• The Last Step Down Four-Film Collection (Alpha Blue Archives) DVD Review

    Released by: Alpha Blue Archives
    Released on: December, 2015.
    Director: Lawrence Ramport/?/?/Don Jones
    Cast: Uschi Digard, Neola Graef, Terri Johnson,Frank Harris, William Howard, Maria Arnold, Ruth Knox
    Year: 1970/1970/1971/1970

    The Last Step Down Four Film Collection – Movie Reviews:

    Alpha Blue Archives offers up four early seventies softcore films on one DVD – there’s really no connection between any of the four films in this collection, but some of them are pretty interesting so let’s take a look!

    The Last Step Down:

    The Last Step Down features no opening credits, just a production company name and a title card before it launches into a fifteen-minute scene in which two women (Uschi Digard of The Melon Affair and Neola Graef of Cries Of Ecstasy, Blows Of Death) wander into some sort of basement lair inhabited by a few monks. There's an alter setup and as the girls disrobe and lean back against it, the monks use dildos to spread some sort of ceremonial liquid on their cleavage. After that, everybody gets it on, including the head monk (a very mustachioed Michael Donovan O'Donnell).

    Once that's over with, we head to a swanky home where we learn that the girls are named Norma Jena (Digard) and Suzie (Graef). Norma Jean is just lounging around on the couch when Suzie comes into the room, she's tired from a long night of turning tricks. Norma Jean makes her some coffee and then they have rad lesbian sex. After that, it turns out that someone referred to as Mother Harry (we assume this is their pimp) has sent over a new recruit, a virgin named Kathy (Terri Johnson), for some training. Kathy shows up and Suzie lets her into their house and tells her to get into a bikini. Kathy does what she's told and then heads to the poolside where she watches Suzie oil up Norma Jean's breasts. This gets everyone all hot and bothered and the three head inside for more rad lesbian sex.

    At this point they decide the best thing to do with Kathy would be to bring her along on their next visit to the ‘weekend weirdos.' From there, yep, the three ladies wind up back in the monk's secret lair for more dildos, liquid and fairly graphic softcore bumping and grinding. When that's done the two elder hookers tell their new co-worker how much fun their job is but warn her that hospital visits are more frequent. The end.

    “No one takes the last step down… they have to be pushed!”

    This fairly plotless early seventies sexploitation picture is light on plot but chock full of skin. The cast is pretty small in number but hey, when you've got Uschi Digard top lining things, it's hard to get too bent out of shape. She looks great here and it's fun to hear her line delivery with her thick accent. Best known for appearing in plenty of softcore loops and features and exploitation pictures directed by the likes of Russ Meyer and Don Edmunds, if you're a fan of Ms. Digard you'll appreciate just how much screen time she gets here. Neola Graef also looks great and both she and Uschi do seem to enjoy spending time together in their birthday suits. Bucktoothed Terri Johnson is fun to watch and pretty cute in her own way. None of these ladies are going to win you over with convincing performances but they look good naked.

    There's really nothing to the story, however. There are moments where it looks like the story will find some depth as our two elder hookers ponder why a looker like Kathy hasn't been laid yet, but nope, it never goes past that point. We also never learn anything about the monks or why they do what they do outside of the fact that they probably just enjoy dressing up in robes and rubbing dildos on big breasted prostitutes. If that's the reason, hey, no problem there… but those looking for depth should look elsewhere as there is absolutely none of that here (even if the title itself infers some sort of journey to Hell or dark character transformation). There is plenty of skin though, so on that level this is enjoyable trash.

    The one sheet for this credits RAC Films as the production company and reportedly Lawrence Ramport is the uncredited director of the film. Oddly enough, this movie was also released on DVD by Redemption Films in 2014 where it was paired up with a vintage 8mm loop entitled Blood Lust. That transfer was framed at 1.66.1 but it looked cropped. The flipside of that coin is that the elements used for that transfer were definitely in better shape than the ones that ABA had access to for this release.

    Can Your Daughter Come Out Tonight?:

    The second film, also made in 1970, opens with a couple – Sam and Diane - bickering – ever since she got that damn poodle she never makes time for him anymore! She decides to change that here and now and they hop into bed and go at it – she even curls her toes when she gets off! After that, they talk in bed about getting the ‘new kid next door’ to watch that ‘bastard dog of yours’ so that they can go out on Saturday. She agrees and we cut, I guess, to Saturday. The babysitter (Terri Johnson again) comes into the bedroom to talk to the unnamed woman about what she needs to do – just keep an eye on her, let her out, give her food and water… the basics. She also asks Diane about her exercise machine that pulls and stimulates muscles and she gives her a demonstration as to how to use it to firm her breasts!

    Anyway, the couple heads out to a bar and Sam complains that it’s a dump. After ordering drinks, Diane recognizes another patron – Morey Snell (William Kirschner), Becky’s husband. Who is Becky? Diane’s bridge partner, of course. Sam doesn’t know any of this, nor does he seem to care – in fact, Sam’s a raging asshole. They invite Morey over to sit with them upon Diane’s invitation. He stands there awkwardly as they bicker and then Sam takes off in a huff, leaving Morey with Diane at the table chugging martinis. It turns out that Morey is at this place to tie one on – he and Becky have had a fight too. Morey and Diane hit it off, she doesn’t seem to mind his leering and thinks back on how grumpy Sam is all the time. Morey butters her up and orders a few more drinks while the waitress gets on stage and does a strip tease just as a photographer shows up with a handful of dirty magazines he bought from the girl place down the street. He talks the dancer into letting him photograph her and Diane invites him to sit down with her and Morey… and then she talks the bartender into locking up the doors and joining them. He brings over a few bottles and before you know it, Diane is hammered and on stage with the stripper, the photographer shooting away, and the other guys just enjoying the show until they all wind up on stage too and an orgy breaks out!

    Back at the house, the babysitter is playing with herself while looking at dirty magazines! Of course, Sam comes home, catches her in the act and decides to get in on that himself. She doesn’t seem to mind and the two of them screw in the bedroom while the dog, of camera, barks away before hopping onto the bed that they’re using and making a nuisance out of himself. Neither Sam nor the sitter realizes that a very wasted Diane and an equally wasted Morey have shown up and are screwing nearby in a different room. Morey is good enough to dub Diane ‘Queen of the Realm’ while she goes down on him. He suggests they move to a nice, comfortable bed and they walk in on Sam and the sitter in the middle of things. Diane and Sam bicker, of course, and then Diane threatens to shove a bottle up Sam’s ass – and to her credit, she tries!!

    At this point, the sitter busts out a vibrator and the fight turns into a weird, awkward orgy with Morey making odd quips to everyone and the dog getting in the way pretty frequently. The guys split, the girls go at it themselves, and, well, we won’t spoil the ending but it does at least make some sense out of the film’s title!

    The only credit on the print used for this is for a Bob Guenther, who is credited with doing the camera work on the picture. The whole thing is set to a rather jaunty piano-based soundtrack. At fifty-minutes in length this reasonably plotless softcore picture doesn’t overstay its welcome. There’s some effective humor here, mostly courtesy of Morey Snell, while Sam’s incessant bickering is so over the top that you can’t help but laugh at it. The strip tease/orgy scene goes on too long but the group grope at the end is amusing enough and it’s hard not to laugh any time the dog runs into the frame.

    Is this an essential adult classic? No, but it’s an amusing time killer and once again, Ms. Johnson is quite cute.

    Teenage Nympho:

    Up next is the thirty-three-minute tale of a psychiatrist who always tries to put himself into his patient’s situations in order to better understand them. His current patient is a young woman who sits on the couch and looks back on her poor upbringing. She craved physical contact and mentions an incident in the park (that we don’t see or learn anymore about) and, when selling candy for her school, hand a tryst with an older man who answered the door when she knocked. He invites her in after offering to buy all of her candy, and then gets her undressed and, after fondling her for a while, fools around with her on his dirty bed without even bothering to take his grubby clothes off or cleaning the empty beer cans out of the way! At least he did pay her when he was done.

    Then we learn how the foxy gym teacher at school asked her to help grade some papers after class. This, ofcourse, led to the teacher drugging her ginger ale and, once she was out of it, tying her up and performing some kinky bondage acts on her! Yep, she gets all four limbs and her neck bound while ol’ teach pulls out a box cutter and relieves her of her dress and under garments before having her way with her and giving her an A!

    After that, we learn how playing with herself never satisfied her and how even oral sex just didn’t satiate her. She ‘wanted a prick… a real prick!’ Some cuts and print damage removes a chunk of footage and then we see the doctor getting worked over by a beautiful nurse right there in the office and on the same couch that his patients lie on no less! From there, we learn about the patient’s sweet sixteen party and how kids her age just couldn’t turn her on. This explains her attraction to older men, including her favorite uncle who was chaperoning the party. When the party was over, this uncle gave her some champagne and, once she was good and drunk, gave her the gift that keeps on giving – a vibrator! A few more glasses of champagne and she’s letting her uncle show her how it works before he then hops on top of her and goes to town on her – until he doesn’t. He actually refuses to screw her, he’s just not into incest it seems!

    We then learn that when she was eighteen she met an older man and married him. A rich older man, who she was happy to offer her ‘virgin cunt’ to! In order to make their wedding night special she put on some fancy lingerie and did a striptease for him before they went at it. But it didn’t go as planned… and then we cut back to her on the couch where we learn how she became addicted to masturbation which leads to, of course, the doctor and the nurse working together to finally satisfy her!

    This was all dubbed, and poorly, in post so it’s got a really weird vibe to it. The voice actors are at least enthusiastic sounding about the sex scenes but the shrink tends to mutter a weird creepy laugh now and then that is just plain bizarre. There’s no plot, just a few softcore vignettes strung together by the scenes in the office and there’s nothing really all that unique or interesting about the film.

    ABA’s box art states that Terri Johnson is in this one as well but that appears to be an error. Rik Tazíner, according to the IMDB, did the voiceover as the shrink in the film (uncredited). If that is true, it’s possible (though not confirmed) that he also directed the film (given that he directed quite a few dirty movies in the seventies like The Erotic Adventures Of Hercules, Teenage Desire (with Seka), South Of The Border and Cherry Truckers.

    Who Killed Cock Robin?

    The fourth and final film on this disc, directed by Don Jones (The Love Butcher, Schoolgirls In Chains, The Forest) and produced by Fleetan Films (if the title card is to be believed) in 1970, runs fifty-six-minutes. In the opening, the camera pans through a rough neighborhood, an empty box of Michelob Light can be seen and then, the body of a dead man – the titular ‘Cock’ Robin Worth!

    From there, the movie follows a homicide cop named Lieutenant Clyde Barnum (Bart Lewison) starts poking around. He interviews the guy who owns the bar (Ray Sebastian of A Clockwork Blue) where he hung around, learning that Robin was involved with a dancer who worked there named Vera (Stephanie Sarver of Prostitution Pornography USA and Sex And The Single Vampire). She admits that she’d have been happy to kill him herself, but yeah, at one time they did have a thing. She used to care for him, even if he was a bastard! A conveniently timed flashback shows us how Robin and Vera got it on in her dressing room one night after she finished her act, but we also learn how ‘he seemed to go through life as if his only goal was to hurt people.’ Before he splits, Barnum succumbs to Vera’s feminine charms and takes her up on her offer to make her feel like a real woman. Their sex is ungraceful and awkward.

    From there, Barnum visits the Campus Free Sex Club where he meets a girl named Sally (Babs Lewison) who admits that Robin was the guy who got her into this, even though she hates him. Barnum bones her as he interrogates her, learning that there was blackmail, dirty photos and a few other sordid details in her relationship with Robin that makes her a suspect. They screw in front of the club who judge them on their lovemaking abilities. From there, Barnum visits two lesbians, Robin’s neighbors – unaware that someone if following him. He meets Lilly (Neola Graef again) and Ellen (Maria Arnold of Necromania and Prison Girls), two girls who would be proud to added to the list of suspects. Here, they explain how Robin used them when they moved in, he shot photos of them through peepholes in the wall as they made out and used them to try and blackmail them into having sex with him! They protest, being lesbians and all, but Robin insists and persists and really doesn’t give them much of a choice in the matter.

    Eventually Barnum realizes he’s being followed. He manages to outsmart the guy tailing him and confront him about what it is that he’s up to. It turns out his name is Ronald Velden and that he knows Robin. Barnum wants to talk to him later, and he agrees to go to his house later in the afternoon so that his mom won’t be around. Wouldn’t want her to worry. Barnum arrives at Ron’s place a bit early, the kid isn’t home, but his horny mom Monica (Ruth Knox) is and she’s more than happy to talk to the cop – and get it on with him. Even homicide detectives need love, we’re told. Ron walks in on them, and we learn how Monica once fell in love with Robin a year ago – and went to bed with him – and how things eventually went wrong. Will our intrepid gumshoe solve his case?

    The resolution to the mystery comes out of nowhere but Barnum has great hair so we can look past that. Most of the female cast members are attractive enough, so that helps, but the sex isn’t really all that inspired or all that well shot. Jones gets credit for at least trying to tell a story here, and for partially succeeding. This was clearly made with little money but it’s entertaining enough and by the time you get into it, you’ll start to wonder who the killer was. If it isn’t the most original picture or particularly impressive in terms of its production values and cinematography, it’s got an alright cast and proves to be a moderately amusing little low budget smut movie.

    This film was also released on DVD-R by Something Weird Video.

    The Last Step Down Four Film Collection – DVD Review:

    Each of the four films on this disc arrives on DVD in its original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio. These all look to have been sourced from film prints, albeit battered and unrestored ones. Expect a fair amount of print damage throughout, and occasional frame jumps where it’s clear that there was some damage to the elements used, but this is watchable enough if you know what you’re getting into. ABA has also put an annoying video but on the title cards for each feature on the disc, as is visible on the screen caps below.

    The only audio option for the four feature attractions are English language Dolby Digital Mono tracks. There’s hiss here and there and some jumps and spikes in the balance of the levels but for the most part the dialogue comes through okay.

    Aside from static menus offering feature selection, the disc also includes the Alpha Blue Archives Retro Starlets trailer, and that's it. But hey, you get four movies here so it’s hard to get too bent out of shape over that.

    The Last Step Down Four Film Collection – The Final Word:

    Alpha Blue Archive’s DVD release of The Last Step Down Four Film Collection offers up four entertaining films in rough, but watchable, condition. The Last Step Down is the most interesting of the quartet but the other entries all have their merits. Those with a soft spot for softcore from the early seventies will no doubt find enough to appreciate here to want to give this some consideration.