Though the roughies made by director R. LEE FROST may not have gone to the comic-book extremes of, say, Michael Findlay or Joseph P. Mawra, his movies were, nevertheless, usually far more unsettling. With violence grounded in reality, and the constant theme of masculine domination over women, films like The Defilers, The Scavengers, Hot Spur, Love Camp 7, and Zero In and Scream consistently portrayed the dark ugly underbelly of sex. As does The Animal, a brooding character study of a man splintering into psychological decay.
Ted Andrews (JOHN ALDERMAN) is a booze-swilling, pot-smoking, mother-hating psycho who suffers severe migraines and gets his kicks invading the privacy of women
-- first by making obscene phone calls, then by installing a telescope in his apartment and scouring the nighttime landscape for open windows.... Oh, look! Two women in their living room.... They’re getting naked.... They’re doing it right there on the floor!
He also enjoys hookers. He especially enjoys watching Kim, a first-time hooker, take a shower while he peeps at her through the bathroom door. Sure, he could go in there and watch up close -- hell, he’s paying for it -- but peeping is what turns him on: “You like to watch? Hey, that’s groovy!” Less groovy is when he suffocates another hooker with a plastic bag: “You women are all alike! You’re just like my mother!”
It gets nastier when Ted becomes obsessed with single mom Joan Andrews (VIRGINIA GORDON, Miss Playboy January 1959). Phoning her and threatening to kill her ten-year-old son if she doesn’t cooperate, Ted orders her to put on a show in front of her bedroom window just for him: “I’ve dreamed of how you’d look!”Swallowing some LSD -- at which point the black-and-white film switches to color for the final 21 minutes -- Ted then forces Joan to meet him at a nearby hotel for an evening of fun and humiliation: “Crawl on the floor and beg like a dog....”
With a script by crazy BOB CRESSE (billed as “Felix Lomax” in the pressbook), The Animal is another slick and polished piece of perversion from Olympic International. Billed as “David Holmes,” this was John Alderman’s first starring role. One of the finest actors ever to appear in sexploitation -- he would eventually go on to star in such faves as Starlet, Thar She Blows, Trader Hornee, and The Erotic Adventures of Zorro -- Alderman does a great job here in what is essentially a one-man show, and actually manages to be both scary and strangely sympathetic at the same time.
The Animal was also considered “lost” for over four decades until Something Weird finally found a print in Denmark (hidden beneath the Copenhagen mermaid). Though the dialogue is in English, Danish subtitles pop up for some (but not all) of the sparse dialogue which, oddly, makes it all play like some sicko “art film.” In any language, The Animal remains as blissfully foul and disturbing today as it was back in 1968.
From a 35mm print you can beat with a belt. -- Dribblejuice
Color & B&WStarring:
Virginia GordonOther cast:
Janis Rhodes, Sharon Welles, CapriDirected by: