Directors: Greg Valtierra & Alan B. Colberg
Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment

Aah, Rene Bond…of all the starlets of 70s hardcore and softcore exploitation, our Rene made more screen appearances than any other, with the possible exception of Uschi Digart. She also was one of few who was making softcore and hardcore at the same time; she could shoot something like the soft COUNTRY CUZZINS for Harry Novak one weekend, and then go the full hard with GIRL IN A BASKET a week later (both were pre-implant films). Chipmunk-cheeked, all smiles, with a pair of doe eyes and luscious lips to entice male viewers, and of course those softball-sized implants jutting out from her chest, Rene Bond is still an immensely popular cult figure today, with her many magazine pictorials still fetching top dollar and her filmography on video growing with the unearthing of more lost classics every year. Of the dozens and dozens of titles she shot in the 1970’s, Something Weird Video has managed to hand-pick what I feel are her two best vehicles for newcomers and old-time fans alike. In fact, I’ve been suggesting this double feature for several years, so I’m glad that both have been paired here for the enjoyment of 70s sleaze fans everywhere! Additionally, the cover art was culled from a TEASER poster courtesy of yours truly!

Becky Sharpe is…er…Becky, THE TEASER, a 19-year-old virgin bookstore clerk who spurns the advances of a college friend and her boss, but secretly dances topless at a gentleman’s club by night for extra money. When she refuses to sleep with a customer and tears up his hard-earned cash he offers for a night with her, he follows her after work and rapes her in her car! Broken, battered and no longer pure, Becky finds refuge in the home of Andrea and Paul, a well-to-do couple who come across her car on the way home from a party. Becky stays at their home to recuperate, but soon finds herself seduced into lesbian cavorting with Andrea! However, the bliss of sexual awakening is soon cut short when a nasty twist makes her a victim once again!

THE TEASER (or as the trailer and film proclaim it, simply TEASER) is not a Rene Bond star vehicle. In fact, Rene doesn’t appear until about 20 minutes into the film; director Greg Valtierra apparently envisioned this as the breakout role for Becky Sharpe. Becky Sharpe is never spoken in the same breath as other starlets of the period. She would make only a few films, some hardcore, but the reason she probably is less than memorable is because she was very average-looking, the perfect girl next door type. Not the girl next door who you long for, but the girl next door who longs for you but you ignore her for a Cyndee Summers or a Rene Bond. This film and THE PLAYMATES seem to be her largest roles, and in both of these films and her other films like WRONG WAY and CONVICTS’ WOMEN, she plays the smart bookish-type. It was apparently a type she was in real life! One can see Becky making sexploitation films for money to work her way through college, to become a teacher or an anthropologist. She was definitely not an actress, and has TEASER stolen from her by her other female co-stars. Rene Bond is given only a supporting role, but this is not your typical Rene Bond film. She often played fun-loving, sexually active young girls, with a few roughies thrown in there to keep her on her toes, but here, she plays a well-meaning society gal who hides a nasty streak beneath her squeaky-clean façade. Rene delivers her dialogue with panache, as usual, including some ad libs, and looks great in her various evening dresses and nightgowns. She also gives Becky a nude massage, skinny-dips in their pool with her, and eventually indulges in Sapphic delights with her in front of a blazing fireplace! Cinematographer Wayne Schotten does an excellent job throughout the film, but really captures Rene in some striking shots; a favorite one is Rene standing by a window at sunrise. In addition to Becky and Rene, adorable Sandy Dempsey appears as a topless waitress who gives Ric Lutze attitude. Though her appearance is brief, this was during her prime after she took some acting lessons and directors realized her potential as a comic actress. It’s too bad she wasn’t given the lead here!!

TEASER belongs to the ladies; none of the other male stars. Ric Lutze, who apparently went a couple days without shaving to get some stubble, plays the perfect asshole as he would in about 90% of his films, and plays into the twist ending quite well. John Paul Jones, Ric’s co-star in COUNTRY HOOKER and male stud of several sexploitation films, is Sidney, Becky’s beau, and in his brief scenes, barely registers as a presence in the film. Carlos Cole was apparently a one-shot, and as Paul, he is thoroughly forgettable. Cameos during the swinging party include: SEX PSYCHO and EVIL COME, EVIL GO director Walt Davis (who also wrote the screenplay and art directed on this film! No wonder it’s so sick!); brunette beauty Kathy Hilton, who I don’t think is given much credit for her films, either, and resembles Rosalba Neri; Hispanic spitfire Jacqueline Lissette, last seen making out with a man in the woods in EVIL COME, EVIL GO; and handsome bisexual blonde Charles Lish, who went hardcore for Davis’ SEX PSYCHO in gay and straight scenes! The film smacks of rape justification, by giving women who tease with no intention of following through their comeuppance, but this is 1973, Buster, when political correctness flew out the window. That said, the rape scene is still very uncomfortable to watch, especially because of the lack of a musical score and Lutze’s believable sleaziness. With inventive double-layered photography during Becky’s topless dancing, a terrible musical score by Los Amigos, Paul dreaming of a sex scene with Becky, a hookah, marijuana cigarettes, a white slavery subplot, a great seedy atmosphere of Southern California circa 1973, a slow-motion knee to the groin, jarring still-photo editing during the orgy, borderline hardcore sex, and a fists-flying, switchblade-wielding, bottle-throwing rescue scene!

TEASER is presented in its original fullscreen Academy aspect ratio, and looks quite fine. With pretty frequent grain present and black lines popping up here and there this print probably didn’t see too many projectors as it’s in exceptional shape. It’s not negative-quality, but colors look good, there are no print jumps and no missing footage, and the image is clear. The mono audio is pretty weak, with dialogue hard to hear (due to production values of the film itself, probably), but the terrible lounge rock music comes across loud and clear. The soundtrack continues after the film finishes over a black screen, with the terrible theme song continuing to its conclusion.

Up next is the real ultimate Rene Bond star vehicle: FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE…WERE LOVERS! Shot in 1975, after Rene was pretty much an exclusively hardcore starlet, this has more on-screen Rene than just about any other film of hers, and has an added bonus: Rene sings! She plays Frankie, a popular singer in love with Johnnie, a computer analyst who works with a giant talking computer. Little does Frankie know that Johnnie is sleeping around with Alice, her best friend, and is only after Frankie’s money! Through flashbacks, we follow their meeting at a party which results in a threeway, Johnnie getting pummeled by Frankie’s psychotic husband before she divorces his ass, and the doomed romance comes to a close with tragedy.

For anyone who wants to know the wonder of Rene Bond, show them FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE! She is in almost every scene, juggles comic and dramatic duties in her performance, looks great in her colorful costumes and out of them (I think she also wears a wig or two here), and in a career first and last, sings two songs on film, live on-stage, not lip-synched! There are also two other songs, which play throughout the film, which sound like they were recorded at the same time! She was not the best of singers, but this is the only way fans can get an idea of what her real-life live stage shows were like! Yes, Rene appeared live on-stage, sang songs, and allowed her fans to touch her as she walked through the aisles. This is a classier version of that show, I would imagine, as she remains clothed here in this mock-Vegas get-up. Unfortunately the majority of the film is post-dubbed, resulting in an otherworldly quality to the dialogue scenes. It’s still interesting to see this real-life couple bicker and bitch with some great dialogue (Rene shouting “Dumb shit!” over and over, Ric retorting “You and your big career! Screw it!”). Half the fun of the film is listening to these two squawk at each other, then seeing them ball like bunnies as if nothing ever happened. The sex was probably shot hardcore, as the #1 Couple in Porn had no trouble going all the way in front of the camera, and by this time she was the reigning princess of California hardcore.

Fans of soft and hard sexploitation should also jump for joy at seeing Cyndee Summers here as Alice, Frankie’s philandering best friend. Cyndee first won over the hearts of the raincoat crowd in Harry Novak’s TEENAGE BRIDE and made infrequent softcore appearances thereafter, usually sticking to hardcore productions. Though the 70s showed her at her prime, she is better known today as one of several middle-aged women in hardcore 80s films. She has sex with Ric Lutze here, gets drunk at a party, and also figures into a threeway with Lutze and Rene! Look fast for Jerry Delony, aka Victor Alexander, the Sheik in ILSA: HAREM KEEPER OF THE OIL SHEIKS, who pops up at a party, and Jack Buddliner, the villain of ADULT VERSION OF JEKYLL AND HIDE, as Frankie’s ex who pummels Johnnie to a pulp before finally being told off by his ex-wife! With a bluegrass musical group performing at a party, Johnnie’s car covered with colorful flower paintings, beautiful shots of butterflies and nature interspersed throughout the film, lots of Ric Lutze nudity, way too many flashbacks, and Rene looking great holding a pistol aimed at Ric!

Transferred from the original negative, FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE looks wonderful! The bright and beautiful outdoor sex scene with Rene and Ric features luscious green grass and a bold purple blanket, with skin tones accurate; cut between this scene is another well-reproduced scene, of Rene in a sharp red dress singing. Some grain and debris here and there during the opening credits and some discoloration during outdoor scenes are the only problems; for the most part this is a really good-looking transfer. Most of the image problems are because of production errors during shooting, including bad lighting and some red filter sequences. Because of the dubbing, the sound mix is all over the place, with some dialogue sounding muffled and under-recorded, and other sequences really loud and bombastic.

The extras kick off with a gaggle of Rene Bond trailers, most of which are worth tracking down to see more of that adorable pixie. COUNTRY CUZZINS, THE ADULT VERSION OF JEKYLL AND HIDE, and COUNTRY HOOKER are all available on DVD from Something Weird. CUZZINS features her pre-boob job, and she’s actually very cute anyway without those uncomfortable looking silicone additions. She has lines like “You big hat heifer!” and sex scenes with a water hose and two of her cousins (!). JEKYLL AND HIDE was her only film with David F. Friedman. She plays the nurse of Jack Buddliner (her husband in FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE) who has ugly sex with him and then with his female counterpart, Jane Tsentas. It’s one of her better roles, definitely worth checking out. COUNTRY HOOKER is interesting, but not required Rene viewing. It’s one of her first vehicles post-boob job, and she co-stars with Sandy Dempsey. They both play bar girls who try to break free from their pimp. It’s worth seeing for completists of these two girls, but they’re both better in other films. THE DICKTATOR is a superior sex comedy grindhouse-style, following the world’s attempts to overcome an international impotency epidemic! Jokes fly left and right; one great scene has a topheavy tart screaming, “See these breasts, Senor? They were made to nurse BABIES!”. Appearing amidst all the calamity, in addition to Rene Bond in a small role, are Uschi Digart, Kathy Hilton, Linda York, Angela Carnon, Cyndee Summers in a blonde wig, Cleo O’Hara (EVIL COME, EVIL GO), Walt Davis again, and Zoltan Spencer (!). This baby was written by Walt Davis, too! I want this on DVD now! It’s also got great location shots of Washington D.C. circa 1974, before the giant wall was built around the White House post-9/11. TEENAGE SEX KITTEN features a very 70s-looking Rene Bond, with a blonde Farrah hairdo; this one was directed by Ann Perry and is apparently hardcore, but the trailer doesn’t show anything. There are lots of naked guys in this trailer and only one other girl besides Rene, the bucktoothed cutie Eve Orlon! The trailers for TEASER and FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE are also included here.

Want more Rene? Me too! There’s a featurette here called “Shot on Location”, which is available as a Double Softie paired with another short feature film through SWV. It was made by John Donne, the “genius” behind the abysmal ALICE IN ACIDLAND. The opening credits feature a nude Sandy Dempsey, looking adorable posing, smiling and winking for the camera, and the cast credits are written on the sides of film cans. This very low-budget feature film follows the making of a low-budget adult western, with Ric Lutze as Vinnie the executive producer, Rene Bond as Maggie the script girl, Kim Dupont as Vinnie’s lesbian wife Agnes, Eve Orlon as Carla the budding actress, Andy Bellamy as Bitsy, the airhead actress, Suzanne Fields and Nancy Martin as two sex scene extras, and Sandy Dempsey once again as the gum-smacking leading lady. With a reference to Criswell, a lengthy borderline hardcore lesbian scene, more Ric Lutze nudity, a brief flash of an erect penis being rubbed between Andy Bellamy’s thighs (yowza!), Cindy Hopkins and Nancy Martin in a lesbian scene, a brief Rene sex scene on the side of a pool, and Sandy Dempsey flexing her comic muscles. It’s too bad this is an abbreviated version. I’d love to see it uncut without the jarring edits, which edit out some sex scenes (namely Ric Lutze & Eve Orlon). This is a pretty fun little in-joke flick with some interesting plot twists for such a low-budget venture. The disc is capped off with a superb gallery of sexploitation movie magazine covers (not the ad art as promised on the cover) with audio selections including the theme song to SHANTY TRAMP and radio spots for FIVE LOOSE WOMEN and THE COCKTAIL HOSTESSES!
(Casey Scott)