Monday, 27 August 2018


I actually saw this TV movie when I was in my early teens. It was during the end of the ‘70s, a time when I still had no idea what a B-movie was. It was on late at night on some cable TV channel. What I do remember thinking, however, is how impressed I was with the whole thing. Innocent girls, life in the slammer... It reminded me of another TV movie I had caught prior to this one called CAGED WITHOUT A KEY starring Susan Dey from THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY. If you ever get the chance to cross path, watch it. It is indeed worth it. NIGHTMARE IN BADHAM COUNTY tells the tale of two UCLA besties on a summer road trip who are falsely incarcerated in a Southern prison farm when they meet a sheriff from hell. What happens to them and the other inmates will forever change their lives.  

Without revealing too much let’s just say that, boy, they sure don’t make them like that anymore. I don’t think they could anyway with all the segregation and name calling going on. You see, the two leads happen to be black and white and when they aren’t even allowed to talk to one another once in the detention camp, planning an escape route as a team becomes almost impossible. Of course NIGHTMARE IN BADHAM COUNTY is more than just being driven by race. It is foremost a story about strength and survival grade-B style. Curvy inmates, wicked wardens, women-on-women action—the sleaziness is all there but played down to the hilt to comply with the TV censors (check out the international cut if you want some female nudity). Still, it is quite daring for its time, I must say. 

The movie follows the same pattern as those other sleazy TV films of the era, such as DAWN: PORTRAIT OF A TEENAGE RUNAWAY (prostitution), LITTLE LADIES OF THE NIGHT (prostitution), ALEXANDER: THE OTHER SIDE OF DAWN (male prostitution), BORN INNOCENT (juvenile detention for girls) but what stands out most in NIGHTMARE IN BADHAM COUNTY is the level of acting led by its two female stars, the late Deborah Raffin from LACE 2 and KNOTS LANDING Lynne Moody. Both give bravura performances worthy of Emmy nominations. OK, perhaps not exactly on that level but they do deserve some praises. In fact all do, from TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL Della Reese to Robert Reed from THE BRADY BUNCH fame and let’s not forget GILLIGAN ISLAND Tina Louise who plays against type as a sadistic prison guard. I almost failed to recognize her with a face shed of makeup and a tomboyish attitude. 

NIGHTMARE IN BADHAM COUNTY has already reached the DVD market in 2012 as part of an eight-movie pack aptly named MOVIES FOR THE MAN CAVE, but I think it’s time for the film to resurface as a solo act. Perhaps in the form of a Blu-ray edition that of course would include both censored and uncensored versions and loads and loads of supplements. I’m sure this would make fans, like moi, very, very happy. So what do you say, Shout! Factory? Do we have a deal? 

Until next post—Martin

Monday, 13 August 2018


I was very surprised to find out that ‘60s UK model turned novelist Pat Booth succumbed to lung cancer in 2009 at the young age of 66. The passing of Jackie Collins in 2015 made me realize that glam fiction writers had literally been dropping like flies. OK I may exaggerate quite a bit but when you start thinking about it, my affirmation is not that farfetched: Collins, Robbins, Sheldon, Booth, not to mention Harlequin favorite Penny Jordan, and more recently Sally Beauman. Oh, and let’s not forget THE FIRST WIVES CLUB Olivia Goldsmith who died in 2004 from complications related to anesthesia. The wheels are turning, my friends, and before you know it, it’s your turn to get off the merry-go-round. Depressing thought, isn’t it?

But let’s talk about Pat Booth’s THE SISTERS (1988, Ballantine), a much better topic. I read this one in the early ‘90s when I was knee deep into my trash period. I wanted to read another Collins but since I was already up to date on her backlist, I had no choice but to settle on Booth. Not that Booth is lightweight, but compared to the queen of racy fiction, she’s definitely second-rate. Nonetheless, THE SISTERS is a delightful little roman-à-clef involving two sisters vying for the same man. Both are celebrities. One is a renowned actress, the other a bestselling author. When a shot from a handgun is heard during the filming of a much-publicized mini-series, suffice to say, all hell breaks loose. Who was it aimed at? Was it one of the sis?  You’ll have to be patient to find out as the story reverts back in time to focus on the tumultuous relationship between those siblings. Attacking lesbians, incarceration in Looney bins, porn—nothing is spared for our spotlight girls. Pat Booth delivers a worthy grade-B novel whose main subjects clearly reminds the readers of two real legendary Hollywood sisters, Joan and Jackie Collins.

Let’s just hope they are nothing like these two central characters because if they are—were—what a pain in the you-know-where they turn(ed) out to be. True or not THE SISTERS makes fun of these two with a relish and delivers an enchanting if flawed little novel. The narrative is rich but does appear somewhat clunky at times, though I have certainly read worse (and kudos to the author for forever trying to impress). None of Pat Booth novels have reached the digital market. My guess is that they eventually will. If not, well, you can always get them via Amazon for a few bucks—that is if you’re like me, always on the lookout for other glitz and glam efforts à la Collins, like THE SISTERS here.


Until next post—Martin 

US Hardcover Edition / Pat Booth