The Centerfold Girls (1974)
Directed by John Peyser
Starring Andrew Prine, Jamie Lyn Bauer, Aldo Ray, Ray Danton, Francine York, Tiffany Bolling
Sure, this might sound a little jaded, but if you have a movie that was made in the 70’s that starred Andrew Prine, then you are going to be entertained, plain and simple. Prine is one of these actors that I grew up watching, in both movies and TV and always loved seeing this guy on screen. Sometimes he was the good guy, sometimes the bad guy. But always entertaining. His career started doing a lot of TV westerns, but it was in 1971 when he appeared in the title role of Simon, King of the Witches that started him in the genre. From there, he appeared in movies like Crypt of the Living Dead (1973), Barn of the Naked Dead (1974), Grizzly (1976), The Evil (1978), Amityville 2 (1982), and even on the TV show V, as one of the reptilian alien invaders. Prine was always giving a great performance, even if the film was lacking in other departments.
In this film, Prine puts on the creep factor and does it well. He plays Clement Dunne, who has taken it upon himself to rid the world of beautiful women who tempt young men with their bodies. As he puts it in the movie, “I want to help you.” Right from the opening credits, we know he’s the killer, so there is no mystery here, other than who is he going after now and will he ever get caught. We see this troubled man, always dressing in black, but the place where he lives in completely dressed in white. He’s fighting those sexual urges that he’s having by the only way he knows how: by getting rid of what is causing those urges….the gorgeous women who take their clothes off in the magazines.
One interesting and different thing they did here is make the this almost like an anthology film. There are three different stories here, with three different sets of characters, with the connecting theme being Prine’s character as the killer. He moves from one story to another, like different chapters in a book, or better yet, different months in a centerfold magazine.
The film does suffer from the content of the film being pretty dated, and not in a fun way, but basically how the women are treated here. One woman is drugged and raped by a couple of sailors and its played off like it was no big deal, with the woman just accepting it and goes on with her life. And any woman that has the least bit of free spirit, any guy around her always seems to expect sex from them. Thankfully, times have changed.
The film is also filled with other familiar genre faces. Ray Danton was mainly an actor that turned to directing. His first 3 films were genre pictures: Deathmaster (1972) starring Robert Quarry, Crypt of the Living Dead (1973), starring Prine, and Psychic Killer (1975), starring Jim Hutton. Tiffany Bolling stars as one of Prine’s targets. She also starred in films like Wicked, Wicked (1973), Candy Snatchers (1973), and Kingdom of the Spiders (1977) with William Shatner. And of course, let’s not forget Aldo Ray, who’s been in more movies than we could list here.
The DVD from Dark Sky, gives us a really nice and cleaned up print, but still has a little bit of grain to it to still give it a nice ’70s look and feel. The disc comes with some trailers and radio spots, but the real treat is the featurette, Making the Cut: A Look Back at the Centerfold Girls. We get to hear from Prine, producer Arthur Marks, actresses Francine York & Jennifer Ashley, each one giving us their memories about making of the film.
Simply put, if you’re a fan of Prine, then this is a must.