|Directed by||Andy Sidaris|
|Written by||William Edgar|
|Music by||Don Randi|
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
Stacey is a 1973 exploitation film directed by Andy Sidaris. Half the budget was provided by Roger Corman for his New World Pictures the rest was raised by Sidaris. It was re-released in 1975 as Stacy and Her Gangbusters.
The film features an empowered babe in a masculinized action role. She is "a very private detective" in a crime-fighting film. This was the first attempt of Sidaris to produce a film with a female protagonist facing crime. The film thus serves as a precursor to many 1980s films, including those produced by Sidaris himself. In these films "soft" women adopt "hard" personae. It is also a precursor to 1990s softcore films where gender has little to do with a heroine's career, as by that point women's advance into the workplace was no longer an exploitable hot topic.
The protagonist is Stacey Hanson (Anne Randall), a private eye and race car driver. She is hired by aging heiress Florence Chambers (Marjorie Bennett) to investigate the close members of her family who live in her mansion. Stacey is to determine whether the members of Florence's family are worthy to be included in her will. They are three: Florence's nephew John (John Alderman), his wife Tish (Anitra Ford), and Florence's grand-niece Pamela (Cristina Raines).
As it happens, all three potential heirs have something to hide. John is a discreet homosexual, Tish is having an affair with the houseboy, and Pamela has dubious friends. Stacey uncovers some family secrets but a greater scandal is about to begin. The scheming houseboy Frank (James Westmoreland) is murdered. Stacey now has to find the identity of the murderer before he/she can kill again. Frank was sleeping with and/or blackmailing nearly all members of the family, so everyone is a suspect.
Stacey's investigation leads to a helicopter and car chase and gunplay. The murderer turns out to be Pamela who is a member of a cult reminiscent of the Manson family. She was planning to frame John and stand as the last viable heir to the family fortune.
Connections to other films
The material from the film was reworked into another Sidaris' film, Malibu Express (1985). The role of Stacey Hanson was divided into two new characters: private detective protagonist Cody Abilene (Darby Hinton) and his girlfriend June Khnockers (Lynda Wiesmeier).
The openings of both films depict their respective female race car drivers in the finish of a practice race. Both films then have them getting out of uniform. But Stacey is the protagonist while June serves mostly as the source of a recurring joke in her film: "Knockers with an "h"?". June can still reliably drive a high-performance race car. But it is Cody who performs most of Stacey's functions in the film.
The discreet homosexual nephew John turns into Stuart (Michael A. Anderson), a drag queen in the second film. In both films the detective follows the character into a gay bar. The difference is that in the first film John wears regular clothes, while in the second Stuart is in full drag. Cody laughs while dictating notes in a recorder, but still admits that Stuart has great legs. Stuart is more of a cartoonish gay stereotype than John.
The youthful niece Pamela turns into the bit older niece Liza (Lorraine Michaels) in the second film. Liza has her own sex scene with the houseboy Shane (Brett Clark). The difference in age was probably decided to allow this sex scene to have more nudity than would be acceptable from a teenaged character.
The second film adds a character with no counterpart in the original: Contessa Luciana (Sybil Danning). Contessa has a romantic night with Cody, before he moves into his next assignment. The relationship to the family is unspecified, but she turns out to have murdered Shane. She is beyond the reach of the law and suffers no ill consequences for her murder.
Anne Randall was a Playboy Playmate, the first to appear in a Sidaris' film. Following this film nearly all major female roles in a Sidaris' film were cast with either Playboy Playmates or Penthouse Pets.
- Andrews, David (2006), "The Disorderly Feminization of Classical Sexploitation", Soft in the Middle: The Contemporary Softcore Feature in Its Contexts, Ohio State University Press, ISBN 978-0814210222
- Coffman, Jason (2012), "The Early Films of Andy Sidaris", Cashiers du Cinemart Issue 17, Impossibly Funky Productions, ISBN 978-1300351405
- Christopher T Koetting, Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures, Hemlock Books. 2009 p 54-55
- Andrews (2006), p. 75
- Coffman (2012), p. 23-26