Retro Film Report #26

Next to food blogs, I'd say movie blogs are the second most plentiful on the interwebs - God knows movie reviews are in no short supply these days.  Nowadays, any film, no matter how obscure, is going to have hundreds if not thousands of reviews via IMDb, Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes, Letterboxd, and thousands upon thousands of blogs and forums.  But I can't help but, on occasion, add my little bit to the cacophony of cinematic expositions.

Sometimes I like to explore a single movie in detail; but more often than not I just like to skim.This time I'm skimming.

Open House (1987)

Dumb slasher movie that will have you asking yourself, "Has my life come to this?"  On the downside, you've wasted an hour and a half.  On the plus side, it may result in some self-reflection, and maybe even some life changes.

Adrienne Barbeau has admitted that she did this movie to help pay for her son's college tuition. I hope he appreciated it - I feel like I deserve some reimbursement myself for enduring this piece of garbage.  No real scares, no nudity to speak of, a terrible plot... and yet I watched the whole thing.  I have to admit, I was pretty fixated on the "eighties-ness" of the film - perhaps its only redeaming quality.

 Zeta One AKA The Love Factor (1969)

Remember Yutte Stensgaard? She was in Lust for a Vampire among other things.  I'd heard she came to regret her film choices and started a religious radio station - but don't quote me on that.

Yutte is literally the only reason to watch this.  Yet, how can this be? It's got miniskirts, a groovy soundtrack, and it's a British sci-fi skin flick how could this not be good?  Well, the only thing more gratuitous than the nudity is the boredom.  Sweet Lord, this thing is horribly made.  You think you'll like it, but you'll see I'm right.

This is the only full length movie directed by Michael Cort, so perhaps he had the good sense to move on to another profession.

If you can divert your eyes away from Yutte for a moment, you'll notice a Doors LP and a groovy table and chairs.  Oh, and don't ask why all the screen shots are from this one scene - I'm not kidding when I tell you half the freaking movie takes place in this little living room-kitchen area!

Notice the cool egg chair.  By the way, this scene drags on so long, you'll start to wonder whether we are going to sit here for an hour and watch them play an entire game of cards.... you'll also start to wonder about your own sanity, which will surely be frayed by the end of this scene.  Oh, and don't expect interesting Tarantino-esque dialog.  Expect the most irrelevant mundane verbiage ever put to celluloid.

Oh, and here's the big payoff for all your troubles - Yutte checking the oven naked.  It literally takes until the end of the film to get here, and by the time you do, your brain will be so numb you won't even care.

Aerobi-cide AKA Killer Workout (1986)

Completely asinine experience.  Not even the leotards can redeem it.  View it with the lowest expectation you can muster, and you will still be disappointed.

The soundtrack, on the other hand, is a must. Not because it's good - it's awful.  But it's that painfully bad sound that only 1986 could produce - bland yet peppy, polished yet poorly executed.  In summary: The Killer Workout soundtrack is not just music made in 1986, but it is the very essence of that year.

Here's an example.  I apologize for the poor quality as I don't own the official soundtrack.

Knockout (LISTEN)

La Endemoniada (AKA The Possessed) (1975)

After The Exorcist, there was a ton of knock-offs worldwide.  You kiddies today don't understand what a cultural phenomenon The Exorcist was - it wasn't just scary, it hit a nerve.  It grabbed the Boomers by the jugular and relentlessly danced on all their latent fears and superstitions.

(shudder) This shit gives me the creeps.

European imitations weren't quite as good, but many managed to maintain that diabolical vibe The Exorcist played so well.  The Possessed is lame, it's boring, it's poorly made.... but it has its moments of profound creepiness. Attribute it to being raised Catholic, but some of this devil stuff gives me the willies.Too bad you can't find a decent copy of the film.

The Van (1977)

If you have any love for the seventies - the real seventies - this is on the required watch list.  Indeed, it has special meaning for yours truly.  In the nineties I had all but forgotten my seventies roots.  If you can believe it, by 1994 I had no love or appreciation for the 1970s; barely even a passing nostalgia.

Then, several things came together for me, and one of them was a VHS copy of this movie.  For whatever reason, it just brought back a wave of memories.  Like when Bruce Wayne saw his parents gunned down and became the Batman, in a way, I became Gilligan upon seeing The Van.

Remember the nerd who loved Marcia Brady in spite of her grotesquely swollen nose? The Van stars that guy.  It also has Danny DeVito and one of my all time favorite songs "Chevy Van", which they play continually.  You are also treated to "Early Morning Love" by the same artist, Sammy Johns - another piece of long forgotten soft rock gold.

Barracuda (1978)

Just as The Exorcist spawned countless rip-offs, so too did JawsBarracuda lies somewhere near the bottom of the Jaws food chain, where Piranha is worse than Jaws, and Orca is slightly worse than Piranha, and Tintorera:Killer Shark is slightly worse than Orca, and The Deep is slightly worse than Tintotera, and so on and so on..... until eventually you get to the deepest depths of marine horror.  And there, dear friend, you will find Barracuda.

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)

I'll also mention that I watched The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990) only to verify that this is irrefutably the worst film ever made. This movie makes DC Cab look like Casablanca.  This movie makes Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo look like King Lear.  This movie makes.... well you get the point.  It's bad.

I propose that we use this film as the official book end to the nineties.  When someone asks "when exactly did the eighties as we knew it die?" Answer: Ford Fairlane

The picture above? He's driving a Hearse and she's a corpse!  Does that give you an idea of the caliber of humor we're dealing with here?

"There was an old lady who lived in a shoe. She had so many kids... her uterus fell out - OH!"


  1. Yutte Stensgaard didn't start a radio station, she moved to the US and became National Account Director for Premiere Radio Networks. More details here: http://hammerandbeyond.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/yutte-stensgaard-may-14-1946.html

  2. Have to admit I did like The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Especially Ed O'Neil's ex-disco singer/currently police detective character with his theme "Bootie Time USA". And it did have Josie and the Pussycats.

    Plus the hearse girl did turn out to be some hot chick who who had passed out drunk.

    Did not care for the koala though.

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  4. I found it odd that "The Van" kept playing that song "Chevy Van", even though the van the main character drove was a Dodge. And, yeah, "Zeta One" was a HUGE disappointment.

  5. Out of all the movies that feature serial killers bumping off hot chicks in leotards with a giant safety pin, nothing beats Killer Workout, a.k.a. Aerobicide.

    1. You can say that again. It's clearly the "Citizen Kane" of it's genre, easily.

  6. I LOVED DC Cab. As a 12 year old.....

    Still gotta be sorta cool right?

  7. I agree the apartment scenes in Zeta One are a bore, as the ostensible leading man of this film tepidly flirts, like the D-list James Bond knockoff he is.

    However, once you get to the scenes on the planet Angiva, it's a triumph of 1960s design combined with subtextual lesbianism. A planet inhabited by nothing but women, who do nothing but wrestle, meditate and dance all day.

    Then there's the big battle scene at the end, when a platoon of Angivan women in go-go boots, pasties and rope bikinis fight a platoon of guys dressed like they escaped from Monty Python's "Upper Class Twit of the Year" sketch. The woman can stun guys just by flicking their hands at them.

    If you fast-forward through the dull parts, Zeta One is one of those rare films in which soft-core porn transcends itself and achieves pop surrealism.

  8. "Like when Bruce Wayne saw his parents gunned down and became the Batman, in a way, I became Gilligan upon seeing The Van."

    Like nuggets of gold right there! Bit by bit, we get to know Gilligan, and what warped him, uh, I mean, turned him into the retro POAK. (Purveyor of All Knowledge)

    1. I read that same line ("Like when Bruce Wayne saw his parents... ") and knew it was gold as well... Hilarious.

  9. I graduated from high school in 1976'. Drive-In's were just starting to close and a few of them were being converted to outdoor x-rated movie theaters. (Flood lights facing out.) I saw several of these movies at a drive in, before they became extinct. Those were the days, I tell ya. If you're with the right girl, the worse the movie, the better.

  10. AnonymousMay 05, 2013

    shocked by your hate of Ford Fairlane. you can't be trusted. :(