Drive-in Cult Classics, Vol. 3

 

 

   (A little sidebar here- originally I had planned to write nothing during October (I felt that writing about Horror movies in October felt a little clichéd, and writing about NON-Horror flicks just didn’t fit. About the middle of the month I felt kinda bad about the decision, but laziness prevailed. Anyway, I have a whole stack of $1 DVDs that I could write years worth of reviews; I’ll probably end up rolling them out during the year and maybe saving some of the juicier ones for NEXT October)

 

 

   Today’s review is for a 4-disc, eight movie set called “Drive-in Cult Classics Vol. 3” released by BCI/Eclipse. It includes:

 

 

   * The Babysitter

   * Weekend with the Babysitter

   * The Pink Angels

   * Blood Mania

   * Single Room Furnished

   * Van Nuys Blvd.

   * The Pom Pom Girls

   * Malibu Beach

 

 

   Yeah, the whole set can be had for under $10 at your local Best Buy along with the first two Volumes (which means that they come in at something like a buck and change per flick- keeping in-line with the spirit of this blog), and, like the other sets, are a decidedly mixed bag. All the flicks included were made by Crown International– the “mini” independent that actually still maintains a web page (http://www.crownintlpictures.com/), but I don’t think that they’ve released a new picture in years. They’ve been busy supplying the budget DVD pipeline, however, as most of these have been released previously on disc in one form or another- either paired off with other flicks (Pom Pom Girls was on a double feature with The Van; Van Nuys was paired with the totally unrelated (and TOTALLY bad) Little Laura and Big John; Blood Mania was (some internet rumors complain) wholesale bootlegged on the “Horrible Horrors- Volume 2” 8 movie set released by Rhino). All but two were unleashed to drive-ins in the 70’s (The Babysitter was a 1969 release and Single Room Furnished was made in 1968). The other 2 sets were loosely-themed- Volume 1 was basically T & A flicks that would all fit in as first or second features at your local drive-in in the 1970’s; Volume 2 are all horror (well, in the case of They Saved Hitler’s Brain, ATTEMPTED horror); Volume 3 has no real theme and is all over the place. I’m just going to give brief overviews to save time…

 

 

   The Babysitter (1969) and Weekend with the Babysitter (1971) are both directed by Tom Laughlin in-between him kickin’ the crap out of people in Billy Jack flicks (he also starred as the pacifist butt-kicker), and have the same preachy, melodramatic patchwork style of pretty much everything he directs. Both are long on bad acting and short of real sleaze, I would give the nod to Weekend as a better flick only marginally, as it’s in color & anamorphic widescreen, and the first one is in a very weak full-frame transfer from a British PAL videotape (nice touch by the DVD Company though- they apologize for the less-than-stellar transfer right on the package, explaining that the original materials are in real poor shape and the tape was the best Master available)…

 

 

   Disc 2 leads with The Pink Angels (1971), a jokey motorcycle gang flick made at the very end of the Hogs-on-hogs craze. The big joke is the motley group is gay, but they’ll still come into your town to kick your ass and steal your makeup. If you ever catch the trailer (or the blurb written about it in The Golden Turkey Awards book) that should be enough to whet your appetite; as someone who sat through this slight and offensive mess I know that the joke goes on about 70 minutes too long. The Director (Robert Vincent O’Neil– who also helmed the other flick on this disc) went on to one of the most famous drive-in movies of the 80’s- Angel, starring the perky Donna Wilkes. The second side has Blood Mania (1970), a slow moving, talky drama that barely skirts the Horror tag with a seducer and a user who’s after a family inheritance. Junk, and not very good junk- but the transfer is much nicer than Rhino’s…

 

 

   On Disc 3 you have Single Room Furnished (1968), a sad coda to the movie career of Jayne Mansfield who died in a bloody car wreck prior to its release. Someone thought that it was a good idea for her to play three different gals (including, suspend disbelief here, a TEENAGER) in a melodrama about love and loneliness. Its stagey and static-y (it almost looks like a filmed play) and is almost coma-inducing when Jayne isn’t on- its not like she was in very good form in this, but did have an unmistakeable charm that occasionally flashes here. Her corpse-picking husband at the time (Matt Cimber) was the Director of this headache, and assembled it to push product through the Jayne pipeline. On the second side is Van Nuys Blvd (1979)., a late- 70’s T & A romp that follows a hayseed from the sticks to check out the lights and excitement of SoCal. It’s watchable and fun, with the right mix of topless gals and guy-jinx (and as a bonus, there’s a Director’s Commentary, which I have yet to listen to, but it’s a nice addition to a set this cheap)…

 

 

   The Last disc has probably the 2 most fun movies on the set- The Pom Pom Girls and Malibu Beach. I’ve reviewed Pom Pom (1976) in a previous blog- needless to say my opinion hasn’t changed; this version is an ever-so slightly cleaner transfer (and full-frame; but from what I gathered it wasn’t shot in widescreen). Malibu Beach (NOT to be confused with Malibu High, which is on the first Volume of these sets) was made in 1978 and is basically about a new lifeguard on the beach and the gals trying to vie for his attention. It’s cheap in appearance, but is pretty well acted (Kim Lankford, for example, went on to appear in the likes of Knots Landing) and a fun way to burn 90 minutes…

 

 

   So I would advise that, if you don’t own at least ½ of these already, to pick up this set. For the cost of one trip to the movies you get an authentic slice of the tacky drive-in experience to view anytime you’d like. And when someone points to the wide case on your shelf with the rear-view of the hippy chick on the spine and says “What the Hell is THAT”, give ‘em a taste of the way they USE to make movies…

 

 

 

   The Babysitter- 1-1/2* of 5

   Weekend with the Babysitter- 2* of 5

   The Pink Angels- 2* of 5

   Blood Mania- 1-1/2* of 5

   Single Room Furnished- 2* of 5

   Van Nuys Blvd.- 2-1/2* of 5

   The Pom Pom Girls- 3* of 5

   Malibu Beach- 3* of 5

 

 

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