If I am ever able to go back in time to 1975, the first place I’m heading to is Filthy McNasty’s. Yes, I am. It is quite possibly the coolest and creepiest club I have ever seen. This is where the swingers of 70s Los Angeles meet and greet, and… uh… well, you know. The band is hot but the club patrons are not. The place is teeming with extremely sweaty people who are that time capsule of 70s swinging that we tend to idealize into beautiful and perfect creatures. While some of the women are attractive, there is not much in the way of romanticizing here.
We end up at McNasty’s via Charlie (James R. Sweeney) who is a divorce lawyer suddenly turned onto the swinging scene through one of his clients. Charlie wants his wife Amy (Joyanne Mitchell) to dive down do the depths of sexual freedom with him, but unfortunately, he picked a wife who is hopelessly devoted. And that’s something considering she’s really pretty and he looks like a flabby Mannix lookalike. Anyway, after a night of discussion and a horrible two second sexual tryst, Amy is all about trying out new men and off to McNasty’s they go.
At the club they meet a couple who invite them to a private party where Amy indulges in the passion she’s kept hidden and Charlie is rendered impotent. At one point, Amy actually has sex next to Charlie while she holds his hand, so it’s understandable he gets a little peeved… even though this was his idea.
What’s interesting here is that the swingers seem like nice people. They never make fun of Charlie, and are even comforting to him when he can’t get his business going. After the party, he’s invited to a “guy’s night” of poker (and yes, it really is poker!), and it’s obvious everyone wants to be friends. But Amy’s new found love of free love is too much for Charlie and he begins to pick of her suitors one by one.
I cannot tell if Swingers Massacre is pro or anti swinging. If you look at it from Charlie’s perspective, it’s a horrible option which should never have been considered, because it will obviously drive you mad. However, the actual swingers are generally likable and well put-together people. Sure, they love to indulge in hot trysts with each other’s mates, but they also get along and are good friends. Amy moves easily into their lifestyle, although a lot of her urgency to be a part of the scene comes from her devotion to Charlie. Also, she’s attractive and a new plaything, so the attention she gets is pretty nice for her.
It’s really easy to hate Charlie right from the start. The way he goads his hesitant wife feels so manipulative, but when he gets his comeuppance, he just seems like a pathetic mess chasing a dream. He is never sympathetic, but I think his fall is easily relatable (seriously, what would you do in that situation?). Swingers Massacre is an interesting, completely straight faced romp into a very unglamorous view of a 70s lifestyle most of us would never consider. I appreciate the serious nature of the film and overall, I think it’s a pretty decent early foray into the world of slashers.
After I watched Swingers Massacre I did a cursory check for Filthy McNasty’s but didn’t find much. I did read that women often crossed the street so they wouldn’t have to walk by the club’s door, and now I’m dying to see all that is McNasty! Time to get to work on that time machine!