Wilbur and the Baby Factory (1970)

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For further proof of how wonky the rating system was prior to when the MPAA figured it all out (meaning that, if the major studios do it, it’s okay but if independents do, we’ll make you slice up your movie until there’s barely anything left), here an interesting picture for you that absolutely did not deserve its X rating.  When I surveyed the trailers on the Something Weird DVD from which Wilbur and the Baby Factory came from, it seemed that all of the films were pornography.  As evidenced by Tanya, the other film featured on this DVD, that would appear to be the case.  However I was delightfully surprised by Wilbur and the Baby Factory.

While no masterpiece, Wilbur and the Baby Factory is a bizarre and intriguing counter-culture thriller with only minimal amounts of sex.  You would think otherwise if you saw the trailer since the trailer only shows you the sex scenes but the sex scenes in the trailer are the extent of the sex scenes in the movie.

Wilbur… is about a genuine “for the people”, social worker named Wilbur Steele (Peter Ford), who leaves his post at a non-prophet organization – the kind which helps old ladies keep their homes from greedy banks, etc. – to be part of a strange experiment where his sole purpose is to sire children.  The program is run by a group of scientists led by Dr. Wednesday (Keith McConnell) and on a Eugenics type mission to control the Earth’s population so it’s not overrun by undesirables.  Their current subject seemed to have lost his mind as evidenced by scenes of a crazy looking guy who takes to strangling women in the heat of passion.  Wilbur, who seems ambivalent to the project at first, questions the scientists about how love and human emotions play into the whole thing.  The answer of course is that they don’t.

What the scientists didn’t anticipate is that Wilbur is ultimately planning a sabotage, hence the footage cut to the guy listening in his van via wire tap.  That doesn’t prevent Wilbur from doing a whole lotta fucking though.  Again, the sex *scenes* aren’t too gratuitous with a few exceptions that might push the boundaries of our modern NC-17 rating but are no worse than say, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.  The majority of the film is actually  a pretty compelling story; from Wilbur’s training sessions to get him “up to speed”, to conversations between Wilbur and the doctors and various other side plots.  The most interesting of these is Karen and Kristine, twin sister played by adorable, German red head Larissa Schubert.  One is normal, the other a nympho who admitted how much she liked getting gang banged when she was 10 years old in the most dry, matter of fact way possible.

Also what makes the movie also watchable is that it’s actually well made and looks nice!  Writer/director Tom McGowen actually knows subtlety with the camera and the scenes just look cool; very 60s, mind you with make shift sets and antiquated, retro-futuristic technology, but cool nonetheless.  The film also uses some neat editing tricks like the aforementioned cross cutting to the spy van and the freak who keeps strangling the women during experiments.  There’s also a few original tunes thrown into the movie for good measure; a mixture of folk and psychedelia to give it that timely feel.

Guess What Happened to Count Dracula (1971)

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Guess where I found this movie!  You got it!  It’s the other movie on the Something Weird DVD from which I watched Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)!  Like most Something Weird DVDs, the disc is loaded with cool stuff including 10 or so movie trailers, two short films and a gallery of exploitation art.  Before I get into discussing Laurence Merrick’s and Mario d’Alcala’s boring and shitty theatrically released home movie Guess What Happened to Count Dracula, I’ll briefly talk about the special features.

The trailers are awesome and, inevitably, make me want to check out Caged Virgins, Blood Suckers, The Body Beneath and a whole bunch more I can’t remember.  I’ve already seen H.G. Lewis’ A Taste of Blood, however.

The two short subjects were both pornographic home movies with vampire themes but were also pretty funny.  “Dracula and the Dirty Old Witch” begins with the vampire waking completely naked (except he’s wearing a cape) out of his coffin, stalking a girl who he kidnaps, taking her to his underground lair where he has other women chained up and attempting to make her his vampire bride.  Then the witch plays a joke on him, giving him brew that turns him gay, making him turn to a male prisoner and profess his love.  The male prisoner replies, “I’ve already got a husband.”  Har!  The other short subject, “Sex and the Single Vampire”, has a bit more blood related jokes, a bunch of couples fucking (which I think is real) before the vampire kidnaps all the men and sleeps with the women who are immediately turned on by his huge cock.  In the morning, with the women surrounding him in bed, he turns into a skeleton.  Double harr!!

I don’t need to say that much about the gallery of exploitation art except for what is that freakin’ song at the end???  It’s a cute, catchy 1950s rock ‘n’ roll song with a lady singing, “I love love love you, baby” and “I want your love but all I get is your money.”  Can someone help me track down this song and artist???

2014 update!!!  The artist in question is Betty Dickson and the song is “Shanty Tramp”, the theme for the film Shanty Tramp!!!  Triple harrr!!!

Guess What Happened to Count Dracula combine’s the Anton LaVey documentary Satanis: The Devil’s Mass with vampire themes, meaning it has the look and feel of that documentary with the cool, underground hippie cult dungeon and Satanic references but is also a narrative with a supernatural theme to it.  And I know I’m not full of crap when I say this because, in addition to mimicking the underground, cult-like feel of LaVey’s Church of Satan, the vampire also has a pet tiger; which, if you remember, LaVey adopted a baby lion that grew too big to take care of.

As evidenced by the “GP” rating, the movie is devoid of sex or violence.  It’s completely family friendly and not particularly compelling.  In fact, it’s down right boring.  The poster lists a bunch of quirky characters like “Imp”, “Hunch”, “Vamp” and “Runt” but they’re all entirely underused and just serve as set decorations.  The vampire either cages up the Imp or the Hunch, I forgot which, and all the Imp or Hunch does is make noise.  The Vamp just bares her teeth every now and then and that’s about it.  I remember the Runt being there too but I don’t remember him doing anything at all.

The story is about the generic, Dracula-like vampire, Count Adrian, kidnapping the girl and turning her into another vampire.  The good guy goes to stop it and a bunch of other useless crap happens.  If this was made by a competent director, then there might have been some suspense as the girl gets sicker, loses more blood and sees more teeth marks on her neck.  But, instead, it’s just tedium spiced with really lame jokes.  The worst of which is when the doctor, who’s office looks like a kitchen, talks to the nurse and they imply they’re going to “do it on the table”, before the doctor pulls out a chess board.  Also, upon seeing the vampire bites on the girls neck, the doctor more than once says, “tell your boyfriend to take it easy!”  Haha!  Because human teeth have the ability to put two conveniently spaced holes in a person’s neck, haha!

I mean, the ONLY redeeming quality about this film is that it looks like Satanis: The Devil’s Mass with its poorly lit, sepia tone and underground dungeon scenery.