Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pat Barrington Week: Lila (1968)

Also known as Mantis in Lace, Lila is William Rostler's look at a stripper with a personality disorder that is exacerbated by LSD use. Lila (Susan Stewart, Farewell My Lovely) meets men at the topless bar she works at, then brings them to an abandoned building, purportedly owned by her father. Here she seduces the men, and in the throws of passion murders them, hacks up the bodies, and discards them in vacant lots.

Barrington appears in this film as one of several dancers who's job it is to push the movie out to more than thirty minutes. These scenes are long and occasionally boring. Oddly, the men who attend this topless bar are not abusive or obnoxious to the dancers, as in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, but are always shown as happy and well mannered. Why then does Lila want to kill them?

It is likely a twist on the censorship escape. Often films with mature content would use a killer as a way of displaying nudity and sex, while "showing" that it was dangerous. Think of most any slasher movie. It is always the virgin who survives. Here, the danger is drugs. Sex and nudity are not evil and bad, but experimentation with hallucinogenic drugs creates a killer who apparently does not know what she is doing.


db said...

My theory was the absolutely awful theme song (played eight or nine times through the movie) was a kind of trigger phrase for Lila and *that* is what brought on her murderous fits. It certainly made me want to kill. Best part about the Something Weird edition is the bonus reel, which has the shot of Pat Berrington psychedelically swirled while topless and sprayed with the blood of one of the dupes she brought back to the warehouse shot in slow motion -- I made a loop of that and put it repeatedly on mixtapes I made, as it sums up what's good about the film without having to sit through the dross (which, like you said, has some of the dullest stripshow footage I've ever seen). Weeeeeird movie.

db said...

No! Susan Stewart was Lila! What the hell was I thinking? I really gotta stop replying to weblogs while either at work or high. Or, in this case, both.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Yeah, that song. Boy, they paid for it, and they were going to squeeze every cent out. :-)

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