While on the subject of Sandra Peabody/Cassell a few reviews back, you may recall my remark that her engaging and tragic turn as Mari Collingwood in Wes Craven's Last House on the Left (1972) probably stands as the classiest production she ever acted in, when you look at some of the sweaty softcore sexploitation she left behind, in comparison. Some stuffy moralistic drapes would include tonight's review in the latter column, the first feature from prolific porn director Chuck Vincent (as Mark Ubell here), a grainy, scratchy, choppily-edited documentation of the former actress' assets shot the same year as Last House, available directly from those exemplary film folks at Something Weird.
Anna (Sandra Peabody, as Liyda Cassell) derives masturbatory manna from a bunch of grapes while she fellates a banana.
We meet a shaken Anna Reed(Peabody) as she relates her unbelievable story to a city detective, flashing back to the first time she heard those mysterious voices, breathing heavily on a pay phone, no less. Talk about getting your dime's worth. The walk home isn't any less strange, with mismatched foley footsteps, whispered beckons and brief images of a guy wearing a hangman's noose as a neck tie and a chick getting c.t.f.o.ed cut in for good measure. At home, her magazine time is interrupted by the pesky voices, who, combined with footage of a pair of average-looking folk copulating on a black backdrop, possess one of her hands that strips her naked so she can writhe around in bed with a bunch of grapes in her crotch as she gives a nearby banana a blowjob while awkwardly rolling an apple around on her ass.
You're so tiny and adorable. Can I put you in my pocket?
As she tries to duck out on her horny inner voices, she's drawn instead to their house of origin, where, after drinking a glass of the house wine, she goes into erotic spasms, and gets stripped and shrimped on camera by a couple of greaseballs by black candlelight. Her gross hippie piggies get a thorough once over while an orchestra plays and psychedelic lights flash. A groovy simulated threesome follows, with a brief lesbian sequence and obligatory orgy scene hard on it's heels, then the house's occupants all menace her with butcher knives, followed by a red-tinted fake romp with some dude with a mustache. There's always at least one in these movies, isn't there? She escapes to tell the tale to the detective, who tries to put it all into perspective for her, then is influenced once again to run (she runs like a gimp with a dump in her panties, for the record) back to the house, as a romantic piano plays in the background. Makes sense.
"After I pop my cookies on your belly, will you wear my Mood Ring, baby?"
Make no mistakes, Chuck Vincent's work in adult films is distinctive, with an experimental, arthouse feel unlike many of his straight forward porn peers of the era, and his unmistakable flair is evident here, with the use of classical pieces in the soundtrack, sprawling, picturesque exteriors shot guerilla and filled with magnificent metropolitan architecture, and weird insert shots. It doesn't hurt having a little sweetie like Sandra Peabody to focus your lens upon, either. If light fiddle-fodder for the raincoat crowd was the only kind of gig that the pixie-esque Peabody/Cassell was getting offered, no one could blame her for walking away when she did, for more fulfilling climes. Overall, Voices is a curious piece of vintage forty-deuce sexploitation, worthy of a pair of Wops on the scale, and definitely worth checking out if you're an admirer of Sandra (who isn't?).
While you're in a walkies kinda mood, cupcake, Scranton's only one hundred twenty-eight miles away. Just sayin'.