I’m confused. This release is billed as an entry in the “Saturn Drive-In Double Feature” line, but the DVD’s main menu, which features a bizarre and rather crude animation of Code Red commentator Lee Christian’s head being flushed down a toilet, bares the title “Septic Cinema”. Even the cover itself is bewildering as it uses the exact same template as the “Burbank Drive-In” double bill of BETWEEN THE COVERS and SWINGING WIVES that was released in the summer of ‘08. What ever the case, which ever the distributor, both of the black and white beauties presented are worth a peak.
Apparently the only female within a fifty mile radius, Julie (Jamie Karson) works nights as a waitress in a greasy little roadside dive where she is constantly ogled by the diner's strictly male clientele. The job does however have its benefits. Tips are steady, you get all the stale doughnuts you can eat and it offers onsite living accommodations. That is if you consider sharing a bathroom with your slimeball co-worker accommodating. After being raped by Joe the cook, Julie leaves the diner and her previous life behind, sneaking away in the night with handsome Brad Collins (Alan Jeffory), a cheesecake photographer who promptly escorts the distraught dame to Vegas for a quickie wedding. After the ceremony, Brad jumps right back into work only to find himself one model short and therefore unable to complete his next job, or so he leads Julie to believe. Left with a deadline and no subject, he persuades his new wife to fill in for the pin-up shots, which she pulls off quite well I might add. After a long day of posing by the pool, Julie and her new beau head back to their motel room where, unbeknownst to her, Brad takes additional, much racier photos while she freshens up in the shower. After a night of marital consummation, Julie wakes up to find herself alone and penniless, having been conned by Brad who has run off with all of her money. Broke and lonely, Julie wanders the streets of Vegas where she eventually pawns her engagement ring to the tune of $7.50, and is shortly thereafter abducted and thrown into a prostitution ring. And just when you think that things couldn’t possibly get any worse…
A tall drink of water, albeit one poured into an old, smudged glass, Jamie Karson is not the most attractive leading lady but she does do a bang-up job at getting all banged up. There are several scenes where she genuinely looks uncomfortable as she is manhandled and passed around like a joint at a Grateful Dead concert. As salacious and misogynistic as the material is, displays of flesh are rather subdued, with the only breasts to be bared being those of Ms. Karson. Said scene, in which Brad takes several discreet photos while Julie showers, is however incredibly effective. I’m not sure if it’s the way Jamie is dimly lit, the way she rotates in slow circles as she bathes herself or if it’s the fact that she never actually gets wet -- it appears the “shower” effect was implemented by water being splashed onto a glass panel in front of the camera by a particularly lucky stagehand just off screen with a water hose -- but the scene works! It’s a small celluloid love letter to every smutty voyeur who tried to sneak a peak at their friend’s mom or next door neighbor in the shower. There is also a spicy little burlesque number toward the film's end that helps seal this black and white adventure into degradation with a buxom bow.
NIGHTS ON THE CAMPUS follows an innocent youth by the name of Sally (Gigi Darlene,
BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL) as she travels from her small hometown to the Big Apple
to attend her first year of college. Sharing an apartment up with a quartet
of more mature girls proves to be an eye opening experience for the young lass
as her roommates, who are all bored but agreeable trollops, are fond of holding
mini sock hop /orgies at night. At first the sight of such wanton frivolity
bewilders and confuses our fresh faced protagonist but eager to fit in, she
eventually succumbs to the succubus nature of her female companions and joins
in with festivities. Jumping tail first into the mating scene, our plucky lead
promptly finds comfort in the arms of a family friend, who also just happens
to be one of her professors, as well as the more muscular arms of a fellow student.
Having apparently failed biology, Sally is shocked when her stomach pain turns
out be more than just indigestion. Finding herself with child, Sally naturally
turns to her roommates for help. Their solution; back ally abortion.
Written, produced and directed by Tony Orlando (no, not that one), in association with C. Davis Smith (THE GIRL FROM S.I.N.), HOT NIGHTS ON THE CAMPUS is rough around the edges but appealing in a sleazy, "I hope my family doesn’t catch me watching this" sort of way. The action primarily takes place in and around one apartment with most set ups lit by a single, blinding spotlight, often positioned in the corner of the room. C. Davis Smith’s handheld camera work does wonders in upping the picture's sleaze factor as it gives the feature a rough, sketchy atmosphere that is further enhanced by the occasional and unintentional cameraman shadow, which skulks over the ladies like a phantom pepping tom. The fact that the picture features no dialogue, just narration, also adds to its rough and tumble nature. It is however Gigi Darlene’s gradual state of undress that helps to hold one's attention throughout the sophomoric but amusing tale of degradation and disgrace.
THE VELVET TRAP, which is presented anamorphic widescreen in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, is in rather amazing shape. Wear and tear is at a minimum, black levels are deep and detail is surprisingly pronounced. Audio is likewise presented clean and fairly clear. Whatever print was used - possibly the original given its clarity - it must has been stored and maintained in ideal conditions. HOT NIGHTS ON THE CAMPUS does not fair as well as its companion piece but it still manages to hold its own. Anamorphic in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, NIGHTS is noticeably softer but certainly viewable and Sally’s narration is clear enough to follow but the track does show its age. Bare to the bone, this release features no extras or chapter selection menu. (Jason McElreath)
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