CineSchlock-O-Rama’s Most Wanted

Last update: January 2006

CineSchlock-O-Rama's MOST WANTEDAn unsung tragedy of home video’s leap into the digital age is the grim reality that not every movie will be ushered onto emerging formats. Your average videophile clamored incessantly for Star Wars, The Godfather and Raiders of the Lost Ark on DVD, and in time, their dreams came true. But what about those OTHER flicks? The genre films that poured onto the market and literally built the foundation of the home video industry during its boom years? Sadly, they’ll continue to languish on aging VHS tapes and be systematically weeded out of your local Blockbuster to make room for DVD Collector’s Editions of Patch Adams and its kin.

But there’s hope! Smaller distributors are coming to the rescue many beloved B-titles and their efforts are to be commended and supported with fan dollars. To aid these cinematic Samaritans, CineSchlock-O-Rama offers these prime candidates for digital preservation:

THE FOOD OF THE GODS (1976): The Skinners find a fount of strange goo bubbling up from the ground and start feeding it to their farm animals. The junk super-sizes their rooster and other beasts who feast on it. Things quickly get out of hand as this "Food of the Gods" spawns a herd of rats the size of Yugos who screech through the woodlands in search of frisky coeds to gnaw on. It’s based on an H.G. Wells novel, but director Bert Gordon deserves much of the credit for this masterpiece, as he’s a man who is not afraid to blow away some rodents. Savor the beautifully crude split-screen and scale-model effects. The gorier, yet pale sequel Food of the Gods II could round out a double-feature disc.
MIRROR IMAGES II (1994): It’s probably the most worn gimmick in the book, but B-Queen Shannon Whirry excuses herself with a sizzling portrayal of feuding twins. Carrie is obsessed with being a good girl to the point of complete sexual repression, while Terri has an "overheated everything." Their bitter conflict stems mostly from Terri’s unwillingness to keep her hands and other parts off Carrie’s boyfriends, but the division becomes more sinister when a dark family secret is revealed. And being an erotic thriller, Ms. Whirry aids the plot by showering, slipping in and out of clothes, cavorting with her gal therapist and a half-dozen beaus. It’ll leave you both guessing and feeling deeply ashamed.
PROJECT: METALBEAST (1994): The CIA sends a team to Hungary on a mission to obtain WEREWOLF blood with the idea of juicing up one of its elite to create a superior combat agent. Oh sure, who hasn’t tried that!? But the project also involves a research scientist (Kim Delaney) who has developed a means of grafting METAL SKIN onto human flesh. Things get hairy when Ms. Delaney fishes silver slugs from the chest of a deep-frozen patient whose wounds spontaneously begin to BLEED and it’s Armor-Plated-Werewolf-O-Rama. Barry Bostwick of TV’s "Spin City" stars as the ruthless spymaster behind it all. CineSchlocker favorite Kane Hodder dons the Metalbeast suit, but is best known as the ever-cranky Jason Voorhees.
THE RACE FOR THE DOUBLE HELIX (1987): Now this isn’t typical CineSchlocker fare, but despite its snooty art-house airs, this flick showcases geekazoid Jeff Goldblum in the full plumage of his freakdom. Jeffery stammers and ticks his way through the film as American scientist Jim Watson in the BBC’s made-for-TV telling of the, ahem, thrilling quest to unravel the structure of DNA. From the start, tight closeups frame an ever bug-eyed Goldblum as he devours an orange while simultaneously chewing through gobs of dialogue. Even his HAIR is comical as it blossoms from a tight buzz to wild waves of fuzz. But his brightest moment is also the flick’s climax. Goldblum cuts paper chemical models while gnawing on a mouthful of lemon drops — the action of the scissors falls precisely in sync with his smacking mouth — and the scene is capped by a slow-mo "EUREKA!" sequence worthy of hysterical floor rolling.
ANTS (1977): Ah, the ample bosom of Suzanne Sommers ravaged by raisins, er, ants. What an awe-inspiring example of crass ’80s video promotion! About 10 years prior, the more family-minded folks over at ABC debuted this made-for-TV flick as It Happened at Lakewood Manor — the same year Suzanne jiggled to stardom on "Three’s Company." As the genre dictates, man poisons nature and faces savage retribution. Here it’s a resort swarmed by bazillions of NORMAL-sized ants hopped up on pesticides who feast on B-celebs like Lynda Day George and Brian Dennehy. Howl with delight as guests flail in terror when a rescue helicopter’s down draft accidentally sprays them with tiny killers. And, of course, marvel as the Thighmaster herself wakes from her nekkid slumber, screaming like a banshee, while being pelted with phony critters.
LINNEA QUIGLEY’S HORROR WORKOUT (1990): The Queen of Scream chainsawed the fitness craze with this fleshy lampoon that promised to be the "scariest exercise video ever made." It’s definitely the zaniest. Ms. Quigley begins her regime in a familiar place — the shower — and is soon off for a nice jog (in full valley girl regalia) where she’s accosted by staggering hordes of the living dead. Beckoning them with her screams, the B-siren lures the ghouls back to her pad for some pool-side zombiecise. There’s also the requisite slumber party footage featuring lingerie-clad babes losing weight an arm, or leg at a time. All this wacky mayhem is punctuated with some of Linnea’s personal home movies and best outtakes.
PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING (1990): Think Norman Bates vs. Dr.Laura. He’s left the Bates Motel behind for suburban married life with agal he met in the looney bin while getting officially "not insane."Norman’s interest is piqued by a late-night talk show about matricide,because after all, he’s an expert. Its host baits poor Norman(Anthony Perkins) into regaling her audience with the troubles ofhis youth and E.T.‘s Elliot provides visual aids via flashbacks. As a fidgety teenager, Bates struggles to cope with his slutty-schizo momma (Olivia Hussey), but their quest for mutual understanding gets EXTRA twisted when they must huddle together for warmth and something unexpected pops up between them. Ick!
LIBERACE (1988): CineSchlocker fave Andrew Robinson is a regular face in B-pictures and probably best known for his role in Clive Barker‘s immortal Hellraiser. But the character actor eerily channeled Mr. Showmanship himself in an equally hilarious and heartbreaking performance as the flamoyant performer. This made-for-TV movie was the better of TWO rushed to the small screen before Lee’s body was even cold. Andy squires us along through the early nightclub circuit where Liberace’s trademark candelabra first appeared, his mega-hit TV series, his decadent Las Vegas reign and, of course, his dalliances with boy-toy Scott Thorn. Look for "Golden Girl" Rue McClanahan as Lee’s beloved mama.
CLUB WILD SIDE (1998): Late-night cable’s everygal Sage Kirkpatrick plays a wide-eyed Wisconsin kitten (and aspiring paparazzo) who jilts her high school beau to spend a summer "finding herself" in California. She’s taken in by the movie mogul friend of her dear-departed mama and his wife (Lauren Hays) who can’t keep her skivvies on within sight of their hunky handyman. It’s Sage’s peeping at these covert fraternizations that spawns her own carnal awakening, which soon has her shaking her buxom bod at an upscale dinner theater/strip joint, finding new uses for kitchen utensils and discovering the tender touch of Sappho. Hollywood backstabbing also abounds amid such exploration thanks to raven-haired vixen Julie Condlift as a lovelorn columnist.
THE PERILS OF GWENDOLINE IN THE LAND OF THE YIK YAK (1984): She may be known for having survived a relationship with O.J. Simpson, marrying a Whitesnake and vamping it up on MTV. But Tawny Kitaen should be eternally praised for parading around in a Yik Yak T-back and exposing her luscious Kitaens in this screwball odyssey in search of an illusive butterfly. There’s kung fu fighting, mean-nasty pirates and a stubbled hero (Brett Huff) who unravels Gwen’s tightly-wound cocoon, allowing her to fully realize her hiney-kicking potential when battling scantily-clad warrior babes. This classic gets ruthlessly butchered on basic cable, so lets see all the gratuitous nekkidness in its original widescreen format.
THE FINAL EYE (1977): This ultra-eccentric, sci-fi private eye flick is set in the far-out future otherwise known as 1995 where Joesph Cortese is a yesteryear throwback as the world’s last gumshoe. The quirks keep this one interesting whether it’s a footchase scored with bizarro jazz riffs, crude "special effects" like merely running the film backward to simulate a self-correcting dictation machine, or our hero’s insistence on puttering around in his long passe gasoline-powered automobile. CineSchlocker fave Donald Pleasence plays an evil scientist churning out human clones in his secret lab masquerading as a posh resort community where folks go KA-BLEWY if they ever try to vamoose. It’s up to Joe to crack the case and get the girl (Susan George). Originally broadcast in 1982 as Computercide.
THE STEPFATHER (1987): One man’s quest for the American Dream leads him down a twisted path of iniquity known as "homicidal maniac." CineSchlocker fave Terry O’Quinn plays an ordinary Joe who up and butchers his wife and kiddos when they fall short of his obsessive desire for a "perfect" family life. He then escapes to another town and assumes a new identity as smilin’ real-estate hound Jerry Blake. Things are just peachy until he shacks up with another gal (Shelley Hack) whose snotty teen-age daughter (Jill Schoelen) and her yip-yap pooch don’t cotton to him at all. Pretty soon "Scary Jerry" pulls out a Psycho-sized butcher knife and commences to do what comes natural. Mr. O’Quinn is SO freakin’ cool that he even makes the first of two dubious sequels worthwhile (with help from steely-eyed Meg Foster, of course).
BILL (1981): Before Corky, Benny, or Karl was Mickey Rooney‘s Golden Globe-winning role as elderly man-child Bill Sackter. Call him Bill for short. Sap oozes by the bucketful in this made-for-TV biopic with Dennis Quaid as a filmmaker who befriends Bill while documenting his rocky reintegration into society after more than 40 years wrongfully spent in a mental institution. There’s always a perverse giggle factor when any actor feigns retardation, yet Rooney (and his dime-store toupee) just MIGHT swell a lump in the throat of even the most coldhearted CineSchlocker. Make it a double feature with Bill: On His Own starring Helen Hunt as the social worker saddled with befuddled Bill when Quaid splits for L.A.
THE UFO INCIDENT (1975): One fateful night in 1961, Betty and Barney Hill became the unwitting grandparents of modern alien abduction lore. But all they really knew for certain, when they first sought therapy, was that their car had been followed by a mysterious light while on a late-night road trip and that they couldn’t account for THREE HOURS afterward. As the Hills, James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons bring a chilling authenticity to this mighty sensational material as each painfully reconstruct their lost memories through hypnosis. Recollections that naturally include being spirited aboard a space-alien saucer and having little grey dudes ogle and poke them like wet T-shirt contestants. Make it a triple-bill with Communion and Most Wanted-worthy Fire In The Sky.
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986): Space-alien slug monsters the size of Gene Simmons‘ tongue squirm around in dead folk’s brainpans until they lurch to life looking for din-din. The flick starts with an interstellar skirmish, a terrestrial axe murder and picks up decades later when two geekazoids anxious to impress a babe must amscray with a medical-school cadaver as a fraternity prank. Only that’s how the cranium critters get loose and before long CineSchlocker fave Tom Atkins ‘n’ pals are defending a sorority house under seige by horn’d up zombies (including a reanimated serial killer). It’s all inspired gravy through the final reel when oodles of ghouls are gloriously dispatched with a shotgun, flamethrower AND the adept use of a lawnmower.
UNDER THE RAINBOW (1981): Personally notable in that it’s the movie in which yours truly first saw breasts. However, they did NOT belong to Princess Leia even though Carrie Fisher spends a healthy portion of the flick scampering around in her skivvies with a lovesick Chevy Chase and about 184 midgets, dwarves, little people or whatever the preferred nomenclature may be. This delightfully offensive screwball epic documents the raucous debauchery of, well, MUNCHKINS who systematically demolition a hotel during filming of The Wizard of Oz. Mix in a canine assassination plot, Nazis, a slew of Japanese shutterbugs and you’re knee high in giggles. Pint-sized CineSchlocker fave Billy Barty stands head-and-shoulders above his peers as dastardly Otto Kriegling.
MEATBALLS PART II (1984): Standouts in the annals of bizzaro subplots are the youngsters of Camp Sasquatch and their discovery of a bug-eyed space alien they dub "Meathead." Keeping their interstellar mascot on the down low is made easier given that Flash (John Mengatti), the boys’ street tough-turned-camp counselor, stays predictably preoccupied by the notion of romancing virginal Ms. Kim Richards. That and the fact it falls upon Flash, also an accidental crossdresser, to secure the future of Sasquatch by winning a climatic BOXING MATCH against militant, cross-lake rival Camp Patton and their raw meat gulping ring warrior. That’s Felix Silla (Cousin Itt, Twiki) beneath the foam rubber as Meathead. Plus, look for Paul "Pee Wee" Reubens in dual roles as a lead-footed buss driver and a Hare Krishna.
THE HAND (1981): Oh, sure, there’s LOTS of killer appendage flicks. Yet only ONE stars Mr. I-Never-Ever-Blink-During-Closeups (Michael Caine) under the fledgling direction of Oliver Stone. Mike explores new vistas of emoting as a woefully unhip CARTOONIST who falls on grim times when his right hand violently launches from his person during an unintentionally HYSTERICAL car crash. The five-fingered fugitive then scurries around like a member of the Addams Family dispensing death with its formidable kung fu grip. Even Ollie gets a taste! There’s a painful plot involving marital upheaval that’s mercifully countered by rigorous coed diddling and a spectacularly inept mano y mano rasslin’ match where Caine pretends he’s NOT just strangling HIMSELF! Stan Winston provides the rubber hand hilarity.
JONI (1979): Long before a certain former man of steel made it fashionable, young Joni Eareckson dove noggin first into a lake and tragically got herself paralyzed from the neck down. But the gal’s got real spunk because after all the pain and self doubt she endured, Joni soldiered on to nab the film role of a lifetime — as HERSELF! This evangelical exploitation classic charts Joni’s tear-jerking journey from the bowels of depression to sparkling spiritual renewal, and yes, even romance blossoms as she bravely four wheels it into an unknown future. While witnessing Joni emote the DICKENS out of herself is often titter worthy, even the most coldhearted CineSchlocker must admire her determination, as when she takes up painting by gripping a brush between her pearly white choppers.
MATILDA (1978): Back before CGI, they actually used to stuff stunt men into ridiculous critter costumes for goofball yarns such as this. With his own career slip-sliding into oblivion, Elliot Gould doesn’t have to dig too deep for his role as a down-on-his-luck fight promoter who seizes on a zany scheme to have the heavy weight champion of the world go toe to paw with a BOXING KANGAROO!!! Fur-suited fall guy Gary Morgan sweats off a few pounds the hard way in a mangy ‘roo getup that’s only SLIGHTLY more animated than road kill. There’s even an obligatory maffia subplot for Robert Mitchum to ferret out. Better yet, feast your ears when the soundtrack swells with Debbie AND Pat Boone belting out "When I’m With You, I’m Feelin’ Good." Hard to believe THAT ditty never caught on.
WILLARD (1971): Greater love hath no rat! Or so believes mousy pencil-pusher Willard Stiles (Bruce Davison) whose off-hours fraternization with rodents turns sinister when he begins using his multiplying horde to even the odds against an impossibly cruel boss (the usually docile Ernest Borgnine). At first it’s rather harmless stabs at revenge such as when Willie delivers two satchels teeming with uninvited guests to his honcho’s outdoor dinner party, which sends extras screaming atop tables as they dodge rubber rats being flung at their feet. But when Willard and his office sweetie (Sondra Locke) get unceremoniously canned AND Borgnine bludgeons our boy’s most beloved varmint, well, there’s heck to pay! While we’re at it, throw in the sequel, Ben, and not merely for the creepy novelty of Jacko‘s title track.
COMBAT ACADEMY (1986): Teenage pranksters pull a doozy and are court-ordered into military school where, wouldn’t you know it, they just don’t cotton to following orders. Aging Keith Gordon spray paints his bald spot to play the ’80s hipster Max. Wally Ward is his spectacled, stuttering sidekick Perry. Together the two demerit hogs quickly run afoul of budding Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney. In fact, the cast is a TV Land Who’s Who with Dick Van Patten, Jamie Farr, Bernie Koppell, Robert Culp, Richard Moll, John Ratzenberger and even George Jefferson himself, Sherman Hemsley, plays the judge who specializes in creative sentencing. As if all that star power weren’t enough, the plot escalates into a heartwarming U.S. verses Russkies paintball "color war" — surely a mainstay of any fatigue-friendly yuck fest.
BATES MOTEL (1987): Norman Bates meets Mr. Roarke in this feature-length TV pilot. At the funny farm, Bates realizes that a boy’s best friend ISN’T his mother, instead it’s a junior dingbat who starched his abusive dry-cleaner pop into Stiffsville. When Norman croaks, he wills the Bates to this wacko ward (doe-eyed Bud Cort) with instructions to reopen the motel as a MURDER-FREE haven for troubled travelers, never dreaming the kid would redecorate in a tacky Southwestern motif. Townsfolk and one infamously cranky biddy are naturally down on the squirrely fella’s plans, especially as he incessantly squeaks about his good ol’ buddy Norm. Spastic newcomer Lori Petty arrives in a chicken suit, but spends the flick’s most awkward scene in a certain man-child’s bed. While TV heartthrob Jason Bateman shows just in time for the stupefying final reel when friendly spooks try cheering up a suicidal lodger.
THE KID WITH THE 200 I.Q. (1983): Child actor and future embittered rent-a-cop Gary Coleman stargazes as a pint-sized collegian whose worship of Robert Guillaume‘s grumpy astronomy prof threatens to spin the lil brainiac’s ego off its nearly subatomic axis. Ignored in class despite an impromptu version of the Hokey Pokey atop his desk and denied repeated (and really whiny) requests for an extra-credit assignment — it’s almost more than Gary can handle without blurting out, "What you talkin’ bout, Benson!?!" Worse, there’s further troubles back at the COED dorm when the 13-year-old finds himself sweet on the same gal (Kari Michaelson of "Gimme a Break!") as his super-jock roomie (Dean Bulter of "Little House on the Prairie.") Yet there may well be solace and big-man-on-campus status for this puny Poindexter if his astronomical high score on the arcade classic "Defender" holds.
CURSE OF THE FLY (1965): Some sequels shine purely from sheer audacity. Such as the final chapter of the original Fly franchise that doesn’t bother concerning itself with featuring A FLY!!! No transmutation. Not even one of the household variety. What they DO offer, for barely a nanosecond, is a PHOTOGRAPH from Return of the Fly where fate and box office receipts demanded that young Philippe Delamre ACCIDENTALLY turn himself into a grotesque man-fly just like his swatted pappy. So, OK, there sorta IS a fly in Curse, but it shouldn’t count. Why? Well, WHO SNAPPED THE GOLDANG PHOTO!?! Ah, movie magic. In this W-I-D-E-S-C-R-E-E-N gem, generation three-o of the Delamres (headed by Brian Donlevy), sick of hassling with frequent flyer milage, attempt to perfect their high-voltage phone booths merely by turning them SIDEWAYS! Might’ve gotten away with it too if not for a nekkid ‘n’ nosey mental patient on the lam.
DINOSAUR ISLAND (1994): Latter-day breast auteurs Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski team for this slapstick ode to time-honored cavebabe flicks in which five military men downed in the Pacific miraculously wash ashore on an island inhabited by ravishing warrior women in buckskin bikinis. But before that, late-night cable siren Nikki Fritz paints her Dow Corning torpedoes BLUE, does the virgin sacrifice hoochie coochie and then rips off the unsullied’s top just before one of Roger Corman‘s recycled Carnosaur dinos stomps in for a midnight snack. Fortunately B-yuckmeister Richard Gabai‘s smiley face tattoo makes him a God among babes or he and his comrades would endure unpleasant spearing. Instead they earn topless rubdowns and one lucky grunt gets to play nekkid Marco Polo in a prehistoric hot tub with CineSchlocker fave Griffin Drew. Dino-mite!!!
THE DELIBERATE STRANGER (1986): Required viewing for all Lifetime programmers, because there’s no greater horror to womenfolk than when that grinning JFK starter kit who just offered them a drink, who also hints he’s a hair away from passing the bar exam, turns out to be a sociopath itching to split their pretty little brainpan and contort their withering corpse like a pornographic lawn ornament. Not that this three-night TV miniseries ever got that graphic. Therein lies its perverse humor alongside seeing the media’s dashing image of Ted Bundy embodied by ’80s heartthrob Mark Harmon as a smiling stud muffin fond of much-too-tiny tennis shorts and tooling around in his VW Bug — who also ocassionally offs a gal or two. Such an oddly tame telling than the chilling reality that, when it aired, Terrible Ted sat on death row suspected of brutally murdering as many as 200 women!
BLOOD DINER (1987): What began as an honest Blood Feast sequel, produced by rights holder Jimmy Maslon, devolved into more of a fromage about TWO homicidal siblings and restaurateurs (Rick Burks and Carl Crew) who butcher nubile valley gals in preparation of a "Blood Buffet" to resurrect the Lumerian goddess Sheetar (Tanya Papanicolas). This ritual feast is actually the brainchild of their formerly departed Uncle Anwar (Drew Godderis) whose oversexed noodle continues to issue murderous marching orders from his postmortem pickle jar. The flick even opens with a stern content warning akin to the crimson classic’s "admonition," although not even the Godfather of Gore could’ve foretold the machine-gunning of topless jazzercisers, rampant mutilations of fussy vegetarians, Nazi rasslin or the final reel’s lightning-bolt flinging vagina monster.