Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kidnapped Coed (1976)

I first saw "Kidnapped Coed" in 2004 and it has been a fixture in my memory ever since. It was one of the first Weird Wednesdays I remember seeing, and up until now, I have always suspected that was the reason why I remembered it so fondly. After Wednesday night's screening though, it's apparent to me now that it's held up so well in my mind because of how good it really is.

While I watched it this time, my mind wandered and I thought to myself "how is possible that a film like this, with such a small budget, can get it right? how could they do it back then, while modern Hollywood struggles today?" It's not innovative by far, but what it does, it does well, the same cannot be said for the majority of what comes out in the multiplexes these days.

In a lot of ways, it's one of those perfect Weird Wednesday films. It's well-made and stylish enough to please the regulars, and it has just the right amount of eccentricities to entertain the casual crowd.

I love the casting of Jack Cannon as Eddie, the kidnapper, and especially Leslie Rivers as Sandra, the coed. They are both such normal looking people, it really helps the authenticity. The story is pretty simple, Eddie swipes Sandra at gun-point and takes her to a seedy hotel, where they both get attacked by two sociopaths. Eddie gets tied up and is forced to watch Sandra get sexually assaulted. Eddie then manages to free himself and kill the assailants, but not before the damage is done to Sandra. Guilt-ridden, Eddie lets up on the tough-guy routine, and Sandra eventually develops sympathy for her capture. This leads to a surprisingly believable case of Stockholm Syndrome. There is also a pretty effective subplot about Eddie's mommy issues.

Things that I love about this movie:

--Any and all scenes involving a payphone.

--The beautiful, "Badlands"-type cinematography.

--The simple, and strangely caveman-like sequence where Eddie offers Sandra his toothbrush.

--The brutal hotel sequence.

--The pitchfork death.

--The birdwatchers.

--The only guy Sandra finds to help her happens to be blind and packing a ton of attitude.

--The dance hall sequence at the end (plus the abrupt ending)

--And finally, the long end credit title card that simply reads "For Adolf."

"Kidnapped Coed" played midnight at the Alamo Ritz on 9/12/08 and was presented by Weird Wednesday.

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