Despite the fact that sexploitation as a subgenre was still in in its infancy during the late sixties, there are some topics that are considered to be so controversial that they are largely ignored by later films, even in the thriving grindhouse and drive in eras where almost every kind of sordid premise for a film was explored. One such viable form of sexual fetishism for films of the sixties that is largely ignored (even in modern day cult films) is incest/pedophilia. Whether it was the film adaption to LOLITA released in 1964 or the film THE GRADUATE in 1967, the coupling of older and younger lovers by any means was a topic that created much controversy even when it ran contrary to expense of decency and the laws if not social mores of the day. This film was made in the swinging sixties where all movie premises were commercially thinkable, and even those that weren’t were able to be simulated for an hour and a half nudie film for people who watched films for only that one particular reason.
Today’s film is Lou Campa’s SOCK IT TO ME BABY, a little story about friends, neighbors, lovers, and one girl next door who becomes all of this and more to a poor middle aged pervert who should have really made better choices.
Ron Baker is a despicable, contemptible character who an audience can only identify with through their own capacity to feel human pity. An obvious alcoholic trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage with his hateful shrew of a lesbian wife, Ron spends most of his life lonely, drunk, and privately fantasizing about forbidden pleasures and perceived wrongs being committed against him. Of course, we are privy to each and every one of these deeply emotional thoughts of lust and dread through the magic of voice over. The first of these mad obsessions are his niece, Susan who lives with him and his wife, oftentimes wearing next to nothing. Ron wonders, obsesses: should he make his move or not? Thankfully, the decision is made for him a scene later as Susan soon leaves for school forever and Ron’s wife appears, berating him cruelly and coldly, adding the closest semblance to comedy you will see in the entire film.
After a brief alcohol fueled, self-loathing soliloquy that is his characters one discerning characteristic in this film, Ron discovers the next object of his affection; the teenage girl next door named Tina. As Ron watches outside the window with all the comedic, boisterous tactlessness of a window peeper on a modern day security system commercial, Tina entertains gentleman caller after gentleman caller, even forcing them to wait outside for their turn. Of course, he simply has to have her! What self-respecting pervert main character in a midlife crisis trapped in a troubled marriage, who exists in a clothing optional world where such behavior is permissible, almost expected, wouldn’t?
Nudity and much tired dialogue ensue as Tina becomes Ron’s lover. As usual in such May/December onscreen pairings between a young girl lover and an older male lover, Ron is as clueless as any schoolboy in love as Tina is soon asking him for money and threatening him with repercussions should their relationship become known even as she still engages in dance parties with her other three boyfriends while he is in the next room. It becomes all too obvious that he has traded one cruel mistress for another, and even deep in the R-rated throes of passion of his lifetime dream of an affair with a much younger, perhaps underage woman, we can see that Ron is a born loser no matter what path he ultimately chooses for himself. In the end, when he puts a stop to this and the immoral ways of he and every one of the other players in this swinging sixties suburban cesspool, we almost feel a moment of sympathy for him that may simply be the misguided revelation that the film has finally concluded.
There are those who compare to compare this film to AMERICAN BEAUTY, but I must object to this on the grounds of basic decency. AMERICAN BEAUTY was the story of a guy who faced his mid-life crisis during his failing marriage and, ultimately, the end of his life, with a decency, dignity, and peace of mind that any man could only aspire to. This film doesn’t have any moment that makes me proud to be a man over forty, or an occasional slave to my own drives, and, personally, I am glad that films like this featuring incest/borderline pedophilia as a fetishized plotline are largely being allowed to fall into antiquity and seldom filmed anymore, even by the industry’s most daring underground film directors.
However, the fact that it portrays a type of bizarre sexualized taboo of the day that modern society (if not all good and decent people everywhere) have decided should no longer be pressed onto film, makes it worth something, even if only as another collector’s only cult film. Couple this with the fact that they gave it a silly pop culture title that sounds like the catch phrase to LAUGH IN, (one of the most bizarre, mainstream comedy shows of the sixties) and you can almost forgive its “bad touches” of what is actually a pretty loveless and unglamorous portrayal of a taboo affair that ultimately borders on a moral fable of sorts.
Special features include several trailers to even more bizarre black+white films from this era.