The Single Girls (1974)

“If they couldn’t get him easy…  They got him hard…”

With a tagline like that, how could this NOT be featured on B-Movie Enema?!?  This week’s feature, 1974’s The Single Girls, will open the book on two elements that I’m kind of surprised has taken me over 200 articles to finally get to:

  1. Ferd and Beverly Sebastian
  2. Claudia Jennings

And, if you ask me, this comes not a moment too soon.

Ferd and Beverly Sebastian made a handful of exploitation films somewhat similar to what we’ve seen from Roger Corman on this blog – particularly his early to mid 70s era movies.  While their most notorious movie would likely prove to be Rocktober Blood (I will somedya get to that, folks), they mostly focused on babes and things that babes would do to get the attention of guys like me so I can ogle them…  Er.  Scratch that.  So I can studiously watch and write about their bodies… um…  Of work.  Bodies of work!  Their busty, curvy, luscious bodies of work!

Speaking of bodies and work…  Claudia Jennings.  Not only with The Single Girls, but also on the Sebastians’ fairly popular Gator Bait – which I will definitely be getting to later this year.  Jennings was a Playboy Playmate in November 1969, but would become one of the most popular models for Hugh Hefner’s mag throughout the 70s.  She has a bunch of TV credits and a handful of movie credits before she died in 1979.  She will be playing the very important part of Allison, the girl I’ll most likely be drooling over for the next 80 odd minutes of film.

Our movies opens with some groovy jams as a guy taking pictures at a beach notices a plane coming in for a sea landing.  This plane is delivering our TITular Single Girls.   So, obviously, that means our photographer decides to take a few extra pics…

This guy has a good eye.

So we see various shenanigans that are happening to the guys and girls hanging out on this beach.  There’s a hotel where it looks like some weird shakra yoga going that will likely lead to fuckin’.  There’s guys in jean jackets.  Girls in bikinis.  You know…  70s shit.

But there is more than just some 70s shit happening…  A girl walking around on the grounds of this compound by herself gets targeted by someone with a harpoon and gets herself shot and killed!  We got a not-so-groovy killer hanging out at a groovy compound for orgies and sexual liberation!

After the killer buries the girl, we are introduced to our various players of the movie.  Not a single one of their names are important because they are mostly here to fuuuuuck.  But we also see what I suspect a lot of these places looked like back then – girls who want to have sex without stigma, their friends who don’t really want to do this sort of stuff but are there to support the friends who do, and a whole lotta greasy dudes who just want to stuff their faces in the girls’ boobies.

Things get extra weird when we gotta hear these people’s problems with sex, intimacy, relationships…  For example, there’s a girl, Allison (Jennings), who wants to be free of expectations of men.  There’s Lola (Joan Prather) who wants to bang the handsome dude with the piercing blue eyes, but also doesn’t want to reveal if she’s a virgin or not.  In fact, she gets pissed when asked.  There’s a guy who is in his forties who has never been married, doesn’t live with his mother, but hasn’t really been able to get intimate with a girl.  He has to fend off another guy who is getting real shitting about whether or not this poor old guy is impotent or if he has a mother hang up or if he’s just some fucking weirdo with a beard and a fucking loser GODDAMMIT JASON I AM NOT A LOSER!  I AM HAPPY TO BE SINGLE!  I AM PERFECTLY FINE WITHOUT A LADY!  JEEBUS CHRISTOS, LET ME BE!

Whoa…  Um…  I digress.  (Note to self… do some online shopping for mental professionals.)

Our lead weirdo, Dr. Stevens, turns out the lights and tries another exercise for people who may still be inhibited.  Basically, this “lesson” is for you to meld yourself into the collective.  Basically lose your concerns, your identity, and let it become one with the whole.  I feel like this is how the Borg have sex.  Wait…  Do Borg have sex?  Do they still have their bits and bobs?  Is it extra cold or slimy?  Ever since First Contact, they’ve looked slimy and gross.  Are their bits and bobs also slimy?

(Second note to self…  take a brake from writing and seek a mental professional immediately.)

Ahem…  Okay, right.  So the lights are out and one girl, a big titty blonde gets bit on her boob.  Her boyfriend, Morris, is particularly pissy about what happened and how Dr. Stevens wants her to be brought to his office for examination.  Later, Allison’s ex-fiance, Bud, shows up unexpectedly and starts trying to accuse her of being a cheat and wanting to get with Morris, the “soul brother”.

‘Aight, you have people partnering off, getting to know each other, trying to sort out what their hang ups are about sex, and the so forth.  This movie kind of reminds me of SexWorld.   This is a movie about comfort with sexual fantasy, fetish, freedom, and all the other F’s you can come up with.  However, SexWorld is a porno.  The Single Girls is just some 42nd Street exploitation fare.  All this deep sexual exploration and discussion isn’t really worth it without seeing the actual act and seeing people actually make good on it.  This…  This is kind of hippy-dippy shit that seems outdated and, frankly, at least at times, kinda gross.  Well, if not gross, at least very, very hairy.  It’s a lot of guys being greasy players.  While a lot of the girls are different, they seem to all be there to get a greasy player stork in their lady bits.

And that’s depressing.

There is a saving grace in these early moments.  It’s the trilogy of Allison trying to find her own self and freedom before caving to the pressure of being married, Lola’s very sweet and innocent discovery of her fantasies, and this potential slasher subplot.  This can all come crashing down if this is handled well, though.  That’s the thing with SexWorld – there was a marvelous story with the girl who was part of a lesbian relationship that ended poorly and she was just wanted to be treated beautifully again.  There was the other girl who was isolated and didn’t really have friends, only her fantasies.  These were nice stories that made me want to find out what happens next.

Here, we gotta be careful not to treat the good subplots like they are nothing but a way to get greasy dudes into the sack with a couple of pretty, and interesting, girls.

After Bud acts like a total cocksucker to his ex, a bellydancer comes out and gives a lesson about how to dance or something.  A goofy stuttering guy comes up and talks to Allison and they decide to join the dancing shenanigans.  While she does that, her friend Shannon talks to Bud and they decide to go for a walk.  Andrew, the old guy, spills a drink on Phyllis, a pretty brunette Jewish girl, and they go back to her place to help her out of the dress before it is ruined.

It gets weird…

Apparently, he really needs her.  Supposedly, she reminds him of someone he knew many years ago.  She looks like this woman.  She sounds like this woman.  She even feels like that woman.  They are going to get married on Monday.

All the while, someone is peeping in on them.  I assume this to be the “killer” but I also fear they are starting to fuck this up.  They went for a goofy scene about how Phyllis won’t strip for Andrew because she’s a good Jewish girl.  She won’t fuck him until they are married… on Monday.  Yet, the scene ends to shift to the next morning of Blue (the blue-eyed stud) and Lola playing on the beach.

At least what they switched to is kind of sweet.  Blue scolds Lola for trusting him so implicitly with a “weirdo” running around on the loose.  He then pretends to threaten her only for it to lead into her getting tickled.  It’s actually kind of sweetly played.  It’s probably not terribly surprising that Joan Prather did have a relatively decent career through the 70s and 80s.  She’s likable and very cute.

After Lola goes to her room, she sees someone looking into the window, but they scare the guy off.  The next morning, Bud and Allison have a boat chase.  I’m not really joking.  She’s cruising along on a motorboat and he chases her down.  I guess it’s too pretty on this island for her to stay mad at the guy who manhandled her in public and then chased her down in a fucking motorboat, so they go this cave together.    They get attacked by bats.

She tells him it was his jealousy that she was running away from.  However, he says, “What about my feelings?” like the macho alpha man that he is.  He goes to her place to find all her stuff is gone.  He finds that note about the engagement being off.   He found out from the hospital she works at that she’s on the sex island.  Goddammit, Allison!  You made a fool of Bud!  SLUUUUUUT!

Anyway…  The stuttering guy from the bar is also on that island and decides to stay and talk to Allison – awkwardly.  Back at the resort, Phyllis and Andrew get a little more real with each other, and I think those kids are really going to make it through this thing.  During another exercise, one involving blindfolds and stuff, the weird guy that likes Allison is working with her, and Bud comes along and starts some shit with him.  The goofy dude beats the shit out of Bud.  It’s actually refreshing, but I have questions…

First, didn’t Bud just get told that his shenanigans aren’t welcome?  In fact, didn’t Allison say his jealousy was what she was running away?  Now he’s back to fuck with her and the weirdo again?  I guess it is to maybe show that the goofy guy is better than Bud, but it’s kinda dumb.  It feels out of place considering the previous scene seemed to serve as a lesson to the guy.

Oh, so the killer has killed Andrew and Phyllis.  Andrew was leading her to someplace where they can be alone while she was doing the blindfold thing.  She has to stop to get a rock out of her shoe, and Andrew is killed.  Then the killer takes her to a greenhouse where he kills her with a rake thing.  Phyllis was played by Jean Marie Ingels.  She had a full career before this movie.  So much so, this was her last credit.  I kind of liked how the relationship between Andrew and Phyllis formed and grew.  Bummer.  They will be missed.

Now it appears he may have set his sights on Allison who is also nearby after the scuffle between the weirdo and Bud.  But it’s just Bud being a creep.  She asks him to walk her back to the cabin.  Someone is in the cabin making a mess of things.  Writing with lipstick on the mirror, cutting up clothes, etc.  Bud goes to get Dr. Stevens, but that leaves Allison alone with the killer hiding in the closet.  Lola comes back and finds out that everything is cut up too.  While they clean up the bathroom, the killer slips out.

Shannon comes back to the room and is acting… odd.  There’s been this whole thing with Shannon throughout the movie.  When Bud showed up and Allison chose to dance with the goofy stuttering guy, Shannon made a play for him.  Shannon also made a play for Morris, the black dude who has the blonde bimbo who got bit on the boob earlier.  She even tried to get Andrew to rub sun tan lotion on her to make Phyllis jealous.  She comes back saying she’s been busy trying to give these love-starved men on the island all the attention she can.  She says this while rubbing herself and admiring herself in the mirror.  It’s like what I would do if I suddenly found myself in Cheri Howell’s body.  Or what someone who is real high on ecstasy would do.

That night, the girls are getting ready for a night out.  Lola is planning on meeting Blue by the caves at 9pm.  Allison is concerned that Lola is risking her life to be out and about to get her first fuck on and that Shannon is fucking, like, literally everyone on the island.  In fact, Shannon comes out while Bud is there and purposely drops her towel to give the dude a peak at her stuff.  As an audience member, thanks, and all, but… odd?

Blue comes by to scare Lola, but she sends him away to go to where they are going to meet so they can do things the way she fantasizes.  Shannon leaves to go get it into a 7-way (no, seriously, I think she says there are six dudes clamoring for her bod).  Later, Lola goes to the meeting place, and Blue is acting like a goof by hiding and planning on jumping out to scare her – as he is wont to do.  So he jumps out and tackles her and they start her rape fantasy (not judging), and now she’s ready to get her flower plucked.  Unfortunately, Blue and Lola get axed.

The next morning, Allison is worried, but Shannon is kinda okay with people disappearing because that means more dick for her.  On the beach, Andrew shows up all messed up.  The weirdo stuttering guy reveals himself to be an undercover agent trying to find the killer for the last 6 months.  While Morris gets Dr. Stevens’ help, the agent discovers who the killer is.  As does Allison in the cave looking for their missing friends.

It’s Shannon.

While Shannon talks about all the killing she’s done, and how it makes her feel good, cop man is racing toward the island on the motorboat.  Shannon says that all the men truly love her and all the girls she killed were only getting in their way so she had to kill those dirty sluts.  Allison is next because she’s keeping Bud from wanting Shannon like all men do.

Anyway, cop man comes and saves the day by saving Allison.  But it is fucking weird…  Shannon is about to stab Allison, the cop shouts her name, then it freeze frames.  Then it smash cuts to the cop and Allison walking, hand-in-hand, on the beach.  She says she’s glad he is a cop and not a stuttering dork.  He says he’s falling in love with her.  The end.

Buuuut wait…  Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute here, movie.  Okay, I was going to say that I felt the movie had a single fatal flaw.  Forget Allison being real wishy-washy about her relationship with Bud.  Forget the strange sex island stuff that, to be quite honest, is simply a product of its time.  That single fatal flaw I felt the movie had, and it’s an easy one to have if you’re not careful with your characters, is that you saw that Lola and Allison are close and have likely been long time friends, but you don’t see those moments between Shannon and any of the others.  I suppose Lola, Allison, Shannon, and Phyllis are all friends.  They shared the same cabin.  They seemed to be friends, but you only really saw Lola and Allison interact on a deeper friend level.  All the other connections seemed more like shallow acquaintances.

That was going to be my complaint on the movie until the climax.  No filmed scene about what happened to Shannon aside (and that alone is a BIG ding on the movie), is Allison going to be with the cop guy or is she still in a relationship with Bud?  She was still doing things with Bud that certainly makes it seem like she was still in the relationship with him.  Like, they were going on dates, reconnecting (at least when he wasn’t being a jealous turd), and they spent the night together.  It kinda feels like they are still not resolved.  But whatever…  The stuttering weirdo is a hunky cop who freeze framed Shannon to fucking DEATH, so I guess with those powers, you have to end up with him.  In fact, I kinda feel like I should find that dude and ask him to marry me.  This movie has proved those kinds of powers are the ultimate thing to attract mates.

In all fairness, is The Single Girls a bad movie?  Oh yes.  Yes it is.  That said, it’s kind of got that mid-70s sexploitation charm to it that is kind of hard to ignore.  It does have a handful of interesting characters that will at least keep you engaged.  After the halfway point, you see more boobs than you originally expected to see, but it does not stick the landing.  In fact, I have a perfect gif of what the ending of this movie looks like.

That does it for this week.  Guess what, Enemaniacs?  Next Friday is Valentine’s Day.  There’s no other person that I would want to spend that day with than Candice Rialson.  So, let’s do that.  While we are running into the final films that Ms. Rialson had a significant, or credited, role in, we’ve got a big one from the Roger Corman universe – Hollywood Boulevard!  So, be sure to come back in seven days and spend your VD with this D-Bag!

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