Oh dear God, here we go again... Yes, boys and girls, Invitation to Ruin is yet another miscreant masterpiece so sick, foul, mean-spirited, and misogynistic that even roughie-revellers and Findlay-fans will no doubt be appalled....
Eager to ensure a steady stream of beauties for his white-slavery racket, mobster Ernie Pulaski (MOE WEISE) hires hot shot stud Jerry Sloan (JIM GENTRY) as a “talent scout,” wining and dining women like VINCENE WALLACE (A Sweet Sickness) before sending them off to the castle of hulking mute Mama Lupo, who “conditions” them into subservience with drugs and torture: “It’s like reaching into their brains and pulling out their morals.” But when Jerry falls for Ernie’s daughter Allison (KATHY WILLIAMS of The Ramrodder), he quickly gives Elaine, his current girlfriend and bride-to-be, to Mama, then tumbles into the sack with Allison, who professes her love for him... until daddy shows up with a switchblade and performs some quick penile surgery....
But wait! Invitation to Ruin doesn’t end there. Nope. Seven years after it first assaulted audiences in 1968, Invitation to Ruin became another genuine Cinematic Mutant when it was revamped, reedited, and rereleased in 1975 with a new title (simply, The Invitation), new footage, and hardcore sex scenes! In this incarnation, a noticeably older (and somewhat bloated) Gentry returns as Sloan, who’s now running his own Pulaski-like prostitution empire and “trading trained and hooked women for heroin.” Out to get him are Inspector Cunio (VICTOR ALEXANDER,“El Sharif” in Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks) and Elaine’s revenge-minded sister Della, with the bulk of the first film used as flashbacks. The contrasts are startling. The Sixties sexploitation starlets seem out of place with anonymous Seventies porno sluts, and Gentry, a charming bastard in the 1968 film, looks tired and downright miserable in the 1975 footage. Unfortunately, neither the original 1968 version nor the complete 1975 film were found in Friedman’s vaults. What we have here is an Australian variant of the 1975 version with the hardcore edited out to appease the down-under censor.
Gentry pops up in the damnedest films. As Jim Gentry, he can be seen in The Ramrodder, The Golden Box, The Tale of the Dean’s Wife, and even The Love Butcher. As Roger Gentry, he appears in The Wizard of Mars, Gallery of Horrors, and The Thing with Two Heads. He’s also listed as the writer, producer, and director of the 1975 version via an anagram of his Roger Gentry moniker, “Trygge Rone.” The director of the original 1968 version was “Kurt Richter.” Though some erroneously claim that Richter was a pseudonym for Bob Cresse, Richter was actually a bar owner who wanted to make a film, and Invitation to Ruin was his one and only.
From a 35mm print that behaves “like a dog... a damned dog.” -- Frank Henenlotter
Year: 1968 / 1975
Starring: Jim Gentry
Co-starring: Moe Weise
Other cast: Kathy Williams, Vincene Wallace, Victor Alexander
Directed by: Kurt Richter and Roger Gentry ("Trygge Rone")
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