hot thrills and warm chills (1967)

Skin pictures of the mid-60's were a dime a dozen, could be high pop art or low grade exploitation, but the skin was the unifying feature. In Hot Chills and Warm Thrills lies the inverse of the Hollywood pictures of the era. It's a film about a heist and sex, with an emphasis on the sex and little to no attention paid to the heist. The thought of stealing all that cash revs these girls engines and the cops on the beat can't keep their mind on their work long enough to apprehend the female robbers, instead they're consistently drawn in by the feminine power and charm to the den of the woman who plans to undo them (wink wink). The cheapness of the picture makes up its texture, the aesthetic is like a shimmering snowglobe of tits and ass swirling to that samba beat. thumping sounds and music, the re-used orgasmic moaning noises substituted for any form of realism in its presentation, the picture plays more as a mood piece of raw pin-up sex tones than it does any kind of formal narrative. The old beats of the female in love with her own figure, perhaps more in love with looking at herself than men are, gazing upon herself in that reflecting pool or the wardrobe mirror in the nude, rubbing her body and hyper-aware of the camera's presence. What the picture doesn't even bother with, or is likely incapable of given the means of production, is any hinting of continuity of form or suspension of audience disbelief. We can practically hear the director calling out cues to the beauties onscreen as they markedly and visibly react to the commands. The camera takes on a funny sort of glow on the left side of frame, adding an other-worldly shimmer that is likely just a damaged lens without a replacement with the shoestring this thing was likely produced on. 

The thrills and chills are attempted late in the picture when the lengthy sex sequences have worn thin. The plotless mix of female on male visuals with the endless sounds of repeated orgasms and purring clipped with the music make it a visual and audible landscape for much of the time. It has all the charm of a film that looks like it was shot in a week and written in between takes with a painful kind of obviousness to the dialogue's attempt to fill dead air and kill time between romps in the sheets. The congruence with which the whole thing is weaved in an amateurish fashion causes it to feel all the more lurid and potent, it's exactly how one would expect an old nude pin-up to look and sound if it came to life. The wild and untamed camera as it zooms in and out on the spectacle at hand makes for some virtuoso nonsense. As a texture and motion art installation it plays well, as a narrative it lacks even the most basic of functions. There is nothing at play here that constitutes any more than a variety of cheap vignettes and poorly-planned facsimiles of the types of scenes one would expect from a pulp noir flick plus of a heavy dose of sex. The entire piece is so one-track and one-note it becomes sexless and its only thrills and chills come from the camp. The finale elevates it with a deft bit of cross-cutting from the documentary parade chase sequences and back to the dim hotel rooms where the leftover women who aren't running from the cops dance to the music on the score in hopes of amusing the males who came to see the show.

One cannot separate the picture's intent as product from the goings-on onscreen. This is the charm of a picture like this, like the action blockbusters of the late 20th and early 21st century, the filmmakers and the performers know exactly why you came to see the film and that's exactly why they made it, this is cinema at its most commercial; a wild, tired dog and pony show, a flea circus of the most carnie-level degree and it is no more or less than the kitsch buried in the back closet of an art gallery. It says to its audience "Don't feel guilty about this pleasure, we're all in on the joke", don't expect these performers to try and act natural for you, they're more than on the level about what we're all doing here. With a picture like this, taking the piss out of the theatricality and the artistry is the entire point. It's made by people who don't want any of that mucking up their bare essentials filmmaking and consumed by an audience who want the same. Cheap as a half-price cheeseburger, but at least it's made with real cheese. Hot Thrills and Warm Chills is as real as it gets in this genre. 

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