The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974)

The fact that a movie called The Swinging Cheerleaders (AKA Locker Room Girls and H.O.T.S. II) is so good rests on the fortune that this was co-written and directed by Jack Hill. It’s a movie that promises cheerleaders and sex. Sure, it delivers that. It also gives you a crime story, a tale of journalism and a wife so enraged by her husband’s infidelity that the one scene she shows up for is volcanic, ending with her screaming that she plans on carving her name into a girl’s anatomy.

Kate (Jo Johnston in her one-and-done role) is writing an article for the college newspaper about how cheerleading demeans women, so she joins the squad. Yet she soon finds herself bonding with the girls.

There’s Mary Ann (Colleen Camp), who wants her boyfriend Buck to stop sleeping around and marry her. Lisa (Rosanne Katon) is the one having an affair with a married professor. And Andrea (Rainbeaux Smith!) just can’t go all the way.

But there are bigger problems. All of the adults are betting on the football games, including the dean, the coach and Mary Ann’s dad, a local businessman. They’re willing to do anything it takes to keep their scam going, too.

Strangely enough, when this movie and The Student Body played a Dallas drive-in, Randall Adams and David Harris were in attendance and used the film as an alibi when they were investigated in the murder of Dallas police officer Robert W. Wood. When Adams said that he had to leave as he didn’t feel comfortable with the content, it led to his conviction. You can learn more in the documentary The Thin Blue Line.

I saw someone on Letterboxd say that “If Beyond the Valley of the Dolls was about college cheerleading, this would be that movie.” What a great way to explain this.

It’s totally not the teen sex romp you think it is, yet it has a scene where multiple people in a row all punch a security guard in the face, which should be a moment in every film.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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