Monday, July 16, 2012
TO BE TWENTY (1978)
I hate to give away endings of movies but I'm not sure that it's possible to write about this movie without commenting on the sharp turn the film takes in it's final reel. Up until that point what you get here is a pretty lighthearted tale of two hot, young, free-spirited girls. There's some social messages here and there but nothing very heavy up until the climax. It's a full on sex comedy with tons of nudity and sexual hijinks, free-love communes, a guy in Kiss makeup constantly meditating and lots of brain-addled drug-addicts. It all ends up in a scene obviously inspired by stuff like LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT with a very 70's doom-filled sequence. It's this part that really makes this film memorable and standout from tons of similar sexy flicks from back in the day. There's also what can be viewed as either a strong feminist or anti-feminist message depending on what you bring to it and how you look at it. The closest thing I can think of in modern times might be something like HOSTEL which also switches from comedy to horror but that film pales in comparison and in that narrative you know something terrible is going to happen. This film really gives no hint to the darkness that will unfold and I think that's what makes it a way more powerful film and multiplies the shock aspect. There is a release of this that cuts out the downer ending and just makes it a regular old sex romp, which apparently was the most common version of this seen for many years, but that seems like a real big cop-out and destroys the whole point of this amazing slice of 70's uniqueness. The main problem with this movie is that it's very hard to recommend it to anyone though since for hardcore horror fans they aren't going to enjoy most of the film and for sexploitation fans the ending is going to be way over the top. You would just have to be a lover of exploitation in general to get the most out of this.