Garage Girls (1982)

A change of pace for the late Gary Graver, taking a break from his big budget blockbusters for producer “Harold Lime” aka Ted Paramore that included the award-amassing likes of The Ecstasy Girls and Amanda by Night, this qualifies as a throwback to the sort of farcical frolics concerning plucky flocks of female friends waging professional battle against male-dominated society that Bob Chinn in particular elevated to something of an art form with Candy Stripers and Pizza Girls.  These in themselves were of course already heavily indebted to Roger Corman’s slew of surface innocuous T&A comedies like Night Call Nurses and The Student Teachers that snuck in some barbed sociological critique while audiences were otherwise occupied gawping at the gorgeous girls.

An unexpected choice for such a rollicking blue collar laugh fest taking typical drive-in fodder a few steps further down the dirty movie road, Graver usually favored a more sophisticated approach to hardcore humour as Indecent Exposure and Society Affairs duly attest.  Still, he really lets his hair down here, without a hint of condescension, suggesting some of the poor white trash pathos that made his simulated classic Sandra : The Making of a Woman and its ’90s explicit remake Erotika such riveting experiences inasmuch as he refuses to turn a blind eye to the heroines’ dire circumstances without turning heavy-handed.  The world being in a sorry economic state, the movie proves both surprisingly relevant and uplifting in the grim current climate.

Faced with the prospect of either failure or famine, four friends who happen to be ace mechanics join forces to jumpstart the titular operation.  Gaining progressive professional as well as pecuniary success, they run afoul of their male competitors who resent the idea of women moving in on their turf and try to thwart their best efforts.  Carnal character actor Jean Clark, a Graver regular since 1968’s softcore The Kill, has a terrific monologue when unmasked as the girls’ tormenting prankster that effectively highlights impotent insecurity in the face of increasing female dominance of the workplace.

If his days in the sexploitation trenches had taught him anything, Graver knew that any seriously intended message goes down smoothly with the addition of plentiful eye candy.  It’s the quim quartet audiences came out to see and each gets her chance to shine.  Bountiful brunette Brooke West has excruciatingly erotic encounters with Jon Martin (the cute tow job/toe job misunderstanding) and John Seeman as an obnoxious customer reading porno fiction out loud throughout.  Heavy duty fan favorites Dorothy LeMay and Cris Cassidy team up to take on a roomful of horny pool players when West’s poor penmanship leads them to the wrong address for what might be the movie’s hottest highlight.  Herschel Savage and Tony Danza lookalike David Morris should be easily recognizable with the third guy being hardcore workhorse Lee LeMay, frequently featured as part of group action in Fred Lincoln’s Serena, an Adult Fairy Tale or “Joanna Williams“/Maria Lease’s Chopstix.  Running the grease pit as ringleader Belinda, Lisa DeLeeuw almost goes them one better making out in the shower with helpful cop Aloysius Duke, expertly played by John Leslie reverting to the shy comedy that worked so well in the pseudonymous Ron (Garcia ?) Chrones’ Wicked Sensations.

Although top-billed, Georgina Spelvin merely makes a cameo appearance as a prim bespectacled Sunday school teacher whose van full of hormonally charged pupils breaks down with Belinda rushing to the rescue.  Vowing to keep teach off their backs, she instructs the hot but clueless kids to go for it, another welldone group scene, with DoP Mike Stryker proving his mettle by shooting in a severely cramped space, involving frizzy-haired blonde Holly Page from Gerard Damiano’s Satisfiers of Alpha Blue and Beyond Your Wildest Dreams and petite firecracker Lisa K. Loring who scored big time on Stu Segall’s massively underrated Summer School tentatively taking on Mike Horner and Eric Stein, the handsome tennis pro from Chris Warfield’s practically perfect Purely Physical, before the buttoned up Georgina steps in to show how it’s really done, moaning “Praise the Lord” as the boys bring her to climax long overdue.  NY cult queen Sue Nero plays yet another hooker (everyone remembers her as the sad-eyed strumpet from Chuck Vincent’s epic In Love), this time with Little Girls Blue‘s gym coach Carl Regal.  Richard Pacheco has an extended non-sex role as bank robber “Clyde” (whose real name’s Carlos) to some unbilled blonde’s Bonnie, whose mad dash getaway makes for Benny Hill style hi-jinx that include Graver’s walk-on guiding a then duly destroyed Picasso painting across the highway.

Directed & written by Gary Graver (as Robert McCallum). Produced by Sam Norvell (as Bernardo Spinelli) for Cal Vista International Pictures. Photographed by R. Michael Stringer (as Mike Stryker). Music by Richard Hieronymus (as Ronny Romanovitch). Edited by Joe Sherman. Starring Lisa DeLeeuw (Belinda), Brooke West (Samantha), Cris Cassidy (Barbara), Dorothy LeMay (Sarah), John Leslie (Aloysius Duke), Georgina Spelvin (Miss McNaughton), Susan Nero (Hooker), John Seeman (Customer with Dirty Magazine), Carl Regal (Hooker’s John), Jon Martin (Tow Job Client), Richard Pacheco (as Dewey Alexander) (Carlos/”Clyde”), Herschel Savage (as Jack Sin), David Morris, Lee LeMay (Pool Players), Lisa K. Loring, Holly Page, Mike Horner, Eric Stein (as Michael Johnston) (Youth Campers), Robyn Whitting (Nurse), Jean Clark (Leonard) & Gary Graver (Gallery Owner). Running time : 79 minutes.

The sublime Susan Nero : an East Coast fornication film figurehead who has perhaps played more disenchanted ladies of the night than any other adult actress before or since

By Dries Vermeulen

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