Schoolgirls in Chains (1973)

Director: Don Jones
Stars: Gary Kent, John Parker, Stafford Morgan

Schoolgirls in Chains is basically a lame retelling of Hitchcock’s cassic Pyscho. It neither has schoolgirls or any real chains though. The title is typical of the Seventies where outragous titles were used in order to grab an audience. What it does have though is plenty of sleazy exploitive grindhouse nonsense. What elevates this particular piece of trash is that it does try to have some sort of sad meaningful story.

Frank (Gary Kent, who has recently made a come back into Z-move shockers) is the older brother of John (Parker). Thye live at home with their domineering mother and Frank does his best all round. Unfortunately they also like to keep young women in the basement for the amusement of John. John has the mind of a child and likes to play ‘games’ with the unfortunate women. Frank as the ever-loving brother does as mother commands and abducts young women for his brother. That is the basic plot.

What elevates this is perhaps that it was indeed based on a classic. We gain an insight into Frank’s mind after we learn how his mother was with him when he was younger. The acting for the most part is pretty reasonable for this kind of trash cinema and Kent and Suzanne Lund (as Ginger) are definately the highlights, though John Parker as the child-like Johnny also plays his part commendably. For an sexploitation flick, it’s also pretty tame compared to the numerous other offerings that were released around this era. The nudity is also kept to a minimum and is fairly restrained.

Despite Frank’s crimes, at one point you almost do feel sorry for him (surprisingly right after a nasty bit of work from him). We do gain an insight into how his mind works. It’s also very difficult to think badly of John. I personally think this was well done for this kind of genre flick. The script and camera work are also above the usual rubbish you normally get with this type of feature. Remade in 1980 by Charles Kaufman as Mother’s Day, this is without doubt the superior film, but only watch if exploitive grindhouse type films are your thing. Otherwise, stick to Hitchcock’s masterpiece.

The Sage’s Rating:

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