She’s made a fine art of playing around!
Mayday (Uschi Digard), Sims (Junero Jennings) and Tara (Joyce Jillson)
at a pot party in Superchick
One of my favorite sexploitation films from the seventies is Ed Forsyth’s Superchick (1973). Superchick is not a great film, and if the IMDb ratings are any indication most people don’t even think it’s worth watching but it’s one of the best “so bad it’s good” movies that I’ve ever seen.
Superchick stars the American actress Joyce Jillson as a fun loving airline hostess named Tara B. True (a.k.a. Superchick). Tara takes advantage of the mobility that her airline hostess job offers her to travel from coast to coast across the continental US and she takes different lovers wherever her plane lands. Tara’s taste in men is extremely varied and her lovers range from highbrow intellectuals who woo her with words to rock stars who romance her at Hollywood nightclubs.
Unlike a lot of sexploitation films from the era that portray woman as willing victims to men’s desires, Tara B. True is a sexually liberated woman who’s in control of the various men she toys with in Superchick. Tara also has a black belt in karate and she uses her martial art skills in the movie to fight off a gang of dangerous bikers, hold off the advances of a sadistic old man and stop potential plane highjackers.
Viewers will easily be able to spot Tara’s stunt double in the poorly executed action sequences, which takes away from the movie’s charm. But these kinds of goofs also offer viewers lots of unintentional laughs. Thankfully Tara’s freewheeling sexual adventures, numerous groovy costume changes and memorable dialogue help keep the film entertaining. Tara tries to seduce men with her body and brain, but lines like “Last one in bed gets no head!” make you wonder what script writer Gary Crutcher was thinking.
A Superchick tip for potential swingers: “The easiest place in the world to find a new experience is Hollywood. The people capitol of the world. Even the straight people here look like they’re on a trip. Sometimes you can find a farout ad in one of the underground newspapers.”
If you’re looking for cheap thrills, Superchick has very few. The sexual content of Superchick is really tame by today’s standards and far from gratuitous. The movie is much more playful and fun than sexy, and whenever possible director Ed Forsyth goes for laughs over titillation.
Superchick is the only film Joyce Jillson made besides the forgettable comedy Slumber Party ’57 (1976). She had guest roles in many popular American television shows during the seventies such as Columbo, The Night Stalker and Police Woman but Jillson’s acting career didn’t really go anywhere. After watching Superchick it’s easy to see why she had a hard time finding roles. Jillson is very cute and had a sort of naive appeal. But she lacked charisma and her acting is incredibly flat and impossible to take seriously. She also can’t dance and seemed to have poor coordination, which often makes her performance in Superchick really funny to watch.
Joyce Jillson spent most of her life studying astrology and writing popular books like The Fine Art of Flirting and Real Women Don’t Pump Gas. She became an “Astrologer to the Stars” in the late seventies and two of her most well-known clients were future first lady Nancy Reagan and president Ronald Reagan. Before passing away from kidney failure in 2004, Jillson claimed that she had advised the Reagans to select George Bush as Ronald Reagan’s running mate in 1980. I guess we can all blame Joyce Jillson for the current state of world events if that’s true.
While watching Superchick it’s hard not to be amused by Jillson’s transformation from seventies sexploitation star to astrologer and confident of conservative right-wing politicians. This adds to the movies entertainment value and will make viewers wonder what the Reagan and Bush families were up to in the swinging seventies. If Superchick offers us any clues, it seems that they were having a rather wild time.
Superchick also includes some memorable appearances by various cult film stars. Look for the well-endowed Russ Meyer star Uschi Digard in a brief but memorable role as the lesbian porn actress Mayday and John Carradine as an old retired horror film actor with a sadistic streak named Igor Smith. Even Grizzly Adams television star Dan Haggerty shows up as a rowdy biker.
You can watch the trailer for Superchick here: