Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a hairdresser is trapped in an unsatisfying sex life until her vagina comes to life and starts speaking her own mind (to the chagrin of the boyfriend). What? You’ve never seen a movie with a talking vagina? Oh good! Then stick with me, as Chatterbox! is one of the campiest movies ever made.
In the opening scene, Penelope (Candice Rialson) is getting laid by her boyfriend Ted King (Perry Bullington) who finishes without fanfare before rolling over to sleep. That’s when Virginia, the Talking Singing Vagina comes to life and asks, “You call that a fuck?!” Virginia is a brassy entity with an independent mind and voice from Penelope, and she constantly advocates for herself. Sometimes that means telling men that they were lousy lays (while providing tips to try to get more pleasure for Penelope and herself), other times it means that Virginia is seducing whoever happens to be in the room with a sexual voraciousness uncommon in women at the time. Virginia is inappropriate and refuses to be silenced, much to Penelope’s embarrassment. Penelope has been socially trained to be demure and complacent to the men in the room while Virginia belts out songs like “Wang Dang Doodle.”
Written and Directed by Tom DiSimone (who had previously directed hardcore gay films like Sons of Satan and Bad, Bad Boys and would go on to direct Linda Blair’s Hell Night and Wendy O. Williams’ Reform School Girls), Chatterbox! feels like a silly play performed at a gay bar that somehow grew into a low budget film. It’s not difficult to argue this is a satire of men’s negative views of feminism; this is a movie where women’s vaginas gain sentience, get out of control but are inexplicably celebrated for their independence. Though a satire of the heterosexual world, at its heart, Chatterbox! is a gay old film that never pretends to be for heterosexuals. This is a film that also guest stars Rip F’ing Taylor as an over-the-top flaming salon owner perpetually outraged at Virginia’s antics. Like a cheap drag queen, Chatterbox! regularly traffics in Borscht Belt puns and dad jokes (at a fancy restaurant, Virginia asks a star-struck server for a boxed lunch). The straight sex is never sexy, and Penelope, though frequently topless, is perpetually embarrassed at her own situation erasing the eroticism of her nudity.
That’s not to say that Chatterbox! is a professionally made film; the boom mic is so frequently in the shot it almost becomes its own character (it even appears at the bottom of the screen, as if Virginia was actually talking). But, there’s so much bizarre energy and gentle satire that it holds together through its short 73 minute running time. Chatterbox! is far more original and entertaining than its current status as the fourth movie on a 2-disc cult movie set on Shout! Factory or DVD-R from Nostalgia Family, both with poor transfers. If nothing else, Chatterbox! proves that a good idea can take you all the way.