"Before becoming the director of some of British cinema's most gruesome horror films (such as Frightmare, Schizo, and The Flesh and Blood Show), Pete Walker was a pioneer of the distinctively British sexploitation genre known as slap and tickle. As the codes of censorship began to relax in the mid-1960s, Walker was among the few enterprising filmmakers brazen enough to cater to the public's appetite for sexploitation, first as a burlesque club comedian, then as the producer of 8mm stag films for the collector's market (visually stark and gritty, but relatively tame by today's standards). Eventually, Walker made the transition to theatrical films, and his long and tumultuous career as a director was set in motion. An extended short, FOR MEN ONLY explores the naughty goings-on behind the scenes at the Puritan Magazine Group, a family-friendly publishing company that hides a tantalizing secret. In SCHOOL FOR SEX a smash hit when it appeared on the screens in London's West End a wealthy playboy (Derek Aylward) opens a finishing school for devious young women. This edition presents the standard UK cut, as well as more explicit nude scenes intended for release in more sexually liberated markets.
Bonus Features: Get Cheeky, with Pete Walker, an interview documentary by Elijah Drenner (9 min.), School for Sex trailer (3 min.), School for Sex alternate continental footage (13 min.), Glamour Loops: Rare black-and-white nudie films made by Pete Walker (64 min.)
“Cuddle it, don’t strangle it.”
In the 1970’s Britain's answer to Wes Craven was Pete Walker. Responsible for some of the most vile horror films to come out of England, Pete’s films were laced with torture, cannibalism, and blasphemy. I recently caught up with his ‘House of Whipcord’ and instantly became a fan. When I read that his earliest films were coming to Blu-ray I jumped at the chance to see them. Upon learning that he bankrolled his horror career by making cheap “slap and tickle” girly films I nearly squealed with joy! Pete’s first feature was the short film ‘For Men Only’ to which he followed the monumentally successful ‘School for Sex’ that he calls “the worst film I ever made.” What kind nudie films does a celebrated horror director make? Let’s grab some popcorn and find out!
For Men Only:
Fashion journalist Freddie Horne (David Kernan) spends his days surrounded by beautiful women. During a fashion show the man can barely contain himself as the ladies parade by. The women are wearing modest clothing by today’s standards, but with a between-the-legs reaction shot we’re suddenly reminded that 1967 was a more innocent time. Freddie’s fiancee Rosalie is annoyed at the amount of attention these women pay him. To keep the future wife happy he takes a job arranged by her father at the morally upstanding Puritan Magazine Group.
Barely into his first day, Freddie is whisked away to meet CEO Miles Fanthorpe. Fanthorpe, the moral crusader, speaks at a women’s institute meeting before a small audience of ministers and blue haired ladies in attendance. Fanthorpe rails against the homosexuals, the working class attitude, and the lack of manners in his country. Back at Fanthorpe’s home his attitude changes once he sits on his couch. Bikini girls pour from all doorways. Freddie can barely contain himself. He looks like Bugs Bunny on the moon. Fanthorpe coyly reveals that “For Men Only” is a “photographic” magazine that he keeps off the books. Fanthorpe takes Freddie outside to see some beauties sunbathing. Maybe this is what Brits thought the Playboy mansion was like?
Whenever the film pauses on a woman in various stages of undress the picture quality greatly improves. Colors pop, skin tones are even, and noise is minimal. This is all completely innocent stuff here. There are barely even shots of the men looking at the girls, much less anything going on other than playing tennis or getting a shoulder rub. ‘For Men Only’ may be sold and written like a sleazy film, but there is no nudity in the film nor anything salacious. Hell, you could watch this with your parents before an episode of Benny Hill! Soon Rosalie goes looking for Freddie at his new office. Some locals stop by with a surprise delivery and Rosalie’s father is demanding to speak with Freddie. With all three converging on the mansion Freddie is enjoying some off time in a bath with the girls. What a comedy of errors! It’s clear that Walker is working overtime to balance the cheeky with the comedy. Unfortunately, the jokes mostly lie flat so keep that episode of Benny Hill ready afterward. However, for a cheeky little movie about girls in their underwear ‘For Men Only’ is an innocent romp worthy of a watch. Or two!
School for Sex:
Our film opens with a shot of the British Board of Film Censors ratings certificate for ‘School for Sex’. In bold letters it reads: “This film has been passed: X” I love it! We cut to an exterior shot of a sports car racing through a village. Immediately the transfer is ROUGH. Lines, marks, fragments, noise, discoloration everywhere. It’s clear that this was sourced from a mangled print. Audio is severely muffled. Our driver is Giles WIngate (Derek Aylward) heading to court on embezzlement charges. Thanks to a magistrate offering up a sad tale of the string of women who swindled Giles out of his money he walks free. In recounting his return from the war we see Giles arrive at his parent’s estate with a staff of girls dressed in garter belts and purple tutus! Giles leaves the trail and meets up with the helpful magistrate at a burlesque club. After some uncomfortable shots of elderly men ogling a half naked woman, Giles presents his plan. He’ll open a school for ladies to exploit rich men. The magistrate’s response? “A school for sex? It just might work!” Oh man, I love this movie already. The “students” will be delinquent convicts not only willing to take off their clothes, but also give him a third of their earnings from the men they exploit. Genius!
Giles finishing school staff is comprised of his butler, a disgraced countess, and a local womanizer. Cue the sexy training montage! Once the probation board learns that the delinquent girls are marrying oil sheiks the jig is up! Now a local cop, a village busybody, and the magistrate all convene on the house with the parents of the students! Sexy mayhem ensues. ‘School for Sex’ is a flirty, cheeky movie like ‘For Men Only’ but with nudity and more bawdy humor. Unfortunately, those two elements don’t save this film from itself. Walker took what worked in ‘For Men Only’ and amplified it for this feature. However, I can see how it was such a great success. With just enough sustained shots on the ladies and enough “costume” insert shots this would play well at anybody’s stag night. It’s unfortunate the the source print was in terrible repair as I’d like to have seen a better transfer of this film.
The ‘For Men Only’ / ‘School for Sex’ double feature is the perfect way to enjoy a horror director’s early stumblings behind the camera. Having only a passing knowledge of the “slap and tickle” genre, I had a wonderful time enjoying these cheeky flicks “from a slightly more innocent era”. Thankfully both films sport a swinging 60’s vibe that help distract you from the dull humor and confusing plots! This Blu-ray from Kino Lorber & Jezebel is a great offering for curious film fans to enjoy.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
‘For Men Only’ & ‘School for Sex’ swing onto Blu-ray thanks to Kino Lorber and Jezebel. Both films are pressed onto a BD50 Region A Blu-ray disc. Housed in a standard keepcase, the disc opens to the Jezebel logo before arriving at the feature select screen.
For Men Only:
Presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 ‘For Men Only’ has a strong image quality given its aged sourced material. The transfer is very clear at times with vivid colors and rich, deep blacks. However, the image washes out between scene changes or when a young lady is about to disrobe. Overall a great looking image presentation that still bears the marks of a seedy underground stag film. Brilliant!
School for Sex:
‘School for Sex’ is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Because of the splicing required for the “continental” versions the print for this transfer has a “frankenstein” quality to it. Image clarity and color can change radically within a scene. Close-ups and “costumes” appear vivid and detailed while a cut to exteriors or medium shots would present a lackluster image to say the least. Overall the image quality is surprising given the rough source material used for the transfer. I found the imperfections to be exactly what I needed to enjoy this film!
For Men Only:
‘For Men Only’ is presented with a DD 2.0 audio track. Dialogue is muffled and difficult to hear at times. Volume changes and rewinding became necessary for this reviewer. However, music is mostly clear and projected nicely through the 2.0 track. Pops and hisses are detected throughout the feature.
School for Sex:
‘School for Sex’ is also presented with a DD 2.0 audio track that is passable at best. Muffled dialogue makes a challenging watch for those interested in the film’s plot. The scoring tends to compete with the dialogue resulting in a messy audio mix. Set your volume a little higher than usual for this feature.
Get Cheeky WIth Pete Walker (HD) (8:48) Interview with Pete Walker about his early days in cinema through the production of ‘School for Sex’. Some interesting stories here about the evolution of 8mm loops, censorship struggles, and his creative development.
School for Sex Theatrical Trailer (HD) (2:58)
School for Sex Alternate Continental Footage (HD) (13:35) Shot for more relaxed standards outside the European market, these nude scenes were replaced in the final cut of the film with ones meeting UK censorship demands. Why couldn’t we get a version WITH the continental footage edited back in?
Glamour Loops (HD) (62:59) Over an hour of Pete Walker’s black & white 8mm “girly loops” are presented here for your edification.
‘For Men Only’ and ‘School for Sex’ aren’t the typical films you’d expect from a horror director. It’s releases like this Blu-ray that show how dedicated the boutique labels are to preserving the offbeat cinema of yesteryear. I love it! They’re fun curiosities. As a collector of exploitation films I found Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray an absolute blast to watch! With it’s passable A/V presentation and fun supplemental features I give this collection a Recommended for fans, and a pass for the uninitiated.