You know you are in for something special when the film you’ve chosen for the evening’s entertainment opens with a finger-painted title card like this -
Followed by the names of a few characters, and then culminating in the director's credit displayed like this.
The movie opens with an over-the-top noir narration delivered with a thick New York accent. The resonant male voice begins by reciting a winsome poem by Alan Seeger: “‘At midnight in some flaming town, when spring trips north again this year, and I to my pledged word am true, I shall not fail that rendezvous.’ These are the lines she recited to herself. They helped to calm her. They were from the only poem she knew. She had learned it to improve her English. Basically, she is an ordinary girl, and we are about to witness what happens when an ordinary girl with an extraordinary body decides to put that body to work.”
As is often the case with these sort of movies, the whole thing was filmed in one apartment. I’m guessing it was made in one day, possibly half a day. It all begins when our heroine Rita goes to a photographer’s studio to make some money modeling. When she gets there, she finds several other models already prancing around, getting their photos taken. Then, we are treated to a fun little montage where the movie camera assumes the point of view of the fashion photographer’s camera. The viewer gets slammed around by opposing Dutch angles as the camera wobbles back and forth. It’s a little nauseating. I’m thinking Joel Landwehr, the director, must have gone to see Antonioni’s Blow Up and figured all he needed were some hot chicks who would take their tops off and he could take Cannes by storm.
Then, the models start taking their clothes off, some men appear from nowhere, and suddenly, there is a groovy sex party going on. Rita is immediately sucked in and soon finds herself drowning in a seething pleasure pot of sin! There’s some S&M and orgiastic clusters of people smooshing their bodies together. The men keep their underwear on, even as they wrestle themselves in between women’s legs. Gotta be careful, Mr. Hays is watching. To maximize the eroticism while ensuring that he stays on the right side of the law, Landwehr crosscuts away from the orgy to show us Rita fellating a banana. It’s a very strange series of edits between bondage, whipping, licky lesbians, and Rita in the corner deep-throating a piece of fruit.
The debauchery continues, including the misuse of some wind-up toys, and the 1960s goto staple, body painting. Then, Rita fellates a paintbrush. I don’t know, I don’t make the movies, I just watch them.
There is one black model. She is the only black person in the movie. She shoots some heroin and explodes into a manic rage, as heroin addicts are known to do when heavily sedated by an opioid. She tries to kill Rita, but Rita manages to knock her out. Rita runs off with one of the other models to hide down the block in a different apartment, but the scary black lady regains consciousness, grabs a meat cleaver, runs and finds Rita and her buddy, and then hacks them both to death. This, of course, is the required ending for these sort of films. Those who give in to the ways of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll must be punished, but not before we get to see their boobies. Oh, and the black girl gets shot and killed too.
Joel Landwehr made this bit of smutty trash in 1968. Two years later, he would make another bit of smutty trash called Fluctuation. It was an “experimental” film, either that or an early example of trolling. It’s one long montage of terrible sex scenes, two men having a karate fight in a living room, a woman reading a book entitled Voyeur, and people starring at the camera. Watching the film feels like some kind of horrible mind-control experiment. It’s almost physically painful.
The sound from the different scenes is removed and rearranged to mismatch what is on the screen. We watch someone undressing as we hear the karate fight, or we hear a passage narrated from a book while we watch a woman whip people with her hair. Then, we listen to a sexually explicit phone call as a couple insult and abuse each other, threatening to shit in each other’s mouths and other sordid stuff. Eventually, even more images are added to the mix. One karate man takes off his GI and gets in a bath with some woman. Another man pees on a woman who is fully dressed and lying on the floor. There is no plot nor any dialogue, just an ever-changing collection of badly shot footage.
The sex scenes are soft-core and involve naked people trying to look like they are having sex while clearly not having sex. The whole thing is so interminable. I had to speed it up to get through it. As far as I can tell, Fluctuations and In Hot Blood are the only two movies Landwehr ever made, so we can all be thankful for that.
Someone who goes by goblinhairedguy and seems to know way too much about trashy films theorizes on IMDb that there is no such person as Joel Landwehr, and that the film bears all the hallmarks of a Michael Findlay film. I suppose anything is possible. Goblinhairedguy is hoping that the truth will surface one day. I’m thinking it isn’t high on the FBI’s case list, but I’ll keep an eye out.
If you enjoyed this article you should be ashamed of yourself. For more articles like this one try - https://filmofileshideout.com/archives/the-abnormal-woman/