Oh! What A Caper: The Kill (1968)

This early Gary Graver movie leaves Dave dizzy with its schizophrenic tone.

“If Buster Keaton made a madcap sexploitation noir about horny broads and cars that never run out of gas, this might be it.” [1]

Taken from her review on the Bleeding Skull website, the preceding words from Annie Choi are concisely accurate in attempting to summarize the most demented film in Gary Graver’s forty year movie career.

Running at a mere forty-five minutes, THE KILL begins with a gnarly scene of exploitation as Antoinette (Antoinette Maynard), who’s searching for her missing brother, is dragged from her car (by the gang responsible) and then stripped, beaten and raped.

Flipping the downbeat tone without skipping a beat comes Charlie Apple, a private investigator with trench coat, hat and a picture of Bogey in his office, who Antoinette turns to in her moment of need. It’s his gumshoe patter that acts as a voiceover for the picture, beginning with a monologue that bemoans his lack of business: “I hadn’t had a case in months. Not even a six pack”.

It’s a head fuck of a ride that seeks to entertain on one hand and repel with the other. The hilarity of a hunchbacked Jean Clark bumbling around Apple’s office, is counteracted by some filthy fellatio in the driver’s seat of the dick’s car. Having said that, it feels like a Graver film. His comedic peccadillos are sewn right the way through; from the sped up dialogue that sounds like a phone call in a Looney Tunes cartoon, to seductive swooning that’s hilariously (and purposefully) passionless  – “She angled her marvellous alabaster thighs towards me, and crushed her creamy breasts into my trench coat”.

The fabled smut merchant, Ed DePriest, produced The Kill, and with ALL fifteen credited cast members appearing in the Edward D. Wood scripted One Million Years AC/DC (1969), it’s clear that this was made perhaps during a day or two of downtime, or immediately after DePreist’s carnal caveman comedy wrapped.

With its freeform aural insanity (predominantly during sex scenes) and its silent era freneticism, this is a crazy beast that could well be Graver’s most difficult to love. Its brisk running time allows a little more scrutiny though, and each passing visit creates a growing fondness for its fired-up frenzy.

Notable also for the (uncredited) first screen appearance of Russ Meyer fav Uschi Digard, The Kill would materialise in a variety of forms over the years. It appeared on VHS in the ‘80s under the title ‘Blood Hunger’, complete with the spectacularly misleading strapline ‘They’d love to have you for dinner’, while a decade later the distributor (Cutting Edge Independents Home Video) sank even lower, rechristening it ‘Reservoir Cats’ and boasting that ‘Quentin Tarintino [sic] fans will love this…

USA ● 1968 ● Action, Comedy ● 45mins

Antoinette Maynard, Uschi Digard, Walk Phillips, Sharon Wells ● Dir. Gary Graver ● Wri. Gary Graver

[1] Review of ‘Blood Hunger’ written by Annie Choi, Bleeding Skull, June 10th 2014

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