9 February 2008 | lazarillo
Kind of controversial, and REALLY hard to swallow Pete Walker flick
Whether you're a fan of British director Pete Walker like I am or not, you have to admit his horror films are considerably better than all the other stuff he tried to do. Still I kind of enjoyed the soapy and preposterous melodrama of his swinging 60's flick "Cool It Carol", and films like "The Four Dimensions of Greta" certain succeed as ripe sexploitation if nothing else. This film though...well, I don't know. This is about an unbelievably naive and clean-cut British "rocker" who gets involved with an underage groupie. At first he doesn't know her age, but even after he finds out he can't give her up. Her parents are oblivious; even after they meet him, they assume(obviously confusing rock musicians with Catholic priests) that the relationship is platonic. But when the truth comes out, his career is ruined and he is charged with statutory rape.
Walker, never one to shy away from controversy, at best remains neutral here, but actually tends to sympathize with the guy. He also muddies the moral waters quite a bit. The girl (the never-to-be-heard-from-again Allison Eliot)and her best friend (Debbie Linder, who later died tragically of a drug overdose) do not look even remotely like fourteen-year-old girls, mostly because they definitely weren't. And as in any Walker film there's also plenty of gratuitous nudity (the two friends seem to have their most intimate conversations during full-frontal shower scenes after gym class). It's hard to defend, especially today, the position on statutory rape Walker takes here. But he's right in that it is a more complicated issue then it's often made out to be, especially when the guy in question is handsome and young himself (not to mention impossibly naive) and not some dirty old rotter trying to rub up against a school girl at a bus stop.
The bigger problem though is Walker's shaky grasp on the rock and roll milieu of the time (also a problem in his previous horror film "The Comeback" where he laughably cast the very washed-up singer Jack Jones as someone who had a proverbial snowball's chance of mounting a comeback in the late 70's music industry). The aptly-named band in this movie "Bad Accident" (featuring Mick Jagger's wholly untalented brother Chris, and lip-syncing to godawful British band Jigsaw) would no doubt have even the most desperate, skankiest, crab-ridden groupies screaming for the exit doors. And since when would having sex with underage girls ruin, as oppose to advance, a rock star's career. About the same time this movie came out the lead singer of a flash-in-the-pan American band called the Knack actually penned a raunchy song about his underage girlfriend, "My Cherona", which turned into a top-40 hit that has long outlived the band itself, and even in these slightly less libertine times one famous R and B star is still around making music even after videotaping himself urinating on a thirteen-year-old groupie. The biggest problem with this movie isn't that it's all that controversial, but that it is really pretty hard to swallow.