Tag Archives: swingers

Take Me (2001)

 Take Me is a six part, made-for-British television thriller starring Robson Green as cutthroat businessman Jack. When the film begins Jack and his attractive wife, Kay (Beth Goddard) are house hunting and fall in love with a brand-new home in a swanky suburb. Waving their city friends goodbye, Jack, Kay and their two children move into their grand new home.

take-meIt’s not long before we realise that the new home is a feeble attempt to revive a troubled marriage. Kay, it seems has had an affair with Jack’s best friend and work colleague, and while Kay has promised to now behave, the new home is supposed to represent a fresh start.

But Jack and Kay picked the wrong neighbourhood….

The boxes are barely unpacked when Jack and Kay are invited to a neighbourhood party. Upon arrival, someone greets Jack with a container full of car keys, and Jack is asked if he’d like to make an offering. Jack may be a cutthroat businessman, but he’s a straight arrow, and it takes him a while to catch on to the fact that he and Kay have stumbled into a nest of wife swappers.

One of the biggest problems with the film is that it’s just too long. Things didn’t really get peculiar until episode three, and in the meantime there’s wife swapping galore. And some of this gets just plain silly. Kay’s sister and her hubbie, for example, are part of the wife swapping set. It doesn’t take Einstein to guess that these parties–based on opportunities for sex and games that involve sex will become awfully difficult if they involve your sister and brother-in-law. And that’s not even mentioning the neighbourhood psycho. Add sex tapes, a distinct lack of common sense, and a lack of contraceptives and you have a lurid Peyton Place sort of scenario complete with characters who can’t see trouble until it hits them upside the head.

Robson Green delivers a credible performance, but he’s still hampered by a script that makes little sense. The blame-game scenes between Jack and Kay were simply laughable. How can these two harp on about saving their marriage when they are ditching their kids and hopping into the sack with all and sundry? They certainly didn’t convince me that they wanted to ‘save’ their marriage, and personally I think they just stayed married so they could keep getting invited to those damn parties.

Take Me also includes some silly, meaningless subplots that could so easily been trimmed–Jack’s father and his silly letters, for example. This made for a painful 300 minutes, and while I kept expecting this to get better, it didn’t

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A Smell of Honey, A Swallow of Brine/The Brick Dollhouse 1966/1967

“Get away from me you pervert.”

It’s easy to see why Something Weird Video packaged these three films together for a triple feature–they’re good examples of 60s ‘adult’ films. Obviously very low budget, with terrible acting, and thin plots, all three films cash in on theoretical sexual naivete, underwear and endless bathroom scenes. All three films use any excuse to show the female ‘stars’ undressing, stretching, dancing and generally jiggling at the camera.

There’s the title film–the strongest of the three–A Smell of Honey, A Swallow of Brine (1966) which concerns Sharon, a young girl who teases men and then when she pushes them far enough, she calls the police and files assault charges. The film follows the games Sharon plays until the one night she meets her match. From director Bryon Mabe.

A Sweet Sickness (1968) is supposed to be a morality tale about tinsel town (“Hollywood. Where a beautiful body isn’t enough”). A naive young girl arrives from Kansas (of course!) and hopes to hit the big time. She takes a job in a strip auction and eventually ends up as a drugged participant in a whipped cream party. The Big Bertha scene was the highlight of the film. From director Jon Martin.

The third feature, The Brick Dollhouse (1967) is the only one of the three films in colour, and it truly has a swinging 60s feel. The film begins with three roommates coming home to find the fourth girl–a stripper complete with a cheap red wig–topless and shot to death–sprawled out across her bed. Detectives question the three nonchalant roommates (one files her nails). A wild party life emerges involving spin-the-bottle, scenes on the billiard table and even a few peeping through keyhole shots. From director Tony Martinez.

All three films take advantage of every moment to show endless shower and bath scenes. The girls go around half dressed (even answering the door topless at one point). It’s mainly a lot of silly naughtiness, and your tolerance for that may vary. This triple feature is not as campy as many of the Something Weird titles (my all-time favourite is Satan in High Heels), and these three films definitely lean towards the adult film industry. With Something Weird Titles, I seek a High Camp Factor (HCF) but here it’s unfortunately drowned by all the topless frolicking, and ultimately the occasional inadvertent humour isn’t much of a payoff.

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Filed under Cult Classics, Exploitation

Damaged Goods/The Hard Road (1961/1970)

“There ought to be a law against her.”

How on earth do you rate a cheesy double feature of glorified sex education films? This is the dilemma that faced me after watching the 2-for-1 DVD from Something Weird Video–Damaged Goods/The Hard Road. Do I rate these films on artistic merit? Educational potential? Campiness? I finally decided to land on the entertainment value of these two films, and for me, the entertainment value wasn’t much….

I love Something Weird Video, and their intro trailer alone is worth the price of a DVD, but Damaged Goods and The Hard Road are scrapping the bottom of the barrel. Of the two features, Damaged Goods (AKA V.D.), from director H. Haile Chace has the better plot and a more traditional story line (which isn’t saying much). The story focuses on Jim (Mory Schoolhouse) and Judy (Charlotte Stewart)–two 17-year-old high school students who can’t wait to graduate and “grow up.” A new girl at the school, Kathy (Dolores Faith) acts as a sort of femme fatale, and this all combines to drive Jim off the deep end. A stripper named Bubbles, a prostitute and a weenie roast are elements of this cheese-fest–and it’s all, apparently, a marvelous opportunity to drag in a doctor who delivers a lecture about sexually transmitted diseases–complete with handy-dandy diagrams (courtesy of U.S. Public Educational Health Services Film).

The Hard Road, from director Gary Graver, is an even worse film than Damaged Goods, and that means I liked it more. This tawdry tale is the story of 17-year-old Pam, and the film begins with her pregnant, in the back seat of her parents’ car. After giving the baby up for adoption, Pam (Connie Nelson) begins her deep descent on the iniquitous road to Hades, and it’s a bumpy ride involving swinging parties, bead curtains, various illegal substances and an extensive wardrobe of caftans. With cameras zooming in and out of bedroom scenes, Pam soon has more men than I’ve had hot dinners. Well these were the swinging 60s, after all.

Ultimately, these two forgettable titles are artifacts, and it’s obvious that Damaged Goods and The Hard Road are both “fluff” content built around the educational venereal disease lectures spliced into each film in a stop-the-madness sort of way. The most hilarious aspect of these films is imagining the reactions of a high school class being forced to watch them. As for DVD quality, there were some neon green vertical lines and splotches on the film. The double feature DVD comes with a load of special features: Teen Trash Trailers, Classroom Scare Short #1: The Innocent Party, Scare Short #2: VD!, a Gallery of Roadshow Pitch Books with “Facts of Life” intermission lecture, and a Gallery of Exploitation Art with radio interview from Slightly Damaged sex hygienist EJ. Schaefer.

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Filed under Exploitation