Sweet Sixteen (Jim Sotos, 1983)

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Melissa, a lascivious 15 year old relocates to Smalltown USA when her father gets a four month archaeology grant to dig up a bunch of Indian garbage at the local burial ground. Free to practice her skills in jailbaitery, she starts hanging around the town watering hole in search of date rape. Soon, the boys that Melissa is teasing start ending up savagely butchered and she is a suspect. Could the local Indian be behind the grisly slayings? Will someone manage to slip Melissa the tube steak and live to tell the tale?
COSDS-Sweet-Sixteen00005Ah, underage cooze. Many a sleazy film has been founded on this very premise and generally there’s some semblance of entertainment value regardless of the production. Jim Sotos’ (Hardbodies, Forced Entry (no, not THAT Forced Entry)) second foray into the horror genre is a bit of a disjointed effort, as it seemingly can’t decide whether it wants to be a horror film or some television movie of the week. Nestled into the standard stalk-and-kill slasher template is a melodramatic sub-plot involving a pair of Native Americans who are (naturally) oppressed and misunderstood by the local white folk. Don Shanks (Revenge of the Ninja) plays Jason, the requisite oppressed Indian badass, and of course way-too-obvious murder suspect. This all ends up being a pointless exercise in padding up the film’s runtime that served no purpose but to make me yell at the TV. Not that it takes much, I assure you.
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The rest of the film is your basic  thriller/slasher fare as poor Melissa’s (Aleisa Shirley; Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone) potential love interests get bumped off one by one by an unseen assailant before she can get her hooks into them. It was nice to see Bo Hopkins (The Wild Bunch, American Graffiti) branch out by playing the role of the local Sheriff; hard-pressed to uncover the culprit of the murders. Dana Kimmel (Friday the 13th part 3) is quite cute as Marci, the Sheriff’s  bookish teen daughter as she Nancy Drews her way through the mystery of the dead teens. Patrick Macnee (The Avengers (TV), The Howling) is excellent as always as Melissa’s workaholic and overprotective father. Needless to say the film is very thoughtfully cast, but polishing a turd is exactly that.
COSDS-Sweet-Sixteen00013For a slasher film (and early 80s to boot) there’s not a ton of violence – what’s there is delightfully brutal, albeit terribly brief. Sweet Sixteen does have a kind of creepy sleaze element to it (which saved the film from getting blasted with BOTH barrels from yours truly) in the form of some full frontal nudity courtesy of the wonderfully skanked-up  Ms. Shirley. Need I remind you that she’s playing a 15 year old? You perverts! I remember pleading with my parents to let me rent this. That cover always appealed to me – the half immersed girl with her reflection becoming that nasty looking dagger… how in fuck could this be anything but amazing?
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It turns out that box art lies (who knew?) and this is as forgettable now as it was when I was a lad. This is a solid production that was sadly hampered by a weak premise and a lack of originality. Ironically enough the DVD from Code Red is long out of print and I’ve seen it go for as much as $200. I pity the poor sod who shells out for the whole shebang and all he gets is a limp-wristed hand job in the back of his Skylark. Also of note is the retarded intro that Code Red tacked onto the beginning involving Scott Spiegel (who I instantly wanted to punch in the throat and has absolutely NOTHING to do with this film) and Aleisa Shirley goofing around with a rubber hatchet (which ALSO has fucking nothing to do with the movie). This was an exercise in retardation and a test of the viewer’s patience to be sure.
Sweet Sixteen is kind of like Melissa – a total cock tease. Once you rip into this whore’s panties and give her what she’s been begging for you’ll feel unfulfilled and move on to more stimulating fare.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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It’s RAPE TIME!!!

 

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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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