A drifter picks up a waitress at a roadside diner, promising to help her get a start as a dancer in the big city. Unfortunately, he’s a small time criminal with psychopathic tendencies and when they hook up with a guitar playing draft dodger, things get complicated…
lnane ‘swinging’ crime flick from director Ted V. Mikels, who is now mostly remembered for dull, no budget exploitation such as ‘The Astro Zombies’ (1968) and ‘The Corpse Grinders’ (1971). This film is no livelier than those adventures with the underwhelming screenplay offering absolutely no assistance to a cast who struggle to claim audience investment in their exploits, both illegal and romantic.
The first point of our triangle is Buz, played by Tom Pace. He’s the guy with a serious attitude problem and anger management issues. Whilst dodging The Man for some unspecified (but we assume illegal) reasons, he fetches up at the lonely diner where Leslie McRay works for her drunken father. Pace fancies her, but is also looking for some bread and a cover story, so he suggests they head for the big smoke. His sister is a nightclub dancer and can get her into the same line of work. McRay agrees in a heartbeat, in the way that waitresses the world over never would. After a run in with some bikers, they pick up Critter (Jody Daniels) who is also on the run from The Man, because he isn’t keen on furthering Uncle Sam’s dubious agenda in Vietnam.
In the Big City, they find work at ‘The Haunted House’, the club where Pace’s sister works. It’s run by suave, drug dealer Mark Herron, who takes a shine to McRay. By now, she and Daniels are making the old goo-goo eyes at each other, of course. In the last 20 minutes, the film remembers that it’s supposed to be a crime picture and Pace pulls a heist at the local jailhouse.
With a thin script providing no real character development and little budget for any action, a lot falls on the shoulders of the main cast. Predictably, they can’t do much with that they’re given. Pace glowers effectively enough as borderline psycho Buz, but Daniels is just wet as hippy Critter, and we really could have done without his ‘Lonely Man’ song (sung in the rain!) McRay is pretty, but seems impossibly dim in the title role, and her rapid rise to become the headline attraction at the club really beggars belief. The music by Chris Howard’s combo (he plays himself!) is also less than awe-inspiring and accompanies too many dancing scenes for comfort.
The only real bright spot is Herron’s performance as the local crime kingpin. Sadly, he doesn’t get a lot of screen time, but easily dominates each scene when he does. His film career was fairly brief but, rather bizarrely, includes an appearance in Fellini’s ‘8½’ (1963). He was also Liza Minnelli’s stepfather for a while. McRay went on to make minor appearances in a few films, including ‘Death Race 2000’ (1975), but is more likely to be known these days as producer of ‘Day of Miracles’; a television documentary film about survivors of 9/11. Now, that’s about as far from a miniskirt and a pair of gold Go-Go boots as you can get.