Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Swinging Barmaids

Despite the sexy title and an advertising campaign stating that the title maids enjoy “big tips” and let the “customer come first,” THE SWINGING BARMAIDS is actually a crime drama, albeit a skeevy one. From director Gus Trikonis and producer Ed Carlin, who also made NASHVILLE GIRL, MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS, THE STUDENT BODY, and THE EVIL together, this film was released by Premiere Releasing Organization as a follow-up to the similar THE MANHANDLERS and MAMA’S DIRTY GIRLS.

Television guest star Bruce Watson (he was in the first STAR TREK ever telecast) tears into his role as misogynist serial killer Tom Brady (!), who travels across the country, donning (laughable) disguises and murdering (hot) cocktail waitresses. He also enjoys arranging their nude corpses and taking photos of them. Now in Los Angeles, his latest victims are the ladies of the Swing-A-Ling, where he scores a gig as a bouncer. Fresh meat includes Susie (Katie Saylor, star of TV’s FANTASTIC JOURNEY), Marie (Renie Radich, seen in THREE THE HARD WAY), and Jenny (Laura Hippe, a Scientologist who committed suicide in 1986). In charge of the case is police detective Harry White, played by the great drive-in star William Smith (BLACK SAMSON), who usually played the psycho in these types of films.

Brady’s scheme to work at the Ring-A-Ding, which is packed with sexy barmaids, is pretty clever, as it allows him to listen in on the girls’ plans to catch the killer. Undoubtedly, working two days on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and ADAM-12 episodes didn’t allow Watson to cut loose, so he takes advantage of the R rating and Griffith’s sleazebag character to engage in some bonkers acting. Watson really isn’t that good, but in the context of this film, he’s pretty great, particularly when he gets angry listening to the barmaids insult a killer he proudly claims is some sort of criminal mastermind.

Written by the often witty Charles B. Griffith (LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), THE SWINGING BARMAIDS has a steady slew of crowdpleasingly graphic murders, some nudity, and clever dialogue, but the story could have used more work. Watson is first seen wearing an (obvious) fake blond wig and beard, yet witnesses describe him as having dark hair. Later, a witness tells White the suspect was driving a green Kawasaki, but the police bulletin asks officers to be on the lookout for a Honda.

Still, Trikonis delivers a decent body count and thoughtfully directs Watson to rip off the women’s tops before killing them. The actors appear to be doing most of their stunts. One victim is Dyanne Thorne, just before she became a drive-in queen as Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. Also appearing is bad comic Dick Yarmy, Don Adams’ lookalike brother, playing a bad comic. Motion Picture Marketing later released THE SWINGING BARMAIDS as EAGER BEAVERS.

1 comment:

English Teacher X said...

Wow, thanks for sharing, I found it online. That is indeed awfully sleazy, if not quite as sleazy as 10 TO MIDNIGHT or RAPE SQUAD (AKA Acts of Vengeance--apparently some people though the title RAPE SQUAD was a bit inflammatory.)

Seems like they also would have wanted something a bit more similarly shocker / thriller oriented for a title. "Avenging Barmaids" perhaps. Maybe they'd just already drawn up the posters and had to use them.

But there's just no excuse for "Eager Beavers."