Saturday, October 11, 2014

"Manos: The Hands Of Fate" Is An American Horror Story Freak Show (And A Bad Movie, Too) THE FINISHED POST

You Have Been Warned: The title card for our feature presentation.

Greetings to you and yours, movie lovers.

It's October, which means only one thing: Halloween! All Hallows Eve! All Saints Eve! All Souls Day! Hallowtide!

You know, the day people trick or treat and stuff.

So to celebrate the season of spooks, why don't we pry open the Junk Cinema celluloid crypt and unearth a little movie mayhem?

Nineteen-sixty-six was the year our feature presentation "Manos: The Hands of Fate" was released. One of the dumbest. daffiest and most deranged flicks EVER committed to film stock, "Manos" is so laughably awful that it rivals "Plan 9 from Outer Space" as one of THE WORST movies ever ALL the world...AND parts of Canada.

The fun begins by introducing us to hubby Mike (Hal P. Warren, more about him later), wife Margaret (Diane Mahree), daughter Debbie (Jackey Neyman) and pet pooch Pepe the poodle. They are on vacation and driving to their motel. Unfortunately, they miss the turn-off and Mike, being an idiot, refuses his wife's pleas that they stop at a gas station and ask for directions. That's how they wind up at "The Valley Lodge", a rancid, run-down establishment where a scruffy, twitchy fellow sporting knee caps the size of snow tires greets them.

"Are you the concierge?" Mike (Hal P. Warren) meets Torgo (John Reynolds) for the first time.

"My name is Torgo (John Reynolds)", he sputters. "I watch the place while The Master is away."

Now, any sane person with an IQ above room temperature would take one look at Torgo and his creepy motel, jump back into their car and gun it. Not these people, who decide they have no choice but to spend the night there. (Actually, Mike decides they must spend the night there and that is just the first of many, many stupid decisions that doom these people--and the movie. And the audience.)

Once inside Motel Hell, hubby and wife spy a huge oil painting of The Master, who resembles a demonic Frank Zapa with Groucho Marx's bushy eyebrows and 'stache. According to Torgo, The Master is "always with us" and he "likes beautiful women." That last bit of info is directed at Breck Girl Margaret, who is not in the least bit flattered.

Then things start to get weird.

First, strange, howling noises are heard outside and pooch Pepe dashes out into the dusk. Husband Mike later finds his body and makes an I'm-going-to-throw-up-face, while Margaret wonders what kind of a beast would turn sweet Pepe into poodle puree'.

Next, daughter Debbie toddles away to go exploring. She returns later with a new friend: a menacing, red-eyed Doberman she found "at the big place." What is "the big place", you ask? Well, that is where The Master (Tom Neyman, little Jackey's real life pa) resides with his multitude of bouffanted, sheet-draped "wives". These folks spend a large chunk of their day in some sort of hyper-sleep, although the wives snap-to when The Master orders them awake.

"Haven't we told you a hundred times not to play with dangerous hell beasts, young lady?" Little Debbie returns from "the big place."

Now we come to the part of the flick I like to call "We Married Manos", after a pithy saying attributed to "MST3K"s Tom Servo. The Master must have about 6 or 7 "sister wives" and ALL OF THEM have an opinion on what to do with the hapless family in their midst. The gals agree Mike is toast, but what to do about Margaret and Debbie? Kill them both? Make Margaret The Master's new wife? Let Debbie go free? Perhaps make Debbie a wife-in-waiting?

This spirited discussion suddenly turns nasty, however, when the wives stop arguing about the family's fate and start complaining about their shared hubby's lack of attention and his roving eye.

"He has no more time for his older wives!" snips one.

Their claws now unsheathed, the wives launch into a hair-yanking, face-slapping, sand-throwing catfight that shows directer Warren knew just who is his prospective audience would be.

While The Master's wives duke it out, Mike finally decides they better leave. Unfortunately, their car won't start. While hubby Mike tinkers with the transmission, Torgo sneaks up from behind and conks him on the noggin. Out cold, Torgo ties Mike up to a poll and leaves him there to rot--then promptly scampers over to spy on Margaret, who has stripped down to her skivvies.

Eventually, Mike snaps back to life, unties himself, and rejoins his hysterical family. With The Master and his wives in hot pursuit, Mike, Margaret and Debbie run off for help. Then Margaret sprains her ankle and tearfully pleads for hubby to leave her behind in order to save Debbie. Does he follow her advice? Of course not. Instead, Mike convinces his wife to return to Motel Hell because that is the last place The Master and the Mrs' will look for them(?). Also Mike announces, "I have my gun!"

Put (both) your hands together for "The Master"! 

So back they go and, sure as shootin', The Master IS waiting for them. D'oh! Mike fires off round after round into The Evil One, but they have no effect on him. D'oh! Then the screen goes ominously black...

Suddenly we are introduced to two college co-eds with gigantic bouffants. They are planning to meet up with their gang "and have a blast." Unfortunately, they miss a crucial turn-off and wind up at...The Valley Lodge. There they are greeted by a zombified fellow who haltingly states, "I am Michel. I take care of the place while The Master is away."

And where is The Master? Back at "the big place", sound asleep, with his bevy of wives surrounding him...which now includes Margaret...and little Debbie. As "The Love Theme from Manos: The Hands of Fate" cues up, we are shown that creepy painting of The Master once again as the words "The End?" flash on screen.

It's all over now, except for the credits...and the blame.

After experiencing a film as nutsy as "Manos: The Hands of Fate", one begins to suspect that the "back story" of how this hilariously dreadful dog made it to the silver screen must be a real corker.

And it is.

"We Married Manos": The "wives" of The Master settle down for some girl talk.

Hal P. Warren was a fertilizer salesman from El Passo, Texas, who was also active in community theater. One day, he ran into the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "The Heat of the Night", Stirling Silliphant, who was in town scouting locations for a future project. Warren became convinced after talking to Stirling that film making must be a snap and decided to write, produce, direct AND star in his own flick.

Recruiting his cast and crew from a local theater group and modeling school, Hal purchased a camera that didn't record sound and went to work. Warren's inexperience in front of AND behind the camera is painfully apparent from the start; sharp-eyed viewers will notice the chalk marks on the floor indicating where the actors were to stand, as well as several appearances by the boom mike. Continuity jumps are common. Because no sound was recorded during filming, Hal and two other people dubbed in all the voices themselves. Meanwhile, the actors look stiff and uncomfortable--although The Master's "wives" throw themselves into their cat fight with relish.

Warren, however, was totally convinced that he had a hit on his hands. Unlike other bargain basement film productions, "Manos" was not shot over, say, a three-day weekend, but filmed over the course of two months. Director/writer/producer/star Warren became such a diva during this period that his cast and crew took to calling his masterwork "Mangoes: The Cans of Fruit" behind his back.

Nobody was paid. Jackey Heyman, who played little Debbie, was given a bike for her troubles. The dogs in the movie were each given a bag of kibble. The rest of the participants were given "shares" of the expected profits, which, of course, never materialized.

"Heeereees Torgo!" John Reynolds in one of his more lucid moments in "Manos: The Hands of Fate".

The twitching, jerking, halting performance of John Reynolds as the charming Torgo, meanwhile, was NOT based on Reynold's talent as an actor or Warren's direction. Instead, they were a by-product of the acid he frequently dropped during production.

Never the less, when "Manos" had its gala premiere director/producer/actor/writer Hal P. Warren expected a big hit. He even came to the event in a limo. But when the audience began laughing and heckling his masterpiece, Hal slipped out to avoid embarrassment. Other cast members followed suit. However, a woman recognized Warren and, offended that little Debbie was made one of The Master's Mrs., walloped him across the face with her pocket book! (You go, girl!) In fact, "Manos" was such a resounding dud that Warren was unable to interest anybody in his next project, "The Wild Desert Bikers."

"Manos The Hands of Fate" would have continued to gather dust on some obscure shelf if the geniuses at "MST3K" hadn't gotten a hold of it. Broadcast on January 30, 1992, "Manos" was considered so wretched by the writing staff, that they struggled to come up with the requisite quips, cracks and jokes that the show was famous for. In their Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, the "MST3K" staff considered "Manos" the worst movie they ever featured. However challenging "Manos" was to write for, the "MST3K" crew did a bang-up job and the "Manos" episode became one of their best and a fan favorite, too.

Which just goes to prove you can't keep a good "Manos" down.

Until next time, save the movies!

The author wishes to acknowledge Wikipedia and IMDb for research support. The author owns a copy of  Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide and has read it so much its held together by rubber bands.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

If You Think Your Life Sucks, Please Watch...(Southern Edition)

There will be a hot time in the old town tonight according to "The Chase"s movie poster.

Hi ho, movie lovers.

Are you feeling blue?

Do you have (in the words of Holly Golightly) a case of "the mean reds"?

Has the marriage of George Clooney left you in a grey funk of despair?

I sympathize.

More importantly, Junk Cinema sympathizes, too.

Don't believe me?

Well, then, sit yourself down, pour yourself a glass of so-dee-pop and partake of this blog's semi-regular feature "If You Think Your Life Sucks, Please Watch...", where a pot boiler ne plus ultra is unfurled to chase those blues, reds and greys away.

So, without further ado,  "If You Think Your Life Sucks, Please Watch...

..."The Chase"(1966).

"Are we on for tonight?" Randy Emily (Janice Rule) confronts one of her many cuddlemates  at the local bank.

What do you get, movie lovers, when you start with a Texas town run by a filthy rich oil baron, fold in a population of booze-chugging, bed-hopping couples, sprinkle in a convention of randy dentists, stir in a Bible thumping spinster and top it all off with a notorious prison escapee named Charles "Bubber" Reeves?

You have the Lillian Hellman-scripted, Arthur Penn-directed deep-fried Velveeta bar-b-que "The Chase", that plays like a cross between "Peyton Place" and "The Andy Griffith Show"...on Viagra.

Call it "American Horror Story: Southern Discomfort."

Val Rogers (E.G. Marshall) is the filthy rich oil baron who pretty much calls all the shots in fictional Tarl, Texas. As our feature presentation begins, he is preparing to host his annual birthday party/fund raiser, the social event of the year. However, he's so obsessed about the antics of his booze swilling son and heir Jake (Edward Fox) that he's about to lose his mind--or at least wet himself.

Jake is married to Diana Hyland (who's hair-do resembles a three foot high prune danish), but is carrying on with trampy barmaid Anna (Jane Fonda). These two have a regular Saturday night date to meet at the local No-Tell Motel where they bend the elbow and burn the sheets.

"Look what I found in the mini-bar!" Jake (Edward Fox) and Anna (Jane Fonda) prepare for their regular Saturday night social.

Meanwhile, mealy-mouthed bank VP Edwin Stewart (Robert Duvall) is unhappily hitched to Emily (Janice Rule), a hip-swaying harpy who prances around town like a bitch in heat. When not sleeping with all comers, Emily enjoys needling hubby as to why they are left off Mr. Rogers' birthday party guest list-yet again.

What ties these folks together is Charles "Bubber" Reeves (Robert Redford), the local boy made bad who has escaped from prison and is believed to be headed straight for Tarl.

Anna, the trampy bar maid sleeping with Jake Rogers, just happens to be Bubber's wife. Jake's pa, don't ya know, is desperate that this sordid tidbit doesn't get back to Bubber--although everybody else in town seems to know they are an item. Consequently, Duvall has a guilty conscience because he framed Bubber for a theft he actually committed back when they were teenagers--an action that sent Bubber to reform school. Nasty wife Emily blabbed this top secret info to Bubber before his latest stint in the joint, and now hubby Edwin is afraid Bubber is heading home for revenge.

Not to be left out is Miriam Hopkins as Bubber's hard-bitten, broken-hearted ma, who can't for the life of her figure out how she spawned such a demon seed.

Trying to keep this soapy stew from boiling over is Sheriff Marlon Brando (!), sporting a southern drawl that resembles Boss Hogg with a mouth full of wet paper towels. See, many folks in Tarl uncharitably believe Val Rogers "gave" Brando his job and thus have a low opinion of his expertise. The only person in town who supports Brando is future "Police Woman" Angie Dickinson, wittily cast against type as his demure wife, Ruby--the only woman in Tarl sleeping with her legal husband, by the way.

Robert Redford as Charles "Bubber" Reeves, the best looking outlaw in movies.

Sheriff Brando hopes he can quietly apprehend Bubber himself, thus dousing the town's raging case of Bubber fever. That will be no easy task, for as they day wears on, the citizens of Tarl have gotten themselves all liquored-up at various parties, where they dance wildly, suck face, gleefully brandish their fire arms and gab non-stop about you-know-who.

Now, if "The Chase" is beginning to resemble a ponderous, over-the-top, faux-Southern Gothic meller where the cast chews the Grade A fat while simultaneously trying to out do each other with their "honey child" right you are! There is just something about the opportunity to utter lines like "I swear, it sends a sheddah up my spine" or "I'm more nervous than the only virgin at a prison rodeo" that turns respectable performers into Jethro Bodean and Ellie Mae Clampett. All that's missing is a man in a white suite, fanning himself with a Panama hat, declaring, "I will send your client so far up the river, sir, he will come back with gills!"

But I digress...

Will Bubber indeed make it back to Tarl? Will he meet up with estranged wife Anna? Will he take revenge on Edwin for framing him for that teenage theft? Will he pound the tar out of Jake Rogers for sleeping with his wife? Will Bubber and his ma have a touching reunion to make peace or will they stage a screaming match instead? And will the inebriated, gun totin' citizens of Tarl over power Sheriff Brando and settle Bubber's hash for good?

Your Parents Before You Were Born: The residents of Tarl party down.

To find out, watch the movie yourself! I had to, so there is no reason you can't.

However, you might be wondering, "Auntie Beth, how could a nutty-as-fruit cake movie like "The Chase" make me feel better?"

Well, I'll tell you.

1) "The Chase" clearly demonstrates that it's better to be single than sorry. Every married couple in this flick, except for Brando and Angie Dickinson, are ill-suited, adulterous and very unhappy. Don't get married just to satisfy convention; marry for love or don't marry at all.

2) If you ever dreamed of going back in time and living in one of those sleepy southern towns like Mayberry or Hooterville (home of "Petticoat Junction") or Tarl, think again. Beneath the "aw shucks" friendliness, these townships are a powder keg of twisted passions, so much so that the residents often act like the participants in a hormone experiment gone wrong.

3) The next time a notorious criminal or a bully from your past slips out of prison, lock your doors and windows and let the law handle it. DO NOT host a wild, drunken party that allows your male guests to become so delusional and shit-faced that they take matters into their own hands.

4) If you are a gal from "the wrong side of the tracks", marrying the town's most notorious resident and then sleeping with a married man while hubby's in prison is not going to improve your life one bit. Also, should your hubby confess something to you while in the marriage bed, you should keep it private. Don't tell all while having a booze-up with friends at the local watering hole.

5) Finally, "The Chase" proves that money can't buy you class, make you a better parent to your child or bury your sins. All money does is make sure you don't have to worry about money.

So you see, movie lovers, your life isn't so bad. Things might be tough now, but as "The Chase" clearly shows, things could be a lot, lot worse. Instead of emulating Robert Redford's Bubber Reeves, take a page from George Clooney's book: marry for love, live in the present, be careful with your money, obey the law and, above all, Save The Movies!

He is not amused: Sheriff Marlon Brando contemplates why he agreed to star in this movie.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Watch Madonna (And Hubby #2) Get "Swept Away" As They Stuff A Turkey Together

Madonna's best acting in "Swept Away" is confined to the movie's promotional poster.

Long, long ago, when the force of nature called Madonna first burst onto the pop culture radar, many pundits thought she had the makings of a movie star. This rosy assessment was based on the success of the Material Girl's early music videos and her appearance in the low-budget comedy "Desperately Seeking Susan."

To the surprise of no one, Madonna also believed she was movie star material. Thus, starting in the mid-1980's, she set sail on the cinematic high seas, searching for the right vehicle to showcase her "unique talents."

Unfortunately, Madonna's journey for Hollywood glory often resembled a voyage of the damned. From "Shanghai Surprise" to "Who's That Girl?" to "Bloodhounds of Broadway" to "Dangerous Games" to "Body of Evidence" to "The Next Best Thing", Madonna stuffed so many turkeys she threatened to put the Butter Ball people out of business.

Those with lesser mettle would have quit. But not Madonna. Instead, the Material Girl continued in the best Captain Ahab tradition, until she finally harpooned--with the help of her second husband-- the Great White Turkey that would finish off her film aspirations for good: 2002's "Swept Away."

Lovingly written and directed by Guy Ritchie, "Swept Away" was a remake/reboot of Lina Wertmuller's controversial art-house hit "Swept Away...By An Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August"(1974). That movie was the tale of a rich (capitalist) shrew and a poor (commie) deck hand stranded together on a deserted island. Earlier, the rich shrew had mistreated the poor deck hand, so when they are shipwrecked, he gleefully turns the tables on her--which she finds she enjoys, along with the kinky sex.

The demanding Amber (Madonna) makes life hell for deck hand Pepe (Adrino Giannini)...and the audience.

Such a film seems ideal for the gal who made that coffee table book Sex  and recorded a ditty about the joys of spanking, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Ritchie's remake ignores the original's philosophical and sexual politics and merely casts Madonna as a rich, bored, mean, jet-set trophy wife named Amber. She, along with her shallow hubby (Bruce Greenwood) and their jerk friends, are cruising around Greece in a private yacht. As rich, bored, mean jet set trophy wives often do, Amber spouts off about every subject under the sun.  ("I'll say one thing about capitalism," Amber pontificates at one point. "It's better than communism.") She also feels entitled to mock, insult and belittle the studly deck hand Pepe (Adrino Giannini). After all, she's rich, he's poor and her wealth and social position ensure that Pepe will have to silently suck-up Amber's entitled nastiness, right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Late one afternoon, Amber commands Pepe (whom she calls "Peepee") to take her out in the yacht's dinghy. He says the current isn't right. Amber insists. Pepe says it's too late in the day. Amber insists even more. So Pepe takes Amber out. Then the dinghy's motor conks out. "I can't believe you went out in the middle of the ocean without a cell phone!" Amber rages as they bob around the Mediterranean.  Then a storm hits. After Amber fights Pepe for the flare gun, the dinghy springs a leak. Eventually the duo wash up on a deserted island, just like in "Gilligan's Island."

It's a collision course to wackiness! Amber and Pepe are lost at sea.

With no phone, no lights, no motor car, not a single luxury, like Robinson Crusoe, it's primitive as can be--which means rich, mean, bored jet set trophy wife Amber is out of her league and over her head. Pepe, on the other hand, is in his element: he can fish, find shelter, locate clean water, make tools, build a fire. He also remembers Amber's past mistreatment of him, so he's more than ready for some payback.

What does Pepe make Amber do? He has her calling him "master", for one thing. He makes her wash his clothes. He has her collecting firewood. Later, Amber is tenderizing his octopus, rubbing his feet and serving him dinner. At different times, Amber rebels and Pepe slaps her. Amber rebels again and Pepe nearly rapes her. She tries running off and he goes after her. ("Run, my little vixen, run!" Pepe cackles as he gives chase). They tussle in the sand. Pepe reminds Amber that HE is in charge now and SHE better like it.

Slowly but surely, Amber complies. In fact, Pepe's "tough love" approach begins to warm the cockles of her black heart. Before long, the duo are getting all kissy face and "Gilligan's Island" has becomes an "Island of Love." However, once the couple are inevitably rescued, will their love survive?

The heavy handed role reversal in "Swept Away" is suppose to be funny, sexy and/or provocative. Maybe in 1974 it was. But in the hands of Ritchie and Madonna, the remake is none of the above. The flick's biggest problem is, not surprisingly, Madonna herself. Even though she's been at this a while, the Material Girl still hasn't figured out that posing and/or voguing is not the same as acting. Furthermore, the Material Girl seems inexplicably drawn to unlikable characters, which is fine--as long as the characters are interesting. Amber, however, is not interesting; she's just mean. Why is she so mean? What's her story? Was she this mean when her husband first met her? Why do people put up with her nastiness? The movie gives us no insight as to why Amber is the way she is; it just forces us to endure her hatefulness. Considering what a monster she is, it would be easy to understand if hubby, discovering Amber was lost at sea, ordered the yacht back home--pronto!--and left her to rot.

Taming of the shrew? Pepe has Amber right where he wants her.

Now let's consider the remake factor.

If a film is done right the first time, why remake it? Lighting rarely strikes in the same place twice, after all. What's more, certain flicks are so much a part of the era they were filmed in, a remake or reboot often dilutes (or obscures) the very qualities that made the film special to begin with.

Last. but not least, "Americanized" remakes of foreign films are more often than not duds. Why? Because the unique sensibility of a picture's country of origin adds to its flavor. If that is removed, the film's personality is often fatally altered.

So let's take stock: "Swept Away" has an unbearable lead character acted by an actress who can't act. The flick is a remake of a very '70's film and doesn't even attempt to tackle the political/sexual issues that made the original original. The supporting cast is made up of shallow jerks acted by colorless actors. And the director/writer of the film has no finesse with comedy, drama, romance or the eternal battle of the sexes. Put them all together and you have one big worthless hunk of steamy feta cheese.

The moral of this story? Well, there are several.

Whether she is co-starring with her ex-husband or being directed by her ex-husband, it doesn't make any difference: Madonna can't act.

Don't bother with remakes--foreign or national!

When in doubt, go for the original. As they say in Greece, "It's the older chicken that has the juice."

And save the movies!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Junk Cinema Salutes...Troy Donahue!

He's big, beautiful, blond and bland: Troy Donahue in his teen dream hey-day.

Greetings, movie lovers!

It's come to my attention that it's been a while since Junk Cinema saluted one of the many artists that put the "bad" in "bad movies."

So without further ado, let's recognize a certain tall, blond, handsome beach hunk who became--however briefly--an above the title movie star, the undisputed teen dream of the late 1950's and early 1960's. 

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for...Troy Donahue!

Like so many teen dreams before and since, Troy had perfect hair, deep blue eyes, classic cheekbones, a throaty voice...and the acting talent of a crash test dummy. The settings of his films might change, his female cast members might be shuffled around and Troy might play guys named "Johnny" or "Parrish" or "Hoyt", but his flicks were all cut from the same celluloid cheese cloth: over-wrought, over-acted soap operas about the temptations (and consequences) of pre-marital nooky.

While Troy's various leading ladies would shed copious tears and bemoaned their fates, Troy remained stiffer than a board, his drop dead gorgeous face as immobile as Mt. Rushmore. His standard reaction to anything was blinking his eyes or flaring his nostrils. You could say Troy under played his parts so well that you were never sure if he actually shared the same sound stage as his co-stars or if he filmed his spots miles away, in a different studio, and the editor merely spliced Troy's scenes in post-production.

Nevertheless, Troy remains the Gold Standard of teen idol movie success, a triumph of style over substance. So let's take a long, loving look at Troy and the cinematic Velveeta that made him the head Cheese of Movie Heart Throbs.

"A Summer Place"(1959) or Burn Notice

Johnny (Troy Donahue) and Molly (Sandra Dee) enjoy a staring contest on Pine Island's beach.

It's vacation time at the scenic Pine Island Resort, where aristocratic drunk Arthur Kennedy and his long-suffering wife Dorothy McGuire hope to make enough money to send their glamour boy son Johnny (Troy) to college. Among this season's crop of guests is Dorothy's long lost love Richard Egan, now a rich research chemist, his shrewish wife Constance Ford and their daughter Molly, played by the hyper-perky Sandra Dee.

Although this is the movie that made Troy a star, the real scene stealer here is Ford. She is stone-cold bitchy, ordering her husband to dress up like a yachtsman and pretending to speak French. Ford hasn't let hubby touch her in years and is such a frigid neurotic, she bellows, "Get out the disinfectant and clean this bathroom--and don't forget the toilet set!" seconds after they have been shown their posh suite.

However, the person who really catches hell from Ford is the hapless Sandra Dee. Horrified that her teen daughter is spouting curves, mom insists Molly stuff herself into flattening foundation garments so she won't "bounce when she walks." Later, Ford will blow a gasket when she catches Dee and Troy kissing. Her obsession with keeping her daughter a vestal virgin will reach its zaniest heights, however, when Troy and Sandra are stranded alone over night. Even though the teens insist nothing happened, Ford marches Molly in their room and shrieks, "Take off every stitch and let the doctor examine you!"

Considering what a monster Ford is, you can't blame Egan for hooking up with McGuire. At least Arthur Kennedy has some fun tormenting the frigid Ford. He claims that despite Pine Island's family-friendly atmosphere, it's really " a perverted Garden of Eden where the pines and the sea air seem to act as an aphrodisiac."  Kennedy even makes Ford do a spit take when he asks if she's ever skinny-dipped.

 Sandra Dee wails in protest (and who wouldn't?) when sneering mom Constance Ford demands she under-go a virginity test after being shipwrecked over night with Troy.

When it's discovered that Egan and McGuire have been enjoying trysts at an abandoned boathouse, Pine Island society is horrified. Arthur Kennedy, who's love of the grape will soon cost him his life, let's McGuire go with little fuss. Shrewish Ford, on the other hand, egged on by her shrewish mother ("Remember dear: men only want one thing") nails Egan in a costly divorce. And just to make sure EVERYBODY is as miserable as possible, Ford locks up Dee in an ultra-strict girl's school. Later, when Troy and Dee manage to reconnect on Christmas break, ("Can I kiss you in front of God and everybody?" Troy asks) Ford goes berserk--and how! She cuffs daughter Dee right in the chops, which sends her sailing into their tinseled draped tree.

"Merry Christmas, mama," Dee whimpers.

Once Egan and McGuire are free to marry, they settle down in a cute little cottage especially designed for them by Frank Lloyd Wright. Sure, they are ex-shameless adulterers, but they are happy ex-shameless adulterers. Troy and Sandra, meanwhile, have finally given into their urges and have done the deed. Of course, Dee gets a bun in her oven. Lucky for her, Egan and McGuire pass no judgements and the young couple soon tie the knot. When we next see them, Sandra and Troy have returned to Pine Island and plan to make it their home. Cue Max Steiner's famous theme song (which has been playing incessantly through out the flick) and we are done.

Reunited love birds Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire compare marital horror stories in "A Summer Place".

"Parrish"(1961) or Wacky Tobackie

The movie poster for "Parrish" makes plantin' tobacco seem real steamy.

Troy is the title character is this crazy quilt soap opera set in Connecticut's tobacco growing country.

Released just a few years before the Surgeon General's warning that smoking causes cancer, Troy and his widowed mother (Claudette Colbert!) arrive at Dean Jagger's estate. Jagger (once a cuddlemate of Bette Davis) wants Claudette to help police and polish up his daughter Allison (Diane McBain). That's because she's head-strong gal who proudly declares, "I'll buy whatever I want--even a lover."

Worried about propriety and stuff,  Jagger won't let Troy room in the main house with his ma. Instead, Troy gets a job as a field hand and bunks with a local farm family, which includes daughter Lucy (Connie Stevens). Gussied-up to resemble Ellie-Mae Clampett, Lucy pounces on Troy right away, announcing, "When it gets hot, I sleep raw."

 After a full day of pulling weeds and fighting Blue Mold (don't ask), Parrish and Lucy become an item--sort of. See, Connie is seeing someone else, but she won't say who. Meanwhile, ma Colbert warns her son that Lucy is the sort of girl who drops her knickers way too easily and he should beware.

"Oh, hell, it's 5 o'clock somewhere!" Spoiled rich girl Allison (Diane McBain) downs another cold one in "Parrish".

To complicate things even more, Claudette has struck up an attachment with cut-throat tobacco baron Karl Malden. Troy doesn't like it that folks are snickering about this coupling, especially since Maldon is Jagger's chief rival and Claudette is Jagger's employee. Like a lot of rich men, Karl sees no reason to get married. Colbert, a widow of longstanding, gives Malden a read-between-the-lines speech about how she's not that kind of a girl. While all of this is going on, Troy has finally hooked up with the randy Allison--and the sexual sparks her father fretted about indeed happen. Slinking into Troy's bedroom after dark, Allison purrs, "As Eve said to Adam, 'Do you want a bite of my apple?"

Back toiling in the fields, Troy learns that Lucy's preggers. He offers to marry her, but Connie declines, because the child isn't his. Refusing to name the father, Lucy does accept Parrish's offer to attend the local barn dance. That makes McBain hit the roof; after all, why would Troy want to be seen on the town with a poor tramp when he can be seen with a rich one? Meanwhile, hovering around the edges of the flick is nice girl Paige (Susan Hugoney). She's not only Karl Malden's daughter, but a budding feminist. She huffily informs Troy that she's studying agriculture in school, and, what's more,"I'm the only girl in the class!" Troy files this information away for further use.

Tobacco farmer Parrish (Trot Donahue) beats the tar (ha, ha, ha) out of his bad news stepbrother Edgar.

As if the plot of this tobacco-scented turkey wasn't stuffed enough, "Parrish" adds on even more subplots! There is Malden and Claudette getting married. There is Malden's snooty sons being mean Claudette. There is Troy telling off his stepbrother Edgar and threatening to tattle that he fathered Lucy's baby. There is Malden hiring Troy and then working him like a punch press. There is Troy getting fed-up and joining the navy for two years--are you keeping up with me? Then Troy returns home to grow tobacco with Jagger, which drives Malden batty. When Troy can't find enough hands to harvest his crop, nice girl Paige rounds up her classmates to help. Finally, Malden's snooty son Edgar tries to burn Troy's field and Troy beats the tar (no pun intended) out of him.

Oh, yes, and ma Claudette up and leaves Karl because he's mean and Allison marries Malden's other son and becomes an embittered lush and nice girl Paige and Troy get all kissy face, the end.


"Susan Slade" (1961) or Who's Your Mama?

Even the movie poster for "Susan Slade" over acts.

No, Troy does not have the lead in this melodramatic soaper. That (dis)honor belongs to Connie Stevens, who plays the heavily bouffant-ed daughter of Lloyd Nolan and Dorothy McGuire. Dad is a super engineer, mom is a former super model and the family has spent the last 10 years in Chile. Unfortunately, life south of the border has left poor Susan with the social skills of a dung beetle. Mom McGuire frets that Susan has "so much love to give" that she may start passing out free samples...if you catch my drift.

Mom was right to worry. On the boat back to America, Susan hooks up with rich boy/mountain climber Grant Williams (best remembered for "The Incredible Shrinking Man"). Susan blushes and stammers when Grant flirts with her, but soon enough they are Deeply In Love. Later, the couple does the deed and Susan sighs, "We've been sinful."

Grant, however, disagrees. See, he wants to marry Connie and they are "secretly engaged." He doesn't want to tell their parents because "it will look bad"(?) Besides, Grant chides Connie, is she going to call up her mom "and confess every time we make love?" Finally, Grant has this Big Important Mountain Climb coming up and he doesn't need anymore distractions. So he urges Susan to head home to Monetary, CA and begin planning their nuptials.

The Slade family settles into their dream house in Monetary and reconnects with friends Brian Aherne and Natalie "Mrs. Howell" Schaefer. The adults would like nothing better than for Susan to hook up with future "Tattle Tales" host Bert Convey, but she keeps pining for Williams. Her cards, letters and phone calls get no response, causing Connie to decide, "I'm the woman God forgot."

"I feel a sin coming on." Susan passes out some free love (samples) to the ill-fated Grant Williams.

Where does Troy fit in? Well, he's the stable boy where Susan boards her horse. He's named Hoyt and he's rather glum because 1) his dad was found guilty of embezzlement and 2) then had the nerve to hang himself. Besides mucking out the stables, Hoyt is a budding author and has even sold a few pieces. He's currently trying to find a publisher for his first book (me, too, by the way) when he befriends Connie.

However dreamy Troy is, Susan isn't interested because she's still waiting for Williams. She gets even more desperate when a trip to the family doctor reveals her to be (horror of horrors) preggers. Bravely putting on a front, Susan attends her parents' swanky party only to learn--via the telephone--that secret fiance Grant fell off the mountain and is dead and buried and nobody will ever find his body.

In other words, the wedding is off.

Absolutely devastated, Susan shrieks like a dental drill, yanks at her blond hair and rips her fancy frock off. Then she mounts her horse...stop snickering, you know what I mean...and rides like the wind straight into the ocean to drown herself. Lucky for her, faithful Troy mounts his know what I save her. Finally coming to, Susan admits there's a bun in her oven and her shocked parents turn pale.

Obviously, something must be done. So the Slades decide to move--lock, stock and barrel--to Guatemala, Guatemala! where dad will accept an engineering post. And to make sure nobody, NOBODY suspects that Susan is in the family way, mom Dorothy begins telling her fancy friends that's expecting. Susan first doesn't want to do this, but her parents INSIST this is the only way to avoid shame and scandal, so she gives in.

"Haven't we met before?" "Parrish" co-stars Troy Donahue and Connie Stevens reunite for the equally nutty "Susan Slade".

Safely tucked away in Guatemala, Connie gives birth to a baby boy named Roger. Once she's lost the baby weight and can fit into her old clothes, the Slade family returns to the USA. Nobody catches on about Susan's "baby brother", but being forced to live a lie is wearing Susan out.

"Everyone is taking my baby from me!" she bleats at one point. "I want to take my son and go where nobody knows me!"

Mom Dorothy tells Connie that's impossible; "Rogie's" future is safe and secure and therefore she must move on and marry the very eligible Bert Convey (after all, "Tattle Tales" will run for four years).

"I can hardly walk down the aisle with a somewhat soiled gown," Susan reminds her mother. "It's suppose to stand for purity--and let's face it, I'm not."

"Let me out of this movie! Or I'll do something marry Eddie Fisher!"

However, when father Nolan unexpectedly drops dead (he was suffering from a heart condition and told no one), Susan reconsiders Bert's proposal. Then Troy reappears. He's published his first book, a runaway success, and he now declares his Deep Love For Susan. In the midst of explaining why she can't marry him, Connie's "little brother" catches himself on fire. Troy puts out the flames and they race the tyke to the hospital.

Several agonizing hours later, the doctor announces that little Roger will be "just fine". Connie wants to see her son, but the hospital rules only allow parents to visit. Despondent, Susan blurts out that she's the baby's mother, not his sister. Bert and his parents are shocked, but sympathetic. However, the wedding is off.

Troy, on the other hand, is so in love with Susan that he doesn't care that little Roger is the fruit of another man's looms. He wants to marry Susan and raise the tot as his own. To the sound of joyful strings, Connie accepts Troy's proposal and they seal their love with a kiss. And thus concludes "Susan Slade".


Troy Donahue, Junk Cinema salutes you!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Portrait In Black" Or Killing Your Husband Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

The over-the-top poster for the over-the-top movie "Portrait in Black."

Welcome back, movie lovers.

Say, have you ever been in love?

Really in love?

You know, madly, passionately, truly, deeply in love?

The kind of love where you count the hours until your soul mate arrives. The kind of love that drives you to pillow-biting ecstasy every night. The kind of love that makes life worth living.

That kind of love.

Is this the look of love or... indigestion? Fun couple Shelia (Lana Turner) and David (Anthony Quinn) swoon into action.

Well, Shelia (Lana Turner) and David (Anthony Quinn) are in that kind of love. They can't be without each other. When they hug each other, they practically crush each others' spines. When they suck face, they nearly swallow each others' tongues. In fact, their love is so exhausting, the cuddlemates can only murmur "Shelia", "David", "Shelia", "David" when they come up for air.

Yes, Shelia and David are truly, madly, deeply, inseparably, totally in love.

So why don't they get hitched?

Because Shelia is already married-- to mean, miserly, terminally ailing shipping magnet Matthew Cabot (Lloyd Nolan), that's why.

Thus begins "Portrait in Black" (1960), a way, way, WAY over-the-top melodrama which proves that murdering your husband can be hazardous to your health.

As mentioned earlier, Matthew Cabot is mean, miserly and dying--but not fast enough. From the sick bed of his snazzy San Francisco mansion, Matthew barks orders to his shifty lawyer Howard (Richard Basehart), bosses around his loyal secretary (the cadaverous Virginia Grey) and bullies his trophy wife Shelia.

"It's too bad they don't have a drug for your illness," Matthew sneers to Shelia at one point. "Love deficiency."

Lana Turner acts and acts and ACTS as the duplicitous Shelia.

David Riviera (Quinn) is Matt's doctor, regularly injecting him with pain killers. However, because he's so in love with Shelia, the medic is going batty waiting for his patient to kick the bucket. So the adulterous cuddlemates begin to wonder if there isn't some way to speed up the process.

But wouldn't that be MURDER??

The Matt-Shelia-David love triangle, however, is only the first course in this Velveeta banquet.

The hyper-perky Sandra Dee is Cabot's daughter Cathy from his first marriage. She's secretly involved with ACME Tug Boat operator Blake (John Saxon)--who's late pa was the business rival Matthew hounded into an early grave.

Meanwhile, down stairs at the Cabot mansion, chauffeur Cob ("My Favorite Martian"s Ray Walston)
his nursing some serious gambling debts and persistent loan sharks. Then there is the all-knowing, long-time housekeeper Tanni (silent screen icon Anna May Wong), who acts like Mrs. Danvers and dresses like Madame Chiang Kai-Shek.

Housekeeper Tanni (Anna May Wong) and chauffeur Cob (Ray Walston) share a mutual loathing.

Anything else? Oh, yeah, a possible longshoreman's strike is looming and miserly Matt wants it stopped.

Then one dark and stormy night, David arrives at the Cabot home to inject an air bubble into his patient. With Matthew Cabot now a stiff, Shelia and David can finally be together.

Err, no. See, among the letters of condolence arriving en masse to the grieving widow is the following note: "Congratulations on the success of your murder." Somebody knows what Shelia and David did--but who?

At this juncture, "Portrait in Black" ratchets up the tension--and the sound track. First, shifty lawyer Howard proposes to Shelia--the day after her hubby's funeral, no less. Shelia throws him out. Next, Blake storms into Howard's office, madder than a hen with wet feathers, because the towing contract Matt promised him has been unfairly terminated. Then David starts cracking under the pressure of keeping his evil deed a secret; he even begins to see Matt's corpse on his operating table! Finally, Shelia, never in the same outfit twice, begins to fret that David is "pulling away" from her.

What more could possibly happen?


"First, do no harm": Anthony Quinn prepares a special dose for cuddlemate Shelia's ailing hubby.

Putting two and two together (and getting five) David becomes convinced that shifty lawyer Howard is the blackmailer. So Shelia lures him to the mansion, offers him a drink and later rebuffs him for getting fresh. This not only makes Howard mad, it allows him to realize that David and Shelia are an item. So Howard starts threatening Shelia...until David emerges from the shadows and plugs him full of lead.

In order to dispose of the body in Half Moon Bay, David insists that Shelia follow along in her car--except she can't drive! In fact, Shelia just got her Learner's Permit, an act that made hubby Matt hit the roof ("What? A car and driver aren't enough for you?!" he sneered.). Nevertheless, Shelia gets behind the wheel of a car, blinks back her tears and follows David down the wet, windy streets of San Francisco until David pushes Howard's car into the drink.

Whew! It's all over now, right?


A couple of days later, Shelia receives another note congratulating her on her second murder. It's this little missive that forces Shelia--dressed in a slinky black gown--to admit to David that--HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS--she sent the blackmail letters because she feared David might leave her!

Poor Quinn, realizing that he needlessly offed Howard, goes off the deep end--and how. Sweating bullets, rolling his eyes and yanking at his hair, David operatically wails about how he disobeyed the Hippocratic Oath and murdered two innocent, though unlikable, people. This display of over-the-top emoting is witnessed by a truly shocked Sandra Dee, who must have wondered how an actor like Anthony Quinn could allow himself to howl like a bull moose with a pine cone stuck up his...nose. You will, too, except Quinn's last scene is topped by his next scene: a desperate David chases Dee up the stairs, into her bedroom, out a window and onto a skinny ledge...where someone promptly goes splat.

Sandra Dee seems genuinely puzzled by the goings-on in "Portrait in Black".

Can you guess who that someone might be? No? Then I'll give you a hint: it wasn't Sandra Dee.

And what is Shelia doing when all this is going on?

She's staring out a window, not a hair out of place, with the frozen expression people develop after standing in line at the DMV.

Poor gal.

I mean, she assisted in two murders. Her cuddlemate is dead. The next stop is jail. This just hasn't been her day, has it?

Until next time, movie lovers, remember: murder can be deadly...and not just to your inconvenient spouse. After this corker, poor "Sweater Girl" Lana Turner was stuck in lower and lower budgeted dramas until she was forced to take LSD in "The Big Cube".

Talk about a bad trip...until next time, Save The Movies!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Junk Cinema Says Goodbye To Richard "Jaws" Kiel

Richard Kiel in his break-out role as the lovesick caveman in "Eegah".

Hi keeba and hello, movie lovers.

As you know, Junk Cinema lost one of its most beloved members, Richard Kiel, this week.

Although Kiel is best known to the general public as the villain "Jaws" from the James Bond epics "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker", he was already well known to bad movie fanatics as the love struck caveman Eegah in the Arch Hall, Sr. mess-ter-piece "Eegah" from 1962.

Hall first met Kiel when he was a bouncer at a western bar. It was then that he concocted the story of local teen queen Roxie Miller (Marilyn Manning) stumbling on a forgotten cave dweller (Kiel) while tooling around in the Palm Springs Desert in her snazzy sports car. Hall played Roxie's father, "the noted" adventurer/writer Robert I. Miller, while her dune buggy driving, guitar strumming boyfriend Tommy was essayed by Arch Hall, Jr., the director's son.

Shot in record heat and hobbled by numerous technical difficulties (a member of the crew kept hitting "playback" instead of "record" during filming), "Eegah" nevertheless became a drive-in hit and launched Hall, Sr.'s mini-movie empire.

The best thing about "Eegah" is Kiel, who, at a reported 7 feet tall, was perfectly cast as the club-wielding cave man. Kiel would go onto other character roles, but it was his start in this Junk Cinema Jewel that made him immortal.

A new article on Troy Donahue is on it's way, but I could not let Richard Kiel's passing go unnoticed.

Goodbye, Mr. Kiel, thank you for everything!

Until next time, remember, save the movies!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

If You Think Your Life Sucks, Please Watch...

The glitter! The glamour!The garbage! "Once Is Not Enough" has it all!

Hi keeba and hello, movie lovers. Fall is upon us and...what's that? You're feeling a bit down in the dumps? Is your boss a dink and your co-workers slackers? Has your spouse turned into a couch potato and your kids into crab apples? Has the impending marriage of George Clooney thrown you for a loop?

I feel your pain; I really do. More importantly, Junk Cinema feels your pain. Don't believe me? Well, then, let's revisit our semi-regular feature "If You Think Your Life Sucks, Please Watch..." and spotlight a cinematic potboiler especially made to lift your troubled spirits.

If You Think Your Life Sucks, Please Watch..."Once Is Not Enough"(1975)

Today's featured presentation comes from the fevered imagination of Jacqueline Susann--the last word in big haired, high society swill. "Once Is Not Enough" is the hilariously shoddy "coming of age" saga about a dimwitted ingenue (Deborah Raffin) who learns the painful facts of life from such veteran scenery chewers as Kirk Douglas, Brenda Vaccaro, David Janssen and the vinyl-skinned, perpetually tanned George Hamilton.

Our story begins by introducing us to January Wayne (Raffin). Her father Mike (the chin-jutting Kirk Douglas) is a producer who has always provided his princess with a luxurious lifestyle. However, dad's career has hit a slump and January has spent three years in a pricey Swiss rehabilitation clinic after a near-fatal motorcycle accident. The net result is that dad is broke. Rather than humble himself and work in television, dad up and marries filthy rich, high society iceberg Dee (Alexis Smith). January, naturally, is horrified and wails to dad, "But do you love her?"

"It's not hard to feel a little something for a woman with all that money," Douglas shrugs.

Guess that

Deborah Raffin (January) and dad Mike (Kirk Douglas) console each other about being in a Jacqueline Susann movie.

Although they have just met, the imperious Dee insists that January be taught "to want the right things." So she buys all her step-daughter's clothes, redecorates her bedroom and insists that she date Wall Street whiz David (George Hamilton)--Smith's cousin and "New York's biggest stud." When she's not bossing or baiting people, Dee is excusing herself to play backgammon "with her friend Joan." In reality, Smith is sneaking off to tryst with her secret gal pal Karla (Melina Mercouri), a reclusive ex-movie star with an accent thicker than waffle batter.

Deciding to strike out on her own, January gets a researcher job at Gloss magazine, who's editor-in-chief is her boarding school buddy Linda Riggs (the raspy voiced Brenda Vaccaro). Once a plain Jane, Linda explains how she went from frump to fab: "I had a nose job, my tits were lifted, my ass was flattened and my knees were straightened." However, not everything was subject to the surgeon's knife. "My navel, I'm proud to say in untouched," Linda declares. "It's perfect."

With dad essentially a kept man, her new step-mother a bit AC/DC and her boss a man-devouring hyena, January runs the risk of coming off a bit dull by comparison. Perish the thought, because Susann has provided our blinkered heroine with a few INTERNAL CONFLICTS to spice her up.

The first INTERNAL CONFLICT is that January is a bit too fond of daddy. When Kirk picks her up at the airport after her Swiss sojourn, Raffin squeals, "You're gorgeous!" Later she exclaims, "I hope nobody thinks we're father and daughter. I hope they think you're a dirty old man and I'm your broad!"

January's daddy fixation leads directly to INTERNAL CONFLICT number two: she's still a virgin and a bit picky about doing the deed.

"This isn't domestic champagne, is it?" George Hamilton (as "New York's biggest stud") prepares to put the moves on the hapless January.

Lucky for us, January's sexual initiation at the hands of Wall Street wolf David provides one of the flick's zanier highlights.

It goes like this: David invites January back to his swingin' bachelor pad. There is already a fire blazing, a round bed in clear view and Frank Sinatra crooning (hint, hint) "All the Way" on the stereo. Then David pours January a glass of champagne. "Oh-h-h Dom Perineum!" Raffin marvels. "That's for special occasions!"  Then Hamilton gathers January up in his arms and prepares to carry her off to the bedroom. He doesn't get very far. "Put me down," January commands. "I'd rather walk, if you don't mind."

Judging from their sour faces on the taxi ride home, it appears things didn't go too well. Thus, January and David decide to be "just friends", which is probably for the best.

So, if "New York's biggest stud" can't float January's boat, is there ever going to be a man who can wrest Raffin's heart away from daddy?

 That's the cue for David "Harry-O" Janssen to roar on as the hard-drinking, barroom-brawling and very long winded novelist Tom Colt. He meets January outside a pub and slurs, "Pardon me, but I can't take my eyes off your ass." However, it's the man-hungry Linda who manages to get Tom over to her place. While Linda is off preparing for a night of pillow biting ecstasy with the famed novelist, Tom exits through a window and climbs up the fire escape to January's place. "Silicone tits and a computerized brain is not my idea of a sexy combination," Janssen explains between burps.

From this inauspicious beginning, Tom and January's romance blossoms. The happy couple ride bikes and visit the zoo and when Tom is hired to write the screenplay for one of his books, January joins him in LA. The only problem is that, well, Tom doesn't seem all that interested in, you know, S-E-X and Raffin starts to become, well, concerned.

"Yes, I'm drunk! Stinking drunk! And I like it!" David Janssen bellows like a bull moose in "Once Is Not Enough".

Again, lucky for us, January's eventual "curing" of Tom and Janssen's explanation as to "why I haven't made it in years" is another zany show-stopper.

See, a few years ago, Tom's biological clock started ticking. Having racked up three divorces, no adoption agency would (sensibly) give him a tot. So Tom started shopping around for a baby mama and finds one in the form of (the unseen) Nina Sue. The couple duly marry, but the pressure to conceive a baby right away starts to drain Tom...well, he finds he can' appears the great man of letters can't mate in captivity, so to speak. So Tom's best friend (an astronaut, mind you) suggests the couple under go artificial insemination. Tom agrees, reasoning, "Hell, if it works for sheep and cattle..."

The good news is that the artificial insemination cures the couple's childlessness. The bad news is that is only perpetuates Tom's...performance problems...because he's ashamed that his son was not created...from his own labors, as it were.

What does get Tom back in the game is January appearing in Janssen's shower. After this steamy interlude, the couple are inseparable--or so our heroine thinks.

"Excuse me, do you have any conditioner?" January and Tom prepare to soap each other up.

In rapid succession, Douglas and Smith die in a plane crash. After the funeral, January learns she was left $ 3 million dollars in her step-mother's will. Hoping Tom will comfort her in her grief, he dumps her instead. "You gave a middle aged guy his last pretense of being a stud," Janssen slurs in his farewell kiss-off. "For that I'll always be grateful."

Thus, "Once Is Not Enough" ends with poor January stumbling around the streets of New York alone, dazed and confused. If you have seen the other two flicks based on Susann's novels ("Valley Of The Dolls" and "The Love Machine"), then you know this is the way all these movies end. On the other hand, the novel Once Is Not Enough concludes with January attending a hippie orgy, dropping acid, seeing her father's ghost and stumbling out into the ocean (nude, of course) to "greet him"...and promptly drowning.

Now that's the way to end a lurid, soapy expose'! Don't you agree?

So you see, your life isn't so bad. Granted, you may be experiencing a rough patch now, but at least you're not an orphaned, semi-heiress who was cruelly dumped after curing your cuddlemate's impotence. Nor must you endure the fact that hack scribbler Jacqueline Susann based one of her tacky characters on you--like Barbara Hutton (Dee), Greta Garbo (Karla) and Norman Mailer (Tom) had to. Finally, I'll bet the last thing you'd say while sucking face with George Hamilton would be, "I didn't know men used hair spray!"

Until next time, cheer up and save the movies!