I've been slow on the updates lately. Sorry 'bout that. I've been spending my nights watching postseason baseball, which has provided a lot of very exciting games. They hardly get more exciting than last night's American League Game 2, where the umpires booted a call in the bottom of the ninth, giving the White Sox a second chance. Joe Crede took advantage of it by lacing a double to left, scoring A.J. Pierzynski with the winning run. Sox 2, Angels 1. The umpiring crew should get a job with the Bush administration the way they denied the obvious after the game.
Anyway, get off my back, shut up and look at this screen grab of Fred Willard. 1967's TEENAGE MOTHER is one of the most frightening flicks I've seen lately. Not that it's a horror film--it most certainly isn't--even though it gave me the willies just the same. Just make sure you don’t screen this one in mixed company.
What plays for its first hour or so as a routine but outdated (by at least ten years) juvenile delinquency drama decrying the effects of sex education on horny teens takes a turn for the bizarre when director Jerry Gross splices into it an actual birth of a baby. It’s quite jarring to suddenly, without warning, have a close-up of a spread vagina pushed right into your face. Especially one that has been shot with a grainy 16mm camera and the color has faded, leaving an unappetizing pink...mess. Now I'm getting nauseous again. I won't even think about when the baby's head comes out, and the doctors use these giant spaghetti tongs to grab it and yank it out, leaving globs of baby goo in its wake. Can you tell I'm not a parent? Seriously, this movie makes childbirth look like a Nazi experiment.
Erika Petersen arrives in a regular American town from Sweden (!) to teach sex ed at the local high school. Meanwhile, good girl Arlene is dating baseball star Tony, but sometimes flirts with bad boy Duke, who attempts to rape Erika. When Arlene announces that she’s pregnant, her indignant dad blames the school system for teaching her about sex, leading to a town council meeting where the beautiful/horrifying birth film is shown. Now I know why fathers used to hide in the waiting room pacing and smoking cigars.
As usual for this type of film, the performers are much too old for their roles. However, it’s fun to see Fred Willard, later of FERNWOOD 2-NIGHT and many fine film comedies (I most recently saw him in HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE), playing it straight as a baseball coach. I can't wait to meet Willard someday, just so I can say, "Hey, man, you totally kicked ass in TEENAGE MOTHER."