Written by: Carroll Jenkins on April 28th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1975
Director: John Peyser
Writers: Arthur Marks, Bob Peete
Cast: Tiffany Bolling, Aldo Ray, Ray Danton, Francine York, Jennifer Ashley, Jaime Lyn Bauer, Andrew Prine
DVD released: April 28th, 2009
Approximate running time: 93 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono English
DVD Release: Dark Sky Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Since we learn both the identity and motivation of the killer before the opening credits finish rolling, this is a thriller rather than a mystery or giallo. It does have iconic touches that would become staples of the slasher genre: the glint off the open straight razor, the harassing phone calls to intended victims, but the film gives far more attention to the stalking of the victims than it does to the actual kills. There is little gore but lots of both tension and nudity.
Suspense is maintained by focusing on three victims in turn, effectively dividing the film into distinct story arcs. The pre-credits sequence deals with the disposal of the already slain Miss January. Apparently the only member of the cast with artificially enhanced assets, or perhaps rigor mortis attacks breast tissues first. February is next, but there are many twists and turns and assailants including a Charles Manson-ish ‘family’ and a lecherous Aldo Ray. Miss March goes to a photo shoot on a secluded island, her group (including additional models) dropped off by an ill-tempered Mike Mazurki. A detective, Jeremy Slate (The Born Losers), warns Miss April that she may be in danger, so she takes it out on the lam.
The featured ‘centerfolds’ are played by Jaime Lyn Bauer, Jennifer Ashley (Pom Pom Girls), and Tiffany Boiling (Candy Snatchers). Jennifer gets the eyeful award and Tiffany the acting kudos. There are lots of ancillary characters with most of the females contributing to both the nude scenes and the high body count. But the film could not work as a serious thriller without a believable villain, and does so with the creepy and deadly serious performance of Andrew Prine (Simon, King of the Witches). Add a great script and tight editing, the result is classic exploitation fare.
Shot on 16mm and blown up for theatrical projection, inevitable grain is present. Some damage as well, but this is sourced from the original camera negative. Extras include interviews with cast members, two theatrical trailers (nude and non), TV spots (both very short), and a radio spot.
The Centerfold Girls is a sleazy and scuzzy thriller that delivers way beyond its ‘movie of the week’ production values. From the radio spot, “It’s loaded with suspense. It’s loaded with girls.” That is to say the least.