Alright, so I skipped a day. There was no Film Geek Journal on Friday. Honestly, between the premiere of our FILMS OF 1985 podcast that was coming up, me prepping for another film geeky project in the works and all the other standard work/life stuff, I was too worn out to see much of anything. This may be a weekly recurrence, since Friday is the day when our new podcast episodes premiere and is also when new reviews start popping up on the site. But give me a break, guys. Even God took a day off. And trust me, I’m no God, despite what my stalkers say.
DAY 10: JANUARY 11, 2013
INTO THE NIGHT (1985) – Ed (Jeff Goldblum) is losing his grip thanks to insomnia and his unfaithful wife. He spontaneously decides to drive to the airport where Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer) jumps in his car, running for her life. From then on, it’s a series of dangerous situations as Ed and Diane try to figure out a way out of this mess with their lives intact.
You saw the year, right? Yes, this another 1985 film, which means you have to wait for the podcast. And if you haven’t checked out the premiere episiode of FILM GEEK CENTRAL PRESENTS: THE FILMS OF 1985, what’s keeping you?
ATTACK OF THE 60FT. CENTERFOLDS (1995) – first viewing – “Help me, I’m huge,” cries the giantess Angel as she tries in vain to cover up her no longer private parts. And thus, we have ATTACK OF THE 60FT. CENTERFOLDS, because God is great.
Angel (J.J. North – HYBRID, VAMPIRE VIXENS FROM VENUS) is a buxom young model trying out for the chance to be Plaything Centerfold of the year. Fearing that her looks are slipping, she needs a new dose of the experimental beauty treatment she’s been receiving from Dr. Lindstrom (John LaZar – BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS). Unfortunately, she takes too much and grows to sixty feet tall. She wants to be normal again, but the sleazeball in charge (Jay Richardson) only wants to exploit her. Meanwhile, they bitchy competition (former adult star turned exploitation actress, Tammy Parks) has no intention of losing, no matter how big Angel is. Oh yeah, there’s also a giant rat that Lindstrom tries to capture with the help of his staff (Michelle Bauer and George Stover).
There’s a lot going on here for a film that’s already about a sixty foot centerfold. That’s because director Fred Olen Ray always seems to add enough quirkiness and fun to hold half a dozen films. Ray is perhaps the greatest purveyor of camp within the last thirty years. His films such as HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, PHANTOM EMPIRE and the immortal EVIL TOONS are just a few of the dozens of films Ray has under his belt. Sometimes, he does straight-forward action, thriller or even family films. Sometimes, he does the type of stuff you see on Skinemax. But always there’s that sense of fun he brings to his films. Feeling down? A Fred Olen Ray film is good for what ails you.
Incidentally, Ray also works with a number of great character actors and tends to cast them repeatedly in his films. Ray manages to cram a number of awesome familiar faces here, including: Russ Tamblyn, Tommy Kirk, Ross Hagen, Michelle Bauer, George Stover, Stanley Livingston (playing a guy named Glenn Manning – an Easter Egg for fans of psychotronic cinema), Nikki Fritz, Raeylynn Saalman, Jim Wynorski (another great director with a similar style) and even the legendary Forrest J. Ackerman. ★★★ (out of ★★★★)
VAN NUYS BLVD. (1979) – first viewing – Austin and Jesse have been talking about this film for a while now, a drive-in movie that I had not seen. The peer pressure was enough so that I finally gave in and gave it a look.
The film takes place among the motor culture of southern California. On Van Nuys Blvd., Cruise Night is a time-honored tradition where young people get in their hot rods or vans. They race, hang out, flash each other, sleep around and basically partake in some pretty harmless fun. Nevertheless, the cops are always out to bust them, particularly Officer Zass. Once all of our main characters meet up in a jail cell, they become fast friends. Think THE USUAL SUSPECTS if they all decided to ditch a life of crime in favor of going to the disco. There’s actually some pretty good performances here and some well thought-out relationships. Director William Sachs (THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN, GALAXINA) seems not only interested in an entertaining film or even in telling a story. He seems to want to capture a cultural turning point, a moment in time. On that end, it’s no AMERICAN GRAFITTI, but it’s still pretty darn good.
I have to single out David Hayward as the Chooch. If ever there was a face and personality to match the name “Chooch,” this is it. Awesome.
Oh and I do have one gripe against Austin and Jesse. A sex scene involving burgers and condiments is sure to temporarily turn me off of either sex or fast food, maybe both. ★★★ (out of ★★★★)
Total films watched in 2013 so far: 26
My soundtrack for January 11, 2013: “You’re gonna miss me, darlin’, when you lose my lovin’ arms. You’re gonna miss my callin’, when I get to somewhere safe and warm. Got a freeway soul, girl it’s you I’m runnin’ from.”