Bang Bang (You Got It!) (1976)

Chuck Vincent indulged his silly side with this adult spin on TV’s Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, the insanely popular skit show that had recently gone off the air following a fertile five year run between 1968 and 1973.  With its mix of absurd sight and sound gags, broad swipes at politics and current affairs, doused with a good dose of then risqué sexual inuendo, the series might be regarded as a primitive precursor to Saturday Night Live, which would first air in 1975 and has had close to four decades to focus and fine-tune its act since.  With cinema’s relaxed censorship of the ’70s, big screen brother saw an opportunity to blow its downsized sibling not to mention main competitor out of the water through a considerably smuttier approach and additional nudity, often of the full frontal variety, pretty much the first thing to go as the R rating tightened its reins.  Chevy Chase made his movie debut in Ken Shapiro’s fondly remembered 1974 The Groove Tube, targeting TV with all the exploitable elements the latter couldn’t get away with and incidentally counting sexploitation starlets Jennifer Welles and Rebecca Brooke (both of whom still had to take the porno plunge) among its cast, and did a brief walk-on (already as “Himself“) in Neal Israel and Brad Swirnoff’s 1976 Tunnel Vision, a mean-spirited gross-out attempt to top its predecessor that simply took matters too far.  John Landis’ 1977 Kentucky Fried Movie would launch the careers of the ZAZ writing team (David & Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams) and finally found the balance between boobs and belly laughs, with Vincent’s simulated cash-in American Tickler – made that same year – closing the circle as it were on this particular format.

As sole example of that motley bunch to go all the way, Bang Bang (You Got It!) belongs as much in a time capsule as the “real world” cathode ray tube classic that lay at the base of so much movie mayhem, primarily because of its impressive line-up of New York’s adult superstars of the period, augmented with a number of cult favorites.  As each takes on several roles over the course of the film, I have temporarily stalled my habit of specifying below who plays which part but my summary should make instant identification a cinch.  While the humour in Vincent and Chris Covino’s script is typically hit ‘n’ miss, enough solid laughs survive to mark out the movie as a minor success in both their fabulous fornication filmographies.

The classic phone sex mix-up involving C.J. Laing and Jeff Hurst gets thing off to a roaring start and was duly excerpted – albeit in frustratingly shortened form – in the Chuck Vincent compilation Dirty Looks.  Each mistaking the other for his/her lover, they climax simultaneously through a consistent stream of seemingly ad-libbed dirty talk, the scene’s static single take (still something of a TV trademark at the time) merely emphasizing the performers’ prowess in this respect.  Single shot Jamie Blume scores titters as the hostess of Kitty’s Kitchen, a cookery show demonstrating the Bulgarian Blow Job courtesy of test subjects Jennifer Jordan and co-author Covino in a rare screen sex turn.  Hurst returns as a hilariously New Yawk accented Mother Goose, offering unique ghetto readings of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood.  Goldilocks is a platinum-afroed black hooker played by seldom seen Brenda Basse whose most substantial porno part came in Fred Lincoln’s supremely silly Souperman, rechristened Powerbone to alleviate the copyright conundrum.  As the three dykes have gone out to buy more booze, the girl helps herself to their drinks and dildos with the expected results upon their return.  Still, Goldie gives as good as she gets, wearing down Marlene Willoughby, Lynn Bishop from Don Walters and Ron Wertheim’s Little Orphan Sammy and strikingly sharp-featured Cecilia Gardner who was in Armand Weston’s Expose Me Lovely.  Lil’ Red’s C.J. taking the short cut through lover’s lane and bumping into zoot-suited “wolf” Wade Nichols, who dons grandma guise and wants to put his lollipop in her ice box.

Dr. Sherman Schnauzer Psychiatrist offers a letter perfect send-up of sponsored ’60s soaps right down to the Hammond organ score with deliberately arch acting from Hurst in the title role, receiving a visit from old flame Rebecca Brooke who preferred his estranged brother in the past and has now turned frigid.  Recalling her sexual history since childhood in lurid detail, she barely seems to notice the good doctor’s valid attempts at making her bells ring !  Joe Sarno’s sexploitation muse, and Radley Metzger’s former girlfriend, the ravishing Rebecca only performs simulated sex, going the whole hardcore hog on but two occasions : Metzger’s stylish and just fleetingly fornicatory S&M saga The Image and his Continental compadre Max Pécas’ frothy Félicia.  The bluntly monikered game show What the Fuck Do You Do? has a porn star panel trying to guess just that as contestants Annie Sprinkle and Erica Eaton are chomping at the bit to exhibit their “special abilities” through tutelage by host Lance Knight, the toy boat guy cut from Misty Beethoven whose outtake wound up in Metzger’s minor Maraschino Cherry.  Should they beat the panel, the station offers an all expenses paid one way bus trip to exotic Gary, Indiana !

Interspersed throughout the movie are commercials (Annie hawking Vagina Slims cigarettes the way you would expect), a smutty puppet show (featuring Muff and Puff, a horny cow ‘n’ bull team) and Vincent’s regular character actor Marlow Ferguson as inept sexologist Dr. Webster dispensing bad advice to the carnally clueless like C.J. as a dimwitted damsel who believes the dirty old man standby that swallowing semen will make your boobs grow bigger !  Hurst and Michael Gaunt (credited under his real name Michael Dattore) supply the sauce with the seasoned Eaton as an impatient nurse gobbling down whenever Laing pauses for air.  An out of the blue Jordan and Gardner wrestling match notwithstanding, most effective eroticism is generated by a series of skits featuring various people being quizzed about their innermost fantasies.  Jordan dreams of being mauled by a group of anonymous faceless men and women, although Annie’s terrific tits are hard to miss, a situation mirrored by Alan Marlow’s dockside “rape” by a bunch of switchblade-wielding amazons.  Blume finally bares all, briefly grazing on Knight’s gonads but everything else shrouded in shadows, breaking away from the enforced effervescence as a seen it all, done it all chick whose always out of reach fantasy’s finding true love with the perfect soulmate, her last line a textbook example of Vincent’s other persona : the King of Corny, forever vying with the Clown Prince to gain the upper hand, at least as far as his picture-providing psyche was concerned.  Bi-sexual performer David Savage, the chronically masturbating office worker with Day Jason from Metzger’s Pamela Mann, appears only in a non-sex gag about a boy informing his uptight middle class dad of his first blow job, the punchline being his spitting on the carpet !

Directed by Chuck Vincent. Written by Vincent & Chris Covino. Produced by R.F.D. Productions. Photographed by Pierre Schwartz II. Starring C.J. Laing, Jennifer Jordan, Annie Sprinkle, Jeffrey Hurst, Michael Gaunt (as Michael Dattorre), Rebecca Brooke (as Misty Grey), Marlene Willoughby, Erica Eaton (as Erica Eden), Wade Nichols, Alan Marlow (as Tracey West), Brenda Basse, Lynn Bishop, Cecilia Gardner, Jamie Blume, Chris Covino (as John Christopher), Lance Knight, David Savage & Marlow Ferguson. Running time : 81 minutes.

Annie preparing to demonstrate her special talent on Michael Gaunt in the films What the Fuck Do You Do? segment

By Dries Vermeulen

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