The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Bad Girls from Mars (1990)
I saw that this was on Instant, was directed by schlock auteur Fred Olen Ray, and looked like a fun time, so I figured why not make it happen. Also, clocking in at 81 minutes doesn't hurt either. Let's see then if I made the right choice. Also, our friend Mitch at The Video Vacuum made this happen, so you can go there to see what he thought.
Bad Girls from Mars is about the making of a D film of the same name that has been beset by tragedy after tragedy. It seems its leading ladies can't stop getting themselves murdered. This isn't the worst thing for the film's producers, who stand to make a killing off the insurance if it's not made ("Springtime for Hitler" it's not), but they decide to take one last chance and hire a notorious madame who just published her tell-all book as their fifth lead. The film's director can't handle all this stress, but when the murderer starts targeting him too, he's reaching his breaking point. Will he be able to take enough Alka Seltzer and JD cocktails to keep himself sane?
This is really fun. A USA Up All Nite style classic, complete with tons of boob shots that would've led to a lot of awkward edits in the cable TV version. Ray does a great job of handling the spoof aspect in a way that doesn't become too gimmicky, which is hard with this kind of movie. In a way it kind of feels like a Godard French New Wave film, in that it was a comedic commentary on the D industry the way Godard's films were a commentary on the then mainstream Hollywood industry-- the main difference being, where Godard would've had Jean-Pierre Leaud reading a socialist diatribe, Ray had one of his female stars showing her tits. This is definitely what you come to a 90s sex romp for, and Ray delivers.
With someone like Fred Olen Ray, who has such a prodigious directing bio, there are bound to be some misses along the way, and it's possible because he needs to pump out so many over a short period of time, more of them end up misses to him than he'd like because he doesn't get the time or the resources to make it the way he wants. It's good then when we get something like this, or Dinosaur Island, where we can showcase one of his hits, and what's funny about this one is that, in spoofing the D movie industry, he gives us an idea of how hard it is for him to make the movie he wants; but he does it in a way that's still funny and entertaining, and not whining, which is great for us in the audience. When you think of that great USA Up All Nite aesthetic, no one does it like Ray, and this film is a great example of that.
After Tom Sizemore's pouring beer on his cereal in Point Break, this scene of the director mixing his Alka Seltzer with Jack Daniels is the all-time best degenerate alcoholic food moment in movie history. Once I saw it, I knew I couldn't not talk about it. I think when he actually drank it it was like cream soda or something, but still, the effect was there. In my last post for Wicked, you may remember I mentioned a high school science teacher who was fired for giving another class non-alcoholic champagne. Here's another great story about him. One day that year the weatherman predicted a huge snow storm, and our teacher apparently banked on that happening and drank the lights out the night before. Of course, even if this is the southern tip of Maine we're talking about, it's still Maine, and it still needs to be a massive snow storm to get school called, and that storm wasn't enough. So he came into class with a hangover, and his lesson for the day was to show us how Alka Seltzer worked. I'm not kidding.
There are plenty of other people in this. The great Edy Williams plays the madame, and she seems to just go with all of it, whether she's changing in the back of a car, or telling the director she has a thing for men covered in garbage. Speaking of the director, he's played by Oliver Darrow, and he hasn't been in much else. That's too bad, because he was really funny here. Fred Olen Ray mainstay Jay Richardson is in this as the overbearing obnoxious actor who only cares about his career. I think he's given license to be as goofy as he wants here, and he definitely wants. B horror and sci-fi great Brinke Stevens plays the costume girl and Richardson's woman. She has almost 150 credits on imdb, of which almost all are DTV, and this is the first film of hers we've ever done, after well over 900 posts. I have no idea how that happened, but it did. Finally, Jefferey Culver played the producer. I couldn't figure out who he looked like. There were definitely some heavy notes of Jerry Orbach, a hint of the guy who played Bookman on Seinfeld, perhaps a dash of any former Murder She Wrote guest, and a blend of both Van Dyke brothers.
One thing you gotta love about watching any film is the director cameo, and Ray has two in this, one here as a guy robbing a liquor store, and later as a member of the crew tossing out scenes from the script-- literally throwing the pages out. This one here as the liquor store robber looked like it was almost entirely improvised, or at the very least, not rehearsed. I would've given you a shot of Ray without the bandanna over his face, but by the time he pulls it down, a topless Edy Williams shows up, and we can't show that if we want to keep oue blog without one of those parental warnings on it.
But hey, the movie's on Instant, so you can go there and see all the boobs you want. Beyond the boobs, this is also a pretty funny and entertaining movie. Fred Olen Ray delivers with a USA Up All Nite style classic, and it's well worth checking out.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101399/