The Centerfold Girls DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Dark Sky Films
Displaying your body is filth. You dirty the mind of others! – Clement Dunne
Directed by John Peyser
Written by Arthur Marks and Bob Peete
1974, Region 1 (NTSC), 93 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on April 28th, 2009
Jamie Lyn Bauer as Jackie
Aldo Ray as Ed Walker
Ray Danton as Perry
Jennifer Ashley as Charly
Tiffany Bolling as Vera
Andrew Prine as Clement Dunne
I think I am developing a man crush on Andrew Prine. I mean, really, how can one not? This is the guy who protected lame hikers and kicked some bear ass in Grizzly. This is the dude who fought against the establishment by using magicK in Simon, King of Witches. And now, in The Centerfold Girls, he's helping playmate models clean up their dirty bird ways. Sure that involves killing them, but who are we to judge the methods of a man who's trying to make a difference?
The Centerfold Girls is an interesting film. It was no doubt a quick little number made for the 42nd Street cinema connoisseurs, as it has more than its share of gratuitous nudity. Yet it's also obvious the filmmakers were trying for something a little bit more than your run-of-the-mill exploitation flick, as the story has a little meat to it.
Girls accomplishes this partially by not making all of the women in the film objects. Yes, make no mistake about it, they are objectified — this is exploitation cinema after all. But for a film about a serial killer (Prine) stalking and murdering these women, the story isn't much about him, it's about his victims and the last one (it's always the last one) is a little vixen who fights back.
The story itself is obviously a no-brainer — a nutbag must cure the women of their sickness (because we all know posing naked is bad) — but it's not put together how you would expect. There is shockingly (and sadly) very little of Prine's character, Clement Dunn. Hell, Prine doesn't even get top billing. As a matter of fact, he's last in the end credits. Instead, the story is told in three vignettes, each part centering on one of the three victims.
Of the trilogy, the first piece is the most fucked up, hands down. Jackie (Jaime Lyn Bauer) is a nurse heading to Northern California to interview for a job. Once she arrives at the potential place of employment with a hitchhiker in tow, she finds the doctor who was to interview her had left for the weekend, and she has to stick around until Monday. Fortunately for Jackie, her family owns a place that she can stay at. Unfortunately for Jackie, the hitchhiker has some skeevy friends who show up in the middle of the night. Over the weekend, she is smacked around, almost raped twice and treated like dirt. And this is all before she finally meets Clemente face-to-face. Worst. Weekend. Ever.
The second of the three stories follows Charly (Jennifer Ashley) as she and a few other girls head to an island for a weekend for a photo-shoot. Dropped off by boat, with no way off the island until they are picked up…well, we all know how that's going to turn out.
In the final story Vera (Tiffany Bolling) plays the smart move and gets out of town to avoid Clement's harassing gifts and calls. Sadly, Vera's girlfriend is a dunce and eagerly — if unknowingly — provides Clement with the info on where Vera went. Sucks to be Clement, though, because Vera's a tiger and doesn't lie down like the other girls. She fights back, much to his dismay.
Like I mentioned, Prine doesn't get as much screen time as I would like, but he steals every moment he's in front of the camera. At times nerdy and caring, but always disturbing, Prine takes The Centerfold Girls up a notch from where it should be, just like he did in Simon, King of Witches. To be fair, though, he also had help from veteran actress Francine York (who is wonderfully bitchy as the mother hen to the playmate models in the second story) and B-movie regular Aldo Ray as the sleazy campground owner in the first tale.
As much as I am gushing over The Centerfold Girls, it is not a perfect movie. The kills could be better, the dialogue needs work and, at its core, the story is kind of lame. But in the realm of grindhouse cinema, this one stands above most and is highly recommend for films of the genre. Or those with man crushes on Andrew Prine.
Video and Audio:
The 1.66:1 anamorphic picture is a little rough, with noticeable print damage and grain. The colors are nice, but the picture is soft. Even so, it's doubtful that not only has it ever looked this good since it hit home video, but it won't get much better.
The 2.0 mono track gets it done. I can't expect much more from a film like this, and there were no noticeable audio problems.
- "Making the Cut: A Look Back at The Centerfold Girls"
- TV & Radio Spots
- Select Music Cues
The "Making the Cut" featurette only runs about 15 minutes, and left me wanting much more. Consisting of interviews with actors Andrew Prine, Francine York and Jennifer Ashly and producer Charles Stroud, it's very informative and as in-depth as it can be for its short running time. All the interviewees are very candid, and it's exactly what you would want in a featurette. Sadly, it left me wanting for a commentary.
Trailers are trailers and spots are spots, but the select music cues are a good listen if you dig the funky porn-esque music of the time. Too bad the songs weren't credited, because I would love to create a Centerfold Girls soundtrack.
While the features are relatively slim, I'll give it high marks for the featurette, not just for the quality of it, but the fact they bothered for a relatively unknown movie. Kudos to Dark Sky.