D.C. Cab was one of the first videos I ever rented from Prime Time Video as a kid and it’s got a great cast, which is probably what got me to grab it. Beyond Mr. T., you have Max Gail from Barney Miller as the owner of the cab company, Adam Baldwin as the son of his best friend who comes to help, Charlie Barnett (who actually won the SNL job over Eddie Murphy but was too nervous to come back for a follow-up; he sadly died of AIDS at the age of 41), Marsha Warfield from Night Court, a pre-Politically Incorrect Bill Maher, Gary Busey (speaking of politically incorrect, little to none of his dialogue could be in a movie made today), DeWayne Jessie (who literally became his Otis Day character and toured with that name), Paul Rodriguez, Whitman Mayo (Grady from Sanford and Son), the Barbarian Brothers (making this one of two Barbarian Brothers movies that Kino Lorber releases this month), Bob Zmuda, Bloodsportdirector Newt Arnold, Jill Schoelen (the crush of all teen crushes), Timothy Carey as a maniac who calls himself the Angel of Death and Irene Cara as herself.
It’s directed by Joel Schumacher, who either does movies that are remembered for the right reasons like The Lost Boys or movies that are remembered for the wrong reasons like Batman and Robin.
This is the ultimate hijinks ensue movie, as each character gets a moment and a little story of their own. It’s not a great movie, but it’s certainly a fun one, which sometimes is even better. The story is as simple as the boys of D.C. Cab against the city government and the Emerald Cab Company. Seriously, that’s pretty much as deep as it gets, but these are the kind of movies that you find yourself watching every time they come on cable, right? Do they still come on cable?
I’m happy to have this movie in my collection. It’s a great reminder of the time when you could find something like this movie on the rental shelves.
You can get this from Kino Lorber, who has just released it on blu ray.
This is the first VHS tape I ever rented. It was 1983. Prime Time Video had just opened. And the tape box promised delights we’d never dreamt of before. I was thinking this was going to be the best parts of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Mad Max. And wow, was I disappointed. But how would I feel 35 years later?
After trying to raise a Russian sub, the descendants of Atlantis attack our heroes, but they look a whole lot like punk bikers from an Italian post-apocalyptic movie. Which they totally are. Our heroes have to uncover the secret of Atlantis and stop them before they take over the world.
Plus, there’s Gioia Scola (Conquest), Tony King (The Toy), Stefano Mingardo (Blastfighter), George Hilton (The Case of the Bloody Iris), Ivan Rassimov (need I regale you with my love of his films?) and a young Michele Soavi before he became a director!
I’ll be super honest. This movie is a complete piece of shit. There are moments of greatness, such as whenever Crystal Skull appears or when a corpse keeps turning a jukebox off and on. I wanted to love this movie as a child and I wanted to love it even more as an adult. But sadly, that love never filled my heart.
There are people that love this film. And I get it. I like Ruggero Deodato. I just can’t get into this movie.
You can watch it for free with an Amazon Prime membership, so maybe you might have a totally different point of view!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Wrazen is a Technical Director and Sound Designer for live theatre, specializing in the genre of horror, and is the Technical Director the Festival de la Bête Noire – a horror theatre festival held every February in Montreal, Canada. You can see Eric as an occasional host and performer on Bête Noire’s Screaming Sunday Variety Hour on Facebook live. An avid movie and music fanatic since an early age, this is Eric’s first foray into movie reviewing.
Senti-Metal Movie Reviews believes that some things just belong together, like seafood and fine wine, pizza and beer, and of course… questionable B-movies and face-melting heavy metal!
A movie might have zero budget, bad acting, and terrible plotting, but just add a pounding metal soundtrack, and it magically becomes an instant party movie masterpiece!
Senti-Metal Soundtrack: Plasmatics – Metal Priestess (1981)
From the description: Born in a tribe of fierce warrior women, Hundra has been raised to despise the influence of men. Hundra finds her family slain and takes a vow of revenge until one day she meets her match.
Hundra was an Italian-Spanish-American production co-written and directed by Matt Cimber, who went on to co-create and direct the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW)television series. Mr. Cimber definitely seems to have an interest in ass-kicking amazons, because a large portion of Hundra’s running time is dedicated to Hundra (played by the statuesque Laurene Landon) partaking in various forms of ass-kicking combat.
Hundra is the classic tale of an amazon warrior out to get revenge for the slaughter of her “women only” tribe, and also get pregnant in order to repopulate said tribe. And if you think
these sound like conflicting goals…. You would be right.
Therein lies the conundrum of Hunrda… finding that subtle balance between copulating with men to save your race whilst also ruthlessly killing as many men as you can lay your hands, legs, sword, spear, daggers, and arrows on.
Note: I cannot think of a better Metal pairing for Hundra than the classic album Metal Priestess by Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics. Let’s face it, Wendy O could have literally played Hundra in this movie, and she could have even brought her own wardrobe!
Try queueing up track 2 of Metal Priestess (Doom Song) right around when Hundra finds her destroyed village.
The driving force of the movie is the action scenes of Hundra battling various hordes of bumbling men… and a good few of these scenes are played for laughs as much as action. It is worth noting that Laurene Landon apparently did all her own stunts in Hundra, which is pretty damn impressive.
Anytime Hundra gets physical (and this happens a lot) is a good time to jump to the next track in the Metal Priestess album, which kicks as much ass as Hundra herself.
Overall, Hundra is a fun sword and sandal epic with a sorta feminist twist, and I have to stress the “sorta”. While it’s fairly clear from the outset that Hundra will prevail in her quest, there are still quite a few scenes in this movie that were a little too “rapey” for my tastes. I have a feeling that Mr. Cimber may have been using John Norman’s “Gor” books as source material for Hundra because I found a little too much of male dominance / female submission in the overall tone of the film.
So, aside from those uncomfortable moments, Hundra moves at a pretty good pace and if you, like Mr. Cimber, have an eye for “wrasslin’ she babes”, then Hundra is definitely the movie for you!
Note: Both the movie and the Senti-Metal Soundtrack can be found on YouTube:
Granted, there are not as many E.T, the Extra-Terrestrial rips as there are Alien and Star Wars rips (here) . . . but I still think (Sam?) we can squeeze an “E.T. Rip-Offs Week” or, at the very least, an “E.T Top Ten Rips” list, you know, like our two “Alien Rip-Offs” list (here and here). Speaking of which . . . is that a monkey’s face on the cover? Is this ripping off Roland Emmerich’s Making Contact, which itself is an E.T. rip, that had a possessed toy monkey in its frames (if I am remembering my movies correctly)?
Warning. It ain’t no friggin’ money. What is it?
Let’s pop in that Mill Creek disc and find out!
If you’ve hung out at B&S About Movies for any period of time, you know that Juan Piquer Simón, aka J.P Simon (but he’s Jack Grey, here; he hated the end product), is a pretty big deal around here, courtesy of his two huge, Drive-In and duplex “hits,” later to become VHS-rental horror de rigueur: Pieces (1982) and Slugs (1988). Our love runs so deep that Bill Van Ryn and Sam Panico paired up Slugs with Squirm for a Drive-In Asylum Double Feature Night. (Yes, we know Simón did an Alien rip — well, The Abyss rip, that itself is an Alien rip, aka The Rift (1990) — that we never got around to reviewing.)
But sandwiched between his Carpenter-slasher ’80s rip and his big bug movie, he made . . . well, it looks like Los nuevos extraterrestres, aka The New Aliens, started out as an Alien rip-off about an asteroid and a freak lightning storm depositing a dozen alien eggs in the woods, you know, like a Luigi Cozzi movie (Contamination). Then some guy by the name of Steven Spielberg went and made a movie about a kid and his lost alien friend. And you know how film producers are. You’re passé, Ridley Scott. Hello, Mr. Spielberg.
At first, this looks like a Godfrey Ho cut-and-paste job of three unfinished films:
First, we have a trio of bumbling wild life poachers scaling trees for rare eggs in the woods, so it seems we’re getting another Don Dohler alien-in-the-woods cheapfest, ala Galaxy Invader or Night Beast.
But wait . . . we have a Z-grade, new wave band recording in the studio and it’s not working out . . . time to hop into the RV and head out to a remote cabin to cut new tunes . . . and become alien hors d’oeuvre, ala Carpenter with a Dohler-alien pinch-slashing for Jason Vorhees.
But wait . . . then there’s Tommy: an annoying Spanish kid (in a bad dub, natch; this was a French-Spain co-production with thespians from both countries mixing it up) in a Spielbergian-Americanized, product-placement bedroom nightmare (Boston Red Sox and Bruins pennants) with a zoo menagerie in his room (a rabbit, gerbil, hamster, kitten), stuck in a remote cabin with his grumpy uncle and domineering aunt. And all the poor kid wants is a friend to play jigsaw puzzles and Simon — again — it’s all about the product placement. (And holy set design déjà vu, Batman: Is that the same bedroom Timmy had in Pieces? Yep.)
So, the poachers, who want rare eggs, smash the alien eggs (?) . . . and let slip the Sid and Marty Kroft alien of war. Seriously. Remember the monkey crack? Well, it ain’t no friggin’ monkey: it’s an aardvark-bear hybrid that, the first thing I thought of was Snork from the ’70s American, daytime TV series The Banana Splits. (Where’s Sigmund and the Rest of the Sea Monsters?) And Snork is on the warpath. And is it the mom? Or brother? Or sister? No matter: Sigmund wants its child/sibling back.
Meanwhile, back at the cabin: Tommy found the last egg and hatched a new friend: Trumpy. No, it’s not a political statement by the filmmakers: it’s because of the aliens trunk. And that baby alien grows into a teen alien overnight, as it sucks up a collection of Kellogg’s cereals and Planters Peanuts (and, I think a jar of Jiff). Again, product placement.
Meanwhile, in the back in the woods: Snork, aka Big Trumpy, killed one of the new wavers. And the band is on the run (sorry, Mr. McCartney) to . . . the cabin where Tommy lives. Oh, and did we mention Tommy’s uncle is one of the poachers? And nice Trumpy, who, of course, has mad ESP skills and makes clothes and shoes from the closet put on a floor show, with musical accompaniment courtesy of Milton Bradley’s Simon, suffers from a case mistaken identity — as a murderer — that threatens the newly formed friendship of Tommy and Trumpy. And Trumpy doesn’t want to go. But Tommy leaves Trumpy — who parents/siblings are all dead, thanks to the stupid Earthlings — in the woods: alone.
It’s actually a sad ending. Here’s a kids that loves animals and takes care of pets. And he abandons the best pet ever — in the woods. Wait. It’s not sad. It’s sick. What the frack, Juan? What’s the “statement” made here? When something becomes a pain-in-the-ass, you dump it? Don’t give friends the benefit of the doubt?
As if this Alien-E.T. clone wasn’t enough of a mess: Film Ventures International also stuck this on the VHS shelves as Pod People and cut in footage from Dohler’s Galaxy Invader (never saw that version myself). In some quarters, FVI said, “the hell with it” and marketed it as a sequel: E.T. – The Second Coming.
You can watch Extra Terrestrial Visitors on You Tube or own it as part of the Mill Creek Box Set.
As a child, Olivia (Suzanna Love, a DuPont heiress, which doesn’t explain why she’s in this movie, and the wife of the director, which does) watched as her mother was murdered by an American army john who was way too into S&M.
Fifteen years later, she’s trapped in a loveless marriage and the ghost of her mother guides her life, but not in any positive way. She tells Olivia to hit the streets and take a man home, then commands her to kill him by bludgeoning him with a vase.
While getting rid of the body, Olivia meets an American engineer named Mike (Robert Walker Jr., Hex) who is in England to help dismantle the London Bridge and bring it to Arizona (a plot point of the Hasselhoff vs. Jack the Ripper film Terror At London Bridge). Finding true passion, Olivia finally finds happiness, until her husband finds out and assaults her. He also shows up on the bridge and confronts the couple and ends up thrown off, presumably to his death.
Four years later, Mike is back in Arizona and obviously didn’t get charged with manslaughter. That’s when he meets Jenny, a tourism director who looks exactly like Olivia, except for her hair color and accent. Ah, if only this would all be easy for Mike, but the mistakes of the past — and the ghost of Olivia’s mother — are not so easily forgotten.
Released as Prozzie, Double Jeopardy and the very roughie sounding A Taste of Sin, this was written, produced and directed by Ulli Lommel, who may have started his career working with Warhol, Fassbinder and the New German Cinema, but is probably best known for his movie The Boogeyman.
This was co-written by John P. Marsh, who took a student film he made about a woman being fascinated by the oldest profession and added it to Lommel and Love’s idea to have the moved London Bridge play a role in the story.
This movie was completely unlike what I was expecting. It’s somewhere between giallo and slasher and totally in the middle of strangeness.
When will the kids learn? When an old man in a town warns you of great evil, perhaps he knows what he’s talking about. When your college professor does the same thing, perhaps you should listen to him as well. But no, these kids just meander along and unleash the spirit of Black Claw and then all die one after the other.
Well, I guess we wouldn’t have a month of slashers if these kids knew what they were doing.
This Fred Olen Ray written and directed film isn’t bad. It’s a different location for a slasher, the Native American mythos are intriguing and hey — that’s Superman as the professor! No, really, that’s Kirk Alyn, the original movie serial Kal-El, as Professor Machen*, who works alongside Forest J. Ackerman, who plays Professor Trentwood. And oh yes — Dr. Sharon Reynolds is Carroll Borland, whose look as Luna, the daughter of Bela Lugosi’s Mark of the Vampire inspired plenty of undead femme fatales.
I don’t know of too many other movies that have a lion-headed ghost, much less a moment where the image of an old man inside a bowl of soup causes someone to slice their own throat, but there you go. Scalps is there for you, answering the call of a movie you never knew you wanted but now you will always feel like you need.
*Aldo Ray and Robert Quarry were also up for this role. I mean, those are great picks too.
As Robert Freese pointed out in his “Exploring: 80s Comedies” featurette for B&S About Movies, the late ’70s one-two punch of National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) andMeatballs (1979) opened up a cottage industry of comedies featuring snobs vs. slobs, lovable losers, and harmless, misguided man-children behaving badly — with Caddyshack solidifying the genre to carry us through the rest of ’80s . . . and beyond with the likes of American Pie and all of its subsequent knockoffs.
Sadly, for every Easy Money and Revenge of the Nerds . . . well, as Freese points out, there’s was a LOT more swings and misses than hits in the ’80s . . . and we’re scrapin’ the grease pits and threadin’ the reels with four of ’em.
This movie was such a big deal that Midway allowed the image of Pac-Man to be used, as well as their new game Satan’s Hollow, and the as-yet-unreleased Super Pac-Man during the big showdown at the movie’s end.
What the . . . did I just program both a Greydon Clark and a Nicholas Josef von Sternberg Drive-In Friday tribute nights?
Sigh . . . Deborah Foreman, as Sam pointed out in his review, is our favorite 1980s comedy girl that caused our hearts to weep in the frames of Real Genius, Valley Girl, and April Fools Day. And she was always reliable and dependable on screen. How she never broke though to the A-List in major Hollywood films as the next “Meg Ryan” with her plucky Carole Lombard crossed with early Shirley MacLaine vibe is anyone’s guess.
Well, movies like this certainly didn’t help.
The “golf course” in this one is replaced by the Brentwood Limousine Service run by Howard “Dr. Johnny Fever” Hesseman and owned by E.G Marshall from Creepshow. And, of course, love blooms between Foreman’s commoner driver and E.G’s son played by Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones — on his way to the late ’80s post-apoc slop that is Driving Force and the early ’90s Basic Instinct wannabe that is Night Rhythms.
What the . . . did I just program a Sam Jones Drive-In Friday night?
Not to be confused with Hot Dog: The Movie starring David Naughton (yep, the Dr. Pepper “Making It” from Meatballs American Werewolf guy). And not to be confused for being an actual movie. And no, you’re not confused: writer and director Mike Marvin — yes, the guy who concocted one of the most F’up car flicks ever, The Wraith — is behind both fast food oddities.
So, if you think that any movie that needs to suffix itself with a colon and remind you that it’s a “motion picture” and a “movie” has to be good . . . think again. But, as Sam pointed out in his more complete review: when you’re in a small town with one duplex theater and one quad drive-in back in the ol’ pre-cable TV days with no Internet streaming, you ended up seeing suffix n’ colon’d movies for lack of anything else to do during the summer.
So, if you ever wanted to see a movie where — I am safe enough in my masculinity to admit — the very hot Leigh McCloskey from Dario Argento’s Inferno can’t seem to stop being a hornburger horndog and hooking up with ALL of the girls on campus, this is your movie. And Leigh keeps getting kicked out of schools as result. And his reputation is so bad, Faber College won’t even have him. So he ends up at Buster Burger University run by Dick Butkus in the John Vernon role.
Dude, let’s get the hell out of here and head on down to the Delta House!
We dug up this way-late-to-the-course direct-to-video oddity during our “Police Academy Week” tribute because, well, you think you’re getting a Caddyshack redux, but your really getting a Police Academy rip sans cops and lots of golfballs boobs.
No, it’s not “alright,” when you blatantly steal a whole lot from Caddyshack (right down to a camouflaged Bill Murray clone) and add lots of gratuitous boobs from the likes of Playboy and Howard Stern’s perpetual radio guest Amy Lynn Baxter and adult film star Jennifer Steele. And there’s jokes about blue (golf) balls and bent “wood,” a farting Chihuahua, cussing grannies, and more golf double entendres about “sticks” and “balls,” vaudevillian spit-takes, shower scenes, and public urination.
Maybe if they added a colon and reminded us this was a “motion picture” it would have helped? Nah.
What if Charles Bronson made a film to compete in the John Carpenter Slasher ’80s — and no one came?
So goes this J. Lee Thompson effort for Menahem Golan’s Cannon Films.
It all looked pretty good on paper: Bronson was a still popular, aging action star; Thompson’s resume included The Guns of Navarone (1961), Cape Fear (1962), and Mackenna’s Gold (1969). And let’s forget J. Lee’s two POTA flicks: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972) and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), and one of the slasher era’s most unconventional slashers, Happy Birthday to Me (1981). Behind the Brother typewriter was William Roberts, who gave us The MagnificentSeven (1960) and a really great war movie with The Bridge at Remagen (1969). He also gave us (soon to be reviewed for “Fast and Furious Week II”) The Last American Hero (1973), and a pretty fine TV movie with SST: Death Flight (1977).
So where did this self-described “crime-horror-thriller” go wrong?
When I went to see this during its initial theatrical run, I enjoyed it; the general consensus, however, was that it just an unnecessarily bloodier and more violent knock-off of Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” series of films embodied in Charles Bronson’s rough-hewn,”shoot first, ask questions later,” LAPD Detective Leo Kessler. (His aprehensive, wet-behind-the ears partner is Andrew Stevens of Massacre at Central High.)
Mainstream critics, such as Roger Ebert, pounced on the film’s “gratuitous” violence and nudity and its overabundance of vulgar language, profanity, and sexual situations. (Those moments of nudity and sexual scenes were cut out and re-edited with alternate, clean-clothed scene (underwear instead of full nudity) for television.)
It seems Cannon Pictures was shooting for a Italian Poliziotteschi (which were much violent and bloodier than any U.S. “Dirty Harry” flick) and Giallo (which were even more graphic than any U.S. John Carpenter-knockoff) hybrid-homage of the two genres that would have likely played well to Euro-audiences. And it did. In the U.S. it barely cleared its almost $5 million budget. So, while not exactly a flop, thanks to its international box office, it wasn’t exactly a hit, either.
It certainly seems that Bronson and Thompson’s efforts had an effect on Sly Stallone, as it’s easy to see a creative through line of 10 to Midnight‘s “detective vs. serial killer” plot to Sly’s Cobra (1986) to — even more so — D-Tox (2002). And it definitely had an effect on the production of the “mainstream” porn-slasher hybrid of Spine, a film that did its best — against its budget — to emulate John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill (1980).
That comparison to Spine comes as result of that film’s Lawrence Aston and 10 to Midnight’s Warren Stacy both with an affinity for nurses — a trait shared by real-life serial killer Richard Speck and his July 1966 Chicago murders of eight student nurses. However, while Speck’s exploits served as the inspiration behind William Roberts’s script, John Howard and Justin Simonds have stated that the similarity to Speck’s crimes was mere coincidence and it was, in fact, Brian De Palma and John Carpenter who influenced their development of Spine.
The roots of 10 to Midnight began with Cannon’s (initial) failed attempt to adapt R. Lance Hill’s novel The Evil That Men Do (1978), an action tale about an ex-assassin that comes out of retirement to avenge the death of a friend. During a “brainstorming session” at that year’s Cannes Film Festival, with Cannon still wanting to do a film with Bronson, came up with new project — 10 to Midnight. To sell the film, Golan did what he did best: the ol’ Hollywood shuffle, selling a film filled with “action, danger, and revenge” — but no script. And the buyers bought it. Now, they need a script.
The script they found — based on the exploits of Richard Speck — was a William Roberts spec script, Bloody Sunday. And, as for the Evil that Men Do: that became one of the final film’s produced by ITC Entertainment, which went bankrupt after the dual failures of Raise the Titanic and Saturn 3.
In all, Bronson and Thompson made five films: St. Ives (1976), The White Buffalo (1977), Caboblanco (1980), 10 to Midnight (1983), and The Evil That Men Do (1984). And while it failed at the box office and with critics — Bronson’s lone foray into the horror-slasher genre is the lone Thompson-Bronson project everyone remembers and revers as a “classic” film in the Bronson cannons.
You can purchase DVDs and Blus from Shout! Factory and stream it via Cinemax-Amazon Prime. There’s also a great, hour-long documentary about Bronson’s career, Charles Bronson: Hollywood’s Lone Wolf, on TubiTv.
Other films we reviewed — for this month’s “All Horror, All Slasher Month” for October — that are based on real life serial killers, include Black Circle Boys, River’s Edge, and Naked Fear (both on the way this month, search for ’em!). And we discussed the Cropsey urban legend that resulted in the more traditional slashers The Burning(1981) and Madman (1982).
DAY 7. THEY’RE OUT TO GET YOU: One with heavy paranoid (real or imagined).
I was going to do A Scanner Darkly for the Scarecrow Challenge today, but somehow, someway I found a movie that might be even more off the wall insane than a Phillip K. Dick adaption. Just imagine that.
This only came out in the UK and Spain, as far as I know, and went straight to video in the U.S. Somehow, in a world where it seems like every mom and pop horror movie section rental has been pulled off the shelf and transformed into a 4K clean print with a million extras and a collectible slip cover, this one somehow escaped.
We begin with Rip Torn — yes, the Oscar and Emmy-nominated actor from The Larry Sanders Show and, of course, Freddy Got Fingered — screaming in Egyptian at a bug at the top of his lungs before transforming from a Nazi scientist who has somehow escaped war crimes before becoming the Egyptian god Khepera, the scarab-faced representation of the rising or morning sun. Sure, he represents creation and the renewal of life. But isn’t Lucifer also the light bringer?
Meanwhile, in a completely different movie, Murphy (Robert Gintry, The Exterminator) is getting decimated in a bar before he walks into an ambassador’s house and easily cucking him. Then he gets arrested.
Then, in the third movie of one movie, we watch a politican fencing with his graddaughter before one of his servants places a scarab on him and he ends up killing himself.
As if this barrage of stories doesn’t make you disoriented, we get back to Murphy, who watches another politican kill himself with a gun after anotehr scarab gets put on him and then a nun named Elena (Cristina S. Pascual, who played a night club singer hiding out with gay nuns in Pedro Almodóvar’s Dark Habits the very same year) runs away before revealing that she is the daughter of the Nazi scientist/Egyptian god.
Also, she has psychic powers.
This movie has it all. By all, I mean that it has two movies in one.
The first is all about Rip Torn dressed like a bird/bug human god who has long rituals of women dancing near-nude when he isn’t making love to women who transform into cows, at which point he spits milk into their faces. He also transforms outfits throughout the film, becoming the scuzzy direct to VHS version of Serpentor by the end of the proceedings.
The other movie is about Ginty strolling around, getting wasted, having sex with the wrong women and then using an axe to battle hooded bad guys.
At some point, the two movies come together and all them witches paint Rip Torn’s daughter’s bosom with weird squiggly black lines and make her up like Ming’s concubine took care of Dale Arden.
The tagline for this movie was “Evil, plotted by a mad sorcerer… bizarre beyond imagination.”
They’re more than half right.
This was written by Robert and Steve-Charles Jaffe (who also were behind Motel Hell; Robert also wrote Nightflyers and Demon Seed), with Steven-Charles directing*. Ned Miller and Jim Block, who were behind the Ashutosh Gowariker in America vehicle West Is West, were also on hand to presumably say things like, “Guys. Guys. Guys! This movie makes no sense.” Thank Khepera the brothers Jaffe had the good sense to tell them to shut the fuck up.
You know what I’m looking for in a movie? Half-nude dancers in Satanic rituals, screaming at bugs with microphones, Robert Ginty in anything and a movie that despite featuring human sacrifices throughout ends with the kind of music that you’d hear over the end of a failed McLean Stevenson sitcom and not bat at eye.
This is the kind of movie that I drive people nuts talking about. Trust me, you should be glad to be quarantined because if parties were still a thing, I’d sit next to you in a maniacal rage screaming “Ginty and Torn in the same film!”
There aren’t enough stars in every parallel reality to properly rate this batshit paen to…something. I’m just glad these crazy bastards had the gumption to go to Spain and convince people to give them money to make their politcial conspiracy of a scarab Nazi scientist god movie. Their balls are as huge Set’s testicles, which of course are healed at the same time as Horus’ eye after their comsic conflict.
It should be a cheap cash in on the novelty song that Frank Zappa had recorded with his daughter Moon Unit. Recorded when she was just 14 and appearing on his album Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, it’s his only top 40 hit despite a career in music.
It’s not typical Zappa, staying mainly in conventional 4/4 time (until the end) and being mainly all about the conversations Moon Unit had overheard at the mall, but meant to be a deliberate attack on typical Valley Girls.In fact, Zappa saw the San Fernando Valley as “a most depressing place.”
While he was distressed that this song would make hi a novelty act, Zappa did try to see if a film could be made. He’d later try to stop production of the film through a lawsuit, claiming that it infringed on his trademark.
Regardless, no one got the point of the song. It wasn’t cool to be a Valley Girl. Try telling that to everyone else.
Speaking of music, the songs in this movie ended up costing $250,000 over the film’s $350,000 budget. As a result, some of the clearances — like “Who Can It Be Now?” by Men at Work, which was replaced by Josie Cotton’s “Systematic Way” — changed the songs and ended up canceling the original Epic Records soundtrack. Some copies did get out and there’s also a bootleg with the title Valley Girls that are both collectors’ items. There was a six-song mini-LP that Roadshow Records — a one-off Atlantic imprint — put out and that was all fans got until 1994 and 1995, when Rhino released two CDs of the movie’s songs.
The songs are what drive this music, as it’s powered by KROQ, taking that station’s playlist to the entire county with standouts like Cotton’s “Johnny Are You Queer?,” Bonnie Hayes’ “Girls Like Me,” The Plimsouls’ “A Million Miles Away,” The Payolas’ “Eyes of a Stranger” and, of course, Modern English’s “I Melt With You,” which appears twice in the movie. Director Martha Coolidge heard it on the ROQ and felt that it was the song for her story, but since the station didn’t announce songs, she was forced to call them and sing it to have it be identified. Cotton, the Plimsouls and the Psychedelic Furs all show up in the actual movie, too.
The actual story is a mix of Romeo and Juliet with an allusion to The Graduate at the end, as the Valley side — Sherman Oaks Galleria being their Mecca (and the home of Commando, Chopping Mall and many, many other films) — is represented by Julie (Deborah Foreman, whose credits endear her to horror fans everywhere with April Fool’s Day and Waxwork on her resume) and Hollywood being personified by Randy (California Kinski Nicolas Cage). Their relationship begins as just looks at a beach — hints of Grease, huh? — but progresses to show the difference between classes that has only grown since 1983.
There’s also a subplot between Suzi (Michelle Meyrink, the female nerd Judy in Revenge of the Nerds) and her stepmother Beth (Lee Purcell, Necromancy) vying for the same boy. A more conventional relationship exists between Julie and her parents (Coleen Camp, who has been in everything from the Police Academyseries to Wicked Stepmother, Sliver, Apocalypse Now and The Swinging Cheerleaders along with Frederic Forrest, who was also several Coppola films, including One from the Heart), who despite owning a health food business really want their daughter to experience life.
Joyce Hayser is also in this and she’s made quite the career of showing up in teh pop culture moments of my life. She’s the girl in the Dan Hartman video for “I Can Dream About You” (which comes from the soundtrack for Streets of Fire), she’s in the strange as hell Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive and if you were 13 in 1985, you’d know her as Teri/Terry from the cable juggernaut Just One of the Guys.
Oh! Valley Girl has even more! E.G. Daily — who would also appear in the aforementioned Streets of Fire, a movie that I cannot implore you enough to watch — is here. Most folks know her as Dottie from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, but she was also in Better Off Dead, provided the voice for Babe the Pig and Tommy Pickles on Rugrats, was in the video for Rod Stewart’s “Young Turks” and was Sex-Head in Rob Zombie’s 31. She also dated Jon-Eric Hexum before his untimely death and was married to Rick Salomon. Yes, the same guy in the Paris Hilton sex tape, who was also married to Pam Anderson and Shannen Doherty. Hollywood is crazy.
The club scenes in this movie were shot at a place that was once called Filthy McNasty’s and The Central. Today, you would know it as The Viper Room. Seeing the Sunset Strip in this movie made me dream of one day being there, surrounded by all this energy and rock and roll. I mean, just look at the marquees — Kitten Natividad is dancing!