David F. Friedman and Lee Frost are two men with too many notorious films to their credit. Love Camp 7, Blood Feast, 2000 Maniacs, Scum of the Earth, Chain Gang Women, and The Black Gestapo are some of the titles these two men have worked on. Schlock runs through each man’s veins.
The Defilers tells the story is of two young beatnik/bohemian looking for ‘kicks’. Rough play with their girlfriends soon turns kidnapping as the young thugs capture a cute girl the can hold captive in their lair and turn into their own sexual plaything. In the end, The Defilers bows with a cruel blow of justice, as it was still untimely in 1965 to let wrongs go unpunished.
It’s not wonder that Frost and Friedman would crank out a little black and white roughie such as The Defilers. Back in 1965 there was certainly a market for this sort of sick study of perversion. It’s the kind of film you’d expect to find at an early 60’s stick floored theater. By today’s mainstream, torture porn standards – see Hostel 2 or Saw – The Defilers is rather tame; very misogynistic, but not exactly profane or pornographic. For it’s time it may have been considered rough, but times change and so do limits. In a world that now grapples with films from the Guinea Pig series or even more artistic fare like Irreversible, The Defilers is antiquated. It harks back to a day when souls had to brave going outdoors and patron a theater that would play such a film. Today, the films are nastier, but with the advent of home video one can revel in psycho-drama in there own home.
Presently, the yarns ripped straight from today’s headlines and twisted into primetime police procedurals are as twisted as the story of The Defilers. The only difference is that shows like Law and Order deliver human madness and then use the grounding sanity of the police to explain how humans can be so cruel. The Defilers does away with the psychoanalysis in favor of sick thrills. It plays to its audience without ever making its audience question why it enjoys witnessing brutality.
So which is worse, making a buck off of the trenchcoat crowd, who shuffles there way down to the theater each week to get their fill of sickness or a culture at large, so fascinated by the minds of mad men that it tunes in week after week or even day after day to see just how low humans can sink? At least with the former, there was an odd stigma attached to those dank little theaters, relegated to less family friendly parts of town. Now, the dregs of society show up in prime-time or they play 24/7 on crime and law cable channels. Personally, I like it better when perversion isn’t sugar coated in police drama trappings. Can’t most folks just admit that they tune in each week not to see how the cops are doing, but to see just what sort of twisted crime can come to light?