Hooray! I’m gonna watch more exploitation from the 70s! This makes me very happy. And why shouldn’t I feel that way? Look at the poster to the left for this week’s feature, Malibu High. Look at the comely lady sunbathing toplessly with that smile that almost says, “Look what I got myself into this time… I’m such a fun gal!”
And what did she get herself into? Well, it looks like a bunch of various types of guys in the background are looking on. Because they are drawn in caricature while she is drawn in photo realism, I’m guessing these guys are gonna be a bunch of rapscallions that will be either scolding our luscious leading lady Kim (played by Jill Lansing), or they will be chasing after her like sex-crazed juveniles hoping she’ll spend a night with them in the ol’ sack.
Let’s take a look at the synopsis on Wikipedia. “High school student Kim Bentley (Lansing) is having a tough time of things at the moment, she has been dumped by her boyfriend Kevin (Stuart Taylor) for rich girl Annette (Tammy Taylor), her grades are slipping and she has no money, and all her mother (Phyllis Benson) seems to care about is cleaning. Kim tells her best friend Lucy (Katie Johnson) that the nonsense ends today.”
Well that fits right in line with how jaunty and fun the poster looks!
Wait… There’s more: “Kim’s been feeling sorry for herself ever since her father hanged himself.”
Oh… Oh that’s dark. And it goes on:
“She begins working for Tony the pimp (Alex Mann) and things start to look good for her, new clothes, new car and good grades. Annette begins to hate Kim even more and Kevin becomes jealous. Kim then meets Lance (Garth Howard) who frees her from turning tricks in a beat up old van which leads her to better clothes and nicer cars. Prostitution isn’t the worst of it as Kim is forced to kill a man in self-defense when he tries to have his way with her being tied up. Kim becomes a hit woman and after murdering several people, she herself…”
I have to stop there. I… I don’t want to ruin the end. The dark, downer, depressing end to this poor girl’s story.
But the poster! The poster looks so fun! Sigh. I guess we should get started and try to piece together if this movie is fun and lots of laughs or if it’s moody, dark, and disturbing.
We have another Crown International Pictures and that’s kinda awesome. However… The opening theme song, “Lovely But Deadly” by Steve Myland, is only confusing me further about the tone of this movie. It’s also using fun little animations to have the credits slide in from one side or the other and then separate as they slide off the screen. We have this jaunty little theme (that I only wish I could find on YouTube to share with you because this song is fun and pretty smooth), these credits, the opening scene of Kim, our main lady, not being able to wake up for school and being a normal, ordinary teenager… It’s all melting my brain.
Anyway, so Kim finally pulls herself out of bed to go to high school. She sleeps nude. She also has smokes next to her bed for her to help her wake up. Oh, 1970s… Way to show us teenage (possibly underage) T&A and contribute to the delinquency of minors by giving her some smokes. Her mother complains about her lackadaisical attitude toward her school work and her manners of smoking while eating breakfast. Kim explains how she broke up with her boyfriend Kevin before leaving for school with her friend, Lucy.
So, right out of the gate, Kim is shown as a disaffected youth who has a bit of an attitude and a humdrum life. She is frustrated with how her boyfriend now dates the rich bitch whose dad runs the town, she has to deal with her mom’s bitching, and now her teacher bitches her out for flunking her history class that would lead to her not having the grades to graduate. On top of that, her mom constantly cleans like a crazy person.
Lucy wants her to go to the big dance this weekend as a way to show Kevin she’s moved on, but Kim’s just in a rut, ya know? We’ve all been there. We’ve all lost boyfriends to the rich bitch whose dad owns everything in Malibu. We’ve all had to deal with moms constantly cleaning and complaining that we’re not ladylike while smoking at the breakfast table. Amirite, guys?
Oh. Well, that might just be me.
Cut to what looks like an Indianapolis East Side Mexican restaurant where the school dance is happening. Kim looks like she’d rather be just about anyplace else. She’s made even more sad when Kevin comes in with his new girlfriend, Annette. It would be real easy to say Kim’s a problem kid. She does nothing but shrug off important things and mopes and smokes. She reacts negatively to a guy coming up to her to take her out to the dance floor. One could say that Kevin would be right to dump her because she is just a negative Nelly (oh, god, I can’t believe I actually typed something that would come so effortlessly from Ned Flanders’ mouth). Lucy is kind of a cuckquean with Kim making her leave the dance, told by Kim to make new plans on her own time because apparently Lucy’s time belongs to Kim tonight. She’s not a fun person, and she’s bitchy. She even claims the pot Lucy PAID for herself that Kim made her buy isn’t doing anything for her.
So, apparently, Kim has what the 1970s would have called “daddy issues”. I mean, yeah, we use that term today too. I mean, strip clubs don’t fill themselves up all by themselves without a barrel full of daddy issues. In 2018, if a girl’s (or any teenager for that matter) dad committed suicide, and a clear physical or attitudinal change occurs, a legitimate outreach would take place either by a teacher, counselor, or a predatory church organization to try to help this kid from falling through the cracks and start making bad choices.
However, in 1979, she’s got nowhere to place her frustration, anger, and depression. She’s brimming with hatred for everything around her. What does she decided to do while drunk and high at Lucy’s place? She decides that tomorrow she’s gonna be a new woman. No more flunking grades. No more lack of money. No more living the way everyone else wants her to live. Nah, she’s gonna change all that shit. Yay, feminism!
In a foggy haze of a nightmare brought on by the pot and booze, we’re shown Kim discovering her father’s hanged corpse. Of course, they make Kim look like she’s part of underage fetish porn. The next morning, Kim begins her new life almost like any other morning – her mom knocking on her bedroom door to wake her up, and her showing us her tits. She then comes out in a little halter top and miniskirt. When her mom decides to make an issue of it, Kim tells her to get off her case and stop hasselin’ her like a real square. After all, she is 18 and she can do and wear what she wants.
Oh, thank god, she’s established she’s 18.
At school, the boys catcall and whistle at Kim in her new outfit, heavy makeup, and fuck-me wedges. Her history teacher tells her she was distracting to class and she decides to make the play for him, but he rebuffs her. She leaves frustrated, but tells him where he can find her after school. Speaking “after school”, on the way to the car, Kevin is caught by Annette looking over his ex-girlfriend’s new look. When Annette calls Kim a slut, Kim cold cocks the rich bitch right in the fucking nose. Frankly, despite Kim obviously being on a downward spiral, I’m all for her punching bitches.
Remember when I said that Lucy bought some pot when she and Kim left the dance? The seller, Tony, propositioned Kim to work for him as a hooker. Kim’s new attitude toward life has her thinking twice about the offer and tells him to meet her that night at 9.
The cavalcade of poor decisions continues as the history teacher, Mr. Donaldson, meets Kim at the previously mentioned “High Point” where she shows us her tits and fucks her teacher. Later, Kim meets up with Tony and agrees to be a hooker. In order to properly sell her, Tony has to sample the goods. They get in the back of his windowless van and she shows us her tits and fucks him.
You know… Say what you will about Tony wanting some fuck cheese from Kim, I have to say I agree with his business tactics. Kim, though 1979 good looking, totally looks like a run of the mill Kim. It might be a good idea to make sure her moves are worthy of the monies. I guess it is because we cut to a scene in which Tony pimps Kim out. Soon, Tony has the guys lined up outside his van to pay 50 bucks a pop to fuck Kim. They pay him, get in the back of the van, and Kim shows us her tits, and fucks them. Kim runs another scheme behind Tony’s back – she takes a second go around with the guys as long as they pay her directly. She even offers them a discount!
Now that’s good hookerin’.
Six weeks pass, and Kim’s rakin’ in what she wants from her new life. She tells Mr. Donaldson she expects an A for his class. She gave up her A, now she wants him to give that A. Mr. Donaldson balks, even so far as to say that 1) she’s not had any time for him since their romp at High Point, 2) she isn’t going to be able to blackmail him because no one knew about either of them going there when they did, and 3) her grades were never part of any deal for them in their fuckin’.
But, uh-oh… She knows intimate details about his crescent moon birthmark on his ass.
Next up, Kim goes to Mr. Mooney, her physics teacher and tells him to meet her at High Point for some “special tutoring”. Despite saying it is out of the question, guess what happens? You guessed it, but before she heads of to High Point, Kim buzzes by Annette in her car and Annette says not once, not twice, but three times that Kim is a “piece of shit” in one of my favorite moments in the entire movie. Oh. That and Mr. Mooney meets Kim at High Point and they fuck. Sadly, we break from formula as Kim is not first seen showing us her tits.
Instead, we see Annette’s tits and she’s got a rockin’ little bod. I believe they call it “petite” on those porn sites that I’ve never ever visited before. That said, there are some problems a-brewin’. Kim’s mom starts noticing that she doesn’t study anymore. Kim even scoffs at the idea of even needing a diploma because she already has a great paying job, but won’t say what that job actually is. Also, a big deal is made about Annette and Kevin going to the beach – while I specifically suspect this was only to get Annette into a bikini that eventually fell off to show us her tits, I think it might lead to them seeing her fucking teachers for grades?
Enter Lance. Lance is a different businessman looking to recruit Kim. She initially turns him down to stay with Tony, but smash cut to Tony paying out Kim for her tricks and roughing her up the moment she asks for a raise. So… She tells Tony to get fucked, and goes to work for Lance for more money. He also has cocaine. She tries some, shows us her tits, and then fucks him.
Kim is now a high priced prostitute and things seem to be going well until one of the johns she is paid to be with reveals he’s into rough stuff. Kim is not into that. Believing herself to be in danger, she stabs the guy in the back with an ice pick. Lance says he’ll take care of it all, but Kim reveals that she feels pretty good about being able to take charge of her own situation and prevented herself from being hurt. Lance decides to gift Kim a gun and tells her to kill Tony because he’s pissing off the wrong people. Kim is more than happy to be a call girl, but doesn’t want to be a hit girl. Lance says she’ll make more money if she is an assassin and she’ll never be a hooker again.
So Kim becomes an assassin.
And then moves in with Lance because why the hell not?
After an afternoon of practicing with her new gun, Kim tracks down Tony in a parking garage and kills him. Kim quickly realizes that she really gets off on killing dudes. So, Lance, the dutiful dirty old man boyfriend he is, instantly sets Kim up on another job. She meets up with the target and tells him to meet her at High Point the next morning before school. He arrives, and she shoots him in the fucking face, killing him.
Things start to unravel for Kim as she gets called to the principal’s office. As Mr. Donaldson says, she can screw the teachers, but she can’t screw the school. The principal is onto the game. Kim shows up in her slutwear and plans to fuck her way out of this trouble too, but she sees that he has heart problems and needs medication. Kim concocts a plan. She invites him over to his place that night under the guise that he’ll discuss her expulsion with her mother. When he comes over, she palms his meds and flushes them down the toilet. When she comes back, she shows off her body in the first scene that you see Kim wearing a bra, and then begins to seduce him. This causes him to have a heart attack. Problem solved.
It is a relatively chilling scene all things considered, but I also have a question. First, let’s talk about Kim’s final descent into full on cold-blooded killer. The entire movie has kind of built up to this point. As it started, she was at her lowest point, but now she feels a modicum of power over her life and how people treat her. With each accomplishment she’s achieved on what she feels is the path to ultimate success, she’s grown more hungry. It’s likely we’d see her as a narcissist, but in 1979 exploitation cinema, she’s just some slut cunt who hates men or something. Everything to this point has led to the ultimate conclusion – a literal dead old man to bring her full circle from where her journey began with the figurative dead old man that she found hanging from a noose a couple years prior. There is even a nice shot composition of her legs and the dead principal making an A which was exactly the thing her fuckboy teachers were giving her that led to her would-be expulsion. Excellent job, exploitation movie from the 70s.
Now for my question. We’ve all seen the heart pills thing in movies before. Guy about keels over from a heart attack only to be instantly saved by a tiny little pill he keeps in his pockets. Often times, he needs someone to fetch them for him in order to save his life. Is that how they really work? I know if I have a pounding headache, swallowing a couple Tylenol (even at maximum strength and size) does not instantly cure it. Am I to believe that this works for these little heart pills???
I’m dubious of that.
When she tells Lance about the principal dying, he seems concerned. He suggests they go to Tahiti after she graduates. However, first, Kim has to fully move out of her mother’s and into Lance’s place. This leads to a brief fight between Kim and her mother, but it’s resolved by Kim flipping her off and moving anyway. Then, there’s a brief discussion with Lance about what they are going to do for dinner, then they fuck – in two separate scenes. I think a wheel has fallen off of this movie that had already been running at an incredible pace only for it to speed up even more in these last 10 minutes or so.
We finally get to our climax. Lance wants to contract Kim to kill Harry Ingersoll – Annette’s father. At first, she’s into the idea. But, a day later, she thinks twice because of how powerful he is. Kim is further concerned that Ingersoll carries a gun, but Lance says it won’t matter because he won’t have time to use it against her. She shows up posing as his hooker for the night, and, when he fixes himself a drink, she shoots him. Unfortunately, Annette comes over to surf with her friends and discovers Kim. So Kim shoots Annette and runs away.
Upon the discovery of his dead girlfriend and his dead girlfriend’s dead father, Kevin instantly knows it was Kim who did it. How? Not 100% sure, but I do know that the chase scene is scored by none other than the theme to The People’s Court! Also, seeing Kim running away from the Ingersoll beach house followed closely by Kevin pretty much proves that he now realizes she killed them. She holds him at gunpoint and dares her to shoot him by calling her a “goddamn stupid fucking broad” and she agrees, but just before she shoots Kevin, he’s saved by the police gunning her down from the cliff behind her.
No shit. The movie ends with credits scrolling over our main character’s corpse face down on the beach while noir style saxophone music plays. Don’t believe me? Look:
This is a very strange movie. The material in the movie is pretty cut and dry. It’s about a girl who decides to take life by the reins only to be seduced instantly into a life where all she wants is more until she ends up dead on the fucking beach. All the promotional materials you will ever see for this movie looks like it is a sex comedy like those you would have seen since the release of Animal House. I wrote my intro to this movie with only the basics of the movie not being what the poster and any home video releases is selling. I discovered later that what I wrote isn’t much different than what others have. It is most certainly a movie that involves a bunch of sex, but I wouldn’t call this a sexy movie. The cover features a girl that isn’t even Jill Lansing. It almost is, but it almost looks like a mix between Farrah Fawcett and Jill Lansing. It’s not that Ms. Lansing isn’t alluring in much of the movie in a “normal girl in the neighborhood that you always liked” way, but she’s not quite the overly sexy girl on the poster and over of the Vinegar Syndrome DVD/Blu Ray that I own.
As for Jill Lansing in the real world, she never appeared in another movie (at least not according to IMDb). If you Google Jill Lansing, you come across two primary results – the Jill Lansing from Malibu High who has gained a bit of a cult following thanks to the movie and the Jill Lansing who was the defense attorney for Lyle Menendez, one of the infamous twin murderers from the early 1990s. Surely they aren’t the same person…
Jill Lansing is very interesting in this movie. She plays the narcissistic, power-hungry femme fatale with some zeal. At times, she’s damaged and you feel sorry for her and others she’s deranged and you fear her. She wasn’t likely good enough to be in much of anything other than other exploitation movies or as a bit part in some cheap action movie.
In all, is Malibu High any good? That depends. If you’re looking for a romp, you ain’t gonna get it. If you want something that has a loose plot but a lot of fuck scenes, you’ll be into it. I expected the movie to be a complete madhouse of mind boggling switches between a romp and a hard boiled exploitation action/thriller. It isn’t that either. It exists because I watched it, but I don’t know what the original intent of anything of the movie was. I don’t think it was meant to scare people of the dangers of independent, sexually uninhibited women. But I’m not sure what it was supposed to say… Don’t dump your girlfriend for the town’s rich bitch? Don’t not have discussions with the loved ones of suicide victims? What is it trying to say?!?
Oh whatever, we had lots of titty shots so I don’t care what it was about.
Come back next week when I do actually look over a true blue sex romp from the early 80s – Screwballs!