Thursday, January 31, 2019

Noirsville Bonus Vintage Print Ads Part 17

The Animal (1968) Groovy L.A. Roughie


Continuing to wallowing through the extant Black & White sexploitation oeuvre scrutinizing the  "roughies" and experimental cinema. Looking for artistically made films that got perhaps mistakenly tossed into the sexploitation trash bins for including nudity, that could be considered "lost" Noir.

Roughie Noirs combined Crime and Vice stories with the new found freedom to exploit Sex. They were meant, at best to play round the clock in rotation for ten or twelve day, in a Grindhouse theater in Times Square or on Main Street L.A. Obviously the budgets weren't extravagant. Most were edited together with only the rudimentary of story lines between extended T&A shots, but a few actually had interesting story lines and showed quite a bit of artistic style. You got to weed them out of all the straight cheap exploitation crap.

I have found some diamonds in the "rough." There were not a lot of them made between 1964 and 1969 and probably half of those that sound like they may have had some promise are lost now forever, i.e. possibly The Street Is My Beat (1966), and definitely Gutter Trash (1969). But there is always the possibility that they are still a few sitting in unpaid storage fee limbo in some rust belt or other forgotten film vault, somewhere. For example The Pick-Up (1968) was thought lost until it was found in some Scandinavian film vault.

The door was cracked open to these type of films quite spectacularly with the premier of Alfred Hitchcock's  Psycho (1960).

Other notable films that Noirsville has found, so far, to fit one way or another in varying degrees into the general B&W  Roughie/Experimental/Psychological Noir pigeon hole are Something Wild (1961), Cape Fear (1962), Experiment In Terror (1962), Private Property (1962), Stark Fear (1962), The Naked Kiss (1964), Lorna (1964), The Glass Cage (1964), The Thrill Killers (1964), Strange Compulsion (1964), The Strangler (1964), Angel's Flight (1965), Flesh and Lace (1965), Hot Skin And Cold Cash (1965), Love Statue (The)(1965), Tell Me in the Sunlight (1965), Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965), Aroused (1966), Seconds (1966), The Velvet Trap (1966), Oddo (1967), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), The Sex Killer aka The Girl Killer (1967), Some Like It Violent (1968), and The Pick-Up (1968).

Once most Sexploitation producers switched to color film around 68-69-70 the remaining Roughie films that even at this point kept any type of story lines lost much of their somewhat redeeming sharp B&W visual style, the majority of the color films are over lit, have less contrast and definition, have grainier images and look as cheap as they actually were. Sexploitation producers lost money to the even cheaper to produce 16-mm hardcore porn loops.

 “Sexploitation is about tease and how much we are almost going to see something. The moment you show it, the sexploitation game is over.” Frank Henenlotter (exploitation film historian)

The final nail in the coffin was when Newspapers banned all X rated film advertising. Producers of .Sexploitation  as such, quickly devolved into making straight pornography. Meanwhile in mainstream Hollywood films artistic sex became acceptable and chic. At the same time Transitional Noirs sort of morphed into the Neo Noirs we have today.

The Animal was directed by Lee Frost (as R.L. Frost). It was written by Bob Cresse based on his original story. It was produced by Frost's  RLF Productions, and distributed by Cresse's Olympic International Films. Cinematography was by Charles Langdon and the Music is credited to
Michael Terr (as Mischa Terr).

The film stars  John Alderman as Ted Andrews, Virginia Gordon as Joan Clark, Armand Atamian,
Jay Fineberg as First Lab Technician, Janis Rhodes, Francie Hyde, Sharon Wells, as Blonde Lesbian
Linda Stiles as Brunette on Phone, Inez Coup, and Capri as Angela.

The story starts in the present we see a a highway. A high speed shot through a windshield. A winding road that looks like it could be Mulholland Drive. It is L.A. The car is drifting over the center line. It's swerving. A man is driving.

Ted Andrews (Alderman)

The man looks like he's palling asleep. The car goes too close to the shoulder and rolls off mountain side.

The man is thrown from the vehicle, and lays sprawled on the ground a truck stops on the highway above and the driver climbs down the hill. From this point the story is in flashback mode.

The film is supposedly based on a true story taken from newspaper accounts, though a quick check on Google brings up no citing's of a Ted Andrews.

Film lab tech Andrews 

Ted Andrews by day is a mild mannered Hollywood film editor.  He suffers from occasional migraine headaches. Turns out he's your typical mother hating psycho, it seems as though the Southwest is loaded with them. By night he gets his freak on with booze, pot, and occasionally swallowing LSD, and his kicks from making obscene phone calls and peeping on women through his Venetian blinds. 

He smokes skinny joints,,,

,,,and make random obscene phone calls

The only problem with random obscene phone calls in The City Of Angels is he gets the occasional babe who gets off on him calling her rather than vice versa. For Ted, that scenario is a real flaccid inducer. 

A random brunette (Linda Stiles) has her own ideas...

Ted progresses from naked eyeball through the Venetian blinds to binoculars to high tech-ing himself out with a high powered telescope. He voyeurs single neighbors and lesbian encounters.

When Ted gets himself sufficiently worked up, he has a pimp named Eddie he can phone that will send him call girls. He likes to watch. He has the hookers reenact what he sees in his telescope. He has one of them Kim a first time hooker take a shower while he peeps through the crack in the doorway. Eventually they have sex.  

Ted eventually focuses his sights on a an attractive single young mother Joan Andrews (Virginia Gordon). He figures out what the building is where she lives. He waits outside the apartment house and follows behind her as she walks into the entrance to see which mailbox she opens. 

That gets him  her name. He also tails her when she takes her son to school. This gives him an idea for a twisted plan. With her name and address he gets her phone number and Ted calls her while he's peeping. He tells her that he can see her and threatens to kill her ten year old son if she doesn't do exactly what he wants. He orders her to strip in front of the window.

Ted [on phone]: “I’ve dreamed of how you’d look!”

This progresses until he has Joan rendezvousing at a hot sheet motel for more humiliation and sex. He tells her that he knows the boy has been dropped off at her mothers and he will have a friend kill him at 8 AM unless she complies with his demands. If she agrees he'll call his friend off before 8 AM.

Before Ted sets this up he has a final freak-out session while on LSD with another call girl from Eddie stable. This acid trip give the film the Wizard of Oz treatment and our Black & White film switches to color. There are no cute munchkins to be found in this flick.

The blonde hooker strips naked quickly and gets on a bed. She's in a hurry. She begins to nag him, she sounds like his momma. She has a lot of "dates" tonight.

She beckons to Ted who gets naked and joins her. Things go South.

Ted grabs a plastic bag by the bed and quickly places it over her face suffocating to death. He stashes her in the back seat of his car for disposal after his "date" with Joan at the motel. 

Date Night
At the motel Terrorizing Teddy has his way with Juicy Joan degrading her, making her crawl on the floor like an animal, burying the bone and playing hide the sausage all night long. It's all implied however, this is just a Sexploitation film and it would, using today's rating system barely rate an R. 

an industrial strength bra

When Ted wakes up Joan is sitting completely dressed on the couch watching him. She tells him it's almost 8 AM and he has to call his friend, Ted dials a time number and makes believe hes taking to his accomplice.

Ted gets dressed to leave, and mentions to Joan that he has a headache. Joan says she has some pain pills and give him two. They are in reality large dose sleeping pills. Joan's revenge. Ted takes off down the highway with a dead hooker in the backseat to Noirsville.


A dead hooker in the back seat

Back to the present. Ted a paraplegic after the wreck gets a call from Momma who promises to come down to take care of him forever.

Writer and producer Bob Cresse founded Olympic International Films in the early 60's. The film is available from Something Weird Video. 6/10