Gorgon Video has released a killer grindhouse double feature of 1970’s films The Roommates and A Woman for All Men from exploitation director Arthur Marks. Marks is best known for directing such classic TV shows as Perry Mason and Starsky and Hutch.
The Roommates is about four college coeds and a stewardess who go on a summer getaway together to Lake Arrowhead where they find jobs and meet boys. It isn’t long before a mysterious murderer begins to pick the girls off.
Watching The Roommates is a lot like watching Tarantino’s Death Proof meets Sleepaway Camp. The film starts out with four strong, sexual women who talk a lot about women’s rights and partying. There is a big college party where people are drinking and having orgies; typical stereotypical ’70s party stuff. Then the girls go off to the lake with the cousin of one of the girls. Naturally, five beautiful women are bound to draw some attention from the men in the area and some of them even have some summer relationships with a few, but one person in particular has paid special attention to them, with murderous results.
I actually really like this film. It’s cheesy without being overly cheesy. There are very few points, outside of the murders, where you feel like you are watching a horror film, which is refreshing. Horror films today spend too much time making you aware of what genre you are seeing. The Roommates works as a horror film because you would have no reason to think it was such. The murders are so out of place that they almost seem to fit. The killer is a little lame but, once again, it is very Sleepaway Camp in execution. The identity of the killer was obvious to me only because I have seen an obscene number of horror films but it would be a surprise to anyone who didn’t know better.
A Woman for All Men is about a beautiful woman who marries a millionaire, enraging his two jealous sons. She uses her seductive abilities to play these men, leading to family problems and, eventually, murder.
Karen (Judy Brown) is a Las Vegas prostitute who marries a millionaire, Walter (Keenan Wynn) with a construction business. Sexually, she does whatever he wants, keeping him in love with her. Meanwhile, Karen seduces his son, Steve (Andrew Robinson) while Walter is away on a business trip. Soon, Karen and Steve have fallen in love and the only way to be together is to run away. They quickly realize that money will become an issue and head back before Karen’s husband finds out. Things go south real quick when Walter accidently finds out about the relationship between his wife and son.
This film was another that was surprisingly good. I really enjoyed the scandal of it all. You find yourself feeling bad for Walter because he was being deceived but you also side with Karen and Steve because, well, who doesn’t side with love? Then you find yourself feeling bad for Steve because Karen is and always will be a prostitute. Jealousy is a horrible thing.
Both films appear to be ’70s porn from the cover, so I would’ve just walked right past it in the store. I hope other people don’t judge on the cover alone and give the films a chance. I think quite a few people would be pleasantly surprised at what they find.
The Roommates and A Woman for All Men are now available on Blu-ray from Gorgon Video.
========================================================================Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for Lovehorror.co.uk and writer for Geekandstuff.com. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter