DEATH GAME: Little Miss Innocent (1973, 1987)

We’ll get to Death Game later today, but what’s amazing is that that film has been made so many times, including this movie, which came out years before Death Game itself.

Little Miss Innocent (1973): Directed by Pittsburgh native Chris Warfield and written by E.E. Patchen — potentially from a draft of Death Game that was making the rounds at that time — Little Miss Innocent begins when Carol (Sandy Dempsey, who appeared in more than sixty adult films and used just as many names; there’s a theory that she died in a boating accident at the age of 26 that has never been proved correct) and Judy (Terri Johnson, who was also in Flesh Gordon) are picked up by record producer Rick (John Alderman, Superstition) in his fancy convertible.

Judy is a virgin, a fact that Rick didn’t know. Seconds after he takes her, Carol shows up and makes love to him. It’s nearly any straight man’s fantasy, except that the girls are insatiable and while that may make a great title for a Marilyn Chambers movie, it’s another thing for a man in his late 40s to live up to.

Rick expects the girls to leave but they end up moving right in, which seems fine if strange at first, but Carol also has a mean streak that starts showing up. All Rick wants to do is sleep on the couch, his Penthouse Forum letter seemingly out of control as the biological humor of men being out of their prime as they age being displayed throughout. The girls’ carnal needs have sapped him of his ability to work and even stay awake, almost vampiric in their need for continual gratification.

With camera work by Ray Dennis Steckler and second unit direction by George “Buck” Flower, this is a curiosity that goes beyond just being IMDB trivia fodder. Despite the girls blackmailing him and claiming to be underaged, Rick is suffering under the male delusion that he is the alpha in this situation, continually bedding two attractive women. Yet again, what should be a dream is shown to be a nightmare, as that very alpha nature is sapped. Every orgasm needs a refractory period that takes longer and longer for him, an issue the girls never need to deal with. Performing under the pressure of being arrested can’t be good for the libido either.

Warfield didn’t fall out of love with this story. In 1987, he’d remake the film under the same title, keep the same song and much of the script, only going all out with the hardcore — and then some for some straight and uptight men — with Eric Edwards playing Rick, Summer Rose as Judy and Sheri St. Claire as Carol.

Originally released by Vinegar Syndrome, Little Miss Innocent is also available as an extra feature on the new release of Death Game from Grindhouse Releasing.

Little Miss Innocent (1987): Writer Chris Warfield believed in his pre-Death Game remake — yes, somehow that’s possible, theories abound that he knew of that film’s synopsis and made his first — that he made a second version of it, this time an all-out adult version with actual sex.

Judy (Summer Rose, who was active from 1984 to 1994 under the names Vicki Drake, Heather Martin, Heather Dawn and Goldie) is a runaway new to Los Angeles that meets up with Carol (Sheri St. Claire, an AVN Hall of Famer who now grooms dogs) to visit the home of Rick (Eric Edwards, a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York who was handed his degree by Helen Hayes; he acted in adult from the 60s through the 90s starting in stag loops and making his way through the VHS era), a musician who lives in the Hollywood Hills. After one night of passion during which Rick deflowers Judy, then makes love to Carol, then both and then, just like in the original Little Miss Innocence, he loses the battle of the sexes.

Where the original film only hinted at the debauchery the girls put him through — Carol says to Judy that they have already gone through all the things that men and women can do with one another — this goes so far to have Carol peg Rick, an act that many in the mid 80s — even today — would see as emasculating and sissifying. It certainly takes the domination the two girls unleash upon him to another level.

This was directed by David DeCoteau the same year he made Creepozoids and Dreamaniac a year before he’d almost exclusively move from adult to mainstream horror. Unlike so many adult remakes, this is not played for laughs or simply sex — although all three performers are quite adept — but instead it tackles the very same themes as the source film and uses the langauge of pornography to further establish the exhaustion and destruction of its male character.

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