Mar 22, 2014
With my recent re-watching of the erotic artsploitation thriller Tattoo (1981) directed by Bob Brooks, I felt it was about time that I re-watch the somewhat similarly themed mainstream ‘rape and revenge’ flick Lipstick (1976) directed by TV hack Lamont Johnson (Naked City, The Twilight Zone) and starring sisters Mariel and Margaux Hemingway in both their debut film roles. Indeed, like Tattoo, Lipstick features a quasi-artist with a serious inferiority complex who becomes fanatically obsessed with a naïve model way out of his league and decides to force himself upon her. Of course, the main difference between the two is that, while Tattoo is a politically correct work that has been accused of being misogynistic and was protested against by frigid feminists upon its release, Lipstick is a pathetic piece of sub-erotica disguised as a sincere (pseudo)feminist agitprop, as well as a sleazy courtroom melodrama. Indeed, before junky McGuido auteur Abel Ferrara’s suavely stylized gynocentric celluloid sleaze masterpiece Ms. 45 (1981), Lipstick appeared and demonstrated that the Hemingway sisters make for rather annoying rape victims and autistic avant-garde musicians make for exceedingly pathetic rapists. A project originally offered to Michael ‘Death Wish’ Winner, who turned it down, by Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis, Lipstick has the look of an exploitation film on retrograde 1970s Hollywood steroids as if it was directed for the Lifetime channel and thus should be approached as such so as not to make the viewer squirm in total disgust due to its due to philistine brand of feminism. Such a decidedly degenerate work that the director tricked Mariel Hemingway, who was only 15 at the time of shooting, into doing a rape scene without her knowledge, Lipstick is respectable in one sense in that it is seemingly unbelievable that unholywood had the gall to produce a work that combines gratuitous nudity and rape scenes with an anti-rape message pleading with lawmakers to take a greater stand against male vaginal (and in Lipstick’s case, anal) pillagers. Of course, one must also give credits to the producers for attempting to cash in on both prospective rapists and feminists. The ostensibly titillating tale of a failed musical composer turned Catholic school teacher who rapes a self-absorbed model with an affinity for BDSM and gets away with it, so he also rapes said self-absorbed model’s underage little sis, Lipstick is also a paradoxically politically correct yet politically incorrect work that also rather absurdly makes it seem like well educated white males are the foremost champions of forced anal entry.
Catholic school preteen Kathy McCormick (Mariel Hemingway) has a “classic 13-year-old crush” on her music teacher Gordon Stuart (Chris Sarandon), so she introduces him to her top model big sister Chris (real-life model Margaux Hemingway, who was the first person of her trade to sign a one-million-dollar contract) under the pretense that the dilettante musician can show off his original musical compositions. Kathy and Gordon meet Chris at the beach for one of her photo shoots, but the model is too busy flashing off her tits for the photographer to hear the teacher’s pretentious twaddle. After seeing Chris’ breasts on the beach, Gordon becomes instantly infatuated with the model, so when he is given the opportunity to swing by her apartment to show off his music, he naturally obliges. Rather unfortunately, Chris forgets the little musical play date, so when Gordon arrives, she is barely dressed and has little time to give the somewhat effeminate and rather bitchy musician attention. Indeed, Gordon does get the chance to show off his music, but it is cut short after the phone rings and Chris goes elsewhere to talk to her lover Steve Edison (Perry King). Enraged by the model’s disinterest in his compositions and jealous of her numerous photographs of masculine males, including Paul Newman, hanging on the wall, Gordon hatefully confronts Chris, asking her, “You fuck priests, too?” while holding a picture of her priest brother Martin (John Bennett Perry), and proceeds to brutally beat and eventually sodomize the little lady after tying her to her own bed, with darling little Kathy walking in to witness the bloody aftermath.
Needless to say, when Gordon makes his escape, Chris calls the cops and the musician is arrested later that night. Chris gets herself a nice no bullshit Italian-American feminist lawyer Carla Bondi (Anne Bancroft), who tells her client only a small fraction of rapes are reported to the place and even less result in the victimizer being jailed. When the case goes to trial, autistic psychopath Gordon pretends he was merely the victim of Chris’ sadomasochistic fantasies, which she ostensibly forced him to carryout, including the destruction of her apartment. Undoubtedly, Gordon’s sleazy lawyer, who namedrops the classic French BDSM novel Story of O (1954), is of the archetypical immoral Hebraic sort and even attempts to coerce Kathy into believing her big sis is a masochist. While being cross-examined, Chris makes the mistake of admitting she gets off to S&M and thinks about cunnilingus while attempting to look seductive for her photo shoots, which sways the opinion of the jurors. In between trial dates, Gordon sinisterly taunts Chris by calling her and playing his discordant synthesizer music while he stands naked in his apartment like a true mad man with a sadistic psychosexual affliction. Of course, Gordon is found not guilty and Chris finds it hard to adjust to her post-rape life, which costs her a number of photo jobs. One day not long after the trial, Chris takes Kathy to one of her photo shoots and when the latter wanders around the large and partially unfinished building where the photo shoot is taking place, she runs into Gordon, who is now involved with playing pretentious dissonant synth music for some preposterous dance performance art involving preteen girls. Needless to say, Gordon rapes Kathy and when Chris finds out, she goes berserk. Armed with a large shotgun she recently bought to protect herself from any more prospective rapists, Chris hunts down Gordon, who is making his getaway in his car, and kills him in cold blood. In the end, despite quite literally blowing away Gordon’s balls in broad daylight, Chris is found not guilty in court, thus demonstrating the new feminist flavor of the court system in the post-counter-culture era and the need for feminist-brainwashed rape victims to get their 'own phallus' by buying a gun and unloading bullets on their rapists.
Probably more empowering to an old pervert’s libido than America’s female majority population, Lipstick is certainly a curious piece of failed Hollywood agitprop in that even the court scenes are intrinsically eroticized, not to mention the fact that an underage female victim is given dubious ‘sex appeal.’ Of course, in its depiction of a bimbo top model morphing into a stoic vigilante of the ostensibly morally righteous sort, Lipstick almost degenerates into a dystopian sci-fi work by the time it is over, though that is quite admittedly one of the film’s greatest appeals. In its vapid and tasteless tacked-on concluding depiction of feminazi ordained male-murdering retribution (including close-ups of the rapist being 'castrated' in what is undoubtedly the ultimate scene of closeted penis envy), Lipstick proves it is the sort of senseless estrogen-charged work that is meant to appeal to the sort of people who support Pussy Riot and the sanctimonious bourgeois sluts of SlutWalk and/or women who think prostitution and pornography are forms of female empowerment. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the ‘antihero’ of Lipstick is a not all that likeable chick who peddles her flesh for a living, as the film seems like it could have been actually penned by one of the various intellectual heavyweights of the SlutWalk movement. A rather vain vigilante flick for chicks with less than moist vaginas that is surely the favorite masturbation aid of certain rapist fetishists (be they male or female and/or misogynist or feminist), Lipstick is so bad that it actually managed to inspire not one but two Bollywood remakes (!), Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980) and Edi Nyayam Edi Dharmam (1982). An anti-Catholic film that depicts Catholic schoolgirls as dumb little sluts and nuns as stuck up hypocrites who support rapists, not to mention a work that depicts avant-garde musicians (and underground/experimental artists in generals) as socially retarded rapists who suffer from acute megalomania (admittedly, I have known a number of so-called 'power electronic musicians' who fetishize rape and suffer from delusions of grandeur and whatnot), Lipstick is ultimately a singular low even for the slave-morality-minded culture-distorters of Hollywood, but then again it was produced by an Italian.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 10:42 PM
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