Reviewed by: Rees Savidis
What's it about
Teenage runaway Cheryl (Ayn Ruymen) gets more than she bargained for when she stumbles into a dilapidated Los Angeles Hotel. Homosexually repressed priests, gender-confused photographers, beheadings and bathroom voyeurism are just a few of the amenities a night at the King Edward has to offer.
Is it good movie?
ďPeople check in. But they never check out!Ē
Tough, gritty, pioneering, politically incorrect and at times, refreshingly irresponsible, the 70ís were, without a doubt, my favorite decade of filmmaking. Filmmakers were subversive and dangerous; their films doubly so. They were feared by the studios and praised by critics. Power and prominence were no longer strangers to the film director. Directors like: Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese, Milius, Hill, Frankenheimer and Friedkin were busily sewing the fabric of modern cinema and pouring the foundations for what would become know as the "blockbuster" while the world around us, the old world, the old way of thinking, was quickly crumbling away in the hands of government, media and big-business. People werenít afraid anymore. Vietnam was over Ė we lost, time to deal and move on. Movements were in full swing; marches, protests, scenes. Identities were being shaped, people questioned everything now; and without fear or repose. Change was definitely in the air and audiences seemed ready, maybe now more than ever, to embrace anything new and preferably anti-establishment.
One filmmaker who is usually (criminally) left off of the short list of pioneering 70's directors is Paul Bartel. While most folks simply stitch-up their brow and shake their heads when his name is mentioned, one film of his in particular should be well known to most genre fans and fans of 70ís cinema alike. Iím talking about an exploitative little masterpiece by the name of Death Race 2000. Remember that one? I bet you do. But there is another film as well, a film most may not have heard of, a film many genre fans may have passed by. Made three years before Death Race 2000 and twenty-five years before Howard Stern stole the title, Bartelís Private Parts is a nasty little slice of sleaze-cinema that gleefully (and quite often) steps over the line of acceptability with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
While not an out-and-out horror film per say, Private Parts does mark the closest Bartel came to the genre by a long shot and it does include many elements that could, can and usually are, considered horrific. Murder, mayhem, machetes and masturbation (oops, maybe not that one) are definitely on display here and itís all approached with such a wicked streak of pitch humor and assuredness that itís a shame Bartel didnít dabble more in the genre. His uncanny understanding of what makes a horror film work coupled with a wonderful sense of odd-ball humor could have easily put Bartel in the same room as someone like Larry (Itís Alive!) Cohen or Frank (Basket Case) Henenlotter.
Video / Audio
VIDEO: The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer presented here is incredibly clean and discernable. I can only assume the print has been locked away in the Warner vaults for the past 34 years because Private Parts has no business looking this good.
AUDIO: Itís the 70ís man! Untamed bush and Mono soundtracks were all the rage.
We get the films original theatrical trailer. I would have loved to have had a little bit more in the way of extras on this disc but seeing as how the film is scarcely known and Bartel is deadÖ
While he certainly isnít a household name, Director Paul Bartel was still very much a part of the 70ís cinema movement, especially the first half of the decade, and Private Parts is a perfect example of this.