Reviews

Girl Grabbers, The (1968)

I live in New York City, in a tenement building with 30 units. One person rented their studio via Airbnb and got evicted. My next-door neighbor is naked all the time. The couple upstairs plays their music too loudly; they love Barbra Streisand. Another neighbor died in bed and his body wasn’t found for a few days. My point is that I have nothing in common with my neighbors. I don’t want to rent out my place illegally, I like to wear clothes, I hate Streisand, and I’m not dead. We are all strangers here. This is why I don’t let them into my apartment.

The Girl Grabbers is a cautionary tale about not opening your door to strangers.

Two ne’er-do-wells walk down the mean yet picturesque streets of New York City. One of them touches a girl’s butt. It’s a nice butt, so I can see why he’d want to touch it. But there is a time and place for butt-touching, and grocery shopping is not one of them. The hooligans wrestle on the street and shove elderly pedestrians. They grab a woman’s flowers and throw them on the ground because they are too tough for flowers, nature’s douche. Louie has big glasses, thick lips, and a knife that he polishes obsessively. Nick wears a denim jacket.

Louie and Nick buzz a lady in an apartment building. They say they have a special delivery and the lady says she’s not expecting a package. But she buzzes them in anyway. It’s the oldest trick in the book! People have been invading homes ever since homes were invented. Have we learned nothing? I suppose if she hadn’t buzzed them in, there’d be no movie. And that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

The hoods push their way into poor Tania’s apartment and tell her to “shut up unless you want to get hurt.” She shuts up, but they hurt her anyway. Cue rape through pants. Nick goes first and offers her up to Louie, who gently suggests getting out of there. They’re very blasé about it, as if they go raping every Wednesday afternoon. They’re just a rape squad doing their duties.

Tania’s boyfriend Paul finds her unconscious on the floor. He insists that she call a doctor or the police, but she refuses. “At least I can’t get pregnant,” she says matter-of-factly. Yes, I suppose rape has a silver lining too.

Paul conveniently knows that the rapists hang out at a go-go bar across town. He ends up sleeping with a go-go dancing prostitute because why not, he’s there, she’s there, he has a penis, she has a vagina, it only seems natural. Meanwhile, Tania opens her door again to Louie and Nick. She really has learned nothing. There’s a shady garage owner, a guy who licks a shoe, a fur bedspread, talk about a “drop,” a shootout, and vehicular manslaughter.

This movie is an hour, and normally I can sit through anything for an hour. But, I only barely made it through this movie. The sleaze is moderate and joyless (and some of the scenes are clearly edited out). The plot is insipid, stagnant, and lazy, and not confusing enough to be exciting. This is a movie that has given up. It just goes through the motions. I have to wonder if director Simon Nuchtern — who would go on to direct Silent Madness — even had fun while making this film. There’s just no passion, no energy, no creativity, no life. It’s the DMV of exploitation.

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