This pair sleazefests live up to their titles. Both are produced by David F. Friedman the first being a poverty row flick and the second feature being directed by the schlockfather himself, Herschel Gordon Lewis. THE DEFILERS are two bottom feeders of the highest order and the SCUM OF THE EARTH is about a gang of teenage panderers led by a shady businessman.
Carl Walker Jr. (Byron Mabe) and Jameison Marsh (Jerome Eden) are the ne’er do well progeny of wealthy sires. They spend their days driving around and beach bumming looking to score girls and drugs. They do quite well for themselves rolling to the shore each with a pair of girls for their use and abuse. Jim seems to be the milder fellow though his eagerness to follow Carl’s lead is supremely unsettling. Carl is the cruel bastard who beats and abuses his girls and masterminds the plot to kidnap, sexually assault, and beat the lovely and naive Jane Collins (Mai Jansson).
Jane is new to Los Angeles and looking to make it as an actress or model. She doesn’t have any friends or family to support or endeavor or to miss her should she run into misfortune. These junior Ariel Castros scout out her apartment and then kidnap her and take her to an abandoned warehouse that is owned by Carl’s domineering father. The two then hold her there against her will forcing her to be their sex slave all the while humiliating and abusing her. It gets so rough that Jim is shaken back to his humanity and must try to stop Carl’s abuse.
The feature is surprisingly well made for being a low budget project with a cast no greater than 10…most of them bit parts. No doubt it is largely due to the capable direction and camera work of Lee Frost who also filmed THE THING WITH TWO HEADS, POLICEWOMAN, CHROME AND HOT LEATHER, and THE BLACK GESTAPO. The acting is sleazy and cheezy as is to be expected in poverty row pictures, but no performance would rate as godawful. The story is short, linear and to the point so this fast moving roughie has little time to lollygag. It’s a pretty good film representative of that genre.
Sandy (Sandra Sinclair) has been modeling for sleazy, self-loathing photographer Harmon Johnson (William Kerwin) and she wants out. Mr. Lang (Lawrence Aberwood) is head of the scheme and will let Sandy out but only if she acts as his recruiter for new talent. His right-hand man is also his connection with the teen community. Larry (Mal Arnold aka Faud Ramses in BLOODFEAST) is a teenage punk (?!) is an enforcer who also keeps photos to blackmail the models if they ever make a fuss. Lang gives Sandy the name of his next recruit, the pretty but prudish Kim Sherwood (Allison Louise Downe), and sends her off with Harmon to reel her in. Once she agrees she is pulled into the seedy operation and is as helpless as Sandy to escape it. Lang gives one of the most memorable speeches in sleaze cinema when he tells her “you’re damaged merchandise and this is a fire sale.” As things reach a fever pitch Harmon can’t take anymore and blows the top off the operation by killing one of the groups thugs. From there it shakes itself apart as Mr. Lang tries to escape Miami before it comes crashing down on him.
Overall SCUM OF THE EARTH is the more entertaining of the two flicks because it has more of a story and that story, though dark, isn’t as grim as THE DEFILERS. Much more is going on in the flick with more character development and more conflict. Downe is godawful as Kim though I’m not sure that if she is through a brilliant stroke of casting genius or just that horrible at delivering any lines with conviction. It’s fun to see familiar faces pop up in SCUM OF THE EARTH too. HGL regulars Kerwin, Arnold and Sinclair are all good and Aberwood is in fine form and having fun as he spits his lines with spite.
The Something Weird DVD is packed with trailers and two shorts, “Intimate Diary of Artists’ Models” and “Naked Fury.” There are also a lot of cool drive-in intermissions and a photo gallery. These two sleazy shockers are a must have for fans of Friedman and Lewis. Check ’em out.