Chris Warfield started his career in show business as an actor in television and film in the 1950s and 1960s, making appearances in programs like Perry Mason, The Outer Limits, and Lassie. In the 1970s and 1980s, Warfield worked behind the camera as a director of several feature films, most of which were adult films he directed under the pseudonym Billy Thornberg. Vinegar Syndrome previously released two of Warfield’s films (PURELY PHYSICAL and CATHOUSE FEVER) on a Peekarama disc and gave a standalone DVD release to his 1980 film CHAMPAGNE FOR BREAKFAST. Their latest release of films by Chris Warfield is a Drive-In Collection double-feature of two of his non-hardcore features, LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE (1973) and TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS (1975).
LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE stars John Alderman as Rick Engels, a music arranger who picks up a pair of attractive young hitchhikers who follow him home. The girls come on strong, and before long Rick finds himself in bed with virginal Judy (Terri Johnson) and aggressively seduced by Carol (Sandy Dempsey). At first it seems Rick has stumbled upon every man’s dream, with two young, insatiable women willing to fulfill his every sexual fantasy. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is the other way around: Carol and Judy are using Rick for some unknown purpose that happens to include constant rounds of sex with the increasingly exhausted (and angry) Rick. When he tries to get the girls to leave, he becomes a prisoner in his own home under Carol’s threat of blackmail. What are the girls doing, and will Rick live through it?
Alderman, Dempsey and Johnson are nearly the only actors seen throughout LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE, which starts off as a pretty typical sexploitation drama and evolves into a near-horror story. Dempsey is particularly great as Carol, whose take-charge sexuality starts off as a big turn-on for Rick, but which becomes increasingly dangerous and violent. Her unhinged breakdown near the end of the film is effective and unsettling. The film is a revenge story in a way, but it almost also plays out as a revenge visited upon male sexuality in contemporary exploitation films—the scenes of Carol raping Rick and viciously beating him with a belt pointedly turn the tables on the expectations of male sexual domination over women in many exploitation films of the 70s. LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE is definitely a departure from standard drive-in fare in that respect, even if much of the time it plays out much like other sexploitation films of the time.
The second film on the disc is TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS, which is a very inaccurate title. Sondra Currie stars as Terry Nelson, a woman (young, but absolutely not a teenager) who travels to Taos, New Mexico in search of author Preston King (played by Warfield himself). She has some run-ins with a few locals who won’t tell her where King lives before meeting art gallery owner Reggie (John Trujillo). Reggie immediately falls for Terry, but she’s fixated on finding King. Her obsession is soon explained in a series of flashbacks to Terry’s sad life with her bitter, divorced mother: King is Terry’s father, and he left the family when she was only two years old. Terry’s plan (like that of the girls in LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE) is to use her sexuality for revenge. She will ingratiate herself into her father’s life, seduce him, and reveal the truth after having sex with him.
TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS plays out mostly like a bleak soap opera. There’s not much sex or nudity in the film, just a general feeling of unease as the obviously disturbed Terry interacts with the people she needs to use to implement her plan. Terry seems drawn to Reggie, but her dedication to revenge leads her to repeatedly reject his advances. She actively alienates King’s housekeeper Elena (Sonny Cooper) and appears to drive off his longtime girlfriend Victoria (Elizabeth Saxon) just by being an attractive young woman hanging around. Currie and Warfield are fine in the lead roles, but aside from a major confrontation near the end of the film, there’s just not that much going on to keep the interest of 70s exploitation fans.
Both LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE and TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS have a lot of familiar names on both sides of the camera, including Ray Dennis Steckler (who did cinematography for LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE) and George “Buck” Flower (who co-wrote TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS). Vinegar Syndrome presents the films restored in 2k from 35mm negatives, and aside from some small instances of film noise, both films look great. The disc includes trailers for both films and an alternate TEENAGE INNOCENCE title card for LITTLE MISS INNOCENCE. ’70s exploitation cinema completists will certainly be excited to have such nice-looking versions of these films, and anyone curious about this type of drive-in softcore sexploitation may find this a good jumping-off point.
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