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.

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