Sinthia, the Devil's Doll/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Sinthia, the Devil's Doll

Meet Synthia Kyle. She had the Daddy Darling complex, killed her parents in bed, then burned down the house, leading to be locked up at the age of 12. Since this is the movies, there seemed to be another chance for her as she goes under review "8 years later" and is told to think once again on her nightmares that have been plaguing her. This leads up to plenty of psychedelic freaking out, topless women, and seeing a bunch of painted up people all parading around Herb Robins as Lucifer. By using the Dreamstate setting, this lets the dream/Psychoanalysis go thought many different and confusing moments involving Lenny the Daddy-o Artist, some Occult characters including a Tarot Card reader, The Thrill Killers star Gary Kent as that brief moment of regular lust for Synthia who sometimes gives off that "What led me to this?!!!" look, and a moment where Synthia learns to to "love herself" at the end of the dream; Cue release, then meeting up with her fiance which happens to look like her father.

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As Synthia, Shula Roan is far into the over-acting in many scenes, showing that she wanted to be in the films but not having enough character to really do something fully memorable. According to the interview in the book Incredibly Strange Films, her name was Bonnie Allison, who wanted to be in films and was given the fake name treatment for this Adult-edged film. This was not the only fake name on display, as Steckler wound up calling himself Sven Christian for this film and Peter Balakoff (Sometimes also known as Ted Roter) is turned into Boris Balocoff here - A great story about the making of the film that he did cared about is on Page 44 of Re/Search's classic book. The film, copyrighted in 1969, went into release long after it's completion for some reason, but it looked like that it was a bit of a curiosity for a short while, in an era when Psych Out film making was in it's final days.

This was a turning point for Ray Dennis Steckler, normally known for fun flicks like Rat Phink a Boo Boo and Wild Guitar or Grindhouse legends like The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies and The Thrill Killers as this is (I think) the very first film he made that pointed to more Adult fare and having a more serious tone to his work. Noticing a more "Artistic" tone in the film world, one could say that at least Steckler gave the Cinematic Freak Out a shot, and this film does have some interesting moments that would help complete any fan of 60's film history, as he does come up with some good shots that would bring to mind the Dream scene in ISC which is a highlight in his career, but this is something that's hard to really recommend to those new to his work. It would have been great, but due to the low budget and the obvious inexperience of some of the players, this results in something that can be called just unique and interesting to suggest to those looking for attempts at Adult Arthouse films in an era filled with them.

Reviewed by Screen13

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