The Centerfold Girls


1h 31m 1974

Brief Synopsis

A psychopathic religious zealot attempts to punish immoral women who have posed nude for centerfolds of adult magazines...with death.

Film Details

Also Known As
Center Fold Girls, Centerfold Girls
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1974

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Synopsis

A psychopathic religious zealot attempts to punish immoral women who have posed nude for centerfolds of adult magazines...with death.

Film Details

Also Known As
Center Fold Girls, Centerfold Girls
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1974

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 31m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Articles

The Centerfold Girls - Andrew Prine, Aldo Ray, Tiffany Bolling, Ray Danton & Others Star in B-Movie Trash Classic - THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS


Though its title evokes memories of waves of 1970s cheesecake films packed with student nurses or beach bunnies, 1974's The Centerfold Girls is a considerably more grim and unpredictable slice of drive-in fare. The fact that it was distributed by short-lived indie company General Film Corporation should have been a clue, since they already stunned audiences with twist-packed genre-benders like Bonnie's Kids, Sugar Cookies, Detroit 9000, and especially The Candy Snatchers. Lithe, blonde-maned Tiffany Bolling, one of the company's frequent stars, returns here for one last exploitation hurrah before venturing off into the world of TV roles and supporting studio roles, though the film also boasts a surprisingly array of actors across the board to support its unorthodox structure.

Most likely inspired by the then-waning horror anthology films popularized by Amicus like Asylum, this tawdry triptych is united only by the presence of drive-in regular Andrew Prine (Simon, King of the Witches) as a clodhopper-wearing, bug-eyed psychopath/neat freak named Clement Dunne who spends much of his time poring over filthy girlie magazines and slicing up the centerfolds in disgust. He vents his rage by killing these models, with the first seen during the opening credits as a pretty corpse falling out of a car and getting buried near the ocean. The film then splits into three separate stalker tales for each centerfold, the first and most victimized being Jackie (soap actress Jaime Lyn Bauer), an aspiring nurse who runs afoul of some home intruder hippies with a clown fetish who try to paint and rape her (almost simultaneously). She manages to escape and finds refuge at a shady motel (run by Aldo Ray, an Oscar winner who was seriously slumming at this point in his career, and Chatterbox's Paula Shaw). Unfortunately, Clement is also waiting for her... and the trouble's just beginning. Then we switch gears for part two with Charly (Chained Heat's Jennifer Ashley) joining a troupe of models, an ill-tempered photographer (the late Eurocult vet John Danton), and a haughty queen bee (TV regular Francine York) for a weekend at a remote seaside resort where Clement begins picking everyone off one by one over the course of one eventful night. Boasting a hefty body count and some hilariously snippy banter, this portion seems heavily influenced by the great opening act of 1971's The Return of Count Yorga and must have thrown audiences for a loop during its initial play dates. Finally the third story revolves entirely around Vera (Bolling), a cranky stewardess who keeps getting threatening phone calls from Clement, who murders her best friend by mistake. Realizing something is amiss, she takes off but winds up in the clutches of some lowlife sailors who slip her a roofie at a beach bar. Barely fazed, she winds up in a car with Clement who pits her in a final showdown back on the beach where it all started.

Though shot on the cheap by John Peyser, a director normally associated with routine television product, The Centerfold Girls boasts a few indelible sequences in each segment, most notably the first razor throat-slashing (a startling and effectively staged scene worthy of an Italian horror film), the nocturnal stalking portion of story number two, and Bolling's feisty mano-a-mano with Prine which climaxes in some poetic beach shots reminiscent of Jean Rollin. Of course, it's all perfectly functional as drive-in trash, too, with most of the female cast popping their tops at regular intervals, while the cast includes a roster of familiar '70s exploitation faces including The Hills Have Eyes's Janus Blythe, underrated would-be leading man John Denos, Up!'s Janet Wood, and even notorious future Caligula starlet Anneka Di Lorenzo.

Despite its can't-miss combo of sex and violence, this film essentially disappeared after initial theatrical showings apart from a fleeting release on VHS in the early '80s. Dark Sky's DVD presents the best possible viewing option (especially compared to the few scratchy prints lying around) with a transfer described in the packaging as being taken from the original 16mm camera negatives (the format on which it was originally shot). The 1.66:1 anamorphic presentation looks surprisingly good, and the framing appears accurate while shearing away a small amount of dead space at the top and bottom compared to the tape edition. There's really nothing to complain about here. The mono soundtrack also sounds as good as could be expected and does justice to the surprisingly rich and varied score by mystery man Mark Wolin (in his only film score), which mixes harpsichord and '70s funk, sometimes in the same cue. Optional English subtitles are also included as per the usual, very commendable Dark Sky practice. The biggest extra here is a dense 15-minute featurette, "Making the Cut: A Look Back at The Centerfold Girls," which kicks off with Prine talking about his role and then interjecting comments from York, Ashley, and regular GFC director/writer Arthur Marks (Bonnie's Kids), who wrote the original story. No one seems to think the film is high art, but they all speak fondly of it and talk about their efforts to elevate it a bit above the usual throwaway fare. Fans of '70s retro-trash and envelope-pushing genre hybrids watching it now will surely agree they succeeded. Also included are the green- and red-band version of the theatrical trailer (with the latter packing in almost every topless shot from the movie), two TV spots, a radio promo, and most surprisingly, over 20 minutes of the original score (which sounds like all of it) played as a series of individual cues over images from the film. Considering how sparse respectable genre releases have become in the mature age of DVD, a fully decked-out edition for a long-neglected but fascinating experiment in exploitation like this is cause for celebration indeed.

For more information about The Centerfold Girls, visit Dark Sky Films. To order The Centerfold Girls, go to TCM Shopping.

by Richard Harland Smith
The Centerfold Girls - Andrew Prine, Aldo Ray, Tiffany Bolling, Ray Danton & Others Star In B-Movie Trash Classic - The Centerfold Girls

The Centerfold Girls - Andrew Prine, Aldo Ray, Tiffany Bolling, Ray Danton & Others Star in B-Movie Trash Classic - THE CENTERFOLD GIRLS

Though its title evokes memories of waves of 1970s cheesecake films packed with student nurses or beach bunnies, 1974's The Centerfold Girls is a considerably more grim and unpredictable slice of drive-in fare. The fact that it was distributed by short-lived indie company General Film Corporation should have been a clue, since they already stunned audiences with twist-packed genre-benders like Bonnie's Kids, Sugar Cookies, Detroit 9000, and especially The Candy Snatchers. Lithe, blonde-maned Tiffany Bolling, one of the company's frequent stars, returns here for one last exploitation hurrah before venturing off into the world of TV roles and supporting studio roles, though the film also boasts a surprisingly array of actors across the board to support its unorthodox structure. Most likely inspired by the then-waning horror anthology films popularized by Amicus like Asylum, this tawdry triptych is united only by the presence of drive-in regular Andrew Prine (Simon, King of the Witches) as a clodhopper-wearing, bug-eyed psychopath/neat freak named Clement Dunne who spends much of his time poring over filthy girlie magazines and slicing up the centerfolds in disgust. He vents his rage by killing these models, with the first seen during the opening credits as a pretty corpse falling out of a car and getting buried near the ocean. The film then splits into three separate stalker tales for each centerfold, the first and most victimized being Jackie (soap actress Jaime Lyn Bauer), an aspiring nurse who runs afoul of some home intruder hippies with a clown fetish who try to paint and rape her (almost simultaneously). She manages to escape and finds refuge at a shady motel (run by Aldo Ray, an Oscar winner who was seriously slumming at this point in his career, and Chatterbox's Paula Shaw). Unfortunately, Clement is also waiting for her... and the trouble's just beginning. Then we switch gears for part two with Charly (Chained Heat's Jennifer Ashley) joining a troupe of models, an ill-tempered photographer (the late Eurocult vet John Danton), and a haughty queen bee (TV regular Francine York) for a weekend at a remote seaside resort where Clement begins picking everyone off one by one over the course of one eventful night. Boasting a hefty body count and some hilariously snippy banter, this portion seems heavily influenced by the great opening act of 1971's The Return of Count Yorga and must have thrown audiences for a loop during its initial play dates. Finally the third story revolves entirely around Vera (Bolling), a cranky stewardess who keeps getting threatening phone calls from Clement, who murders her best friend by mistake. Realizing something is amiss, she takes off but winds up in the clutches of some lowlife sailors who slip her a roofie at a beach bar. Barely fazed, she winds up in a car with Clement who pits her in a final showdown back on the beach where it all started. Though shot on the cheap by John Peyser, a director normally associated with routine television product, The Centerfold Girls boasts a few indelible sequences in each segment, most notably the first razor throat-slashing (a startling and effectively staged scene worthy of an Italian horror film), the nocturnal stalking portion of story number two, and Bolling's feisty mano-a-mano with Prine which climaxes in some poetic beach shots reminiscent of Jean Rollin. Of course, it's all perfectly functional as drive-in trash, too, with most of the female cast popping their tops at regular intervals, while the cast includes a roster of familiar '70s exploitation faces including The Hills Have Eyes's Janus Blythe, underrated would-be leading man John Denos, Up!'s Janet Wood, and even notorious future Caligula starlet Anneka Di Lorenzo. Despite its can't-miss combo of sex and violence, this film essentially disappeared after initial theatrical showings apart from a fleeting release on VHS in the early '80s. Dark Sky's DVD presents the best possible viewing option (especially compared to the few scratchy prints lying around) with a transfer described in the packaging as being taken from the original 16mm camera negatives (the format on which it was originally shot). The 1.66:1 anamorphic presentation looks surprisingly good, and the framing appears accurate while shearing away a small amount of dead space at the top and bottom compared to the tape edition. There's really nothing to complain about here. The mono soundtrack also sounds as good as could be expected and does justice to the surprisingly rich and varied score by mystery man Mark Wolin (in his only film score), which mixes harpsichord and '70s funk, sometimes in the same cue. Optional English subtitles are also included as per the usual, very commendable Dark Sky practice. The biggest extra here is a dense 15-minute featurette, "Making the Cut: A Look Back at The Centerfold Girls," which kicks off with Prine talking about his role and then interjecting comments from York, Ashley, and regular GFC director/writer Arthur Marks (Bonnie's Kids), who wrote the original story. No one seems to think the film is high art, but they all speak fondly of it and talk about their efforts to elevate it a bit above the usual throwaway fare. Fans of '70s retro-trash and envelope-pushing genre hybrids watching it now will surely agree they succeeded. Also included are the green- and red-band version of the theatrical trailer (with the latter packing in almost every topless shot from the movie), two TV spots, a radio promo, and most surprisingly, over 20 minutes of the original score (which sounds like all of it) played as a series of individual cues over images from the film. Considering how sparse respectable genre releases have become in the mature age of DVD, a fully decked-out edition for a long-neglected but fascinating experiment in exploitation like this is cause for celebration indeed. For more information about The Centerfold Girls, visit Dark Sky Films. To order The Centerfold Girls, go to TCM Shopping. by Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1974

Released in United States 1974