Monday, September 17, 2012

The She-Girl Man Haters Club: "Daughters of Lesbos" (1968)



You know you're in for a trashy treat when a grindhouse film about lesbians is directed by someone named Peter Woodcock.

An unnamed woman (Claudia Cheer) heads a secret society called the Daughters of Lesbos. It consists of just a handful of lesbians, and they have all gathered for a dinner meeting. The anonymous leader narrates the entire film (there is no natural sound), and describes how she was drugged and raped, and has swore vengeance on all men by becoming a lover of women.

A new recruit at the meeting, Helga (Jo Sweet) remembers her first experience with a woman named Monika (Carla Costa) at a camp for girls. Maxine (Maxine) cruises for young flesh to experience, picking up hot hippie (Sue Akers) with armpit fuzz. Maxine passes the hitchhiker on to Dominique (Dominique), who simply must have an orgasm before she can sleep. Dominique fantasizes about her hippie hitchhiker lover, and is raped by a peeping tom. At the end of the film, we find out why this particular meeting of the Daughters of Lesbos was called.

As I mentioned, the film is only narrated. The only other sound heard is an appropriately sleazy saxophone jazz score. The cast is mostly using pseudonyms, according to IMDB, and no writer or crew (aside from one Max Busch) is credited. With all these strikes, how can a "serious" film critic think of writing this monstrosity up? It's softcore lesbian vignettes, no different than today's porn!

The film came out in the late 1960's, specifically the year I was born. The women here are actually attractive. No piercings, no tattoos, no anatomy-film genitalia close-ups, and no shaved child-like participants. Of course, no story, no production values (check out the towels...this was shot in a hotel!), no color (the black and white makes it look older), and no directorial vision, but I digress. I have a special place in the cockles of my heart for Something Weird Video and the sleaze of yesteryear that they somehow find. Giving this film a full-blown DVD release opens it up to an entire generation who think exploitation and grindhouse films started with "Planet Terror" or Misty Mundae. This won't be making the Library of Congress' National Film Registry anytime soon, but it is so different than the multiplex slop that's out there, or the internet slop that pollutes people's computers.

"Daughters of Lesbos" is better than the other half of the double Something Weird gives us- "Chained Girls" is a "documentary" that should offend any lesbian watching it...if they aren't doubled over in laughter first. This film is occasionally erotic, mostly ludicrous, and despite TWO extended rape scenes, melodramatic and watchable. Meeting adjourned. (* * *) out of five stars. Get this movie now!: Chained Girls / Daughters of Lesbos (Something Weird)