DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

MALIBU HIGH (director: Irvin Berwick; screenwriters: story by John Buckley/Tom Singer; cinematographer: William DeDiego; editor: Dan Perry; cast: Jill Lansing (Kim Bentley), Stuart Taylor (Kevin), Katie Johnson  (Lucy), Phyllis Benson (Mrs. Bentley), Tammy Taylor (Annette), Garth Howard (Lance), Al Mannino (Tony), John Grant (Donaldson); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Lawrence D. Foldes; Crown Pictures; 1979)

"An exploitation film cheaply made for the sleaze driven drive-in crowd."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An exploitation film cheaply made for the sleaze driven drive-in crowd. It's the final directorial credit for the schlock filmmaker Irvin Berwick ("The Monster of Piedras Blancas"/"Hitch Hike to Hell"/"The Seventh Commandment"). It's based on the tawdry story by John Buckley. Tom Singer writes the vacuous screenplay without any effort to find out what makes its anti-heroine star tick.

The film focuses on the calculating failing high school senior Kim Bentley (Jill Lansing, in her only movie role), whose father committed suicide, her overbearing mom (Phyllis Benson) can't stop nagging her and her boyfriend (Stuart Taylor) dumped her for the rich snob Annette (Tammy Taylor). In desperation for money and self-respect, Kim seduces her history teacher, Mr. Donaldson (John Grant), and gets an A after blackmailing him. Kim follows this up by seducing other faculty members for high grades. Kim graduates to be working as a hooker for Tony (Al Mannino, a former porn star), a low-level pimp and drug dealer. But she soon dumps him for the silkier mafia-connected gangster Lance (Garth Howard) and graduates to a more upscale clientele and a bigger income. Lance promotes Kim to a contract killer when she uses an ice pick to stab to death an unruly bondage client.

The ridiculously bad flick tries to make a go of it with unessential disco dancing scenes, robotic acting and a story that's written on the level of an elementary school student. It pulls out a number of shocks to keep its targeted fan base sated with some over-the-top scenes, which might be violent but were meant as comedy.

REVIEWED ON 2/25/2015       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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