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Lightning Round
BY G. NOEL GROSS | July 5, 2004

Chrome kaiser helmets? Mikey likes 'em! He really likes 'em!

So much schlock, so little time. Hang on tight for 12 rapid-fire reviews handcrafted for CineSchlockers with the attention span of spastic hamsters. That's assuming hamsters enjoy digital entertainment and that scientists have the time, inclination and ability to quantify what said rodents are or aren't paying attention to. Regardless, just such digression is frowned upon in this -- the CineSchlock-O-Rama Lightning Round!!! Simply click the covers for complete star ratings ...

Rent It

Highly Recommended


AMERICAN CHOPPER: MIKEY'S BIKE (2003): Poker on the Travel Channel? Decorating on The Learning Channel? Makeovers on Bravo? The hottest network identity crisis of 'em all is over at The Discovery Channel where the testosterone-torqued Teutul tribe can't churn out installments of their bikin' and brawlin' reality series fast enough. Bark-all-day teddy bear and eye-deer man Paul Sr. rides herd over Paul Jr. the less-than-tidy, procrastination-prone ar-teest whose "totally sick" theme cycles have made Orange County Choppers the biggest two-wheelin' phenom since Easy Rider. Then there's Mikey. He, um, well ... he takes out the trash. Before the nuevo-slacker goofball became the show's funnybone, he also answered the shop phone, but dial-happy fans have made even that menial task impractical. Finally, in two of their most popular episodes, Mikey answers Senior's siren ROAR to "GO BUILD BIKES!!!" and -- with lots and lots of help, bubble-wrap bursting and a skeet-shooting side trip -- the Blues Bike is born. Which, like this entire series, is "the cat's ass!" Individual 45-minute shows are available direct from Discovery, although they're too pricey and primitively packaged to recommend. Hold out for the 13-episode Season One box set ($75) featuring Paulie's rumbling tribute to 9-11 firefighters.

THE DAME EDNA EXPERIENCE (1987): "Hellll-oooooooooooo, possums!" The wickedly randy, impossibly fabulous, razor tonged Dame Edna Everage is THE alpha and omega of guy-in-a-dress hilarity. Nary a celeb is safe on the simple Australian housewife's six-episode chat show. "Really a monologue interrupted by total strangers," Edna explains. Chuck Heston AND Sean Connery are grilled about their early days of nude modeling. Zsa Zsa Gabor falls through a trap door when Edna objects to her fur ensem. (She's also got an ejection contraption for tiresome guests.) Thankfully, Zsa Zsa and Edna come to terms fashionwise as their later conversation plainly reveals they're two peas from the very same diamond-encrusted pod. Yet just when you think you've seen it all -- Mick Jagger squeeze Jerry Hall slinks out for a "Stand by Your Man" duet with our devilish dame. Generous extras include another BBC special, "An Evening with Dame Edna Everage," and interviews with some dreary Barry Humphries fellow.

SIDE OUT (1990): Now THIS is what our wacky world needs to right its course: More C. Thomas Howell beach-volleyball movies! Hop in the not-so-wayback machine to that simpler time of fluorescent fashions, yuppie backlash and when "Roam" by the B-52s seemed the perfect accompaniment to a bar brawl! Mr. Howell is a scrawny law intern from Milwaukee seduced by Californian surf, sand and beach-bunny-cocktail-waitress-marine-biologist Courtney Thorne-Smith. But PLOT breaks out all over the place when our hero loses both the girl AND his company Mercedes, forcing a rise to VOLLEYBALL CHAMPION alongside "thirtysomething" wuss Peter Horton, after a chance discovery of the game (to the tune of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up"). Pity the VHS floss'd hiney doesn't grace this release, although swimsuit siren Kathy Ireland DOES still have that eight-word-part as the much-too-clothed assistant to "Bernie" of Weekend at ... fame.

Highly Recommended

Highly Recommended

Rent It

NIGHTMARE SISTERS (1987): At last! The OTHER classic starring all three Queens of Scream: Michelle Bauer, Brinke Stevens and Linnea Quigley. The first was the immortal Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and, because everyone had such a giggle making that one, B-deity David DeCouteau quickly dreamed up Sorority Succubus Sisters, gathered Slimeball's leftover film stock, borrowed a house at the end of its lease and made good on a bet to shoot a feature in FOUR DAYS! It's the story of three homely coeds who cajole reluctant suitors into an evening of Twister that hilariously meanders toward an exploration of the dark arts. Namely a SEANCE which transforms these zeros into oil'd up, wangdoodle-noshing vixens who smear themselves with whipped cream and then take the longest, most dizzying group bubble bath in cinematic history! All in a day's work as Brinke and Bauer explain in one of TWO can't-miss commentaries -- the second by the man hisself. Easily a Best of Schlock 2003 contender had yours truly landed a copy six months ago.

SCREAM QUEEN HOT TUB PARTY (1991): Famed breast auteurs Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski began their tag-team directorial partnership with this ingenious self-produced, self-distributed roll call of their favorite leading ladies. Brinke Stevens demonstrates proper horror-movie showering procedures. Michelle Bauer strips poolside to school drooling viewers on CHAINSAW DANCING technique! (She also dons a buckskin bikini for the bonus rarity One Million Heels B.C.). Fellow B-faves Kelli Maroney, Monique Gabrielle and the late-great Roxanne Kernohan share similar insights whilst lathering each other up and introducing salacious clips down movie memory lane. CineSchlockers with sufficient remaining energy won't want to miss Fred and Jim's track in which they TOO reminisce about the good ol' days -- for different reasons.

SEXY AMERICAN IDLE (2004): One wonders if CineSchlocker fave Julian Wells would've, if she could've, written herself into EVERY role in Seduction Cinema's latest, far from greatest, pop-culture jiggle fest? She'd surely have to duke it out with co-writer, director and fellow scene-hog John Fedele. Between 'em they cartwheel character after character across the screen for yuks that typically land in sub-audible snicker territory. Fedele fairs best with his two-years-too-late Ozzy schtick. Maybe the included CD soundtrack (!?!) and mail-in UNRATED VERSION coupon are intended as consolatory parting gifts for this comedic contest? Start lickin' those stamps now, because the alternate freebie mercifully REPLACES nearly 20 MINUTES of questionable clownage for late-night cable canoodling by Misty Mundae, Darian Caine and twin-torpedo'd sensation Anoushka.

Highly Recommended



UNCLE SAM (1997): In battle, friendly fire is always a tragedy, isn't it? But what if one such charbroiled chopper pilot happens to be a real son of a bitch? A wife beater, molester and cold-blooded killer? Gore gurus Bill Lustig and Larry Cohen's brilliantly blood-soaked meditation on the first Gulf War explores this notion with a Yankee Doodle'd Maniac Cop who stalks the streets of Small Town, USA as Uncle Sam. (A getup lifted from a Peeping Tom aided 12-foot STILTS!!!) It's a natural fit, sans circus footwear, as our fallen "hero" turned serial killer is named S-A-M (Shark Fralick) and the duds also match his murderous defense of patriotism. Burn a flag? Get buried alive or run up a pole like Ol' Glory herself! Rosanne Barr our national anthem? Off with your head! Crooked politician? Instant human fireworks display! (CineSchlocker idol Robert Forster's star never shined brighter.) But the most deliciously subversive kill of all has to be when the cop horning in on Uncle Sam's war widow gets the Stars 'n' Stripes crammed through his chest. This is actually Blue Underground's update on the original Elite Entertainment release, which gains an anamorphic transfer and a writer/director/producer track to go alongside the existing ISAAC HAYES commentary!

SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE (2004): Who'd ever dream that domestic bliss might elude -- SERIAL KILLERS!?! During a single enchanted evening, Brandy Little and Troma's Trent Haaga bicker and bicker and MURDER and bicker and bicker and MURDER and bicker and bicker and MURDER and bicker and bicker and bicker and bicker to the point CineSchlockers may begin to identify with the relative TRANQUILITY of the half-nekkid love slave (Kimberly Grant) chained to a post in the deadly duo's innard-strewn playroom. Sort of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre for Lifetime Network fraus to puke their bon-bons over. Irony weary gorehounds may find solace among behind-the-scenes featurettes that provide protracted, less gabby ganders at Chuck and Deb's handiwork.

THE MAJORETTES (1986): This murder-by-numbers sis-boom-slasher is the unfortunate result of nearly 20 years of Night of the Living Dead folk OTHER THAN GEORGE ROMERO itching to cram more lightning into a bottle. No zombies, just a camo'd goon stalking and slitting the gizzards of comely baton twirlers, but ONLY after they've had an opportunity to shimmy out of their leotards. Among about nine subplots are a gang of greaser drug dealers (the leader of which knocks up the randiest of the squad), a sect of neo-Baptists and a thick-accented nurse who tortures her mute, geriatric charge with verbose James Bond villain-esque explanations of how she and her idiot-pervert-shutterbug son are gonna do in the old bag and her teen-dream granddaughter. The result is akin to the fleeting joy of a cheap Chinese buffet (with explosions).



Rent It

LEECHES (2003): Cheesecake gives way to BEEFCAKE in this creepy-crawly throwback from the aforelauded Mr. DeCotaeu. Gone are lingering surveys of buxom sexpots as equal time is now given to brawny, shirtless, oft Speedo'd fodder for a slimy host of bloodsuckin' parasites that just so happen to have taken residence in the shower drain of a college swim team's locker-room. Like the cleverly-crafted creature features of yesteryear, this too doubles as a cautionary tale, not just to the remote dangers of giant killer oven mitts (a.k.a. LEECHES!), but rather the sobering dangers of STEROID abuse! Imagine the horrors of 'roid rage, weenie wilt and rampant exsanguination all in the SAME movie! Canadian CineSchlockers should beware their domestic disc supplants David's commentary for the required French audio track and chops the flick fullframe after those wonderfully wild W-I-D-E-S-C-R-E-E-N titles (2.35:1).

DARK WATERS (2004): If you're gonna lens an el cheapo Deep Blue Sea retread, you naturally nickel and dime the CGI, but you sure as heck don't skimp on talent! Hence the casting of '80s heartthrob Lorenzo Lamas to match wits and pearlies with Great Whites crazed by CIA mind-control experiments. (Sadly, unlike any garden-variety schitzo, sharks can't fashion tin-foil headwear to subvert such shenanigans.) At first, The Lamas is a bit of a barracuda himself who, with Aussie cleavage queen Simmone Mackinnon, bilks billionaire bimbos to fund a less-than-scientific search for the lost city of Atlantis. But redemption lies beneath the waves should he manage to avoid becoming a flowing-maned combo meal. Yours truly was hooked from the opening and riotously BONE DRY dive scene with actors pantomiming, poorly, the slow pace of underwater maneuverings with only a dusty blue hue offered to complete the illusion. Irwin Allen would be proud.

AMONG US (2003): "B" is for Bigfoot when prolific B-auteur Billy D'Amato (Bob Dennis) squeezes out guy-in-an-ape-suit after guy-in-an-ape-suit flick until his own hairy experience forces an uneasy reconciliation with the witness (Hunter Mackenzie Austin) whose story he'd mangled into his first Sasquatch sensation. Together, with a geekazoid cryptozoologist (Jon McBride), they hole up in a cabin and WAIT in hopes that the big guy digs roasted marshmallows. Unfortunately, before a half-star's worth of bump-in-the-night action ever ensues, the tick of the clock's already deafening due to the flick's flatulent false starts and dizzy slip-sliding among genres. Want answers? Start with the TRIO of commentaries! On a positive note, perhaps McBride's inspired end-credit ditty, "Bigfoot Stole My Six-Pack," should become the title track of Take Two?

Send your comments to [email protected]

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.

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