Wednesday, November 18, 2015

THE FARMER'S DAUGHTERS - DVD REVIEW

Director Zebedy Colt, who made The FARMER’S DAUGHTERS (1976) at the height of porno chic, was never interested in the high-gloss productions of his contemporaries; instead he focused his attentions on the downright nasty, and according to Stephen Thrower, author of the indispensible book NIGHTMARE USA, (quote) “some of the most diabolically honest products of American erotic cinema.”  Following his superlative, and still shocking, The DEVIL INSIDE HER (1976), Mr. Colt once again focuses his attentions on a small country family, but this time instead of devil possessions and satanic black masses, three escaped convicts not only terrorize, but also unleash a torrent of dirty secrets within the family that seriously challenge their already over-active libidos.

Zebedy Colt and Gloria Leonard (credited here as Gayle Leonard) star as the husband-and-wife couple whose three insatiable daughters (Marlene Willoughby, Susan McBain & Nancy Dare) gleefully spy on their lovemaking and then, in a heated frenzy, forcibly have sex with the local farmhand (Bill Cort).  When three escaped convicts looking for refuge barge in on their ‘antics’, these equally horny guys, led by future SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA (1987) star Spalding Gray, also get in on the action, leading to a prolonged outdoor orgy, incest, a rather startling twist, and a completely bizarre surrealistic ending. 


Taking its cue from the numerous ‘roughies’ (a brand of sexploitation film mixing sex with violence) and Wes Craven’s LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972), this backyard production, which, incidentally, looks like it was shot over one long weekend somewhere in either upstate New York or New Jersey (The DEVIL INSIDE HER was shot in Lambertville, New Jersey, for those that care about such things), is an utterly irredeemable porno flick.  At just over an hour in length, director Colt strips the film down to the bare essentials with virtually wall-to-wall sex, and given the film’s horror-styled approach, it’s sadistic edge is definitely hard to forget.  As with most of Colt’s film work, The FARMER’S DAUGHTERS is a very low-budget affair and not exactly an inventive piece of filmmaking, but the rural setting (imagine an even lower-budgeted and far nastier version of all those Harry Novak hillbilly flicks like TOBACCO ROODY [1970]), and surprise casting of Spalding Gray (1941-2004) – future “legit” actor and monologist from such films as Roland Joffe’s The KILLING FIELDS (1984) and Steven Soderbergh’s KING OF THE HILL (1993) – give the film an odd distinction among the glut of ’70s smut. But what really separates Colt’s humble adult features of the time is his rather unflappable approach to the scuzzy material.  Although sloppily shot by Charles Lamont (who also worked with Colt on numerous occasions) with lots of hand-held camerawork, the rather unrehearsed feel also adds to the depraved verisimilitude, and to their credit, Colt and Lamont do the best they can with the ‘one-day wonder’ budget which producer Leonard Kirtman (working under his “Leon de Leon” moniker) most likely allotted them.  As for Kirtman, he produced a number of films throughout the ’70s, including the aforementioned The DEVIL INSIDE HER, he was also the director of CARNIVAL OF BLOOD (1970), a low-budget carny horror featuring an early appearance from character actor Burt Young, and then, later in the decade – usually credited as “Leon Gucci” – he directed a number of adult features like INSIDE DESIREÉ COUSTEAU (1978).

Newspaper ad from the L.A. Herald (1978) courtesy of Mike Ferguson & Steve Fenton.


Originally available on DVD through Alpha Blue Archives in a Zebedy Colt Triple Feature and separately from Gourmet Video, both these versions utilized a cut, VHS-sourced version, which was quite the eyesore.  Don’t expect any earth-shattering restorations with this newest DVD release from Impulse Pictures; it includes all the usual scratches and splices indicative of no-budget stuff like this, but unlike those earlier, inferior releases, the picture quality is vastly improved and, even more importantly, this is the rarely-seen uncut version which, according to the ad-copy, is “one of the most eyebrow raising films in the Impulse Pictures library!” Presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, there are no extras related to the release, but this disc does include a “sneak peek” at Impulse’s ongoing and exhaustive 42nd STREET FOREVER - THE PEEP SHOW COLLECTION series, which has so far spawned 13 volumes.  Buy The FARMER’S DAUGHTERS from DiabolikDVD here.  

1 comment:

  1. Zebedy Colt had made a number of mind numbingly insane films (around that time) with a lot of separate equally insane film roles to boot,including his stints as both Jamie Gillis' butler in THE STORY OF JOANNA(and the oral act he performs upon Gillis[to show his loyalty]) and as the psychotic killer in SEX WISH both being quite unforgettable.

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