Games Girls Play
R1 - America - Dark Sky
Review written by and copyright: Jeremiah Chin (22nd September 2008).
The Film

As social movements were attempting to change society in the 1970’s United States, Hollywood picked up on the popularity and the intriguing messages of social militants like Black Power movement or sexual liberation and turned them in to a wonderfully commercial mess known as exploitation cinema. Thanks to the release of the brilliant yet (for reasons I can’t understand) commercially scorned “Grindhouse” (2007) feature, the exploitation film has become more economically viable with an expanded market of cult film buffs out there. Dark Sky Films’ recent release of 1970’s sexploitation flick “Games Girls Play” expands the library with a film that’s almost the epitome of the sexploitation idea.

“Games Girls Play” is about a nymphomaniac daughter of a U.S. diplomat named Bunny (Christina Heart) who has a tendency to have sex with any high ranking official she can get her hands on. When her father gets transferred to England for some talks with Russia and China, she is enrolled in an all girls school. Within the first day she has all of the girls running around naked and enjoying their openness. She soon establishes a game between herself and her three close friends: each of them must randomly draw a high ranking public figure from the newspaper and have sex with them. All 4 girls are soon racing across town to get a picture of themselves having sex with their high ranking figure before the other so they can win… something.

The story follows a basic sexploitation idea, taking the message of sexual liberation along with elements of second wave feminism critiques, and turning it in to one movie targeted at a young male demographic easily enticed by nudity. Not a bad commercial point. In terms of nudity, the movie features a lot of it: long gratuitous nude romps with some well placed camera angles to have it all be seen, undeniably soft core porn for a film age. In addition to the sexploitation, there’s some really racist material sewn in to the plot when one of the girls has to have sex with a Chinese ping pong player who only grins, says “Thank You” and plays ping pong, even when offered sex. However because of the racism and exploitation aspects of the film, it demands some preservation. Not only as an odd turn in the body of work of monster movie era legend Jack Arnold (director of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” (1954)), but in terms of exploring where cinema tries to openly exploit social movements in taking ideas of sexual liberation, or even the cold war in the conflict with the Russian and Chinese ambassadors, and turning into a film all about the nudity, which in ways works commercially. It’s at least more up front about its goals than some more recent films that try to bank off of the prospect of nudity.

Outside of my own critiques and personal affection of exploitation cinema, “Games Girls Play” doesn’t really merit a lot of praise, though it most definitely falls well into the zone of so bad it’s hilarious. The bizarre comedy-sound-effect cues that sound ripped out of something like “Laugh In” and the terrible jokes can be really enjoyable. In terms of the exploitation factor of the movie, everything from the cigarette burns to the bad audio pops were thankfully left in, leaving the low-quality, gritty experience to be savored.

Overall, “Games Girls Play” is a good addition for any cult film collector, but outside of this niche I can’t say I recommend the movie on any level, it’s not really well put together at all. However as a hilariously bad movie, it gets full marks.

Video

As I mentioned earlier, "Games girls Play" is presented in a 1.78:1 anamorphic aspect ratio that really preserves the original viewing of the film complete with dirt, grime and cigarette burns. I’m a little torn whether or not this means a good or bad transfer, either preserving the original experience or just throwing it together on the disc. Since this is a film more for the cult film buffs, I’ll err on the side of experience and say it’s more intentional to keep it more similar to the low quality cinemas it originally screened in.

Audio

The film is presented in an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, which again is more trying to preserve the original showing quality of the audio. There’s plenty of pops, and the sound is very plain, but it has the sincere feel of a low quality exploitation cinema without trying to oversell what it is. There’s something great to be said about a production that knows what it is and doesn’t aspire to be anything higher.
Optional English subtitles are also included.

Extras

There are not too many extras here though what they managed to put together is fairly interesting with an interview featurette, some TV spots and the original theatrical trailer.

First up is “Naughty Games: an interview with Christina Heartfeaturette which runs for 9 minutes and 1 second. This retrospective interview talks with Christina Heart about getting into the film industry and how she became involved with the sexploitation genre. It’s really interesting to hear from Hart which gives some insight into the run of exploitation cinema and her reactions and emotions at the time. A good feature and admirable that they tracked down at least one of the original actresses to talk to.

Next are the TV spots, three of them together run for 49 seconds. All three feature a voiceover from Christina Heart in character as Bunny, the first is a panty flash scene from the movie which runs for 17 seconds, the second is a topless jump onto a bed which runs 13 seconds and the third is Hart quickly stripping in 19 seconds.

Finally is the original theatrical trailer which runs a full 2 minutes and 26 seconds.

Overall

The Film: F+ Video: B Audio: B- Extras: B+ Overall: C-

 


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