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.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sex Wish (1976)

... aka: Love Wish
... aka: Night Walker, The
... aka: Wish

Directed by:
"Tim McCoy" (Victor Milt)

Lawyer Kenneth Bradshaw (Harry Reems) has just returned from vacation in Japan. He goes to visit his fiancee Faye (C.J. Laing) and after a ten minute romp in the bathtub and on bed, he leaves early in the morning to work on some briefs. On his way out, he bumps into a strange man carrying a briefcase and cane, who seems in a hurry. Ken goes to work. The stranger (Zebedy Colt) goes to visit his girlfriend. With pantyhose over his face, he busts into her apartment and demands she play doctor with him. He makes her strip off her robe, puts tape over her mouth and hogties her while talking in a childish voice and singing "Ring Around the Rosie." Then he decides to take her temperature but forgot his thermometer. I'm sure you can use your imagination with that one. After he's finished with that, he throws her on the floor, starts speaking in his mother's mannered voice, alternates between whipping her ("Naughty girl!") and whipping himself ("Bad boy!"), smacks her, beats her head off the floor and tells her she deserves it. Finally, he puts her out of her misery by cutting her throat (the blade is located inside his cane).

Forgetting his briefcase, Ken has to return early and when he does he finds Faye dead. Thankfully the killer had dropped a matchbook outside that says "21 Club. 'Artie' After 9!" on it, which at least gives him his first clue. After being questioned by Inspector Allen (an uncredited Robert Kerman), Ken goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. Two girls there offer up their, uh, services, to help him get his mind off things. Afterward one of the girls tells Ken if she were him that she'd go buy a guy and hunt down the fucker who killed his girl... and that's exactly what Ken does. He keeps tabs on what's going on via news broadcasts and learns that Club 21 is a gay bar but there's no one named Artie there. Still not over his girlfriend, he goes to visit Faye's compassionate neighbor Alice ("Sue Franklin" / Nancy Dare), who cooks him dinner and then, uh, comforts him. Hell, his fiance's not even two days dead yet and he's already nailed three chicks. I guess her getting offed might not be such a bad thing after all.

Meanwhile, the psycho does poppers, puts on lipstick and a jock strap and then busts into a black couple's apartment with a gun. He tells them "I want to see your naked bodies playing nice games!" The girl throws her panties at him and yells "Smell it, baby! I know you wish you could have this!" At gunpoint he forces them to have sex while barking out various orders in his childish voice. The girl (who is a great little actress by the way) asks, "Is that what you want to see you dirty mother fucker?" He then forces the guy to flip her over and "bite her little assy." When he refuses to bite off her nipple, he's slashed to death. The killer and the girl get in a struggle on the couch. Her wig falls off and then he slashes her throat and then castrates the dead guy for good measure. Ken then decides to hit the streets to hunt down who the press has dubbed "The Sword Killer." Mid-chase, the psycho yanks a woman off the street (Terri Hall) into an abandoned building. Can Ken get to them before he claims his next victim?

Clearly taking its cue from the hit DEATH WISH (1974) in more than just title, this very unpleasant hard X film has built up a reputation over the years as a sick classic. So does it actually live up to its reputation? For the mosst part, I'd say yes. At least if you're like me and not well versed on this kind of stuff. The attack scenes are very twisted, effective and made even nastier by the inclusion of hardcore sex. Still, they wouldn't have near the impact they do if not for the effectively deranged performance from Zebedy Colt as the psycho. Colt - a New York stage actor and gay cabaret singer who moonlit in straight porn because the parts were better - goes all out in this role: crying, screaming, laughing and even changing up his voice whenever necessary. If this same performance was in an R-rated film, it would probably be lauded. On the down side, all of the actual death scenes are ineptly staged, with the weapon clearly not making contact with the body. Reems' straight sex scenes are a bore, too, but that's why they invented a fast forward button. Still, the film would have obviously been better with more Colt and less Reems.

As you can tell from my screen caps (taken from Alpha Blue Archives' release), I didn't have a decent copy at my disposal and I'm not even sure if one is even available at this point. Yet somehow, how terrible this thing looked was completely fitting. Director "Tim McCoy" (Victor Milt) also made THE EROTIC DR. JEKYLL (1975), which featured much of the same cast seen here, including Reems and Colt.



BW said...

I think I about concur with your thoughts on this one (gave it 5/10 or so myself). Colt is fantastic, the setting and mood suitably grimy and I appreciated the Terri Hall cameo as she was more or less my favourite adult star, but there's way too much downtime. Colt's later Unwilling Lovers is much better I think, just as inept but it bumps up the tasteless psychosexual melodrama several notches. And Colt comes across even more like a bizarro world Adam Sandler than he does in Sex Wish.

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Funny you mention Unwilling Lovers as I was going to watch it immediately after this one but couldn't get my damn disc to work! I ended up popping in 'The Devil Inside Her' instead and I thought it - despite not being as famous - was better than Sex Wish. Colt is much more restrained than he is in this one, though it gave Hall more to do plus it's just a better made film all the way around.

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