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TAKE ME NAKED (1966; Something Weird Video).

If you're not familiar with the husband/wife team of Michael and Roberta Findlay, that means you're either (1) a well-adjusted member of society, or (2) an exploitation freak who hasn't yet had the supreme pleasure of stumbling upon their tawdry grindhouse gems (in particular, their infamous FLESH trilogy: THE TOUCH, THE KISS and THE CURSE OF HER FLESH). This is one of their earliest works, hiding under the pseudonyms of "Julian Marsh" and "Anna Riva", even though they wrote, directed, produced, edited, photographed and even star in the flick (yes, unlike most sleaze-makers, they had the guts to put themselves in front of the camera!). You have to love a movie so cheap it comes complete with hand-scrawled credits (the budget for most of their movies was only a couple thousand dollars). It begins with a long, deadening monologue ("...circling the phallic shrine, 120 women run crying at they know not what..."), but since the screen is filled with a close-up of a lady's bare tits, I'm sure Times Square audiences weren't even paying attention to what the hell the narrator was babbling about. Kevin Sullivan stars as a lust-filled bum who lives in a grubby flophouse, and passes the time by playing voyeur on a female neighbor across the alley. Peeping through her (conveniently) open window, he watches her drink, strip, play with herself, and (oddly enough) never notice that this unshaven, slobbering creep is staring at her. Best of all, this object of his obsession is played by Roberta herself, who bares it all for the roving camera (though always concealing her genitalia with a handy bed sheet or towel). And much as I truly respect Ms. Findlay's filmmaking chutzpah, she's not exactly an actress -- and even less of a sex symbol. Though her body isn't half-bad, her face makes you feel like you're watching a sex flick starring Elaine May, and try as she might, Roberta looks about as happy as if she were in the midst of a gynecological exam. The film begins like a Bowery art film, with grubby location photography, derelicts stumbling about the city, and for once, the lead's home really looks like a rathole New York City apartment. In order to avoid any costly synch sound, the Findlay's simply have our horny hero talking (endlessly) over the action, featuring some of the most poetically asinine crap imaginable ("...her skin is made of man's disillusionment..."). And this guy doesn't shut up for one fucking moment, even when Roberta is taking a shower or masturbating with a wooden post. Then the entire middle reel is a long fantasy scene (you can tell it's supposed to be a dream because it looks like they smeared Vasoline on the lens) featuring a li'l lesbo action. Things pick up considerably when an "Angel From Hell" (Michael Findlay) comes to visit Sullivan, after which Sullivan finally finds the nerve to visit the lonely Roberta (with a handy kitchen knife). It's a disturbing finale to a tame tale, which is continually blunted by the insipid voiceover. And although you can see the glimmer of grimmer things to come from this pair, in this instance, my best advice is to simply turn down the sound and enjoy.

© 1995 by Steven Puchalski.