The sexual mores and concepts of taboo were very different, and a lot more boundary-pushing, in the 1960s and 1970s. Little Sisters, directed by cult icon Alex De Renzy, is a prime example of this. Released by niche cult re-release gods, Vinegar Syndrome, the movie lives up to its claim as one of the strangest titles in De Renzy’s filmography.

Little Sisters opens with a pair of sisters living with their mother in a wooden caravan in a meadow - an idyllic vision of the simple and natural living deified by the hippies. During a meal of foraged veggies, Mother reminds her girls that wandering off into the woods and away from their caravan invites the dangers of the dark times in which they live. The morning following a pleasant recital of the Lewis Carroll poem, "Jabberwocky," Mother leaves her girls to tend their home in order to visit with their old, eccentric neighbor Mister Miller. It is then that we are introduced to a band of forest-dwelling rogues who joke and eat around a campfire while watching one of their own in a menage a trois with two women.

Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome
Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome

On Mother’s way to visit Miller, she is startled by a couple picnicking among the trees. The man bids Mother to join them for some wine and cheese before he begins to suckle his lady-friend’s breast. Mother takes this as her cue to leave, but as she says goodbye, the man asks her, “Sure you don’t want the banana?” Mother doesn’t take him up on his offer of ‘dessert,’ and the couple is left to their own devices. The woman is chubby and voluptuous and the man is stringy and diminutive, making for a pairing that displays body positivity and inclusion seldom seen in the world of adult. The scene doesn’t last long, but it is enough to perk up the sensual senses.

It isn’t long before the forest rogues are discovered stealing chickens from the caravan by the younger of the two sisters. They divert their attention to the redheaded bird and pick her up to easily move aside her loose and carefree clothing and taste her young womanhood, despite her protests. The older sister is then pinned by more of the band of ne’er-do-wells before she can save her younger sibling; though not as sexually as her ginger sister. The cunnilingus is stopped by the band’s leader, who we learn is named The Captain, and speaks with a pirate affect. He promises he won’t do the girls harm, but very quickly has his men drag them away back to their camp. A note is planted by a dagger to the caravan door laying the blame at the feet of a rival group of lesbians.

Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome

Even with the older sister offering herself up instead of her younger sibling, The Captain and his men have their way with both young women, and we see two simultaneous gangbangs. The women vacillate between protesting their sexual encounter and enjoying it, and the scene proves to be the sexual centerpiece of the movie. It represents them being broken and broken-in by the rogues and assimilated into both the camp and adulthood.

Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome

When Mother sees the note, she goes off in search of her girls. Along the way she encounters several oddball scenes. Mother first comes across three drag queens mincing (quite literally and offensively) about in the woods. Through the most horrid of stereotyped feminine lisps, they divulge the general direction Mother should head, before skipping off and belting a tune. Her voyage takes her to the backyard of a large hillside property where the lesbians are having an orgy and pool party. After a confrontation with Mother, they storm off in search of the sisters themselves… but leave Mother behind, under the watchful eye of one of their group. The guard woman uses their privacy to sit on Mother’s face - without Mother’s consent. After a bit of oral, Mother fights the guard off and journeys on.

Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome

She next runs across a monastery, where she is greeted by a creepy old monk in heavy eye makeup, played by Dale Meador (several characters in the film employ a very exaggerated amount of blue eye shadow). The monk leads her indoors and past several monks (their traditional brown robes and crosses altered and adorned with showy hippie accoutrements) that are rubbing down a prone-naked man whose penis is painted a dark green. The old monk says that after Mother confesses, he will tell her where her girls have gone off to. The sin Mother confesses isn’t dirty enough for the old lech, and Mother coldcocks him and adorns his robes. On exiting the dark and private confession room, she wanders back into the ritual room of the man with the green penis. It turns into a full-on gay orgy in front of a large crucifix that Mother is contented to stand by and observe. She is found out as an imposter, and is banished from the room by a naked monk wearing a giant parrot mask. You know, because the movie has been so normal up to this point.

We cut to the ‘pirate’ camp and the younger sister is just casually blowing The Captain; leading us to believe that she has fallen in line with the other women used up by the marauders. The gang of lesbian women (they’re referred to solely by their generally offensive epithet, but we’ll avoid that here) bust into the camp and steal away the two sisters. Taken back to the backyard they were partying in previously, they proceed to use up the girls every bit as much as the pirates did.

Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome

The day is saved when a despondent Mother is met by the sudden appearance of Derek, the Robin Hood-hatted elf and guardian of the woods. Derek is perhaps the most monotone magic man in movie history; hilariously played by someone who seems like he didn’t even want to be in the film in the first place. He accompanies Mother to the backyard, where the pirates and drag queens have also wound up. A high-speed Benny Hill fight ensues, and the victorious Derek admonishes everyone for their bad behavior that has made the woods an unsavory place. Instantly, everyone apologizes and flowers are exchanged and all is forgiven. The movie concludes with a rousing group rendition of “America the Beautiful,” in case the rest of the movie weren’t strange enough.

Like other classic adult films, the music in Little Sisters is amazing and could make for an excellent, hip vinyl re-release. The gangbang scene has probably the best facsimile of a Santana song ever recorded - with frantic psychedelic drums and and incredible guitar solo wailing over the action.

Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome Little Sisters (1972) Remastered by Vinegar Syndrome

Given the thematic content, the length of the sex scenes, and its variety of eroticism, it might not be a ‘get-off’ movie for many people. However, it remains as a quick and enjoyable watch - and a fascinating countercultural artifact. A perfect party movie that can be enjoyed on a group movie night… and maybe even get folks a little frisky in the process.

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