VCI Entertainment unleashes two blasts from the past on Blu-Ray for the
first time, perhaps fondly remembered by those who spent the 70s in drive-ins & run-down suburban triplexes.
John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, Jack Kruschen, John Carradine and a
slew of young "actors" we never heard from again. Directed
by Greydon Clark. (1977, 90 min).
Ignored at the Oscars that year, 1977's Satan's Cheerleaders is a
jaw-droppingly inept attempt at comedy and horror in one cheap,
gratuitous package. The result is both uproarious and, at times, surprisingly
news first...the dialogue and performances are comedy gold, though
not for the reasons the producers intended. The "funny"
moments - mostly four nubile teens engaging in such deviant behavior
as water balloon fights and sexual innuendo - evoke laughter due to a
completely misguided sense of what's actually funny. We're almost
embarrassed for the kids forced to utter these lines while trying in
vain to look sexy, to say nothing of the older actors paid to appear dumbfounded by
these so-called delinquents.
of the latter, what the hell are the likes of John Ireland, Yvonne De
Carlo & John Carradine doing in something like this? That's the
depressing part for anyone who recalls the glory days of these
once-respected actors. Watching them ham it up as bumbling Satanists
(constantly thwarted by a batch of bouncing bimbos) is more sad than
funny. Is this all the work they could get at the time?
changes in our cultural climate over the last 40 years render scenes
of old men leering at semi-nude young girls in a locker room kinda
repulsive, Satan's Cheerleaders still provides plenty o' fun
at its own expense. And believe it or not, the cinematographer of
this no-budget hoot is none-other than the great Dean Cundey! I guess
everyone had to start somewhere.
|KITTY CONSENSUS: GOOD FOR LAUGHS|
COMMENTARIES - One by director Greydon Clark, the other by David
DeCoteau (a B-movie director whose credits include Creepozoids)
and genre film journalist David Del Valle
Piper Laurie, Stuart Whitman, Roger Davis, Janit Baldwin, Sal
Vecchio, Pail Kent, Len Lesser. Directed by Curtis Harrington. (1977,
in blood. Raised in Sin. She's sweet sixteen, let the party begin."
remember that tagline from Ruby's misleading ad
campaign, which helped it ride the coattails of Carrie to box office
success. The trailer also ballyhooed star Piper Laurie, fresh-off
playing Carrie's psychotic mom. She's the title character in this
one, though not the source of terror we were all led to believe.
Laurie is a former wannabe starlet and the widow of Nicky, a gangster
who was murdered sixteen years earlier. She's since opened up a
drive-in theater and given work to the rest of the old gang. Ruby
isn't a particularly likable lady - she wants to have her mute
teenage daughter committed - but she still loves and misses Nicky.
Still, you can't keep a good gangster down. Believing Ruby and his
gang betrayed him, Nicky begins striking from the grave, killing them
one by one.
in the day, we may have been initially disappointed at the lack of
teens & telepaths, but Ruby is a mildly
engaging slab of southern gothic horror. It's definitely hampered by
a low budget - check-out the off-screen crash where the burning vehicle
is obviously a completely different make & model than the one the
character was just driving - but while not particularly scary, the
film is atmospheric, making the most of its drive-in/swampland
setting. The performances range from enjoyable to awful. Various
veteran character actors earn their paychecks (and Laurie is
amusingly over-the-top), while the younger cast of no-names would fit
right in with the stars of Satan's Cheerleaders.
years later, Ruby may not have aged as well as other classic
horrors of the 70s, but for those roped into checking it out at their
local drive-in back then, it's a nice little nostalgia trip. You
might even find it's a bit better than you remember.
|NOT BAD...LIKE CAT CHOW|
WITH DIRECTOR CURTIS HARRINGTON (from 2001)
IMAGE" EPISODES - Two more interviews with Curtis Harrington
COMMENTARIES - One with director Curtis Harrington & Piper
Laurie, the other with David Del Valle (again!) and Nathaniel Bell