Any other filmmaker setting out to exploit the 73-inch bosom of stripper Chesty Morgan would simply have concocted a plot featuring a lot of sex, or perhaps cast Morgan as a stripper. Not Doris Wishman, the female Ed Wood and the creator of history's least sexy sexploitation movies. In a
movie guaranteed to be found on any film buff's top ten all-time worst list, DEADLY WEAPONS casts the freakish and wholly unappealing Morgan as an advertising executive who hunts down the gangsters that killed her lover and murders them by smothering them to death with her breasts.
Sent by his gangster boss Mr. Batty to retrieve an incriminating address book, thug Larry instead steals it and launches his own blackmail scheme. He leaves the book for safekeeping with his girlfriend Crystal (Chesty Morgan), who doesn't know about his shady line of work. Crystal visits her
father, who wonders why she is unwilling to tell him anything about the man she is hoping to marry. When Batty finds out that Larry is the one blackmailing him, he orders his henchmen Tony (Harry Reems) and "Capt. Hook" to kill him. They shoot Larry while he is on the phone with Crystal; not
knowing she is listening, they discuss their plans to skip town for awhile, Hook to Las Vegas, Tony to Miami.
Having also heard that Hook enjoys burlesque houses, Crystal goes to Las Vegas and gets a job as a stripper in the hotel where Hook said he would be staying. After a show, he invites her for a drink and takes her back to his room. She drugs his drink and then smothers him to death between her
breasts. Heading to Miami, she kills Tony in the same way. Crystal returns home and mentions to her father that she must contact the police regarding the book that got Larry killed. That night she finds her father searching her apartment: he is Mr. Batty. She refuses to give him the book and he
shoots her. Mortally wounded, she pulls a gun from a cabinet and kills him, too.
No plot summary can do justice to DEADLY WEAPONS, a film that has to be seen to be believed. This is true of most of the films made by Doris Wishman. One of the only women working in the exploitation field of the 1960s and 70s, her work was so consistently inept as to constitute a distinct
anti-style, as if she had never seen any other films but rather invented the whole thing herself. Most of her films were post-dubbed, which is not in itself unusual. But to save the trouble of matching voices to lip movements, she would often train her camera during a conversation on the person
listening rather than the one speaking. Her editing and camerawork are utterly surreal, interrupting any given scene with meaningless shots of feet, wall ornaments, ashtrays, whatever--it's like watching the world through the eyes of a hyperactive child. All of her films feature harsh lighting
producing intrusive shadows, "sets" which are actually the same apartments (Wishman's, presumably) used over and over, and some of the ugliest costumes ever seen on film. (Morgan's wardrobe here is the nadir of that trait: her outfits are phenomenally ugly, even taking into account the double
whammy of the era and her peculiar physique.)
Wishman also seems to have had no concept of the erotic; in DEADLY WEAPONS, she sets out to exploit a 73-inch bosom but clearly has no idea why anyone would want to see such a thing. If anything could have been done to make the dumpy Morgan look any less unattractive, Wishman avoids it. This is a
film that could have been used by feminist groups in the same way that marijuana reform groups used to show REEFER MADNESS (1936) at fundraisers. Perhaps the oddest thing about DEADLY WEAPONS is that, like REEFER MADNESS, it is not a joke: even at its most preposterously insane--a topless and
pantyhosed Chesty advancing on her prey with arms stretched over her head--it is dead serious. Which, as any camp aficionado knows, is the true test of a masterpiece of the genre. Wishman and Morgan reunited for a follow-up, DOUBLE AGENT 73 (1973); hard as it is to believe, it's even worse.
(Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse.)
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