Dressed In Silk, Latin Lace And Envy

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Let Me Die A Woman would seem like a major departure for Doris Wishman…a straight-faced documentary on transgender men and women from the auteur behind Nude On The Moon, Bad Girls Go To Hell and Deadly Weapons…but like all her films, it’s just a little ways catty-corner from normal. Accurate information mingles with glaring ignorance…Graphic sex-change surgery footage (and a gory “re-enactment” that will jolt every male member of the audience with sympathy pain) mingles with softcore lovin’ (one scene features consummate cocksman Harry Reems, also in Deadly Weapons). Some of the interviews seem very scripted, with acting that instantly conjures Glenn Or Glenda?…One of the patients says curiously conservative things and expresses admiration for…Anita Bryant. To me, that’s even more disturbing than the surgery footage…

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Brolin Thunder

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I wonder if either John Carpenter or Stephen King himself found inspiration from this film in the creation of Christine? Well the makers of The Car obviously saw Jaws…A sheriff (James Brolin, Amityville Horror) and his deputy (Ronny Cox, Deliverance) investigate a series of hit-and-run deaths by a sinister black car (a Lincoln) with no visible driver. The cinematography and music are very Jaws. The Car’s rep has always been as a so-bad-it’s-good cult classic…but I question just how unintentional the laughs are…the comic relief scenes have a very weird sense of humor…and even the attack scenes seem tongue-in-cheek…especially the one where the car acts like an angry bull in a ring. The makers were obviously having fun with this, so I’d say the pleasure of this film is pretty guilt-free…

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Boy With A Problem

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Hmmm…how to put this delicately? Arthur (Juan Fernandez) has always felt a wee bit…inadequate, and is a total dud with the ladies. So when his much studlier buddy Felix dies from a “very rare virus”,  Artie jumps at the chance to be the guinea pig in an experimental shaft transplant, and has Felix’s manhood successfully grafted onto him. Side effects? Well, it turns out that Felix was much more of a ladykiller than Art had imagined…and now he’s inherited his dear departed dong donor’s compulsion to kill women who wear gold earrings. I get the feeling ol’ Doris was watching The Hands Of Orlac or Mad Love one day and thought “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if?”…Expect the usual roughie tussling, Batman-angled cinematography and editing so startlingly abrupt that you’ll wonder if you’ve got narcolepsy…

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Kung Fu Stews

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Here’s yet another of the myriad New World “3 girl pictures” of the early 70’s. It’s got the requisite 3 beautiful, intelligent, strong, career-minded women, struggling to get ahead in a male dominated world, juggling work and romance, talking politics…and getting naked.

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What, you may ask, does this picture have that, say, Candy Stripe Nurses doesn’t? Kung Fu. Yup. The ladies are waylaid by “kung fu killers” and mobsters…Luckily they know how to kung some fu themselves. Wonder if they got their stewardess training at the same academy as Charlie’s Angels?

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All Women Are Badass

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In Ancient Rome, two new slavegirls, Mamawi and Bodicia (Pam Grier and Margaret Markov, who had previously teamed up in Black Mama White Mama) luck into becoming gladiators when the jaded layabout Roman hoi polloi, bored with regular gladiator battles, realize “Hey, y’know what? Chicks fighting each other is kinda hot.” So Mamawi, Bodicia  and the other slavegirls-turned-gladiators must fight to the death to survive as they scheme for freedom in this New World femsploitation take on Spartacus…

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The Master (Race) And Margherita

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Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome to Kitty’s brothel, where Kitty (Ingrid Thulin, Wild Strawberries) enjoys performing cabaret numbers…and it’s all good kinky fun ’til SS Officer Wallenberg (Helmut Berger) shows up to oversee the place, replace her girls with specially trained agents, and bug the rooms in order to weed out traitors to the Reich (or anybody with an inkling of a conscience). One such lovely spy, Margherita (Teresa Ann Savoy, Caligula, whose beauty and spirit reminds me of Brigitte Bardot, Maria Schneider and Candy Clark) falls in love with flyboy Hans, who begins to think that maybe this whole world domination trip isn’t such a good idea after all. The bad news is, Wallenberg has already staked his claim on Margherita, and is not about to let something as trivial as true love spoil his master plan…but he has seriously underestimated Margherita and Kitty…Salon Kitty is far from the typical sadistic, sleazy Nazisploitation picture. It’s sumptuously shot, surreal, genuinely erotic (imagine if The Night Porter had been directed by Fellini) and a deliciously wicked satire of nationalistic madness and power hunger…

Salon Kitty (Tinto Brass, 1976)

Salty Dogs

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This gritty, real-time, almost-lost change-of-pace crime thriller from horror director Mario Bava thrusts you right into the middle of a robbery gone horribly awry. The thieves, depraved degenerates straight out of a Spaghetti Western, not only leave a trail of carnage in their wake, but take a couple and their child hostage. That’s when the real terror begins. The film is loosely based on an Ellery Queen story from the 50’s, but plays more like a cross between Last House On The Left (an obvious influence) and Reservoir Dogs (obviously  influenced by this film) as the thieves subject the family to all manner of threats and indignities. It’s as powerful as any of the great American thrillers of the 70’s, and very finely crafted considering Bava left the project before the editing stage. I recommend seeing the original version Rabid Dogs rather than the recut Kidnapped version for pure, undiluted terror…

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