To be perfectly honest, I could watch this movie every single day. Directed by five different people — Joe Dante, Carl Gottlieb, Peter Horton, John Landis and Robert K. Weiss — and starring tons of folks that I love, it’s the most perfect of all cinematic junk food.
Rather than give you a breakdown of everything that airs on WIDB-TV (channel 8) during its broadcasting day, I’ll just touch on the fact that this movie unites so many of my favorite people in one place.
There’s Russ Meyer as, well, Russ Meyer the video store owner, because what other place would have giant movie posters all over it for Supervixens? An assortment of comedians enacting a roast in the place of a funeral, with Charlie Callas, Rip Tayor, Jackie Vernon, Slappy White, Henny Youngman and Steve Allen being upstaged by Joe Dante favorite Belinda Balaski, who goes from sadness to anger to comedic force in one incredible performance. Ed Begley, Jr. as the Invisible Man. William “Blackula” Marshall as the leader of the Video Pirates. Henry Silva appearing in Unsolved Mysteries years before that show was a thing (it debuted in 1987, most of this film was shot in 1985). David Alan Grier as Don “No Soul” Simmons, something that never fails to make me smile. Andrew “Dice” Clay before anyone knew who he was, shooting Ken Wahl’s wife and getting Jimmy Olsen in trouble. And oh yeah — the main segment has Steve Forrest (the star of S.W.A.T. and Mommie Dearest‘s Greg Savitt), John Travolta’s older brother Joey, Lana Clarkson (Barbarian Queen and, sadly, a future Phil Spector victim), Sybil Danning and Forrest J. Ackerman as the President of the United States in a movie that should star Zsa Zsa Gabor. Stick around after the credits or you’ll miss a picture-perfect Kroger Babb riff starring Carrie Fisher and one of my favorite movie people to ever exist, Paul Bartel. Oh! I almost forgot Monique Gabrielle as Taryn Steele!
I have no idea who this movie was for other than for me. It’s a movie that speaks the language of the movie geek long before the internet existed and was doomed to bomb (or play HBO forever and find worshippers).
I’m so happy to have the new Kino Lorber blu ray of this. Beyond featuring a documentary with interviews with nearly everyone involved, it also has the deleted segments Peter Pan Theater, The Unknown Soldier and The French Ventriloquist’s Dummy. Plus, there are outtakes of every single routine from the roast of Harvey Pitnik and audio commentary from Kat Ellinger and Mike McPadden.
You can get the new blu ray from Kino Lorber, who were nice enough to send us a copy. This is one of those movies that I feel that everyone should have in their collection. There is no way that I can be unbiased on this one.