SassyFlix | The Manhandlers

The Manhandlers

  • R
  • 1974-12-04
  • 01:27:00
5/ 10
85 votes

Action, Crime, Drama, Exploitation

A gorgeous girl named Katie inherits her deceased uncle's business and decides that she too can be a businesswoman and hire two hot girlfriends. Katie doesn't like the brothel part so she gets rid of that and is soon giving legit massages. The mob doesn't like this and Katie is quickly being muscled by mob goons to turn up the heat or pay. Katie soon discovers more about the massage-parlor than she had wished.

THE MANHANDLERS (1975) starring Rosalind Miles, who also filmed in Girls for Rent Directed by Le Madden. Ultra rare classic Grindhouse/Drive-in actioner set in Vegas. Three sexy girls start a massage business and run into trouble with the mob. What this mean spirited film lacks in graphic violence, it sure makes up for in the nudity and goofy dialoque department.


This relic from the drive-in era suffers from a desire to be too many things to too many viewers. The Manhandlers can't decide whether it is a lighthearted smutfest, a sexy "women's drama" in the vein of Roger Corman's "nurse" films or a gritty slice of crime noir and tries to fulfill all three aims in one package. The end result doesn't deliver enough on any front to be satisfying but manages to offer a few diversions for the patient b-movie fan. One of the most surprising aspects of The Manhandlers is the acting: the cast is suprisingly good for this fare, with all three female leads making solid impressions and Henry Brandon turning in a memorably imposing performance as a mobster hood. It also benefits from an effectively gritty visual style (supplied by veteran b-movie cinematographer Robert Caramico) and an amusing musical score that alternates syrupy lounge ballads with cop-show funk reminiscent of the music for Police Woman. However, none of these side-benefits can obscure the fact that The Manhandlers never delivers the kind of racy excitement its title promises - one can only wonder what a more inspired filmmaker like Russ Meyer might have made out of this premise. As a result, The Manhandlers can only be recommended to the most devoted exploitation film fans.

A handful of recognizable genre filmmaking names,who include the likes of William A. Levey(SLUMBER PARTY '57,BLACKENSTEIN) and Ed Carlin(THE SWINGING BARMAIDS,BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS), worked behind the scenes of this Lee Madden(ANGEL UNCHAINED,NIGHT CREATURE[1978]) directed exploitation drama that has a young lady(Cara Burgess) who inherits a massage parlor from her recently deceased uncle,which she rids of its prostitutes(posing as massage experts) and replaces them with actual massage experts(Judith Brown[THE BIG DOLL HOUSE,THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY],Rosalind Miles[SHAFT'S BIG SCORE,GIRLS FOR RENT{a.k.a.: I SPIT ON YOUR CORPSE}]) who kindly aid her in making major money as it attracts the wrath of the local Mafia boss(Henry Brandon[ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13{1976},THE WAR OF THE WORLDS{1953}]) who killed Brugess' uncle and wants the massage parlor under his literal strongarm as sends over both his lead henchman(Wayne Storm[SLITHER{1973}]) and his nephew(Vince Cannon[TRACKDOWN,YOUNGBLOOD{1978}]),with the latter getting into an affair with Burgess as Brandon strongly yearns to gain the parlor by any brutal means necessary. THE MANHANDLERS contains enough nudity and violence to satisfy its mainly aimed upon audience,although despite the decent performances and the strong directing job by Madden it could have been a bit more stronger in the storytelling department as,despite its Mafia angle,as it gets pretty light in its last 15 minutes otherwise THE MANHANDLERS pretty much delivers the goods in everything that a grindhouse/drive-in moviegoer would truly be heavily yearning for and is a very enjoyable film in its own right. With Peter Fitzsimmons(THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) and Herb Voland(THE MUNSTERS' REVENGE,THE SHAKIEST GUN IN THE WEST).

Three girls open a massage parlor and crack down on the mob.

((sigh)) Only in the 70s.  Loved it!

forgotten drive in classic

I tracked this down to see Judy Brown in something other than a WIP flick. Three girls take over a massage parlor only to have the mob pressure them into making it a whorehouse. The overall tone of this movie tries to be serious but comes off light and playful. It really has an innocence compared to some of the other exploitation films of the era. The mobsters are quite laughable but entertaining. All three women are very beautiful and show us the goods but nothing too explicit. Most of it is shot in the parlor. There is an extended scene at an amusement park towards the end giving us some nice footage from the era. Although the title may suggest it the girls are not involved in any fighting or action scenes. If you like drive in films of this ilk its worth checking out. Nowhere near a must see though.

The Manhandlers is a decent enough little exploitation flick that never quite lives up to its potential. It's not bad, per se, but it felt like it could have been so much more fun. The movie has a great, early 70's vibe about it, but the plot was a little too straight-forward and predictable for my tastes.

Katie and her two friends inherit a massage parlor/brothel from her uncle, and try to make a legitimate business out of it, drawing the ire of the local mob including the man who murdered her uncle. There's some romantic entanglements, most of which go nowhere, but precious little in the way of action. The most we get is gun play in the opening scene and a literal hug-to-death. All in the first fifteen minutes.

The score was also super distracting. Sometimes, it would inject shrill tonal "beeps" under the music, while other sections sounded suspiciously like an instrumental take on Arch Hall, Jr's "Valorie" from Eegah! But that's a similarity I doubt would bother anybody else.