A Bring Out the GIMP (Girls in Merciless Peril) Movie Review


Reviewed by John Galt

Lipstick (1976)

This was actually the first "explicit" rape revenge movie I remember seeing. The movie was a Dino de Laurentiis production, and managed to avoid, to my way of thinking, the sexploitation designation. It was a powerful indictment of the criminal justice system vis-a-vis sex crimes against women in the 70s, and the Catholic Church fared little better. Still, it contained one of the premiere mainstream movie rape scenes, that is just as potent today as it was the first time I saw it.

In a nutshell, the movie is about a fashion model (22-year-old Margaux Hemingway) and her younger sister (15-year-old Mariel Hemingway, who looked much younger), who are both raped by a music teacher (Chris Sarandon, playing the sleaziest character imaginable). First music teacher Gordon rapes Chris (Margaux), then there is the trial [SPOILERS] where he is acquitted, then he rapes Kathy (Mariel), after which we get an incredibly brief but satisfyingly violent revenge scene. That's the plot. I'll just be hitting the GIMP bits.
Margaux Hemingway as ChrisMariel Hemingway as Kathy

10:30 minutes. Chris leans out of the shower, briefly baring her breasts, to answer the phone. Yes, she lives in one of those high-rises that has a telephone in the bathroom. (This is way before cell phones.)
Chris in the showerChris in the showerChris in the shower

16:00 minutes. Gordon gets angry because Chris is not paying attention to his weird music and has the temerity to answer her phone when it rings. He stalks into her bedroom. The incredible 9-minute assault and rape scene really kicks into high gear when Gordon grabs Chris, pushes her back onto her bed, and kisses and licks her face while she fights him.

Assault beginsAssault beginsAssault begins
There is a long, brutal struggle between Gordon and Chris that includes--but is not limited to--kicking, slapping, hitting, throwing her to the floor, smashing her head against a bed post, fondling, slamming her against a wall, tearing of clothes, name calling, smearing on of lipstick, and hair pulling.

Groping against the wallOn the floor by the bed
Then the real action begins, as Gordon stands up and says, "This is only the beginning."
Chris fleesGordon rips her clothesChris exposed

Quick scene cut. Chris is on her bed. Gordon hits her. Quick close-ups of her wrists as her binds her face down to the bed posts with scarves. Her ankles are also bound. We get this in quick close-up glimpses, so you know he has her tied in a face-down spread-eagle but you don't ever get a good overall shot. He mounts her and sodomizes her as she struggles against her bondage and his violation, screaming, "Oh my god, you're killing me!"
Gordon sodomizes ChrisGordon sodomizes Chris

Gordon continues to fuck her and Chris continues to scream, so he hand gags her. He fucks her until he comes and then just lays on top of her, both of them exhausted.
Gordon finishesChris exhausted

Kathy walks in and sees them, then runs out. Chris asks him to untie her. He takes out a knife and cuts the scarves around her ankles. He licks and traces the knife tip up her leg, over her ass, up her back and down her arm to her right wrist, then cuts the scarf binding her right wrist. He leaves her left wrist tied and stands up in front of the bed. She looks up at him.
Cutting her ankle bondChris' buttChris' back
Chris' shoulderChris' armCutting her wrist bond

"Listen, Chris," he says, "Don't do this with anyone else." What a great line. Gordon walks out of her room. Chris undoes her left wrist, wraps a sheet around her body, and runs out of the room to find Kathy. The scene is over by the 25:00 minute mark.

Chris looks up at GordonChris unties her wrist
1 hour, 17:00 minutes. Kathy meets up with Gordon again at the same location where Chris is doing a fashion shoot. There is a really creepy scene between Gordon and Kathy that creeps Kathy out.

1 hour, 19:00 minutes. Kathy flees. Gordon follows, playing a cat-and-mouse game.

1 hour, 22:00 minutes. Gordon catches Kathy in a basement tunnel. He pins her to the floor and as they struggle he rips her clothes enough to briefly expose her white panties. The scene ends with Kathy screaming.
Gordon attacks KathyGordon rips Kathy's clothes

That's it for the GIMP. We see Kathy stumble down the spiral staircase into Chris' fashion shoot. Chris sees her, asks who did this to her, Kathy tells her, and Chris takes matters into her own hands.
Kathy after her rapeKathy after her rape

SUMMARY: Chris is assaulted, slapped, hit, insulted, her clothes are ripped, she is bound in a face-down spread-eagle on her own bed and brutally sodomized in an incredible 9-minute scene. Kathy is chased down, assaulted and it is implied she is raped. There is also some incidental Chris nudity. No Kathy nudity, because Mariel Hemingway was underage and this was a Dino de Laurentiis production, not a Roman Polanski production. (Ooh, that was a cheap shot, wasn't it?)

Lipstick has to (arguably) rank in the Top 10 Hall of Fame for Best Mainstream Movie Rape Scenes. I mean, come on. Hot and sexy Margaux Hemingway. Brutality. Nudity. Bondage. Sodomy. Nine minutes. This is easily an A. And it is a classic.

My Grade: A


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