My So-Called Hot Summer
excerpted from the Steve Sullivan interview
in Glamour Girls #16 (2002)
In the wake of Erica’s explosion to notoriety in Vixen and Dolls, fans in 1970 were enticed by ads for what they presumed to be a new sexploitation epic starring their rising favorite, Erika’s Hot Summer (the movie spelled her name with a ‘k’). In reality, the “film” (if it can be called that) had been shot well before Vixen on a virtually nonexistent budget, and rushed in to a handful of theaters to cash in on her sudden fame.
“My whole bit in the film was shot in a day or two. I had known Gary Graver, the cameraman before [the real photographer, not the one on the screen], and I guess I convinced myself that I was in love with him. They just shot me dancing on the beach and making out in the grass with this creepy guy [who played a glamour photographer]. Then they built this entire joke of a film around just those few shots,” plus scenes with other actors. “I think I was eighteen at the time, and it was done around the time when I started dancing” at the Losers in 1966. All of the dialogue spoken by her character was dubbed by another actress; conveniently, her mouth is always obscured when she’s speaking. The amateurish dubbing gives one the feeling of watching a Japanese monster movie. The film even has a love theme: “Erika, be careful what you do!”
I had the unique experience of seeing Erika’s Hot Summer for the first time while sitting with its star [who] was cackling with amused derision throughout. The picture opens promisingly with Erica frolicking on the beach and removing her bikini. Then we have to endure an endless half-hour of the film’s blond photographer, Steve, shooting a succession of other models before Erica returns—making out with the lucky fella on the beach, in the forest, and in an open field, accompanied by such breathless dialogue as: “Oh, Erica!” “Oh, Steve!” that had us howling. Their outdoor lovemaking scenes (which do briefly become rather erotic, complete with orgasmic moaning) are intercut with shots of birds flying, flora & fauna, etc. The story, such as it is, has Steve falling for Erica and deciding to break the news to his other girlfriend. At the conclusion the other woman finds the two stopped along the road, and she pulls out a pistol and fires; the film ends in a freeze frame, with Erica wearing a merely puzzled expression on her face. Perhaps she was wondering how the hell she got herself into this goofball picture.
Watching herself on screen, Erica cried out, “ooh, gross!” when the photographer climbs all over her. When her character begins to caress he neck, she cheered herself on: “come on , Erica! Choke him!” While contemptuous of the film and feeling ripped-off by it—she’d been promised the princely sum of $150 but was never paid—she can laugh because it’s so comically awful.