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I slept on the office couch last night. It comes with the territory… private eye, that is. Dexter Sleuth, undercover dick. The pale morning light will be washing out the red hotel sign across the street soon. But now I need another drink… a lot of life insurance… a vacation. And all I have is my coat, my hat, and my gun. Oh yeah. I also have the dildo murder case.
Seems like this gorgeous dame got herself killed. She was set up, no doubt about it. I’ve got a suspect list as long as the toilet paper in the men’s room, too. Everyone knew Scarlet well… too well. But nobody liked her.
My first stop was at the private sauna of Beatrice Broker. She was lying on the table, bottom up. I could tell this lady was well reared… prep school material, that is. I began to pepper her with rapid fire questions. I use this technique to intimidate suspects. Some people find it obnoxious. So did Broker. But she talked… Scarlet was number one in the threesome that Beatrice and her husband had going. Scarlet liked the husband. Too much, I guess. Beatrice was jealous. There’s the motive for suspect number one.
Next I took a cab to the seedy side of town. There was a crumbling warehouse with a faded address, but no sign. This had to be Smut Productions. I found my way into a cramped screening room. Sam Smut was at the back, puffing on a rancid cigar like a smokestack. His sunglasses had fingerprints smeared on them… he had five o’clock shadow that looked like grime. I leaned over. “Smut?” I said.
“Well it ain’t art,” he replied, still watching the screen.
“Sam Smut? Dexter Sleuth. I’m on the dildo murder case. I understand you knew Scarlet.”
He finally looked at me. “Yeah, I knew Scarlet. She was an extra in one of my films. What a lousy actress!” He peered at me with contempt. “She also stole my investor.” I went for the obvious. “Who’s that?” I said. “I got nothin’ to say,” Smut grunted.
The next day I went to see Connie Columnist. She worked on the Hollywood Rag and knew all the dirt in town. She was also at the party where Scarlet was last seen alive. Her roommate, Rhoda greeted me at the door. It couldn’t have been a finer greeting. Rhoda was wearing something that looked like spun glass… only thinner. I had a feeling that she and Connie were more than just roommates.
I was right. Connie was furious that I questioned her lover, but she gave me some hot tips. First off, Scarlet had slept with Rhoda. There was the jealousy angle again. Also, a certain Senator Graft was into cash investments with a big payoff. He used to finance Smut Productions… until Scarlet blackmailed him. Another good motive for murder.
Celeste Starr lives up to her name. She has a body that never quits, and a temper to match. Scarlet was her private booking secretary… when she was alive. So I went to see Celeste. She was into kinky scenes. Last time Scarlet set her up with two neo-Nazis. They were dumkoffs but they sure knew how to schtup the Starr. Maybe it was just too much for her, because she never forgave Scarlet. Starr was vain and ambitious, but no murderer.
Rod Racquet was Scarlet’s fiancé. He loved her despite her sordid past, or so he says. But Scarlet was rich. Somehow she managed to buy a mansion right before her death. And Rod is a carefree type of guy. I think he loved her money more than he loved her.
So let’s see… Scarlet was the cause of jealousy, blackmail, scandal, and revenge. Why would anyone want to hurt a hair on her pretty little head? Why, indeed. But I think I may have the answer. It all adds up to….
Editor’s Note: The previous published report is all that is left of the daily journal kept by Dexter Sleuth, private eye. Sleuth has disappeared and cannot be reached. Foul play is suspected. All of the clues add up to Farewell Scarlet, a new release starring J. Parradine and National Velvet.
Farewell Scarlet is a cross-breed of Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler style thrillers, with a large dose of “Columbo” thrown in for good measure. All these elements are not particularly well blended, so Scarlet becomes a hodge-podge of clichés from the mystery genre.
The sex scenes are short and sweet, all filmed in flashback sequences as Dexter Sleuth unravels the curious case. Fortunately, director Chuck Vincent handles the film with visual flair, and perks up some not-so-lively performances with snappy editing and unusually creative camera angles.
Scarlet is not a great film by any means, but it will work well as an introduction to adult features, or a warm up to another hot flick on the agenda for the evening.