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Saturn Drive-In: Velvet Trap  and  Hot Summer on the Campus


 

 

directed by Ken Kennedy
USA 1966

 

In THE VELVET TRAP, Julie (Jamie Karson) is a looker making a living in a roadside diner pouring coffee and getting ogled by the clientele. Her drunken short-order cook boss is jealous of every man who looks at her and accuses her of sleeping with them. When he rapes her, Julie flees into the arms of Brad (Alan Jeffory) a photographer who has been wanting her to pose for him. No sooner does he abruptly marry Julie and they head off to Vegas than he tricks her into doing a bikini photo shoot (when the non-existent model does not show up). On their wedding night, he also snaps some photos of her while she is showering and then runs off with all of her money in the morning. Julie pawns her wedding ring for $7.50 and buys a bus ticket but she is then robbed by a purse-snatcher. The man who comes to her aid (in league with the purse-snatcher we discover) offers her a ride and takes her to a desert bordello where she is forced into prostitution. And then her first client dies...

THE VELVET TRAP's femme-noir setting is a world where "Love is the king of four letter words" where women don't so much "get what they deserve" for being tempting so much as they are from the outset assumed to be whores and the rightful prey of conniving men and complicit women. Without exception, the men in Julie's life use and abuse her for money and kicks. Things are grim and stay grim. Nudity is rather chaste for the most part. The shower scene is the film's big peekaboo moment in which what seems to be a hose sprays water onto a glass plate in front of the nude Julie (who never seems to get wet). All of the interiors are transparently sets (very likely the same ones redressed) and while that means controlled lighting conditions resulting in a nice-looking film, the settings also lack a palpable squalidness and the lighting looks very much like a sixties TV show rather than the grim nudie noir piece it wants to be.

In HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS, country girl Sally (Gigi Darlene) heads to New York to start college. John, a friend of the family and professor at her college has arranged for her to share a large apartment with several other girls. She quickly discovers that college parties are racier than anything she's ever encountered before as her roommates conduct an orgy in the middle of their apartment living room while she makes small talk with sensitive athlete Stan. John tells her that this is all part of growing up and that she will have to face it (and then he puts the moves on her). Pretty soon Sally is seeing both John and Stan (who meet her for encounters in the apartment which seems to always be conveniently empty despite the fact that five other girls live there). When Sally's funds run low, she models for a mens magazine and discovers that her attack of nausea isn't from guilt. She's pregnant and she doesn't know whether John or Stan is the father (especially without Maury Povich's DNA paternity testing available).

While not as well-made as THE VELVET TRAP, HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS (which only ever shows us the same campus exterior and two blank walls for a classroom) is shot on real New York interiors (and grabbed exteriors) and has more of a time-capsule quality to it. Star Gigi Darlene looks a bit like eighties Madonna (including the pointy bra) and the rest of the cast are generally attractive but are not called on to do much emoting since the entire film is narrated ostensibly by the protagonist (with the exception of the opening narration by an authoritative male voice warning of the temptations to the youth who flock to college towns every year). Shot in 1966, the sex and nudity is still very much of the teasing variety but was probably quite surprising at the time and considered abundant by those standards. While the film alone might not make for the most stimulating viewing -- intellectual or otherwise -- HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS works well as a co-feature (and it probably was when shown back in 1966). Director Tony Orlando is not THE Tony Orlando but a sixties filmmaker with three nudie features to his credit (including this one) and the cinematographer/editor was the prolific C. Davis Smith who collaborated on several works by prolific sixties female exploitation director Doris Wishman (of which, several of her features contained narration and entirely post-recorded dialogue with the camera never focusing on the mouths or sometimes even the faces of the actors during spoken exchanges).

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release:

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DVD Review: Saturn Productions (Saturn Drive-In: Velvet Trap & Hot Summe) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Saturn Productions

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:15:06
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 3.8 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Saturn Productions

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: October 13, 2009
Amaray

Chapters 11

 

Comments

There appears to be some editorial confusion with this package. Although online sources reference it as SATURN DRIVE IN: THE VELVET TRAP + HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS (to differentiate it from another double feature in the unnumbered as-the-moment two volume series), the spine refers to it as just THE VELVET TRAP PLUS HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS, while the main menu screen (the only menu screen) calls the package SEPTIC CINEMA (with swirling toilet graphic that suggested there was to be more contextual input from Code Red regular Lee Christian). Whatever the case, THE VELVET TRAP is progressive and anamorphic and has been encoded from a good-looking high definition transfer. The transfer looks gorgeous compared to what one is used to seeing of this type of film from companies like Something Weird Video (although one may argue that the elements for this film are in unusually good condition for the genre and time period). That the main titles are window-boxed at 1.33:1 within the 16:9 frame suggests that the 1.78:1 cropping of the rest of the film is suspect but very few compositions seem impeded and a 1966 35mm open-matte feature would likely have been matted to 1.85:1 in America so while an open-matte or 1.66:1 ratio might have been better, people new to the film are probably only seeing a hair more than than the original theatrical audiences. Audio is in good condition. There is one instance where the dialogue is not in sync with the actors but this is not a transfer or post-synchronization issue. The exterior scene was obviously grabbed MOS and very quickly and the handful of shots (including cutaways) were not sufficient to cover the dialogue in any believable manner.

HOT NIGHTS ON THE CAMPUS was shot mostly on location and in a more careless manner compared to the prior film and the print source (not claimed to be HD-mastered) is in the condition one would expect for this type of film and for its age. There is some fading, a lot of vertical lines, a lot of grain, some damaged frames which cause jump cuts, but the interior shots always look considerably cleaner and clearer than the grabbed exteriors. The image is anamorphic but interlaced which is annoying with the abundance of handheld camerawork (the 1.78:1 matting looks okay). Audio has its share of noise but the narration and music (there is no actual synchronized spoken dialogue) are always audible. Since both films amount to just under 150 minutes and there are not extras (and only one menu screen), the compression on the singe-layer disc seems fine (I doubt a higher bitrate would make HOT NIGHTS ON CAMPUS look any better but a progressive transfer might have improved things).

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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(aka "Nights on the Campus" )

 

directed by Tony Orlando
USA 1966

Theatrical Release: 13 July 1966 (USA)

Reviews      More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Saturn Productions (Saturn Drive-In: Velvet Trap & Hot Summe) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

Distribution

Saturn Productions

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:11:51
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 3.91 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Saturn Productions

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date: October 13, 2009
Amaray

Chapters 11

 

 


Screen Captures

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution

Saturn Productions

Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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