Dec 30, 2010

Schoolgirls in Chains

Schoolgirls in Chains, or commonly known as any of the following: Girls in Chains, Abducted, or Let's Play Dead, is a 70s washout hippie excursion in exploitation and raw film stock. Starring Gary Kent of modest cult fame, Schoolgirls in Chains was adorned with the misleading title for providing verbal titillation, what, with the visual implication of jailbait in bondage, whose ears aren't ringing? The fact of the matter is that Schoolgirls in Chains has reached this low pinnacle of fame due to its parasitic behavior towards already-contrived cinema mechanisms. Such as Hitchcock's Psycho, a strong plot key of mother-ventriloquism was lifted and grafted to this schlocky film all aboard with nudity and Straw Dogs-esque "rape" in which the recipient isn't as unwilling as she might claim. With this and the bungled brother, John, whose mental deficiency doesn't inhibit his potential to select exquisite feminine figures, Schoolgirls in Chains proves to be a quite intoxicating experience in drab film-making. Surely with such lovely ladies on board, the entire production of this burnout can't be neglected, even if the narrative skips around frequently.

Calling out the misleading title for a reason, Schoolgirls in Chains does feature one student, well, at least that's referenced as such, but the near absence of chains is glaring. What instead happens is the abduction of several women throughout the run time. Schoolgirls in Chains surprised me with such. I figured that the introductory bombshell would be the pivotal character in the film, the seductress to these men's perversions. Would you imagine my shock when our heroine's backside is loaded with buckshot in non-typical meta-horror fashion. Her gorgeous, lifeless body slung on a fence, just mere feet from a road with passing automobiles. Frank is the chieftain of the household. Both he and John are victimized by "Mother's" cruel intentions. In a flashback scene referenced in Adam Sandler's The Waterboy, Frank's mother goads his fiancée with tales of how he still wets the bed. She then proceeds to alert the lady that the reason why her and Frank haven't slept together is because of the incestuous affair going on between the two. Such a shame this wasn't highlighted with a steamy vignette of motherly love. That would have driven the effect of the finale out of the park instead of on dusty VHS shelves. 

Once the female student is introduced, we get a full taste of the victims below in the shed/cellar and the games John enjoys playing with his real dolls, his sex toys, if you will. Rough cuts of leapfrog, hide and seek, and the knife-power-play of doctor are all at John's service. His character is perhaps the most humorous of all included. While Frank's fate was disguised well as vengeance was anticipated, the power of malice is really captured in John's brain-dead antics. It's these films of motherly discretion towards the evils of women that really causes waves through the male psyche - as was the case with the recently viewed Deranged. Once the student's teacher notices his extra-credited scholar of after-school lust is missing, he follows up on a lead which winds him up at this house of degradation. Meanwhile, Frank is bedding down a piteous woman in his mother's sun room. This scene turns from violation to an obsessive love quickly. After being dumped back in her dungeon, the sickly victim adjacent to the lover expresses her distaste for promiscuity - "Did you enjoy that? . . . Looked like you did." While Schoolgirls in Chains isn't groundbreaking or fashionable in any regard, it's still an exemplary piece of midnight cinema with a generous amount of nudity. Asides from the dated atmosphere, I can sense the effects of drug usage on the director Donald M. Jones' taste buds. What self-respecting director in the era of free love didn't binge on psychedelics? Especially ones that mastermind such smut as this.


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