The Single Girls (1974)

This is a pretty decent little film, kind of a modern-day adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians”, or an early, more adult version of a teen slasher movie. It has a great island setting and a plethora of deserving victims in a group of 70’s swingers who have gotten together on this remote island for an “encounter” session (no one will miss these kind of people and they certainly aren’t going to miss each other when they start being picked off by the deranged killer). There are, however, several likable characters among the victims. Claudia Jennings plays a liberated young women who has accompanied a friend to the island after having been surprised by her boyfriend’s sudden proposal of marriage. The boyfriend shows up too, and he seems to be a pretty decent guy–even if he might be the killer. There’s also the beautiful nympho roommate, and a virgin (Joan Prather) eager to lose her virginity.

It’s nice to see Claudia Jennnings playing against type in an unusually demure role. Joan Prather, later on TV’s “Eight is Enough”, also goes against her usual grain as the randy virgin, and she has some very uncharacteristic nude scenes. And as for former Playboy Playmate Jennings, well, does a bear get naked in the woods?

Some people, especially, at the time would probably consider the end pretty conservative. But what is so bad or reactionary about finding marriage preferable to 70’s-style swinging-single hedonism? Basically though, I wouldn’t look for messages in Beverly and Ferdinand Sebastian’s movies (they definitely don’t come off as reactionaries in films like “The Hitchhikers”, which apologized for the Manson family, or “Gator Bait” which countered the inbred Southern hick stereotypes of “Deliverance”). With the Sebastians, and their frequent and very sexy star Jennings, it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ride.