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  Big Bet, The Why Wager?
Year: 1985
Director: Bert I. Gordon
Stars: Lance Sloane, Kim Evenson, Sylvia Kristel, Ron Thomas, Robert Anthony Marcucci, Kenneth Ian Davis, John Smith, Stephanie Blake, Eldon Quick, Ermal Williamson, Deanna Shapiro, Norman Budd, Con Convert, Troy Mack, Jill Terashita, Monique Gabrielle
Genre: Comedy, SexBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Chris (Lance Sloane) is a teenager who is obsessed with the opposite sex - and sex with the opposite sex, for that is something outwith his means at the moment. Not that this stops him fantasising about it whenever he gets the chance, as this morning when he goes out to fetch the newspaper and imagines seeing his next door neighbour heading off on a business trip, then nipping into his house to seduce his wife and teenage daughter. Not that anything like that would happen in real life, but he can dream... and someone else he can dream about is the fashion designer, Michelle (Sylvia Kristel), across the road.

If you hadn't guessed, we were in that venerable genre the eighties teen sex comedy again, but this one was interesting for the man behind the camera, none other than Mr B.I.G. himself, Bert I. Gordon. Here was a filmmaker who had made his name with giant monster movies in the fifties, but as you can imagine by this times had moved on and cheapo creature features were not where he thought he could make a profit anymore, having given that up as late as the seventies with Empire of the Ants. But you can't keep a good man down, and by this stage he had branched out into skinflicks.

Nothing hardcore, and to be honest nothing really that distinguishable from countless others of its day, but Gordon's low budget sensibilities were served well by this style, where the only "special effect" necessary was a naked woman or ten to keep the audience interested. Though even then, many were so shoddy that you can imagine the VHS that these were most seen on were much fastforwarded to get to the nudity rather than the potential viewer sitting back and enjoying the plot. Or the jokes for that matter: when one of The Big Bet's setpieces involved our hapless hero accidentally visiting a gay holiday club complete with campy stereotypes you knew this was verging on the desperate.

As to that plot for those hardy few who were actually intrigued, it was brought about not by Sylvia - although fans of the Gordon of old might hanker for a fifty-foot-tall Emmanuelle making an appearance at some point, it was not to be - but by the new girl in school, minister's daughter Beth, played by eighties glamour girl Kim Evenson. She made a handful of unclothed appearances this decade, but never caught on particularly, though if she did have fans it was this film which they would gravitate to as it featured her at somewhere near her best, stilted acting crossed with uninhibited nature before the camera and all. Otherwise, she was your typical "nice girl" here.

But what of that bet the title references? Well, once Beth arrives, school jerk Norman (Ron Thomas) wagers his car against Chris's that Chris cannot have sex with her within about ten days. The fact that our protagonist takes this bet doesn't speak too well of him, indeed it makes him difficult to sympathise with when he's acting pretty reprehensibly, not least because the "You went out with me for a bet? You bastard!" plot was looking ancient by this point. Then there's the way he becomes slightly obsessed with Michelle to the extent that not only does he spy on her undressing, but even enters her house and takes a peek at her in the shower - and we're supposed to like this guy. Predictably, he is rewarded for his dodgy morals as he gets to live out those fantasies he keeps lapsing into, which included a broken elevator seduction with eighties pin-up Monique Gabrielle (who doesn't get a line of dialogue). If you could overlook the sleaziness of Chris, then The Big Bet was much as you'd expect, and painless for that. Music by Gary Pickus.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Bert I. Gordon  (1922 - )

Known as Mister B.I.G., this American writer, director and producer came from advertising to make a host of giant monster movies in the 1950s - King Dinosaur, Beginning of the End, The Cyclops, The Amazing Colossal Man, Earth vs the Spider and War of the Colossal Beast. Attack of the Puppet People featured minituarisation, as a variation.

The 60s saw him make various fantasy and horror movies, such as Tormented, The Magic Sword, Village of the Giants and Picture Mommy Dead. The 1970s only offered two giant monster movies, Food of the Gods and Empire of the Ants, plus horror Necromancy and thriller The Mad Bomber. Subsequent films in the eighties were made with the video market in mind, and he made a comeback in 2015 at the age of 93 (!) with psycho-horror Secrets of a Psychopath.

 
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