Gay cult actor/director/writer Paul Bartel (1938-2000) began his film-making career in 1968 with a 28-minute black comedy entitled 'The Secret Cinema', a movie about a woman who discovers that her life is being secretly filmed and shown in installments at a local art house cinema (an intriguing idea more elaborately developed in Peter Weir's 1998 film, 'The Truman Show'). For his first full-length feature, 'Private Parts', Bartel naturally gravitated toward a script by Philip Kearney and Les Rendelstein that took the themes broached in 'The Secret Cinema'—voyeurism, invasion of privacy, vicarious experience—and combined them with kinky eroticism and serial homicide to come up with a truly strange movie. Ayn Ruymen plays Cheryl Stratton, a naive but inquisitive 16-year-old runaway from Ohio who rooms with her best friend, Judy (Ann Gibbs)—until Judy angrily ejects her for spying during a lovemaking session. Cheryl subsequently moves into the King Edward, a skid row L.A. hotel run by her morbidly pious Aunt Martha (Lucille Benson). Despite Martha's pretensions toward respectability, the ominously seedy King Edward harbors all kinds of weirdos and sexual deviants, e.g., Reverend Moon (Laurie Main) a gay cleric with a fetish for bodybuilders; Mrs. Quigley (Dorothy Neumann), a dotty, deaf spinster constantly searching for a girl named Alice; Artie (Patrick Strong), a hardcore alcoholic who regularly passes out in his room; George (John Vantatonio), an effeminate photographer/voyeur who photographs couples making love in the park and sells the photos as pornography. After stealing a set of master keys, Cheryl launches a private, voyeuristic investigation into the rooms and lives of her fellow tenants, all the while being spied upon by lecherous George (cf. Norman Bates in Hitchcock's 'Psycho'), who acts out his crush on Cheryl with an inflatable sex doll. The plot thickens when Cheryl stumbles upon the remains of the aforementioned Alice, a teen fashion model recently gone missing. When Cheryl's friend, Judy, and her boyfriend Mike (Len Travis) come to the hotel looking for her, they also end up dead and dismembered before the (gender) identity of the killer is revealed in a surprise ending. A tension-inducing score by Hugo Friedhofer ('Ace in the Hole') adds a spurious gravitas to the proceedings. Subversive even by the more relaxed standards of the early Seventies, 'Private Parts' offended public sensibilities; some newspapers actually refused to print the title, "Private Parts," in ads for the movie, substituting "Private Arts" or "Private Party." Likewise, the movie embarrassed M-G-M, the studio famed for such estimable classics as 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Quo Vadis', and 'Dr. Zhivago'. Though it was hemorrhaging money at the time, M-G-M sheepishly relegated Bartel's unclassifiable opus to a dummy label (Premier Pictures) and made no effort to market it. Not surprisingly, 'Private Parts' fell flat. VHS (1991) and DVD (2005).