Wednesday, January 13, 2016

"Sixteen" (1973) d/ Lawrence Dobkin

 photo 51D3DqAKGGL_zpsqy1y2ctj.jpg
The trials and tribulations of turning sixteen are taxing enough without throwing ignorant swampy genetics into the mix, as we find in 1973's Sixteen, the subject of tonight's review, the late end of a teensploitation double feature I screened at the spot the other night. The low budget effort was the follow up for sultry blonde Georgia-born star, Simone Griffeth, who'd debuted in Swamp Girl with country music star Ferlin Husky, two years earlier. I fondly think of her as the "Marcia Brady, Backwoods variant,  of Seventies Exploitation Flicks" during this stage of her career, personally, but some of you woprophiles out there might see it differently. We all have valid opinions on things, man. Accompanying Ms. Griffeth this time around are the likes of Mercedes McCambridge, who you'll remember as the caustic voice of Pazuzu in The Exorcist, that same year, and Ford Rainey, who later lent his eyeball to the production of Halloween II (1981) as Dr. Mixter.

 photo Sixteen-1973-0-23-08-838_zpsruxckqbr.jpg
Bruvver n' Naomi (Simone Griffeth) got an incesty zest fer lahff.
After coming into eight thousand dollars in folding money as a settlement from the government, who are building a road through the swamp, and subsequently, through their property in said bog, the Irtley clan are beset with a plethora of problems that they previously thunk were exclusive to city slicker-types. Gone are the halcyon days of teenage siblings Bruvver and Naomi (Simone Griffeth) frolicking lazily through the bottoms, occasionally stopping for some voodoo trinkets from Aunt Ada (Maidie Norman), or an innocent skinny dip in a filthy pond followed by a round of the top party game on the Appalachian Trail, "Hey, sis...whut's 'is heyuur?" After rolling, Ingalls-style in a horse-drawn buggy, into town to collect their loot, there's much general store aisle carousing, and maybe a secret bottle of mountain dew (actual moonshine, not gamer fuel, in this case) thrown in for good measure. Back at the shanty, the family is pestered by a money-hungry preacher, who's also out to drain Pa (Ford Rainey)'s bottle. Ma (Mercedes McCambridge) sends him a-running in the end with some well-placed mop fu. They decide to bury their troublesome new ducats under the shack, and celebrate their good fortune by taking a bus to thet tharr carnival, God bless 'em.

 photo Sixteen-1973-0-47-42-818_zpsv08wzdnx.jpg
If'n that aint worth a quarter, I'm the granddaddy of all liars, I reckon.
Temporarily blinded by the cheap shininess of the fair, the ignorant family gets split up and preyed upon by unscrupulous carnies when Ma and Pa are forced to leave the fairgrounds with young water-squirting, tire-flattenin' J.C. (who's named after Penny's not the saviour, btw) on the last bus out, having done zero to find their kids up to that point;  not even a loudspeaker notification from these bumpkins. Meanwhile Bruvver has been entranced by a busomy over-the-hill tent stripper named Carmelita (Beverly Powers), after leaving Naomi, screaming at newfangled scares on her own, in the middle of the haunted house attraction. Luckily for her, she's rescued by Jake (Peter Greene), the resident carnival stunt rider, who's got designs on turning her out in front of an audience of creepy carnies, after his show,  later on. Carmelita finds out that the toothy hayseed has come into money, so she takes him out to a bar and gets him knackered on whiskey. Meanwhile, the Irtleys sit around the shack 'til the mule train comes back. What transpires next, is something you can discover for yourselves when you snag a copy of this rarely seen seventies swamp oddity.

 photo Sixteen-1973-1-08-07-944201_zpsbkvzxmet.jpg
Add an eight track of Survival of the Fittest and an ounce of spooky papyrus to the mix, I'm going in. Don't bother sending a search party.
The actor/director Dobkin mostly took the chair for television productions like Hawaii Five-O, Charlie's Angels, Vega$, etc. Dedicated cult fans will also recognize Simone as Annie Smith, in 1975's Death Race 2000, the dynamite-looking driving partner of Sylvester Stallone. She's done a whole mess of television since then, as well, having retained (if not, increased) her innocent charms and beauty along the way. I'm normally a brunette guy, but Griffeth is surely upon my list of top shelf genre blondes of the decade. She looks great here, too, and makes this otherwise pretty pedestrian swampy backwoods dramedy worth a look, for sure. On the scale, a standard Two wops sounds reasonable.

 photo Stn03_zpskhqwlppx.jpg
That's fucking oyster bib city right there. You kiddin' me?
  photo nu2w_zps47906b42.jpg

No comments:

Connect with Facebook