Sweet Savior (1971)

The man named Matt Cavanaugh who wrote this doesn’t exist. It’s really Willie Gilbert, the author and playwright. Once he left Cleveland for New York City, he discovered that his physician Jack Weinstock shared his dream of being a writer. They wrote for nightclub performers, Broadway reviews, on early TV shows like Howdy Doody and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and shared two Tony Awards for 1962’s How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.

The team also wrote the plays Hot Spot, Catch Me If You Can and were working on The Candy Store when Weinstock died. Gilbert went on to work for Hanna-Barbera, where he worked on The New Scooby-Doo MoviesThe Amazing Chan and the Chan ClanSuper FriendsThe Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone and Yogi’s First Christmas. He died in 1980.

Somewhere along there — let’s say 1971 — he wrote this movie, which is about the kids of today. You know, in 1971.

Also known as The Idiotic CoupleFrenetic Party and The Love-Thrill Murders, this movie has some awesome poster copy: “Six states wanted them jailed. Eight torture victims wanted them dead. All the blood freaks wanted was one more night… of the most brutal orgy in history!”

Director Robert L. Roberts doesn’t have many credits, other than Michele and the DeviceThe Big Man and Patty, a movie in which doctors and experts sit around and discuss the Patty Hearst case. That movie was released in hard-X, soft-X and R-rated versions and starred Jamie Gillis. If you don’t think I’m on the hunt for this movie right now, you don’t know me.

Sandra Barlow (Renay Granville, who is also in the aforementioned Patty) is looking for kicks. Sex and drugs, baby. Balling! Yes, this is another movie that uses balling, a  word that I am desperately trying to bring back into vogue; please help me!

She hires Moon (Troy Donahue, a 50’s and 60’s matinee icon who was in Man of a Thousand Faces, the TV series Surfside 6Imitation of Life and then dropped out, appearing in movies like this and Seizure. Perhaps you’ve also seen him in Dr. AlienShock ‘Em Dead or Cry-Baby, where he played Mona “Hatchet-Face” Malnorowski’s dad), a Manson-like drug leader who has more on his mind than sex and drugs for the big party.

Donahue said some amazing things in the press about this movie. “I play Moon, a religious creep who murders a lot of people, a real heavy trip. But I don’t want anyone to think I’m playing it in some phony exploitation flick that takes advantage of the Manson case to make a fast buck. I don’t like many things, man, but I dig this picture… We’re trying to show both sides of the problem. The Hollywood glamor society is as guilty as the depraved hippy cults. They pick up people on the Sunset Boulevard and tease them. When they made fun of Manson they picked on the wrong guy. I was up at the Tate house. It was a freaky scene. Sure I met Manson at the beach playing volleyball.”

He also predicted that this movie would be as bigger as Love Story.

Tallie Cochrane, who plays Ruth in this movie, shows up in all manner of 1970’s sexploitation, like Girls for RentThe Centerfold GirlsThe Candy Tangerine ManIf You Don’t Stop It… You’ll Go Blind!!!Track of the Moonbeast (which she also did make-up on), Hollywood High and Frightmare. She also did voiceover work and ran a casting agency for the New York City adult film industry in the early 1970’s.

There’s also a scene where Fritzi gets ready to have sex with a male member of Moon’s gang, exclaiming, “Haven’t you ever heard of science? I’m a woman and I loved cock so much I just had to have one for myself. I went to Sweden and got this off a sailor who is now a woman. Get with the times.”

This is the kind of movie where a famous actress has an apartment that looks like it’s somewhere out in the suburbs and has a swinging party that looks like the kind of potlucks that my parent’s church social club used to throw and I’d hide in the basement so I didn’t have to hang out with any other kids, when all I wanted was to sit in my house and watch Hammer movies on a Saturday afternoon.

I love this movie. It’s pure scum and invites the thought that the people that the Manson Family killed were just as invested in the sex and drugs scene as the Creepy Crawlers who started the Year of the Fork. Quentin Tarantino screened this at the New Beverly before Once Upon a Time In…Hollywood came out and it makes a scuzzy companion piece to that film.

Unfortunately, this movie has never been released on DVD. I blame Troma, who has the rights, but then at least I didn’t have to watch a Lloyd Kaufman introduction to this movie.

1971 I love you. You are at the end of the hippies, hiding inside your home, freaked out by the acid you once took, releasing movies like The Night Evelyn Came Out of the GraveDaughters of DarknessSimon King of the WitchesThe Abominable Dr. PhibesDon’t Deliver Us From EvilVampyros LesbosThe Strange Vice of Mrs. WardhA Lizard In a Woman’s Skin and so many more astounding films.

Troy Donahue giving speeches about God not being dead to suburbanites fried on acid who are due to be killed at his hand? This movie was made just for me.

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