Female Animal

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If there was any Grindhouse flick from The Late 60’s-Early 70’s that should have known it was going to be one of the better films of that scene, my vote would clearly have to go to Female Animal. Cinemation, Jerry Gross’ legendary company made some classics (I Drink Your Blood), picked up some leading trailblazers (Inga, Fritz the Cat), and continued through the Early 70’s with a string of Exploitation hits and Drive In shows of older films including Mondo Cane and even Baby Doll, but sadly made a few tragic mistakes that helped the company go into bankruptcy including Distributing the lesser-than-expected Son of Dracula (With Ringo Starr and Harry Nilson.). Looking back to better days when Gross was on a major roll, however, Female Animal may not seem like a classic at first, but once seen it has some very cool and gritty qualities that make it stand out as one of his best, and the galaxy of fake credits to make it look like a hip Imported production only add onto it’s sleazy allure.
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Angelique, played by Arlene Farber in yet another classic Troubled Chick role, is at the start seen in her present situation as a hooker, with a Priest as a customer, in a very ran down part of the city with only a cat to keep her friendly company. Turning to the film’s flashback, we follow the story of how this happened. As we find out that Angelique was adopted by a woman who turns out to yell at her at every second, the scene is set for a very doomed life through all of this film despite having eyes set on her by a friendly fisherman, who has serious plans with her for a better future, who also knows all of the popular places, including the cemetery.

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As soon as you can sing “There’s No Way Out!” best done in a Jagger-wanna be snarl as The Chocolate Watchband proved, Angelique’s fate is marked by a accident on the road while riding in the countryside. The look of the scene is pure Exploitation – A sloppy edit, seeing the bike having the front tire tube out (Certainly NOT the way a bike looks after having being crashed into. Hey, they may need that bike for another scene.), and then seeing Farber like this, without any bruises or cuts…

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A Family Portrait

A Family Portrait

Meeting up with the rich family who messed up her bike, she decides to join up with them working as a maid, although things will turn out pretty messed-up. With a Bi-sexual Count (Played by Vassili Lambrinos), a playboy son (Andre Landzaat), a play-around Wife (Jean Avery), and plenty of booze and drugs around, the film makes all of the right turns when it comes to a Grindhouse film, including a stripping scene at the club most of the characters like to hang out. While the Late 60’s Exploitation Essential LSD scene may have been too many films by this film’s release in Jan. 1970, the one in this film is a pretty tasty delight with slightly funky music, a bit of domination, and a wedding scene that turns into something sleazy made with some nice photography mixed in with the all-important floating image.

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After tiring of the family’s decadence, which includes Angelique being used as a prize between The Count and his Son at the Roulette wheel, she decides run away yet again, and even after noticing her caring fisherman who could have brought some comfort, she decides to move on. To further the unfortunate happenings, she runs into a pimp, played by Producer Jerry Gross himself, and winds up in the situation we see at the start of the film, complete with all of the unbelievable credits. In other words, with sleaze this good and a soundtrack that has slight touches of Fuego, “Love Is Blue” (A big easy listening hit of the time), and light Grindhouse funkiness, this is Exploitation Gold, check it out!

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For a while, this was presented through Something Weird Video back in it’s early VHS days. As Female Animal was bought by Independent International, Sam Sherman helped get the film onto DVD in a great way with the fine presentation this film deserves with a few blemishes (I call it Deuce-Vision, and it adds to the flavor). The DVD (With a cover that featured someone else, not Farber) was one of the first Retro Seduction Cinema releases, and was presented with a more modern Direct to Video flick, Master’s Plaything with Misty Mundane. The commentary on Female Animal by Sherman is brief, but still a cool thing to listen to.

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~ by screen13 on July 14, 2009.

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