Something Weird Video presents
Alley Tramp / Over 18... And Ready! (1968/1969)
"Phil, do you think it was right? That lady, making love, with her husband right there in the house?"- Marie (Julie Ames)
Stars: Julie Ames, Mary McRea
Other Stars: Steve White, Ann Heath, Larry Martinelli, Margo Stevens
Director: Armand Parys, Lloyd Allen
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality)
Run Time: 02h:15m:57s
Release Date: 2006-10-03
DVD ReviewSomething Weird once again turns to wayward females for its theme for this double-bill disc of grindhouse nudie titles, here promoting "gutter girls" as connective thread. A thread, I might add, that barely holds their soon-to-fall-off clothes together.
Directed by Armand Parys
Lots of fancy-schmancy French-sounding crew names in the opening credits to make this one seem perhaps a little European, but don't be fooled because it's just gore-meister Herschell Gordon Lewis (2,000 Maniacs, Blood Feast), directing here under the nom de plume of Armand Parys (get it?). Cute young Marie (Julie Ames) has strange "feelings" for her dopey third cousin Phil, and when she comes home early one day she catches sight of her boozy mom—she of the big beehive and oversized eyelashes—and her philandering dad knocking boots like a couple of wildcats. Instead of being traumatized and vomiting, this of course causes her to become a raging, blackmailing nymphomaniac, bedding down with just about anything that moves.
The supposedly sixteen-year-old Marie's Lolita-transformation is a campy hoot, made all the more fun by her vocal hysterics ("I'm a woman!") and the subsequent preaching about the dangers of nymphomania ("We never realized!") is meant to legitimize the message somehow. Lots of sex—including a strange encounter performed while a political debate plays on the radio—allows "Parys" to give what the genre demanded. This really could have been directed by a camera on a tripod for all I know, but it shows another oddball side of Herschell Gordon Lewis, so that should count for something.
Over 18...And Ready!
Directed by Lloyd Allen
The better of the two is this Hollywood heartbreak story, about Lyn (Mary McRea), a busty but dull secretary who miraculously launches her career into the world of nudie flicks for her sleazy boss (we know he's sleazy because he has a goatee and white "wings" in his hair"). The expected horrific downward spiral is what this one is all about, and it's a bumpy, lusty ride all the way, culminating in a series of flashbacks that basically tell the whole movie all over again.
Mary McRea's splendid bath-taking skills are on full frontal display as obviously her strong suit here, and we learn she is a very diligent scrubber. Once clean, she flops around with a few different folks, including Margo Stevens looking like Carol-Burnett-if-she-were-a-lesbian-which-of-course-she-isn't, and director Lloyd Allen even throws in some rather daring interracial lovemaking, both hetero and not. As poor Lyn's world spins out of control in a bad Truman Show kind of way, she is told by one heartless soul that the only way "other dames make it in this business is on their backs." Over 18...And Ready! isn't quite as ungodly cheesy as Alley Tramp, and I think the full-bodied allure of Mary McRea is the reason.
Call me demented, but this whole style of trashy, low-rent exploitive nudie filmmaking, for all of its amateurish everything, has a certain back alley appeal. Yeah, I know it's wrong. Sue me.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Both black-and-white features get the standard issue 1.33:1 treatment, and for late '60s sexploitation titles neither look all that bad, considering. They're not pristine by any means—and night scenes can be iffy—and Over 18...And Ready! carries quite a bit more grain of the two, and exhibits some infrequent sprocket holes as well as the occasional nick or scratch. But for purely voyeuristic thrills and vintage weirdness, the transfers are in line with Something Weird's usual workable caliber of relatively obscure grindhouse titles.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital mono audio transfers do their best to reproduce what was probably poorly recorded dialogue in the first place. Voices do tend to clip and distort in spots, and overall the presentation lacks that cleaner tonal quality found on films decades older. All of the bad line reads are clear enough, and that's really what's needed.
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring The All-American Girl, Girl In Trouble, Lola's Mistake, Monique My Love, A Sweet Sickness, Teenage Tramp, Teaser
Extras Review: As is the way of Something Weird, the extras continue the theme, this time it's all about the "gutter girls." There's a small set of like-minded grindhouse trailers (including one for Alley Tramp), and then the real fun begins.
Toward Emotional Maturity (10m:25s) is an unintentionally hilarious 1950s McGraw-Hill educational film meant to squash all those raging teenage libidos, delicately substituting the word "emotion" for what clearly is referring to sex. Keep it under control, kids. That's the message.
Then things go a little more longform, with the harsh colors and terrible sound quality of Teenage Diary (29m:13s), an action-packed saga of a drunken dad, teenage romance, Tiki bars, fistfights and of course, the cure-all powers of God's love. This is mondo-bizarre from just about every angle, very funny and corny as all get out. If the sound and picture quality were a little better, this alone would be reason enough to pick up this disc.
Extras wrap with the wildly non-erotic Smoke Rings (12m:48s), a tacky peep reel featuring a pair of bored, slightly frumpy "gutter girls" lounging nude on a tiny couch, smoking, dusting, giggling, and doing an awful lot of stretching. It begins as it ends, without nothing inbetween.
Alley Tramp is cut into nine chapters, and Over 18...And Ready! has seven, with no subtitles for either.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsThese might be nothing more than sloppy little sexploitation titles on one level, but for cult movie geeks, one was done by Herschell Gordon Lewis (operating as the very international-sounding Armand Parys) and the other one features some remarkable bathtub cleansing by the nicely constructed Mary McRea.
Tacky, but fun.
Rich Rosell 2006-10-26