Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman (1975)

Directed by William A Levey
Starring Dyanne Thorne, Jay Rasumny, Samual Mann
Rated R/XXX

"Remember: only screw with suckers."

The mysterious William A Levey (RIP?), frequent co-conspirator of sexploitation pioneer Harry Novak, has one of the most incredible directing resumes ever. He is responsible for blaxploitation/horror mash-up Blackenstein (1973), a retro-teen sex comedy starring Debra Winger's boobs (Slumber Party '57, 1976), a roller-boogie epic (Skatetown USA, 1979), a seriously low-rent Black Stallion rip-off (Lightning, the White Stallion, 1986), and a biker flick/slasher hybrid starring Horshack from Welcome Back Kotter (Hellgate, 1988). How can one man be responsible for so many bizarre visions? To quote scream queen Tara Cardinal, who was talking about a far lesser light than Mr. Levey, "He's either a genius, or he's not."

I guess that one's up to the ages, but I'm betting on the former.

Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman
is probably Levey's looniest concoction, and that's saying something.

Sexy sci-fi flicks weren't a new idea by 1975 - witness Flesh Gordon, Space Thing, 2069 A Space Odyssey, Zeta One, Barbarella, Nude on the Moon, etc. - but nobody thought to add that one extra ingredient to the boobs n' spaceboots mix: non-stop, unrelenting vulgarity. Also, the palpable sense that the people making the film you are watching are bug-fuck insane. Oh, and rape. That was new, as well. Throw all that in the mix, add lots of tits and a couple of aliens in silver hotpants, and you've got the enigmatic madness that is Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman.

Private Asshole (Jay Rasumny) and Private Jackoff (Sam Mann) are two foul-mouthed cadets from Planet Urine (Listen, the humor's not going to get any more high-brow, so if you want to bail now, I understand) sent to Earth to impregnate as many females as possible, since Urine is due to get sucked into the sun in 500 years. They figure they'd better start early on their invasion. So, off they go, in a spaceship that looks like a potato chip bowl with a Star of David on the top from the outside, and a garden shed wrapped in tinfoil on the inside.

They touch down in Hollywood, and immediately hit the streets, looking for action. They wear glam-rock outfits and have over-sized monster heads, but it's Hollywood at the height of the glam/disco era, so nobody pays them much mind. Well, one guy shakes his fist and yells "Fuckin' drag queens!", but they are mostly left alone.

They spot a place that looks promising: Wild Mary's brothel. They head inside - invisibility cloaks on - and spy on folks as they pay for sex.

There's a wide variety of tasty morsels on deck, including Janice Karman (instantly recognizable from her role as Bunny in Switchblade Sisters, and currently the voice of Theodore in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies!) and, somewhat alarmingly, Ilsa She Wolf of the SS herself, Dyanne Thorne. Thorne had a long history as a singer/dancer/comedy performer, but most of the world knows her exclusively as the cruel and icy-cold Ilsa, so it's a real brain-twister to see her here, as the befuddled hooker chosen to bust Private Jerkoff's human-female cherry.

Turns out aliens have winking eyeballs where their penises are supposed to be. So that's weird. Also, instead of penises, they have tongues that pop out of their noses. She deals with it. A buck's a buck.

Meanwhile, at a local make-out spot, Billie Jo (Anne Gaybis, Fairy Tales) romances a sailor that she is either going steady with or is mistaking for some other guy. Hard to say which, since she calls him by half a dozen different names.

The aliens spy on her amorous backseat adventure and decide that she'd make good breeding stock, so they zap her up to the ship mid-coitus to finish her off.

Having sufficiently balled their first Earth women, the aliens take a nap. When they wake up, their commander, Colonel Putz, tells them to get back to work, but to watch out for "faggots", because they're no good for breeding purposes. Putz has problems.

And then there's Marvin. Essayed by the awesomely named Pepi La Rue - who, sadly, never acted again - Marvin is a red-headed, molester-mustachioed bag o' bones who gets lucky, for once in his miserable life, when his frumpy bride suddenly turns into a glamorous, sex-charged vixen over breakfast. Marv and wifey get it on, but then Private Asshole accidentally zaps a naked Marvin onto the ship instead of his missus.

They work it out, though. After they have sex with Marvin's wife, they go to the movies. Jerkoff thinks they might get to ball some Hollywood starlets. Asshole is doubtful.
"All we'll see is a bunch of gays," he says. And that's exactly what happens.

After meeting their first gay- and deciding that he was sorta cute - the two aliens strut around Hollywood Boulevard in their silver hotpants, deciding on a movie to see. Asshole wants to check out Deep Throat, but Jerkoff snaps at him: "There's no time to masturbate, we have to fornicate!"

Their stroll doesn't really get them anywhere, however, so they head back to the ship and watch the making of a porn movie on their super-futuristic surveillance device. It's actually a very long set-up for a lame gag. See, the director of the film is gay, and the girl in the boy-girl scene he's directing is a lesbian. So nobody's happy, and the scene isn't working. They break for lunch. He goes off to fuck the lighting guy, and some hot chick shows up and has sex with his starlet. After lunch, everybody's happy, and the scene is a success.

Pretty funny, right? At least it ends in some decent girl-on-girl action.

And then, Private Asshole gets VD. Colonel Putz suggests that he "suck on some pussy", but then relents and lets him come home to get some Uri-cyllin. Turns out their home planet looks exactly like the Hollywood Hills. Imagine that!

"6 days later", Private Asshole is feeling much better, so they head back to Los Angeles. Did you know that if you look at the Earth from space, it's got the names of every place printed right on it? That's got to be very convenient for space travelers.

Ready for another ironic sexual switcheroo? White-fro'd Mr. Hardy is rebuffed by his wife, Gloria. He pretends to leave in a huff, announcing that he's going to the gym to "Play with himself", but he really goes upstairs to bang his maid, Suzette (Sandy Carey, Naughty Stewardesses). Meanwhile, as soon as hubby leaves, Gloria calls for her butler, and has awkward 70's sex with him. What a crazy set-up!

Naturally, the spacemen beam the two girls up and have alien nose-sex with them. At one point, Private Asshole gets so excited that his tongue pops right out of Suzette's mouth and starts spewing what looks like dirty toothpaste. So that's pretty wild.

Later on, a high school girl in a mini-skirt and knee-high socks (Gayna Shireen) is strolling through the ghetto when she's kidnapped by a John Holmes-looking creep who takes her to an abandoned building, cuts off all her clothes with a knife, and rapes her. Midway through, the spaceman beam her up. Are they saving a damsel in distress? Nope. They rape her, too. And then they send her back down so that the guy can finish the job.

I know. That sounds horrible. Here's the gag: when she gets back to Earth, she is somehow empowered by the intergalactic rape, so she grabs the knife and forces herself on the guy. She turned the tables on him, see? Funny, right?

Holy smokes, Mr. Levey. Dunno what you were thinking with that bit.

After that debacle, Putz tells orders his men to go to the middle east and "Fuck some local cunts" for their last mission.
Cut to: tent, interior. The Shiek (Ray Miles, Satan's Black Wedding) is busy putting the moves on a fast-talking slave girl with a hillbilly accent (toothy beauty Joyce Gibson, Linda Lovelace for President). She distracts him by calling on a belly dancer (Anisa Gluzan), and while said dancer does her thing, the slave girl escapes.

Also, for some reason, Russ Meyer girl Haji is in the tent as well. She wanders off.

The shiek's left with only one girl (Valeria Nicorre), so he rolls around on the ground with her, but the spacemen beam her up for "One last piece of ass and some 'sponge gumming'."

What the fuck is sponge gumming? It sounds horrible.

Anyway, they send her back, but she doesn't end up in the shiek's tent. Oh, no. She lands someplace far more wonderful!

Boy, are you in for a treat with that scene.

And then there's a final gag. The end.

Ridiculous? Yep. But then again, so were the mid 1970's. So in that respect, it's an almost perfect distillation of the times. Remember, these were the days when hardcore was sorta mainstream, when guys wore big gold medallions and showed off their chest hair, when disco dominated, when swingers' clubs were in full swing. Everybody was really into fucking and UFOs and mustaches, and Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman has them all. I was only six years old in 1975, but still, this is exactly how I remember it.

There are two versions of this film out there - hardcore and softcore. I've never seen the triple X version, but seeing as half the fake-fuck scenes here involve popular 70's exploitation actresses, it must be pretty amazing, at least on the celebrity skin level. I can't imagine you could actually masturbate to it, though. I mean, every frame of this film is completely retarded. Oh, boners will be popped - there's half a dozen gorgeous and frequently nude starlets on full display here - but this is more of a berserk performance art piece than porn. It's like a Passion Play as performed by half-naked lunatics from the local asylum.

In other words, it's fucking awesome.

Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman is available from Something Weird Video.

- Ken McIntyre

1 comment:

  1. Aweseome film and package from Something Weird. And who was Gayna Shireen and where can I find here today?


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