05 October 2016



Like the previous film I reviewed here, Don’t Open the Door, Teenage Tramp is a classic piece of drive-in exploitation fare. It might be hard for enlightened millennials to understand how a film like Teenage Tramp could have ever came into being unless you grew up, as I did, in a time in America when there were still drive-in theaters and cheap matinee movies.  When I say cheap I mean I used to watch all manner of weird films for about .35 cents. This movie most likely played along with about three other films all of a similar theme and could be a bit of fun viewing from inside a real car with a V8 engine with a few friends and some primo homegrown and some Boone's Farm. However movies like this play out in a different fashion when you’re watching them in bed on an iPad in the 21st century over wifi. Unless you've had a sort of history watching things in your past I can’t imagine too many people enjoying it, especially anybody who posts selfies regularly and never owned a pair of frayed bell-bottoms. Well, I owned my fair share and while the movie certainly has it pitfalls in terms of, well, acting, script, direction, music score, camera work and most likely catering service when it was being made it is not really a bad movie. At least after it gets past a really choppy and poorly edited beginning sequence that unfolds accompanied by the rousing title song, nay title anthem,  What Happened to the Good Times by the immortal song writing duo of Steve and Frankie Ortiz. 

Teenage tramp harkens back to a lost time in America. A time when everybody ended every other sentence with “baby”, and when liberated hippie girls danced naked on coffee tables at swinging cool parties, and when at same said party a guy on a conga and a guy on an acoustic guitar could sound like an whole four piece psychedelic rock band. While there are lots of things to poke fun at with Teenage Tramp there is a real story lurking in there with some occasional spurts of good acting. The friction ensues when free spirited Kim (Alisha Fontaine) returns home to big sister Hillary (Robin Lane) because she needs some “bread” to help her draft dodging boyfriend who is sleeping in the backyard eating sandwiches and showing not an ounce of appreciation. Hillary is utterly jealous of her young artist lover Adam (Anthony Massena) and he hardly gives her much reason to feel like he can be trusted, but hey, he's a 70’s guy okay! Kim starts mucking things fast up when she, in a word, hops in bed and screws the guy the first day she is there. Soon bikers and hippies and drug dealers are scurrying around Hillary’s upscale place smoking and snorting, doing hip dances and generally being the parasitic annoyances they basically were. The movie is bleak and the characters get little mercy. The message seems to be that being a teenage tramp is not all it is cooked up to be. 

In Teenage tramp we get a first hand glimpse into the now long forgotten word of bald guys with round glasses and long hair (on the sides), draft dodgers who do not mind their girlfriends giving seedy truck drivers sex in exchange for a lift, men with hairy chests and open shirts who take no shit from women, and sort of cute at times hippie girls with no inkling that pubic hair should be trimmed or concealed. Yes, it was a great time in America.