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1972 - 86m.

Private Parts is an early effort from cult director Paul Bartel (Death Race 2000, Eating Raoul) and I have to give Warner Brothers full credit for bringing this little known flick to DVD as it's one of the most bizarre flicks that came out during the 1970's and will tickle the fancy of anyone out there looking for something truly deranged.

Ayn Ruymen stars as sixteen-year-old Cheryl who ends up at her Aunt's seedy hotel, the King Edward, after she takes off on her roommate who's been bringing all sorts of men back to the apartment and being a nuisance. Instantly we get a feeling that something is "off" in the hotel as it's populated by all sorts of deviants as Cheryl finds out when she starts snooping around and finds the room of the priest who's living there scattered with gay porn and one room containing an odd, water-filled inflatable doll. Throw into the fact that there's also someone going around killing people (as witnessed by an alright decapitation in the opening ten minutes) and you have one hotel you certainly wouldn't want to live in.

From here we're led through a pretty scattershot story that has Cheryl wandering around discovering off-beat things, her being asked out by the keymaker's son across the street, and becoming the object of obsession for the photographer who lives on her floor (who owns the aforementioned water doll and makes another that he pastes a photo of her face onto). But mostly Private Parts focuses on the relationship between Cheryl and her off-center Aunt (who attends funerals in order to get in touch with the true human spirit) as well as Cheryl becoming intrigued by her spying stalker.

Bartel has crafted a movie that's hard to describe. It's packed wall-to-wall with eccentric characters, he uses sound and shadows to good advantage, and even the finale (and its twist that may just have gone on to inspire Sleepaway Camp) packs in a whole bunch out-of-place attempts at dopey humour. It's because of all this it's engrossing viewing for about two-thirds of its running time. We're kept interested just to see how far it'll go and when we realize that it doesn't contain quite enough thrills and can't keep up its nuttiness it's knocked down a notch. Plus, it's much too light on its "horror" elements teasing the viewer with an early death and laying off on them pretty much right until the end.

Packed to the brim with weird, Private Parts is recommended viewing for those looking for something off the beaten track. It might not be enough horror to please fans of the genre, but there's enough going on to keep you watching and when our photographer character injects the doll with his own blood you can't help but wonder just what kind of movie you've stumbled upon. (Chris Hartley, 10/20/05)

Directed By: Paul Bartel.
Written By: Philip Kearney, Les Rendelstein.

Starring: Ayn Ruymen, Lucille Benson, John Ventantonio.


Picture Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen.

Picture Quality: It's over thirty years old and it's quite low-budget, therefore Private Parts looks pretty damn good on disc. Warner's transfer is much better than expected and grain is kept to a minimal.

Extras: As with the other releases in Warner's 2005 "Halloween Havoc" line (that includes Demon Seed, Dracula A.D. 1972, Night Of The Lepus, and A Stranger Is Watching) the only extra here is a trailer.