Monday, January 11, 2010

The Babysitter (1969)

Directed by Don Henderson
Starring Patricia Wymer, George Carey, Kathy Williams
Rated R
USA

"Do you want a little drinkie? We're all having drinkies."
"Do you suppose I could have a big drinkie?"

Patricia Wymer was one of the many waif-y naked hippie chicks that sprang up seemingly from nowhere in the late 60's/early 70's, made a fistful of kicky/kinky b-flicks, and then just vanished into the ether like a fragrant plume of marijuana smoke. I suppose it was much like the modern age of pornography, which manufactures 'starlets' that burn bright for a year or so and then disappear.

Well, the porno girls all get sold off into white slavery rings. I'm pretty sure the 70's B-chicks just retired. Otherwise, same deal.

Miss Wymer made three films during her tenure as an actress: The Babysitter, The Witchmaker (1969), and The Young Graduates (1971). All three are well worth seeking out for trash-film enthusiasts, but The Babysitter is especially engaging, since it cleverly straddles several sub-genres at once. It's a black and white roughie, a teenage rock n' roll dance party, a biker flick, a doomed romance, and an overwrought melodrama all rolled into one. And all of it is anchored by the spunky, frequently topless Wymer, a five foot fireball who totally nails this tricky blonde-gone-berserk role.

Wymer toplines as Candy Wilson, a deceptively innocent-looking teenager making a couple extra bucks by babysitting for district court judge George Maxwell (exploitation vet George Carey, RIP) and his shrewish, bee-hived wife Edith (still-working character actor Anne Bellamy). While the uptight couple head off to their snooty cocktail party, Candy calls a bunch of her pals - including an entire rock band - and they have a topless go-go party in George's basement. Amazingly, Candy's able to hear the couple pulling into the driveway over the din of the fuzzy guitars, and she shoos away her naked buddies in the nick of time. The only thing that gives her away when sleepy George and Edith walk into the house is that she's missing her shoes.
She tells George that she left them in the basement, and when he asks her why she was down there, she fesses up, sorta: "Well, after you and Mrs. Maxwell left, I got on the phone and called some friends of mine. I mean, I didn't call any bums or anything, I called some really groovy guys. And they brought some axes over, and we just sat around and listened to the music and danced a little."
George is too tired to argue about it, plus she clearly chubs him up a little, so he shrugs off her indiscretion and offers to drive her home. Along the way, Candy starts putting the moves on the aging judge. He resists, of course, but still agrees to eat tacos and goof around with her. So they do that. Meanwhile, across town at ye old Nazi biker hangout, motorscuzz moll Julie (softcore queen Kathy Williams) laments the fact that Judge Maxwell is about to send her ol' man Larry (career nutball Robert Tessier, RIP) to the electric chair for killing a girl. One of the biker dudes casually mentions to her he heard a rumor about the judge's daughter Joan (Sheri Jackson, Wanda the Sadistic Hypnotist) being a lesbian. This would, apparently, be a career-ender in '69, so Kathy quickly plots out a blackmail scheme. Said scheme involves her showing up to the judge's house with a bikini and a giant camera to take pictures of any Sapphic goings-on. Seems valid.

The girl-on-girl action does indeed go down, but it's behind a 'frosted door', so Julie is thwarted. Curses!

Here's the thing, though. Stupid fucking George actually starts falling for flighty, scheming little Candy. She is amused by the old bastard, so she goes along with it, and the two make sweet love in motels and hammocks all over town.

He assumes he's being discreet, but he is quite wrong. Julie, always on the lookout for an angle, follows the illicit lovers to the beach, where she snaps many photos of the two frolicking in the sand. Then she calls the judge and tells them that she's got enough evidence to bring him down, so he'd better talk turkey with her, but quick.

George leaves the house in a hurry while his ever-suffering wife is left wondering what's gone wrong in their relationship. I should point out that the baby at the center of all this bullshit remains unseen, but is constantly referred to. Somebody's always saying, "Keep an eye on the baby, she's upstairs, still sleeping." Are you sure? Has anybody actually checked in on the kid? She's probably been dead for two weeks, but everybody's too busy with their philandering to notice. Anyway, he gets over to Julie's trash-strewn crash pad, and she reminisces about the good old days before her boyfriend Larry got nabbed.
"It was like he gave me wings," she coos. George, knowing what a piece of human filth Larry is, can only roll his eyes.

Julie demands Larry get off free and clear or she'll send the photos not only to George's boss, but his wife, as well. George tells her this is quite impossible, since it's very obvious that Larry committed the heinous crime he's accused of. And then they flash back to that one time when Larry tied a waitress to a tree and then slashed up her tits with a hunting knife until she died. So yeah, he's definitely guilty. Still, George tells her he'll think about it.

To make matters worse, Candy breaks up with him. She also refuses to help him in any way, shape or form, when he explains what just went down. So, life sucks for George.

But wait! Candy feels a last minute twinge of guilt - and also a burst of frightening blood lust - so she grabs a couple thugs and heads over to Julie's place to sort that conniving bitch out.

So, does everything work out OK in the end? Of course not. It was 1969, man. Ever hear of Altamont? Nothing worked out OK in '69.

Fun, well-acted, sleazy, violent, and fast moving, The Babysitter is well above the usual standard for late 60's grindhouse dreck. The only real complaint I can muster is that it's in black and white. Given all the naked hippy-chick asses and groovy outfits on display, this film would blow minds to bits in Technicolor.

The Babysitters' credits list "Don Henderson" as director, but Henderson was a actually pseudonym for Billy Jack actor Tom Laughlin. Don/Tom directed a trio of must-see exploitation flicks during his biker-movie phase. Besides this one, he also helmed A Touch of Satan (1971) and Weekend with the Babysitter (1971). Years later, he ran for president twice, once as a Republican, and once as a Democrat. Obviously, America is not ready to elect Billy Jack for president. Another pervy babysitter movie would great, though.

- Ken McIntyre

1 comment:

  1. I found this boring. The only sexy part was him oggling her legs as he drove here home and her saying "You're old enough to do anything with me". Other than that: zzzzzz... I was hoping for a scene where she puts his hands on her thigh, and slips it onto her inner thigh, where she gently opens her inviting legs to show her white panties - but no, nothing like this sadly.

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