The Bad Movie Report

Kiss Me Quick!

Own It!

As this reviews concerns such matters as nekkid wimmin, it is, of necessity, suggested for mature readers only. We would therefore also like to steer our younger readers in the direction of more wholesome fare, like Story of Ricky or The Gates of Hell. These only contain violence, which is much better for you than the sight of titties.

As a writer, ideally you wish to shed new light on subjects or write about things no one has yet illuminated; so it's particularly sigh-worthy when you find that sentence, that one line of description you wish you had written. That you cannot possibly improve upon. So you wind up either appropriating it (not very sporting) or quoting it. I'll quote it, from Frank Hennenlotter's typically excellent liner notes for the Something Weird Video DVD of this flick:

"They were called Nudie Cuties and they were undoubtedly the stupidest films on the face of the earth. ...Seen today, the average Nudie-Cutie looks like a dirty movie made for little boys."

I suppose some background is in order, just in case you don't follow the same strange movie subcultures as I do.

Bettie....... Page........We should start in the 50s, with the curious creature called the burlesque movie. Burlesque houses were perhaps the last, wheezing vestige of vaudeville - they featured (sometimes) daring striptease acts interspersed with baggy-pants comedians spouting jokes that were ancient in Shakespeare's day. Burlesque movies attempted to replicate an evening at one of these fine establishments. The best-known examples these days are Striporama and Varietease, mainly because they include an understandably popular young model named Bettie Page.

Cameron... Diaz..... oh my God, i just drooled on my keyboard.Looking back on these movies, it's hard to determine the allure, especially from the lofty heights of 2001, when it is nearly impossible to open your e-mail's inbox without at least one instance of "Come See The Teeny Sluts!" briefly appearing on its way to the recycling bin. In accordance with the law of the land at the time, you see in these movies little that the WB or Fox couldn't get away with on an average sitcom; G-strings and pasties hardly cover less than the bikini Cameron Diaz wears in Charlie's Angels.








I'm sorry for the pause in writing there. Having mentioned Bettie Page and Cameron Diaz in practically the same sentence, I had to go take a cold shower. Where was I?

Sophia Loren!  Gasp!  My heart!Ah, yes. Burlesque. Though there were burlesque houses operating through the 60s (possibly even the early 70s), their movie counterparts did not last nearly that long. Just as the Crusaders brought back spices and notions of mathematics from the Holy Land, returning veterans of WWII's European theater brought back some strange Continental notions; distributors imported movies featuring notable ladies like Bridgette Bardot and Sophia Loren. Though not featuring significantly more skin than the existing adult cinema, they dealt with sexuality in a much franker fashion, and the art house movie subculture was born. The Angry Young Man movement was slowly mutating into the Beat Generation, and the influx of European movies, examining life with a more unvarnished, unflinching attitude than any Doris Day/Rock Hudson vehicle, provided much grist for the conversation mill, daddy-o (Bardot and Loren were really keen to look at, too. Still are, as a matter of fact).

Seeking an equally frank avenue with which to compete with the Euros, the American contingent revived the nudist movie, which actually dates back to a few occurrences in the 30s. Semi-documentaries about nudist colonies (frequently masquerading as propaganda for the nudist way of life), these featured seemingly endless scenes of naked people playing volleyball, sunbathing, picnicking... all with their backs to the camera, or wearing shorts, pubic hair and genitalia still being a no-no. In short, they are boring, even for "adult" films (we'll get into the boring aspect later). Nudist films are historically important because one of them, Garden of Eden (by all accounts, particularly boring) was the center of a 1957 Supreme Court decision that determined that nudity, per se, was not obscene. Though the floodgates did not open, it was the thin end of the wedge for the adult film community.

Ticket sales for the nudist movies started declining as folks figured out how boring they were, and about 1959, somebody had the brilliant idea to combine the burlesque movie with the nudist film and came up with the nudie-cutie. Apparently, this person was none other than Russ Meyer, who created The Immoral Mr. Teas, in which the titular (huh! huhhuhhuh huh!) character recovers from anesthetics only to discover he has the ability to see women naked, which undoubtedly leads to hilarity (of a sort). This gimmick was appropriated by heaven only knows how many other producers, in a trend that would last the next six or seven years.

The rules of the nudie-cutie are simple: Show as many women as naked as possible, within the no pubic hair constraint. Include one or two men to ogle them, serve as audience substitutes, and crack lame burlesque jokes. Do NOT let them interact. Though they may speak to each other, physical contact of any sort is verboten. Males and females are hardly ever seemingly in the same room, and when they are, it is as if a force field separates them. The operative word here is naughty, not explicit. Explicit would come later, and that is a tale for another time. Given the objectifying treatment of women the nudie cutie entails - and the men hardly come off any better, they just keep their clothes on - there is never a real human emotion involved.

So. Like the man said: The Stupidest Movies On The Face Of The Earth. And one of the most kindly considered of these stupid movies is Kiss Me Quick.

Woo!  Futuristic!Kiss Me Quick begins with a voice-over by the "Fantasy Films Fantasy Girl", who reads the opening credits over footage over women's faces(of these ladies we shall be seeing much more in the near future). They are all moving their heads about in a sultry fashion, exuding mock rapture (no, Robert Palmer videos did not invent this sort of thing). Whenever the name of the movie crops up, the lady in question opens her eyes, stares at the camera and moans, "Kiss me quick!" Meanwhile, all I can do is think how about how Truffaut totally ripped off this movie for the beginning of Fahrenheit 451.

You're not missing much by not having written credits to read. Strippers usually employed stage names, and the credits which are not nom de guerres are perceptibly fake: Witness "Directed by Seymour Tsuchis".

There is a swish-pan across some out-of-focus Christmas tree lights on a wall somewhere and science-fiction sounds... wait! We must be in space! And thus we find ourselves in the Council Chamber of the Great Glom. To continue the Christmas theme: do you remember those floodlights that had a wheel attached to it - the wheel had four different colored gels in it, so as it turned, your tree was bathed in different colors, making you ooh and aah? You don't? Young punks! Hmph. Anyway, the Great Glom has one of those, so he's all futuristic and stuff.

Makes you wanna cry, doesn't it?The Great Glom is the ruler of the Buttless Galaxy, and currently he is lambasting Sterilox, one of the inhabitants of the planet Droopeter (these are the jokes, folks). Sterilox is played by Frank Coe (billed as "Fatty Beltbuckle") doing a very good Stan Laurel impersonation, which will soon become rather tiresome. The Glom is giving Sterilox one last chance: tired of doing everything themselves, the single-sexed Buttless people are looking for servants. So Sterilox is being teleported to Earth, where there are two sexes. The Glom is particularly interested in the sex known as women, as he understands that "These women make ideal servants if you train them properly!"

We should pause in our breathless recounting of the Buttless Conference to point out if you are looking for anything approaching Political Correctness, you are not only in the wrong genre, you are in the wrong year. Over in the world of legitimate cinema, James Bond was rescuing Pussy Galore from the dark side by exercising his Superior Scots Manhood. Hell, there was a major character named Pussy Galore! This is the cauldron from which Women's Rights would eventually emerge; things will not improve as the movie progresses.

In any case, Sterilox is tasked with teleporting to the laboratory of a certain Dr. Breedlove, there to study this phenomenon of femininity and find "a perfect specimen" with the goal of bringing it back to Droopeter to "perpetuate a servant class". Accepting his mission, the sappily smiling Sterilox vanishes, leaving behind only a puff of smoke and a boom mike.

Meanwhile, in the lightning-illuminated (and patently cardboard) castle of Dr. Breedlove: we receive a slow pan of his laboratory: a shelf holds a skull and a human hand, among other odds and ends. And just to prove that this is a mad scientist's lab, there is also a Jacob's Ladder zzzzz-ing away and many flasks full of colorful liquids. Someone doing a fairly good Peter Lorre imitation exposits for us:

"High in the mountains of Broadislavia, in the secret castle retreat of Dr. Breedlove, a strange experiment is taking place! Something so strange and so terrifying that it could rock the entire world! Every master spy and secret organization is trying to steal this fantastic device- THE SEX MACHINE!"

Kissme in the grip of the sex machine!The sex machine is in use at this point, by one of the Doctor's creations - Kissme (Jackie!), a blonde, um, bombshell (I guess). While the sex machine's lights flash and sci-fi noises are made, Kissme writhes on a tabletop and takes off her clothes. This should not be boring. Yet it is, as many of the strip numbers in the movie will prove. As the scene progresses, and Kissme becomes progressively nuder, the lights flash more quickly, the meep moop sounds become faster. Yet, I yawn. Perhaps it is because the only audio accompaniment is the sci-fi sounds. It's certainly not the creative camera work by future Oscar winner Laszlo Kovacs, which fills the screen with great vistas of flesh. I dunno. Where's the fast forward button?

Hee hee!  I'm mad!Well, the skull on the shelf pivots on its stand to regard the squirming Kissme, and intones in that Lorre voice, "Cool it, baby!" (Hey! The skull was doing the narration all this time!) Enter Dr. Breedlove (Max Gardens, billed as Manny Goodtimes). Breedlove is based somewhat on that year's Dr. Strangelove (the movie's original name was Dr. Breedlove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love, but that was judged lawsuit bait). The Doc wears dark glasses, a neck brace, and his left arm is a black leather-garbed limb seemingly with a mind of its own. His makeup is a simple layer of gray greasepaint with lines drawn in eyebrow pencil! (Watch the lines change from shot to shot!) And Gardens plays him with a marvelously consistent Lugosi imitation. Something is fiercely wrong when I find this guy a whole lot more interesting than the nearly naked woman on the slab.

Anyway. Breedlove is angry that Kissme is once again using the Sex Machine without his supervision. "One day you're going to sex yourself out of this world!" Kissme puts on a bra (allowing me to make screen caps) while Breedlove prepares for his next experiment. This involves handing a bubbling dry ice cocktail to his "Sex Bombs", three topless women named Boobra (Natasha!), Barebra (BeBe!) and Hotty Totty (Claudia!) (What, no Mumm-Ra? No, wait, that's a good thing). Supposedly the drink will tranquilize them, but at Breedlove's command to "Mix it up!" all three grab flasks and begin dancing to wanton 1964 go-go music!

Never mind the bollocks, here's the Sex Bombs!Um. Dancing. Uh huh. Let's see. Natasha, as Boobra, is in the center and is the featured dancer for this segment. As she does not dance so much as strike poses, I had thought she was more likely a photographer's model than an actual stripper; come to find that she was a stripper of some popularity. Then, there's no evidence that the girls actually had this or even any music on the set... The two ladies flanking Boobra dance to the extent that they move their torsos, causing their breasts to flail about in all directions. This is disconcerting - it looks painful, but there is no mistaking their enthusiasm. Barebra, the redhead, gets to take center stage after Boobra's act, and she does the go-go act well. Hotty Totty, the blonde, however... well, she frequently looks confused as to what move should come next, then simply goes back to bouncing her boobs. None of the ladies ever quite manage to avoid looking at the camera.

Yet this is somehow my favorite part of the movie; it is deliriously stupid. Breedlove commands, "Boobra! Put your feathers back on before you catch cold!", and she complies - but it's one of those strange stripper items of "clothing" that looks like a hula skirt made out of feather boas. Yep, that'll keep her warm. The frantic library rock music continues to wail as the women gyrate and Boobra loses her feathers again. "It seems to be having the opposite effect!" muses Breedlove. "Perhaps I shouldn't have used so much sex fizz!"

Into this - um - idyllic - setting appears Sterilox. Kissme takes an instant liking to the alien, embracing him and commanding him, "Kiss Me Quick!" "Kiss your what?" is the clueless alien's reply. Sterilox relates his mission to Breedlove: to study this phenomenon known as Women, and to seek the Perfect Specimen. "You mean, you have no women on Buttless?" queries the incredulous Breedlove, before looking directly into the camera and asking, "And we're trying to beat the Russians into space?"

Mom!  Noooooo!For the first possibility of a perfect specimen, Breedlove activates one of his more advanced experiments, a robot-like lady who comes to life upon the activation of the Sex Machine and (predictably) takes off her clothes. I don't know if it's because the lady seems more mature than the others, or her hairstyle, or the gray sweater she's wearing, but the effect is like that of watching somebody's mother strip off. This is at the same type creepy and remarkably alluring. Not helping is Breedlove revealing his manifesto during her strip:

"I am seeking a formula that will transform an ordinary obnoxious woman into the perfect specimen - a female who is kind, considerate, and capable. A gorgeous creature whose only love and concern is for her master - a woman who lives to take orders and do whatever her man tells her..."

I told you it wasn't going to get any more PC. (Note from the portion of my brain in charge of maintaining testosterone levels: Goodness, this woman is certainly well-endowed! End of message.)

Rar?Sterilox is unimpressed by this, and at this point who should crop up but the Frankenstein Monster. Or, in keeping with tradition, simply Frankenstein. Or, as Breedlove insists, "Fannie Stein," a sex change experiment. The Sex Bombs have at it again, with Breedlove's approval. "Dance, my little Sex Bombs! Whirl, you little dervishes!" The monster stands in the middle of the gyrations, letting out with the occasional "Rar!", until Hotty Totty climbs up him and commands, "Kiss Me Quick!", causing the monster to flee in terror.

Breedlove teleports the Sex Bombs to the pool (says the Peter Lorre skull: "Hey! Bring back the broads!"), so they can "cool off before they explode!" He and Sterilox then turn to the castle's closed-circuit Peeper Vision to check out the prospective experiments in "Catacombe (sic) 69". "Looks like a school for gladiators," exclaims Sterilox. Considering that what we see is a dimly lit room with a swing and a bunch of those passive exercise machines that were popular in the 50s and 60s, the Buttless version of Spartacus must be very strange indeed.

That's the set-up, and what follows is Sterilox and Breedlove watching different women disrobe in different venues, while they exchange witty... well, while they exchange banter, anyway. The boredom sets in seriously for me again; the music becomes the more typical piano bar white noise you usually hear in the background of these things, and not even the return of the Sex Bombs (frolicking in an obvious kiddie pool) can re-engage my interest. It is far too easy to walk into the kitchen and make myself a sandwich. I can hear Sterilox and Breedlove's stand-up routine from the kitchen, after all.

TV's Frank and Dr. F:  The Early DaysIt's been said that after watching pornography for five minutes, you want to have sex immediately; after watching it for ten, you never want to have sex again. Rutting is repetitious, therefore the triggers also tend to be repetitious. We have to assume this was hotcha-wow-wow hot stuff at its time of release, otherwise no tickets would have been sold and no strip films would have been made past the first few. Each woman's act takes about five minutes - the movie itself is barely over sixty minutes, yet it all seems twice that. It's not because the women are of a far more zaftig demeanor than is the cultural demand these days (I was never really a fan of the stick figure supermodel look), but everything is so languid, it only serves to point up the sheer pointlessness of the proceedings. No wonder the Sex Bombs' opening number is so fondly ensconced in my mind's eye: madly wiggling and smiling, they're only ones who seem alive, to actually be having fun.

Any other fun to be had is rarely, unfortunately, from the girls; Dracula crops up (and breaks a tooth on Sterilox). One of Breedlove's creations dresses like the Mummy and is called "Selfish - because she's all wrapped up in herself!" ("I have to bury all my possessions every night just to get her to go beddy-bye!") And Sterilox eventually finds his Perfect Specimen: The Duz-All Vending Robot Butler, which shines shoes, makes coffee, dispenses beer and heaven only knows what else - all for 25 cents a pop. Disgusted with the Buttless creature, Breedlove returns to his lab. Sterilox pops in one last time to say good-bye, before he leaves with the Duz-All, and the service representative of the Duz-All Corporation - no other than Kissme. Knowing that the wily Kissme will straighten out the Buttless race - though undoing millennia of evolution is gonna take divine intervention - the smiling Breedlove wishes them farewell. And to end on an even happier note, just before they teleport, Sterlilox grabs Kissme and says straight into the lens: "Well, how damn dumb did you think I was?"

Bela's lesser-known cousin, Shlomo.It's likely the memories of these sequences which has held Kiss Me Quick! in high regard for all these years. Produced at the height of the monster craze engendered by the Shock Theater TV syndication package, which exposed a new generation to the joys of the Universal horror cycle, the movie has a novel blend of monsters and mammaries unmatched by even its closest relative, The House on Bare Mountain. The movie still looks pretty good, thanks to Kovacs' slumming camerawork and a general level of professional competency. Producer Harry Novak had worked with RKO in its glory days, and Breedlove/co-director Max Gardens owned and ran several burlesque houses. These men knew the ins and outs of entertainment. Novak and Coe, in fact, are still in the production biz.

In a week or so, heaven, hell and my work schedule permitting, I hope to examine the aforementioned House on Bare Mountain, and contrast its approach to the subject matter. Another week of watching naked women over and over again. How will I manage?

"Let the Wookiee win!"The times have most certainly changed since 1964, and Kiss Me Quick! is best examined with the same cocked eye and wry smile used when watching World War II propaganda films with their subhuman Nazis and Japs (you don't even have to go back that far - watch Rambo and note that the Viet Cong are actually W.W.II Japs and the Soviets are Nazis). We can't claim that the belittling second-classing of women is strictly a relic of the time, though - that's a fight that's still being fought. Ten years or so after this, ABC showed a pilot film called Planet Earth, Gene Roddenberry's second unsuccessful attempt to market Genesis II. John Saxon played a 20th century man adrift in a significantly different future earth. The civilization he encountered that week had - gasp! - women as the ruling class! Of course, Saxon and his cohorts had, by the end of the movie, returned things to their proper "natural" order. I would have been only about fifteen or so at the time and I still knew that was bullsh*t.

But almost 40 years after the movie's release, there is an unintended, creepy undertone to Breedlove's comments; most, like the one quoted above, make him seem either a dittohead, a fundamentalist that has read The Surrendered Wife one too many times, or a serial killer. When he says to the Sex Bombs, "I had you abducted here forcibly, to my castle, but you will see it is for your own good," it's hard not to shudder and recall Kiss The Girls.

Probably not really kosher.Which brings us to the final jaw-dropper offered by Kiss Me Quick! After the departure of Sterilox and Kissme, Breedlove becomes morose, wondering when? When will he ever find his Perfect Specimen? The Peter Lorre skull informs him that the new shipment has arrived, and opening a nearby hatch, naked woman after naked woman is wheeled out, as Breedlove affixes labels on each: Prime, Choice, Reject (and, in the case of the sole woman wearing panties, Kosher)! It is the very antithesis of the Politically Correct. And it could be shown at meetings of militant feminists as a meeting closer, as it would work the troops into a lather and send them out into the streets to Kill! Kill! KILL!



A Strange Example of a Strange Genre.

- July 22, 2001