ALLEY TRAMP (1968)/OVER 18…AND READY (1969)
Directors: Herschell Gordon Lewis, Lloyd Allen
Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment

You can always rely on sexploitation films to present teenage girls in the best possible light: horny as hell and devouring men at every turn. Time capsules of a by-gone era, when political correctness didn’t dictate society or the sludge pumped out of the exploitation industry, presented here are two late-1960s sexploitation rarities, in glorious black-and-white.

Marie Barker is an all-American high school cutie pie, fresh-faced and innocent…until she walks in on Mom and Dad having sex in their bedroom! Shocked but intrigued, Marie decides to make the moves on her sexy third cousin, Phil, and they’re soon shacking up in a local motel every day instead of going to school!! All is not bliss in the Barker home, however, as Dad has begun sleeping with his secretary and Mom picks up a greasy barfly for some regular shagging. Marie discovers her mother’s secret trysts and tries on her mom’s lover for size. All this wanton sex results in senseless tragedy when Marie becomes pregnant and suffers a botched abortion…which doesn’t stop her from sexually molesting a doctor while recovering in the hospital! The only cure: a stay at a mental home!

Herschell Gordon Lewis was busy shooting exploitation classics like SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS and JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT around this time (1967’s BLAST-OFF GIRLS includes many of the same cast members as this one), so it’s strange to think that he took three days off and shot this no-budget trash, and in black-and-white, no less. To add a touch of foreign allure, the credits feature completely fabricated French pseudonyms. For a sexploitation film, there isn’t actually much graphic sex, and the love scenes that are included are of the early-1960s variety (lots of under-the-covers writhing, moaning, and groaning), though to remind viewers this is 1968, some brief bush and plenty of bare breasts appear. Shot completely without style or interest from the filmmaker, this painless 69-minute relic remained one of the hardest-to-see H.G. Lewis films, feared lost until Something Weird found the original negative. It was originally supposed to hit DVD as a triple-feature with SHANTY TRAMP and MOONSHINER’S WOMAN, but rights issues kept that disc from becoming a reality. It’s great to finally have ALLEY TRAMP on a shiny silver platter to stun the good tastes of cult film fans everywhere.

Despite the alluring title, there are no alleys in the film, but there’s one big tramp in the shape of Marie Barker! Leading lady Julie Ames, a pretty lousy actress, rips into this part with reckless abandon, and in her great mental snap scene, as she screams at her parents, “I’m a woman and I’ll do as I please! You can’t tell me what to do anymore!,” you can see her actually reading from the script. Brilliant! In a smooth casting move, Ames and Amy Heath (who plays Lily, the mother) do indeed look related, fitting the mother-daughter mold perfectly. Heath is herself is a perfectly bad actress, overacting up a storm, flailing her arms, bugging her eyes, and indulging in community theater theatrics to the extreme! Both actresses are so supremely bad that they’re mesmerizing as they shout their dialogue and go for broke. Be sure to watch for hunky Steve White (the #1 bad kid in JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT and lead singer of the great garage band ‘Charlie’ in BLAST-OFF GIRLS) as Phil, the love-sick kid who wants to marry his sexually ravenous cousin, and Roy Collodi (the bartender in SHE-DEVILS ON WHEELS), who loudly mauls Lily, then Marie, in succession.

ALLEY TRAMP looks great, obviously taken from the original negative, with sharp black and white contrasts and only slight instances of speckling and dirt. The mono audio sounds muffled at times, but usually during the terrible classical library music cues.

Traveling across the country from the sunny suburbs of Florida to the cutthroat world of Hollywood, California, prepare for OVER 18…AND READY! Opening with promising time capsule shots of the mighty studios of Tinseltown (20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Brothers), Schwab’s Drug Store, and the Sunset Strip after dark, one would expect an entertaining look at the behind-the-scenes workings of making a skinflick in 1969. However, this one is so mundane and shoddily-made it’s barely entertaining. Busty secretary Lyn is tired of being the secretary for oily sexploitation mogul Barney Merrit, so suggests to him she may be perfect for his next grindhouse epic. After taking a long bath and taking nude photos for a portfolio (she naturally beds her photographer), Lyn learns she must sleep with Barney to ensure her star billing and as if that’s not bad enough, his butch wife Billie demands to have her way with her, too! Alas, the indignities aren’t over, as Lyn was wholly unprepared for the rough nature of the production she has signed onto, including some bondage and whipping out of a Bob Cresse film!

This grainy, low-rent semi-roughie is packed with wall-to-wall bad acting, uncomfortable nude scenes, choice library music (including one cue familiar from Coleman Francis’ THE SKYDIVERS), and sleazy characters. If this was the direction softcore was going in by 1969, then hardcore could be considered a blessing. The men even keep their underwear on like it was 1965! OVER 18 AND READY was the only film from producer Ted Lake, no relation to the great Sam Lake out of New York City, I assume, and the entire film reeks of looking to make a quick buck. The venomous dialogue reminded me of another inside Hollywood skinflick, the superior CAREER BED, but the writer of this film doesn’t have the brilliance of Joel Reed to elevate his script above the standard sexploitation film. Note: this is one of few 1960s sexploitation films with a black female cast member; Barney’s house servant provides nudity and gives Billie a nude massage. Some viewers may be enticed by the undeniably slimy charms of this production, namely a young girl being taken advantage of by two players in the sexploitation industry, but there are better films with the same subject matter.

Taken from a rare 35mm theatrical print, OVER 18 is perpetually grainy, with a few print jumps and high levels of dirt and speckling. It looks as good as it ever will, though, and the mono sound, recorded quite badly live on-set, is serviceable.

For more wild teenage gals and their sexy shenanigans, dip into the trailer collection on-hand! The ALLEY TRAMP trailer does a great job highlighting the infrequent sex scenes and kicks off with Julie Ames’ screeching breakdown! THE ALL-AMERICAN GIRL remains the sexiest softcore exploitation film ever made, starring the luscious Peggy Church (who only made a few films) as Debbie, a high school vixen who spends her summer discovering her sexuality. Another film screaming for a DVD release! The score is beautiful, Manuel Conde’s cinematography professional and scorching, and Peggy’s ventures into masturbation, fellatio, lesbianism, and kink would never be topped. GIRL IN TROUBLE was the first film from Brandon Chase, later the man behind distributor Group 1, shot in 1963 in New Orleans. This wonderful good-girl-gone-bad cult classic is on DVD. LOLA’S MISTAKE is aka BLACK REBELS aka THIS REBEL BREED, a superb juvenile delinquent film, WEST SIDE STORY meets BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, starring Rita Moreno as a feisty Hispanic high school student caught between a race war between Hispanic, white, and black gangs on an inner-city campus. This is on DVD in two versions, the original THIS REBEL BREED version (strongly recommended) and Something Weird’s BLACK REBELS version (paired with the equally excellent MURDER IN MISSISSIPPI). MONIQUE MY LOVE is a New York nudie from the late 60s; the trailer is narrated by the same woman responsible for the voice of Lola Lust in MEET THE SEX and THE FILTH SHOP. The large-breasted star of the film is a quite striking beauty, but you will only recognize Warhol starlet Geri Miller (pre-boob job) go-go dancing in front of a mirror. A SWEET SICKNESS is another pretty disappointing look at an innocent girl corrupted by the skinflick industry, but it gets bonus points for starring Russ Meyer sexpot Vincene Wallace (alas the redhead is photographed here in black-and-white). This was a pick-up for Dave Friedman’s Film Ventures, and it’s obvious it didn’t have his blessing in terms of production values. The poster is great, though. TEENAGE TRAMP is a 70s drive-in flick from Anton Holden, responsible for the masterpiece AROUSED, and while it features some impressive photography, it’s just not very good. Holden definitely worked best in the roughie genre. You should recognize star Alisha Fontaine as the “Alice in Wonderland”-type heroine of the very bizarre FRENCH QUARTER. Holden now lives in Los Angeles, working in the stage. TEASER is a great 1973 softcore flick with Becky Sharpe as a rape victim taken in by a couple who in reality have more torment in store for her. With Sandy Dempsey as a topless waitress, Rene Bond as Becky’s lesbian savior, Ric Lutze as Becky’s rapist, John Paul Jones as Becky’s boyfriend, and bisexual Carl Lish and exotic Kathy Hilton as party guests. The quite sick Walt Davis (writer of SEX PSYCHO and EVIL COME, EVIL GO) wrote the script and did the art direction, while Manuel Conde produced. Available on DVD with another great Rene Bond film, FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE WERE LOVERS.

Where the disc excels is in the short subjects department! In addition to the usual Peepland nudie cutie content (in this case, a short called “Smoke Rings”), we get two corny classroom education shorts, much more valuable and entertaining! In “Toward Emotional Maturity”, Sally grows from being a child to a full-fledged woman…well, almost. At least she learns to not make quick decisions and condition her emotions in a mature manner. She drags her dog home in a jealous rage after seeing her beau Hank driving with a girl (who turns out to be his sister), wants to kill another girl in fencing class (!!), and witnesses her senior class throw stones and riot outside a teacher’s house. Wild stuff! “Teenage Diary” is even better, a color Christian propaganda short geared to scare teenagers out of their sinful ways, and featuring a complete cast and crew credits sequence! Penny is a beautiful teenage girl going to the senior dance with Brad, a good Christian boy. For some reason, the high school dance takes place at a garish tiki bar (?!) with Duane Eddy-style guitar music and an exotic floorshow. At home, Penny’s dad goes to the bar and leaves her mom pining by the fireplace. Penny and Brad cavort by the ocean until drunk Dad shows up to pummel Brad for being forward with his daughter. The two young lovers find sympathy with Brad’s parents, but Penny’s dysfunctional family forbids her from socializing with her true love, leading her to go to Mexico with a hothead in a convertible, get drunk, and get into a fight with the folks! All these issues contribute to Penny’s eventual suicide attempt before she is saved by her local pastor and the scripture. This is a very stylish little short subject, with accomplished cinematography, atmospheric gel lighting, and surprisingly good performances, especially from Vonda Van Dyke as Penny (a future Miss America 1965 who later released a Christian inspirational album in 1972 and now currently resides in Laguna Beach). Director Russ Doughten would later produce and act in the predecessors to the LEFT BEHIND series, A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, A DISTANT HUNDER, and IMAGE OF THE BEAST. (Casey Scott)

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