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Scum of the Earth

USA 1963
produced by
David F. Friedman (as Davis Feeman) for Box Office Spectaculars
directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis (as Lewis H. Gordon)
starring William Kerwin (as Thomas Sweetwood), Allison Louise Downe (as Vickie Miles), Lawrence J. Aberwood (as Lawrence Wood), Sandra Sinclair, Mal Arnold, Craig Maudslay jr, Christy Foushee (as Toni Calvert), Doug Brennan, Christina Castel, Edward Mann, Lou Youngman, William Caulder
written by Herschell Gordon Lewis (as Lewis H. Gordon), music by Manuel Ortiz (as Jonas Peabody)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Sandy (Sandra Sinclair) is a nude model who desperately wants out, especially since her sessions often culminate in her being raped by sex fiend Ajax (Craig Maudslay jr) ... and her boss Lang (Lawrence J. Aberwood) tells her he'll let her go only if she recruits another girl - the über-innocent Kim (Allison Louise Downe), who needs tuition money for the college she plans to attend.

Photographer Harmon (William Kerwin), a sleazeball with a conscience, has no problem talking her into racier and racier (but as of yet non-nude) photos, until he persuades her to go topless - of course, he promises her to not show her face, but plays a dirty trick on her and has his companion Larry (Mal Arnold) shoot a few pics of her actually showing her face, just to blackmail her into submission. The next photoshoot Larry and Ajax really try to intimidate her in doing everything they want, but she manages to run off - which puts Lang, the mastermind of the operation, on the plan again ... and he pretty much lets her choose between her tuition money for one sexy shoot or distribution of her pics which will brand her a slut for a lifetime. She chooses the former of course.

The photoshoot doesn't seem too bad at first, and Sandy - who has long had second thoughts about her involvement in this - has come to protect her, but then Ajax tries to rape Kim, and things quickly get out of hand ...

 

Scum of the Earth is one of the very first roughies of what was then known as the nudie genre - though it might seem positively tame by today's standards -, telling an age old cautionary tale though in an effort to hide the rather sleazy nature of the film itself. But again, while this seems to be tame from today's point of view, just a few moments of toplessness and implied rapes, it was pretty strong stuff by early 1960's standards.

Taken by its own merits, Scum of the Earth is not a perfect film in any sense: While the story moves along pretty smoothly, quite a bit of the acting is a bit on the wooden side, and the whole thing is all but free of clichés. But vintage eroitca and drive-in afficionados will love the film not only despite all of its shortcomings and clichés, and even mainstream audiences might find themselves smiling while watching this slightly clichéed sleaze melodrama.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD