Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Zero in and Scream (1970)

...aka: Sex Power

Directed by:
Lee Frost

Lots of exploitation movies feature sex watched through peepholes and binoculars, but this one features the sex viewed through a rifle scope cardboard cutout instead. That's about it for originality. Released on a 'sharpshooter' triple-bill by Something Weird, along with THE SEX KILLER (1967) and THE ZODIAC KILLER (1970), this attempts to terrify and titillate, not doing too well at either task. Don't get me wrong, this movie has a TON of full frontal nudity (female and male), a fairly attractive cast (and least body-wise), many sex scenes, outdoor sex romps, pool sex romps, two lesbian scenes, strippers and an orgy, but the drawn-out, 10-minute-long scenes are incredibly monotonous and will just make you want to fast-forward to the next sniping. The director (Lee Frost, using the alias "Les Emerson") tries to be artistic during the numerous underwater scenes, changing film stocks and such, but naked people flailing around in the water for an eternity isn't much fun to watch for an hour. So if you go into this one expecting action, blood, a plot or horror content, you'll be sorely disappointed.

Reclusive voyeuristic weirdo Mike (Michael Stearns), who likes his women to be "pure," shoots a love-making couple in the Hollywood Hills, goes back to his apparently one-room residence and listens to a radio broadcast about his crime. He then goes to a club with a marquee reading "Direct From Denmark - Love Dance Erotica." Inside are a bunch of distinctly American "bottomless," rhythm deficient strippers who dance to boring instrumental jazz. We see a brunette, a blonde and a crazy redhead go through their (long) routines. Another ten minutes in the can. The blonde stripper (Linda, played by Dawna Rae) invites Mike to a pool party at her pal Susan's (Cathy Horton) place, which turns into an orgy and lots of underwater shots of naked bodies going to and fro. Mike just stands around watching. Another ten/fifteen minutes in the can. By the way, there is almost no dialogue during this time.

Roy (Edward Frank), apparently the super-stud of the party, has sex with Susan, is mean to Mike, kicks him out, and immediately starts nailing Linda in the pool. Mike sneaks outside to a safe distance away on the hilltop, watches for a bit and then shoots the guy in the face before he can finish, leaving Linda screeching in terror (and sexually unfulfilled, no doubt). Mike goes home, has a long sex fantasy (yes, in a pool and yes, it seems to go on for at least 10 minutes) and snipes two lesbians going at it in the middle of the woods. He then goes to visit Linda and arranges to have a date with her. Linda apparently has a very short memory (or is just incredibly stupid), because the next time you see her she's casually lounging by the same pool where her previous lover was shot dead. Anyway, Mike shows up, starts acting weird and goes into a ridiculous, yet hilarious, speech ("When a man climbs on top of a woman she becomes ugly! He made her ugly. You were ugly! Did he ball you? Answer me! Did HE BALL YOU!?") He then holds her captive at rifle-point, makes her dance, rapes her and leaves, promising to return later to kill her. Next time you see Mike he's lurking around on the hillside again and, you guessed it, Linda's hanging out by the pool again in rifle range... again. Will Mike finally get what he deserves for his perverted ways? Or will Linda finally pay the ultimate price for being such a dumb whore?

Obviously influenced by the Zodiac Killer murders, this one might be worth a look for the nudity, but otherwise it's incredibly boring sexploitation with bottom-of-the-barrel acting, dialogue and production values. The quality of the print isn't the best either, with green vertical lines appearing in most of the frames.


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