It’s a Complex World (1991)

Uh-oh. The studio copywriters are name dropping hit films on the VHS sleeves again. This can’t be good. Wayne’s World? This is Spinal Tap? The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Say what? Bill & Ted’ s Excellent Adventure? The Blues Brothers? Repo Man? Monty friggin’ Python? Surely, you jest, ye stoned public relations copywriter.

Yeah, I fear this is going be Zoo Radio all over again, with its claims of “. . . if you like Porky’s and Animal House. . . .” Yeah, you better strap in, Elwood. This review is going off the friggin’ rails, B&S About Movies style! It’s time for everything you wanted to know about It’s a Complex World . . . but were afraid to ask. . . .

VHS image courtesy of mcknight138/eBay

So, did you know there were two rock ‘n’ roll flicks shot in Providence, Rhode Island? True story.

The first was A Matter of Degrees (1990)—a movie that, courtesy of the oft-seen Prism Video imprint (and Atlantic Records involvement in its production), received decent distribution and was somewhat easy to find on home video shelves. We say “somewhat” because, even with multiple (in my case, three) mom n’ pop video store memberships stuffed in the wallet (and yes, three more from the mega and regional chains of Blockbuster Video, 10,0001 Monster Video, and Video Ave.), most of us didn’t see that beloved (but failed) college radio drama as a rental during its initial year of release—but as an alt-rock artifact excavated by-chance during one of our triangulating-by-phone book home video store excursions on the asphalt rivers. (I eventually came to score two used copies: one I kept; the other was birthday-gifted—along with a CD copy of the soundtrack.)

By then, that John Doe-starring flick (backed by the college rock sounds of Firehose and Miracle Legion) was a forgotten, dusty analog tchotchke stuffed on the shelf of an out-of-way video store sandwiched between a Target and smoothie joint that I happened upon that was having a going-out-business sale. To say I was the proverbial “kid in the candy store” that day is an understatement: I also scored copies of the “No False Metal” classics (but saw them as multiple-rentals) of Hard Rock Zombies, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, Rocktober Blood, Shock ‘em Dead, and Terror on Tour—and a copy of the never-seen, second “rock” film shot in Providence: It’s a Complex World.

As with that first Providence-shot flick, It’s a Complex World was a highly coveted rock ‘n’ roll tale lost in a morass of production and distribution snafus; a highly-sought after analog rumored-fable by VHS loving rock dogs (such as myself). Did this movie really exist, or was this another Rock ‘N’ Roll Hotel (1983): just another 3/4” inch tease that was never finished, never made it to home video shelves, and never aired on cable courtesy of USA Network (where all VHS B-Movie schlock went to die) and HBO?

Sadly, this “Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel” fable (okay, it’s a nightclub, but you get the idea) was a rock joint rife with anticipation that, once found, was a letdown (at least for me; some, in other quarters, love it . . . and so it goes).

Instead of those previously mentioned VHS rock ditties that lent themselves to multiple viewings (add The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Cannon’s wacked rock fable, The Apple, and Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise to the list), we ended up with another musical-snoozer ala Playing for Keeps, Scenes from the Goldmine, and Suffering Bastards (all rock club shenanigans flicks). Alas, I didn’t “check-in” to the FM Hilton: this was another Zoo Radio. I wasn’t staying at the hotel Breaking Glass: this was another piss-stained motel Splitz (1984; Robin Johnson from Times Square fronting an all-girl band) . . . or Joey (1985; about the comeback of faux ‘60s rocker Joey King and the Delsonics) or Immortal (1998; boring North Carolina rock-vampire horror). You know what I mean: Allan Moyle’s Pump Up the Volume (1990) was pirate radio gold; Ferd Sebastian’s On the Air Live with Captain Midnight (1979) was a dented, tarnished pewter ale stein crusted in barnacles. . . .

Snork—yes, that’s me yawning; shocking awake to a VCR blue screen, shaking the popcorn dust from my t-shirt and going to take a piss. . . .

Sorry, no offense is intended to the denizens of Providence who have (justified) fond memories of the film’s production and local theatre screenings. For me, It’s a Complex World was one of those chipped VHS Bric-à-bracs that you watch once for the anticipated-curiosity value—fooled into hoping you’re getting an inversion of Allan Arkush’s rock club flick, Get Crazy—and it’s shelved back into the collection as a dust magnet for the next pass of the Swiffer.

Yeah, uh, sorry, Mr. Copywriter. For this ain’t no Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.

Courtesy of Dangerous Minds.net

So, how did this movie come into being . . . and where did it go wrong?

Well, like most indie movies: out of desperation to make “something.” And it took five cooks to clankin’ the pasta pots. Five writers: screenwriter Dennis Maloney, along with director Jim Wolpaw, club owner Rich Lupo, producer Geoff Adams, and actor-musician-star Stanley Matis each offering their own ingredients to an all-too spicy, starchy pot. And the film had an additional, fifth producer, Charles Thompson, who probably dropped some bardin’ as well.

Anyway, in 1987, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, a legendary, real life Providence rock club, was in danger of closing (to make way for a condo development). So owner Rich Lupo came up with an idea: let’s make a movie to commemorate the club’s demise and trash the joint!

And as luck would have it: Lupo’s head bartender and club manager, his ex-Brown University roommate, Jim Wolpaw, was a budding filmmaker who received a “Best Documentary, Short Subjects” Oscar nomination for his 1986 short Keats and His Nightingale: A Blind Date (several of his shorts and documentaries have since won prizes at a dozen film festivals worldwide). So the duo organized a benefit concert in July of 1987, booked the Young Adults, filmed it (thus creating their own, original stock footage; take that, Roger Corman!), then scripted “a plot” around the last night shenanigans of a club closing (just like Allan Arkush’s earlier Get Crazy from 1983 commemorating the closing of NYC’s Fillmore East).

The completed film—which took two-and-a-half months to shoot in 1987, then went through two years of post-production, reshoots, and legal wrangling—had an unprecedented four month run at Providence’s Cable Car Theatre, along with a two-month run in Boston and a one week run in New York City—garnering good reviews from the city’s local film critics.

Then its planned, national theatrical distribution with Hemdale (The Who’s Tommy, Escape from the Bronx, Turkey Shoot, River’s Edge, The Terminator, back-to-back Academy Award winners Platoon and The Last Emperor, The Terminator) went sour. While Wolpaw won the case and received a miniscule settlement, the film’s chances for a national release were over.

At that point, the film was turned over to Prism for a home video release. A film that would have programmed nicely amid the USA Network’s “Night Flight” rock programming block alongside Breaking Glass and Ladies and Gentleman: The Fabulous Stains, wasn’t forthcoming—and no HBO or Showtime showings, either. The last public theatre showing of the film was a 20th anniversary screening in 2010 on November 5 and 6 (four sold out showings) for a charity event held at Cable Car Theatre (Carolyn Forest for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation and in the name of producer Charlie Thompson for Advocates in Action). At that point, Wolpaw vanity-pressed a small lot of DVDs (with two cuts of the film; the rough cut and the video/theatrical cut) for sale through a since defunct website (that also benefited the same charities). But that was ten years ago and those limited-run DVDs are long since out of print.

Courtesy of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame

For years, it was believed that (in the VHS wastelands outside of Providence, natch) the Young Adults were a faux band scripted for the movie; it turned out they were a real band, real enough that—it’s been said in the annals of Young Adults wikidom—at one time TV producer Lorne Michaels had the Rhode Island rock hopefuls on the short-list to be the house band for Saturday Night Live. Other YA factoids: future Talking Heads founder, David Byrne, auditioned for them. And Charles Rocket, who became a Saturday Night Live cast members and starred in the Farrelly’s Dumb and Dumber, was the lead singer in an early ’70s embryonic version of the Young Adults, the Fabulous Motels. And director Jim Wolpaw and the Young Adults worked together before: Showtime aired their 1978 half-hour documentary, Cobra Snake For A Necktie, with the band backing rock ‘n’ roll legend Bo Diddley. The nine-day sold-out stint was recorded on the Heartbreak’s stage during Diddley’s tour for his 1974 album, Big Bad Bo. (Of course it’s on You Tube! Isn’t everything on You Tube?)

Based on the Young Adults wacked out stage wares and the cheeky brand of Catskills-vaudevillian shtick by comically-dubbed co-lead singers Ruby Cheeks and Sport Fisher, it’s easy to believe that SNL rock-factoid. In fact, comparing the Young Adults to the ’70s San Francisco-era, pre-MTV stardom days of Fee Waybill and the Tubes is not far off the mark. One may say, because of the costuming, Adam and the Ants; but the Ants never recorded songs like “Christmas in Japan in July,” “Do the Heimlich,” “I Wanna Throw Up in the Back of a Limo-sine,” “Kill Yourself,” and “Meat Rampage,” did they? The Young Adults’ lone indie album recorded live at Lupo’s, 1987’s Helping Others, served as the film’s pseudo-soundtrack. Sadly, unlike with A Matter of Degrees, there was never an official soundtrack released to also showcase the music of the also appearing Beat Legends, Roomful of Blues, and Stanley Matis.

The plot, such as it is (less narrative story and more a series of variety show-styled vignettes), is another one of those dads-disappointed-with-his-rock-son flicks. In this case, Jeff Burgess is the manager of a Providence rock joint, The Heartbreak Hotel. A disappointment to his conservative, ex-CIA agent father-cum-Senator now running for the Presidency, Robert Burgess feels his son’s rock club will negatively affect his presidential campaign ambitions. (Hey, isn’t that the plot of 2003’s Malibu’s Most Wanted starring Jamie Kennedy?) So the future “Mr. President” hires revolutionaries to stage a terrorist bombing at the club . . . and his son dying in the chaos will garner him the sympathy vote. That’s politics.

Meanwhile, Providence’s corrupt Mayor (Rich Lupo himself), unaware that the Senator has his own nefarious plans, hires a Civil War-obsessed biker gang (led by wrestling legend Captain Lou Albano; the rock n’ wrestling flick Body Slam) to bust up the club and drive it out of business for a land deal. That’s politics.

Then there’s the disenfranchised Morris Brock (Providence comedian-musician Stanley Matis), an angry, disillusioned geeky singer of angry folk songs who desperately wants to get out from under his successful dead brother’s shadow. So he joins up with the terrorists. That’s proving those parents wrong—even if you gotta blow up the joint “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” style.

Hey! Elvis isn’t going to let his namesake rock club be destroyed! So, from beyond the grave (by voice only; he’s not actually in the film, like in Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance; he doesn’t show up like Hendrix did in the the doppelganger Rock ‘N’ Roll Hotel) “The King” reaches out by phone to Beatlegends, a Beatles tribute band on the bill, and discloses some secrets about John Lennon—and warnings of what’s about to happen to the club.

The rock ‘n’ roll is also provided by blues rockers NRBQ (“12 Bar Blues” and their new wave radio hit “Me and the Boys” appear in the film), who do coke in the bathroom (they also appeared on the soundtracks to Tuff Turf and Sean S. Cunningham’s Spring Break). Also appearing on screen and the “soundtrack” are the New England bands (why Providence’s rock denizens love this movie) Roomful of Blues and Beat Legends. And get this: New Jersey neighbors the Smithereens (appeared on the soundtrack to Albert Pyun’s 1987 juvenile delinquency flick Dangerously Close with “Blood and Roses”) worked as extras getting snookered at the bar (but none of their songs are in the film).

VHS image courtesy of mcknight138/eBay

And proving that all actors have to start somewhere: Peter Gerty and Becca Lish, who starred as part of Lou Albano’s biker gang, are still thespin’ in 2020. You’ve seen Gerty as a regular and guest star in Dick Wolf’s NBC-TV productions Homicide: Life on the Street and the Law & Order franchise. HBO and Showtime subscribers seen him as a cast member on The Wire and Brotherhood, and most recently on Ray Donovan (starring Liev Schreiber), but you’ll definitely remember Gerty as Mall Security Chief Brooks from Paul Mart: Mall Cop among his hundred-plus credits. Providence-based actor Becca Lish got her start in A Matter of Degrees and worked her way up to recent roles in TV’s Law & Order, Younger, and the rebooted Murphy Brown, in addition to voice work on several Disney series.

Cinematographer Denis Maloney is also still going strong in 2020; among his hundred-plus credits are the Witchcraft series (based on the 1988 original; remember the witch with six-breasts? Or was it eight!), Cyber Bandits (1995; Adam Ant), Liberty Stands Still (2002; Wesley Snipes), the Farrelly Brother’s There’s Something About Mary, as well as several, recent Lifetime movies (none with our beloved Eric Roberts, at least not yet!).

The Young Adults’ Ruby Cheeks went on to have a cameo in the Farrelly Brothers’ later Rhode Island-based picture, Jim Carrey’s Me, Myself and Irene.

. . . Now, let’s clear up the Seinfeld rumors that one of “George Costanza’s bosses” appeared in the film: it’s true! Daniel von Bargen (Mr. Kruger from Kruger Industrial Smoothing) stars as the terrorist group’s leader, Malcom.

Say what? There’s no freebie online VHS rips? Oh, well. And since those 2010 DVDs are out-of-print and there’s no official streams (not even as a with-ads stream on TubiTV?), all we have to share with you are the trailer, along with the opening title credits sequence and a clip of the Young Adults on stage in the film.

Ugh, this really is Rock ‘N’ Roll Hotel all over again! When will we ever see the full film?

You can learn more about the catalog of the Young Adults on their Discogs page and a wealth of their tunes are preserved on the You Tube page of Flamingo Land. We’ve also found three of Stanley Matis’s “geek folk” tunes: “New Jersey” (which he performed in the film), and three later tunes: “Buster Christ,” “Empire Review,” and “Frugal Duck.” And the Roomful of Blues album that I remember the most—that got some notice on the more adventurous new wave-oriented radio stations—was their second album, 1979’s Let’s Have a Party, which is on You Tube. (Remember Jack Mack and the Heart Attack in Tuff Turf? Well, it’s cool like that.) You can also learn more about the Rhode Island music scene via the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame You Tube page and website.

Forget Cleveland! Providence Rocks!

Oh, and since It’s a Complex World (somewhat) qualifies as a Box Office Failure, be sure to check out our recent, week long February tribute week to “Box Office Failures.” You need more rock bands flicks? Then check out our “Ten Bands Made Up for Movies (and a whole lot more)” featurette.

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

Special thanks to Dangerous Minds.net, Dr. Bristol’s Prescription blog, Providence Daily Dose, Providence Monthly Online, Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, and Spectacle Theatre NY for their efforts in preserving this rock flick obscurity, which assisted in the preparation of this review.

Showdown In Little Tokyo (1991)

Mark Lester knows exactly what you want and gives it to you. Let me set a scene in this film for you: Brandon Lee, dressed in a natty suit, joins Dolph Lungren — who is dressed as if he walked straight off the set of a Data East beat ’em up —  to walk into a bar where old men are eating sushi off of nude models while two slightly less nude women fight sumo style atop tables. Meanwhile, on a stage that looks like the Fortress of Solitude, Tia Carrere sings “Slow Hand.”

To top that off, there’s a scene where evil Iron Claw Yakuza boss Funekei Yoshida (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) kills Angel by cutting her head off while engaging in foreplay as his underlings watch. And when they find her headless body? Yep. That’s the church from Prince of Darkness.

No movie has had meaner bad guys more worthy of being killed by two cooler cops. You have Chris Kenner (Dolph Lundgren), an American raised in Japan, teaming with Japanese/America Johnny Murata (Brandon Lee). While they hate one another at first, they soon become great partners and murder everyone who gets in their way to solve the case.

There’s also a bonkers scene where Kenner rescues Tia’s character from committing seppuku by tackling her through a plate glass window. There is no subtlety here.

Somehow, the Iron Claw has united the Crips, the Mexican gangs and the Hell’s Angels. And if you wondered, where is Professor Toru Tanaka? He’s right here.

This is a movie self-aware enough to have Brandon Lee’s character say, “You have the biggest dick I’ve ever seen on a man,” while also having the most over the top action sequences to ever be released straight to the shelves of your local video store and a body count of 58.

After being disappointed by Warner Brothers taking over this film and cutting eleven minutes, Lester started to finance and sell his movies himself to keep control over them. Good for him.

Pesadilla Fatale (1991)

Tatiana — a Mexican singer and actress who came to my attention for her magnificent rendition of “Chicos” in Vacation of Terror 2 — also made this film, where she plays a blind woman named Marisol whose father has been killed. Even worse, the killer is now after her.

Directed by René Cardona III (who made the original Vacation of Terror), this film features a killer with a Freddy-like glove of knives. He (or she) nearly kills Marisol with it in the beginning and continually uses it to get closer and closer to taking our heroine out.

There’s a lot of Marisol acting like she can’t see and stumbling around while the knife-gloved killer tries to end her life. She’s so perky and innocent and nice that you’ll be rooting for her — and this film — no matter what.

You can watch this on YouTube.

La Llorona (1991)

I found this one on Tubi and it’s directed by Cesar Miguel Rondon. Honestly, there’s not much info on this one, which came out 28 years before The Curse of La Llorona.

It’s shot on video and looks like a telenovela — not a bad thing — and concerns a fishing village named La Vela. There, Ismael lives with his wife Cayita and their son, but his weakness as a man finds him in bed with Carmelina, who has the power of witchcraft.

Not a single one of the three featured actors in this movie claim it on their IMDB pages. You have to love this simple description that Pongalo gives to this movie, totally spoiling so much of it: “One day, Ismael decides to return to the side of his wife and son. Carmelina invokes her powers and begins her revenge … Ismael dies.”

Whew. This isn’t the worst movie I’ve watched as of late, but it’s close.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Vacaciones de Terror 2 (1991)

I was wondering if I could love the sequel as much as the original and I am here to tell you that I love this movie more than is humanly possible. Vacaciones de Terror is fun. The sequel, that also has the added title Diabolical Birthday? It might be the best movie I’ve watched this year.

The niece’s boyfriend from the first vacation — Julio (Pedro Fernández — is in his own adventure, helping the daughter of horror movie producer Roberto Mondragon (Joaquin Cordero, who was in Dr. Satan and El Gato) celebrate her birthday. Of course, the witch from the first movie and comes back, gets split in half and become a lizard-like monster while possessing everyone through an evil birthday cake that bleeds rivers of blood.

What would make this movie better? What if Mexican pop star Tatiana shows up and has a musical number? Yes, this happens. It makes the movie so much better than it has any right to be.

Pedro Galindo III took over the director’s chair from Rene Cardona III and honestly, he knocks it way out of the park. I mean, the witch is oozing sores all over the place and launching fireballs at people at a kid’s birthday party on Halloween while a longhaired singer and another singer do battle against her.

The moment that Tatianna — playing Mayra Mondragon — sings the song “Chicos,” I lost my mind. Seriously, my dog is a chihuahua and I think he must have some instinctive Mexican heritage because every single time I play this song — and trust, I’ve watched this movie double digits in the last few weeks — he goes absolutely loco. Watch it for yourself.

There’s also a moment where Studio Mondragon has a Cocktail poster up and you wonder, “In the strange Mexican universe that is this film, did Roberto Mondragon produce a Tom Cruise movie? Or is so unprofessional that he has a poster of a movie he didn’t make up in his studio?”

Have you ever watched Troll 2 and wished, “I wish someone made this in Spanish and added musical numbers, but also crazier special effects and strange Mexican sorcery and baby dolls?” Have I got amazing news for you. This movie has all of that and so much more.

I went into Mexican Horror Week with the hopes of enjoying some films. I have somehow discovered a movie that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Dolly Dearest (1991)

Ed Gale played both Chuckie and Dolly Dearest. Knowing this fact has not helped me at all in my life, but perhaps it will bring better fortune to you.

Americans Elliot and Marilyn Wade (Sam Bottoms and Denise Crosby) take their kids Jessica and Jimmy (Candace Huston and Chris Demetral) to Mexico where father is about to run the doll factory, because that’s how things go in 1990’s direct to video — yes, it played one small theater run — movies.

Jessica soon bonds with Dolly Dearest and accidents start claiming the lives of everyone in the house. This is the kind of movie where an entire doll factory must be blown up to protect a child. That would be the type of movie that I completely endorse.

I’m also totally for any movie that features Rip Torn as an archaeologist who just spews exposition.

Dolly Dearest was directed by Maria Lease, who went from acting in movies like Love Camp 7 and Dracula vs. Frankenstein to being a script supervisor, editor, writer and director.

This movie is completely ridiculous, like some strange mash-up of Demonoid with Child’s Play. That’s the kind of magical thinking that we need more of.

You can finally get this on blu ray from Vinegar Syndrome.

Hook (1991)

Sure, Steven Spielberg directed this movie, but it was developed by James V. Hart (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and the man who hoped that he would direct it, Nick Castle. Yes, the same person who played Michael Meyers. Instead of this movie, he’d direct Dennis the Menace and get a story credit.

Seriously, let me blow your mind. Nick Castle also directed Major Payne and Mr. Wrong, a movie all about Ellen DeGeneres having bad luck dating men.

I’m the wrong person to discuss this movie, as I’ve never enjoyed it. My hatred for Robin Williams is pretty well known. Julia Roberts being involved makes this a double threat to my sanity.

But Sam, Phil Collins is in it, I hear you say. What, no one said that? Am I hearing voices again?

Spielberg has mentioned several times how much he dislikes this movie, feeling that he had no real feel for the story beyond the start of the story and that he just made the movie bigger and more colorful to make up for his insecurity with making the film. He was happy that he made it, because it allowed him to become friends with Williams.

Becca absolutely loves this movie, remembering exactly where she saw it as a kid and how many times she rented it. I don’t say anything when we watch it, because it makes her happy and really, that’s what being in a relationship is all about.

Vice Academy 3 (1991)

The girls of Vice Academy are back again. Linnea Quigley’s Didi gets may be gone and Ginger Lynn’s Holly is in prison, but there’s a whole new environmental issue to deal with and the threat of Malathion (Julia Parton, who did many an adult magazine photoshoot and is the cpusin of Dolly), who is out to ruin Earth Day — a holiday created by a murdered (for real).

Luckily, Didi’s little sister Candy (Elizabeth Kaitan, Robin from Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood) has joined the force. Jayne Hamil does not appear as Devonshire with Jordana Capra taking over the role.

I watched all three of these movies one after the other and my brain is completely mush. Thank you, RIck Sloane.

You can watch this on Tubi or grab the Vinegar Syndrome box set and give good taste the middle finger.

Demons 3 (1991)

Hitcher In the DarkNightmare Beach.The Man from Deep River. Eaten Alive! Cannibal Ferox. Ghosthouse. Iron Master. And throw in even more — EyeballSpasmo, OrgasmoSo Sweet…So Perverse and A Quiet Place to Kill. Man, I love Umberto Lenzi and his films. I didn’t even mention his crime films!

Originally known as Black Demons, this was Lenzi’s last horror movie. In interviews, he’d claim it as one of his favorite films, but felt it was ruined by the lack of budget and acting.

Three American college students, Dick (Joe Balogh, Hitcher In the Dark), his sister Jessica and her South African boyfriend Kevin (Keith Van Hoven, The House of Clocks) are on vacation in Brazil when Dick attends a voodoo ceremony and suddenly gains frightening new powers.

Those powers manifest themselves when they end up in a plantation outside of Rio and Dick mistakingly raises six slaves from the dead as zombies, who start killing everyone in sight, including doing some Fulci-esque eyeball damage.

Lenzi intended Demoni 3 to be called Black Demons, and he did not like it when the film was later retitled to make it seem like it was part of Lamberto Bava’s Demons series. To make matters even more confusing, Bava directed a 1988 made-for-TV movie called The Ogre that was released in the U.S. as Demons III: The Ogre. And to top all of that off, Michele Soavi’s film The Church was originally going to be Demons 3.

Sound confusing? Let Joe Bob Briggs clear it up for you.

Highway to Hell (1991)

Ate de Jong directed a film you may know: Drop Dead Fred. He followed that up with this Brian Helgeland-written film. Both of these gentlemen have gone on to some amazing things in their careers. Perhaps they don’t recall making a movie about a road to Hades all that fondly. Who knows?

Me, I appreciate any movie that has Satanic cops and appearances from Lita Ford, Gilbert Gottfried as Hitler and nearly the entire Stiller family (Ben, Amy and their parents, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara). It’s kind of like Mad Max in Hell, with diners aplenty and Chad Lowe.

Charlie Sykes (Lowe) and Rachel Clark (Kristy Swanson) run away to elope in the capital of sin on Earth, Las Vegas. On the way, they ignore the warnings of a gas station attendant named Sam (Richard Farnsworth, MiseryThe Straight Story) who tells them that an abandoned backroad is really the road to Hell.

Rachel gets kidnapped by Sgt. Bedlam the Hellcop (C.J. Graham, who played Jason in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives), but Sam gives Charlie a shotgun and a car that will help him in Hell.

Charlie soon battles a motorcycle gang led by Royce (Adam Storke, who was Larry Underwood in The Stand and Julia Roberts’ love interest in Mystic Pizza) and meets a repairman named Beezle (Patrick Bergin, who also has Julia Roberts experience, as he was her antagonist in Sleeping With the Enemy) whose kid Adam sneaks along for the ride along with Charlie’s dog Ben.

What follows are races from Hell to Earth, a revelation as to who Satan really is, Kevin Peter Hall (who played the Predator and Harry from Harry and the Hendersons) as Charon the boatman, Pamela Gidley (Cherry 2000 herself!) showing up, nitro jumps, effects from Randall William Cook (who worked on two of The Gate films and was I, Madman) and Steve Johnson (whose credits include PredatorScooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Blade II and being married for some time to Linnea Quigley).

You can watch this on Amazon Prime.