Written by: Giuseppe Rijitano on May 24th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Date: UK, 1975
Director: Kenneth F. Rowles
Writers: Derrick Slater
Cast: Ina Skriver, Helen Bernat, Margaret Heald, Pauline Bates, Christianne, Derrick Slater, Jeanne Field, Sam Avent, Tony Doonan, Charles Erskine.
DVD released: May 24th, 2010
Approximate running time: 40 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Odeon Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 (PAL)
Retail Price: £12.99
A set of interweaving parallel tales about the dangers of hitch-hiking told in a pseudo-documentary style. Candid interviews with members of the public being asked about their experiences/opinions on hitching are interspersed throughout these sorry tales of a number of scantily clad, short-skirted, bra-less groovy 70’s chicks getting in trouble on the back roads of England. First up we’re introduced to a pair of naive hippy teenagers, on their way to Ashford Pop Festival, picked up by a lecherous old lorry driver that all but dribbles on his chin at his good fortune but is essentially harmless. No such luck for another pair of slightly more sensible looking girls that hitch a ride with a sports-car driving, leather glove wearing freak that keeps a dog-eared copy of ‘Prostitute’ magazine in his glove box along with his big knife. Driving them to a secluded spot he proceeds to chase, violently attack and rape both girls and leave them for dead. Cut to yet another couple of young female hitch-hikers given a ride by a stodgy looking businessman, it’s the hitchers that are dangerous this time though. Pot-head chicks in denim that need cash to fuel their weed habit; they rob the poor bloke and then stab him to death! And last but not least the true star of this film; Ina Skriver plays Suzanne, a Scandinavian girl reminiscing about her traumatic hitching experience. Told in flashback; Suzanne was on her way to meet her boyfriend in Bolton when she accepted a lift from a respectable looking couple (husband and wife) in a Rolls Royce, which unexpectedly led to a rapey drunken threesome in a cheap motel that left poor Suzanne ‘in the family way’ and eventually dumped by her boyfriend for being a slag apparently.
Described as ‘the most notorious British sexploitation film ever’ in reality this is a cheaply made, super-seedy, 70’s oddity that started out as a made for TV documentary style PSA/After School Special about the dangers of hitch-hiking. When director Rowles was informed that he could probably sell it as a cinematic feature if he were to add some more sex and violence he jumped at the chance. Opening at The Pigalle in London it was apparently somewhat successful and played solidly for 48 weeks. Thus it has garnered something of a legendary cult following over the years, only ever available in dodgy, poor quality VHS copies. A low-end Brit Last House On The Left then that really is only worthy of a chuckle or two over it’s unintentionally hilarious acting and ‘plot’.
A new transfer from the original 16mm negative, presented full frame. Instances of dirt and print damage aplenty but not distractingly bad, very nice image overall and this is as good as this film is every likely to look. The ‘restored original mono soundtrack’ is clean and clear.
Extras include a 20 minute interview with the director entitled ‘The Ups And Downs Of A Filmmaker – Simon Sheridan Meets Ken Rowles’, Sheridan being the author of ‘Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema’ and the like. He fairly gushes over Ken and proclaims this to be one of his favorite films of all time (methinks he hasn’t seen many films then).
Also we are treated to (or should that be cursed with) an aborted, never-before-seen TV series pilot from Ken Rowles; ‘Go Girl’. This 1972 production was to be a ‘high-octane mix of action, comedy, sexy girls, animation and music’ seemingly in the Persuaders kind of mold that was popular at that time. The liner notes accompanying this DVD state that this ‘had the potential to be one of the most innovative and successful series of it’s generation’ – some people really will say anything for money it seems as I’ve rarely been as bored with 27 minutes of anything ever in my life.
For hardcore fans of 70’s UK sleaze only!