Wednesday, March 5, 2008

MALIBU HIGH Movie Review


High school senior Kim is in the pits. She is flunking all of her classes, has a strained relationship with her mother, and her boyfriend just dumped her for town’s wealthiest girl. Kim decides that she’s going to turn her life around, and use her body to do it! Soon, she is seduces all of her teachers in order to get A’s, and then takes up the local pimp and drug pusher on his offer to become a prostitute. After all, why give it away when you can get paid for it. But Kim’s taste for money and power soon outgrows what her abusive pimp is paying her, and she takes up another offer to become a high paid call girl, and before Kim knows it she’s doing contract hits for her new boss! Money, power, and straight A’s are all at Kim’s finger tips, but how long will it take before she makes a fatal mistake?

From drive-in theatre kings Crown International comes this equally horrible and entertaining trash film that has been given a new life with the digital age and a renewed interest in sleaze cinema. The entire picture is a ridiculous jaunt through shoe-string production values, and the time honored tradition of showing off skin or murder every five minutes to keep the viewer’s attention.

Sporadic director Irvin Berwick’s final picture feels at many times like a porno film that has had all the good stuff cut out. The wild plot gives countless set-ups for sex scenes, almost all of which feature Jill Lansing in her only screen credit as Kim, but as soon as the canned music starts going and Lansing gets her top off (she spends a good portion of the film topless or in clothes that barely cover her) the scene stops dead in its tracks and cuts straight to the aftermath. The acting is just as bad a porno, and sometimes even worse, with many of the actors here in their first (and only) feature role.

The comically drawn poster seems to offer up a fun and fancy free tale of innocent sex and the middle-age men who are powerless to resist a set of teen boobs in the same vein as the previous year’s X rated classic DEBBIE DOES DALLAS, while in truth the story is a much more diabolical tale of blackmail and corruption of greed and money, where only murder and tragedy await the final reel. And in classic bait-and-switch fashion, the girl on the poster isn't even in the movie!

The soundtrack is equally just as bad as everything else involved in the production, with plenty of library tracks taking on underscore responsibilities, and a what-the-hell-was-that music sting whenever Kim makes a particularly nasty remark or takes advantage of a situation. Of particular note is the music that plays during the final sequence, which was also used for the opening to "The People’s Court"

Despite all the obvious shortcomings of the film, including a blatantly used set for two entirely different locations and fashion that already seemed out of date when the film was originally released, there is bizarre charm to the film that can not be denied. This is "independent" trash at its absolute finest to be half-watched and half-mocked while at half-mast (Jill Lansing’s wholely unerotic acting isn’t going to get you anything more) with a can of Schmidt’s or Pabst Blue Ribbon at your side.

MALIBU HIGH is currently available as a double feature along with TRIP WITH THE TEACHER under BCI’s Welcome To The Grindhouse label. Get it on Amazon now.


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