Forgotten Garbage: If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind!!!
Forgotten Garbage is an occasional feature in which I spotlight terrible movies that briefly made a blip on the cinematic radar before shuffling off to obscurity.
The other day, I was looking over an assortment of vintage movie ads on Brian Orndorf’s website. One of the ads I saw was for a 1975 sex comedy called If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind!!! The very sight of this ad gave me a flashback. I was seven years old in 1975, living in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, a town less than an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh. A local shopping plaza contained a small, shoeboxy four-plex to one side of the parking lot. Even at such a young age, I was obsessed with movies, and every time we’d go to that plaza, I’d make my parents take me over to look at the posters hanging outside the theater. I distinctly remember going there one day and staring intently at the poster for If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind!!! The title of the film contained a mystery that, at seven, was perplexing and unsolvable. I thought: “If you don’t stop what, you’ll go blind?” An ad for the movie popped up in the pages of the Sunday paper too, prompting to me ask my parents what the title meant. They wisely feigned ignorance. In the 37 years since, that film has occasionally popped into my mind for reasons I am at a loss to explain. Something about standing there staring at the poster made an indelible impression. So when I saw the ad on Brian’s site, I decided that I was going to watch If You Don’t Stop It, to finally sate my decades-long curiosity about it. To my astonishment, Amazon Instant Video had it for free, so I hit the play button immediately.
A sketch movie along the lines of The Groove Tube and Kentucky Fried Movie, this is nothing more than a loosely assembled collection of skits related to sex. Imagine a feature-length version of the Playboy jokes page, or an R-rated erotic “Laugh-In” and you’ll get the idea. There is a framing device in which a group of individuals come together to judge the Sex Awards. They thread up a projector and watch what we, the audience, are also seeing. The bits are not exactly inspired. A guy goes to a sperm bank after hours, only to discover that their night drop-off box is a “glory hole” in the wall. In another scene, a man in a hospital gown runs screaming down the hallway, chased by a nurse holding a bedpan filled with steaming hot water. “Nurse,” a doctor says, “I told you to prick his boil!” That’s typical of the movie’s humor.
Many of the jokes revolve around hookers, as though the very fact that some women get paid for sex is hilarious. There are quite a few outdated and offensive gay jokes scattered throughout, too. Almost all the scenes involve female nudity of some sort. (In this picture’s view, boobies = hilarious.) There are some moments that appalled me, most notably a couple of rape jokes. The most indefensible sequence finds a man discovering a nude woman tied to a tree. She tells the man that her husband caught her cheating; as punishment, he tied her up so that other men could rape her. “Today is really not your day!” the man replies before dropping his pants and sexually assaulting her. Needless to say, it is not a moment that inspires gales of laughter.
If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind often goes a long way for a short joke. Sequences ramble on and on, only to lead to a stupid punchline that wasn’t worth the effort. The grand finale finds “The Gong Show” and Friar’s Club regular Pat McCormick hosting the Sex Awards, in which trophies are given to the characters we’ve seen throughout the film. I’ll give you one guess what the physical awards look like. If you guessed “something phallic,” you win.
Upon viewing this dubious exercise in sexual humor, I can only conclude that it was inspired in equal parts by the sexual revolution and heavy cocaine use. If you took a time machine back to the mid-’70s, got stoned out of your ever-lovin’ mind, and watched the movie, you might laugh. Seen today, it is an outdated relic, with a hostile attitude toward women and gays. Seventy-nine minutes has never felt so long.
If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind!!! was apparently popular enough to spawn a sequel, Can I Do It…’Til I Need Glasses? (Props to David Cornelius for reminding me of this.) Released two years later, the sequel is only notable as the big screen debut of Robin Williams who, according to the Internet Movie Database, portrays both “Lawyer” and “Man with Tooth Ache.” I have no plans to watch the second installment. My childhood question has been answered. The “it” in If You Don’t Stop It…You’ll Go Blind!!! refers to masturbation. And the movie is a cinematic example of that activity.
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