Friday, January 16, 2009

Teenage Pajama Party (1977)

AKA Pajama Party
New Wave Pajama Party
Sharon's Sex Party
Directed by Jim Clark
Starring CJ Laing, Sharon Mitchell, Terri Hall, Susaye London
Rated X

"I'm gonna fuckin' cut ya!"
"Haha, what?"

It's a chicken and the egg sort of situation, really. What came first...dopey R-rated sex comedies, or dopey X-rated sex comedies? That's a question for the ages, I suppose, but throughout the 70's and 80's, guys like Clark, Chuck Vincent, Gary Graver, and Robert Houston churned out an endless supply of lightweight T&A flicks that could go either way, really. Teenage Pajama Party, for example, was re-released years later under the hilariously misleading title New Wave Pajama Party, with most of the hardcore snipped out. Other films had unrelated hardcore clips added in, usually to the horror of the non-porn actresses involved. Crazy times, man. Teenage Pajama Party arrived a little earlier then most, so it still smacked of early 70's grindhouse scuzz. Clark clearly aimed for art here, but landed squarely in the gutter.

A quartet (sextet? The amount seems to change a few times) of giggling girls, clearly in their 20's but dressed in babydoll dresses and pigtails to suggest a teenage (or pre-teen, depending on how creepy you are) innocence, are having a sleepover. Mom and dad (David Debin and Carol Field, a 20-something woman in a gray wig) leave for a night out on the town, trusting Barbi (Barbi James) and her friends to conduct themselves in a sane, civilized manner. This does not happen.

As soon as mom and dad split - and I mean seconds later - the girls are stripping off their clothes and dancing around to a bizarre instrumental version of David Bowie's Fame that mixes the song's pop-funk guitar with a bleating, death-drone Moog synthesizer. It's probably just some crazy fucker mashing the primitive synth's keys over a loop of the original song. Maybe they were trying to mask the fact that they stole it, because there's no way, given the ugly dimestore look of things, that they paid for licensing. Anyway, it's fucking weird.

The girls eventually slip on sheer nighties and settle down, but their evening is suddenly disrupted by a phone call from The Sheik (some uncredited middle-aged zero who looks suspiciously like Barbi's dad) who grunts into the phone and makes lewd, Black Christmas-y comments about "Ripping the girls legs apart" and stuffing 'em with his ghastly junk until they are "screaming in agony with blood running down their legs."

The dude appears to have some dark foundation make-up smeared on his face, and he's dressed in a filthy wifebeater and grungy boxer shorts. As he threatens the amused girls, he masturbates, his smallish-to-average sized penis nearly swallowed up by a thick roll of bellyfat. Said masturbation is shot in almost 3D style angles, as if Clark wants us to imagine that stubby, middle-aged member poking us right in the eye. The Shiek spews his clam chowdery goo all over the phone receiver as the girls laugh. What the fuck am I watching?

Cut to: Disco singer/soap opera actor/gay porn star Wade Nichols (RIP) as an altogether more palatable sheik with a Chester-molester mustache and a $10 tent. He bangs Barbi. The Moog goes fucking nuts on the soundtrack. Afterwards, we return to the party where the girls, now fully worked up by the creepy phone call, start making calls of their own. Sharon Mitchell (looking much prettier and less severe than her razor-thin, lesbian-haircutted 80's persona) calls some fireman, and in yet another dream sequence, former ballerina-turned-cock gobbler Terri Hall (RIP) and Candy Love, both dressed in rubber goggles and manning hoses, double team a guy in a fireman's hat (Robert Kerman, who would, like Wade Nichols, later graduate from porn stud to mainstream actor). It's a pretty psychedelic scene for 1977 and it ends, sorta surprisingly, with the girls squatting over the dude's face and peeing on him. Puttin' out the fire, I guess. And then Candy Love waddles away like a duck. Bananas.

You get the idea, right? One-time pornstress Priscilla Major, being sorta zaftig, naturally calls up a soda jerk and then imagines him eating an ice cream sundae out of her furry nether regions. That's probably why she never made another film: frostbitten vadge.

Then everybody lezzes out, and Susaye London calls up a pimp (Gilbert Palmitier) who she then imagines having sex with. While she's already having sex with Sharon Mitchell. Insatiable! Later on, CJ Laing does flips and fucks some dudes. Whatever. It all ends with mom and dad coming home to find the girls fully-clothed and snoozing away like angels. Roll credits, although not enough credits to tell you who was jammin' on that Moog.

Jim Clark shot the vastly superior Debbie Does Dallas a year later, which sorta rendered this one moot. It definitely feels moot. The fucking poster makes you think you're in for a good time, filled with laughs and hot girls, but all you get is grubby sex in weird costumes, a fat asshole making obscene phone calls, uncalled-for peeing, and Sharon Mitchell proudly displaying a Rosannadanna-esque afro. Half the cast is now dead and the rest are delusional or in hiding.

In summation: Yes, boners were popped. But they were shameful, confused boners. Oh, and I liked the dancing. And there was a tuba solo during one sex scene, so that was cool. And Candy Love looked pretty cool with the goggles. Maybe it was alright. I just have a hard time relating to movies without at least one rubber chicken joke.

Availability: Teenage Pajama Party is available on DVD from Alpha Blue Archives.

-Ken McIntyre

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