Archive for the Scream Queens Category

Suburban Grindhouse Memories: GALACTIC GIGOLO and SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-A-RAMA (both 1988)

Posted in "So Bad They're Good" Movies, 2012, 80s Movies, Aliens, Campy Movies, Demons, Grindhouse Goodies, Nick Cato Reviews, Scream Queens, Sexy Stars, Suburban Grindhouse Memories with tags , , , , , , , on August 1, 2012 by knifefighter

SUBURBAN GRINDHOUSE MEMORIES
Nerds, Babes, Baritone Imps and Intergalactic Broccoli
(Or, SGM returns to Times Square!)
By Nick Cato

Just a few months after the first Urban Classics double feature hit New York City (covered in the 17th edition of this column right here). I returned to Times Square to see another double bill of exploitation insanity. On a mild January afternoon in 1988, I took a solo trip to Manhattan to see one film that featured the three (at the time) reigning scream queens, while the opening feature was made by those responsible for one of my all-time favorite horror comedies, PSYCHOS IN LOVE (1986).

GALACTIC GIGOLO (1988) is a wonderfully funny sci-fi comedy, starring the amazing Carmine Capobianco as an alien who—after winning a game show on a planet where all the inhabitants are vegetables—wins a trip to Connecticut where he proceeds to chase women and drink bourbon, all the while being chased by a bunch of brain-dead gangsters. In his new human form (if you don’t know what Carmine looks like, Google him), he drives the ladies crazy and turns into a total party animal. On his home planet, he’s a 6-foot tall stalk of broccoli! It’s goofy and stupid but MAN did I laugh myself into tears, even among a noisier than usual Times Square crowd. Fans of PSYCHOS IN LOVE who might have missed this should do themselves a favor and get the DVD, as most of the PSYCHOS came back for this one under the direction of PSYCHOS’s Gorman Bechard (who has since become a semi-successful author and pop / art film director).

In classic NYC style, the main feature was delayed, I’m assuming due to projector trouble. But once SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-A-RAMA (1988) began (after continuous screaming and snack-throwing that lasted a few minutes into the feature), the mostly teenaged / early 20s crowd sat transfixed as sleaze director David DeCoteau unreeled his latest celluloid abomination to his thirsting fans.

Brinke Stevens and Michele Bauer (here credited as Michelle McClellan) are two sorority pledges being stalked by a trio of super-nerdy frat boys. When the boys are caught spying on a secret hazing/spanking ritual (that goes on for WAY too long), the house mother catches them and forces them to join Stevens and Bauer on the only mission that will allow them into the sorority: they must break into a local bowling alley and steal something to prove they were there. Okay, so the plot is lame, but the opening scenes of Stevens and Bauer running around in g-strings and showering butt-nekkid had the place cheering and drooling like typical degenerates that go to a Times Square double feature like this in the first place. (Wait…did I just insult myself?).

The bowling alley is located inside a shopping mall, and shortly after our group arrives, they meet up with a tough biker-chick named Spider, played by the legendary Linnea Quigly, who uses the F word more than Joe Pesci did two years later in GOODFELLAS (1990). Instead of grabbing a bowling pin or a pair of silly-looking shoes, our group decides to take a trophy, which is quickly dropped and unleashes a small demonic imp who speaks like Bo Diddley (I stood around for the closing credits to make sure it wasn’t him. It wasn’t) and looks about as threatening as a toy from a crane game. The imp begins to grant everyone personal wishes, but of course doesn’t answer them they way anyone had hoped. Chaos ensues, including our sorority girls becoming possessed and Spider kicking both nerd and imp ass, each time sending the crowd into a screaming frenzy.

The late Robin Stille (of 1982’s THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE fame) shows up (apparently EVERYONE decided to break into the joint on the same night) and has a less-than exciting cat fight with Spider before becoming imp fodder, but the few of us who recognized her from her classic duel with the driller killer let our satisfaction be known (mine in the form of a loud “ARRR-YEAH BABY!”).

Back to the imp: I found out its voice was done by Dukey Flyswatter, who sang for horror-punk band HAUNTED GARAGE (if you can find their double 7” with the 3-D cover, you’re in for a real rockin’ treat).

As far as double features go, this second (and I believe final) offering from Urban Classics was a real hoot. In the long run I enjoyed GALACTIC GIGOLO a bit more, as I’m a huge fan of the cast and crew, but SORORITY had its moments, the best being Michelle Bauer showcasing her flawless rack for about three-quarters of the film’s running time, and thinking back this is one of the more memorable characters in Linnea Quigley’s arsenal. What hurts SORORITY is its nearly impossible to decipher plot and/or point, whereas GIGOLO is a solid spoof of sci-fi and sex-comedy cinema.

Both films are now available on DVD, but I doubt either is as fun without a proper grindhouse crowd behind them.

© Copyright 2012 by Nick Cato

SORORITY’s infamous deep-talking Imp doesn’t play games!

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Bill’s Bizarre Bijou: THREE BAD SISTERS (1956)

Posted in 1950s Movies, 2011, B-Movies, Bill's Bizarre Bijou, Exploitation Films, Family Secrets, Scream Queens, William Carl Articles with tags , , , , on September 15, 2011 by knifefighter

Bill’s Bizarre Bijou

By William D. Carl

This Week’s Feature Presentation:

THREE BAD SISTERS (1956)

Welcome to BILL’S BIZARRE BIJOU, where you’ll discover the strangest films ever made. If there are alien women with too much eye-shadow and miniskirts, if papier-mâché monsters are involved, if your local drive-in insisted this be the last show in their dusk till dawn extravaganza, or if it’s just plain unclassifiable – then I’ve seen it and probably loved it. Now, I’m here to share these little gems with you so you too can stare in disbelief at your television with your mouth dangling open. Trust me, with these flicks, you won’t believe your eyes.


This week, we examine the forgotten 1956 potboiler, THREE BAD SISTERS (“What they did to men was nothing compared to what they did to each other!”). Part film-noir, part sexy soap opera, THREE BAD SISTERS spins the sordid story of the Craig family. Patriarch Marshall Craig dies in a plane crash, despite the best efforts of his pilot Jim Norton (John Bromfield of REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (1955) and THE FURIES (1950)) to save his life. This leaves three sisters (only two of which are truly ‘bad.’) Gorgeous Marla English (THE SHE CREAUTURE (1956), RUNAWAY DAUGHTERS (1956)) plays Vicki Craig, a nymphomaniac who drips with sexual innuendos and tight fitting outfits. “I graduated summu cum laude from Embraceable U,” she proudly purrs when she meets our pilot. Marilyn Monroe look-a-like Kathleen Hughes (IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953), CULT OF THE COBRA-(1955)) is second sister Valerie, first shown enjoying getting slapped around. This sadomasochistic streak defines her character as she plots and connives, grinning wildly at everyone else’s misfortune. The good sister, Lorna, is played by Sara Shane (TARZAN’S GREATEST ADVENTURE (1959)), who is the executor of Daddy’s millions and is engaged to boring, steadfast family lawyer George, played by Jess Barker (Mr. Susan Hayward and star of SCARLET STREET (1945) and THE NIGHT WALKER (1964)). There’s also an old Aunt Martha (who doesn’t do dreadful things), who suspects our hero pilot of purposefully killing her brother Marshall, and she’s played by great Hollywood character actress Madge Kennedy (THEY SHOOT HORSES DON’T THEY (1969) and LUST FOR LIFE (1956)).


When news of her father’s death is read on a radio broadcast, wicked Valerie starts putting her nefarious plans into motion even as she lounges in post coital bliss in the arms of a sailor. She hires Jim Norton to seduce her good sister Lorna then drive her to commit suicide, which probably wouldn’t take much. Lorna and Jim meet cute on the top of a cliff where Lorna is about to take a dive into the rocks. You see, the Craig family is plagued by suicide and mental illness, which explains why Marshall tried to grab the plane’s controls and Norton had to wrest the plane back, only not in time to save his boss. Before you can say “King Lear Revisited,” Norton’s actually falling for the lovely Lorna, Vicki is trying to woo our studly, square-jawed pilot away from Lorna, and Valerie is putting out rumors and setting everyone in the household against each other. Jim talks Lorna into marrying him, and he gains power of attorney over the estate. But is he only after the money or does he actually love his new bride? By the end of the film, there are fist fights, cat fights, a great jazz combo scene, horse riding “accidents”, two car chases, a disfiguring riding crop whipping session, Brett Halsey (HIGH SCHOOL HELLCATS (1958), and ATOMIC SUBMARINE and GIRL FROM LOVER’S LANE, both 1960) in a small bit as a Vicki-shunned pin-up artist, and a lot more packed into a speedy 76 minutes. When we get to the off-putting, abrupt happy ending, two of the three sisters are dead. Guess which ones?

Although somewhat predictable, the film drives ahead at full speed and it gets a huge boost from its wonderful B-movie heaven cast. All three starlets playing the sisters are sexy as hell, and they appear to be having a ball vamping it up and spouting such lines as:

“It takes a woman to hang onto a man like Jim, not a psychopath!”

“Speaking of dullness, what do you think of our Lorna?”

“I only get kicks from a man when I know I’m stealing him from another woman.”

“What price competition now, DARLING?”

Kathleen Hughes is especially effective. With her Marilyn Monroe poses and parted lips, she exudes sex and sadism. In one scene, she takes a riding crop to another character and laughs and smiles while beating the heck out of her victim. She positively has a Big O when two men get into a fistfight over her.

And let’s not forget John Bromfield, who’s pretty handsome as well. An early bodybuilder, the film shows him shirtless or in wet swimming trunks several times, upping the beefcake factor more than most Fifties films. His clipped speech pattern and slightly awkward mannerisms place him solidly in the pantheon of film-noir lunkheads.

The film’s loaded with fun twists and witty lines by way of a smart screenplay by Gerald Drayson Adams, who wrote dozens of B-budget oaters and many episodes of the TV shows CHEYENNE and MAVERICK. Competently directed by Gilbert Kay, who mostly worked in television Westerns, I believe the real credit for the glossy look of the picture probably belongs to Howard Koch, the producer. The film looks and feels like one of its big budget brethren, which is understandable when you realize Koch also produced THE ODD COUPLE (1968), AIRPLANE! (1980), and executive produced THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962). The sun dappled photography by Lester Shorr (TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (1969) and numerous episodes of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES and LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY) makes this the brightest film noir ever, other than the classic LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945). The terrific jazz score is by the great, recently deceased Paul Dunlap, who also composed scores for (the Sam Fuller classics) SHOCK CORRIDOR (1953) and THE NAKED KISS (1964), as well as I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF (1957), among many others. The jazz is hot, like the ladies and the undercurrent of sexual danger, and it works beautifully.

THREE BAD SISTERS is available on Netflix Streaming, and I highly recommend it for noir lovers and admirers of high camp DYNASTY-esque soap operas. I give it three riding crops out of four. Definitely worth watching, especially if you like scream queens from the 1950s.

© Copyright 2011 by William D. Carl