Sunday, February 10, 2019

Confessions of a Psycho Cat (1968) Sexploitation Roughie


"Cat" is leftover beatnik speak for a person.
The person is a woman. The woman is Virginia Marcus (Eileen Lord) and she is a psycho-cat. Marcus is a wealthy whacked out big game huntress with an incredibly over stuffed trophy room. It looks like a storage closet with some furniture. She is apparently bored with hunting animals, she now wants to hunt the biggest game man.

The film starts with a shot of seeing her brother Anderson off on a trip from Manhattan by ocean liner (of course, how else is a big game hunter supposed to travel you are not getting your trophies back to the USA by plane).

Which reminds me of a funny story. I was working on a land survey for an owner up in the Shawangunks of New York State.  He was a nice little guy with these coke bottle glasses who it turned out was one of these big game hunters. He had a trophy club house, sort of a converted garage detached from the main residence that was part of the survey. Well he invited us in to see the trophies. It was filled with heads, stuffed bears, mountain lions, etc., etc. It dawned on me while looking at his prizes that through some type of psychological cause and effect this guy was compensating for the fact that without his glasses he would be essentially food for all the former trophies, hah!


We first see Virginia walking down the interior of a Hudson River pier seeing her brother off for a safari. She usually tags along herself but she's had a nervous breakdown and her shrink recommends rest.

We cut to a ridiculous orgy scene at Ronnie's where, it being a sexploitation feature targeting the raincoat crowd and bound for at a grindhouse theater run, we get a lame-o 1968 depiction of an orgy. Which means in 1968 no full frontal nudity and the men bare chested and all wearing their underwear, it's basically all T&A with the occasional fleeting glimpse of bush. You can just fast forward through all the tedious stuff. The "trophy sexploitation shots" below.






In the hierarchy of Exploitation films dealing with sex the stages were Nudie Cuties, Sexploitation, Roughies, Rough Core, and White Coaters. White Coaters functioned as the old Public Service films showing what was forbidden in the guise of doctors studies and cautionary warnings about sex. The next step was straight Hard Core loops. The sexploitation sequences are un-interestingly lighted and filmed in other words a real snooze fest.

Buddy (Frank Geraci)
Buddy a minor drug dealer and one of our stars is supposed to make a score of some drugs and get back to what I guess is supposed to be a hippie orgy. We cut to see Buddy being chased across Central Park by Virginia who is hunting him with a crossbow. When he does arrive at Ronnies he has a crossbow bolt in his leg. In flashback mode Buddy tells his story.


The case in Central Park
Virginia invited Buddy, a Broadway Actor Charles Wheeler, and a retired wrestler Rocco Bonito played by middleweight world champion boxer Jake LaMotta, to the trophy room. They were all the subjects of a magazine article describing them as killers who got away with their crimes for various reasons.

The Trophy Room

Buddy, Charles Wheeler and Rocco (Jake LaMotta)

Virginia (Eileen Lord)

Charles

Rocco
In a flashback within a flashback we see Charles the actor kill in self defense the husband of a woman he's having an affair with.

Charles Flashback







Buddy accidentally gave a girlfriend a heroin overdose. Rocco accidentally killed a man in the ring.


overdosed

Rocco in the ring
Since Virginia was prevented from accompanying her brother she decides to hunt the three men. She offers them each checks for $100,000 post dated 24 hours, that they can cash if they manage to live. They will be her prey.

Buddy figures its a cinch since he's had practice hiding out from the cops.

Virginia manages to hunt down Charles even after he sent a friend as a decoy dressed and made up to look like him to a neighborhood bar. Virginia's plan was to lure Charles out with a offer of work. He shows up for an appointment at a theater for a revival of one of his old plays. Virginia spears Charles through the heart.

Rocco, Virginia lures out by questioning his bravery. The big dope goes to her rooftop apartment where she, dressed as a matador, challenges him in a bull fight. It's a pretty stylistic fight that ends with Rocco very dead.

Buddy is itchin' for a fix even though he could make the 24 hour challenge and be $100,000 fat, he decides to go back out on the street to score. The only thing he scores is another meeting with Virginia.

The start of Virginia's psychosis

We find out (in still another flashback) how Virginia's psychosis all started. It seams Anderson, her brother, when they were kids, killed her puppy by tossing him off the penthouse terrace.

Noirsville
















Psycho Virginia 








Rocco as a bull in a bullfight with Virginia

















Buddy shooting up in a men's room stall





the dying bull....


Directed by Herb Stanley (his only credit if that is even his real name). Written by Bill Boyd. The stylistic claustrophobic Cinematography was by Paul Guffee, his use of a fish-eye lens was quite effective. It doesn't look as if he filmed any of what looks like in comparison the inserted orgy sequence. The only redeeming factor for shooting a sex scene would be to shoot it artistically and creatively.

The film stars Eileen Lord as Virginia Marcus, Jake LaMotta as Rocco, Ed Garrabrandt as Anderson, Frank Geraci as Buddy, and Dick Lord as Charles Freeman. The acting is amateurish but it's got to be expected with a low budget effort, it's nice seeing Jake LaMotta.

"FILM NOIR HAD AN INEVITABLE TRAJECTORY…
THE ECCENTRIC & OFTEN GUTSY STYLE OF FILM NOIR HAD NO WHERE ELSE TO GO… BUT TO REACH FOR EVEN MORE OFF-BEAT, DEVIANT– ENDLESSLY RISKY & TABOO ORIENTED SET OF NARRATIVES FOUND IN THE SUBVERSIVE AND EXPLOITATIVE CULT FILMS OF THE MID TO LATE 50s through the 60s and into the early 70s!" 
The Last Drive In (thelastdrivein.com)

Confessions of a Psycho Cat is another missing link between the demise of Classic Hollywood Noirs and the Neo Noirs that began to emerge in the 1970s. I call them Transitional Noir. Available from Something Weird Videos. A curiosity 5-6/10.



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