Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Movie Review: Scum of the Earth (1963)

Scum of the Earth

Written & Directed by Lewis H. Gordon (Herschell Gordon Lewis)
Produced by Davis Freeman (David Freeman)

Vickie Miles .... Kim
Thomas Sweetwood .... Harmon
Sandra Sinclair .... Sandra
Lawrence Wood .... Lang
Mal Arnold .... Larry
Craig Maudslay Jr. .... Ajax

Mr. Lang is a dignified businessman and head of an underground pornography ring. He employs Harmon, the skunk-haired photographer; Ajax, the ape-like male model; Larry, the young distributor; and Sandra, the reluctant nude beauty. The pictures are then sold to high school kids for a healthy sum.

Sandra wants out of the gig entirely, but she's still indebted to Mr. Lang. Instead, he offers her a new position as talent scout and recruiter, in charge of drafting new sexpots into the studio. Her first acquisition is Kim, a young pony-tailed brunette who has no idea what she's getting into. But for 50 bucks? Hey ho, let's go!

The shoots start off innocently enough, but they quickly reach a more “adult” nature. Next thing you know, she's swept up in the world of XXX (well, maybe just one X) photos and being blackmailed into continuing. She seeks help from Sandra whose only advice is to go along with it and turn her head when they snap the picture.

As the photographs begin to circulate about town, Kim's former reputation as a prude is tarnished by one of a pornographic princess, and Mr. Lang himself approaches her with an offer she can't refuse.

SCUM OF THE EARTH - vintage newspaper ad

How will this debauchery end?

I think we're supposed to believe that this film is a stab at serious social commentary. Perhaps that's why the filmmakers used pseudonyms. What we really have here is thinly-veiled sleaze full of voluptuous lovelies with little or no talent. And just when you think the acting couldn't get any worse, Kim's father comes gliding out on stage and introduces us to a whole new level of sub-par delivery. Even Kim's performance goes downhill when they're in a scene together, almost as if they were feeding off of each others anti-ability.

Bottom line is, a film of such ridiculousness has very little going for it except the promise of at least a breast shot or two. Incredibly, for a film about nude photographs there's very little nudity here. In fact, I rather lost interest after the first 40 minutes or so. But still I pressed on. That's just how dedicated I am to this job.

Okay, okay. Maybe I lost my remote.

Not Rated
71 minutes
Black & White
United States

Hump Day. Not as bad as we make it out to be, not as much fun as it sounds.

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