Roughie—A specific movie genre featuring explicit hardcore sex mixed with vicious violence. Mainly 1960s and 1970s. [Source: Urban Dictionary]
Hello, and welcome to my first professional review of a pornographic film. It’s my first amateur review of a porn, for that matter. I’m not even sure if there are any hard and fast rules for such an undertaking.
Heh. “Hard and fast.”
It’s impossible to avoid innuendo in an article like this.
Hell, I wouldn’t be writing this if the movie, The Farmer’s Daughters, didn’t have some historical value. As such, this is an important film to some connoiseurs of the old grindhouse films. It is one of the most controversial and sought after of the “roughies,” (definition provided) mixing hardcore onscreen sex with gratuitous violence. In truth, the whole thing’s gratituitous. The disc should automatically charge you 12 percent just for putting it in your DVD player.
The story, such as it is, involves a farm family whose home is invaded by a trio of escaped convicts. The cons proceed to lead the family (Ma, Pa, three daughters) through a game of Simon Says, which becomes more and more graphic as time goes on. That’s not long, because the movie is only 61 minutes long. Shame they couldn’t have squeezed eight more minutes in there.
I’m not going to sit in judgement of this film, but I will list some things about it that will either entice you to watch it or warn you to stay away from it forever.
Are you a fan of terrible dubbing? This is the movie for you. The soundwork is worse than an Italian Hercules movie. The dialogue doesn’t come close to matching up with the mouth movements. And speaking of mouth movements, the sucking sounds in this film could not have been produced by human beings. It sounds like a horse trapped in a funnel, trying to eat a watermelon.
Are you a fan of the late, great Spalding Grey? Congratulations, because he’s in this movie! He’s not spinning a monologue or having dinner with David Byrne. He’s one of the convicts who has his own idea of what it means to have some fun down on the farm. His performance is pretty intense, even with the terrible dubbing. And the fact that he’s having on-screen sex with people.
Do you enjoy outdoor buggery? Golly, who doesn’t? Well, this movie is chock full of it. Take a Zyrtec and hunker down.
Are you a fan of bluegrass music? Awesome, because just about all the music in this movie is fiddle and banjo. The weird thing is, it all sounds like the Flaming Lips version of “Plastic Jesus.” I sang along all throughout the movie. That was pleasant.
Let’s talk about hair. Giant patches of hair. Tufts. Fields of it. If you’re used to seeing glossy erotica, all shaved and waxed and gussied up, you’re not going to find any suche niceties in The Farmer’s Daughters. Or on the farmer’s daughters. If there were such a thing as the Pubic Hair Club for Men and Women, the entire cast would be clients.
How do you feel about nature films? I mean, that serious Richard Attenborough kind of nature, where they zoom in real close on weird, spiny animals eating. Stuff like that. If you enjoy that, you’ll also enjoy The Farmer’s Daughters, where the close-ups get so extreme, it’s impossible to discern what you’re looking at. What is that, and why is it inflamed? Is that an eyelid? A naked mole rat trapped in the sucker of a squid tentacle? Is that a yodeler’s uvula? I don’t know, man. I didn’t do it.
And finally, how do you feel about film history, connecting the dots between movies, finding out which films influenced other films? Snap on your thinking cap, Sparky! Believe it or not, this movie has a place. While it’s easy to say the movie was influenced by Wes Craven’s classic, The Last House on the Left, it’s also not a stretch to say that The Farmer’s Daughters directly influenced The House at the Edge of the Park, an Italian horror movie that ripped off Last House on the Left.
In fact, the point can be made Spalding Grey took a lot of cues from Hess’s performance in Last House for his own performance in The Farmer’s Daughters. Then, oddly enough, Hess’s work in House at the Edge of the Park echoes Grey’s work in The Farmer’s Daughters! And both of those guys owe a huge debt to the acting work of Zalman King in the drive-in favorite, Trip with the Teacher, which pretty much defines sleazy, rapey, creepy guy roles forever. King, of course, went on to great fame as a producer of softcore porn.
Exploitation is a flat circle.
Impulse Pictures has done the best they could with the original print of the film, and there’s a lot of residual grain onscreen for that authentic sticky-floored grindhouse experience. It may not be something you want to put yourself through, but it’s also not fair to look down the bridge of your Puritan nose at it. If nothing else, it’s a snapshot of a far stranger time than ours, one where you could put practically anything on film and find an audience for it.
Even if that meant peeing on a dude while smacking his ass with a fly swatter.
The Farmer’s Daughters will be released by Impulse Pictures and Synapse Films on November 10.