Take a ride on the wild side with Stacey. She’s fast!
That’s what the poster of the 1973 film says, and… yeah, I’m up for that ride. Welcome to this almost kind of special B-Movie Enema article this week as we meet in the middle of two things we like a lot around here – Andy Sidaris and Roger Corman.
Sidaris was already a sports photography superstar. He was the director of the earliest seasons of ABC’s Monday Night Football in the early 70s. Earlier than that, he worked on other ABC productions as part of their Wild World of Sports series. He worked on the 1968 Summer Olympics. He directed a World Heavyweight Boxing Championship match between Muhammad Ali and Oscar Bonavena. The guy did all sorts of stuff.
While he did work on a TV series called The Magic Land of Allakazam, his first foray into features was a 1969 racing documentary. Stacey would become his first full length narrative feature film.
But let’s back up for a moment… I mentioned Roger Corman. Yeah, Corman is said to have provided Sidaris with half the budget for this movie. He then released it through New World Pictures in June of 1973. The other half of the budget for the movie was raised by Sidaris himself. I think this might be a case where Sidaris had a lot of really good pals.
I have no doubt in my mind that Sidaris was a bit of a Tex Avery wolf cartoon character around women. I suspect he spent a lot of time in gentleman’s clubs and probably even the Playboy and Penthouse mansions. I mean, that last part has to be true, right? Most of his stars came from either of the publications. However, as one of THE top guys for an entire network’s sports coverage, I bet he naturally met a lot of powerful and rich people. Raising half the budget for a movie that would likely feature lots of sexy shit was probably easy.
Again, yeah, I bet Sidaris said a lot of potentially uncouth things in today’s vernacular. That does not remove the fact that his films consistently featured women heroes. Yes, as we saw in previous journeys into the work of this exploitation maestro, there’s usually an Abilene running around, but that guy is very rarely the main focus of any of the movies – especially after Malibu Express. I really do think Andy Sidaris, along with his wife and production partner, Arlene, legitimately wanted more action movies with babes. Why the hell not? The 70s and 80s were littered with hunks. As the 80s got going full swing, those action stars got beefier and less normal in terms of your every day Joe. Why not do the same for women in action flicks?
I really could go on forever in defense of the over the top Sidaris action sex comedies, but I think most of my readers understand that he was making a very particular type of movie for a very specific era in pop culture. What I DO want to go over is how this movie is the return of an old girlfriend to the B-Movie Enema website – the stupendously sexy Anitra Ford! Ms. Ford hasn’t been seen in a blog article since 2016 when I covered Invasion of the Bee Girls. However, if you’re one of the few people who look at everything I do over here on the site, you know that Anitra has shown up in a couple episodes of the award-winning (if only in my mind), hit (especially in my mind) B-Movie Enema: The Series. The first time was in season one when I covered Messiah of Evil, and the second time was just last weekend when Invasion of the Bee Girls got its time in the sun.
I’m a little surprised Ford didn’t do more in movies. She was really only in the business for about 10 years. She did a lot of guest star roles on TV shows. Her movies range from exploitation classics like Bee Girls and The Big Bird Cage to criminally underrated and underseen classics like Messiah of Evil to significant films like The Longest Yard. She’s better known for being one of the original Barker’s Beauties on the revamped The Price Is Right. She and looooongtime TPIR model Janice Pennington were the first two when the show was restyled in 1972 to what we know of it today. The three most famous models on the show, Pennington, Dian Parkinson, and Holly Hallstrom, were put into place after Ford left in 1976. Anyway, Ford is one the classic B-Movie Enema Beauties and is a hall of famer and we’re just happy to see her involved with an Andy Sidaris movie.
With that said, let’s dive into Stacey!
Well, I cannot argue with the movie’s poster telling me that Stacey is fast because, right out of the gate, we have her driving a race car real fast. I suspect if there is literally anything you can expect from an Andy Sidaris flick is that there will be something sporty involved. He just came off a racing documentary a few years before so why not, right?
Oh… And, yeah, you need to expect that there will be tits.
Absolutely no shit that is the title card for the movie, Playboy Playmate Anne Randall stripping out of her racing suit and showing her tits in freeze frame for all us perverts watching the movie. She then comes out wearing a tight sweater, short shorts, and go go boots. She gets in her Corvette and we hear her theme song. Fantastic.
Also because this is a Sidaris movie, the very first place Stacey goes to is a boat at the marina. Her boy toy tells her there is a registered letter waiting for her at the post office. She tells the audience in voice over about how the handwriting was very old fashioned, yet strong and assertive. There’s an offer for $5000 up front and $5000 after she completes her investigation of whatever it is this rich family is asking for. She also throws in the statement that she just came off a murder case that involved a chimpanzee. Sure.
Seriously… Sure. I just want to see hot babes, Stacey. You could have told told me you just got done taking a mean dump and I would be happy because I know I’m going to see some babes.
Stacey arrives at a mansion to speak to an old lady in a wheelchair, Ms. Chambers, who has called for her. Stacey is meant to appear as an old family friend while she is here. Ms. Chambers is very rich. VERY rich. However, she doesn’t have an heir to leave that money to. She wants Stacey to figure out who would be the best person to leave that wealth to once she passes away.
We don’t have to wait too long to see Anitra Ford’s Tish Chambers. Tish is Ms. Chambers’ niece by marriage. She’s fucking the houseboy and man, oh man, do I wish I was a houseboy. Tish is married to John. Tish is a bit of a bitch to everyone. Later, at dinner, we meet Pamela, the grand-niece. Pamela seems a little nicer, at least compared to Tish, and is maybe a little more naïve.
Speaking of the earlier houseboy, Frank, he just comes waltzing right into Stacey’s bedroom while she’s topless. As he kind of comes onto her, she knees him in the dick and tells him to get fucked. The next day, she lays out by the pool next to Pamela. Pamela explains that her van broke down. She’s not exactly interested in being stuck there with her great-aunt. Stacey suggests that houseboy Frank could drive her somewhere, but Pamela explains that is right out because she has to constantly fight off his advances. She also gives Stacey the lowdown that Tish and Frank are fuck buddies. Frank also likes taking pictures of the action too.
I should point out that this movie is kind of the first run for Sidaris before making Malibu Express. Frank taking pictures of him fucking Tish is something that plays a big part in the later movie with the shitbag taking damning video of an affair. A kindly older lady wanting to figure out what’s going on with her family, etc. There’s more that we will find out later about John that plays into this as well, but you get the idea. Sidaris was trying some stuff out here in Stacey and would perfect them later in the 80s while still producing something of interest early on in his career with the money Corman gave him.
Stacey takes Pam to see her friend Rodney. Rodney is kind of one of those dropout stoner hippie types. Stacey spots that Pam gave Rodney some money and a couple of Rodney’s friends come along with a giant hooka style bong. Stacey wants to get out of there. Rodney wants her to stick around and hang out. His friends introduce themselves to Stacey by kissing her tits – without her permission. Stacey does not handle that shit lightly. Stacey storms out after telling Rodney she doesn’t like old men taking money from little girls… for whatever it is that Pam gave him money for.
Meanwhile, houseboy Frank, who is an ex-con I might add, is in deep with someone he owes money to. This doesn’t make Tish nearly has happy as his dick makes her. He reveals that he has pictures of a rich girl sleeping with an ex-con. If she continues to be a bitch to him, then maybe he can show off those pictures to interested parties who might be interested in Tish’s dealings under the nose of her gay husband. Yeah, John’s gay. So there’s that.
Not only does Frank have the goods on Tish, he’s got pictures of John having sex with men. John holds his ground by basically telling Frank he has no interest in giving Frank what he wants. Ms. Chambers has a party and it’s a weird collection of a bunch of different types of people being invited by the various friends of the various potential heirs and then the boring old friends of the old lady.
Admittedly, the last couple scenes seemed to kind of get stuck together a little awkwardly. First, there’s the whole thing between Frank and Tish. Tish storms out and it immediately jumps to Stacey following the Chambers’ car where we see Frank and John talking. Yes, Frank is working angles here, I get that. However, Stacey’s involvement is weird. At first you think she follows Tish, but she follows Frank. We don’t see Frank leave and it’s no longer storming. Did a day pass? Was it a few hours? When did Frank leave to take John for a ride and Stacey to follow? Where did they go? I get that Stacey is curious about what’s going on because, while she didn’t hear everything going on between Frank and Tish, she heard enough to be suspicious enough to follow. Did she learn anything? I can’t say she did. Now there’s a party. I feel like this is where Malibu Express does this better because, in that, Cody, after getting a little curious, follows the drag queen member of the family to the drag club and there’s some very cheeky dialog about how that guy was dolled up really nicely and so forth.
At the party, the guy Frank owes money to is working the bar and, now, there is an immediate threat to Frank right there in the house the party is at and where he lives. Frank puts in a call to the party from another room and threatens John once again with the release of the pictures. John again declines. Frank gets attacked by the guy he’s in deep to and tells him he is NOT leaving the party without the money he’s owed. Just to show he’s for real, he cuts Frank on the cheek.
That night, Frank is attacked and stabbed to death.
Stacey is the one who finds Frank next to the pool. She figures that Frank was either moved or, more likely, crawled outside to the pool. This also means that Stacey’s purpose for being there will be outed as well. Ms. Chambers says that she suspects it was one of Frank’s hoodlum friends. Meanwhile, Stacey finds Tish going through Frank’s stuff. Also poking around outside is the maid. Stacey finds no pictures, but finds undeveloped film in a camera, and a second camera with blood on it.
While the police begins their investigation, Stacey and pilot boyfriend Bob go to Frank’s beach house where he took a lot of his blackmail pictures of Tish. The moment they go inside to start looking around, they decide to fuck. Now… Okay. Look, I get it, Bobby Boy. You like the way Stacey looks and you’ve been wanting to get to the business as much as possible since the first time we saw you in this movie but yikes… This is a murder investigation.
But the good news is that Stacey figured out how Frank was taking those pictures of Tish when she finds the shutter switch that was hidden by the bed.
However, nearby, there are goons coming to get that undeveloped film from the beach house. Stacey and Bob find the camera and the roll of film and as they get ready to leave, the goons come to attack. They knock out Bob and go after Stacey. However, Stacey is damn smart. She tricks the goons into going to the bathroom where they think they will find her in the shower, but she is waiting for them and kills them both. The first in the bathroom and the second on the beach.
Stacey and Bob need to find someone who can develop the film that she’s nabbed from Frank’s things. They need to see what’s on the film before the cops get a hold of it and derail what Stacey can do for Ms. Chambers. So Bob is off to take the film to the press box at the Riverside race track where a friend of his can get that film developed. Meanwhile, Stacey is going back to the Chambers estate.
Bob gets the pics and it appears that the shots are pretty grainy. So he calls Stacey and has her come to the track to take a look. She gets followed by goons looking to collect those pictures. It should also be noted that when Bob called Stacey at the Chambers place, Ms. Chambers had her maid listen in to find out where she was headed. That might be a bit shady.
Stacey takes a look at the pictures and finds one that seems to make the most sense to reveal who might have come to the door to reveal who’s behind everything. When the picture she found was blown up, it got a little clearer and tells Stacey everything she needs to know. While she and Bob beat a hasty departure, the goons get into position with shot guns. The goons shoot Bob, but it’s non-fatal. They chase after Stacey. A fairly interesting firefight takes place that’s kind of edited interestingly. It cuts back and forth on the combatants.
She eventually is able to get to her car but a tire gets shot out and she has to get one of the race cars to successfully get away while the goons shoot down a California Highway Patrolman. So the goons commandeer a helicopter with people shooting the race from above. Now we go from a firefight to a helicopter chasing a race car. That’s fuckin’ great.
Unfortunately, there are a few minutes of not a whole lot other than aerial filming of a race car from the vantage point of a helicopter. This does bring up the fact that, from a technical standpoint, this movie is very well made. It’s clear that Sidaris knew some stuff about how to shoot action. He learned from real life action and drama in sporting events and stuff. However, with this movie entering the last 10 minutes or so, there’s not a whole lot of plot. It’s like what Joe Bob Briggs used to say, “There’s not a whole lot of plot to get in the way of the story.” It’s night and day what Sidaris would learn in just about a dozen years and how much better Malibu Express is as an overall movie compared to Stacey – which itself isn’t that bad at all!
Stacey is a difficult movie to really talk about because, again, here’s another situation of a movie that is easy to watch and enjoy, but there’s not a great deal going on here. But the individual pieces of this movie work. I actually really do like Anne Randall as the lead here. She’s good looking. She doesn’t seem out of her depths as an action lead. She can carry herself in this. She even has some fun and flirty or comedic moments that work.
Stacey is finally able to get rid of the goons. All that’s basically left at this point is to reveal who, why, or what killed Frank. There’s a hippie freak out party going on at some hangout where Stacey finds Pamela probably tripping balls. She confronts Pamela to ask why she killed Frank and made it look like John did it.
Now, what is necessary for an Andy Sidaris film? A final scene debrief that explains everything that happened. So, here’s the deal… Pamela was the sweet one. Outside of some of her hippie friends, she was mostly above reproach. Ms. Chambers was going to leave all her money to Pam, but I guess not now. Pam’s friend Rodney was in on the whole thing with Frank. How do we know that? Because Stacey says so. We have no scenes to prove that, but whatever, the title character says that’s what’s up. Anyway, She says that she would 1) kill Frank and make it look like John since Frank specifically was screwing John’s wife and threatening to reveal his homosexuality and 2) send all the pictures to Ms. Chambers so she would have issues with John and Tish.
Alright, so I do like Stacey, but it’s clearly an early blueprint for what Sidaris will perfect later. I mentioned that earlier. Again, the movie is perfectly passable for entertainment, but it doesn’t have a great deal going on in it. We have tits. We have sexy business. We have gun fights. We don’t have explosions, but that’s fine. I’m not sure we should have that in Andy’s first flick. The pieces are there. The pieces that are all technical, as well as the ladies, are fairly well done. Sidaris at least knows that stuff well. The story and plots and actual action beats will come later.
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Alright. Not much more to say here. Stacey is fine. It needs a new release of some sort. What I have is technically a bootleg and it’s as good of quality as it possibly can be because there is no better version of the movie out there. That makes me worried for next week’s feature because I’m not sure what the most recent version and quality exists for Hyperspace, aka Gremloids.
So, yeah, come back here in seven days to find out more about this Star Wars ripoff!