Monday, May 15, 2017

Bad (Andy Warhol's) (1977) Transgressive Underground Neo Noir

Crossing into John Waters territory Bad is a product of some of the various underground film movements that flourished in the early 1970s to the mid 1980s. Cinema of Transgression, was a term coined by Nick Zedd in 1985, to describe a New York City-based underground film movement that employed shock value and black humor in their films.

Working out of  Andy Warhol's Factory, director Jed Johnson (who was editor for Heat (1972), Flesh for Frankenstein (1973), Blood for Dracula (1974), editor and cinematographer for L'Amour (1973), cinematographer for Women in Revolt (1971)), filmed this "bizzaro," one off, Transgressive Neo Noir.

Written by Pat Hackett (Blood for Dracula (1974), Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)) and, George Abagnalo (Women in Revolt (1971) Beautiful Darling (2010)). Cinematography was by Alan Metzger (The Rehearsal (1974), The Baron (1977)) and the music was by Mike Bloomfield (Easy Rider (1969), Medium Cool (1969)).

The Film Stars Carroll Baker (Baby Doll (1956), Something Wild (1961), Ironweed (1987), ) as Hazel Aiken a beautician electrologist who sidelines a New York City, Murder Inc. -ish business for women out of her suburban home. Perry King (Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), Lipstick (1976), ) as L.T. the California hit man who is recommended to Hazel. Susan Tyrrell (Fat City (1972), The Killer Inside Me (1976)) as Hazel's chain smoking daughter Mary Aiken. Stefania Casini (Suspiria (1977), 1900 (1976)) as P.G. the Italian hit woman. Cyrinda  as R.C., Mary Boylan (The Wrong Man (1956), The Night of the Iguana (1964), No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), Midnight Cowboy (1969)) as the Grandmother. Lawrence Tierney (star of Classic Noir, The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947), Born to Kill (1947), The Hoodlum (1951), Reservoir Dogs (1992)) as O'Reilly-O'Crapface. Charles McGregor (The French Connection (1971), Super Fly (1972), Across 110th Street (1972)) as Detective Hughes. Gordon Oas-Heim as Mr. Aiken. Geraldine Smith (Raging Bull (1980)) and Maria Smith (Paradise Alley (1978)) as sisters Glenda and Marsha Montemorano. Barbara Allen as S.F., and Charles Welch as the newsdealer.

Hazel (Baker)

Mary (Tyrrell)

L.T. (King)
Grandmother (Boylan)
Hazel (Baker) making ends meet, prides herself on employing only women in her efficient murder and mayhem for hire business. Her legit cover is as a Beautician/Electrologist. She boasts of being able to do 650 hairs per hour. She runs her operations out of her Queens home which also doubles as a boarding house for her posse of hit gals. She takes referrals, appointments, and jobs over the phone. She caters only to desperate women. Her assignments run the range as from the relatively benign trashing of candy stores, to murdering men, autistic children, babies, and pets.

Hazel lives with her unemployed husband (Oas-Heim), her ailing mother (Boylan), her whiney daughter in law Mary (Tyrrell) and her child.

Hazel is getting hit on by corrupt Detective Hughes (McGregor) he knows about her operations and gets a cut of the swag. He also is pestering her about setting up one of her operatives so that he can make a collar for murder one.

Hazel's Hit Squad

R.C. (Foxe)
P.G. (Casini)
Marsha (Maria Smith) lt. and  Glenda (Geraldine Smith) rt.
S.F. (Allen)
Into this picture arrives L.T. (Perry King) a referral from C.C. (Hazel's sort of screening agent). She passes him off as her laid back nephew from California to Detective Hughes. He wants to become part of her hit crew, which consist of R.C., a ditsy bleach blond, P.G., an Italian femme fatale professional killer, and the twisted sister act of Glenda and deviant Marsha (the latter is both a pyromaniac and man crazy too boot). With a set up like this and the injection of L.T. into the all women mix, it's only a matter of time before it all goes Noirsville.



 Detective Hughes (McGregor)

O'Reilly-O'Crapface (Lawrence Tierney)

Carroll Baker twenty some odd years down the road from her Baby Doll turn is excellent as the matronly, somewhat heftier, Hazel. Her performance is matter of fact deadpan as she juggles the outlandish, absurd, and at times morbid details of her two jobs efficiently. She even services her hit gals electrolysis needs, deducting the cost from their fees. Susan Tyrrell does a complete 180 from the previous years The Killer Inside Me, in this she is a bewildered, dowdy, mousy, bellyacher, and the mother daughter tête-à-têtes with Hazel are highly amusing.

Perry King in a believable performance provides the beefcake, Stefania Casini is standoffish and deliciously wicked as the cheesecake, and seriously whacked Glenda and Marsha's sisterly bickering will get you chuckling. Watch for Charles Welsh as the blind newsdealer whom Hazel tries scam out of change for a five after handing him a one dollar bill.

A very bizarre film that fits in nicely with Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), Seven Beauties (Pasqualino Settebellezze) (1975), Eating Raoul (1982), After Hours (1985) Delicatessen (1991), Fatal Instinct (1993), The Big Lebowski (1998), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Sin City (2005), Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014) the delightfully ludicrous black comedy sub genre of Neo Noir.

Screencaps are from The Cheesy Films DVD (2005) Be forewarned this film can get pretty gross and will definitely not be for everyone 6.5-7/10

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