Blu-Ray Review: The Centerfold Girls (1974)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Saturday, October 31, 2015 1 comments

The Centerfold Girls is an anthology thriller movie containing three tales about the lives of nude female models that have all appeared in the centerfold of a famous men's magazine. All stories are linked in two ways: 1. They are all centerfold girls have all had a part in the same magazine. 2. There is a crazed killer that's after them and he won't stop unless he has murdered them all. The reason why this killer wants them dead is because he is an anti-sex guy and finds that stuff disgusting and degrading and so he wants them dead to help make the world pure (just think of the late Margret Thatcher but as a killer). The killer is only one part of the tale(s) as there is more to this story than just a crazed slasher. (Click on "Read More" to read the full review).

Our first lovely woman is a very lovely nurse.  One day after leaving her work she helps out a person in need and that person needs to get to a certain place to meet up with some of her friends.  Our lovely nurse will soon regret her decision as these "friends" aren't that friendly.  Our nurse finds herself being stuck with a bunch of hippies that love to drink, smoke, pillage, loot, and rape... So they are more like pirates rather than hippies.  Our nurse must now find a way to survive this dire situation with the violent sex-crazed hippies on the inside, a crazy A-sexual killer on the outside, and a jerk of a hotel owner.  Time to pick your poison as it is going to be hell for her either way.

Our second lovely lady is a young upcoming model that is getting ready to go on a boat ride to a private house on an island for business purposes, her business, posing nude for magazines. Photos of her nude body isn't the only thing going on as she has to work with a crew that always bicker with each other, she also has to work with another model that's willing to do anything and anyone in order to make it big, and that's only the sane things that are going on. Our upcoming model soon finds that something rotten is going on as the grim model killer has found his way on the island and is not leaving until he is sure that he is the only one left standing.

Our third (and final) tale is all about the gorgeous is a gorgeous flight attendant that is on her way home for a good long rest. The flight attendant comes home to see a lovely bunch of flowers from an unknown sender, which she soon learns where the flowers came from and is not amused. The sender is none other than the killer himself, he did it as a sign to show that he knows where she lives and is coming for her. The killer soon kills her friend by mistake, so she is now on the run in hopes of finding freedom from this mean character. Soon she will learn, there is no running from this crazed loon as he is never far behind.

The way that this movie is told is very interesting and I do like the idea of having all three tales linked together with the serial killer as it takes the three stories and turns into something much bigger and fleshed out. Each story also brings something different to the table and uses unique styles of horror. The first act has a tragic style of horror to where it seems like the whole world is after the poor nurse as she is seen as a sex doll to nearly everyone she meets. I know, I can hear a certain group of people (you know the ones) that will scream out misogyny for what they will see happen to her. I never saw this segment as being sexist but more about being a story about being at the wrong place at the wrong time and not a film about picking on women just because they are women.

The first act is quite disturbing and you will feel uncomfortable due to the people that she is forced to be stuck with and you'll really feel bad for the poor girl and hope that she will be okay in the end. The extreme situation did also make for an interesting watch and you will be on the edge of your seat all the way to the end of the act. One complaint I have with the first act is that the psycho hippies were a bit too over the top at times and it did take away some of the seriousness from the film.

The second act has a more isolating feeling to it and feels like a more traditional slasher film. Sure, the second act had more of a generic premise to it but it was far from being a dull and predictable watch. What made the second act very good was the interaction between all of the characters, it helped added depth to the characters and helped made them interesting and entertaining. The interaction enhances the act even more when they are forced to be kept together and try to survive with each other and you will defiantly feel something for them in the process.  This segment is also the most tame for when it comes to tone as the only dark theme it has just that of dealing with being stuck with a serial killer, so you won't see other themes like rape or sexual violence like that in the first act.

The third act has a style to where it has a character that is self-aware that someone is out to get her and so you'll see the main character try to run and hide. This segment was also very interesting as it is the climax part of the film, so you'll know that something big will be happen in the end. This segment also returns the very dark themes that were brought up in the first act but the dark themes was a lot tamer in comparison to the first act. The cat and mouse chase is very intense though and also interesting to where you will not take your eyes off of the screen.

This is also a film where you'll see a lot of topless nudity that will make any teenaged boy pull out the tissues and cry with tears of joy. The nudity in this film is done in a way to where it actually makes sense as they are men's magazine models and so it does make sense for them to pose nude, especially in the photo shoot scene. Okay, there were some scenes where the nudity felt like cheap fan-service but the majority of the film was not like that. Just because most of the nudity makes sense, does not mean that this is a film for everyone due to there being people who do not like films that are choc-a-block full of T&A and that's okay. The women in this film do look very lovely and all fit the desirable model that everyman (and some women) want and that also means that the casting was perfect and it helps with the atmosphere.

While this film does deal with graphic and dark themes such as rape, sexual violence, and murder, you won't see anything too graphic or the actual sex scenes occur but that won't disturb you, the genius use of the other dark themes will do that job for you.  The way this movie was filmed was very down to Earth but yet stylish all at the same time and helped add to what was going on in the film. The way they filmed the deaths in this movie was pure brilliance as it is very stylish and clever to the point of being innovative, they were also very memorable and will stick in your mind for years to come.

Acting in this film is what also helps make this movie to be a brilliant piece of work as it is all very down to Earth and makes the characters very believable and real. The actor that stole the show was the guy that played the serial killer himself, Andrew Prine. Prine played a very cold, very disturbing, and very stylish character and just seeing him will make your spine shiver. The character also has a near emotionless persona that was pulled off perfectly, especially when it came to his catchphrase, "All I want to do is help", it makes him all the more terrifying and memorable.

This release includes a small entertainment packed selection of special features. The special features section includes: A documentary named "Making the Cut", an audio commentary, a bunch of ads/commercials promoting the film, and the entire film score. This release also comes with a little booklet that is full of even more goodies to which I'll get to very soon.

Making the Cut is a 2009 documentary that has the cast and crew looking back on the film and talking about what it was like working on it. I liked this documentary, the cast and crew have some interesting things to say although it is also very standard stuff, so you won't get any mind blowing facts. This documentary is best served after watching the film itself as it adds that little bit of extra sweetness to your experience, like adding sugar to coffee. Other than for that reason, this is not a documentary that you should go out of your way to see.

The audio commentary is a fan commentary hosted by Matt and Jason from Terror Transmission. I was a bit disappointed that it was a fan commentary that had nobody that worked on the movie on it, however I was also impressed as it is also cool to see fan commentaries on an official release.  If you're upset about this then at least you've got the Making the Cut documentary to fill in that void for if you want to hear about the film from the cast and crew.  The commentary itself isn't bad, the commentators are very entertaining and seem to know their stuff and sounded very professional overall. This commentary also has a very friendly vibe to it much like that you get from watching a film with friends, so you'll feel very relaxed listening to it. I did find myself to be a bit sad though as they made the exact same jokes that I made while watching the film, thus making my ego deflate as it turns out I wasn't as original as I thought I was.

The promotional ads/commercials includes the ones that were played in cinemas, television, and even radio, so that means that this could potentially be a complete set of promotion ads for the film. The cinema trailers include both the all-ages and red-band versions and I found that to be that interesting on its own right. It was interesting seeing an all-ages version of the trailer as nudity and violence play a huge importance to the film, the ad did an okay job at describing what the film is about, however the trailer didn't do a good job at getting me to want to go see the film as it just makes the movie out to be some generic slasher. The red-band trailer did a better job at describing what the film is about and it does show off nudity and violence but the trailer still feels a bit off as it also makes the film to be more generic than what it actually is.

The television ads were as you'd expect to be, they just describe what the film is about in a way that's safe for TV, so don't expect anything too great or detailed. The radio ad is the most interesting thing in this section as you rarely see radio ads included in the special features and I am glad to see it included. While cool to be included, it was just the audio from the television version of the ad and so it is a very generic ad.

I did like how the score of the film is included as a special feature and I did enjoy the soundtrack to the point where I would've bought it if I saw it at the local music store. The downside is that you have to play it on a blu-ray compatible hardware machine in order to hear it, so you can't hear it in the car, on a music device, ETC, and that hurts for if you want to listen to this everywhere you go. The closest thing you can get to for if you want to listen to this while on the move is by having a pair of headphones plugged into your PS4 controller and have the PS4 sound set to the headphones (damn, I love that feature).

Lastly, we have a very neat physical item that comes with this release and that is a special little booklet. The booklet contains profiles on the cast and crew, behind the scenes information, photos, pictures of movie posters, and neat bonus info about the film. The neat bonus info is just a small paragraph about what this film was called in other countries and that is always a neat thing to know. The profiles are very basic with exception of the director as he gets so much info that they even include some behind the scenes info included into that section. I found the written stuff (profiles, behind the scene info) to be interesting but nothing that will stick by you for the rest of your lives. The photos and movie posters looked very cool and were very fun to look at.

Overall, this film is pure genius to where it is one of the greatest slasher/thriller films that I have ever seen in my life and ranks up with that of Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Halloween (1978). Despite the dark themes, this is a film that you must indeed watch for if you are a movie fan and especially those whom love cult classic films. My regret is that this review no way captures how brilliant the film actually is and is one that needs to be seen to understand the beauty of it. Masterpiece.

Title: The Centerfold Girls
Directed by: John Peyser
Starring: Andrew Prine, Jaime Lyn Bauer, Aldo Ray
Genre:  Thriller
Distributed by: Glass Doll Films
Running Time: 91 minutes
Price: Varies
Rating: MA15+ (Strong violence, nudity, sexual violence)
Recommended: Yes


JerryTerrifying said...

Never heard of it. Going to have to check it out.

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