The Suckers is a 1972 American sexploitation film directed by Stu Segall under the pseudonym Arthur Byrd, and written by Ted Paramore (credited as Edward Everett). It is an extremely loose adaptation of the 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game" starring Richard Smedley, Lori Rose, Vincent Stevens, Sandy Dempsey, Barbara Mills, and Norman Fields.
Steve Vandemeer, a rich and powerful big-game hunter, tires of tracking and killing animals, and gets an idea— he will invite the owners of a model agency he knows and two of their models to be guests on his estate for the weekend, and use them as the objects of his latest hunt. To make the hunt more 'sporting', he also invites a fellow big-game hunter Jeff Baxter, and adds him to the 'prey' to even up the odds.
Tropes in The Suckers:
- Adventurer Outfit: Vandemeer dresses in a safari suit and pit helmet on his hunt.
- Carry a Big Stick: Baxter uses a heavy tree branch to kill one of Vandemeer's goon by crushing his windpipe.
- Caught in a Snare: Vandemeer uses Cindy's body as 'dead bait' to lure Baxter and Barbara into a position where he can trap their feet in a snare.
- Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing: Vandemeer drops his knife when he is tackled by George. Baxter is able to reach it and cut through his bonds while George and Vandemeer are fighting.
- Developing Doomed Characters: The film is centered around a Hunting the Most Dangerous Game plot, but the hunt does not start until the 50 minute mark. The preceding time is spent watching the interactions of deeply uninteresting characters who have a lot of sex. The non-professional nature of the cast does not help.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Steve Vandemeer is a big-game hunter who has grown tired of stalking and killing animals, and so decides to start hunting humans.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Great White Hunter Jeff Baxter is a former Green Beret who served in Vietnam. Vandemeer says that this makes him deadly even without access to his modern weaponry, and therefore suitable prey.
- End of an Age: Great White Hunter Jeff delivers a speech to Barbara about with growing environmentalism and the spread of game preserves, it is big-game hunters like himself and Vandemeer who are now the endangered species. Possibly this played better with audiences in the early 70s, but to modern viewers it comes across as self-indulgent Narm.
- Flaying Alive: Vandemeer declares that hunter has to know how to skin his prey, and announces he intends to practice on Barbara. He has cut her top off and is holding the knife threateningly in front of her face when he is tackled by George.
- Failed a Spot Check: Vandemeer, one of the world's greatest big-game hunters and already established in-story as possessing excellent senses, somehow fails to notice the badly concussed George staggering up behind him.
- Gay Guy Dies First: The first character to die is the lesbian Joanna, who is brutally raped before being murdered.
- Great White Hunter: Jeff Baxter is a professional hunter and Vietnam vet who Vandemeer inveigles to his estate and then adds to his prey in order to give the models a more sporting chance.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Steve Vandemeer invites employees from a modelling agency to his estate, where he hunts them for sport.
- It Works Better with Bullets: When Baxter learns about Vandemeer's plan and that he is to be included among the prey, he draws his revolver and shoots at Vandemeer. After a series of empty clicks, Vandemeer informs him that he removed the firing pins from his guns the previous night.
- Mercy Kill: Following the final fight, Vandemeer is badly wounded and dying. He asks Baxter for a final favour from one hunter to another. Baxter says he would do the same for any wounded animal, and puts a bullet in his head.
- Misplaced Wildlife: No actual wildlife is seen in the movie, but George tells a story about Vandemeer lassoing a orangutan in Rhodesia, and Jeff claims to have hunted snow leopards in the Andes. Unless these animals escaped from zoos, they have no business being on those continents.
- Pistol-Whipping: Carl knocks George out by slamming his rifle butt down on his head. Interestingly, Tap on the Head is averted, as George suffers a serious concussion from this.
- Please, I Will Do Anything!: When Cindy is captured by Carl, she promises him anything if he will spare her life and help her escape from Vandemeer's estate, offering him sex and a large amount of cash she has hidden away from the IRS. Carl takes her up on the offer of sex, and probably would have helped her escape if Vandemeer had not arrived. Although Carl claims to have been stringing her along, Vandemeer decides that he no longer trusts Carl and terminates his employment permanently.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Vandemeer gloatingly boasts of how he intends to rape the models before he kills them, claiming it is an ancient right of those who hunt humans.
- Trivial Title: It is not even clear what The Suckers is supposed to refer to. Presumably it is the employees of the modelling agency and Jeff for falling into Vandemeer's trap, with secondary sexual innuendo meaning. However, neither of these interpretations has much to do with film's plot.
- Two-Person Pool Party: Joanna and Barbara have sex in the huge sunken tub of the bedroom the night before the hunt.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: George and Cindy Stone. Cindy looks like a model (and, as a fashion photographer, she could even be an ex-model although that's probably giving the film more credit than it deserves). George looks like he works manning the token booth at a peepshow. Their sex scene borders on Fan Disservice.
- You Have Failed Me: Vandemeer overhears Carl, one of his henchmen, conspiring with Cindy to help her escape in exchange for sex and money. Vandemeer allows him to start running and the calmly shoots him in the back.