Another great SW twin-bill, this time featuring examples of regionally-produced "psycho-babe" nudie/roughies, one shot in New York City, the other hailing from rural Texas; very different, but both terrific fun in their own way.
Psycho Cat begins as wealthy Manhattanite Virginia, whose just seen her big-game-hunter husband off at the airport, is having a "nervous breakdown," followed by framing scenes of a petting party (which were added several years after the rest of the movie was shot) where everyone, including one really `uptight' chick ... is waiting for a narcotics delivery. Mild nudity ... , "simulated" foreplay, and herb-smoking are featured, all to some twangy, loungy background music. When the junkie procurer (the only link to the central story) arrives, he's been shot in the leg with a crossbow, though everyone seems more concerned about whether he's "got the stuff." He relates In flashback how he'd been invited to a "fancy apartment" (decorated in animal skins, African artifacts, and numerous mounted animals and heads) along with two other men, an actor and a former pro wrestler. They're presented with a deal by Virginia: if they can stay alive for 24 hours in Manhattan while she literally hunts them down, each will collect $100,000. (They're "animals" to her because they've all been acquitted of murder for various reasons.) Boxer Jake LaMotta plays the wrestler, who accepts, croaking "You don't have a chance. I get in close, I'll break you in half." Virginia visits her shrink and screams, "Killing is bad!" as she recalls how her brother threw her doggy off the roof when they were kids. (The doctor asks if she's been taking her pills.) She then arranges a "comeback" performance for the actor, stalks him at the theater, and kills him with a spear. Now totally unhinged, Virginia phones LaMotta, shrieking into the receiver, stringy hair clinging to her twisted face. LaMotta screams back, "You got no right! I am Rocko, Rocko the champ! I'll kill ya, I'm coming to get ya!" His whiny call-girl taunts him, then french-kisses her own bored reflection in the hotel mirror. Virginia, dressed as a toreador, tracks Jake down, stabs him to death with banderillas as he scrabbles across the cement like a literal "raging bull," then bows to hallucinated cheers and applause. Returning to the party, the junkie finishes his story, unwisely leaves, scores, then shoots up and hurls in an Automat toilet stall. Virginia eventually catches up to him with a crossbow arrow to the neck. When hubby returns home, summoned by the shrink, he finds her sitting on the floor with a dolly in her arms, her victims trussed up like "kills" in the closet. "Do you love me now, daddy?" The movie ends on a shot of straitjacket-bound Virginia, shrieking behind the glass partition of an asylum door. Psycho Cat is a dark, disturbing, funny, terribly entertaining, surprisingly competent piece of grunge, blending elements of The Most Dangerous Game with mild pre-MPAA nudity, gritty `60s B&W grindhouse atmosphere and violence, and some of the best dialogue since Faster Pussycat. Eileen Lord (no other film credits!!) is unforgettably over-the-top as Virginia, she has to be seen to be believed.
Hot Blooded Woman is an astoundingly poverty-stricken ... psychodrama from lingerie fetishist auteur producer Whit Boyd (Spiked Heels and Black Nylons) and ... director Dale Berry (The Girl and the Geek), and "introducing" Shirley (producer's wife?) Boyd. It's shot mostly without sync sound and features some of the most bizarre names ever in the credits. It opens with apparent nymphomaniac Myrtle being willingly molested by Bill (Larry Buchanan regular) Thurman after taunting a group of hobos camped near a railroad track. Hubby comes to the rescue, first beating, then being beaten by the attacker. Unfortunately, and continuing through the entire movie, any dramatic tension that might have been engendered is completely undercut by the inappropriate and maddeningly repetitious soundtrack, (one annoying vibes/drums/guitar number is repeated perhaps a half dozen times!) Hubby takes her to a psychiatrist ("I'll never forget this girl; this pathetic, loveless, miserably sick, Myrtle Pennypacker") and his cat-eye-glasses-wearing "faithful nurse and assistant, Miss Couch." Under hypnosis, Myrtle reveals in flashback how the couple's sex life was normal at first (signified by making out in their underwear to jazzy pop music). "Then came the first clouds" as hubby rejects her advances on their wedding night (!?), upon which she grabs a huge kitchen knife and stabs the bed, while he watches, horrified, from the closet. She then heads out in her hot pants to go-go dance wildly at the local bar as the (integrated) Tony Harrison Trio belts out "Hot Blooded Woman." Later, a cat fight ensues while customers gawk after a waitress in a diner tries to pick up Myrtle's hubby with the immortal line "You have the cutest earlobes." (Once again, the upbeat grocery-store jazz on the soundtrack defuses any chance for real drama.) Wife and hubby spend lots of time "carpet-crawling" (sometimes with a white toy poodle wedged between them) but there's little payoff: Ms. Boyd never actually exposes anything, despite numerous shots of her dressing, undressing, and walking around or dancing in her underwear or negligee (I honestly think this was aimed at lingerie fetishists), and "sex" is signified by close-ups of Myrtle licking her lips. Suddenly, we're with Ruby, who spends about 10 minutes hanging out, going to the bathroom, mixing a drink, smoking a cigarette, getting naked, and bathing, before calling Myrtle to inform her about "that little Spanish [woman of easy virtue]" her hubby's been playing around with, and the fact that Myrtle's sister is "shacking up" with him as well. "Only because I like you so much." When confronted, hubby keeps changing his story, smacks Myrtle around a bit, and takes her back to the psychiatrist. As the shrink, deep in thought, obscures the frame, Myrtle disrobes behind him, laughing maniacally! "There was no longer any doubt in my mind. This girl needed treatment." She's carted off in a straitjacket under sedation to a sanitarium where an inmate nurses a rolled-up towel. Myrtle escapes and stops to pray to Jesus in a grotto, steals a handgun from a junkyard guard, and dies in a hail of (silent) police gunfire while holding the pistol on her hubby and telling him "I love you." For serious barrel-scrapers this movie is a joy to behold: the dubbing is atrocious (lips move with no sound; sound happens with no lips), continuity errors and unflattering camera angles abound, and the disjointed, fitful flow of the narrative (boldly flaunting the fundamental rules of story construction and film editing) creates a spellbinding, dreamlike, jaw-dropping, utterly unique experience. Whit Boyd and Dale Berry need a cult like Doris Wishman's. (They both have cameos in here somewhere.)
Extras include a fistful of sex/sleaze trailers (the standouts: Ride the Wild Pink Horse [Looks great, but not available from SW yet], Spoiled Rotten, Come Play with Me, and the legendary Olga's House of Shame) and a 29-minute B&W Federal Security Agency Public Health Service short, "Preface to a Life", the vague premise of which seems to be that unrealistic and conflicting parental pressures, expectations, and neuroses cause us all to grow up nuts. It's a little dry, but stick with it, it gets better. Also included is another Trash-O-Rama art gallery featuring cool advertising promos for The Love Cult, The Lonely Sex, and Mundo Depravados, among many others. Print quality on both features ranges from very good to excellent throughout (Psycho Cat fares better overall) and quite watchable. There is the usual minor speckling and blemishing, but otherwise they look quite good considering their pedigree. Unfortunately, Hot Blooded Woman has the SWV logo in the corner as it's considered an "extra" on this disc. If you're into the pre-ratings nudie/roughie/Adults Only scene, this is must-have material, and one of my favorite SW discs so far. Highest recommendation.