Cyber Monday: Project Shadowchaser Trilogy

Frank Zagarino dies hard!

Cinemasochism: Black Mangue (2008)

Braindead zombies from Brazil!

The Gweilo Dojo: Furious (1984)

Simon Rhee's bizarre kung fu epic!

Adrenaline Shot: Fire, Ice and Dynamite (1990)

Willy Bogner and Roger Moore stuntfest!

Sci-Fried Theater: Dead Mountaineer's Hotel (1979)

Surreal Russian neo-noir detective epic!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Though it may seem otherwise, we are here to praise Caesar, not to bury him. Even the most cunning of cinematic minds have their off days. Look at Dario Argento’s career post 1987! Goddamn, did he fall down and hit his head, hard, damaging the no-doubt chemically enhanced area of his cerebrum that held his unique talent? Until Argento donates his brain to science, we may never know. Nashy, fortunately, never fell off the same ladder. Just a stepstool.

Arguably, Paul Naschy’s career really didn’t hit its stride until 1972 with COUNT DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE and DR. JEKYLL VS. THE WOLFMAN. After making the classic THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN (1968), Naschy seemed to stumble a bit before getting the mofo mojo back (uuummmm, just what the hell were they smoking when they made ASSIGNMENT TERROR, exactly?). One of those stumblings is a film that had potential but missed the mark in exactly the same way the lead character misses the trapeze, plummeting to a future filled with whiskey and hookers. Damn, if he was American, he could have played the blues for a living!

In the moral void of the early ‘70s Picadilly Circus, an unseen person picks up a hooker, following her back to her room. While climbing the stairs a little girl says hello to the woman. Once in the room, the hooker slowly strips in total silence. One piece of clothing at a time. Suddenly a knife flashes in a gloved hand and we see the knife penetrate flesh. The hooker lies dead, a bloody stain across her torso. As the person leaves the room, slowly walking down the squeaking stairs, the little girl watches the person leave.

Sittin' on a hooker's couch drinkin' Vat 69...
The kind of class usually reserved for

a Billy Dee Williams commercial.
This is going to be great! Hitchcock-esque use of silence, a great bit of suspense focusing on the killer’s feet walking slowly down the squeaking stairs towards the child. Set in a sleazy, dangerous vision of London as nothing but a thriving nest of seedy sex shows, prostitutes who throw themselves at the nearest cripple, booze-filled dives populated by knife-wielding thugs, SEVEN CORPSES sets itself up for success. Then we are introduced to Peter Dockerman, and it’s all down hill from there. Peter is an ex-circus performer who had a career-ending accident (shown as a shot of an empty trapeze and a second shot of Naschy rolling around in tights holding his knee). Now a bitter drunk, living off of his wife’s prostitution money and getting into bar brawls, he has become the police’s prime suspect in a spate of Jack the Ripper slayings.
The next night Peter’s wife is the prostitute killed and the cops are dead sure he is their man. Why? Because “it is our job to suspect everyone!” Commissioner Campbell authoritatively states. Okaaay... so then by that token, it could be a high-ranking police official! I mean, not that anyone would try that old ploy! Ha! Ha. Heh. Oh boy, this is going to be a long ride. The killer taunts the police with letters and body parts and we get more slow, nudity-free, strip-scenes almost fetishisticly followed by a stabbing. We actually get one of these every couple of minutes and at times seems more like a cheesy burlesque than a horror movie. Meanwhile the Commissioner enjoys many leisurely, calm, rational discussions with the local psyche professor about who this killer might be. The commish decides that the killer must be smooth and handsome so as to lure in his victims (dude, they’re fucking prostitutes! I don't know, but I’m pretty sure all you need is cash) the killer could be someone like… like the professor! Ha! Who would think such a thing? Yeah, you know... long ride.

Plenty more attempts at throwing around herrings of a variety of colors is tried here including one where a doped-up college kid stabs his girlfriend who tried to break up with him after the prof had a chat with her. There are no witnesses so the cops hypothesize that maybe the professor did it. The commissioner shoots this idea down because he “would have to be a gymnast” to get to the murder scene unseen! A gymnast you say? The plot thins…

You’d think that alternating between stripping, killing, taunting and hypothesizing, you’d have a pretty entertaining flick. Naschy plays his character with almost pitiable earnestness and there really isn’t much in the way of bright rays shining through the murk that is his life. Director José Luis Madrid, who later went on to direct Naschy in the more successful THE CRIMES OF PETOIT (1973) has all the trappings of a gritty, nasty, sleazy updating of the truly fascinating crimes of Jack the Ripper. One of the big problems is that all known prints of the movie are the “clothed” version which makes the many ridiculously long stripping scenes somewhat anti-climactic. Another is lack of locations. It’s all squalid, empty rooms or pitch black night. The opening scenes that establish the sleazy sex trade locations are long forgotten long before the second reel unwinds.

Even though Madrid is dead on target to receive the pass, he really doesn’t run with the ball, he kind of just stands there and waits for the defensive tackle to sack the living shit out of him. Largely focusing on talking heads making ridiculous hypotheses in small rooms, the film has so few characters in it, it’s pretty easy to figure out that one of the two characters other than Nashy is going to be the killer. The only thing left for Madrid to do is to try to bounce your suspicion back and forth between the two for about an hour plus. It’s really a shame as there is so much potential here. Madrid knows true crime, he knows Hitchcock, he’s got Paul Naschy, but he has no idea how to bring it all together. That said, if anyone finds the longer un-clothed version, I’d be more than happy to let you send me a copy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

El Hombre Mofo: THE CRIMES OF PETIOT (1972)

Welcome to another Video Junkie theme week!  This time we’ve decided to take the easy road and hop onto the Naschy Blogathon bandwagon coordinated by the Vicar of VHS at the great MAD MAD MAD MAD MOVIES blog.  Being huge Naschy fans ourselves, it seems like a perfect fit and we look as forward to writing about the man as much as reading others thoughts.  While best know for his record-setting Waldemar Danisky werewolf series (standing tall at 12 entries; take that THE HOWLING sequels), Naschy was a true cinematic chameleon and hit every genre imaginable. Here at Video Junkie we are looking to highlight his less well-known titles during this week.  And please be forewarned that our reviews will contain SPOILERS.

In terms of productivity, Naschy’s best year was 1972 with the actor completing seven features that year. Take that, Tom Cruise!  He also showed an incredible versatility as he portrayed a suave Dracula (COUNT DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE); a mystic guru (VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES); a lovelorn hunchback (HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE); a royal maniac and his descendant (HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB); and a guy caught up in the good and bad side of criminal situations (THE BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL, THE CRIMES OF PETIOT and RED LIGHT).  In addition to starring, Naschy had a hand in the screenplays of all of these features.

THE CRIMES OF PETIOT (LOS CRIMENES DE PETIOT) is set in Berlin, Germany and opens with a young man procuring the services of a working lady. He takes her to a run down building, but their session is quickly interrupted by a man in a black trench coat, black hat and black hood with only eyeholes.  This mysterious maniac shoots the young man dead and places a skull & bones pin on his corpse.  After a small chase, the killer chloroforms the girl and carries her to his lair.  When the girl awakens, she finds herself chained up and the masked man in front of her. Her abductor plays a strange tape that admonishes one Madeline (not this girl’s name) for her past sins and states he is her executioner coming to get her.  With that, the killer aims his Luger pistol and shoots her dead.  

We then meet our main characters – antique dealer Boris Villowa (Naschy) and his journalist girlfriend Vera (Patricia Loran).  She is covering the series of murders of young couples with the same modus operandi – the young man is always shot once in the head and the girl kidnapped only to be killed at a later unknown location – and Boris takes an interest in her subject.  Together with fellow journalist Heinrich Weiss (Fernando Marin), Vera and Boris theorize on the killer and his/her motives.  When Boris leaves on a business trip, they concoct a plan with other journalist Conrad Freund (Ramon Lillo) to trap the killer in a park by posing as romantic couples.  The idea fails miserably as nearly everyone gets cold-cocked, a female from the group is kidnapped and they arouse the suspicion of Inspector Muller (Vicente Haro).

"Say I look like John Belushi one more time..."
Muller, like all cliché cinematic cops, immediately suspects the killer must be one of these folks and puts everyone under surveillance.  Shortly afterward, the cops receive an audio tape and snuff film of the first murder.  Through background checks, Conrad sets of the biggest red flags as he was a member of the Hitler youth at age 14 and his father was a German SS officer.  The fact that he went missing and the cops found a gun hidden in his fireplace also help point the finger in his direction.  Boris also feels Conrad is the top suspect and dissention begins to form in the group with everyone suspecting everyone else.

Vera and Heinrich search Boris’ private office and find a mysterious key with an address on it.  They head to the isolated location and find Conrad sitting in room with Boris dead on a table, his throat sliced. They try to escape but Heinrich is shot dead as he exits the room. Vera runs about the house to escape Conrad and backtracks to the room he was sitting it.  Strangely, he is still seated in his chair and Boris’ body is gone.  She turns to escape and runs right into Boris. Ah, yes, he was the killer all along and explains his motives in the best SCOOBY DOO ending.  His real name is Macel Decidre Petiot and it seems during World War II that the 9-year-old Marcel saw his family executed by the Nazis in France after his father’s duplicitous lover Madeline turned them in.  Petiot feels he can’t be blamed for his crimes because they made him like this (“crime is like a handful of dust, impossible to contain” he eloquently puts it).  Just in the nick of time, the cops who have been exploring the tunnels under the Petiot house arrive and shoot him dead, giving Vera one hell of a scoop.

In terms of Naschy’s filmography, PETIOT is a minor film and certainly doesn’t rank among his best.  Re-teaming with 7 MURDERS FOR SCOTLAND YARD (1971) director/co-writer Jose Luis Madrid, Naschy finds himself in a film that is big on ideas but poor in terms of execution.  Like the aforementioned SCOTLAND (which was partially shot in London), this does benefit from some location filming. Unfortunately, the location footage (in both films) merely consists of the main principals walking around famous locations in the city, the result of a shoot that probably was a weekend vacation. Madrid also seems incapable of building any suspense.  The killer’s outfit immediately evokes a giallo feel and, most notably, Mario Bava’s BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964), but the comparison stops there as Madrid has no intention of being stylish.  Also, it doesn’t help that if one knows Naschy’s stocky frame that the “mysterious” killer’s identity is reveal right away. You couldn’t throw a body double swerve at us, Luis?  The final location, an expansive creepy house, is quite atmospheric but improperly handled as well.  One could drive themselves crazy thinking what Naschy collaborators (and more assured directors) Carlos Aured or Leon Klimovsky could have done with this material.

And it is really a shame because the material is definitely thought-provoking stuff.  Despite being known for his lycanthropic leanings, Naschy focuses on the real “monster in man” here.  A student of the macabre both real and fake, Naschy draws inspiration from not only 20th century Nazis but two real-life serial killers, one contemporary and one preceding.  The “hooded killer preying on couples and leaving his calling card/communications” aspects come directly from The Zodiac Killer, the notorious serial killer who stalked Northern California.  It was a sensational case at the time and there is no doubt Naschy was aware of it.  In addition, Naschy also draws inspiration from 1940s French serial killer Marcel Petiot.  Hell, that is even where he got the character’s name and I’m sure the filmmakers had no qualms cashing in on his exploits.  The real Petiot was a rather sadistic murder-for-profit bastard who would offer escape routes during WWII for a price, only to inject his customers with cyanide after taking their cash.  When discovered, he had 21 bodies laying about his home.  Mixing those two stories results in the psychological portrait on display in THE CRIMES OF PETIOT, which shows that ultimately man is still the scariest monster.  As Boris tells Vera when he is perusing her collection of true crime books, “It looks like you’ve taken your investigation very seriously.”  It looks like you did too, Mr. Naschy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Heinous for the Holidays: THANKSKILLING (2009)

Chances are you’ve stumbled across some of the ridiculously hyperbolic promo material for this backyard horror spoof and chances are you said to yourself “Maybe I’ll check tha – hey, JONAH HEX!” Not to worry, you haven’t missed out on anything like this since you missed the last Todd Sheets effort.

Shot on video by a group of friends in Ohio for the resale value of a used Doge Neon, this is not the worst SOV attempt I've ever seen, but then again, it sure ain't the best.

Opening with a tacked on prologue that looks like it was shot after distributor’s balked at the lack of nudity (and rightfully so), in 1621 after the first Harvest Dinner a topless puritan (ungracefully aging porn star Wanda Lust) is presumably attacked by a rubber turkey head who says “nice tits bitch!” before we see an axe that presumably is wielded by said turkey and presumably ends her life. Presumably, because all of this is static shots edited together and the kill is not only off screen, but doesn't even have the requisite blood-splash on a sign post. Man, you guys aren’t even going to deliver some blood in the opening kill? You are going to have to do some serious catching up to recover from that fiasco, because you know what comes next, right?

One of these things is not like the other...

Flash forward to a modern day college campus. Our main characters, who are apparently the only people who go to school here, meet up on the college steps. Obligatory fat-guy (who of course smells bad and eats constantly) Billy 'The Hick' (Aaron Ringhiser-Carlson) runs down the steps and rips his shirt open Hulk Hogan-style shouting “Thanksgiving break! Yes!” This, as he explains to Johnny 'The Jock' (Lance Predmore), is merely an excuse to get the local hoochie Ali (Natasha Cordova) “to show her big ol’ titties”. Ummmm… I think Billy has been hittin’ the holiday beverages a bit early as Ali is obviously a card-carrying member of The Committee. You know, the Itty Bitty… oh never mind.

Accompanied by Kristen 'The Good Girl' (Lindsey Anderson) and Darren 'The Nerd' (aka The Weird Guy, Ryan E. Francis), the group sets out to make the rounds dropping everyone off at home for Turkey Day. Along the way Darren, who seems to have a man-crush on Johnny, divulges that he is going to get “buck wild” and “have sex with someone in this car!” Dude, there’s only two chicks, one isn’t sleeping with anyone and the other is hot for the jock, and it’s a jeep.

Meanwhile, a white-trash dude who desperately wants to be mistaken for The Motor City Madman, named Oscar (General Bastard), is out in the sticks when his dog Lassie manages to find the one spot in the forest to piss on that would return the killer turkey to life. As luck would have it at this very same moment the jeep blows a radiator hose (which is later fixed without any parts or tools) and the kids are forced to camp for the night since none of them have cell phone reception. Seriously, I’ve been to Ohio, I know how empty some of those roads can be, but a) this is supposed to be New England and b) it’s freakin’ Thanksgiving. You should be so lucky to have no traffic whatsoever, not to mention a complete lack of snow or even cold weather. Anyway, once they realize they are stuck for the night, they also realize they have tents and beer! Sweet! Then of course comes the realization that they are in Crawberg, the site of the Crawberg Pilgrim Massacre. Cue animated backstory. Ok, more like static cartoon drawings, but whatever.

While the alleged college students argue about the legitimacy of the tale of the killer turkey who was summoned by an Indian necromancer to get vengeance on the white man, the killer turkey hitches a ride. One of the genuinely amusing conceits of the movie is that average joes perceive the turkey as a midget, not an unplucked holiday fowl. After a driver decides to add “cornhole” to his holiday menu, the killer turkey backs out of the deal and shoots the driver in the head with a shotgun for a little CGI splatter. Jumping behind the wheel, the turkey takes off to intercept each of the kids at their parent’s houses. I’m not sure why he would do that as he had just terrorized them at their campsite and could have killed them all in one fell swoop! Seems a little bird-brained to me (ok, ok, stop throwing those croutons).

First the turkey kills off Jonny’s mom and dad (mostly off screen) leaving Johnny to cry about missing the pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. Then he’s off to Ali’s house where he catches her taking it doggy-style (fully clothed) with some random dude. After slashing the dude’s throat with his beak, he tags in on Ali’s ass… or yellow pillow! C’mon guys, do you think nobody can tell the difference between a chick’s ass and a pillow? Hell, I guess we know who the target audience is now. Its details like this that pop up constantly where the “filmmakers” show that they just don’t care. “We’re making a stupid movie! Who gives a shit?” Clearly not you.

When the kids get to the scene of the crime they find an extra-small, gravy-flavored condom and Billy is pissed because he thought he had a shot with the local slut, “we gotta find a way to kill this cock-blockin’ turkey!” he rants. So it’s off to Kristen’s house to get to her father’s collection of antique books that will contain the ritual for killing the bird. Unfortunately they arrive after the turkey, in one of the films few inspired moments, kills the sheriff father and uses his face as a Leatherface-style mask to take the father’s place and lure the kids to their deaths. While the kids look through books, the fat guy eats French fries and complains about being hungry. Yep, director/producer/writer Jordan Downey sets the bar high.

Soon they discover that in order to kill the turkey, they need to remove the talisman it’s wearing, chant a prayer for sacrifice, then kill it. From here it’s a game of hunt and peck as the turkey kills off the kids one by one as they try to figure out how to dispose of it once and for all. In one of the other few inspired moments, Darren laments over his fallen fat comrade initiating a music-montage flashback of their friendship, sharing ice-cream and skipping through fields. It’s a bit too obviously inspired by identical moments from the animated TV show “South Park”, plus it’s over-long and could have used a punch-line at the end, but it beats the hell out of the lame attempts at comedy in CANNIBAL CAMPOUT (1988). Then again, there are the other jokes, like the turkey’s head poping out of a guy’s chest proclaiming “gobble, gobble, motherfucker!” and of course the tacked on epilogue where a family is sitting down to thanksgiving dinner and the roasted bird jumps up and says “do I smell sequel BIOOOOOOOTCH!?” Ummm, no, I just smell a half-baked turkey.

Don’t let Downey fool you with the “extreme” marketing, this ain’t even in the same ballpark with zero-budget gorefests like VIOLENT SHIT (1989) which was made for almost half of the budget of THANKSKILLING. I’d love to give this flick major props for the ol’ indy spirit, but the bungled comedy, barely adequate gore, bad CGI, limp acting AND lame wannabe early ‘90s Freddy lines don’t give us a lot to be thankful for. Some folks have made the claim that they feel this is the successor (or sucfailor) to Troma’s legacy, but I don’t think that comparison does either of them any justice. Sure the comedy is forced and fowl-mouthed, and yes, a modern Troma staple of having unattractive people naked is represented by the opening scene, but there’s not much else that bears comparing, good or bad. If you are a teenager and like movies made by hipsters who are intentionally making a crap movie, and are desperately looking for someone to give you your one-liners this Holiday season, I guess you’ll get a kick out of it. Poultry-seasoned veterans beware.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cinemasochism: 555 (1988)

As evidenced by our CANNIBAL CAMPOUT review, the shot-on-video projects are really the wild west of the horror genre – anything goes and it is usually going to get real ugly, real quick.  One of the most legendary and sought after SOV nightmares is a film called 555.  Its notoriety is thanks mostly to its rareness and an eye-catching cover.  I can remember first catching a glimpse of that decapitation in an quarter page ad inside an issue of Slaughterhouse magazine back in 1988 (posted at the end of the review).  It was burned into my brain and (foolishly) I knew I had to see this film.

Of course, elusiveness and superiority are two things that rarely meet in the SOV horror subgenre.  I was finally able to track down a copy in 2007 at a video store going out of business.  This place had an odd policy in that they didn’t have a set price and instead set the sale price based on the film’s rental history.  So I got up with my stack of videos, palms sweating at the prospect of hearing, “That’ll be $90 for 555.”  I tensed up when told the MCA VHS of DEATH VALLEY (1982) would be $22.  Surely 555 is going to cost me big time.  The girl at the register looks at that cover, probably judges me and types it in.  “555 will be $8,” she says. Obviously not a big renter, but I am giddy knowing I will be getting such a rare title for cheap.  As you might know already from this blog, I'm dumb.  One man’s garbage is another man’s gold as they say.

Well, if you pick up that trash can and dig about five-hundred-fifty-five feet into the ground, you might find this garbage. This actually makes SOV champ BLOOD CULT look sophisticated.  A killer in Chicago is preying on young couples having sex and the film opens with a bloody slaughter (a naked chick gets blood thrown on her) of a hot-n-heavy duo.  The only witness is retired Army Col. Wayne (Charles Fuller), who was walking on the beach and discovered the bodies after hearing the screams.  Hot-headed police sergeant Conner (Greg Kerouac) doesn’t buy Wayne’s detailed description of a killer dressed like a hippie.  “You gave us a description of the murderer, yet no description at all,” says by D.A. Ralph Kennedy (Greg Neilson) in a real head-scratcher piece of dialog.  Hey, isn't Wayne trying to help you?

Of course, since these are movie cops, Wayne immediately becomes top suspect and the cops begin harassing him.  After all, it is best to focus your investigation of several murders on just one guy because your gut tells you he is bad.  The go to his house and find out - gasp - this former Army guy has a collection of knives.  And his Army medical report says being in combat effected him.  This must be the "sicko son of a bitch who can only get it up once a night" as Conner eloquently puts it.  Exploiting Wayne is female reporter Susan Rather (Mara Lynn Bastian), who uses her female, uh, attributes to seduce him.  Did I mention Bastian isn’t the most attractive lady out there?  Argh, my eyes!

Meanwhile, more murders happen as another couple is killed in their van; a fornicating pair is killed in a warehouse; and aesthetically unpleasing lovers in a bedroom are murdered by this dirty hippie.  Our detectives – through no work of their own – find out this series of murders has happened before.  Twenty years ago in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Fifteen years ago in Buffalo, New York.  Ten years ago in St. Louis, Missouri.  Five years ago in Baltimore, Maryland. Every five years as series of five attacks spread over five nights. Five...Five...Five!!! Hey, this is also the fifth time it happens so shouldn’t the movie be called 5555?   Now what that all means or why the killer dresses as a hippie is anybody's guess.

This “film” is the handiwork of one Wally Koz.  His IMDb bio says he was a gold prospector and he probably had a better chance of striking it rich that way than making a good movie. You'll guess the killer in about 10 minutes because, frankly, the "film" only has five characters. Two are the detectives, one is the suspect, one is the reporter and the last one is never shown outside of his intro.  Gee, I wonder who it could be.  You have to love that the film is basically telling you the lead detective is also an idiot because he is completely wrong about everything.  Koz spends 80% of the time shooting in the police office as Conner rages about his top suspect.  He even reuses the distinctive bile green office set over for a victim’s bedroom.  And it is all captured in gross, porn-level videography.

Everyone in the cast is community theater level in terms of acting and, not surprisingly, they were all one-and-done.  Lead Kerouac looks like Elliot Spitzer on meth and I guess should be commended for keeping a straight face during the whole thing.  Roy Koz’s script is full of some real howlers, like inept Conner’s astute observation that “criminals are stupid fuckers.”  Even funnier are the bits trying to portray Susan Rather as a sexpot as actress Bastian looks like Rosanne Barr’s slightly more attractive sister.  Her beau Kennedy says “she has the morals of an alley cat, which makes her wonderful in bed” and she later says that no man would give up her fine piece of ass.  And, yes, she does supply nudity sadly.  As mentioned before, the mystery factor is nil and gets even more convoluted with a super-duper explanation that actually works to confuse audiences even more.  Amusingly, the end credits show this was a family affair with a Koz name popping up every other credit.  I checked the unemployment rate in the U.S. in 1988 and it was roughly 5.4%.  I can only assume Koz & co. are to thank.  Thankfully the threat of more Koz productions in the end credits never came to fruition.

The only thing going for 555 is the effects work, which is suitably gory. Of course, they are shot-on-video so they can't look that good. But it does offer the gore and nudity that are required so you can't accuse Koz of cheating the fans who desire this stuff.  No joke, the only entertainment I got out of this flick is when I sold it on eBay and went to mail it to the winner. My total at the post office?  $5.55!  *cue eerie music*  Believe it or not, I recently saw a copy of this sell on eBay for $121.50.  It is not even close to being worth that much. Trust me.  Hell, I paid $8 and felt ripped-off.  In fact, I’m going to save your $121.50 and show you the film’s highlight in GIF form.  Amazingly, this shot isn't in the actual killing but during a highlight section at the end during the killer's death.  Why?  Cuz Koz said so, kidz!  In fact, I think you owe me $121.50 for the pleasure of seeing that. You’ll thank me later.  Payments, donations and pity can be sent to


Friday, November 19, 2010

(Naked) Chick Flicks: HOT T-SHIRTS (1980)

“They just don’t make movies like they used to” seems to be our mantra, but they really don’t make cheap nudie comedies like they used to! Today’s T&A flicks have taken a page from the porno world and are half-assed, low-rent parodies of popular movies or video games with some soft-core sex scenes provided by surgically manipulated barbies. Meh. In the ‘70s and ‘80s it was all about the girl next door, and when I say “girl”, I mean it. Barely legal to barely past legal was the age bracket. We had seminal classics such as THE CHEERLEADERS (1973) paving the way for frivolous comedies that grabbed hold of a theme and used it for some cheap laughs and a lot of all-natural skin and there was not a damn thing wrong with it.

Just to make sure you know exactly what you are in for (and to pad out the scant running time), the film starts out with a credit sequence pumping out the disco theme song with the lyrics “my body is wet, my body’s so wet, my body’s soaking wet, my body’s dripping wet, wet, wet, wet!” Yep, you can see exactly what level this film will operate on. It’s using the same sountrack that they play on the PA at 42nd St. porno shops. Uhhhh... not that I have ever been in one. I mean, it was only that one time and I thought it was Kim's Video. Yeah, that's it... and I’m positive that it was Will's idea!

Made by someone clearly stuck in the late ‘70s, infamous porn director Chuck Vincent made more than *ahem* a handful of R-rated pictures of varying entertainment value. Some folks say their entertainment value starts in the negative and works their way up. Some folks have very boring taste in movies.

Dumpy loser Joe (Ray Holland) owns a bar that he doubles as an Italian dinner house. He’s got his senile bartender Pops (Nathan Tamarin), his ditzy, nimpho waitress Violet (Pauline Rose) and his obese, matronly, righta offada boata E-taly-ano cooka Rosa (Licia Colombi). It’s the damnedest thing, nobody wants to come in to the joint. Joe can’t figure out why. While hanging out at the popular bar that boasts flashy disco balls and topless chicks, polyesterized super swinger Charlie (Glenn Mure) hypothesizes on why that might be: “all your dump needs is a few go-go girls and you got it made” says Charlie in a thick long-island accent, but Joe ain’t buying it. Maybe it’s because Charlie is getting slapped by every girl in the club and the head of the college cheerleaders (Laura Osment doing shades of Mary Waronov) says “he looks like the creature that ate Cleveland!” Damn, which creature is this exactly? I want to see that movie! A lounge lizard rampaging through Ohio? Oh wait, I think that was probably just Jon Stone in the '70s.

All of this takes up the first 15 minutes of the movie in order to showcase a huge disco dance number that is so ridiculous that it is impossible to even try to conceive that anyone would shoot it with a straight face. Did I say “straight”? Man that dude in the cowboy hat and the unitard is about the gayest thing I’ve ever seen… and I sat through The Paul Lynde Halloween Special! One of the amusing things about this sequence is that at random intervals during the dance number, Vincent cuts in some completely gratuitous shots of topless dancers moving in semi-unison on a completely different set! Hey, the guy clearly made a judgment call during the rushes: “Fifteen minutes in and we got no titties! This won’t do!” Damn skippy Chuck, you da man.

Meanwhile the Harrison College cheerleaders are working on their initia – err, I mean, tryouts, with the freshmen girls using their favorite chant: “we’re gonna roast them, toast them, cover them in spit, we’re gonna maim them, shame them, make them look like shit!” When the football players stop their push-ups to cheer for the cheerleaders, the coach (Paul Giaccobbe) yells (with a lisp) “Whadda you guys think this is, a Las Vegas nightclub? Work you sonsabitches! On your backs!” Ummmm… what Coach? I think working on your back is a very Las Vegas kinda thing. Conveniently Joe just happens to be in the stands watching with his way-too-understanding girlfriend June (Stephanie Lawlor), who just so happens to be the cheerleading coach. Joe’s flash of brilliance occurs after the cheerleaders blow some attitude in the direction of the jocks (including porn star Randy West) who then steal a hose and spray them down… soaking their shirts! Aha! The connection is made! Joe is going to host a wet t-shirt contest! Genius! Can you hear Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland spinning in their graves? Ok, so maybe Mickey Rooney isn’t dead yet, but I’m sure he will be after he sees this!

Couldn't afford Mary Waronov huh?

At first Joe tries to rope his girlfriend into doing it, and she firmly draws the line there. This is fine since she is cute, but she ain’t no Penthouse Pet. That means it’s up to Charlie to bring in the chicks. Cue the muted horns… yep, Charlie brings in a dizzy dame in a dimestore wig (Cecile Mann) to compete against Violet. The outcome of the competition leads to some slightly dissatisfied patrons and the conclusion that maybe if they offered prizes for the winners, their competition might attract better talent. Again... Genius! The next one brings in the cheerleaders who compete against the local girls. Joe decides against the snotty cheerleaders (who are clearly hotter) and you know what that means? Bar fight! Of course this latest contest attracts the squinty gaze of the local morality enforcers who decide, over tea, that this smut has to be stopped before men crazed with lust run amok in the town raping anything in grabbing distance. Joe being the idio – err, I mean, gentleman that he is sets them up with a table to get them to stop picketing and saying things like “didn’t your mother tell you not to play with wet t-shirts?”. After pops gives them something akin to jungle juice instead of their iced teas the ladies become quite the fan of dancing, paving the way for the final contest.

Since the prizes have now reached epic proportions (a color TV!!), The Hot Chick arrives, none other than Penthouse Pet 1982 and former Mrs. Ken “The Soldier” Wahl, Corinne Alphen. Naturally she steals the show from the locals and the cheerleaders. Her prize? She gets to dance with this guy:

Be warned, this movie is cheap, cheesy and does not exactly sport cutting edge wit, but, for some reason strangely compelling and it unquestionably blows away wannabe playahs like the terminally un-fun PICK-UP SUMMER (1980). Seriously, it may have taken me three separate viewings to take it all in, but I kept coming back for more skid-row cheese and hilarious disco fetishes. Yeah and the rampant toplessness sure didn’t hurt either. Did I mention Corinne Alphen? You can keep Jenna Jameson, I'll take Corinne Alphen any day of the week. Thank you Mr. Vincent.