Friday, November 19, 2010

The Taming of Rebecca (1982)

Starring Sharon Mitchell, George Payne, Stella Stevens, Velvet Summers
Directed by Phil Prince
Rated X

"You piss on my floor and you steal my fuckin' pin? And you're gonna go to the cops?!"

Oh, The Taming of Rebecca - you scab-encrusted, pus-infested time capsule of cinematic perversion and depravity. What can be said about a movie found in both serial killers Steven Pennell and Jeffrey Dahmer's video collections, and who spearheaded the Meese commission's attack on the adult industry as one of the prime examples of extreme, offensive pornography? Well, probably not much, but I'm going to give it a go anyway. So "nanny nanny boo-boo" to you - and enjoy.

Although quite notorious for it's content - and to a good degree, rightly so - I can't say that the film deserves as maligned a perception as it is given. Yes, the scenes intend to offend and feature terrible and grotesque subject matter, but all of this is dealt with in a manner that - as far as I care to believe - is done firmly with tongue-in-cheek sensibilities. Think early John Waters doing a hardcore horror film, and you'll start to get an idea of what to expect.

What sort of person would choose to orchestrate such a filthy opera of obscenity? In this particular case, the dubious honor goes to none other than Phil Prince, The Prince of Porn. During his heyday, Mr. Prince directed some of the roughest "roughies" of "Golden Age" porn, including such titles as Dr. Bizarro, Kneel Before Me, Tales of the Bizarre and The Story of Prunella.

In 1985, Mr. Prince was incarcerated for armed robbery and subsequently paroled in 1988. The claim from Bill Landis of Sleazoid Express that Mr. Prince is currently serving 25 years to life for murder appears to be conjecture at best. Details are sketchy, but it does appear that Phil has indeed made public appearances in recent past and perhaps even directed a few titles under an alternate name. This would be a difficult task to accomplish whilst being in prison, I assume, but who am I to judge?

Whatever the truth may be, all of these tidbits are merely a digression from the real task at hand: painting a shit-smeared portrait of this vicious classic. Since Ken (The King of Podcasting AKA Sleazegrinder) prefers a non-penetrative photo spread (most likely due to the fact that his Sunday School class follows the MAG site, shall we say, religiously), I will be forced to use literary flourish to highlight the debauchery contained within that which is called The Taming of Rebecca. You have been warned.

Looking much like an ABC Afterschool Special, The Taming of Rebecca begins with the titular Rebecca (adult film legend and founder of the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, Sharon Mitchell) hightailing it out of her unassuming suburban home and hopping in the old hoot ride to find a phone booth (remember those?).

Upon finding said talk box, Rebecca calls up her main homegirl, Miss Zorda (Stella Stevens; or Stella Steves is you're the guy who did the credits on this) at the bad kids home to share the lurid details of her torturous home life. Miss Zorda proclaims, "Sex?! With you?" as Rebecca explains what her father has been doing to her. Quite understandably, Miss Zorda urges Rebecca to seek refuge with her and the other at-risk teens.

With a safe home waiting, Rebecca hits the road. As she drives, flashes of her sexual abuse molest the screen and John Carpenter's iconic Halloween theme plays (as it also does during many of the sex scenes), setting the tone of the film nicely.

Now in the caring hands of Miss Zorda, Rebecca recounts the event that led her to leave her dysfunctional home. We, the viewer, are the unfortunate recipients of a visual reenactment of the painful mistreatment poor Rebecca endures at the hands of her father.

As the flashback begins, we see Rebecca's father (David Christopher AKA "Pussyman") sitting atop the toilet butt naked, jerking and waving his flaccid penis around half-heartedly for what seems like an eternity as he shouts for his daughter to pay him a visit. Enter Rebecca.

In a nutshell, the scene plays out as such: Rebecca fellates her father on the crapper in a manner in which the kids nowadays call "quasi-blumpkin stylee" or something, they make sexual intercourses in various positions, he spanks her until her butt is red (which really isn't that hard to do), gives her some toothpaste in super-slow motion, and at long last, she makes pee pee on his wiener parts - all the while her father goes about muttering things to her that I'm pretty sure are not suggested in parenting classes.

After Rebecca is finished sharing her TMI moment with Miss Zorda, the kindly old lady takes Rebecca to meet the other delinquents that she will now be sharing her time with: Saundra, Barbara, Cindy, John, Paul and Bob (Velvet Summers, Cheri Champagne, Ambrosia Fox, Ron Hudd, Tony Mansfield, and Jamie St. James, respectively).

Now that Rebecca has met her peers, it's time to introduce the Dean of Discipline himself, Mr. Minindao (played with maniacal brilliance by George Payne and his amazing hair) -"whom we all love and adore." - and his tag along secretary, Linda (Niko). Without a moment's repose, the domineering dean lays down the law. "Just keep in line, and do everything I say," he slurs drunkenly. He then singles out Rebecca and Saundra to pay a visit to him in his office when Miss Zorda is through with them. Having satisfied his desire for control and power, he and Linda leave to finish their "reports". And by "reports", I think they mean "sex".

After a semi-erect, outrageously oily vagina'd, drug fueled expression of love in front of an American flag, it's time to take a peek at what the "kids" are up to. It just so happens that the gang are all hanging out in the bedroom, chatting about Mr. Minindao's sex cave where he takes the girls for punishment. All that talk about sexual violation gets the group in the mood for love so they proceed to have an awkward, undulating gang bang. Paul then gets the hankering for partial fisting, so he pulls Barbara aside and works himself knuckle deep as the gang look on with slightly inquisitive expressions. Just then, Mr. Minindao and Miss Zorda burst in.

The dean totally blows his top at seeing this audacious public display of affection and for some reason takes out his aggressions on Rebecca and Saundra - commanding them to go to his office.

Mr. Minindao sees Rebecca first, being that she's the new girl and perhaps needs a little extra attention paid to her. He bends her over his desk while telling her how things are going to be and proceeds to penetrate and whip her with his cat o' nine tails. Sex is then had and Rebecca is sent on her way after the requisite slo-mo cumshot.

After Rebecca receives her taming, the dean calls John and Saundra in. Upon retrieving a large safety pin from his desk drawer, he commands John to stick it in Saundra's nipple. John scoffs initially, but is soon coerced into doing so.

The pain and embarrassment of this causes Saundra to make piddle all over the dean's office floor, which totally pisses him off. Saundra then runs out of the room crying.

Much controversy has been made regarding this scene, but truthfully, I don't find it all that mysterious or shocking. First off, it appears that Velvet Summers nipple is already pierced and, even if it wasn't, is nipple piercing really that big of a controversy? The liberal amount of blood on her chest afterwards is obviously an add-on (nipples don't bleed that much, generally) and there seems to be little expression of genuine pain on her face or evidence that this was done against her will - besides maybe the all-so convincing pout on her face as she stands before a mirror examining the safety pin in her nipple, which she has yet to remove for some reason.

Mr. Minindao's secretary Linda comes in and plays the kind and caring card, leading Saundra away to the dean's cave. Linda then reveals her true colors and forces some rug munching dominance on poor Saundra ("Come on, lick it! Get into it!").

While said munching is being administered, the dean comes storming in and sadly, things get worse for Saundra. He berates and intimidates her viciously, culminating in a sex scene that is made all the more unarousing by the dirt and grit stuck all over Saundra's butt as the dean pounds away at her.

Now, I don't want to be the jerk who ruins the ending for you, so suffice to say, the film concludes with Miss Zorda, in a cave, with the gun - much like a Clue board game accusation. As illustrated below, the dean seems to be pretty stoked about how things turn out. Or maybe he's just completely fucking insane.

As far as an official DVD release of this fine, filthy film goes, word from the streets is that Alternative Cinema are now the proud owners of many of Avon's classic line-up. Whether or not The Taming of Rebecca is one of those titles is something I've yet to be made aware of, but I am definitely atwitter with excitement at the possibility. My main concern is the uncertainty in regards to rights and whether the original soundtrack will have to be altered for a legitimate release. I have my doubts that Brian Setzer or John Carpenter are willing to clear their music for this movie, but I also have a very pedestrian knowledge of copyright legality, so stranger things could happen, right?

Until or if this film is to see an official DVD release, you can find it through the usual sources out there in the intertubes - and I highly recommend to do it ASAP. As my wife said when I read her this review, "That sounds like something I don't want to watch." And what higher praises can be sung about a movie, I ask you? None, that's what.

- Jeremy Vaca

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