Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Centerfold Girls (1974)

Director: John Peyser

Starring: Andrew Prine, Tiffany Bolling, Aldo Ray, Janet Wood

More info: IMDb

Tagline: the most beautiful girls in the world ... some are for loving ... some are for killing!

Plot: A depraved religious fanatic sets out to punish all the "immoral" women who have posed for the center-fold of a men's magazine.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Damn straight!

#205 on Drive-In Delierium Volume 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

TCG is told in 3 acts; 3 stories, actually. It starts off with Clement Dunne (deliciously played by Andrew Prine) disposing of a very lovely corpse...

then begins the first full story. Dunne is following his next victim, Jackie. She picks up a young hitchhiker, Linda, and takes her to her cabin in the woods so Linda isn't stranded. The hitchhiker had other plans. Linda's pals (two female, one male) are also following her. During the night, Linda's friends raucously make themselves at home and it's soon clear to Jackie this isn't going to end pretty and the movie suddenly becomes a home invasion picture. They harass the shit out of her and attempt rape.

She escapes and makes her way to the office of the campground that's run by an older married couple.

The husband escorts her safely back to her cabin, making sure no one is around (he called the police earlier and they were going to show up at some point). The old man starts talking trash to her like she's a two bit whore and attempts to rape her but he stops short of doing it because she's so distraught and tired of fighting she just lays down to take it. He won't go through with it because it's too easy. He wanted her to put up a fight. He leaves and then Dunne shows up...and kills her with a knife!

With me so far? This is turning out to be one surprising picture!

The next story has Charlene going to a secluded island with other professionals for a photography shoot. There's lots of in-fighting going on between everyone. Charlene wants to get ahead in the business and she respectfully asks the high powered guy there (I forget his name) to help her out. He agrees to put her in touch with the right people but she's going to have to fuck him and then give him 10% of everything she will ever make from these contacts. It's worth noting that EVERY SINGLE MALE in this movie is horrible to women. It's bad. Hell, I'd almost say that, with the exception of the centerfold victims, everyone's really really bad. Most of the women don't fare much better than the guys. Dunne shows up and kills all 5 or 6 of them, one by one. This story feels very much like a giallo thriller - like an early slasher film.

Next we get Vera's story. She's an airline stewardess taking a break. Through a series of events she suspects she's being stalked and senses the real danger it could lead to. She takes off in her car and, along a mountainous California hwy, she gets a blowout with Dunne not too far behind. Luckily for Vera, a couple of young sailors stop by to help her out. She gets in their car and everything seems pleasant enough. They're nice young Navy boys. Unluckily for her, they take her to a hotel room and rape her. The next morning she wakes up in a hospital room, with Dunne standing over her. He was waiting outside the hotel room waiting for the sailors to leave and he took her to the hospital posing as a good samaritan.

Since Vera only ever heard Dunne's voice over the phone she doesn't realize the danger she's in until it's too late. They're chatting it up all friendly like in the car and Dunne pulls up to a gas station to buy a big ass hunting knife. Vera suddenly sees the big picture and it's a fight in the woods where only one comes out alive.

Prine is fantastically creepy as our star killer. Everyone else pales a little bit (except for some of the centerfold girls who did fine jobs, too) but that's OK because this movie has the kinds of characters and acting that you'd expect to find in a low budget psychedelic thriller exploitation pictures that came out in the 60s and 70s. It's also LOADED with nudity. The big difference here is this one's really good, well made and shocking. I'm really surprised it was as good as it was. If you're in the mood for something different but in the line of a flick like THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) or I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) I'd give this one a look-see. It's a beaut of an exploitationer.

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