- Ghosts of Empire Prairie (2013) Review

Title: Young Playthings

Also known as:

Year: 1971

Genre: Sexploitation / Drama

Language: English

Runtime: 101 min

Director: Joseph W. Sarno

Writer: Joseph W. Sarno


Gunilla stays with her friend Nora for a couple of days while her man is away. Her friend wants her to join her and a guy in a threesome, but instead Gunilla visits Nora's toy resorting neighbor. The neighbor shows Gunilla her odd erotic performances and soon she's part of her perverted games.

Our thoughts:
Before I get into the review of the actual movie, I have to mention how important this release actually is to fans of cult cinema, Christina Lindberg, Joe Sarno and sexploitation in general. Klubb Super 8 have been trying for over 10 years to get a hold of this movie for release, but it seemed like it was lost forever. As far as they could tell, it had only done a brief showing on Playboy Channel, and there was no way they'd be able to find a source for a DVD release. That was until they got the rights to the Joe Sarno documentary "The Sarnos" recently, and found film reels of the movie in Sarno's basement. This is amazing considering how I've heard Richard of Klubb Super 8 talk about hoping to find the movie for a while prior to this release, and now it was finally made possible. The movie was restored and edited together based on the script that they found, using the silent 16mm workprint from the basement and a VHS tape (about 30 min of the movie is poor VHS quality), with sound from a VHS source. Obviously this means that the quality of the DVD is far from great, but in the end it is a lost Christina Lindberg/Joe Sarno film finally made available for our viewing pleasure!

Let's get to the movie now! The movie is about Gunilla (Christina Lindberg) and her friend Nora (Eva Portnoff). Gunilla will be staying with Nora for a few days so she doesn't have to be alone, and Nora is planning something special for her stay - a threesome. When Gunilla has her chance to join, she leaves the apartment and meets Nora's toy obsessed neighbor downstairs. The neighbor invites her in to look at her toys, most of which are restored by her to be sold to collectors, and then introduces Gunilla to her favorite pastime: strange historical performances done naked. Gunilla is soon part of her performances and more people are about to join, but is the neighbor telling the truth about who she is and her intentions with the theatrical fetish?

"Young Playthings" might be one of the poorest examples of Swedes talking English that I have ever seen, which was absolutely hilarious to me. To someone who doesn't recognize the awkward Swedish accents (I guess Swedes tend to notice it more), it might only come off as bad acting, but Swedes are bound to laugh. It doesn't help that the script is incredibly stupid. Things just don't make sense. In every other shot, Gunilla and Nora are in the woods talking. In one scene, in the woods, the conversation is randomly cut off with Gunilla asking "Can you do a cartwheel?". It's jawdroppingly awkward and funny.

The movie slowly gets more and more odd, the more we get to know the neighbor and her strange hobby. Soon there's an entire cult there, taking part of her sexual performances, and they all seem to be part of it for deeper reasons than just having fun. What started as a simple sexploitation film is going into some rather weird areas, with scenes of orgies with people in full theater make-up and historical clothing (who can complain when you have a naked Christina Lindberg wearing a viking helmet?).

"Young Playthings" is really bad. The writing and the acting are all awkward as hell. But I am still incredibly happy that Klubb Super 8 managed to release the movie, as it's one step closer to a complete Christina Lindberg collection. You need to own this if you're a fanatic over lost films, flimsy sexploitation films, Joe Sarno productions or anything starring Christina Lindberg. The DVD release is truly great, minus the poor quality of the film (this is the only way to see the movie, remember?), with its extras and even including a second disc with another Joe Sarno movie, "Siv Anne & Sven". "Young Playthings" is worth a watch for how oddly ridiculous it is, and for developing into something closer to a weird cult horror than sexploitation (although it never goes THAT far, but it has the atmosphere of one). The movie is far from a masterpiece, but it is one of the strangest, funniest examples of poor sexploitation by Joe Sarno.

Positive things:
- It is no longer lost!
- Christina Lindberg.
- The horrible script and acting is hilarious.
- Good looking women!
- Great release overall.

Negative things:
- Poor quality, but there's no other way to see it.
- It's a bad movie, so you need to be able to find entertainment in that.

Gore: 0/5
Nudity: 4.5/5
Story: 1/5
Effects: 0/5
Comedy: 2/5

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