Point of Terrorrecommended viewing

Broke n’ Heartless, woah, Broke n’ Heartless
★★★
☆☆☆☆
Released: 
1971
Director: 
Alex Nicol
Starring: 
Peter Carpenter, Dyanne Thorne, Lory Hansen, Leslie Simms
The Setup: 
Steamy melodrama about this awful lounge singer juggling his many ladyfriends.
Discussion: 

This was the second movie I had watched from my Horrible Horrors collection, which I impetuously BOUGHT without really looking into whether it was worth it or not. The first movie I had watched from the collection, Terrified, turned out to be, shall we say, an amusing piece of garbage, so hopes were dim for the rest of the, you know, FIFTEEN movies, when suddenly this one sweeps in like the Lone Ranger and restores my hope for mankind!

This one LEAPT to the top of my viewing priorities when a comment on the IMDb say that its star “Parades around in too-tight shirts and pants that were meant for an adolescent.” You hear “gross, washed up old man,” I hear: RECIPE FOR SUCCESS. So in this went. We open with this man—Peter Carpenter as our hero, Tony Trelos [pronounced Trellis]—in a tight fire-engine red bodysuit WITH TWO-FOOT FRINGE singing a song with a chorus that describes him as “Broke n’ Heartless,” and in which he repeatedly declares “This is me! This is who I am!” The song ends—he screams—and suddenly he’s laying on a beach!

He is joined by this woman Andrea Hilliard, who is rather busty and doesn’t care who knows it. She lays down next to him and informs him that he’s trespassing—but she doesn’t mind. She asks him about himself and discovers that he’s a lounge singer who performs over at the Lobster House—a place even cheesier than it sounds, and where there is no cover, no minimum. He tells her to come see him sometime, and she says she certainly will.

And come to see him she does, as he sings another song, “Drifter of the Heart,” which also contains the lyrics “This is what I am, and what I’ll always be.” The camera is lingering over this drag queen in the audience—but wait a minute, that’s Andrea Hilliard, from the previous scene! Now wrap your minds around THIS, bitches: Andrea is played by Dyanne Thorne, who rose to fame as Ilsa, the Wicked Warden in those Nazi sexploitation movies. I haven’t seen any of them yet, and I’m not so much looking forward to it, but regardless, here she is. His song goes on forever and is accompanied by the absolute cheesiest gyrations and such, and at this point it’s impossible to determine if the movie MEANS it to come off as cheesy, or is entirely serious. Tony discovers from Sally, the red-haired waitress that he’s having a fling with, that she is “Mrs. National Records,” and is married to “Mr. National Records.” National Records is not where they store important government documents, in this context, but a record label, and Andrea hints that she’d like to sign Tony. He’s obviously thrilled, and willing to do anything to make it happen—even satisfy a lusty old lady whose husband is in a wheelchair. Sally warns him that Andrea is known for picking up guys, using them, and dumping them out further down the road. Sally says “I've seen her in action,” to which Tony responds “And you’ve seen MY action, baby!”

They repair to Sally’s beachside home [which, I remind you, she affords on her salary as a waitress at the Lobster House], where they relate for long time, with Tony telling her how all his life he’s yearned to “be somebody.” Suddenly Sally jumps up and says “Let’s go for a swim!” and they run down to the beach, where they strip and make love on a ROCK. Okay, sure it’s hot, sexy and spontaneous, but they are on a ROCK. The movie then takes a giant turn for the softcore as they have an extended lovemaking scene, featuring some innovative checkerboard split-screen effects.

We now join Andrea and her wheelchair-bound husband, Martin, who doesn’t let the fact that he’s paralyzed from the waist down keep him from moving his legs around. Now here’s where I wish I could read my own handwriting better, for as far as I know, he calls her a “dirty 3-sex bitch,” but I don’t think he actually said that. Whatever it was, I’m sure it was mean-spirited. Regardless, Andrea feels justified for sleeping with whoever and whatever because her husband can’t satisfy her, and he says “it’s because of your drinking that I’m in this chair!” a point that she does not seem very eager to discuss. In here we are also introduced to Andrea’s gossipy little friend Fran, who is a toothsome delight, and we have a bizarre and completely unrelated segment in which we see Andrea get stabbed to death. I guess it’s just a vision, as she’s quite alive soon after.

Andrea stops by Tony’s, where she finds Sally, and quite, quite cattily kicks Sally the hell out. She lords Tony’s recording contract over him, and he demands that she call right then and set it up. He records this song “Life Beats,” which goes “Life beats turning into love beats! Love beats turning into life beats!” This is actually a real song—I have a version of the post-Diana Ross Supremes singing it, and if you’ve only seen this movie, you might be surprised that something pleasant could be made from it at all. Anyway, we find out that Martin approves Tony to release one record, and will give him a big promotional build-up—then bury him!

Then Andrea and Tony go back to her pool, where she explains that she HAS to make her husband hate her, in order to keep him alive! You see how very selfless she is. They then have their softcore sequence, and after Tony leaves, Martin shows up in his wheelchair. You are now treated to one of the more bizarre sequences you will see, as Martin chases Andrea around in his wheelchair, and she brandishes patio furniture at him—AS we hear the sounds of a bullfight on the soundtrack. You heard that right. Then Martin’s chair goes right into the pool, and Andrea doesn’t make it her business to fish him out. Now she’s got National Record all to herself!

Or DOES she? At the funeral, Tony spots a mysterious and beautiful woman. This, a tipsy Fran informs him, is Helayne, Andrea’s daughter, and half of Martin’s money, including half the record company, goes to her. You can practically see Tony thinking “So why am I even bothering with the old broad?” and Fran is clearly relishing her gossip. The actress who plays Fran has the same sly face and delivery of the always-welcome Illeana Douglas. Regardless, Tony tries to make it work! After noting that Andrea is often drunk and popping pills, Tony suggests that they get married! She laughs him down and lets him know in no uncertain terms that he’s nothing but a sex pawn for her, who holds him under her control because she can withhold his album. This does not sit well with our independent stud Tony Trelos, who is tamed by no woman. Meanwhile, a drunken Fran shows up at the Lobster House, letting Tony know that if he should ever need it, she’s got a warm pocket in which he could store his seeds.

But what of Helayne, who looks like a younger, fresher version of Andrea, and glows with all the charisma of a freshly-cut block of lumber? She, like everyone else, sees Tony and wants to saddle up this man-stallion, and now that she’s inherited half the company, Tony sees this as a wise investment. They go horseback riding as we hear Tony’s version of “Life Beats” on the soundtrack, which implies to me—remember our question from earlier?—that the movie endorses Tony’s talent, and isn’t actually making fun of it. Soon they’re planning to run away together—if not for the fetus in Sally’s belly. That’s right, Tony’s tadpoles have been left where it’s now inconvenient for them to be, which does not sit well now that—as he makes no bones about letting her know—Sally is about 100 years in the past. Tony is supportive—in telling her to get rid of it. “Lookit baby, you made a mistake,” he says, and he’s right: I mean, how dare she ovulate? So presumptuous. Anyway, he lets her know that if she wants a few bucks for a wire hanger or something, he is THERE for her.

So Tony and Helayne run off and get married in Tijuana. They return, and Tony spills the news to a drunk, pilled-up Andrea. She scoffs at him, and his talent [imagine!]—although I don’t think “scoffs” fully implies the drama of the damning disdain she brings to her little speech—then relents and lets Tony know that if he wants he could have BOTH mother and daughter. Tony refuses, and to say that Andrea throws a scene would be to say the very least [see photo below]. She clings to his leg as he drags her up the lawn. Oh by the way, in here is an obvious section where something was clearly edited out—using stone tools, by the looks of it—but one wonders what kinkiness was just too hot for us to hear. Anyway, through some bizarre, inexplicable edit, Andrea throws herself at Tony’s FEET and somehow ends up hanging around his shoulders. At this point—listen here, this is amazing—he starts spinning around [as any one of us would do in such a situation] with such apparent speed that the centrifugal force is pulling Andrea’s legs STRAIGHT out behind her. Now, Tony and Andrea WERE by the beach, but walked up the path to the house, which means that, when Andrea finally lets slip her grip, the force of Tony’s spinning sends her body flying horizontally a MINIMUM of 95 feet, where she lands on the rocks of the beach, killing her instantly! Sadly, such accidents are ALL too common. And how many of us, when landscaping our homes, adequately guard against how surprisingly far our bodies might be horizontally flung in JUST such an everyday situation? Now the ball’s in YOUR court.

SPOILERS > > >
So then there’s this bizarre and somewhat funny scene of pure comedy as this overweight cop talks about the case to some other guy, as he walks around the Hilliard’s patio, scarfing up the many leftovers that were left around. Although I hadn’t recalled them laying out hors d’ouevres, but whatever. Then Tony needs to just stop home for a second before he and Helayne take off to begin their new life. There is another chunk of footage clearly chopped out here, because the next thing we see, Sally is blowing Tony away with a shotgun! God, WHAT is her problem? Look baby, if you leave your cake out on the windowsill, don’t be surprised if somebody frosts it. I guess some people aren’t responsible enough to take care of their own mistakes. Anyway, then, in a gambit clearly rocketing this movie into the esteemed realm of the avant-garde, Tony screams—and is back on the beach, at the beginning, Andrea’s busty form looming over him! The entire film was a cautionary fantasy that took place in an instant. It’s like Incident at Owl Creek Sex Beach.
< < < SPOILERS END

This was AMAZING. This gave me that wonderful feeling of “Oh my God, I OWN this!” Some guy on the IMDb says that this is better than Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and while clearly mistaken, you know, he has a point. You just have so many delightful elements, from Tony in his tight clothes and sexy stallion attitude, to the crazy, crazy women—not one of whom DOESN’T look like a drag queen—and the massively ludicrous soap opera story and highly eroticized atmosphere. I repeat: Recipe for SUCCESS! OH, not to mention several SONGS. So yeah, this was pretty amazing.

Of course, you might be forgiven for asking yourself, “Uh, wasn’t there supposed to be some horror element to this? Isn’t it called Point of TERROR?” And the widely-circulated description of this movie is that Tony is having visions in which he kills people, but finds they may in fact be real. This is COMPLETE FICTION. Where did they even get that? But the highly-charged softcore melodrama more than makes up for it. Yummm-meeeee!

Should you watch it: 

You bet, you should get it right now.

RELATED FILMS:
BLOOD MANIA is the earlier movie written by and starring Peter Carpenter, and is pretty much the same thing but with a different story.

Comments

you are such a witty writer...i laughed thru this article...point of terror is a fave!...i first saw this as a kid at the drive-in in the early seventies...i recall my parents arguing over the fact that it wasnt a horror flick but some kinda soft porn...lolololol PETER CARPENTER LIVES!

I just watched this on youtube last weekend. OMG!! Fantastic! Peter Carpenter -- he makes cyphers like Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck look like dog food! I wish I was kidding. If he were around today, Keanu Reeves would be doing the parts Peter Carpenter turned down!!