Feb 28, 2014

Scoundrels (1982)

Undoubtedly, Ron Jeremy is an archetype for discernibly decadent and superlatively sleazy porn star swine, with virtually his entire reputation riding on the fact that he is a fat swarthy slob who gets to fuck quasi-hot chicks, which is something of a dream that the majority of American males dream as lard asses themselves. Of course, while always a repugnant pig with a less than handsome appearance, Jeremy was not always a chunky turd who resembled a sort of slimy and scuzzy Super Mario, with his against-type role as a bourgeois psychiatrist in the cult blue movie Scoundrels (1982) directed by ‘great’ auteur-pornographer Cecil Howard (Snake Eyes, The Last X-rated Movie) and written by the director’s longtime collaborator Anne Wolff (Foxtrot, Firestorm). Carefully crafted by the man responsible for the phantasmagoric surrealist porn masterpiece Neon Nights (1981), Scoundrels is certainly a cream of the cum crop work in terms of both a porn work and a Cecil Howard flick as a dark yet sardonic botched celluloid wet dream marinated in internal misery, middle class misanthropy, and hatred, albeit executed in a rather humorous, if not unintentionally, fashion that laughs in the face of intricate extramarital affairs and ruined upper-middle class lives. A playfully perverse psychosexual psychodrama that seems like it was specially tailored for the most wayward of quack psychoanalysts, Scoundrels tells the semi-surreal tale of psychiatrist who finds himself dually cuckolded by both his wife, who is carrying on an affair with his best friend, and his degenerate daughter, who is screwing said best friend’s nephew and has just started a curious career as a high-class call girl. The very first film to win both ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Director’ at the very first AVN Awards in 1984, Scoundrels is best appreciated today as a whacked-out pseudo-artistic cult film with both intentional and unintentional frolicsome humor and a strikingly mean-spirited ending that is bound to ruin any porn addict’s orgasm. Indeed, featuring Ron Jeremy being fingered in the kosher cornhole by a high-class call girl and Robert ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ Kerman defiling an underage gal that reminds him of his daughter, Scoundrels is an unhinged Freudian nightmare starring a cast of sicko Semites that seem like archetypical perverted Hebrews taken out of National Socialist propagandist Julius Streicher’s naughty Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer

 Beginning with a surreal dream-sequence of psychotherapist Simon (Ron Jeremy) wearing white pancake makeup as a French mime who stares blankly next to his equally mannequin-like wife Linda (Lisa Be) and daughter Francie (Tigr), Scoundrels immediately establishes a feeling of foreboding unease in the viewer. Indeed, Simon is a successful doctor with a prosperous family that lives in relative comfort, but he is also on the verge of suffering a midlife crisis, which is only further compounded by the fact that he believes his old lady Linda is carrying on a lurid love affair with his best friend Harper (George Payne), not to mention the fact that his little girl Francie has become a little whore who, while pretending to study for exams, is having bisexual orgies with her equally debauched friends Cheryl (Marilyn Gee aka Marissa Constantine) and Jack (Sean Elliot). On top of that, Jack is Harper’s nephew and like his equally swarthy uncle, he is also carrying on an affair with Simon’s wanton wife Linda. While rather disconcerted and depressed about the fact that his wife is probably cheating on him, Simon is carrying on an affair with his secretary Vivian (Copper Penny), but Harper also manages to get in her panties as well after the psychiatrist become increasingly impotent and withdrawn. Of course, the most degenerate sexual deviants of Scoundrels are Simon’s patients, especially a sleazy photographer named Mr. Wallace (Robert Kerman aka ‘R. Bolla’) who managed to deflower an underage teen bimbo named Emerald (Tiffany Clark) during a less than fruitful photo shoot. While proclaiming how he feels guilty about popping the cherry of a teen that was “so innocent,” Wallace reveals the true nature of his mind when he confesses to Simon, “Geez Doc, I feel awfully guilty,” yet proceeds to laugh in a sinister fashion that puts to shame the eponymous race defiler of Veit Harlan’s infamous National Socialist melodrama Jew Süss (1940). Undoubtedly, Simon’s most depraved patient is a bisexual bitch named Mrs. Katz (Anna Turner), who attempts to seek revenge against her unloving businessman hubby (Ron Hudd) by seducing his secretary Mary Lou (Sharon Mitchell). To get his obsessive-compulsive mind over the fact that his best friend is screwing virtually every single important woman in his life, Simon routinely visits a convenience store to buy cigarettes from the hot store clerk ‘Rainbow’ (Ariel) and frequents a health club with a built-in whorehouse where he patrons a less than pretty prostitute named ‘Kitten’ (Tammy Lamb). Meanwhile, daughter Francie becomes a prostitute at the same bordello that her father frequents and sexually services a marine in the service named Frank (David Ambrose) who, after having his man-cherry popped, declares to his bought-lover, “I’d like my $50 dollars back now. It’s just not right! I’d like to marry you. I don’t want anyone else touching you.” Presumably the result of his progressive emasculation, Simon rather enjoys it when Kitten penetrates his rectum with her rubber-glove-adorned fingers. In the end, Simon seems to have the last laugh when he throws a pie in the face of a prying cop, but fate ultimately has the last laugh as the psychiatrist and his new teen lover Rainbow, who was hiding in the backseat of the car when the police officer pulled him over, get in a disastrous car wreck, with the viewer never knowing whether the doctor and/or teen dream were found DOA.  Either way, Scoundrels is certainly a porn flick that concludes with an explosive climax.

 Personally, I cannot fathom how or why a porn flick like Scoundrels ever got made because, aside from not featuring a single character that rises above the level of being average-looking (indeed, most of the ‘performers’ are downright homely, if not repulsive), Scoundrels features an innately nihilistic storyline with an innately unhappy ending that must have let down a large amount of lumpenproles who were expecting a movie they could jerk off too while seeing it in theaters when it was first released in the early-1980s. Indeed, many of the performers featured in the film were no less degenerate in real-life, as lady-lickers Sharon Mitchell and Tigr’s heroin-fueled lesbian relationship would later be depicted in all of its unlovely glory in the documentary Kamikaze Hearts (1986). As one reviewer noted regarding the film, Scoundrels has Bergman-esque pretensions in its downright strange attempt to mix sullen melodrama with what is ultimately anti-erotic pornography. Of course, Scoundrels stands out more nowadays due to its aesthetic and thematic idiosyncrasy as opposed to its ostensible arthouse cred. Not surprisingly, it seems that star Ron Jeremy had no clue about what sort of blue movie he starred in as he would compare Scoundrel director Cecil Howard to Hollywood hack James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) in a somewhat recent interview with hotmovies.com, as if being compared to a soulless non-auteur who makes bombastic blockbusters is a good thing. Of course, Jeremy did know enough to realize that Howard was more than just your average talentless pornographer, stating of Scoundrels, “It’s great. Abstract, esoteric, avant-garde. Scoundrels is really a very, very classy, well-made movie. Everything Cecil Howard ever did was classy.” Indeed, I never thought I would ever torture myself by watching a film featuring Jeremy, but when I discovered Scoundrels, I would not allow my innate revulsion for the porn star to stop me from watching what is indubitably one of the greatest and most singular, if not unintentionally eccentric and exceedingly anti-erotic, porn flicks ever made. For anyone that ever wondered what Woody Allen’s life might have been like had he been a quasi-heterosexual psychiatrist as opposed to a patently perverted Bergman-wannabe with a flare for Judaic comedy, check out Scoundrels and wallow in the wild and crazy bourgeois life of a cuckolded Hebraic head-shrink. 

-Ty E

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