Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Girl With the Hungry Eyes (1967)

Directed by William Rotsler
Starring Cathy Crowfoot, Vicky Dee, Pat Barrington, Scott Avery
Rated R
USA

"I was a little drinky-drunky."

William Rotsler (RIP) was a science-fiction super fan who supplemented his career of drawing cartoons for SF mags with the odd dip into softcore, sexploitation, and melodrama. Hot on the heels of the more well-known (although no less turgid) Agony of Love (1966), Rotsler wrote and directed this woozy, wrong-headed snoozer about an snarly butch lesbian and her tender girl-toy. It wobbles precariously between half-assed morality tale and balls-first exploitation, but never really commits to either. So what's left? Mush, pretty much.

Kitty (Vicky Dee) and Tiger Cat (Cathy Crowfoot) are a couple of lez-leaning hot tamales cruising the highway in their hot rod. They pass by clean-cut Tom (director Rotsler), who is standing on the side of the road, watching steam rise from his clunker of a car. At Kitty's behest, they stop for him and agree to give him a lift to the next town. Kitty, clearly the bi-curious one, plies him with booze. Before long, she and Tom are sucking face in the passenger seat while Tiger drives on, quietly seething.

Finally, she has enough of this hetero bullshit, and stops the car at the edge of some woods. She tells Tom to get out, but to her horror, Kitty goes with him. They tromp off into the forest, and proceed to make sweet late 60's love in the grass.

Jealous lover Tiger follows them and watches from afar, alternately fantasizing about whipping Kitty's naked back and stabbing Tom to death with a knife. Eventually, she can take no more. She grabs a large rock and smashes Tom's skull in with it.

Kitty's a little shaken up, but Tiger reminds her of all the horrible men in her past, and then assures her that everything's going to be just fine. They go home and Tiger prepares for Kitty's birthday party, while Kitty takes a long and soapy shower, and ponders about Tiger and Tom and whether she's really happy in this controlling relationship.

And then she flashes back to her time with previous boyfriend Brian (Scott Avery), a harmless bearded chubbo who she seemed to like pretty well. So what happened to Brian? Who knows? Tiger probably chopped him and fed him to some wild dogs.

And so, the birthday party. Seems nice enough. Cake, champagne, lesbians, cigarettes. Everybody seems to like the cigs better than the cake. Dunno why. Maybe lesbians really like a good smoke. Things heat up later on when a one of the girls (Pat Barrington, Orgy of the Dead) strips down to her panties and dances around. The party ends early, however, when a butch chick hits on Kitty, and Tiger decks her. Unable to cope with the sudden burst of birthday party violence, Kitty takes off, running down the street in a vain attempt to get away from her new lesbianic life.

Tiger chases after her, but Kitty appears to be long gone. The spurned lover knocks on doors all over town, asking lesbians with crazy haircuts if they've seen her girl, but no dice.

Meanwhile, Kitty goes to see her old beau Brian. Turns out he's not dead, just sort of a douchebag. Kitty bawls and spills the beans about Tiger's attack on Tom. The bearded know-it-all responds by explaining to her about how lesbianism is doomed to fail.

"That way is destructive, not constructive," he says. "It's death, not life." And then he tells her he's made of puppy tails and dreams. He's not that helpful a guy, really.

After zooming around all day, Tiger finally figures out where Kitty is. She bangs on Brian's door, and when he answers, she assaults him with a switchblade. So he punches her in the kidneys, and knocks her the fuck out. The end.

So, clearly there's a 'moral' here. And the moral is: All Lesbians are Evil. Also, All Men are Beasts, but at least they're, you know, normal beasts. Welcome to the 60's!

Although it started out strong, hinting at a no-budget, Sapphic-centered Faster Pussycat cop, Girl With the Hungry Eyes quickly devolves into a series of long and pointless flashbacks that pad the running time, but do nothing to advance the story. It's not particularly sleazy or lurid, either, especially given the era it sprang from. It does, however, prominently feature the exquisite bosoms of Vicky Dee - to say nothing of her still cutting-edge, two-toned punk-chick haircut - so that's something. It's not much, but it's something.

Girl With the Hungry Eyes is available from Something Weird Video.

- Ken McIntyre

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