Love Toy (1971)

This is a film by Doris Wishman.

This means you are in for less of a film, and more of a surreal experience marked by wooden dialogue, unappetizing sex scenes, shots of random pieces of furniture, gentle lounge music, impossibly unattractive men, nude girls checking themselves out in a mirror (and liking what they see), and many close-ups of eyes and open-mouthed kisses.

Marcus and Alex (Bernard Marcel from The Amazing Transplant) are playing cards. There are a few Benjamins on the table. This is high stakes game of gin, a game that whenever I play, someone has to painstakingly teach me the rules, and then as we play, that someone has to remind me—repeatedly—about all the rules that were just explained to me a mere two seconds ago. And when I lose gloriously, I remember why I truly hate this game—a fact that I quickly forget, so that when the next time someone suggests playing gin, I enthusiastically agree, and ask, “Wait, how do you play again?” Unlike me, Marcus knows how to play gin. But, like me, he’s horrible at it. He loses everything: his car, his savings, his house. However, Alex can make the debt go away with a simple deal: a night with Marcus’ daughter, Chris. Marcus resigns. He is defeated.

“Ok, you win.”
“No, we both win. You have your fortune. I have your daughter.”

Seems like a fair deal to me.

Alex approaches Chris, who is conveniently sleeping in a see-through negligee. He explains the deal with her father. She’s surprised and horrified, but she also finds it somewhat reasonable. I mean, how else are you going to pay off a debt? He has a penis, she has a vagina. It just makes sense. Alex tells her a bizarre story about a lost childhood kitten named Samuel. And soon Chris is lapping up milk from a dish. There’s a close-up of milk and her tongue. It’s very unappetizing. The only thing more unappetizing would be for her to lap up a dish of cottage cheese.

Now Alex, who is sweating profusely and visibly through his armpits, is calling her “mama” and saying he’s hungry. This, of course, means some boob sucking action for him. At some point they role-play being husband and wife, which ends in a pants sandwich, which Chris enjoys because why not? He has a penis, she has a vagina. It just makes sense.

Meanwhile, Alex’s real wife (Uta Erickson, from every sexploitation movie ever) is dancing in front of Marcus, who is tied up in a chair. She unzips his pants and gropes him. He seems to be in agony, though I’m not sure why. Everything seems perfectly normal.

This film  was supposedly written by Judy J. Kushner, Wishman’s niece. She also wrote A Night to Dismember and Double Agent 73, among other favorites. So it’s a family affair. Wishman never liked to film the sex scenes, so all the sleaze was left to the cameraman. As a result, the groping and the goofy kinks in Love Toy are pretty standard sexploitation, but the story and dialogue surrounding them is classic Doris Wishman. There are plenty of shots of inanimate objects and endless city traffic, and the dialogue does not in any way model how people talk in real life. There is a lot of role-playing, messy make-out sessions, butt shots, bush shots, and crotch grinding, and there are many flashes of a peen that is not particularly excited to be there, if you catch my drift, which I think you do. A considerable portion of this film entails people taking off their clothes, putting them on, and taking them off two seconds later. It’s a fun, charming, sleazy trip, all set to very relaxing lounge music. It’s like being in an elevator while a girl rides a guy like a pony all around you. But not in a creepy way.

Love Toy is one part psychotherapy session and five hundred parts sexy times. The ending is fantastically Wishman, with one sleazy twist you see coming and one you probably don’t. And while this film isn’t one of Wishman’s best, it’s still an inspiring, sleazy gem from one of the titans of gutter filmmaking—a visionary who did everything on her own terms and ignored all the details other directors foolishly fretted over, like logic and continuity. You can always pick a Wishman film out of a million other exploitation films, and it’s not because they are overly graphic (well maybe a few are). It’s because she has her own unique style and eccentric sense of humor that floods every scene. This is a filmmaker who values capturing the random vase on a table just as much as she values capturing the characters. She leaves her mark on every piece of her work, and it doesn’t come from a place of ego, but from a place of innocence, ambition, and pure will, which is a funny thing to say when you’re looking at a girl get to third base with a perfume bottle. But if you watch Love Toy for one thing, it should be the final “The End,” screen, which is one of the best in sexploitation.

Actors: Uta Erickson