The Roommates/A Woman for All Men Blu-ray Review

      Actors: Roberta Collins, Judith Brown
  • Director: Arthur Marks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: GORGON VIDEO
  • Release Date: March 24, 2015
  • Run Time: 182 minutes



              Though I wouldn’t necessarily say that these two films are perfectly paired, I am certain enough fans of Grindhouse will merely be pleased to have them available on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack after decades of obscurity. Both were made by B-film director, Arthur Marks (Detroit 9000), who provides interviews and a commentary track for the dual release, though it is The Roommates which seems to be most anticipated. Gorgon Video has given them both proper exhibition with this dual format release, allowing audiences to see these hard-to-find Grindhouse gems.


            Despite the title, The Roommates features very little footage showing the female leads cohabitating together, instead focusing on their individual storylines with various men. In fact, some of the women don’t even seem to live together, but merely have storylines that all exist in Lake Arrowhead, CA over a summer break. Five sex-obsessed college-aged girls have individual adventures with men over their vacation, all the while a killer is on the loose. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if nudity is your only reason for watching), the murder mystery aspects of the narrative often have momentum and suspense sabotaged for obligatory sequences of sexual experimentation.


            In typical fashion, the group of female friends is conveniently diverse in appearance; at least as far as hair color is concerned. Heather (Pat Woodell) visits her family summer home in the mountains along with her younger cousin Paula (Christina Hart), discovering that there is an attractive young man living on their property. They allow him to stay in order to perform daily chores, along with the inevitable sexual relationship. Meanwhile Carla (Marki Bey) works at the local library while beginning a summer affair with the local deputy sheriff, Beth (Roberta Collins) has an affair with a married man while working as a ski instructor, and Brea (Laurie Rose) uses her job at a summer camp to begin a relationship with one of the awkward high school boys.  


            Though it takes at least a third of the film for the killing to move the plot of The Roommates forward, the pacing is far more engaging than the second sexploitation thriller in the double-feature. A Woman for All Men deals more in family melodrama and near-noir twists than the exploitation found in Marks’ more recognizable work, containing no more sex and nudity than could be found in basic cable programming. The story instead focuses on the soap opera relationships and the movie seems to drag without the typical spectacle of an exploitation film.


            Judy Brown (The Big Dollhouse) stars as the title character, Karen Petrie. When millionaire Walter McCoy (Keenan Wynn) brings his new bride Karen home, his daughter (Patty Bodeen) and housekeeper (Lois Hall) are suspicious of her intentions, while his son has a different reaction. It quickly becomes clear that Karen does not have the best intentions when she begins a secret affair with Steve (Andrew Robinson), the son of her new husband. There are a few twists and turns along the way, but the pacing of the screenplay is too slow for any of them to have the desired impact.


            The two-disc set includes a Blu-ray and DVD copy, which contains the double feature on both. Each film also has a few special features worth mentioning, with a bit of favoritism given to The Roommates. This film includes a commentary track with Arthur Marks, as well as interviews in a featurette alongside start Roberta Collins. A Woman for All Men also has a featurette with comments from Marks and star Judy Brown, but merely has a trailer/TV spot gallery in place of a commentary track.  


    Entertainment Value: 5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 4.5/10

    Historical Significance:  5/10
    Special Features: 6/10


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