TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (1982)

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THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (1982)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Schlockmeisters Goran and Globus of Cannon Films entered the 80s teen sex comedy craze with this raunchy cult classic. The film has gained notoriety over the years, mostly because of it’s sad, bummer…and let’s face it, more realistic…ending. The film has nerdy virgin Gary (Lawrence Monoson) trying to get laid with pals Rick (Steve Antin) and David (Joe Rubbo). Gary falls head over heels for new girl Karen (Diane Franklin) who has fallen for the slicker and more handsome Rick. Movie then follows Gary as he pathetically and sometimes creepily, bemoans Karen and Rick’s romance until opportunity knocks to try to win Karen over.

Flick is written and directed by Boaz Davidson based closely on his own Israeli film Lemon Popsicle. It follows the usual 80s teen formula of a nerd trying to win a pretty girl, though here the film deviates by not supplying the predictable happy ending. Also, in most of these features the nerdy guy is a likable hero, here Davidson makes Gary a bit pathetic and creepy at times. Was it intentional or not, it’s hard to say, but Gary at times does seem like he’s a little too weird, like potential serial killer weird. It’s a little hard to want to see the sweet Karen with him, even though she is with Rick who turns out to be a real jerk. While not typical of teen comedies, it certainly seems more realistic in terms of how life works out in these situations, especially at that age. There are some fun bits, but there are also some sleazy ones, such as when the boys hire a hooker, who proceeds to humiliate the inexperienced Gary. The cast are all fine for this sort of thing, especially Franklin who makes for an appealing girl-next-door and there is a great soundtrack of 80s classics.

This flick is a cult classic and while it’s routine in some aspects, it breaks the traditional format by having a hero who is a bit of a creep and a bummer of an ending. It touches on some subjects, like abortion, that most films like this avoided yet does have the constant pursuit of sex by a group of horny teens that many of these comedies based their meager plots around. There is a lot of 80s nostalgia attached to it now, especially with a classics filled soundtrack and you could do much worse for an example of this popular 80s film trend.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 condoms.

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CULT CLASSIC CUTIES: CAROLINE WILLIAMS as STRETCH in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2!

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Cult Classic Cuties are characters from some of our favorite cult classics and midnight movies who captured our hearts and/or actresses who got our attention, but sadly never returned to these type of flicks, or whose sexy stars shined only briefly not quite achieving scream queen status. And this installment’s cutie is…

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CAROLINE WILLIAMS as STRETCH in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986)!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 is Tobe Hooper and Cannon Pictures’ 1986 sequel to the 1974 horror masterpiece. It features the Sawyer family continuing their murderous, cannibalistic ways, now peddling their secret ingredient in an award winning chili. When Leatherface (Bill Johnson) and brother Chop Top (Bill Moseley) get recorded on a radio talk show carving up a couple of yuppies, leggy DJ Vanita ‘Stretch’ Brock becomes the family’s next target…and the object of Leatherface’s gruesome affection.
Who better to portray a sexy Texas radio DJ than sexy Texas born actress Caroline Williams!  Williams had appeared in a few film and TV roles before being cast in this slasher sequel, but this was her first lead role and she definitely caught the attention of horror film fans everywhere. Her sassy, spunky and resilient Stretch is quite the capable final girl and despite finding herself in the Sawyer family’s clutches, she proves that you should never mess with a girl from Texas…or wear their friend’s faces. Despite a strong and memorable performance, this was the only time Williams would do final girl duty despite appearing in a few more fright flicks over her long career.

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(click on the poster for a full review)

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Long-legged, Daisy Duke wearing Stretch is a texas girl through and through!

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The sexy DJ attracts the wrong attention when she records a murder over the radio!

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Now she finds herself at the wrong end of Leatherface’s attention…and chainsaw!

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…though maybe the cannibalistic Sawyer family picked the wrong Texas cutie to pick on!

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Never piss-off a girl from Texas!

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The actress has kept busy after her altercation with Drayton Sawyer (Jim Siedow) and his demented kin. She continues working in movies and TV and has even has done a few more horror flicks, including an appearance in the Sweet Tooth segment in last year’s ghoulishly fun Halloween anthology, Tales Of Halloween. But it is her one final girl film appearance that captured our hearts, kicking cannibal ass with a sexy smile, long legs and a pair of Daisy Dukes and that certainly earns her the title Cult Classic Cutie!

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Still a beauty 30 years after teaching the Sawyers she can handle a chainsaw just as good, or better, than the good ole boys!

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Be sure to check out our Cult Classic Cuties (click right here on the link) section to see more crush worthy ladies from cult films and midnight movies!

-MonsterZero NJ

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: HOSPITAL MASSACRE (1981)

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HOSPITAL MASSACRE aka X-RAY (1981)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

This is a routine and rather dull slasher flick from legendary Cannon Pictures schlockmeisters Golan and Globus. The film is written by Marc Behm and directed by Boaz Davidson, whose only noteworthy directorial effort is the cult 80s teen flick, The Last American Virgin.

Flick opens with young Harold (Billy Jayne) leaving a Valentine’s Day card for little Susan Jeremy (Elizabeth Hoy) and then watching through her window as she opens it. When it is greeted with distain and laughter, young Harold murders her friend David (Michael Romano) in revenge. Nineteen years later, Susan is a grown woman (now Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton) who is entering a hospital to get some test results. Guess who works there though and soon Harold in a surgical mask is switching her test results to get her admitted to the hospital for more tests. As Susan tries to convince the doctors there has been a mistake, Harold leaves a trail of bodies as he makes his way to Susan to get his revenge on his lifelong Valentine.

Hard to tell just how seriously director Boaz Davidson was taking this flick, as he really overdoes it with the horror movie tropes and it is almost comedic that every person…save Benson’s heroine…acts like a creep and the hospital seems to be filled with more mental patients than medical patients. The staff alone make this possibly the creepiest hospital on the planet and that’s not even considering the loonies apparently allowed to freely roam the halls. Even Arlon Ober’s score overdoes it and seems more appropriate in an Omen spoof than a legit slasher. Despite that, it’s still a dull affair, even with the overdone atmosphere and generous but routine bloodshed. Harold seems to wander the halls randomly slaughtering folks and one has to wonder how no one in a fully staffed hospital notices anyone missing or sees Harold transporting dead bodies to the empty 9th floor. It also seems weird that despite being left alone constantly, it takes the deranged killer well over an hour to get to finally pursuing Susan. Benton makes a fiery heroine and really gives it her all, but the cast of unknowns around her act fairly woodenly and our killer doesn’t exude too much menace either, despite the decent body count. When his identity is revealed, we’re not all that surprised as the film tried way too hard to make him the least obvious suspect. There is little suspense or tension and it’s only steady bloodletting and some nudity from our Playboy Playmate that holds our interest…and even her nude scene comes from a very date-rapey examination sequence by one of the hospital’s spooky staff.

I love this era of slasher/horrors and so had to give this one a look. There isn’t much to recommend other than Barbi Benton making for a good heroine, running around in her skimpy hospital gown and flashing the attributes that made her fairly famous in the late 70s and early 80s, especially on TV and in the cult classic Deathstalker. Despite a little 80s nostalgia, this is a forgettable slasher and one of the lesser efforts in the 80s slasher era.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 scalpels.

dr giggles rating

 

 

 

 

 

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986)

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THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

Twelve years after making his classic masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper returned to Leatherface and family with a much bigger budget from Cannon Pictures and a script from L.M. Kit Carson. Flick has the Sawyer family still on the loose and right under the authorities noses operating a mobile lunch truck from which they serve their award winning chili…and we already know what the prime ingredient is. They live under an abandoned amusement park and all is well for the cannibals until Leatherface (Bill Johnson) and brother Chop Top (Bill Moseley) get caught on the radio carving up two obnoxious yuppies. Not only does pretty DJ “Stretch” (Caroline Williams) begin to investigate but, it also catches the attention of  Lt. “Lefty” Enright (Dennis Hopper), a retired Texas Ranger and uncle to victims Franklin and Sally from the first flick. He’s been on the trail of the Sawyers for over a decade and now with Stretch’s help, there maybe be a showdown between lawman and cannibal clan with sexy Stretch caught in the middle.

Sequel is a fun flick though it focuses far more on grisly humor and has a far lighter touch than the original classic. Gone is the oppressive atmosphere of dread and disturbing humor that got under your skin. No more evident is Hopper’s ex-cop wearing two chainsaws like six guns as he goes into battle. Hooper and writer Carson fill the sequel with more of this goofy style humor than chills and the impact of the plentiful Tom Savini supplied gore is lessened as a result of it. The body count is also relatively small and half the movie takes place with Stretch trapped in their underground layer while Lefty tears the amusement park above apart, with a chainsaw, looking for the Sawyers. Odd no one goes up there to investigate the racket. It’s a fun movie, but it’s also not scary in the least and the film stops it’s momentum dead about an hour in to do a retread of the dinner sequence from the first flick with the captured Stretch. To be honest, it gets tedious. Having seen it in a theater back in 1986, I had seen Cannon’s 89 minute release which was a result of the studio cutting out about twelve minutes. Now having seen the longer 101 minute cut, they may have been right, as it does go on about ten minutes too long. Still, the movie entertains, Hooper’s visual style works well here as the Sawyers’ underground layer is a visual feast of bones, tunnels and Christmas lights as designed by Cary White. It’s captured well by Richard Kooris’ cinematography and there is a fitting score by Jerry Lambert and Hooper himself.

The cast are having a good time with the gore and giddiness. Caroline Williams makes for a sexy, sassy heroine with her long legs, skimpy Daisy Dukes and raspy voice complete with thick Texas accent. She gives her character some fire and a toughness that make her very endearing…and very hot. Hopper plays Lefty straight and gives us a driven man, who, will stop at nothing to find the Sawyers and make them pay for killing his nephew and driving his niece crazy. Jim Siedow is back as Drayton Sawyer and he hams it up and provides a lot of the fun as he tries to preside over his maniacal offspring. He is not as disturbing as in TCM 1 ,but his performance fits the lighter tone. Bill Johnson plays the silent Leatherface and sadly, he is portrayed with far less menace even to the point of spending a good portion of the film acting like a love-sick puppy around Stretch. The script neuters one of cinema’s most shocking killer’s and is one of it’s biggest flaws. Bill Moseley is having a blast as the demented Chop Top. This underrated actor has a good time with the over-the-top character that has picked…and eaten…the skin off the metal plate in his head. He also carries around his dead brother (Edwin Neal’s Hitchhiker from TCM 1) and talks to him frequently. A good cast that works well with the tone of the film and helps make it work better than it should.

The long-awaited sequel to Hooper’s drive-in classic is a very entertaining horror, but hardcore fans of TCM 1 were disappointed, at the time of it’s release, that it went for laughs over frights. It wasn’t a big hit back in the day. It’s looked back at a bit more fondly now and I’ll say I do enjoy it, despite that it’s uncut edit does seem a bit too long and maybe Cannon was right to pair it down to a faster paced 90 minutes back in 1986. The cast have a good time and Tom Savini does gives us some top notch gore, but the film is a far cry from the disturbing nightmare Hooper gave us in 1974. A fun…and now nostalgic…sequel that disappoints in some ways, but entertains in others.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 chainsaws.

3 chainsaws

 

 

 

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