Thursday, 1 September 2016

Model for Murder (4 Stars)

What do you think when you see a DVD cover like this? It's a slasher flick. A psychopathic killer is pursuing bikini clad models. We know there are at least two victims, because there's already blood on the knife before the girl on the cover is attacked. It's possible that the killer is a woman, judging by the bracelet and the ring on the finger.

That's what my detective work tells me. I should have become a police officer. That was actually my intention when I finished school at the age of 18. I wanted to join the police force. At my school's career day we were told about an offer that the police would sponsor a university degree in exchange for the student spending his university vacation doing police training, plus a guarantee to remain in the police force for a certain number of years after graduation. It was an attractive prospect. The trouble is that my size let me down. It was a requirement for police officers to be 5'10" tall (1.78m). I was only 5'9½" (1.77m). I was turned down for half an inch. The tragic part of the story is that only a few years later the height requirement was removed, but by that time I was already close to the end of my university degree.

But getting back to the film, in this case my detective skills failed me. The film has nothing at all to do with a serial killer. There's only one murder in the film, and it's by hitting a model over the head with a rock. The DVD cover is false advertising, as we see within 20 minutes of the film starting.

Two models, Audrey and Jocelyn, are both doing photoshoots with a photographer called Phillip. They know that one of them will be featured on the cover of the bikini special of "Sports Monthly". Phillip says that the choice isn't up to him, but Audrey thinks that Phillip can influence the decision by taking less flattering photographs of Jocelyn. He insists that he always does his best, whoever the model is, but she thinks she can change his mind by sleeping with him. It's worth a try.

The next day Audrey watches Phillip photographing Jocelyn and she burns up with jealousy. She argues with David, her manager, telling him that if she doesn't get picked for the cover it will be his fault. Audrey goes for a walk on the beach, and she's interrupted by someone who batters her to death with a rock. The police come to investigate, and a murder mystery ensues. The suspects are Phillip, David, Jocelyn and Phillip's assistant Amy. It wasn't really much of a mystery, because I guessed who it was even before the murder took place. I knew a murder would happen (although I expected it to be a stabbing), and it was obvious to me who had the biggest motive.

The police officers are played by Billy Snow and Erika Jordan. I wonder if I would have had a partner as delicious as Erika if I'd been a police officer. If only I'd been half an inch bigger. Size matters.

"Model for Murder" is directed by Dean McKendrick. Despite the more serious subject matter it's in the same style as his last 14 films at Retromedia. That's a relief. I was hoping for continuity after seeing the change of direction by Sal V. Miers in "Vixens from Venus". Dean only uses two actors from his previous films, Erika Jordan and Sarah Hunter, but he repeats the music that we know so well after being used and re-used for the last 14 years. The acting is good throughout, but if I had to single out one outstanding person it would be Sarah Hunter, who plays Amy. She gives a convincing performance throughout the film, and her shower scene is the film's erotic highlight.

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