Pets (1973)

With The Secret Lives of Pets 2 now in theaters for the past month or so, I figured this is the right time to talk about another movie with “Pets” in the title that Louis C.K. should probably not be allowed near.  And since I can’t seem to go 3 minutes without talking about a Vinegar Syndrome home video release, nor do I like to go 30 seconds without thinking about Candice Rialson, let’s just tie it all into one nice, neat bow with 1973’s Pets.

And if I get a little too out of hand, I’m sure Illumination can come in and remove me and ask for Patton Oswalt to fill in for me.  Nah, just kidding.  Just like Louis C.K. does so well himself when women are trapped in his hotel room, I’m just busting his balls.

This Candice Rialson flick is a little more special.  You see, this is her first credited role in a movie.  She had been in a movie in the late 60s as an uncredited extra.  But now, oh my, now is her time to shine.  What better way to do that than to with a little bit of exploitation bondage?  So forget about her Chatterbox, or being one of Mama’s Dirty Girls, or her gig as with her pals when they were Summer School Teachers…  Let’s chain her down, lock her up, and let me be a total infantile creep as I talk about her hot bod and yummy boobs!

Alright, what is Pets all about?  Well, Rialson plays Bonnie, a teenage runaway.  Her brother was a controlling dickwad, and she decides to get the hell out of Dodge.  Except…  This lands her into a weird web of sexual manipulation.  First, it’s a lesbian artist who wants to groom her.  On the other hand, she runs afoul of an art gallery owner who likes to keep his own collection of “pets” for what I can only assume is to make sure he always has people to play Risk with, but we’ll have to check out the movie to see if my assumption is correct.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

The movie starts with a look at a kick ass bird or eagle or some kind of hawk thing, and then a tiger, and then we get to the good stuff – Candice Rialson in her cage.  No, scratch that.  Let’s not be assholes about bondage and caging chicks, man.  She’s in a 70s adorned kennel…  while some awesome synthesizer/organ/trippy music plays.  I could say, “Let that image sink in” but it’s me, and this is B-Movie Enema.  I’m gonna let you see this hotness…


So right after we see what we’re here to see, Bonnie (Rialson) is in the car with her shithead brother who had to go pick her up after she ran away.  He’s a prick and controlling and threatens to put a fresh one on her if she doesn’t straighten up and fly right.  She convinces him to stop at a burger shack to get her some food and she uses her brother’s inability to park for shit that pisses off a car full of black dudes to escape.  He catches up to her and starts roughing her up.  Thankfully, the car full of black dudes comes to her aid.  She pulls a “never seen this dude before” to incite some fisticuffs.  In the confusion, brother guy gets his ass handed to him by the carload of brothers and Bonnie beats cheeks.

As she runs away, we get to see the title again…  You know, just in case you forgot that you were watching Pets and not Patton.   To be fair, Patton would be 1000% better with more mini-skirted, braless, knotted shirt Candice Rialson, but I digress.

Bonnie walks all night, and decides to grab a sip from a hose in some dude’s backyard.  She meets the comely Pat who carries a gun, likes to fuck up barking dogs, and likes to scam dudes who think with their dicks instead of their brains.  Pam scores a ride in a sweet convertible with a guy who sure likes looking at Candice Rialson.  I mean…

You see that picture over there, right?

As Pat suspected, Mr. Hot Shot Convertible Dude gets hot for Bonnie.  He sees a little upskirt, he sees her legs, he likes what he sees.  Pat pulls a gun on him and makes him pull off the road.  At first, Bonnie was kind of shocked, but once they start interrogating the dude, Bonnie gets into it.  She even teases with Pat that this dude may be gay because he claims he wasn’t giving them a ride in the hopes of balling them.  Pat gets the dude’s house keys and leaves Bonnie to watch the guy at gunpoint.

So we have Dan, the guy who they “took for a ride” trying to convince Bonnie to A) forget about this life of crime because B) she’s so damn fine that she could probably do whatever she wanted wherever she wanted with whomever she chose so that he can C) appeal to her better angels and then D) let him go.  Meanwhile, Pat goes to Dan’s house and starts looking for his wife’s valuables.  There’s a yard work guy there who she flashes when she thinks he might get suspicious why she’s looking through one of the rooms.  You know…  I am not opposed to her methods.

I am also not opposed to Bonnie’s methods when a different car returns with a couple lovebirds inside that might end up becoming witnesses…

She quips that he must have forgotten to call out.  You know, because…  well.  You know why, I mean…  But the point is she said she wold have shot him if he did call out to the others.  When he claims she would not have, she shoots him.  This is when we learn that Pat’s gun is just a water pistol.  Now at his limit, Dan says she’s nothing but cheap flesh.  We don’t see much of her reaction to that slight only because we cut back to Pat tossing Dan’s dog off a cliff because she’s an asshole.

Bonnie reveals a little bit of her damage by saying she never meant to hurt anyone, but sometimes she wants to hurt the whole world.  Pat returns, and says she killed the dog.  Bonnie is pretty upset about this, and Dan reveals he knew about the water gun.  This creates a little distrust with Pat.  Turns out, Pat lied about how much money Dan’s wife had in her jewelry drawer.  Pat ends up leaving both Bonnie and Dan.  Free from the sadistic and maniacal Pat, Bonnie and Dan do what only would comes natural in this situation.

They bang…  HARD.

Alright, well, this part of the adventure is over as Bonnie gets what she wants from Dan and leaves him in the field as she runs off barefoot, panty-less while some soft adult contemporary female empowerment song plays.  This leads us to adventure #2 in this tale of a hot ass runaway – the part with the lesbian artist!

Bonnie arrives in this coast town and tries to steal an apple off a fruit cart, but the artist chick saves her from getting in trouble with the vendor dude.  Bonnie introduces herself and the artist invites her back to her house.  Bonnie takes a bath, accepts some clothes, and gets a job as the artist’s model.  Everything’s coming up Bonnie!

Oh…  Oh no.  That’s not Bonnie.  That’s me.  This movie is hot.  I’m just going to get that out there right now.  This shit is hot.  And what makes it so is not the movie itself.  Yes, there’s absolutely hot field-fucking scenes and bathing scenes and stuff, but this movie is all Candice Rialson.  She’s spectacularly cute and seductive and, at times, sultry as all get out.  In the story with Dan, she’s the dumb, angry runaway.  Here, with Geraldine (played by Joan Blackman), she’s kind of growing up a little bit.  Granted, she’s still a little held down by Geraldine being kind of controlling when she wants to have fun and play on the beach with some guys who are just tossing a dodgeball around like it is a football… Um, sure.  Anyway, she’s a little more grown up.  She’s not yet full on sex bomb yet, but she’s starting to realize the power she has over people with her general attitude toward life and her insanely hot bod.

So, after being the prime subject in Geraldine’s central piece at an art showing, an older gentleman who knows Geraldine asks whether or not she’s into Geraldine or if Geraldine is more into her.  Just then, the owner of the gallery, Vincent, a “strange fish”, as the old man puts it, buys the topless portrait of Bonnie for $2000.  He shows up at Geraldine’s house to collect his painting, but he’s really there to see Bonnie.  He wants to take her out but they both know that Geraldine would probably not be too happy about that.

This is kind of an interesting part of the movie, honestly.  While it is a lot less dangerous than the first couple segments, it’s fraught with possible hazards nonetheless.  Sure, Bonnie is the object of everyone’s affections, right?  Of course.  She’s hot as can be and seemingly fun when she’s not tying  you up, possibly an accessory in your dog’s murder, or holding a gun to your face (yes, yes, that gun wasn’t real, but she didn’t know that until she thought about it for a bit).  She’s certainly into field fucking, and that’s hot.  Anyway, she’s living carefree and I think this movie is positing the idea that kind of life is dangerous.  That can certainly be something you can say a lot of these types of exploitation movies liked to show.

But take this relationship with Geraldine for example.  Geraldine seems nice, she’s certainly helped Bonnie have a home for the first time in a while, and she’s in love with her.  However, Bonnie likes the attention (one can definitely point to that as being her main downfall as a character), but I don’t think she sees herself as a lesbian or even bi-sexual.  She’s kind of what we’d call omni-sexual in 2019.  Even so, other than a kiss and waking up naked in bed together, Geraldine has not actually said she is gay.  I get that 45 years ago it was a taboo topic, but this movie wasn’t exactly made for mass consumption.  Everyone knows she’s gay, but the relationship only manifests into a weird parental/controlling/protective relationship where she is more grooming her to be lesbian than actually talking about feelings and setting the proper feelings surrounding how she feels about Bonnie.  It makes this portion of the movie more of a drama than anything else.

This movie was made too early.  This was still during a time in which, as I mentioned, homosexual lifestyle as deemed “wrong” and characters who were gay were often either played for laughs or for scares.  While this movie doesn’t necessarily typically portray Geraldine as a bad person, it goes out of its way to make her controlling and even goes so far as to have her slap Bonnie when she wants to go into town the following day.  Sure, Bonnie is still playing the field, but the slap seems to come off as something that gives us in the audience a reason to root against Geraldine.  A more contemporary movie today would probably make her much more sympathetic.  Maybe a lonely person who was hurt in the past and scared to lose someone again.  Even though it came earlier, it’s funny that a porno like SexWorld handled the intricacies of being a scared and lonely lesbian looking for human touch better than a movie that would have at least a little wider audience.

Alright, so after my little diatribe about homosexual relationships and characters in movies (neither of which I’m an actual expert), let’s catch up here.  Bonnie wants to go into town and she makes it relatively clear that she also wants a man.  Geraldine says she likes Bonnie more when the lights are out because she can pretend she’s whoever she wants.  This… This is not a great relationship.  Anyway, a guy breaks into the house to get food.  He’s legit homeless and hungry, but Geraldine wants to either call the cops or shoot the guy.  Bonnie hides him in her room and they fuck.

I mean… Bonnie did say she’s in the mood for a guy.  Just so happens this guy fell right in through the window!

The next morning, Geraldine walks in on Bonnie and homeless guy.  Geraldine says he has to go.  Bonnie counters with “he leaves, she leaves” and shit comes to a head real fast.  Geraldine shoots and kills Ron, the homeless guy, and has the audacity to say to Bonnie that she was the one who really killed him by being into dudes.  Bonnie runs away and thumbs it to Vincent’s gallery.

She tells Vincent everything and he offers her a place for her to stay in his secluded mansion in the hills.  He buys her clothes that he likes, and a bracelet that labels her as “Vincent’s”.  He then takes her home.  He shows her where his pets sleep…  Which happens to be in the basement and it sure seems like a dungeon.  Why would I possibly think th–

Oh yeah…

A little later, Vincent sees Geraldine and asks her to come over to his house where she can reunite with her “favorite subject” and she agrees.  When she gets there, she realizes that Vincent has a dog, a cat, a bird, a fish… all female.  He makes no bones about being the only male who lives in his house.  He is also quite proud of his “pets” and I begin to realize, as he brags about turning women into pets and he punishes them…  This is turning into a fucking horror movie!

I kid, this guy is just a weirdo.  However, here’s where Geraldine is redeeming herself to me.  She stands up to Vincent by saying she’s not interested in dudes or whatever it is he’s trying to do here.  She’s also real suspect of his dream of building a zoo and putting only women in it and having them mate with ideal males.  This is getting pretty fuckin’ weird if you ask me.  And, guess what?  Geri here isn’t too keen on it either!

Geri is about to leave, but Vincent convinces her to stay by saying Bonnie’s name.  He claims he’s tamed her and he’ll fetch her so they can see each other.  He locks Geri in his bedroom and the two ladies reunite.  Bonnie’s happy to see her, but Geraldine is a little weirded out by how much it seems Bonnie’s changed.  Even weirder, after they have a toast, Vincent rings a bell and Bonnie leaves.  Geraldine soon finds herself in a maze of locked doors and so forth.  Soon, Vincent reveals his goals – he wants to possess Geraldine because he feels she’s tempted him and, now, he must have her.

However…  The reason for his penchant for owning pets and keeping them in what he feels are their places is that his mom was a bitch to his dad and he ultimately lost a chance to be the curator of a big gallery, but lost it to a woman who he believes slept her way to the top.  So, now he wants to bed Geraldine and keep her in bed where he believes the only place they should remain.  He takes Geraldine to the basement where his menagerie is full of females of animals – including Bonnie.

Okay…  So here’s where things get real weird.

Bonnie is in a cage in this menagerie.  She’s basically there because Vincent used her to lure Geraldine to his house and as some leverage to make Geri his.  Geraldine swears that she will not be made into one of his caged “pets” and he cannot do this to anyone.  He says that Bonnie felt the same way, but all that’s changed now.  She’s basically trained like an animal.  When Geraldine says she’s gonna take Bonnie with her, Vincent asks if that will be for Bonnie to be made her pet again.  Both Vincent and Bonnie laugh.

Geraldine begs for Vincent to let Bonnie go and as he gets the key, Bonnie explains that she was beaten into submission.  It all started when she went to him after running away from Geraldine’s.  When she put his cat to bed, he locked her in the cage and that’s when everything began.  Geraldine tries to knock out Vincent, but fails.  He starts to “train” Geraldine with a whip, but as Vincent begins loading Geraldine into Bonnie’s cage, Bonnie locks them both inside and lets all Vincent’s animals free.

She leaves with the clothes Vincent bought her, his dog, and his car and… wins… the movie?  I guess she was playing a longer game than Vincent.  I mean, the female empowerment adult contemporary song strummed at the end of the movie as she picks up a drifter guy tells me she won the Pets World Championship!

Yes. Yes it is.

I quite liked this movie for all its weirdness.  Much like Avengers: Endgame, it’s three movies in one.  First, we have a little more of a sexy caper where she and Pat are pulling a heist on Dan.  Yeah, Pat tossing that poor doggy over the cliff was a real dick move, but Bonnie and Dan fucked.  So that was kind of hot.  The second movie is the coming of age/finding your sexuality (or maybe more accurately sensuality) flick.  Then the final part was the horror/exploitation part of true bondage for the kicks of a weird old guy who is likely not going to be running anymore galleries anymore, but might get a real high paying gig at Breitbart.

There is certainly a steaminess to the movie that is understated but my brain and my gibbly bits were picking up on it.  There is literally nothing Candice Rialson can do that I’d find unsexy.  Every inch of her drips of perfection and pure sexual energy and I bet she was a really cool chick too.  I mean it.  She got out of Hollywood at the end of the 70s and raised a family.  From her movies, and there are sadly only a few more to go where she actually has a significant role, her smile and general attitude seemingly was genuine.  That’s why I like her as much as I do and ruing the day in which I’m out of movies to talk about featuring her.

Even though I mentioned this movie was too early to really do something well with the lesbian story, I really liked Joan Blackman in this movie.  She was maybe the only other really fleshed out character.  She’s a damn attractive lady too.  She’s playing older but she was in her mid to late 30s in this movie and she’s full of sex appeal.  I shit you not, she did not wear a bra in this entire movie.  At one point, I’m fairly certain she was cooking lunch wearing only an apron.

It’s not about the age, the clothes, the makeup, or the lack of clothes or what you can see that makes something sexy, kiddos.  It’s about how someone carries themselves.

So that does it for this week.  Next week?  I got more babes.  Back in December, I talked about a little movie called Space Babes from Outer Space.  That was a beautiful little throwback movie mixing both classic sci-fi and the sex comedies that most younger Gen X-ers like myself or older Millennials grew up with on Cinemax.  Well, there may be no more direct influence on Space Babes from Outer Space than Beach Babes from Beyond!

See you all next week, and help control animal population by having your pets spayed or neutered.

One thought on “Pets (1973)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s