Wow, Mill Creek loves this debut film directed by Michael Fischa — or is it because it’s a Susan Blakely flick — as it has appeared on their Pure Terror, B-Movie Blast, and Excellent Eighties 50-Film Packs. And the debate in the B&S cubicle farm rages: who loves this movie more? Melody Vera with her Pure Terror review . . . Sam the Bossman with his review . . . or your’s truly, ol’ R.D.
For his directing debut, Fischa signed on the dotted line with this script penned by Mark Pirro, he who wrote and directed the equally whacked Polish Vampire in Burbank (1983) and Deathrow Gameshow (1987). Polish Vampire — shot for $2500, returned over one million in home video and cable television distribution via late-nights on the USA Network. And Fischa — on his way to make the even more oddball slasher Death Spa, and before the more conventional, retro-blaxploitationer, Crack House — brought Pirro’s werewolf comedy to the screen.
It’s a comedy that has it all: MTV-era synth rock, a horror movie convention, forgotten ’80s stars, still tryin’ ’70s stars (Solid Gold host Marilyn McCoo and Marcia Wallace, aka Edna Krabappel on The Simpsons, and Kimmy Robertson from The Last American Virgin and TV’s Twin Peaks) — and (heart sigh) Susan Blakely. Oh, do we love Susan around the B&S cubicles with Capone, The Lords of Flatbush, The Concorde … Airport ’79, Over the Top, and Dream a Little Dream. And it helps that one of the characters loves horror movies and has posters for Prime Evil, Deathrow Gameshow and Galaxina in her room: for this is a parody by and for horror movie fans that’s also filled with Jewish deli jokes, singing werewolves, John Saxon without a shirt, Susan shavin’ hairy-hairy legs, and a tip o’ the hat to the dentist scene from Little Shop of Horrors.
Susan is Leslie Shaber, a bored suburban mom with a boring, all-about football-loving hubby (John Schuck, Sgt. Charles Enright from McMillan & Wife and the Klingon Kamarag from the first Star Trek filim franchise). And their daughter Jennifer (Tina Caspary, from Can’t Buy Me Love, Teen Witch, Mac and Me) is freaked that her parents are going to get a divorce. She finds support in her horror-movie loving friend Stacey (Diana Barrows of Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood).
Then the actors we love show up: Ruth Buzzi is a fortune teller who tells Jennifer that she has the mark of the pentagram and she’ll fight an unholy evil. John Saxon (check out our Exploring: John Saxon feature) owns a pet store and eats a mouse. Well, he’s a werewolf. Leslie innocently goes into buy a flea collar, he bits her toes (did Quentin Tarantino make this) and she begins to change. And they fall in love.
Now it’s up to Jennifer and Stacy — in bit that sounds like the better known dark comedy horror Fright Night — instead of vampires — fight the werewolves and save mom.
Hey, when you’re watching a movie scripted by the guy who gave us the oft HBO-ran and USA Network-aired Curse of the Queerwolf (1988) and Buford’s Beach Bunnies (1993), you know you’re not getting some mainstream werewolf comedy like Teen Wolf, but something just a little bit from the left of the dial. Hey, Pirro’s the guy who gave us Nudist Colony of the Dead (1991), after all. And Michael Fischa brings it all together quite nicely in his directing debut. Next up, for Micheal is, of course, Crack House with Richard Roundtree then, Sam’s favorite: Death Spa! Hide the asparagus!
This is easily found on many streaming platforms and the DVDs are bountiful — with plenty of ways to get a copy, of course, via Mill Creek Entertainment.
About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.