Archives for posts with tag: David DeCoteau

Bikini Drive-In

Bikini Drive-In (1995) ****1/2  One of the quintessential Fred Olen Ray classics, Bikini Drive-In features all of the traits his fans have come to expect over the years: campy acting from a mix of has-beens and shapely young performers, genuine American trash culture nostalgia, a man in a monster suit, broad humor, and heaping helpings of big, bare breasts!  Or the world’s cheapest special effect, as Ray might put it.  The plot, a variation on the old motley-crew-of-underdogs-bands-together-to-raise-money-to-save-the-[insert school, summer camp, or recreation venue] Roller Boogie or Screwball Hotel type, finds beach babe Ashlie Rhey inheriting a decrepit drive-in theater and having to fight to save it from real estate gangster David Friedman.

Thousands of dollars have to be raised in one weekend – what to do?  Fortunately, the mogul’s son, the adorably dorky Richard Gabai, has the hots for Ashlie and comes to her rescue with the idea of turning the family-friendly but deadsville drive-in into a bacchanalian gonzo bikini-infested party headquarters and showing exploitation films like Ray’s own Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.  All of this, of course, is a fine excuse to show scantily clad floozies cleaning up the drive-in montage-style in preparation for the gala opening (and turning the hoses on each other, naturally).  What then follows during the film’s final act is one of the greatest party/riot/saturnalia sequences in memory – maybe not quite as happening as Animal House or Bachelor Party, but pretty mightily crazy and loose.

The cast is a real bonanza for fans of the Wynorski-Ray-DeCoteau-Sloane heyday of low-budget L.A. cinema.  Michelle Bauer appears to sizzling effect as a sultry scream queen duped into appearing at the gala re-opening; seedy Ross Hagen is one of Friedman’s henchmen; Tane McClure, renowned stripper Nikki Fritz, and porn actress Sarah Bellomo (aka Roxanne Blaze) are among the film’s many bimbos; and Becky LeBeau (so memorable as the nearsighted stripper in Not of This Earth), in addition to performing some of Bikini Drive-In‘s pleasantly cheesy soft rock songs, plays a stripper recruited to seduce cocky disc jockey Fred Olen Ray.  Other cameos include Gordon Mitchell, Forrest Ackerman, Jim Wynorski, and (posthumously, via photograph) even John Carradine.  Bikini Drive-In is essential viewing for any fan of Ray, Gabai, big breasts, or drive-in movies, and the interior sets are a treasure trove of posters for vintage exploitation films like Death Curse of Tartu, Sting of Death, Cannibal Girls, and Wild, Free, and Hungry.  4.5 of 5 possible stars.  Recommended.

Assault Nerds 2

Assault of the Party Nerds II: The Heavy Petting Detective (1995) ****  First of all, any nerd movie or cheap trash aficionado who is not yet an admirer of the redoubtable Richard Gabai and has not yet watched the incomparable Assault of the Party Nerds needs to do so immediately.  Gabai, an actor who better than any other strikes a captivating balance between accessibly handsome and hopelessly if charmingly dweeby and made a semi-star of sorts of himself in that 1989 Revenge of the Nerds-inspired opus, returns as writer-director-star of its sequel, The Heavy Petting Detective, which, clearly designed with the intention of pleasing fans of the original, has also reunited several members of its cast, including Christopher Dempsey and Robert Dorfmann as secretly gay jocks Bud and Chip; scream queens Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley as airheads Muffin and Bambi; and even, in a cameo, hairy Richard Rifkin as the World’s Oldest Living Active.  New and welcome additions to the Party Nerds coterie include Laugh-In‘s Arte Johnson; Batman‘s Burt Ward; USA Up All Night‘s Rhonda Shear (sporting some outrageous hair and kooky outfits that have to be seen); Tane McClure as Dempsey’s seductive secretary; and Tony Scaduto, Spridle Esponda, and Steve Rosenbaum as a trio of next-generation party nerds.

Long since having graduated, Gabai’s alter ego Ritchie Spencer is currently working as a private detective and finds himself mixed up in a wacky imbroglio involving his old greek life acquaintances and rivals when Burt Ward hires him to investigate his son-in-law, who just happens to be the narcissistic and villainous Bud, now married to Muffin and working as an executive at her father’s company.  Bud, having discovered that Muffin has actually inherited the business, concocts a fiendish scheme to sow discord between his wife and her family and so get her to sign the company over to him.  In the course of his investigation, which has to compete for Spencer’s time with a concurrent case involving an elusive potato chip truck driver, Spencer also catches up with Bambi, who, while still somewhat ditzy, has become a cynical, sexually jaded golddigger.  Also complicating matters is the fact that the nerds’ fraternity has fallen on hard times and that the jocks, it turns out, own the deed on the property and are threatening to evict the brothers.  Can the nerds save their frat house?  Will Muffin ever win her husband’s affection again?  Will Spencer ever grow up?  Will the new generation of party nerds rise to the occasion like their forebears and manage to lose their virginity before they graduate?  Naturally, and in the venerable Party Nerds tradition, everything comes to a head at a zany fraternity party.

Though not quite as classic as Assault of the Party Nerds, The Heavy Petting Detective is in some ways superior and offers a lot to recommend it.  In addition to the over-the-top commitment of its entirely colorful cast, the film is fast-paced and never slows down long enough to be boring, even when the humor is occasionally (or usually) lame.  Gabai’s pop ‘n’ roll band, the Checks, provides several upbeat songs (some also featured in Bikini Drive-In) that contribute to the movie’s tempo and harmless, friendly feeling for the viewer.  A few gags are repeated from Assault of the Party Nerds, which, depending on individual taste and affection for the original, could be a plus or a minus.  In the end, however, what probably matters most for partisans of independent VHS glory days, is that The Heavy Petting Detective brings Michelle Bauer, Richard Gabai, and Linnea Quigley together again to do their things, and what, in all honesty, could be better than that?  4 of 5 possible checks.

Working Girls

Working Girls (1985) ****1/2  A humorous, high-quality anthology film about the different incarnations of prostitution – from call girl action to nagging housewifery – Working Girls is tastefully photographed and benefits immensely from featuring some the biggest and most charismatic names in the business.  Ron Jeremy gets things off to a harried start, with spouse Ashley Welles pestering him for a kitchen renovation and using anatomical leverage to pry an agreement out of him.  Jamie Gillis is good as a cocksure male prostitute, and Patti Petite is photogenically limber as a wife trying to squeeze a raise for her husband out of his horny boss (Mike Horner) at the office.

Especially notable is one of the segments directed by “David McCabe” (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama creator David DeCoteau), in which Sheri St. Clair plays a prostitute who ties mustached wimp Robert Bullock to a chair at his request and then proceeds to display her body, finger herself, and talk dirty in her distinctively scorching, slightly scary, and awe-inspiring fashion.  The concluding vignette, “Kinky Sex”, also directed by DeCoteau, is really just a scatalogical joke, and one of many unusual situations that set Working Girls apart from the rest of the trash on the corner.  Recommended to 80s porn fans and those interested in seeing DeCoteau’s earliest directorial work.

Air Erotica

Air Erotica (1988) **1/2  This is a compilation of essentially plotless vignettes about airline pilots, passengers, and stewardesses.  Big names like Herschel Savage and Taija Rae appear (the latter in her less interesting but still sexy slimmed-down and blonded mode of the late 80s), but none of the segments elicits much excitement with the exception of Sheri St. Clair’s irritatingly brief turn as a horny passenger so hot she has to let Tom Byron take her into the airplane bathroom to plug her variously.  St. Clair commands more nasty and sinister magnetism than all of the other performers combined, and Air Erotica might have been saved by having the sense to include several segments featuring her; but what follows her encounter is a series of tolerable but pedestrian scenes of people screwing, licking, and sucking.

Taija Rae looks a little bored in her threesome with Chelsea and Kevin James, whose Nazi superman looks, protruding veins, and noisy breathing interfere with any eroticism his two scenes might have had.  Rachel Ashley is fine as a slut servicing coke-snorting businessman Nick Random, whose goofy pink neckerchief, gold necklaces, and open shirt showing his hairy chest provide one of the film’s amusements.  Overall, however, Air Erotica suffers from what might best be called a sense of jet lag, of bodies not always completely present, with boring music doing little to enliven the proceedings.  For hardcore fans of the performers only.

David DeCoteau, along with Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski, was one of the more heroic and endearing directors to emerge in the era of VHS.  He is especially noteworthy to horror fans of a nostalgic bent for having made two low-budget wonders, Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama and Nightmare Sisters, which brought together Michelle Bauer, Linnea Quigley, and Brinke Stevens, the three premier scream queens of the period.  Now, in 1313: Cougar Cult, the four great screen queens – Bauer, Quigley, Stevens, and DeCoteau – are reunited for one more roll in the trash, this one about a trio of supernatural pagan sisters who turn into cougars – literally! – and devour the young men they succeed in luring into their tackily decorated Malibu mansion.

Photogenic Ryan Curry, Bryce Durfee, and Jack Kubacki star as college students who show up (and end up showing a lot) to take jobs as the cougars’ houseboys.  There is something resembling a plot in 1313: Cougar Cult – something about ritual sacrifices to please an ancient Amazonian deity – but the film is really just an exercise in bisexually friendly cheesecake, with Bauer, Quigley, and Stevens slinking around and acting horny, and lots of long, lingering shots of young actors washing their sculpted torsos or sensually writhing in sleep.  Harboring no illusions about what it is, the film is at times playfully self-deprecating – and even annoyingly so when the sisters’ transformation into their carnivore forms is depicted by the cartoonish superimposition of cougar heads over the actresses’ faces.

1313: Cougar Cult will appeal primarily to two mostly separate groups: those who enjoy ogling half-naked young men and those who fondly remember the scream queens’ work in the low-budget video gems of the 80s and early 90s.  It will, unfortunately, frustrate many in this latter group because 1313: Cougar Cult is ultimately little more than a gigantic tease.  For having a premise built on three evil middle-aged women’s insatiable lust, the film is remarkably tame and devoid of explicit heterosexual action.  Bauer, Quigley, and Stevens are very sexy women, their vintage notwithstanding; and while, having reached a certain stage in their careers, they may be understandably reluctant to undress or engage in simulated sex onscreen (note: do yourselves a favor and see Assault of the Party Nerds), the fact that nothing of the sort appears in 1313: Cougar Cult is still a pretty grievous disappointment.  What but sadism, for instance, could motivate a film in which Brinke Stevens informs a young stud he will have the pleasure of oiling and massaging her – and the viewer never even gets to see it?

Most puzzling of all, perhaps, is that whole decades had to pass before the three venerable cuties could be brought back together.  That occasion, sadly, contents itself with being coquettish and uber-campy rather than satisfyingly sleazy or even vaguely horrific; but no Amazonian deity dictates that the actresses’ collaborations have to stop with this one.  They will, if the gods of video nerd garbage are benevolent, be making more films as a trio in the not-too-distant future.  Meanwhile, fans must content themselves with the picturesquely animal lust on Stevens and Bauer’s faces in this film as they softly paw Bryce Durfee’s body – that and the gratifying moment when Quigley, speaking in a ludicrously demonic voice, commands the audience, “Come to Mama.”

3 of 5 possible stars – one apiece for each of these enticingly mature scream queens.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that 1313: Cougar Cult is:

5. Anti-state.  The cougars pay their manservants cash, seeing no reason to involve the government in their private transactions.

4. Drug-ambivalent.  Smoking – smoking cigarettes, that is – is bad for your health.

3. Innocently class-conscious.  The decadent rich prey upon the weak, sexually and as cannibals.

2. Feminist.  Women give the orders.

1. Hedonistic.  The human body is beautiful and a source of fun.  The fun, furthermore, should be prolonged for as long as humanly or cougarly possible.

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