B-Movie Blast: Deathrow Gameshow (1987)

We’ve been jammin’ on this movie at B&S About Movies for quite some time, as we included it on August 19, 2019, as part of our “Deadly Game Shows Week” of film reviews. Leave it to the fine film folks at Mill Creek to finally give it a slot on a Mill Creek box set. And it’s a part of their B-Movie Blast 50-film box set. And guess what? As is par for the Mill Creek course, it’s coming at us again on Mill Creek’s Excellent Eighties 50-film set — which guest writer Sean Mittus covered for us (on February 28, 2021).

Yes. The poster is better than the movie.

Well, Sam, even though he knows I hate Troma movies more so than him, he asked me to give this another take, so as to keep the site fresh and repeat free. Whatever, boss.

Lord help me. I guess I’ll be sharing some of Sam pissy hate-mails love for not liking Troma movies. But I pride myself on my “delusional hipster” and “edgy commentary” skill sets. Look, I just don’t like movies that are bad on purpose. Well, scratch that. Writer and director Eric Eichelberger, of the comedic horror Ghoul Scout Zombie Massacre, purposely made his movie “bad.” But it’s not bad from incompetence or campy due to lack of skill (as is the case, here), for it is a well-produced and shot film and acted film (by skilled actors that understand their material) that is in homage to the ’80s SOV films before it.

That same can’t be said for this . . . celluloid thing. It’s exists. That’s the nicest thing I can say. It’s not a real movie, like Ghoul Scout Zombie Massacre. I know, I know. It’s “over my head” and this . . . thing . . . and Redneck Zombies has fans. I am not one of them. Maybe The Toxic Adventure and Surf Nazis Must Die — and that’s only because of the nostalgic USA Network Friday-Saturday weekend connection. Yeah, yeah. I know this isn’t a Troma movie. But it dumps #2s — among other things — like one.

There, now that’s two rips on Troma. Deal with it, dear reader-cum-troll.

Yeah, this movie is more “deadly” that you realize. Where’s Ralphie’s Red Rider?

So, in an f’d up Los Angeles communications outlet of the KLST variety of the Zoo Radio variety (only that’s radio; this is TV) and just down the dial from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Channel 62 in UHF, is the bottom-of-the-barrel KSIK — with the top-rated show hosted by John McCafferty: Live or Die. And McCafferty (played by Chuck Toedan) ain’t no Damon Killan. Now, do you remember when Chuck Barris went meta with The Gong Show Movie? That’s how you do a game show parody: Deathrow Gameshow is a “how to” on how not do to them.

Now, before you start with the “hypocrite” love: Yes, I liked Mark Pirro’s My Mom’s a Werewolf. But he only wrote that and didn’t direct it: the great Michael Fischa, did. And Fischa had John Saxon and Susan Blakely to carry the film. And McCafferty and his co-star, Robin Blythe ain’t no Saxon or Blakely.

So, if you haven’t figured it out: Condemned death row prisoners are given one last chance to entertain the masses before they get executed, as well as the chance to win prizes for their families. What you don’t know, in the “plot” of it all: It all goes off the rails when the Spumoni family’s boss is executed playing the game — by electro-shocked wires on his penis as a stripper dances before him. Comedy. You gotta love it.

Now the family send Luigi Pappalardo to kill the host. And this is where I am allowed by B&S About Movies’ hipster and edgy editorial policy to use the word “ensues” because to say more is a lesson in QWERTY futility. Okay, I’ll say this:

This is a film that thinks naming the love interest damsel-in-distress Gloria Sternvirgin, a member of Woman Against Anything Men Are For organization, is funny. It’s not. This is a film that can’t pull of its too-ambitious over talent and budget mock-parody TV commercials and promos for other shows at the station. Again, “Weird Al” does it so much better in UHF. This is a cheap, talentless crap bag that’s an insult to crap bags the world over that also served as a waste of my hand muscles. Do not do this to me again, Sam, or I’ll scrape up my couch coins and Auntie and Gram’s X-Mas and Birthday money and send a hitman to kill you — which is greater than the budget wasted on this “existing” crap bag that stinks to Troma high heaven.

I can’t recommend this. You’ll have to find your own freebie streams and online shopping links for DVDs.

R.D out. See you in the comments box.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.