APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Behind Locked Doors (1968)

April 23: Regional Horror — A regional horror movie. Here’s a list if you need an idea.

Also known as Any Body…Any Way, this movie was exactly what I wanted it to be: fucking weird.

When Terry Wilson (Joyce Danner) and Ann Henderson (Eve Reeves) go to the middle of nowhere for a barn party, Ann is nearly raped but saved by the middle-aged, British and oh-so-strange Mr. Bradley (Daniel Garth). They ditch the party and Ann’s man, but then run out of gas because otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie.

In the middle of nowhere, they walk up to a house — on the suggestion of a drifter (Ivan Agar, Laughing Crow from Shriek of the Mutilated) who is more than he seems — that just so happens to belong to Mr. Bradley and his sister Ida (Irene Lawrence). They have no phone and their car isn’t working either, so they stay for dinner and a bed for the evening. Ida needs the company. She’s been there for two years, ever since her mortician brother retired.

So why are there bars on the windows? Why did their door lock behind them? Why are the closest filled with women’s clothing of all sizes? Why would Terry pick this exact and terrifying time to finally get sapphic with her office buddy?

The Bradleys wake them up and let them know that they’re in control and must play their demented games with them or end up like all the embalmed bodies in the basement. Mr. Bradley just wants to discover the perfect way to make love, so if he has to tie up women and then kill them, that’s how his laboratory of libido operates.

I mean, this is a movie that starts with fifteen minutes of go go dancing in a barn — I played in a band that practiced in a barn and it’s hard to sing when all you can smell is shit, so I can’t even imagine go go dancing while smelling cow feces — and ends with that same barn and Ann going off with the guy who tried to rape her and Terry finding another young lady to enjoy a game of flats with. Yes, I used a 17th century term — lesbian sex was thought to look like two playing cards rubbing together — in this article. I bring you quality euphemisms, my friend.

Did you not see the signature of Harry Novak hanging above this? Behind Locked Doors came from director and co-writer Charles Romine, who would go on to make Mysteries of the Gods, while producer and uncredited co-writer Stanley H. Brassloff made one of the most upsetting of all softcore movies, Toys Are Not for Children.

This movie looks way better than it should with great lighting and bright colors and a room full of gorgeous and very dead women — or are they? — posed seductively, along with an off the rails room destroying catfight and an ending that blew my mind, as deceased denizens of the strange mansion come back for one last dance with brother and sister into the inferno. This is the kind of movie that makes you stay for all that barn dancing and you wonder, “When does it get weird, Sam promised me it would get there” and when it does, you’ll text me and say, “I can’t believe that this is a real movie.” Well, it is, pal. It sure is.

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