Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Girls Next Door aka Teen Lust

James Hong, one of the busiest Asian character actors in the history of Hollywood filmmaking, earned his first acting credit on television in 1955 and was still performing sixty (!) years later.

He also found time to direct a handful of movies, including the X-rated HOT CONNECTIONS and this R-rated teen sex comedy that played under many titles. It first came out as THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (the Elisha Cuthbert comedy of 2004 is no relation) in 1978 as a star vehicle for the lovely Kirsten Baker, better known for wearing a tight Mickey Mouse tee in FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART 2.

It’s very strange and often in bad taste, even for this genre. The rambling storyline includes a rich retarded kid with whom all the neighborhood mothers try to set up their daughters, an attempted gangrape by a bunch of grade schoolers, and heroine Carol’s (Baker) dysfunctional family, including an oblivious drunk mother and a lecherous father (who turns out to be not only not her mother, but also an impotent virgin!).

I don’t know what to make of the uncomfortable scene in which Carol (“You’re tearing me apart, Mom!”) confronts her mom about her drinking. Serious drama done poorly or satire of Afterschool Specials? It’s a perfect example of Hong’s unsteady direction, though the film deserves credit for being weird, if not particularly good. Hong knows what his audience is looking for, though, and he delivers it: plenty of nudity, drug use, pop music, and silliness.

Robert Gribben (HITCHHIKE TO HELL) and Michael Heit (BARE KNUCKLES) play cops. Male lead Perry Lang did Spielberg’s 1941 and Sam Fuller’s THE BIG RED ONE right after this. Hong’s film bounced around drive-ins through much of the 1980s under such titles as HIGH SCHOOL TEASERS, POLICE GIRLS ACADEMY, MAMA NEVER TOLD ME, and — most notably — TEEN LUST. The Internet Movie Database claims Jewel Shepard is in it, but that may be because she’s one of the models on the HIGH SCHOOL TEASERS one-sheet.

No comments: