The Swinging Barmaids/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
< The Swinging Barmaids
There were a lot of "swinging" movies in the 70s -- The Swinging Cheerleaders, The Swinging Co-Eds, Swinging Sorority. The poster suggests that The Swinging Barmaids fits into this trend, but it doesn't. This is not a sexploitation film about promiscuous barmaids.
This is a movie about barmaids who get murdered by a perverted psychopath.
On paper, The Swinging Barmaids has a lot going for it. It's written by one of Roger Corman's writers, Charles B. Griffith, who wrote Little Shop of Horrors and Death Race 2000, among other things. And it was directed by Gus Trikonis, who did a number of fun, trashy films in the 70s like Five the Hard Way and The Student Body.
Exploitation fans should be happy to hear this movie also features the one and only Dyanne Thorne. That's right. Ilsa herself is here as a cocktail waitress, and she is as amazing as ever. Unfortunately her character is the first victim and just 15 minutes into the movie we see the last of her.
When her fellow barmaids go to the police to report her murder, however, another exploitation fan favorite makes an appearance: William "Big Bill" Smith.
What follows is a "killer in their midst" story. The murderer dyes his hair, shaves his beard, and returns to the bar. No one recognizes him so he applies for, and gets, a job as the bar's bouncer. Now he has easier access to the barmaids, who he starts to kill one by one. We the audience have to wait and hope the others figure out who he is before it's too late.
For an exploitation film, it doesn't go very hard. It's a serial killer movie without any gore and very little blood. That being said, due to their sexual nature, the kills are brutally effective. They just aren't graphic in that William Lustig Maniac way.
I would have preferred much more screen time from Dyanne Thorne, and William Smith was also, similarly, under-utilized. However, despite these personal hangups, The Swinging Barmaids is quite enjoyable. It's a fast-paced thriller with sexed-up violence that doesn't go too far. It's well acted and has a number of familiar faces. Definitely worth a watch.
Rob McGee has written comedy and short stories for The American Bystander, Sammiches and Psych Meds, and a number of other funny places online and off. You can follow him on YouTube.