Patrice Rohmer Rampage of Cuteness By Rich Osmond. It’s hard to say at what point during my initial viewing of Revenge of the Cheerleaders that Patrice Rohmer became my favorite actress...
It’s hard to say at what point during my initial viewing of Revenge of the Cheerleaders that Patrice Rohmer became my favorite actress. Was it
when she led her fellow naked cheerleaders toward an ambush orgy of the boy’s basketball team in the shower room? Maybe it was when she took a nude stroll in the woods and cheerfully molested a teenage hippie scout leader. Or was it the scene in which she revived her chloroformed boyfriend in time to win the Big Game by stepping out of her panties and rubbing them in his face? Most likely, it was the accumulation of moments like this that made me realize that Patrice was the great, unsung superstar of the drive-in era.
No relation to either Fu Manchu creator Sax Rohmer or French auteur Eric Rohmer (well, I’m assuming), Patrice Rohmer made her own impact on popular culture during her mid-Seventies Hollywood tour of duty. A thin, pouty blonde with a high-pitched, squeaky voice, Patrice combined wholesome cuteness with gleeful exhibitionism, and no one has seemingly had more fun getting naked onscreen. Check out the following movies and experience the magic that is Patrice Rohmer.
Revenge of the Cheerleaders (Richard Lerner, 1975)
Most remembered for an early role by David Hasselhoff (as Patrice’s boyfriend, Boner) and for being the movie that Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith did while extremely pregnant, Revenge of the Cheerleaders is the ultimate Patrice Rohmer movie. ROTC tracks the exploits of the Aloha High School cheerleading squad, a horny, drug-crazed pack of gals who wear their tiny uniforms all day, except when they’re having sex. This is a true ensemble piece, with no lone cheerleader stepping forward as protagonist. Instead, the Aloha girls do everything, including breaking out in lengthy dance numbers, drugging the cafeteria’s spaghetti sauce, and the aforementioned soapy orgy, as a unit. They get their vengeance as a team, too, although it’s not exactly a highly focused one, as the girls turn their wrath on jealous classmates (whom they stuff in lockers), their lowlife rivals on the other side of town (whom they rob of their drugs) and ultimately, the greedy developers who want to destroy their school and build a shopping mall, exposing the fat cats right before the climactic topless luau.
Patrice plays Sesame, by far the most uninhibited of the cheerleaders. When we first meet her, she’s changing into her cheerleader outfit in the front seat of a moving convertible, and a few minutes later she whips off her panties for an unexpected blast of full-frontal nudity. Sesame is a true child of nature, getting naked as often as possible, and Patrice’s enthusiasm, casual nudity and non-stop grinning set the tone for what the movie’s one-sheet so rightly calls "A Cheerful Film." Available as part of a three-disc set from Anchor Bay Entertainment with The Cheerleaders (1972) and The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974), the DVD of ROTC includes eight priceless minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, featuring Patrice practicing her dance moves, goofing around with David Hasselhoff, and dripping Visine into her bloodshot eyes.
Both in terms of screen time and impact, Patrice’s performance as Sesame was the highpoint of her acting career. In her other movies, she comes across more as a special guest star, dropping in for a scene or two and then vanishing from the narrative. But each of these films has at least one five-star Patrice Rohmer moment:
Harrad Summer (Steven Hilliard Stern, 1974)
Patrice mad her debut in this sequel to the sexual revolution epic The Harrad Experiment (1972). In Harrad Summer, we follow four hang-up free, sexually liberated students from ritzy Harrad College through a series of vignettes taking place over summer break. Lucky for us, Patrice pops up in an early segment as Marsha, a hungry yet cheerful drifter. Marsha wiggles our of her tank top for the movie’s biggest loser, Harry (Richard Doran), because he buys her hot dogs, though she later assures him that she would have slept with him anyway since his voice was kind. Marsha moves on the next morning, leaving Harry to ponder the film’s first heavy lesson: trading hot dogs for sex can leave one feeling empty inside.
Hustle (Robert Aldrich, 1975)
Patrice continues to embody the unlikely cuddliness found on the darker side of life in this Burt Reynolds cop flick. Patrice makes a brief appearance as go-go dancer/call girl Lynda ("a loaded pistol!"). Decked out in a g-string and pasties, Lynda shakes her money-maker in the club run by sleazy M.C. Herbie (Jack Carter). Afterward, she appears backstage to see if Herbie has lined up any after hours tricks for her. When he replies in the negative, she whimpers, "I was countin’ on it," and breaks into her trademark pout.
Jackson County Jail (Michael Miller, 1976)
Patrice is at her least cheerful/least naked in this New World Pictures classic. She’s Cassie Anne, hillbilly baby doll and ex-girlfriend of fugitive Coley (Tommy Lee Jones). Coley is on the run with Dinah Hunter (Yvette Mimieux), and after breaking out of the titular hoosegow, the pair seek refuge at the barn/hippie commune/hideout that Cassie Anne calls home. First seen gnawing on a chicken leg and watching cartoons, Cassie Anne seems content enough but seeing her ex- with a new girl sends her into a brief (albeit adorable) scowling rage that quickly gives way to acceptance and, later, depression. Fortunately, Cassie Anne perks up enough to grab an M-16 and shoot at some local cops to aid in the fugitives’ escape. It’s a great movie, but easily the most low key Patrice Rohmer appearances ever.
The Erotic Adventures of Superknight (Raphael Nussbaum, 1976)
If there was ever a sub genre more Seventies than the soft-core cheerleader movie, it has to be the soft-core rock musical. Often based on fairytales, Patrice’s contribution to this oddball sub genre is based on Don Quixote. Don (Corey John Fisher) and his sidekick Sancho Panza (Hy Pike) travel from one low-comedy/soft core set piece to another, stopping for several mind-numbing songs. Halfway through the movie they encounter Patrice as Carla, the horny daughter of an innkeeper. For her role, Patrice wears a brunette wig with long pigtails and a bonnet. She eagerly beds our hero (and some other guy), stripping down to nothing but the aforementioned headgear. Despite her funky moves in Revenge of the Cheerleaders and Hustle, Patrice doesn’t dance in any of the film’s poverty-stricken production numbers. She doesn’t sing, either, although while in the throes of ecstasy she does speak in rhyme. "My body’s on fire and I’m filled with desire," she coos, anticipating an entire decade of hair metal lyrics.
Patrice’s Mystery Movies
Along with fellow drive-in queens Robin Mattson, Jennifer Ashley, Janit Baldwin, and ROTC co-star Cheryl "Ranbeaux" Smith, Patrice is listed in the end credits of Brain DePalma’s The Phantom of the Paradise as a groupie. However, even after extensive frame-by-frame analysis, I have never been able to spot her. And while internet sources like IMDB.com and Hollywood.com claim that she appears in Jack Starrett’s A Small Town in Texas playing an uncredited character named Trudie, I’ve never found her there either.
But at least those two movies are available, allowing a Patrice Rohmer fan to at least try. Her last film, Lee Frost’s sex comedy The Boob Tube Strikes Again (1977) seems to have slipped into some other dimension. It is rumored to have been released on video in Australia as The Coming of Seymour, but this cannot be substantiated. Even Frost and the film’s one-time distributor, exploitation kingpin Sam Sherman, have no idea of its whereabouts. Yet, it has to be out there somewhere, just waiting to unleash one more magical Patrice Rohmer moment on the world.
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