Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Olde Review: Private Parts

Well, it's a week before Hallowe'en, so I can't ignore it any longer. The Horror genre is not my favorite, but like anything, if something good comes along, no matter its origins, no matter its budget, it should be celebrated. We won't be doing that. We'll be looking at a bunch of horror movies from the past few years that I haven't been able to recycle into this blog—for whatever reason—but mostly for the fact that they aren't any good. They are horror films that merely accentuate the fact that I don't like the genre much, even though it has always inspired new techniques in film-making, rules-breaking in scope and subject matter, and been the moldy place from which some talented film-makers emerged...while others just fell back into the bog. 

This was part of a series of reviews of the ASUW Film series back in the '70's. Except for some punctuation, I haven't changed anything from the way it was presented, giving the kid I was back in the '70's a bit of a break. Any stray thoughts and updates I've included with the inevitable asterisked post-scripts.

Private Parts (Paul Bartel, 1972) * You thought Rocky Horror was tacky? Leave before Private Parts.** Not that it's bad. It's just...trashy. Rather well-made trash at that. It was directed by Paul Bartel, before he went on to make Death Race 2000, which was also trash. Bartel has talent, he really does. His shots are well-composed, the color composition is great--right now it's a little hard to tell whether he'll go legit and become another Brian DePalma, or will continue with filming lousy stories well and become another Russ Meyer.

Private Parts has a badly-acted beginning and a cruddy ending (complete with a Tennessee Williams-style capper). But in between those you keep watching this film (so help me) just to see what the hell will come up next. What trashy, weird, kinky thing will come up next.

Sweet young thing Cheryl (Ayn Ruyman), kicked out of her apartment, takes up with her weird (not that "weird") Aunt Martha (Lucille Benson) at the King Edward Hotel, which seems to have a monopoly on odd tennants. There's this weird (note that "weird") photographer named George (John Ventantonio) who, believe it or not, is even sleazier than Oliver Reed is. Cheryl is into poking into other people's business. George is into all sorts of fetishes and things, and, let's face it, they're made for each other. Just like the sweet young couple in "Rocky Horror...," Cheryl is forever changed by the King Edward.

This movie may not be your cup of tea. It's kind of strong, content-wise, and there are a couple of acts of ultra-violence in which Bartel rubs our collective noses.

But one thing: See it, so that when you see Brian DePalma's weird but intelligently made Sisters, you may look upon it as Citizen Kane compared to Private Parts.


You know? I don't remember a single FRAME from this film. Must have purged it from my memory banks. That happens ("Seen any movies? What's a good one you've seen lately?" "..........uhhh...."). I was surprised that Amazon streams it, and that there was enough of a presence on the Internet (even discounting Howard Stern) that I could put up pictures. And I seem to remember the lead actress, Ayn Ruymen, but the memory is of seeing her in commercials.  Oh, well. Also, strange to see I had such a fixation on Brian DePalma in those days (this was years before The Bonfire of the Vanities.)

*Not the Howard Stern Private Parts, but Paul Bartel's (Eating Raoul, Death Race 2000) first film.

** That's The Rocky Horror Picture Show—the format of these movie evenings in college was an ancient tradition in movies called "The Double Bill." (Look it up, kids). "The Double Bill" was a tradition where, to make less money apparently, the theater would show two movies in an evening—first, a lesser-known film, then the main attraction, and then, finally, the lesser known film for those missed the earlier showing. These University showings were of old films—certainly not first run—with a pair of films that might have similar themes, be of a similar genre—whatever, they were similar in some way. You won't see The Rocky Horror Picture Show in this collection of 2017 Hallowe'en reviews, because...well, I liked it...thought it was kind of clever. I don't SEE it every Friday night like a lunatic, but I liked it.

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