One night at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, the nurses and doctors throw a party, but you just know that that dude with the darkest eyes, the devil’s eyes, is going to show up, right?
But what if Jason Vorhees showed up?
And what if Leatherface came over?
Then a zombie looking for a copy of the original film in this series?
It’s wild, because these guys seem absolutely unhinged compared to the ways they’ve killed before. Leatherface saws off a woman’s leg and beats her to death with it. Jason pours acid in a guy’s face. And then Michael does everything from scissor stabbing to shoving a broken bottle in a woman’s face. He saves his best or grossest or most creative kill when his BM gets ruined when a victim wonders in, so The Shape drowns the guy in the brownest of water.
Then everyone raps.
There’s no way this movie isn’t better than Halloween Kills.
Toni Daniels doesn’t want to write the same college newspaper stories as everyone else at Tambler College. Luckily for her — or maybe not — there’s been a series of on-campus disappearances and at least one murder, all connected to Rush Week (and that one murder connected to a nude modeling session inside the science building that had to be for the infamous “foreign investors”).
Rush Week came way late to the slasher boom and as such has been forgotten. Leave it to the maniacs at Vinegar Syndrome to find it, fix it up and then explain to us just why it has merit. One of the joys of this movie is that it springs major music surprises on you, like The Dickies showing up and a random Gregg Allman cameo as a character named Cosmo Kincaid.
There’s also some star power with Roy Thinnes as Dean Grail and Kathleen Kinmont, who was in Bride of the Re-Animator and Halloween 4 as Kelly Meeker, makes an appearance.
This movie straddles the line of giallo and slasher, not for any artistic merit, but for the m.o. of its killer, who wants to purify the college of all of the sinful women who keep taking nude modeling jobs and posing in the buff in lecture halls. What Have They Done with Your Daughters?
Director Bob Bralver is mostly known for his stunt work, but he’s directed plenty of TV — The A-Team, Riptide, Knight Rider — and also made American Ninja 5 and Midnight. You may be forgiven if you think that this resembles a TV movie, as it’s relatively bloodless, but it replaces any viscera with more nude flesh than several films — if that’s your thing. I mean, you’re reading our site so it probably is.
The Tall Grass Country Club is a gorgeous piece of heaven on Earth, but just like Amity, once a major tourist event starts happening, it doesn’t matter how many dead bodies show up. Things will proceed according to schedule. Except that instead of a great white, Tall Grass is dealing with, well, a possessed lawnmower.
I got past the Troma logo at the beginning — their cityscape and jingle have made me rage quit many a film — and am glad I did. Blades is an adorable film if your definition of adorable means that people are repeatedly torn to shreds by landscaping equipment gone wrong.
This is the kind of movie that can get away with the tagline “Just when you thought it was safe to putt.” And the closing credits set up a sequel that never came: Hedges. “Just when you thought it was safe to trim.”
Blades was written by the same man who wrote and directed Girl School Screamers, John P. Finnegan. That should give you a little fair warning of what you’re in for.
Bobbi Young AKA David DeFalco* co-wrote and stars in this movie, which was shot in the metal bars — “The Living Room” — of Province, Rhode Island. Research has shown me that Bill Conti — yes, the man who wrote the song that Rocky runs up the steps to — as well as Blu Cantrell, Combustible Edison, Deer Tick, Jeffrey Osbourne, Six Finger Satellite and Throwing Muses may come from the Renaissance City, but very few hair metal bands (and yes, I realize Vital Remains and The Body are from there, but they are very far removed from the music in this movie).
The movie is all about Bobbi killing women he picks up in nightclubs, but also video effects. It’s the kind of movie that George Lucas might say of, “Maybe you shouldn’t use so many of those transitions.”
This is the kind of movie where the budget did not include cops and emergency crews, so according to an interview from Kotaku Australia, the production got someone to actually call 911 for the end of the movie.
The article goes on to explain that the sledgehammer kill that is so brutal in this movie also nearly killed the girl in the scene doing it, as DeFalco didn’t understand that he had to hit the styrofoam head and missed his mark by 5 inches, striking the actress directly in the head with the wooden handle and knocking her out.
You know, my cousin made a Shot On Video movie once and my grandmother made us all sit down and watch it. She beamed with pride the entire time the film played, which was mostly an endless scene of a drunk old man screaming and not letting the story go on, as they had to shoot in one of his friend’s houses. Then, my cousin’s character killed his girlfriend and had sex with her, but his character had VD, so he ripped off a condom and it was filled with blood.
“I’m so proud of you,” my grandmother said.
Heavy Metal Massacre is somehow worse than that movie.
*Oh man — DeFalco was also once a pro wrestler and on his 2005 film Chaos, he had an extra scene called “Inside the Coroner’s Office: A Tour of the L.A. Coroner’s Crypt” where he walks around the mortuary and talks about Los Angeles’ most disturbing crimes with technician Michael Cormier, who later died from massive organ failure in what has been said to be a conspiracy related to the Obama administration.
On the site Awesome for Awesome’s Sake, the video is said to be “17 minutes of a greased up, shirtless Dave “The Demon” DeFalco (the writer/director of Chaos) flexing and ranting (wrestler style) about how brutal the world (and his movie) is and how much Roger Ebert sucks…in front of real dead bodies (wrapped in plastic)!”
Then, Cormier “walks us through the various crypts pointing out all sorts of stuff, like dead babies (wrapped in plastic) and dead fat people (wrapped in plastic)!”
This is followed by DeFalco and Cormier discuss their new project The Devil’s Doorway, in which their theory of how meth “opens up a doorway to another dimension allowing demons to possess these meth-heads and then these possessed speed freaks commit brutal crimes!”
Here’s the link that I found on YouTube about it. Any time I think I still can’t be stunned about movies, something amazing comes my way.
So yeah. Cormier died right around the same time as Andrew Breitbart in very much the same way. He ingested arsenic 24 to 48 hours before his death and it’s never come out as to why.
Oh, this friggin’ SOV’er . . . it’s a bizarre gem that wastes no time and is everything that the SOV porn-backed Spine strove to be — and failed. It skips the opening title cards and gives us two 30-year-old virgin teenagers making out for the first time — well, Marybeth gives herself away for the first time — on a backwoods rural road — and goes porn. Then the tits and dicks are a-floppin’ (we don’t see any penis, but you get the point). One silhouette figure in the fog later (it’s not an owl, Marybeth) and we get an ice pick in Biff Preppy’s ear and Marybeth — breasts a-flyin’ — gets another ice pick through the mouth into the tree trunk, and that’s after our black-clad killer in a beret — and no mask — gives her a quiz about dying and blood. So, you see: if you fail, you die. (And that’s an important “plot point,” so keep that under your beret, for later.)
Okay, so two kills are on the tote board. Roll the opening title cards with the not-Whitesnake metal tune about “moving violations” and “being under the gun” and “lost desires.” Is the SOVness as cheesy as the unpoofy hair metal?
Oh, hell yes. And so much more. This is a movie where, if you’re not a baptist, you’ll be forced into being a baptist. So, yeah, baptists are dying here: brutally. Luckily, the female ones wear lingerie and, once they take off the glasses and let down the hair bun — they’re “hot” as you know what. Yeah, so we think this is a bunch of adult film stars nom de plumin’ for mainstream legitimacy between the Penthouse reels.
In case you’re wondering — and if that opening kill salvo doesn’t put you wise: Fatal Exposure isn’t a repack of Dennis Devine’s SOV debut, Fatal Images (1989), although this, as with Devine’s flick, centers around cameras. But the camera isn’t haunted. But the photographer is: by Jack the Ripper.
I know. I know. Another Jack the Ripper movie? As if Christopher Lewis’s The Ripper, and Jeff Hathcock’s Night Ripper! and Peter Sasdy’s Hands of the Ripper, and Jess Franco’s (who fucks up any genre) Klaus Kinski-starring Jack the Ripper, and Lucio Fulci’s nothing-to-do-with-Jack Halloween ripoff The New York Ripper wasn’t enough . . . now we get SOV’in Jack Rippington, he the great, great grandson of the pride of White Chapel. So, Jack Jr.’s not possessed by a spirit, just a couple of f’d double helices from granddad Jack’s semen sacs.
So, what’s Rip’s (Blake Bahner, formerly of the U.S. soap Days of Our Lives) glitch? He photographs women . . . and drinks their blood, as it’s his “viagra,” if you will — so Jackie is a sort of vampire. As with this week’s review of Murderlust pinching-foretelling the serial killer exploits of Dennis “BTK” Rader, this time we’re getting a pinch of ex-race car driver and faux-photographer Christopher Wilder who used women to lure other women under the guise of “modeling” for him.
So, to than end, Jackie finds, not a new victim, but “love” with Erica — he picks her up in a cemetery; she’s “turned on” by death. She’s perfect: he uses her as bait to lure women for him to photokill. Of course, Erica (Ena O’Rourke, in her film debut; vanished shortly after) is as dumb as Marybeth who kissed the ice pick, earlier. And Erica will make — finally, after all the searching — a great incubator for Jack’s son to carry on the family’s business: making great art for: okay, you see, the real reason the original Jack the Ripper killed all those women: for his photography endeavors. Oh, and it gets weirder: Erica is a doppelganger for Jackie Rippington’s great grandmother. Calling Dr. Freud: Jack wants to oedipal grandma. Lovely. Let loose the semen sacs o’ double helices.
So, speaking of the ice picking that opened the movie: under 20-minutes in, we get a stockade decap and a gym drink tumbler blood refill. See, we told you baptists were going to die . . . in a soft-core sex slasher that ended up on Showtime’s late night “after dark” weekends all those cable-years ago. Circular saws, electrocutions, and a wide array of SOV-cheap gore, long, soft-core bedroom sex scenes padding the short running time, moonshine jugs of chloroform, a lingerie bondage scene, bubbling sheriffs, serial killers breaking the fourth wall, serial killer inner thoughts via voice overs, southern plantations that aren’t Dunsmuir Mansion but wants to be such, wooden actors (trying), and Bloody Mary drink jokes cut footloose across Alabama — with nary a banjo on anyone’s knee — ensues.
If you read our reviews for our “SOV Week” tribute, we’ve sunk pretty deep into the analog mire — but the quagmire gets quaggier via Google as you’ll find so many more SOVs from the ’80s and ’90s to overwhelm the VHS shelves of your analog mind. And this directing effort from Peter B. Good, the producer behind the death-docs Faces of Death III and IV (he made his directing debut with the 1978 sci-fi/haunted forest romp The Force on Thunder Mountain*) is one of the better SOV’ers of the ’80s that will be one of those analog scuzz’ers you’ll return to for a few more views over the years — as have I. It’s a shame this was Good’s final directing effort, as Fatal Exposure showed a lot of potential for future growth.
We found a nice, clean VHS rip on a really great, You Tube retro-VHS page, The Burial Ground 5. Enjoy!
* Yes, you know us all too well, for we have since reviewed the VHS slopper that is The Force on Thunder Mountain. Once a film title is dropped, the tape worm bores into the cortex and it must be excised by sheer QWERTY force.
Kansas cult filmmaker Donald Farmer made his first film, the short Despondent Yearning, in 1973; by 1976, he completed his sixth short, A Taste of Flesh — by those titles, we’re guessing they’re skin flicks. After Christopher Lewis single-handedly birthed the home video SOV-market by bypassing con-fest screenings, Grindhouse theaters, and Drive-Ins for one-off showings, instead to be distributed exclusively on the new “screens” created by the home video market with Blood Cult (1985), Donald Farmer was inspired to shoot his first feature-length film (90 minutes) Cannibal Hookers (1987).
As you can tell from the artwork, in conjunction with the title, the major and regional chains didn’t stock Cannibal Hookers; only the more out-of-the-way mom & pop outlets for us wee-lads with more discriminating tastes carried it, and even then, it was behind the beaded curtain at most of those outlets. While Farmer cleaned and shortened up the running time (to 60 minutes) for the impossible-to-find Demon Queen (1987), his third film, Scream Dream (1989), was his first film to receive the most wide-spread distribution — and found a slot on the main floor in the horror section. And for a wee-metal head (moi), the cheesy mixture of rock and horror of the Hard Rock Zombies and Shock ‘Em Dead variety made Scream Dream an instant rental.
Since his meager SOV ’80s beginnings, Donald Farmer has amassed another 30-plus credits, with titles such as Vampire Cop (1990) and Cannibal Cop (2017), the too-irresistible-not-to-rent Chainsaw Cheerleaders (2008), Shark Exorcist (2015) and, we’re guessing, its sequel, Bigfoot Exorcist (2021). In between, Farmer also completed two documentaries on cult film: The Bizarre World of Jess Franco (1988) and Invasion of the Scream Queens (1992), the latter which features Janus Blythe of fellow SOV’er, Spine (1986).
So, when you’re renting a film such as Cannibal Hookers, the title, in conjunction with the cover, its tagline, and a couple of film stills on the back cover of a ripped-out neck and chest is all you need to get the gist of the situation. Plot means nothing, as the copywriters opted to only tell us to be prepared for a film that is depraved, with bloodsucking terror that includes ne’er-do-well johns being sliced and diced. Of course, in the SOV greylands adrift on the boarders of the adult film industry, there’s more than likely a couple of incognito adult film actresses in the cast and more than likely — like Spine — shot by a porn company looking to move into the legit horror realms. But guess what: there’s hardly any nudity here, just like Spine. But Sheila Best, aka Tara the Southern Bell from G.L.O.W. for your wrestling fans, is pretty good as the bitchy “Carmilla” of the sorority.
Regardless of the suggestive box art, Cannibal Hookers is not the all-out slaughterhouse cross-pollination of the cannibal and vampire genres marketed, for this is a “comedy,” after all. And when you’re dealing with a movie that concerns two sorority pledges forced into being Sunset Boulevard hookers for the night, you know you’re getting a T&A comedy. Of course, the sleazy Gamma Zeta Beta sorority is a lesbian vampire coven and our two pledges are the newest flesh-eating zombie hookers (a great cult title if there ever was one) to join these ladies of the night.
The gore . . . well . . . this is a film where you see the blade coming down, the scene cuts to a scream, and a limb falls into the shot. But at least it’s all shot-in-camera practical effects (CGI blood splatter is the bane of my existence). In terms of SOVs overall, Cannibal Hoookers is a rougher VHS ride than most, one that’ll make you load up your copies of the superior Spine and Snuff Kill (1997) for one more spin.
You can view the trailer for Cannibal Hookers and learn more about Donald Farmer’s early career as he talks about the making of the film in the third episode of the SOV The True Independents web series as a You Tube sign-in. You can learn more about the full documentary at SOV Horror.com, your one-stop shop for all things horror.
Donald Farmer impressively upped his game in this story about heavy metal’s newest superstar, Michelle Shock — whose albums are in the racks next to the faux metal gods of Black Roses (1988). As with those hypnotizing rockers led by the demon-morphing Damien, Michelle Shock lords a supernatural power over her fans: a power so strong, even watching her videos has an effect on the males of the metal species. And as with Black Roses, and the guys from Holy Moses in Hard Rock Zombies (1985) before her, when Shock’s band arrives in town to put on a concert, the town rises up in protest.
Needless to say, when the rock starts, the teenagers start to disappear. And when the rumors of Michelle Shock’s (a brunette) devil worship proclivities cause the promoter to cancel the show, her manager replaces her with (a blonde) Jamie Summers (ex-Playboy Playmate Melissa Moore, who’s done her share of Jim Wynorski flicks, such as Sorority House Massacre II and Linda Blair’s Repossessed). Shock then calls forth a demon (an impressive on-a-budget full body-and-mask by Tom Savini crew member Rick Gonzales) to extract revenge on her band. We soon come to learn Michelle was actually possessed by a demon that’s been body-hoping metal singers over the years — and it now possesses Jamie to carry on the carnage.
The rock and the gore . . . well, we’ve always said Rocktober Blood (courtesy of its first and third acts, natch) is the best of the heavy metal horror flicks, and that hard fact still holds true. We’ll even go as far to say that, in a neck-to-neck race, Dennis Devine’s all female-rocking Dead Girls, crosses the finish line, first.
While it’s as campy as Cannibal Hookers, Scream Dream ditches the comedic to play as a straight horror piece — that’s helped by the familiar and experienced Moore adding a bit of thespin’ class to the SOV proceedings. And it’s kind of hard to hate a film that gives an unknown band, in this case, Rikk-O-Shay, a chance to get their hair-metal grunge tune “Ball Buster” out to a mass audience via a movie . . . that starts with a chainsaw-to-the-vagina bondage dream sequence and a blowjob-castration by demon-babe mouth.
You can view the trailer for Scream Dream as a You Tube sign in.
While there’s no online streams of Cannibal Hookers, there’s a streaming copy of Scream Dream on You Tube. You can find DVDs of both films — which are not digitally restored, but straight VHS-to-DVD rips — on a couple of different imprints specializing in cult horror films. You can find Cannibal Hookers DVDs at Amazon and Walmart, while copies of Scream Dream are available at DVD Planet.
Oh, and guess what?! The SOV-lovin’ lads at Letterboxd Funtime You Tube makes my night, as I can sit and watch Demon Queen for the first time, ever. I’m stoked! Sam the Bossman is equally stoked and he’ll be reviewing that film for our “SOV Week” blow out . . . it’s done, read it, here.
Wow, it’s good to be home again, jammin’ on a “new” Donald Farmer SOV’er. Sweet!
If you need to see another film starring Amy Lynn Baxter, the adult actress-model who posed for the inside cover of Howard Stern’s book Private Parts — who also turned up in the also Florida-shot Golfballs! . . . but lets not forget Karate Warrior 2 and Cyber Vengeance — then you’ve found your film. And if having that Penthouse Playmate isn’t enough incentive . . . if you wanted to know where Sherrie Rose, the star of Giannetto De Ross’s Cy Warrior, Sergio Martino’s American Rickshaw, the really fine Me & Will, and David A. Prior’s Relentless Justice, got her start, then you’ve found your movie.
Ugh, is this another trivia-cum-backstory heavy review with no plot information?
Nope. But there ain’t much of one to tell.
The “plot,” such as it is, concerns the usual gaggle of four dumb n’ hot college coeds out for a vacation of sexual discovery and a bit o’ Animal House-styled college revenge — in between their summer job duties at a Miami resort. Then things, as we say to wrap it up, ensues . . . such as pranks, laughs, humor that’s not too raunchy but a whole lot of groan-inducing by way of rim shot sex jokes about “crabs” and “polar bears,” people accidentally dyeing their whole body in blue, and out of shape lifeguards. The guys our nubile college quartet are teasing follow the usual ’80s comedy tropes of being a cowboy, a geek, a fat dude, and a buff jock, you know, the eclectic types who are only friends in the movies and never in real life.
And that’s pretty much it as far as the plot goes. It’s a movie about horny guys and horny girls that we stumbled upon by way of USA’s Up All Night weekend-overnight film blocks. So collect your empty soda and popcorn paraphernalia on your way out.
Now, onto the more interesting film soundtrack.
So, how did two ex-ELO members — bassist Kelly Groucutt and violinist Mik Kaminski — become involved in an ’80s T&A comedy?
Well, Peter Kuys, who was Kelly Groucutt’s executive producer for his solo album, Kelly (1982), and the debut album, Beyond the Dream (1991), by his band OrKestra, served as the soundtrack consultant for Summer Job. Teen comedies were a hot commodity at the time, so Kuys seen it as a great way to promote the band, convincing Groucutt and company to provide six tracks from the album to the film (“Some Kind Of Magic,” “Bring On The Dancing Girls,” “Hold On To Love,” “Don’t Give Up,” “Don’t Turn Away,” and “Rock & Roll Fever”). The band also appears towards the end of the film as a band hired to play at a pool party (to promote the single “Some Kind of Magic”). A Croucutt solo tune, “Old Rock & Roller,” also appears in the film.
A solo bound Jack Green — a Scottish musician who served as the bassist in classic rockers T.Rex and the Rolling Stones-related the Pretty Things — provides four more songs with “Sweet Lover,” “Win Your Love,” “Another Day, Another Dollar,” and “I Really Love Your Money,” which appear on his third RCA solo album, Mystique (1983). (Several of Green’s tunes also appears in the Lynn Redgrave-fronted low-budget comedy-horror, Midnight (1989), which also appeared on his forth album, Latest Game (1986). Members of Rainbow — with whom Green briefly toured as their bassist — guested on Green’s albums, most notably, Ritchie Blackmore.)
Keyboardist Ike Stubblefield, who also appears on the soundtrack with four songs, served as a Motown studio and touring keyboardist for their artist roster throughout the ’60s and ’70s, as well as touring and recording with Eric Clapton.
Okay, enough soundtrack trivia, let’s back to the movie.
Director Paul Madden made his feature film debut with the only other film of his we really care about, Medium Rare (1987), since it stars a pre-Rocky Burt Young . . . and Brad Dourif (!) . . . and Sy Richardson (!!). If you want a movie about pet poodles dying by microwave (it’s a comedy, after all!), then you found your movie. Writer Ralph Gaby Wilson gave us one more flick, again, the only one we care about since it’s a ’70s TV movie starring Yvette Mimieux, CBS-TV’s Outside Chance (1978).
You can watch the full movie on You Tube and enjoy the complete soundtrack on You Tube.
Oh, and fans of the old USA Network programming of the ’80s may want to pop on over to our “Drive-In Friday: USA’s Night Flight . . . Night!” featurette as we discuss the USA-ran films Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, Liquid Sky, The Brain, and Kentucky Fried Movie. Fans of ’80s comedies may also want to surf on over to our “Exploring: ’80s Comedies” feature.
About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.
Bono Zorro is a famous music producer, or so this movie tells us, but most of the time he’s bringing new ladies into his apartment which is under the control of the proto-Alexa unit named Sensual Environment Control System. Yes, she’s called SEXY and she’s definitely a she. That’s because she’s in love with Bono and she’ll murder every other band aid, groupie and woman in his life to keep him.
This sounds like it could be a very exciting movie but this thing is the very definition of plodding and for some reason, I kind of love that it’s so slow and pointless, a movie where models just lounge around and the dialogue sounds like the first time anyone has ever seen the script.
Anyways, this movie features a woman being killed by a laser to the nipples, another burned by an acid shower and yet one more woman finding her doom at the bristles of an electric toothbrush before SEXY somehow possesses Bono and makes him drown his girlfriend in the hot tub, which is the most 80s way to die.
SEXY is also kind of like Synergy from JEM because she can manifest herself as a body-painted woman and run people over with her car. I don’t think Synergy ever did that, but trust me, it’s a good comparison.
Also: SEXY could be CECS and stand for Central Environment Control System. This movie is so brain-destroying that either answer is correct and you know, this movie is such a mess that you can just sit back and enjoy it. I mean, a naked woman who looks like she has makeup out of Liquid Sky kills and kills and kills in-between ladies taking bubble baths and having BDSM finger-licking sessions that are grosser than watching Peter Hooten eat the Colonel’s eleven secret herbs and spices in Night Killer.
Obviously, this movie has my highest recommendation.
Well, as with the previously-reviewed-this-week Corey Feldman-fronted Round Trip to Heaven, this Down Under car flick is a doublesploitation whammy: we all know what makes a carsploitation movie . . . but what makes a teensploitation movie, now that’s the question.
Well, for me, it’s when your film has 30-year-old teenagers — in this case, our stars of Matt Lattanzi, Loryn Locklin, Grant Heslov, and Billy Morrissette (Severed Ties!), who were 30 and 21, 26, 27, respectively — and no matter the filmmaker’s intentions — you’ve made a teensplotation movie. Yes, even when your film is loaded with classic cars, hot-rods, and muscle cars and qualifies it as a carsploitation movie.
The filmmaker in this case . . . isn’t the usual, expected filmmaker. No, it’s not Albert Pyun. It’s not David DeCoteau. It’s not Fred Olen Ray.
It’s Stephens Sommers.
Yes. The same Stephen Sommers — in his writing and directing debut — known as the writer, director, and producer behind The Mummy, The Scorpion King, and G.I Joe franchises. Meanwhile, actor Grant Heslov became a producing partner with George Clooney and received four Oscar nods and one win (2012’s Argo).
As with the countless teen movies dating back to the ’50s, we have a gaggle of teens who — in addition to not being teenagers and are far more intelligent and resourceful than your typical, goofy teenagers (at least when I was in school) — work together in the ‘ol “Let’s save the teen center, gang!” plot of old. Only this time: it’s the ol’ “save the school” plot.
Of course, the school will be saved by resident “bad boy” Dylan (Matt Lattanzi of Xanadu and My Tutor) who sidelines between the reading, writing, and arithmetic as an illegal street racer. Dylan convinces the school’s resident goody two-shoes (Loryn Locklin, in her acting debut; her next was the inane Jim Belushi comedy Taking Care of Business) to bet the $3000 already raised on an illegal race he knows he can win — and turn that 3-grand into the needed 200-grand to save the school.
That’s right. He doesn’t win.
Now, the adults — school board administrators, mind you — are sanctioning an illegal, winner-take-all road race, with Dylan against the town legend. You know, just like any school board would handle a funding crunch that’s closing a school.
Look, the proceedings are cliched and utterly unbelievable. The teens don’t behave like teens (as in my Bruno Kirby guilty pleasure with the high school politics comedy, 1978’s Almost Summer) and the adults don’t carry themselves as roll models (of which Almost Summer had none, well, except for the adult-as-teens actors). But we have M. Emmett Walsh (who runs the local gambling syndicate backing the races) and Geoffrey Lewis (our principal) as the “responsible” adults, Loryn Locklin looks great in saddle shoes, there’s no cheese in thespin’ department, the driving and stunts (an old Chevy jumps through the school’s football field goalposts in a highlight) are top notch, and the ’50s and ’60s tunes (Elvis, Del Shannon, the Platters, Danny and the Juniors; but Tangerine Dream scores) give this homage to Sommers’s old hometown days of growing up in St. Cloud, Minnesota (where this was shot), a nice retro-juvenile delinquency flick of the ’50s feel — which is the whole point of the movie. And a fun movie to watch.
Sure, even at a production budget at $800,000, this car flick still bombed in the U.S., but cleaned up in the overseas markets — especially in Australia — where it made $7 million, courtesy of Matt Lattanzi then being the first husband of singer-actress Olivia Newton John. Meanwhile, in the U.S., it was HBO and Cinemax to the rescue, turning it into a cult classic.
Oh, and by the way, don’t confuse Catch Me If You Can with the other Aussie car flick we’ve reviewed, Freedom, which stars Matt Lattazni lookalike Jon Blake. That’s a whole other, carsploitation movie (and carries the soundalike “grab it while you can” tagline on its one-sheets).
We had this writing and directing debut by Stephen Sommers on our review backburners for quite a while (sorry, Steve) and never managed to fit it into our two “Fast and Furious” weeks of reviews (HERE and HERE) of, well, Carsploitation films. We’re also guilty of passing over Catch Me If You Can (again, sorry, Steve) as part of our “Exploring” tribute to the film soundtracks of Tangerine Dream. So, we do get them, eventually.
You can stream this really great car flick on Vudu without commercials. But we found a copy on You Tube. As you can read from the You Tube upload comments, everyone loves this movie. Why it didn’t click with theater audiences and turn Matt into the next Tom Cruise is anyone’s guess. So goes the power of HBO and Cinemax endlessly replaying movies back in the ’80s.
Scarlet Fry — Walter Ruether — was 19 when he wrote, directed and starred in this anthology movie. It has Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby’s Got Back” in the middle of a movie that feels nu metal before that was a thing, which kind of wildly non matchy-matchy.
Somehow, they got six stories into twenty-six minutes, none of them all that good. But hey, Scarlet Fry tried. I mean, as much as a tale where a lumberjack eats a human being and the title is “Manwich.”
Look, I’m all for shot on video junk but even I have my limits. You may feel differently and I’d love to hear what people love about this film, because it even got a twenty-fifth anniversary release on DVD.
This feels like the kind of movie that sat on the shelves of a video store just waiting to surprise attack people that rented it and somehow thought that it was a real movie. I mean, it is a real movie in the thought that it was sold and has credits and appears to be a movie. But you know what I’m saying.