Friday, October 11, 2019

Massage Parlor Murders (1972)

Here's a random movie trailer that positively screams 'sleaze!'  Indeed, the trailer goes all out to emphasise just how scuzzy and sleazy the picture itself is.  In essence one of those serial killer plots, (in the days before we called them 'serial killers'), where a mysterious killer targets a particular demographic as their victims.  In this case, female massage parlour workers.  He also murders them according to a 'theme'. in this case the seven deadly sins, with the name of each massage parlour a murder takes place representing, in some way, one of the aforementioned sins.  (The parlours have names like 'The Lust Lounge', 'Everybody's Envy' and so on).  Various sleaze balls, perverts and even a priest come under suspicion as the requisite pair of cops beat and intimidate their way through the investigation.  An investigation which, of course, also involves going undercover as a customer at a massage parlour.

One has to say, though, that surely massage parlour murders shouldn't be too difficult to crack.  After all, even in the largest of cities there have to be a fairly limited number of such establishments and the perpetrator is likely to be a customer, thereby narrowing the range of suspects quite considerably.  But what do I know?  Well, I do know that Jack the Ripper wasn't menacing London at the turn of any century: he was stalking the streets of Whitechapel in the 1880s, some twenty years before the century turned.  I'm a great believer in historical accuracy in schlock movie trailers.  Combining sex, violence and nudity, all set in the sleaziest milieu imaginable, Massage Parlor Murders is, perhaps, the perfect exploitation film and has, over the years, been variously marketed as psychological thriller, horror and sexploitation.   The only really recognisable actors in the cast are George Dzundza and Brother Theodore, both in supporting roles, although female lead Sandra Peabody has cult status thanks to her appearances in Last House on the Left and a number of other low budget seventies horror films.



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