Meet Cult Movie Queen Sandra Peabody!
In my deep dive into cult cinema, I’m always looking for those Actresses who show up in some of the most provocative films of that era.
My “2023 Sex Kitten Countdown” has the story of Sandra Peabody, who starred in some great cult films, including one of the most shocking 70’s films ever!
Sandra Peabody was born on January 11, 1948 in Portland, Oregon. She is a graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, and also attended Carnegie Mellon University – but then dove straight into the deep end of exploitation filmmaking.
She made her motion picture debut in 1970 in this film, which offered “action more explicit than anything from Denmark!”
An even more provocative poster promised all of the things that, at that time, were hard to find in movie theaters: naked bodies and sexual situations!
Sandra was on her way toward a fascinating, if brief, cult film career!
She ended up with a dozen film credits, but her first big role – using the screen name Sandra Cassell – was her most notorious!
“The Last House On The Left!”
This 1972 shocker by Director Wes Craven is regarded as one of the most controversial films of all time.
First, the trailer:
As the trailer sets up, Sandra is celebrating her birthday….first of course, she has to shower to get ready to go out:
She and her friend head into “the big city” where a vicious gang kidnaps them and takes them out to the woods…
This is one of the most graphic, unsettling assault sequences ever, and it stunned audiences, which is why they used the tagline:
“to avoid fainting, keep repeating: it’s only a movie…only a movie…”
This film has been studied air more than many gritty early 70’s shockers, because parallels were made to the atrocities of the Vietnam War that were flooding America’s airwaves at the time…
Also notable is the shocking nature of the revenge scenarios that layout in the film as well…it is very similar to what happened in this notorious shocker:
Actress Camille Keaton starred in this one, and has been very open and candid about her experience making it – you can read all about it here:
Actress Sarah Butler took on the title role in the remake – click here for more on that:
As for Peabody: according to an online bio, Sandra took her Mom to see “The Last House On The Left” and was so upset with what she saw that she walked out!
She had a very rough filming experience, and as for the film itself, she had this to say about Producer Sean Cunningham, who went on to make “Friday The 13th”, and Director Wes Craven, who went on to make “The Hills Have Eyes”:
“I have not seen this film in a very long time, so to recollect it is hard. Wes and Sean did a great job considering the limited amount of money that they had… to pull something together like they did took a lot of work. It was really a work in progress… it changed a lot as we were making it. Last House was pretty advanced for it’s time as far as violence… but now I guess it’s kind of a funny film. I was really upset and horrified when I first saw it.”
As she described:
“One serious scene was where that guy put me over his shoulder, ran down a couple flight of stairs and threw me into the car. Those guys were kind of mean to me when they did that… especially that method actor [Hess] who was trying to be mean all of the time.”
Hess seemed to enjoy playing the bad guy:
He was a “hitch hiker from hell” in this gritty 70’s thriller, which led to this iconic moment:
That’s a very naked Corinne Clery with a hunting rifle – ready to take care of her Hess problem – see more about Clery and this film here:
Using a pseudonym again, Sandra went on to make this erotic drama:
Sandra plays a young woman who claims that she was involved in a cult whose members were either murdered or committed suicide.
She acted under the name Liyda Cassel before going back to Sandra for her next film, which was this cult 1974 gem – and great news: it’s uncut on Tubi!:
As you can see, they are promoting the film by reminding audiences of her previous controversial role.
Sandra Peabody is a sassy and sexy young hitchhiker who uses a unique way to get a ride!
Sandra and co-star Chris Gordon get picked up by a wealthy woman who wants some “alone time” with Sandra, then they meet another young woman and of course immediately decide to wash her:
They continue to hitch hike out in the country, but trouble arrives when a fugitive rapist confronts them – leading to Sandra challenging his sexual prowess, stating at one point: “OK, rape away!”
It was a a distraction of course, and soon the rapist is bound and tied.
This film continues to get more and more graphic as the girls end up at an orgy!
Sandra really seems to be having fun in the movie, and is a feisty, empowered character!
Next up was this wild 1973 comedy:
Here’s the plot: The heads of the National Genital Television Network go on trial to defend their network over one of their highest rated shows: the very adult and very popular “Mating Game!”
Yes, a naked version of “The Dating Game”!
And naked it was!
Sandra appeared in one of the fake commercials that airs within the show!
And check out this film – with a terrific tagline!
“They never rub you the wrong way!”
Interesting that she has now gone to her real name – even though the film is as edgy as the ones before!
This is actually the film where I discovered Sandra – because I had posted about it before…check out the two titles the film had a see the trailer and more here:
Ultimately, Sandra dropped out of the cult film world. In the early 1980s, she began an effort to bring child friendly content to cable systems beyond prominent film industry locations such as Los Angeles and New York. In 1990, she wrote and produced the children’s series “Where In The World.”
From controversial shockers to children’s TV, Sandra has had quite a career – bravo to her!
Here’s another Actress who had an extensive career in cult films:
Tara Strohmeier had a great run of 70’s films and you can see them all here:
Sandra also reminds me of another 70’s Actress who dropped out:
Monica Tidwell was a “Yum Yum Girl” – and acted in a slew of 70’s cult films before leaving the business…but she was also a force behind the camera!
Click here to see her story:
And let’s not forget 70’s Actress Rae Sperling:
She only made two drive-in films, but they are classic!
Clcik here to see her story:
This Actress Model had an iconic role as well:
This Actress was the “body double” in the 1980 thriller “Dressed To Kill!”
See her story here:
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Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve seen Sandra’s films!
Categories: 70's Films, Classic Horror, Exploitation Films, Extreme Cinema, Grindhouse, JRsploitation, Nudity, sex kittens, Sexploitation Films, Talent / Celebrites
The orgy sequence in TEENAGE HITCHHIKERS is stunningly well-edited and, um, scored! You watch a scene like this, no matter what the Hell the subject matter is, and you realize how great filmmaking was when it was, um, hands-on and not a series of clicks and button-taps and ones and zeros.
There are plenty of edits and musical cues in today’s films, God knows, but the effect is less viceral than exhausting.
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Thanks for sharing that…it’s a fascinating scene as it just kind of shows up out of context with the film but there was a reason for it, and that was to get the audience excited!
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A friend brought a VHS of Last House On The Left for us to watch one evening. We both found the film to be so ‘nasty’, that we turned off the tape and went out for a meal instead.
Best wishes, Pete.
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Yes Pete, one of the earliest “video nasty” films and certainly one of the most notorious…I’m over this type of cinematic experience as well…thanks as always for the comment!
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I may have seen two of Sandra’s movies. However, after watching the trailer, i’m glad i have never seen “Last House on the Left”!!
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Yes, it’s one of the most notorious films ever and I won’t watch films like this anymore…”Teenage Hitchhikers” is uncut on Tube, where I saw it – fun!
I could not find Teenage Hitchhikers or The Filthiest Show In Town on you tube, amazon, or SWV. By any chance, do you have the link? Also, i see Sandra had a bit part in “The Legend of Boggy Creek” but i don’t recall her in it.