Teen Lust: The Girl Next Door (1979)

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is the title given to the director’s cut of writer/director/producer James Hong’s TEEN LUST.  Carol, Neely, Hotrod, Perry, and Didi have recently graduated and are deciding what to do with their lives.  Carol’s slutty lush of a mother wants her to marry Dustin, the million dollar trust fund man-child living next door.  He spends most of his time playing with toy airplanes when he isn’t pissing in public or slobbering all over the place.  Her father is drinks from time to time and is fairly lecherous as he always asks Carol to “give daddy a kiss.”

Carol (Kirsten Baker from THE GAS PUMP GIRLS and FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2) and Neely (Lesley Cederquist) join the metropolitan police department’s Explorers program and are assigned to patrol officers who mentor them.  Officers Drury (Robert Gribbin) and Turner (Michael Heit-A.D. on ALICE GOODBODY) certainly intend to teach them a thing or two over summer.  Officer Turner wastes no time in in taking Neely into an abandoned training house and showing her his undercover routine frustrating Drury to no end as he tries to break in so he can teach Carol how he lays down the law.  Afterwards Carol is assigned to vice where she dresses as a prostitute in sting operations.  All along the way she tries to cope with her two timing boyfriend Terry (Perry Lang).

During her stint with the Explorers Carol’s flighty bitch of a mother tells her that her daddy isn’t her father and he’s impotent.  When she asks who her father is she claims to not know because Carol is adopted.  This sends the poor girl into an existential crisis which sends her to the altar even though she finds herself questioning not only who she is but her sexuality as well.  Things spin more and more out of control and culminate in the madcap backyard wedding.  

There are some crazy sequences in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.  Carol has an ad hoc intervention with her mother that is as funny as it is unsettling.  A conversation with the priest goes horribly awry as he tries to counsel her and shares something with her though she does not comprehend what he is saying at all.  The interactions with her father are seriously disturbing as there are incestuous undertones through out.  Once Carol thinks she is adopted it still seems creepy but ends up being really foul.  James Hong handles the film deftly producing a well constructed somewhat dark sex comedy having his actors play it straight and throwing in some sight gags for good measure.

The Code Red DVD is entitled TEEN LUST: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.  The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with English mono sound.  Included on the disc is the longer theatrical cut TEEN LUST, an audio commentary by James Hong, and the trailers for TEEN LUST and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.  The TEEN LUST is recut with more sequences though some dialogue is cut making the story flow less smoothly.  THE GIRL NEXT DOOR cut is much better and the transfer is from a better source.  Surprisingly there are no Code Red trailers included.  You can order TEEN LUST: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR directly from Code Red’s Big Cartel site.

Phase IV (1974)

PHASE IV is the only feature length film directed by Oscar winning title designer Saul Bass.  You may remember some of his work from title sequences such as SPARTACUS, SAINT JOAN, NORTH BY NORTHWEST to name a scant few.  PHASE IV greets us with some shots of outer space (must be heard with the echo for full 70s effect) and a voiceover narrator promptly tells us there is something weird going on and that the only thing affected were the ants… During a 6 or 7 minute sequence of ant activity a Richard Attenborough like narrator named Dr. Hubbs speaks some bio-babble at the viewer and proposes his plan of action.  To study the ants at the loci of this phenomena which is a valley in Arizona.  He utters “speed is of the essence” which along with some dramatic music connotes impending ant danger.

This isn’t EMPIRE OF THE ANTS.  These ants don’t do something as mundane as control humans to accomplish their whims nor are they gigantic radioactive monstrosities.  They are now vastly intelligent and do things themselves.  Necessity is the queen of ant-invention and these tiny terrors need to get rid of the increasingly unstable Dr. Hubbs.

The ants have constructed a series of towers and when they don’t behave like the scientists want ant henge gets blown up with grenades because all scientists have grenades and yellow chemistry.  This provokes the ants into an innovative and violent response that ends up getting a local family killed in the crossfire between the science base and the ants.  

The ants attack the good doctor’s biodome base by, get this, blowing up their truck and knocking out the generator.  Hubbs in his infinite foresight left the truck out to tempt the ants into an attack…  Luckily enough he has something yellow to stop them.  No explanation what just 100% yellow.  As the Dr in his ivory tower uses this spray he unwittingly kills the local rancher and his family with their death throes artistically interspersed with those of the ants.

It is easy to see how PHASE IV is Saul Bass’ only feature film.  It is a fun but mediocre trippy film lost in a tidal wave of mid 1970s fun but mediocre trippy films.  Although this has some major positives.  Among them are Mrs. Peter Sellers IV (maybe she’s Phase IV?), ant henge, ant vision, livestock massacres, ant crop circles, nebulous missions and the minor fact that the ants were merely grooming humanity to live in the new ant dominated world!  PHASE IV may be a tad shaky on story but it does provide some very entertaining visuals.  

If you’ve watched it to the end you find out that Phase IV has started.  If anyone has any idea what Phases I through Phase 4 are please leave a comment letting me know because I have no frigging idea.

The picture quality is middling and the sound is seventies good but don’t expect any special features on the Legend Pictures disc.  PHASE IV is a fun flick for a tired Saturday afternoon.  Check it out if you can for cheap.