Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So we watch a lot of exploitation type movies and every once in a while you ask yourself; "Self, why in the hell do you watch this junk?" Like I said before it’s not because of the titillation factor since you don’t have to sit through some lousy 1970’s skin flick for the privy of seeing some naked woman and almost all of these movies are simply awful. Like this movie ‘Malibu High’. But ‘Malibu High’ serves the purpose in reminding us why we watch these movies. Somebody somewhere thought it would be a good idea to make this movie and while it is uniformly awful from its first suspect frame to its poorly acted completely ridiculous conclusion, it is still almost a non-stop festival of cheesy joy. If I had seen it when it was released in 1979 I probably would’ve thrown myself off the highest building I could find, but thirty plus later… hell yeah.

Say hello to Kim Bentley (Jill Lansing) who first we meet as her mom (Phyllis Benson) rousts the kid to get out of bed to get her ready for school. When Jill finally gets out of bed, we should mention that she sleeps in the buff, she immediately pops a cigarette and starts brushing her mane. Not that we’re saying anything but actress Jill Lansing looks like she should be in some kind of advanced PhD. program working on her thesis as opposed to being the high school senior that we’re presented here, but we are just going to roll with it.

Kim, one of the most unpleasant people you will ever meet, is having a tough go at it right now. Her boyfriend Kevin (Stuart Taylor) has dumped her for rich bitch Angie (Tammy Taylor), she’s failing all of her classes, she has no money and all her mom cares about is cleaning the house and greasy buildup. Kim actually accused her mom of only caring about ‘greasy buildup’. Right about there I knew we had a winner.

Kim informs her BFF Lucy (Katie Johnson) that this nonsense ends TODAY! You see Kim’s been feeling sorry for herself ever since her old man hung himself because he couldn’t get it up anymore… that’s what Kim said… but now she’s changing the game. Failing classes? Not if you start screwing your teachers. Broke as a joke? Not if you start working for Tony the Pimp (Alex Mann). Tony takes sixty percent of the fifty bucks Kim gets for her services and slaps her when she complains about it but Tony will get his.

Now things are looking good for Kim. She has clothes, a sweet ride, good grades except in the one class taught by a woman, the rich bitch hates her even more and Kevin is jealous. Then she meets smooth operator Lance (Garth Howard) who frees her from turning tricks in a beat up van and guides her towards a higher class of clientele which leads to better clothes and nicer cars. Then through circumstance Kim has to off a client in self protection. Damn if she doesn’t like killing folks and now Lance has a bonafide hit girl on his payroll. It can’t get any better than this for Kim, especially since she’s heading to Tahiti to get the worlds greatest tan as soon as she graduates as class valedictorian. Unless something goes wrong. Damn.

This movie ‘Malibu High’ is some high quality low brow sleaze that anyone who considers themselves a connoisseur of low budget, poorly done 1970’s style sleaze fests should put on their ‘must watch’ list. The entire exercise feels like one of those bad 1970’s porn flicks to the way the sets were over lighted, the way the actors stood way to close to walls, the strange scene transition music, the way the story made almost no logical sense and not to mention the fantastic clothes our characters were wearing. Surprisingly the acting from our cast member was largely better than that of a 1970’s porno flick, with the probable exception of Jill Lansing whose acting skills consist mainly of yelling out all of her lines so we could understand what she was saying. And taking off her top. We saw Kim’s tits so frequently in this movie that after a while we were just hoping that the filmmakers would just allow the audience to assume the characters were having sex and not make us sit through another forced hay roll.

But it is the ‘narrative’ which is the key. The dialog is almost inspired in its insipidness, the career path from special ed schoolgirl to hired assassin is classic. When Kim gives her mom the classic double finger for foolishly asking her ‘How can you afford such a nice car’, how sweet was that? Apparently the finger was a really, really bad thing to do to somebody in the late seventies. Finally there was the conclusion which was like a cherry on top. Director Irv Berwick, in what would be the last movie he would ever direct, even though he is still alive today at the tender age of 94, went for a morality play to close out the show, and while it doesn’t work, it fits perfectly.

Outside of watching Tammy Taylor as the rich bitch get naked briefly there is almost nothing good about this movie from start to finish, but it is so consistently not good that it is almost perfectly not good. You can’t plan it and it only happens by accident. Greasy buildup? Come on man, you can’t beat that. And ignore that box cover. Nobody who looks like that is in this movie.

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