Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Swingers Massacre (1975)

... aka: Inside Amy
... aka: Super Swinging Playmates

Directed by:
Ronald Victor Garcia

Successful middle-aged lawyer Charlie Tishman ("Eastman Price" / James R. Sweeney) appears to have it all; a nice home, plenty of money, a thriving practice and an attractive, loyal, sweet and soft-spoken wife who sincerely does love him. Only that's not enough for the egotistical, ungrateful Charlie. After ten years of marriage, he's come down with a bad case of the Seven Year Itch and decides he wants to start having sex with other women. Instead of going behind his wife Amy's ("Jan" / Joyanne Mitchell) back, he's more up front about his thoughts, though not very considerate about relaying this info. Charlie tells Amy that it's only natural for people to get sick of having sex with one another and says half of married couples divorce because of it. He then starts looking through newspaper ads for other couples. She still doesn't budge. Only after Charlie delivers another of his wham bam premature ejaculation specials does Amy finally submit to his demands. After all, Charlie's been having trouble keeping it up lately, so perhaps their love life really does need a kick. Through a client, Charlie learns of a Sunset Strip night club called "Filthy McNasty's," which is rumored to be filled with swingers...

Filthy McNasty's indeed turns out to be packed with adventurous couples and a wide selection of good-looking, eager swingers. They also have their own in-house funk / rock band with a female vocalist (yes!) with their own theme song titled, you guessed it, "Filthy McNasty's" (double yes!) that dozens of extras dance around horribly to (triple yes!). Immediately upon arriving, the excited Charlie and the nervous, shy and apprehensive Amy start getting approached by other couples. Margie Lewis (Mickey Nader) and her hubby Rod (Paul Oberon) quickly zero in and invite them to an after party where a few other "groovy," like-minded couples will be. Charlie decides that that's the place he wants to go. He wants to go so badly he even passes on a later offer by Uschi Digard and her partner. After the club, Amy tries one last time to get Charlie to change his mind about all of this and tells him that if he truly loved her he wouldn't. He still insists they go to at least check it out.

At Margie and Rod's, they're introduced to two other couples; Jim Simon (Gary Kent) and his wife Irene (Marsha Jordan), and Bill Stacey (Ron Darby) and his wife Diane (Rene Bond). After drinks and some amusing swinger stories, the action is soon underway. The four women all change into sexy lingerie and Rod, who's been making the move on Amy all night, decides he wants first dibs on the new lady in the swinging scene. Charlie pairs up with Irene and everyone retreats to the bedrooms. When push comes to shove, poor, pushy Charlie is unable to perform. Amy, on the other hand, doesn't have that issue and becomes extremely popular with all of the guys. After she and Rod are through, Bill wants a piece and gets some while the frustrated Charlie lies in bed next to his wife! And then it's Jim's turn and he gets Amy to have sex with him in the living room while everyone else sits around and watches! Meanwhile, Charlie gets mocked (one of the guys holds up a vibrator and tells him "You oughta keep one of these things around. It might come in handy") and then becomes insanely  jealous (especially when the guys later proclaim Amy "...the best fuck we ever had!")

Charlie starts drinking a lot, is plagued by flashbacks and eventually snaps and "avenges" himself by killing everyone who had sex with his wife. Jim is knocked out, tied up in his car and then killed when toxic fumes are pumped in. Charlie then does the same routine on Rod. A pair of police detectives (Richard Stobie and "Carmine Marino" / Russ Marin) show up to investigate. While questioning one of the grieving widows, one of the detectives asks, "Was your husband a fag? ... Hollywood, man. The land of fruits and nuts, remember?" Charlie takes out Bill will a sniper rifle, and then is talked into meeting up with yet another pair of swingers; Jerry ("Harrison Phillips" / Phillip Luther) and his bisexual wife Donna (Ann Perry); both of whom are most interested in Amy. Again, Amy gets all of the pleasure, while Charlie can't perform. Right before they leave, he drugs the hosts' drinks, then sneaks back over later and murders both of them. Eventually, Amy finds herself in danger from her very own husband, but can the detectives get there in time to save her?

With a cast littered with 70s skin flick queens (Jordan, Digard), hardcore performers (Bond, Darby) and even a future hardcore director (Perry), I expected this to be a sleazy sex flick with only cursory horror / thriller elements. That turned out not to be the case, but I didn't mind having my expectations dashed in this particular instance. Swingers Massacre delivers strictly R-rated thrills (mild violence, some sex and nudity though not a ton) and I quite appreciated its serious intentions. It neither glamorizes nor demonizes the swinger subculture and gives what one might suspect to be a rather accurate presentation of not only it but also of sex and relationships in general. A lot of credit should go to screenwriter Helene Arthur for providing credible dialogue and an interesting and workable premise; and also to the director for staging these scenes effectively and getting at least passable performances from the entire cast. Nearly all of the victims are male, which also makes it stand out a bit from others horror - thrillers of its day. On the down side, the scenes with the detectives are boring and the film suffers somewhat from being slightly longer (105 minutes) than its plot can sustain.

Originally titled Inside Amy (also the name of a song on the soundtrack), this long-forgotten film has received just one legitimate release to my knowledge and that was a VHS release from a bottom rung company Even Steven. Just like they did with their release of Gary Graver's MIDNIGHT INTRUDERS (1973), they've added a 1987 copyright to the end credits. The quality of the print I had to view was downright terrible. Not only have both the top and bottom been poorly cropped, but it's somewhat blurry and the colors are extremely flat and washed out; making it difficult to tell what's going on much of the time. Hopefully one day another company will pick this up and give it a decent re-master. I think most fans of exploitation / drive-in style flicks would get some enjoyment out of it.

Director Garcia had previously made The Toy Box (1971), which also featured Perry, Jordan and Digard, and appeared in The House of Seven Corpses (1974). He's now a prolific television director and cinematographer (he shot David Lynch's Twin Peaks series among other things).



Drew Grimm Van Ess said...

You said that exactly right, those into exploitation films and such will get enjoyment out of it. It's a neat little watch, but it's nothing great you'll go bragging about. I've seen this one about twice, I think. I'm a fan, but I don't love it. Awesome write-up!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Thanks! I think with just a few slight adjustments this would have been a whole lot better. Still, a pretty interesting movie, anyway!

spookyx3 said...

distributed by 'even steven entertainment' which had ties to porn, and i don't mean ginger lynn appearing in their SOV horror cheapie SATAN'S STORYBOOK. kirdy stevens, creator of the TABOO series, was a producer -- under real name dave arthur -- on gary graver's previous film, MIDNIGHT INTRUDERS, and kirdy's wife, helene terrie, wrote SWINGERS MASSACRE. son, steven k. arthur, wrote, produced and appeared in STORYBOOK. i suspect -- but can't prove -- _he_ is also behind the cacographical composer's credit on that film, as well as DROID and TABOO VI (where i first made note of it).

[STORYBOOK in-joke: david arthur is name-checked in a news report as an "eminent psychiatrist" commenting on his son's serial-killer character's case.]

didn't see any of this info on the STORYBOOK write-ups i looked at, so, thought you might get a kick out of it. _i_ wanna know how they got gary brandner to act in that movie!

The Bloody Pit of Horror said...

Thanks for all that info! For some reason I never put two and two together when it came to the few Even Steven tapes that were released. I do have a copy of Droid that I have not watched yet. I think it's the R rated cut of some porno film that had another title at one time.

spookyx3 said...

DROID combines CABARET SIN (1987), and the sequel i didn't bother with, EMPIRE OF THE SINS from the year after. there was obviously more money than usual put in to CS, it's just unfortunate that nobody used the dough to hire a good director / post-production team, so it's a headache-inducing mess. can't remember if DROID fixes it up any.

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