Country Cuzzins Sept 20, 2017 23:00:15 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Sept 20, 2017 23:00:15 GMT -5
Country Cuzzins (1970)
Directed by: Bethel Buckalew
Directed by: Bethel Buckalew
Once upon a time, there was a film producer by the name of Harry H. Novak, who worked in the film industry for more than fifty years. Starting out early as an intern for RKO Pictures, Novak went on to produce exploitation films of all varieties, from throwaway martial arts pictures to softcore pornography destined to be shown in seedy theaters with sticky floors. Such ventures successfully produced and distributed films like Sexual Kung Fu in Hong Kong as well as The Secret Sex Lives of Romeo and Juliet, with Novak mostly taking uncredited executive producer roles on the pictures while directors like Carlos Tobalina ("Troy Benny") and Bethel Buckalew absorbed the writing and directorial work.
Novak is one of the infinite oddities in cinema; perusing the titles of his wacky filmography can provide one with a movie for every planned "bad movie night" with their friends" for at least the next year. Thanks to the home-video distribution company of "Something Weird Video" - a real sign you have a great batch of films in your portfolio when they are distributed by a company with that name - many of his films have seen a formal release, usually presented in a DVD double-feature disc boasting a "southern-fried" theme. Novak and Buckalew's Country Cuzzins, for instance, comes on a two-pack release with Midnight Plowboy, and if that one is anything like its companion release, I can only imagine what kind of quality standard it bears.
Movies like Country Cuzzins are a lot more fun to read about than they are to watch. This is a uniformly mediocre softcore film with a lot of poorly choreographed sex-scenes lacking clarity and passion. Novak didn't begin his brief foray into hardcore pornography until the 1980s; one wonders why he even bothered waiting because one look at this deep-fried piece of what is (affectionately) referred to as "hicksploitation" makes you feel he wanted to do it for a long time.
Country Cuzzins desperately wants to be a simple, silly film that might compliment something like Debbie Does Dallas, but when you can't meaningful show any penetration, can't commit to actors looking like they're having anything resembling intercourse, and drown out all of the lacking ingredients with lackluster humor, it becomes obvious, and quite frankly, boring.
The standout in this slog is adult film actress Rene Bond playing Billie Jo Peabody, the gorgeous southern bell who is often victim to the ways of her grabby relatives Jeeter (Steven Hodge) and Leroy (John Tull). Billie Jo frequently occupies herself by teasing her goody sister, who attends to the animals on their unassuming slice of American farmland. All of the Peabody's, however, get a welcome surprise when their city-slicker cousin Prudence (Ellen Stephens) and their grandmother (Zena Foster) visit from up north, taking a break to slum with the downhome side of the family. Prudence gets a taste of incestual siblings relations as well as what life on a farm means for a beautiful woman like Billie Jo, who winds up having her own encounter with a horny "talent manager" named Walter Wimpy (George "Buck" Flower) when she visits grandma in the city.
Instead of laughing at most of the attempted comedy in Country Cuzzins, I found myself wondering about the conditions in which the actors had to put themselves. Danger isn't a primary concern as much as endurance or tolerance of what had to be intensely putrid environments loaded with the unbearable scents of dirty animals, pig-slop, and manure. Of course the tried and true conventions of the south and its women have long been utilized as the thesis for pornographic pictures, but trying to romanticize an inherently dirty environment is about as challenging as making meaningful love on a haystack. In the end, however, you always get points for effort.
Aside from Bond's clear commitment to her character and the film, no one else seems to take this film as anything besides a costumed joke and a lampoon of southern cliches. The sex is sub-par, the angles prove redundant as does the extended encounter of Billie Jo and Walter Wimpy, which the film desperately tries to play for comedy that isn't there, and the overall feeling is that Novak should've followed his evident dream of being a pornographic director sooner rather than impersonating one up until the point he didn't.
Starring: Rene Bond, John Tull, Steven Hodge, Ellen Stephens, Zena Foster, and George "Buck" Flowers. Directed by: Bethel Buckalew.