or check your social media account. Get off your breakfast burrito and obtain a copy by whatever means you procure moving images. Well, in this case it will most likely be VHS. Make sure you get the 94 minute version with the good transfer so you can accurately taste Gerald Perry Finnerman’s work as director of photography. The poor man suffered through 60 episodes of the original STAR TREK TV series so give him some feature-film love.

Are you back? What did you think? You know I can’t keep my barfly opinions to myself so here we are.

Overshadowed by another 1974 cannibal film, what we have here is a generous buffet of American exploitation, where odd choices in seasoning lead to an array of interesting flavors. While an argument could be made over the thematic similarities dealing with society’s generation gap in the 70s like its less bloody chainsaw wielding competition, one should rightfully dismiss WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH as a horror film and celebrate the work as a sleazy slice of campy suspense.

British actor Laurence Harvey (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) directed and starred in WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH before succumbing to stomach cancer at age 45. After being dropped by Warner Brothers, the film was released in a truncated re-edited version by Brut Productions under the title TENDER FLESH. Armed with less blood, yet a sensationalized ad campaign, it hit the drive-in market.
Our film opens with an outrageously out of place theme song titled “Who Can Tell Us Why” sung by Lou Rawls; juxtaposed against a witches quote about cannibals. It’s so absurd, it’s perfection. Foxy blue-eyed brunette Robbin Stanley (Meg Foster of THUMB TRIPPING) hitches a ride from a dust-demon speed freak played by Jesse Vint (BLACK OAK CONSPIRACY). After a high speed police chase ends in a wreck, she wanders through a private nudist colony onto Arrow Beach and into the binoculars of resident psychopath Jason Henry (Laurence Harvey), who has an incestuous relationship with his sister Grace (Joanna Pettet).

Abnormal urges bubble to the surface and dish-up some gratifyingly cheesy moments of dialog peppered with culinary suspense. The script serves some truly unforgettable lines that permit veteran actors Stuart Whitman, John Ireland and Gloria LeRoy to really chew-up the scenery. Ireland’s speech on America is the apple cobbler for this main course and I adored David Macklin’s naïve observation, “The places that a woman could inject herself with a syringe defy the imagination!”.

Even Vint’s brief appearance reminds us of why we hunger for some Vint. The creepy sibling relationship between Jason and Grace is gastronomic divinity. Their repertoire is so convincing, it’s easy to understand why Harvey was top choice on the menu for actresses throughout his career. Simone Signoret, Elizabeth Taylor and Julie Christie all garnished their resumes with Best Actress Oscars after appearing in films with Harvey. And then there is Meg Foster. Weathered just right with those gorgeous eyes. Scrumptious.

WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH worked for me on every level. It’s cheap when it needs to be and hysterical in its flamboyance. This is the stuff of ozone culinary dreams. More akin to Guerdon Trueblood’s classic THE CANDY SNATCHERS (1973) than the Vietnam Era nihilism of the horror roach coaches. WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH is in dire need of a bluray release and on high up on my list of the 100 greatest films ever made. This would be a perfect release for the U.K. label Arrow Video! I can see it now, “Arrow Video Presents Welcome to Arrow Beach”. Laurence Harvey is a Brit too! It’s a no-brainer. Maybe if I write Arrow Video enough times it will come up on one of their searches. I better learn some meta data S.E.O. shit too. Love this film. My highest recommendation. See it! 

FILM REVIEW: GIRLS AT THE GYNECOLOGIST (1970) aka Mädchen beim Frauenarzt, Teenage Sex Report

Boys can go to the gynecologist too! I’ve seen a gynecologist twice in my life. Each visit was to the health clinic at Georgia Southern University. They prescribed Darvocet for everything at that butcher shop. Strep throat? Darvocet! Itchy scalp? Darvocet! Missing limb? Darvocet!  I wouldn’t recommend snorting or smoking crushed Darvocet. It’s banned now but I’m sure the long-term side effects are just around the corner.

It was the dawn of the 90s so everyone was getting tested for HIV and having a look under their hood. My inspector genital was a middle-aged fairly attractive lady so a certain body part became a little enthusiastic upon her touch. Maybe it was those horn-rimmed glasses seducing my thoughts into visions of a naughty kitty on the prowl through a satin sheet jungle or the shiny faux pearl necklace around her fair skinned neck, conjuring forth ribald fantasies. Maybe she wasn’t a temptress at all and it was the virility of youth. Anyway, there was an erect stranger in the room so I pathetically remarked, “Sorry, that must happen often, huh?”. With an X-ray glance from some alien world of higher education, she sternly responded, “No, that does not happen”. Well fuck, there goes my opportunity to write a Penthouse letter. Check please!

Yeah, that was pretty embarrassing but not as mortifying as the next visit. That adventure was to fumigate my dangles which had become an ugly planet – a bug planet! HIV testing and condoms didn’t stop those blood sucking crab lice freaks from sweet jumping sex juice river.

If you’ve ever had the vermin, then you know the knee-jerk reaction of screaming bloody terror upon discovering a crotch of crab lice.  You immediately think of self-immolation. Eventually reason enters, the gas can drops and the match is snuffed out.  Do I jump in a hot tub? No, not hot enough. A turpentine rub down? Sounds dangerous. Guess I’ll go see the pretty lady doctor.  The unusual thing is they don’t bite all the time but after sex, relishing in the smell of sin, they go absolutely coo-coo for cocoa puffs! A disco ball drops and a dance floor of irritation magically appears.  The second time I caught crabs I confronted the wrong sexual partner. Oops! I just assumed it was the alcoholic exotic dancer with the deep pockets for booger sugar and not the economics major carrying a 4.0 grade point average. Awkward but a valuable lesson on judging someone’s character based on their lifestyle choices. Even more tongue-tied tomfoolery was confessing to two different sexual partners that I may have unknowingly unleashed Armageddon on their nether regions. It wasn’t like I had sexual prowess around this era. There were just a lot of women who wanted to get back at their parents by sleeping with a guy like me and quite frankly I didn’t own a bed, so it was a win-win at that pathetic moment in time.

The third insect swarm (yeah, hit this lottery three times) didn’t require a trip to the gynecologist. No, I was a veteran of these creepy crawly wars and with electric razor in hand, squashed the resistance. It was all a sorry affair but it was my sorry affair. So for that sorry-ness, I’m not really sorry. Women’s health is important and you should support Planned Parenthood to help protect women from skinny filthy staggering slobs like this dude was in his 20s. With the public service announcement semi-sincerely accomplished, let’s get to the film.

So men? Have you ever wondered what goes on with the ladies at the old gyno clinic? Thankfully, German Schulmädchen-Report director Ernst Hofbauer is on the case to document and answer all our questions, based on the sex advice from BRAVO – the largest youth magazine in Germany.

After a funkified 70s intro akin to LOVE AMERICAN STYLE, our misinformed but well intentioned, gynecologist delivers the dope on the difficulty he faces with the rising promiscuity of the teen populace. We follow the doc through a day in his clinic; allowing us to view his various case studies in hanky-panky flashbacks. These sexual vignettes better “inform” us on what lead to the vaginal complications his patients are experiencing and the hair-brained methods of treating such shenanigans.

All the bases are covered: frigidity, VD, rape, infections, contraceptives, breast enlargement and abortions. Mixed in are some diagrams, graphic speculum footage and needle shots. Lots of shots! Oh man, so many shots my taint hurt.

Amongst all this clinical wang-wrecking is the meat and potatoes shlong-slinging material. Even with the abundance of beautifully framed scenes involving young attractive ladies, the sex scenes are quite brief.  You would be hard pressed to get a hard-on in this clinical study.

On the other hand, it’s a brisk retro blast of entertainment. Our narrator wishes to remain nameless so all his scenes are used with a delightful POV gimmick – allowing the patients and nurse to look directly at us. It works. Each segment is skillfully blocked, seamlessly cut and fast paced with a nice variation of scenarios. A staggering amount of footage is shot in a variety of locations for such a nudie romp. None of them seem to be recycled from the German School Girl Report films – a long running series using similar narrative techniques and stylistic choices. Some of the highlights include trippy zoom-happy lesbian photo shoots, sex in railway cars and bikers doing real stunts. With a wonderfully dated score and groovy fashions, GIRLS AT THE GYNECOLOGIST fills the fun prescription. Grab a bottle of RID just to be safe.


aka Tänzerinnen für tanger, Sensual Partners, Naked Street Girls, Island of the Savage Sex Slaves, Girl Slaves, Porno Tratta Per Tangeri

One thing is certain, I need to see more sultry sin-ema produced by Swiss mogul Erwin C. Dietrich. I’ve been impressed with his Jesus Franco collaborations and his rotating stable of buxom ladies. He always managed to spend the bucks on the camera department too, this time Alain Hardy (TENDER AND PERVERSE EMMANUELLE), which is always a plus for us dumpster divers. It’s probably a written law to have top-shelf cinematography in Switzerland. I can’t back that up with facts, just know it to be true. For CONESSIONS OF THE SEX SLAVES, Dietrich hands the reigns over to French director, Jack Guy (screenwriter of HITLER’S LAST TRAIN), who wore many hats for him under his real name Guy Gilbert. Either way, they’re both pretty bitchin’ names. Here he’s Jack Guy.

We begin in Mondo style cuts transporting us all over the world for an overview of human sex trafficking. Narration, from the DRAGNET school of voice overs, hips us squares to the plight of these poor white educated women. Eventually we ease up on the beautiful 70s bush montage and take a wild stab towards a cohesive plot. Seems abductors in Zurich are shipping gals to ribald Amsterdam with a lady working for the United Nations trying to uncover the fiendish plot. When her friend Helga (Gina Janssen from SADOMANIA) disappears, she flies to Switzerland and begins a hands-on investigation with the aid of Helga’s married lover. Is he really trying to find his mistress or gain a new one? What does his wife do? Oh, who cares?

The action unspools at the famous Moulin Rogue with mafia shenanigans, striptease entertainment and doped-up sex. These scenes lasso the majority of the running time. There’s no serious expose on human trafficking – it’s all about the titillation. Jack Guy seems to be an ass man, lingering on the lower backside region more than most directors of the era. Well, outside of Brazil. I’m not sure if Guy had a say in the casting, his wife Josyane Gibert (LOVERS OF DEVIL’S ISLAND) does appear, but there is definitely a specific shape of exercise deprived gluteus maximus on display. I ain’t body shaming dead folks, it’s just obvious they called 1-800 Sir Mix-a-Lot. Also on the plus side, the picture flickers with a hefty amount of frantic groping which progresses into unintentional comedy. It’s a riot. Every mound of flesh is obsessively fondled the same way I approach a bucket of fried chicken –  preferably from Price’s Chicken Coop in Charlotte, North Carolina but that’s a filthier story.

CONFESSIONS OF THE SEX SLAVES is a poorly cut mess with uninspired burlesque choreography, repellent sex scenes, recycled footage and lethargic fight sequences. It’s all pretty endearing. Where this motion picture really shines is the hilariously sleazy dubbing and “over the top” antics of Karate Jack (Erick Falk from WANDA THE WICKED WARDEN, BARBED WIRE DOLLS). In every scene he occupies, Jack is doing something illegal with maniacal glee. He runs weapons, stashes cocaine into retail shoes, shoots women with smack, stuffs girls into wicker baskets and humps passed out lasses with fervor. Karate Jack cackles and grins – living the dream. Hell, he makes it look like so much fun to be evil, I wanted a job application. If Erick Falk had been given a few more scenes, this flick would make for an informative corporate orientation video. Unfortunately, his comeuppance, while selling women to Camel drivers in Tangier, is an ineptly handled non-climax. You see, Karate Jack’s kung-fu is pretty lousy. Must be one of those ironic nicknames. Walter Baumgartner’s (LOVE CAMP) score is serviceable – hitting his best marks with a saxophone during the strip shows. Is it worth the trouble of stalking Amazon’s European stores, international postage  and owning a multi-region DVD player? Probably not. Would I watch it again? Yeah. There’s enough zippy exploitation yuks and big butts shot on 35mm film.