PEPPER aka CHECKMATE (1973) Softcore Amero Brothers (Bacchanale, Blonde Ambition) spy-sex comedy.

pepper_usposterTheme Song:



Shadows and Sweet and Lovin’ Song by Hal Graham and Miss Cavril Payne.

Interesting Dated References: UNICEF being an organization that had some type of access to nuclear weapons. Natural boobs flopping all over the place.

Best Line: Lots of sexual innuendo and pseudo-spy talk, none of which is of interest.

Social Context: It’s hard to tell what void a movie like Pepper was trying to fill. The Amero Brothers (Bacchanale, Blonde Ambition) had been makers of softcore, but eventually made the shift to hardcore. Once that was done, why they bothered going back and doing softcore doesn’t seem to make much sense. Whatever the reason, it was New York, it was the 70s, the brothers were gay and directing straight porno, and hanging out with Michael and Roberta Findlay (Shriek of The Mutilated, Snuff). It doesn’t get much wilder than that.

Summary: Starting out like a movie whose original title was changed, we get an outer space title sequence while a Asian woman plays chess with some weird white guy. There’s no title given, just a few credits. The Asian lady tries to learn some secret to the location of a bunch of keys that unlock the secret to some UNICEF stronghold of nuclear weapons. Yes, they really reference UNICEF.

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After that, there’s a new font and new titles as we meet our heroine, Pepper, who likes to fly in a helicopter very close to The World Trade Center. For those paying attention to the New York cinema scene of the early seventies, it should be noted the Amero Brothers and Michael Findlay were tight bros from way back and even co-directed a few movies together.

So we’re supposed to believe that Pepper is some type of spy and/or espionage chick. Why do we believe this?

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Because she has a talking remote-controlled dildo that tells her who is committing crimes. I once had roommate who claimed he bought a rubber vagina as a joke? Then I saw it in his bed and it wasn’t as much of a joke. Later on he confessed to my other roommate that he “broke it,” as if we were to believe his genitals were so large he rammed through the thing and destroyed it until it was a mess of torn throbbing plastic and electrical wires in his hands.

So Pepper, our international spy, takes a break from banging a random dude to listen to what her dildo tells her about UNICEF and this Asian lady who is collecting these keys. After a talk with her boss, Pepper is dispatched to go after the Asian lady. The Asian lady gets a description of the various secret agents she can use to seduce these magical UNICEF keys from the ambassadors who hold them. This results in a lot of 70s boobs and a semi-nude, softcore montage.

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Not the good 70s boobs, but more the type you see when your mom would wash the kitchen floor in her nightgown. During this montage there’s implied insertion of a pool cue into a woman’s vagina.

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I also should mention there’s a lot of pubic hair in this movie. Pepper goes about figuring out who the holders of these special keys are so she can rescue them before the Asian UNICEF lady can kill them and take their keys. In the meantime, the Asian lady kills three of the key holders by way of temptresses who use their boobs and murdering to obtain the keys.

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As a leftover from the original Checkmate title, the Asian woman keeps writing down chess moves and putting them with the dead bodies, which Pepper then finds and they use in some game of chess that really has noting to do with all the sloppy boobs in the movie.

Super uneventful chase sequence! And after this, Pepper jumps into a horse-drawn carriage, fights the black-girl assassin who shot the carriage driver, and then Pepper jumps out to save some nuns so they don’t get trampled! And for no reason, Pepper goes home to change, where she encounters 75 other women spies who attempt to tear each other’s shirts off, only to all be chased away by the talking remote control dildo.

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Eventually Pepper gets to the Asian woman. While there, she convinces her she can also kill a key holder, who Pepper knows is her boyfriend. Then there’s 8 minutes of Pepper and said dude rolling around on sheets while a song plays, and Pepper rubs his hairy back and he mashes her breasts all around like they are a mass of silly putty being smushed on to a newspaper in order to copy the cartoons.

All the while a “hidden” camera films them. So Asian lady gets the keys and tries to set off a bomb via a satellite in space, but is foiled by Pepper, who is really smart. Then the movie ends, and during the credits, scenes play from the movie you just watched, because you need a walk down memory lane.

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Poster and Box Art: Despite originally being called Checkmate, I cannot find any posters under that title. The movie totally has an edit in the opening credits, though, where it said Checkmate. Perhaps at that last minute they decided to market it under the Pepper name in an obvious attempt at setting up a franchise? So what do we get? A great pencil drawing. There’s nothing in the poster to really complain about, but it’s not that spectacular, either, much like the film.

Availability: Pepper has more than likely fallen through the cracks because of its softcore nature. You’re better off checking out Blonde Ambition if you really need that semi-gay, but all hetero, musical/porn Amero Brothers fix.

One comment

  • Great review! Looking forward to more of the same! Hope I’m not sending this off to the NYTimes again. They really hate me.

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