Thursday, September 28, 2017

Teenage Tramp (1973)

Here’s a more accurate title for this grim exploitation flick: I Was a Teenage Cult Escapee. Although the picture indeed begins with trampy behavior, in the form of a young hitchhiker servicing the truck driver who gives her a ride, things take a turn soon afterward. A hippie chick fully aware of her sexual power, slinky blonde Kim (Alisha Fontaine) makes her way to the home of her wealthy older sister, Hillary (Robin Lane), with the goal of squeezing Hillary for money from their late parents’ estate. Hillary resists, assuming Kim will blow the money on wild adventures, then tries persuading Kim to sign up for college. Instead, Kim seduces Hillary’s boyfriend, Adam (Anthony Massena). Later, some of Kim’s old friends track her down. Turns out she fled a cult led by Maury (David Sawn), and when Maury gets an eyeful of Hillary’s posh house, he sets his mind to squeezing Hillary for cash. Debauchery and intrigue ensue, none of it the least bit convincing. Cheaply made and poorly acted, Teenage Tramp grinds through tedious scenes—one pointless sequence features nothing but Kim cavorting atop a pool float—and occasionally resolves into focused moments of character interplay. Some of these moments work well enough, but just as many fizzle. The sum effect is bewildering, partly because the characters are so unsympathetic. Even in scenes portraying Kim as a victim, Fontaine’s seen-it-all vibe undercuts the characterization; picture Faye Dunaway’s fast little sister, and you get the appropriate mental image. Anyway, while the final stretch of the picture is somewhat interesting simply because things get nihilistic, pointless darkness ultimately doesn’t command much more attention than the quality defining the rest of the picture, pointless licentiousness.

Teenage Tramp: LAME

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