Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Party Favors (1987)

Directed by Ed Hansen
Starring George "Buck" Flower, Candie Evans, Blondie Bee, Gail Harris
Rated R
Shop for this poster!

"I've had that pious prick up to my eyeballs.
Don't worry, honey. That's just a figure of speech."

I should mention up front that Party Favors won an AVN award in 1988 for "Best Alternative Video", although I'm not sure what it's an alternative to. I can certainly see why Adult Video News would have an interest in it, since it's littered with sex stars, and looks, for its entire running time, like the set-up to a raunchy triple X stroke flick. It even has topless girls delivering pizzas, for Chrissakes. But beyond an almost suffocating amount of heaving pulchritude, there is no sex to speak of, and the plot, script, and acting are so far below even 80's porn standards that it fairly defies you to keep watching. It is a bomb of Nagasaki proportions, a thing that should not be, and yet...and yet, despite all its glaring faults, it still achieves its primary objective: make no mistake about it, if you watch Party Favors, boners will be popped. And so, it wins.

I very much wish I could ask someone about this film, to grasp the lapels of its creators and shake them forcibly, and ask, "Why? Why?" But that is now quite impossible. Its headlining star, writer, and associate producer George "Buck" Flower, and its director, Ed Hansen, are both dead. Most of the cast were plucked from the porn industry, and have now moved on to less carnal careers. It is a forgotten film, left to gather dust in the already faded memories of 80's sex comedy fans. Does it deserve this sad and lonely fate? While excruciating in places, probably not. It probably didn't deserve an AVN award either, but their standards were pretty low back then.

The plot, such as it is, involves grizzled ol' Buck, who runs an instructional school for strippers. Said school exists entirely in one rundown dance studio. Its sole teaching staff is a mincing old queen in a leotard (the credits don't match up names with characters, so I don't know who he is, but imagine Don Calfa baring his midriff) named Eliot, and four buxom blondes with an almost pathological desire to bare their breasts at whatever man enters the room. One of the girls, Allison (porn starlet Candie Evans) is supposed to be Buck's daughter, which is creepy, but not nearly as creepy as this film eventually gets. One of the other fledgling pole dancers is obscure but prolific sex star Blondie Bee (Pumping Irene, Sheets of San Francisco, Little Shop of Whores), and a third is Gail Harris, a British actress and sexploitation vet (Takin' It Off, Screwball Hotel, Nudity Required). So, obviously, the couch got a rigorous workout during the casting sessions for this one.

The opening credit sequence is pretty awe-inspiring.. The actual credits look like a cheap video toaster crawl, exactly like you'd see in a quickie porn flick from the era. As they roll, the camera follows women's asses all over a busy street - on a bike, while jogging, bending over to tie a shoe. Out of nowhere, a chubby black guy in sweatpants shows up. He's so busy ogling the women that he walks right into a mailbox. He falls down and more women step on him. Every time they do, it makes a cartoon noise.

The first scene is a seemingly endless static shot of the four girls peeling off their street clothes and putting on various bits of Flashdance-y spandex workout clothes. Significantly, director Hansen also helmed the Kitten Nativadid-headlining Eroticise (1983), which was a whole hour's worth of this stuff. Eventually, they finish getting dressed and perform a clumsy dance routine as Eliot snaps his fingers and flounces around. Suddenly, the doors burst open and some weird old fucker bursts in with a cop. Said old fucker (don't know his name, but imagine a cross between cranky genre vet Kevin McCarthy and Brother Theodore) is from a group called DOPA, the Decently Organized People of America. He, of course, wants the school shut down. Instead, the cop asks Allison out on a date. Furious, old fucker storms out, vowing revenge.

TV bit actor Tom Moses (Kolchak, McCloud, What's Happening) shows up soon after wearing a red leather outfit reminiscent of mid 80's Eddie Murphy. He plays cards with Buck and ends up loses his pizza delivery van in a bet. Buck sees it as a way to go 'legit', and hires his stripper students as his pizza delivery girls. Eliot takes the orders over the phone.
"Kiss your ass?" He says, to one angry customer. "Well golly gee, don't get romantic now, I'm doing business!"

Meanwhile, Weird Old Fucker (who I will now refer to as WOF) is home with his drunken wife, who runs a choral group. Said group is a trio of porn stars dressed up like conservative southern belle types. They sing some off-key hymnal - the only lyrics are "Purity, purity!" while WOF fondles them.
"You must sing from your diaphragm," he slithers in a phlegmy croak to one of the girls, while gingerly groping her.
"But I don't wear a diaphragm!" She tells him.

So, Buck's girls attempt to deliver pizzas, but it's a disaster. People hate his pies because he only makes them with pineapple toppings. They hate them so much, in fact, that they routinely assault the delivery girls. Gail Harris returns from one run with the pizza box stuck around her neck, her eyes crossed like a just-punched cartoon and a ring of pineapple hanging off her nose. But there was one successful delivery, and it occurred during one of Blondie Bee's runs. Seems she accidentally popped her top while handing over pizzas to a group of frat boys. They call back looking for more.
"I don't give a fuck about your lousy pizzas," says Frat Boy. "I just want you to send that hot girl back over."

Always one to jump on a trend, Buck abandons the pizza delivery business and switches to a strip-o-gram service, which results in some of the most traumatic strip scenes ever committed to video tape. In one I will surely never forget, the stripper sits in a crowded doctor's office, clutching her stomach and moaning loudly. She finally gets the doctor's attention, and when he asks her what's wrong, she says, "It really hurts here, doctor..." and then reveals her breast. "And here!" She pulls out the other one.
"Oh doctor, now my crotch is burning, too!"
I'm not sure how this is supposed to be erotic. She looks like she's having a nervous breakdown.

Another strip-o-gram gone wrong occurs at an outdoor party. The bride hires Gail Harris to titillate her new husband, but when he gets a little too forward with her, his new wife hits him in the face with a banana cream pie. And then everybody starts throwing pies. And then the sweatpants black guy from the beginning shows up, wearing a poncho. He grabs one woman and body-slams her onto a picnic table. And then he drags her through plates of food. It's fucking crazy.

Meanwhile, Weird Old Fucker is sitting in a garbage can, spying on Buck. A woman comes along, dressed like a young girl. I think she's supposed to be prepubescent. He says to her, "Young lady, have you ever achieved spiritual absolution?"
"No," says the girl. "But I got my appendix out once. You want to see the scar, mister?"
"Oh, very much, my child. That's where the spiritual healing begins!"
The girl starts lifting up her shirt, but is called away by her mother. Thwarted, WOF curses the heavens.
"Why did you make me so good, Lord?" he asks, looking skyward.
"And still, you keep shitting on me!"
On cue, a bird shits in his eyes.

I sound like I'm just making this all up as I go along now, but that whole sequence really happened. Anyway, as the film rushes towards it's climax, WOF sets up a sting operation on Buck's girls, but they turn the tables on him. Dressed like a cop, Allison humiliates WOF who, at this point, is stripped down to his boxer shorts, begging her for sex. The real cops show up, and, thinking it's another stripper in disguise, WOF tears open the female officer's shirt, revealing two massively over-ripe melons. That one you can't really blame him for, though. After all, she was wearing high heels.
"You'll get 20 years for this stunt!" She says, jamming her gun in his crotch.

At this point, WOF's besotted wife and the three chorus girls are the only women in the film that have not appeared naked. As WOF is carted off to the pokey, they rectify this situation.
"At last!" Says wifey, tearing off her dress. "Now I can go for a fuckin' swim!"
Still singing "Purity, purity", the religious chicks strip down and jump in the pool as well.
And then Col Sanders, straddling an inflatable alligator, swims by.

While I am pretty sure that this film was made with the expressed intent to get Buck Flower laid, I am not so sure it was ever intended for public consumption. It looks more like a lost weekend than a movie, like a dazed community theater group dosed on LSD spiked punch working out their deep-seated sexual insecurities in an extended improv exercise. 70% of the film is made up of harrowing strip scenes, and the rest is unfunny, sub-Vaudeville yucks. But those are minor quibbles, really, because Party Favors may in fact hold some record for bared breasts in a non-sex film. I mean, there's a staggering amount of toplessness in this thing. That may have little bearing on modern audiences, but in 1987, this would have been an unholy grail for lonely teenage goons skulking around the video store in search of R-rated skin.

The very definition of Bad Fun, Party Favors is a mess of a movie. It's clammy, weird and witless. But the girls are uniformly gorgeous, and they absolutely abhor clothes. You owe it to the teenage you to watch this oddly titillating abomination. Pants most definitely optional.


Don't know if there ever was a trailer for this movie, so instead, courtesy the seriously awesome Up All Night Videos Blog, here is a minute and a half of the Weird Old Fucker and a cheerleader.

Bonus: The girls of Party Favors...

Candie Evans starred in nearly a hundred adult films in the 1980's. A Candie Evans website is still active, although it doesn't appear that she's involved in it at all. At last report, she was married with children and very much beyond the sex trade.

If you're interested in seeing Candie in action, here's a scene with Peter North from...ahem...1986's In Search of the Golden Bone.

Although she never performed onscreen with anyone except for her boyfriend, Tony Montana (!), button-nosed Blondie Bee (AKA Blondi) was one of the most popular porn performers of the mid-late 80's, due largely to a body toned to perfection by a strict workout regiment. Last known sightings were in the mid 1990's, when she was performing in Foxy Boxing matches at the Tropicana in Hollywood.

Here's a clip of Blondie Bee in 1986's Satin Seductions.

Bubbly Brit actress Gail Harris (AKA Gail Thackery) started her career as a Page Three Girl, but moved to Los Angeles in the early 1980's. Her first forays into movies was as a stunt person, but she soon starting acting in low budget comedies and horror films, eventually earning a 'scream queen' tag for her performances in films like Sorority House Massacre II, Hard to Die, and The Haunting of Morella (all 1990). Her last acting credit was for 2006's Street Monk; latest reports have her working in Larry Flynt's corporate offices.

Availability: Party Favors is available on VHS.
Buy Party Favors from Amazon.
-Ken McIntyre


  1. I was production manager on this film. I still haven't figured out why we did it either.
    Ron Holmstrom

  2. Oh man, we've got to talk about it someday!


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