Little Miss Innocence / Teenage Seductress Review (Vinegar Syndrome Drive-In Collection DVD)

LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE (a.k.a Teenage Innocence)
(1972, dir: Chris Warfield)

“Little Miss Innocence… and her friend Carol met a man named Rick and drove him right up the wall!”

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After one heck of a kitschy little opening ditty, we are introduced to Rick, a seemingly normal middle aged chap played by John Alderman (Pink Angels) having a nice little drive. Being a good samaritan, he sees two young female hitch-hikers called Carol and Judy played by Sandy Dempsey (A Clockwork Blue) and Terri Johnson (Flesh Gordon). After showing the ladies around his fancy pad (Rick is a fancy musical arranger) and offering them a drink, they stay the night. Luckily for him, whilst Carol crashes out on the couch, Judy makes a move. The pair get down to some good old fashioned soft-core until the pain of virginity strikes and puts an abrupt stop to the slap and tickle. As Judy soaks in the bath and ponders, Carol wakes up and seduces Rick. After some fooling around on the couch, Rick’s wildest dreams come true when the girls eventually coax him (oh the shame!) in to a threesome. The action even continues the next day! Poor Rick is sure getting tired (woe is me!), but new playmates just won’t let up! Rick and his member eventually get a rest as the trio have a frolic in the city in the form of montage. Things turn sour when the girls refuse to leave Rick alone and hold him as a sort of sexual hostage. Things come to a head when the intentions of the young pair are revealed. What sick games are the girls playing? How can a middle aged man’s sexual paradise turn to Hell!? Don’t be downright bitchy and find out for yourself.

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Little Miss Innocence is a fairly entertaining soft-core roughie centred around two strong female leads breaking from the tradition of men dominating women. Some could say (well, an IMDB reviewer did) that the film could be an answer to the misogyny of pornography of the time. I feel that some parts are too morally ambiguous and downright hypocritical for that to be the case. Do you actually root for the women or not? That being said, the film is well written for the most part by E.E Patchen (Adultery for Fun & Profit). The film is also solidly performed throughout, Sandy Dempsey especially. She really has an air of general nastiness about her, but never becomes an outlandish cartoon character. The sex is also fairly well done, but it almost felt that some scenes were so badly edited that the film is cut. I am not too sure if that is actually the case, so don’t quote me on that! Overall, I feel that the film does tend to drag in places, but some of the duller parts are easily made up for with the finale which is genuinely powerful and somewhat disturbing. I also think that the film could have been condensed to around 60 minutes. It would have been interesting as a full on hardcore effort as there are some scenes that would have really packed a punch. That being said, sometimes it’s what you don’t see that can be powerful. A bit of trivia for you too, cinematography comes from schlock legend Ray Dennis Steckler (Red Heat) and it shows in the best way possible!

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TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS
(1975, dir: Chris Warfield)

“It’s every girl’s dream… and every man’s nightmare!”

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Sandra Currie (Policewomen) stars as Terry, a young and beautiful girl on a mission. She has ventured down to a small New Mexico town from Connecticut to track down her father, Preston King, played by Chris Warfield himself. Preston is something of a celebrity in town as he is a well known and highly regarded painter and writer. Terry wants more than just to pick his brains about his craft, she wants to get in to his pants! Yes indeed ladies and gentlemen, Terry has daddy issues, but not in THAT way! You see, Terry’s father abandoned her when she was just a small impressionable child. Terry was left to live with her mother Emily, a woman who would constantly remind Terry how men are scum and can’t be trusted, played by Gwen Van Dam (True Confessions). It’s hardly a surprise that Terry would turn out this way! She eventually tracks her father down and posing as a fan of his work, makes the first step of entering his life with the false illusion that she wants to be taken under his wing. Her initial attempt at seduction doesn’t go exactly to plan, but she sure is a determined cookie! She (rather forcibly) takes the role of being his receptionist. When she isn’t going all out to make daddy pay, she’s also making an impression on some of the locals such as Reggie a local art dealer played by John Trujillo (Big Time) and Preston’s current lady friend Victoria, the paranoid local librarian played by Elizabeth Saxon (Boss Nigger). Will Terry go through with her plan? How far will she take it? What will she find out about her father? Will her real motive be revealed? You’re going to have to do your own detective work.

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Teenage Seductress isn’t as exploitative or schlocky as the title suggests. What we have here is more of a straightforward melodrama about a strong minded, yet damaged girl seeking revenge on her father. Currie plays the role brilliantly and has such prescence on screen, she’s a real knockout. Haunted by her overbearing mother’s words and the grief of having her father abandon her, Currie plays role in a restrained and believable manner. Everyone else involved also put in a great job. Warfield portrays a seemingly nice guy, but you know deep down you should despise him and he deserves to have his life potentially turned upside down. Adding to the tension and overall emotion, although not an entirely well shot film, Joseph Bardo’s (Trip With the Teacher) cinematgraphy in regards to the New Mexico location is used to great effect. The theme of a strong minded, yet damaged female role as seen in Little Miss Innocenc is carried on here in a more restrained and less shocking manner. As with Little Miss Innocence, this is well written film with George ‘Buck’ Flower (They Live) and John F. Goff (The Fog) on writing duty. The runtime is never an issue and the film goes at a steady enough pace. All in all, a fairly solid film that some may be able to watch more than once.

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All in all, both films work well as a double feature as they both deal with similar themes and have strong female leads. Sure, both films can be morally ambiguous at times, but both never go too overboard to the point they become cartoonish or campy. As much as I believe Little Miss Innocence could have worked better as a hardcore film, the R rated romp still holds up and has enough power. Out of the two, that film is the better all round experience. Warfield and his colleagues have crafted two fine pieces of low budget cinema. Both films are presented in their original aspect ratio (that being 1.85:1) and have been scrubbed up well by Vinegar Syndrome. These films won’t be the most amazing restoration jobs you have seen, but giving that these are low budget productions, film stock more than likely wouldn’t have been fantastic anyway. Once again, it’s a stellar job and the films are the best they will probably ever look. Possibly the best thing about this release is the selection. For the price, these are a bargain and definitely worth a watch. Vinegar Syndrome are good to us cult fans, not only have they presented two somewhat obscure drive-in flicks, you also get trailers for both films as well as an alternative title card form Little Miss Innocence. Those looking for artefacts from back in the day should rejoice that aspect. All in all, this is a great release from Vinegar Syndrome and a great place to start if you are yet to fully experience the wonderful cinematic world of the late Chris Warfield.

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The Little Miss Innocence & Teenage Seductress Drive-In Collection Double Feature DVD is available from Vinegar Syndrome.

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