Friday, April 3, 2015

Rik Taziner - The Winter Of 1849 (1976)


Peckinpah meets porno in this moody existential western set in The Winter of 1849, in which the expression "Ride ’em, cowboy!" takes on an entirely different meaning. Lost in a vast frozen wasteland, three grubby, escaped convicts, Curt, Zeke, and Lenny, make for the cabin of old Ezra and Martha where they expect to find "a nice warm place to sleep, and good grub." But old Ezra is defunct, and Martha now lives alone in the "God-forsaken wilderness" with her two sisters, strawberry blonde Middle Sister and Virginal Beth. Though Zeke
can’t wait to eat "some o’ those fine vittles," when the three desperados arrive at the snowbound cabin, everybody chows down on groins, not grub. Curt, a boozy, grizzled, eye-patched sonofabitch who belches when he cums, almost instantly screws the more-than willing Middle Sister, then rapes Virginal Beth whereupon Middle Sister shoots Curt which causes Curt to strangle Middle Sister, all of which ends up with both of them buried under the snow out back. The cabin is thus left to Zeke and Martha, and to Lenny and Beth, who all do what one would expect them to do after the dual tragedy. After all, "with two good men around here, everything could get the right kind of care!" Especially since Martha (ANDREA TRUE) is "some kind o’ woman." What kind? The kind that "gets a man so het-up, he’d do anything." And Beth... Well, Beth is about as damn close as we’ll ever get to real virginal innocence in a porno flick. When she licks on Lenny’s log, it really seems like the fist time for her. When Lenny slips it in, she purrs "lt’s so good! It fits so perfect! Just as I imagined in my dreams!" And I believe her! Lenny (JOHN SEEMAN) looks like a modern-day CPA dressed up for Halloween, but the rest of the cast, as well as the landscape, all feel like the genuine article. So much so that the wind is heard howling coldly throughout the movie, even during the fucking scenes inside the cabin. It’s not often one gets to see cowboys and cum shots in the same film and The Winter of 1849 is the kind of dirty western that’ll put a smile on six-shooters everywhere.

There are some sexy scenes in THE WINTER OF 1849, but overall this obvious imitation of the hit A DIRTY WESTERN is poorly directed and sinks with a loud thud. The recent Alpha Blue Archives reissue box cites Rik Taziner as a "cult director", a misused term now ascribed to about 20,000 hacks worldwide, from Jess Franco on down. Taziner, who bills himself pretentiously as Tazi'ner, also stars as a creepy looking guy with an eye-patch. He (possessed of a small package, to use a Wrestling pun) would not be cast in porn by any other director, and helps ruin the film with a Snidely Whiplash idiotically villainous "performance". He also insists on inserting random closeups of himself, emphasizing the eyepatch, in distracting fashion throughout the early reels.
Copying A DIRTY WESTERN, this is a tale of three escaped convicts who hole up at a cabin owned by Andrea True. They were seeking out her husband Ezra, but he died a year ago, and instead come upon True and her two younger sisters. Sex with all three ensues.
Taziner pretentiously does not use a musical score, but instead has a howling wind sound throughout the movie, both for exterior scenes (where it makes sense) and interiors (stupid). The largely improvised dialog is poorly executed, and the film emerges from its hifalutin' stance as mere porn filler. John Seeman, as supposedly a virgin and Ken Scudder are okay as Taziner's two buddies, but cannot overcome the maestro's dominant bad vibes on screen. Scudder & Seeman teamed the same year memorably as a Vaughn/Wilson type comedy team in SKI HUSTLERS -highly recommended compared to this stinker. There's a scuzzy, unidentified actor in that movie too, so perhaps (I doubt it) SKI HUSTLERS is an uncredited Taziner classic to balance the scales a bit. True is nicely styled to show off her beauty, and the two unidentified actresses playing her sisters are attractive as well. The youngest one, playing Beth (who Taziner violently rapes, and then gets consoled by Seeman) looks like an American version of then-popular European starlet Sirpa Lane.
Among the tasteless and pointless material here is having to listen to Taziner endlessly rhapsodize about the wonders of San Francisco, his real-life home base. Attempt at ?comic relief? comes in the form of a Seeman flashback recalling his peeping tom incident, masturbating outside the window watching two neighbor girls in lesbian action. Seeman offhandedly notes he had to kill the farmer, father of one of the girls, when he caught him peeping, in a "him or me" situation.This sort of cavalier attitude by the filmmaker is typical of this and most of the rest of Taziner's bottom of the barrel oeuvre.