Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lesbo-A-Go-Go (2003) reviews

Boris Lugosi’s review from the Girls, Guns and Ghouls website:Link

Do you like watching bad girls go to Hell? Do you like the rough-and-ready sleaze of maverick exploitation film-maker, Doris Wishman? Do you like to wallow in a mire of decadence and violence so deep that you may never crawl out with your soul intact? Do you like rock and roll, go-go dancers and the sixties aesthetic? Well then, you followers of exploitation in the modern age - Director Andrew Leavold of Trash Video has crafted a new Wishman-esque opus that may be right up your dark and grimy alley. I saw this one's world premiere at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival - and I tell you what, there was more entertainment value in its miniscule budget than a hundred Matrix Reloadeds ... now don't get me started on that one! Would you like to know more?

A sweet couple stroll around the park and contemplate their wonderful life together. We've got a lot of padding here, just as Doris would have loved it. We hear the character's dialogue from behind their heads - just as Doris would have loved it. We quickly realize that all is not straightforward with the man of the couple - as soon as "Sugar" (Caryn Withercy) is taking a bath, he's got her underwear on and is stuffing oranges into her bra. Soon enough though, an underworld associate has grabbed him and taken him out the back. A bullet to the brain later and Sugar is a widow of sorts, though during a bizarre funeral scene she's suddenly raped by the same hood attending - she's seemingly revealed as a former doe-eyed virgin after we see blood from "down there". Abducted by the hood and with nowhere to go, Sugar is forced to become a dancer in a cheap, smoky club. Is there any other sort? We see what the "couple's" home life is like. Sugar's face is plunged into a plate of baked beans and she's given the beating of her life with the villian's belt.

With a running time of sixty minutes, this shot-on-video film can't stay too long here, and soon Sugar's thrown out from the club as soiled goods - to be picked up by "Kitten", a sultry lesbian number with dangerously long fingernails. A touch of the Tura Satanas by my estimation folks, but I'll leave it up to you. There's trouble-a-brewin' when a former lover of Kitten's turns up, but worse happens as Sugar becomes hooked on pills, and the black-and-white film becomes color briefly as we experience a color, drug-induced "descent into Hell". Poor old Sugar, what did she do to deserve this? Nothing, that's the whole point. It's just a plunge into purgatory with no way back.

The situation is going to take a turn for the worse, viewers. After going with Kitten to a rocking Go-Go act, Kitten falls for the lead singer and Sugar's soon thrown out on the street - again. Bloodlust director Richard Wolstencroft stars as Doctor Geese - you guessed it, a sleazy semi-backyard abortionist. Did I mention Sugar was pregnant? After being raped - again - during the abortion, the washed-out, zombiefied Sugar stumbles through the back streets - and encounters Kitten's snubbed ex-lover. She's got the fight of her life on her hands and only one will survive ...

While there's not in fact much on-screen flesh or ultraviolence, there's enough implied mayhem for any exploitation fan to get their teeth into. Don't watch it if you've a weak stomach for watching a character suffer pain and indignation with very little relief. If you can "get" what Andrew is trying to do with this piece, you should be able to appreciate the relentless spiral into the pit. It's also peppered with scenes of pro-wrestling (always a plus), a savage bashing in a bar and the Hell/Dream sequence has an Ed-Wood-in-a-Gimp-Mask intensity that lingers in the mind long after! Couple this with crisp black and white photography and a fantastic soundtrack by local Aussie bands the Gammarays, The Hekawis and The Aampirellas - gotta love that last band name - and you really can't go wrong.

Now, I just want to see the seventies biker-chick film Mr. Trash has in the works. I will of course, reserve a place for it in GGG, once viewed!

Reviews at the Internet Movie Database

From Bill McGuire: Showcasing the talents of -- among others -- director of photography Jarret Gahan, "Lesbo-A-Go-Go" is a 1960s period piece which must be seen to be believed. It could be described as "Less Than Zero" without the 80s panache, and with a measurable degree of Australian wit... though it possesses an intriguing undercurrent of macabre cynicism.

All in all, solid viewing. I look forward to the future projects of the creative team behind Lesbo.

From Shane Burridge: Inspired by, but not necessarily modelled on, the 1960s films of NY indie Doris Wishman, LESBO A GO GO sets itself up with the kind of loophole that can be brought into play upon any criticism of whether it is 'good' or 'bad'; that is, it is 'bad' on purpose. Whether it's bad-bad or good-bad depends on how much you know beforehand of the poverty row exploitation film it emulates, or how much you can ascertain of the film-makers' agenda; otherwise casual viewers may be stumped about why exactly they are watching an archetypal good girl named Sugar (who would bear the name-and-exploitation-title Sugar Hill, if her fiancé wasn't bumped off early on) suffer one horror after another for the film's duration. It starts off quirkily, reminding us that Wishman's efforts were often unintentionally funny, but after a LSD interlude shot in color (likely a nod to ALICE IN ACIDLAND), it keeps spiralling down into depths from which we rightly figure Sugar will not be able to escape. After 50 minutes, the dizzy, snarling musical score gives the entire film the effect of being one long trip in itself. The music is right for the circumstances of the film but is at odds with the faux-60s setting that is given vent only through the décor – it would have been more consistent to either stick with a retro soundtrack or push Sugar's World-of-Hell into a grungier era, but this kind of incongruity may be what writer-director Andrew Leavold had intended all along; it does, at least, help push the story well beyond the fringes of realism. If you ever wanted to make a fake exploitation film yourself, but never got around to it, then LESBO is your catharsis. It's also bound to offend those unfamiliar with the kind of stuff that Leavold is spoofing (the appellation 'Andrew' is far less suitable for this arena of film-making than the informal contraction, 'Andy', suggesting that a name change is in order for future opuses. It seemed to work for Sidaris and Milligan).

MUFF Premiere review by Tim Chmielewski

The main feature for the night was the premiere of Andrew Leavold's film Lesbo-A-Go-Go. It was made for $700 over eight months.

It also stars many people from the Brisbane music scene and has ten Australian bands on the soundtrack. Special mention must go to Gazoonga Attack who were great as the girl gang.

Other notable roles are Fred Negro as the "vision of hell", the "Fuck You Man" as the devil and Richard Wolstencroft (festival director) who really seemed to enjoy his role as the backyard abortionist.

The story is probably not that important, but it is meant to be a tribute to 60's porn and exploitation films. Although it was only a "festival edit" and is still being worked on it still looks and sounds really good at this stage.

Probably the only thing I could compare it to is Teenage Hooker Became Killing Machine in Daekaroh, except I thought that his film had better music, actual dialog and more character development.

I would also be looking out for Caryn Withercy who played the leading role and also the next production from this director which is going to be a film based on a series of Australian lesbian biker novels - depending on funding of course.

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