The first roughie and the work of Herschell Gordon Lewis and producer David F. Friedman, Scum of the Earth! tells the story of Kim Sherwood (Vickie Miles, AKA Allison Louise Downe, who was also in several other Lewis movies like She-Devils on Wheels), a college girl She-Devilshe wrong way and ends up trying to pay her tuition with glamour photos. But you know how the road to hell goes. It ends up going deeper and deeper, with Kim getting blackmailed into doing more and more explicit photos and dealing with sexualized violence, which is pretty insane for 1963.
Shot in six days and filmed in the same Miami locations that Blood Feast stained, it was made in black and white so that it would look filthy, like some kind of smoker film that would start turning on some old cigar smoking men before turning on them and shocking them with its willingness to make its sex violent. There’s also the matter of Sandy, another older girl, and her willingness to put the young Kim through all this so that she herself can escape.
Lewis — and Friedman — were the kings of talking you into the theater. They blessed this movie with some of the best taglines ever, like “Hell is their only address and they offer you a cheap substitute for fulfillment … in exchange for your soul!” and “Depraved. Demented. Loathsome. Nameless. Shameless. These are the Scum of the Earth!”
Lewis also knew how to write some dialogue, with stuff like “All you kids make me sick! You act like little Miss Muffet and down inside you’re dirty, do you hear me? Dirty! You’re greedy and self-centered and think you can get away with anything. You’re no better than the girl who sells herself to a man, you’re worse because you’re a hypocrite. And now little Miss Muffet is in trouble and she’s all outraged virtue. Well you listen and you listen well, you’re damaged merchandise and this is a fire sale.”
This was beyond hot stuff in the early 60s. Now you can stream it into your home. Times have changed.
You can watch this on Tubi.