Two female hitchhikers get mixed up with a gang of thieves and their stolen jewelery.
I'm loving that Kino is releasing these sexploitation films through Jezebel these days. It's like a forgotten era of cinema that is coming back in high definition. Granted, a lot of these films are just plain awful, but the low budget, bad acting, horrendous plot lines, and treasure trove of nudity all seem to be part of the experience. Some of these flicks are better than others, however Jean Rollin's 'Schoolgirl Hitchhikers' isn't one of the better midnight movies. I know all of these are supposed to be terrible, but 'Zeta One,' which is very similar and released by the same studio was a lot of fun and had a few laughs to go with it. This one did not.
Rollin is mostly known for his horror sexploitation films, mainly dealing with vampires(I secretly think Stephanie Meyer got some of her influence from him) and made a few non-horror films, which still involved plenty of breasts and sex. I'm not sure why this film is called 'Schoolgirl Hitchhikers' because it does not have schoolgirls or hitchhikers. Instead, the two girls in question seem to be well over 30 and do not hitchhike once. They do hitch and hike a few things up, so maybe that's where the title comes in. The film's original title is 'Jeunes filles impudiques', which translated into English is 'Shameless Girls', which would be more appropriate. I guess the title we all know today seems to have more of an impact.
The story centers on Monique and her best friend Jackie who are camping in the woods when they stumble upon what seems to be an abandoned mansion. The two lovely ladies decide to stay there for the evening and faster that you can say "nipple," both Monique and Jackie start touching one another and end up on the bed intertwined. This is where the soft-core porn starts. After this romp session, Monique needs a smoke and journeys throughout the creepy place to find a man with a glorious mustache. This man is named Fred (Willy Braque) and he looks like he lives in this place, but he did not see or hear the two ladies through the evening.
This film being the type of movie it is, Monique and Fred soon do the dirty deed, only to be joined by Jackie. Once the morning sun rises, the two harlots set out for their next vacation spot. However, Fred's boss, Beatrice (Marie Helene Regne) arrives with her assistant and checks her safe for her precious jewels. Low and behold, the jewels are missing, and it is believed that Monique and Jackie have stolen them. Now Beatrice and Fred aren't the nice people you would like them to be. There is something more to them. Something sinister, as we find out that they capture the two girls and bring them back for a good dose of sexual torture. Fortunately one of the girls escapes and flees to the closest town and asks for help from a private investigator (Francois Brincourt) who has a ditzy assistant of his own. From here, we can expect more sex, breasts, bad dialogue, and a pretty lame shootout, which never fully satisfies.
Like i said before, I love these types of movies, but this one lacks the entertainment value on a whole and instead gives us a dull plot with flashes of nudity and laugh-out-loud characters. The film is only 80 minutes long, but it seems a bit longer as the scenes and dialogue were stretched out between soft core sex scenes to make it a feature length movie. The characters are laughable at best and provide no real entertainment other than seeing them naked. And the reason that the police were not notified, but rather a private investigator hired to pursue this crime is beyond me, but maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. I'd imagine fans of Rollin will likely want this to add to their collection, but if not, I'd rent this first.
'Schoolgirl Hitchhikers' comes with a fairly bad 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.66:1 aspect ratio and is presented "as is". Being presented "as is", there are tons of dirt specs, scratches, and hairs that riddle this release. Yes, I know this is a grind house sexploitation film from the early 70s, and having this image problem only adds to the experience. I'd say that is mostly true, however in this day and age, there needs to be a bit of cleanup to give a fresh and crisp picture. That is not the case here at all. There is a heavy layer of grain and it seems that all the detail was thrown out the window as the image looks very soft. The colors too seem to be softened as well as though someone turned the color dial down a few notches. Nothing really pops on this release. The black levels aren't inky either. I know the source material probably wasn't great, but this could have been cleaned up for a better video presentation. The image is as dull as the storyline.
This release comes with two lossless DTS-HD audio mono mixes, with one in English and one in French. The dialogue is easy to understand, but it's definitely not crystal clear. The sound effects are there, but they sound vague and dull. The score however sounds fairly good, with a mix of different styles of music ranging all over the spectrum. With 40 years under this film's belt, there is a fair amount of hissing, cracks, and pops to the audio mix that is a little bit distracting. I'd say the audio is a tad better than the video presentation, but not much. And yes, there are subtitles in English for the French version.
This is not one of the more famous films by Jean Rollin, but if soft core porn is your thing and/or you must have every Rollin film in your collection, then by all means, pick up 'Schoolgirl Hitchhikers.' However, the shoddy video and audio presentations are terrible, as is the film itself. I'm not sure if we will ever see a cleaned up version of this film, so this might be as good as it gets, however I think we should expect a better quality product. I'd say skip this for most people. For fans only.