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The first thing to say is that this DVD set is region 1 so you will need a multi-region DVD player. It would be too long and drawn out to go into too much detail about each film individually but basically these are not the sort of films that would win any Oscars or indeed, anything else. They are mostly about the teenage scene of beaches, babes and motors (and motorcycles). A couple of the films do aim at a more discerning audience; Weekend With the Babysitter is not quite the sleazy offering that the title would suggest; and Single Room Furnished is a cautionary tale for innocent girls looking for the good life.
According to the BBFC website, three of these films, The Pink Angels, Single Room Furnished and Malibu Beach were never released in the UK, and The Babysitter was cut for its cinematic release so this set is probably the only way to see them. It may also be true to say that they don't make them like this any more. I paid less than a tenner for this box set so I think it is quite good value.
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79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Like An Album With A Few Good Songs You Can't Part With1 July 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
VAN NUYS BLVD. The best of this bunch, especially if you've ever actually been to Van Nuys, and the theme song is hilarious. It's mostly just a loose collection of scenes, very few of which have anything to do with cruising or Van Nuys Boulevard. It's really more of a California fantasy lifestyle teen flick than anything else, loosely based on car culture, sex in vans, the beach, etc. Director's commentary is only occasionally interesting but at least there is one. Some lame-brain comedic scenarios, a lot of toplessness, and one scene that would be right at home in American Pie. But in spite of product claims to the contrary, Bobby does not 'get involved with topless dancers and bikers'. There is dancing, there is toplessness, there are bikers of a sort, but that's not the same thing.
THE POM POM GIRLS A fun dumb high school flick that isn't really about the Pom Pom Girls. It's mainly about rebellious football dudes (who are remarkably non-jock types) playing outrageous pranks on each other and their rival high school. Loose, freewheeling, unencumbered by plot, but enjoyable.
THE BABYSITTER The only black-and-white movie in this bunch and a pretty solid b-movie that balances the legitimate acting of George E. Carey against the guilty pleasures of gratuitous sex, bikers, lesbians, psychedelic bands, etc. But who wrote the synopsis on the DVD package? Were they high, or did they write it two weeks after seeing it and confuse the details? Candy does not "take a job working for the powerful district attorney" - she has an affair with a prosecutor who works for the DA. Candy also does not "step in and blackmail the D.A." - she tries to stop a biker chick from blackmailing George, the prosecutor. Get your story straight, man!
BLOOD MANIA Another fine example of exaggerated titling and bunko synopsis writing. There are 2 murders but it's hardly blood mania. Craig, a doctor who used to perform abortions, is being blackmailed for 50 grand by a hilariously miscast 'heavy'. One of Craig's patients is a wealthy old benefactor, the daughter of whom is a crazy art chick who is in love with Craig. She decides to kill the old man to get the inheritance money to solve Craig's blackmail problem, but it doesn't work. This has a Movie of the Week feel, for the most part. But again, the synopsis on the DVD package is way off - it is not about "a scorned daughter [who] murders her abortionist/physician father to get his inheritance and help out her junkie boyfriend."
WEEKEND WITH THE BABYSITTER Written and produced by the star, George E. Carey, who also wrote, produced, and starred in The Babysitter. Almost the same film, just updated a bit and in color this time, with a subplot about a heroin addict wife getting caught up in a botched drug deal on a boat. There's a disconcerting combination of faux hippy culture, shamelessly age-inappropriate sex, and moments of unabashed sincerity. A strange mishmash of The Trip (lite), Hawaii Five-O and Lolita. And another cul-de-sac sudden ending.
MALIBU BEACH Very light fare, typical beach movie.
School's out for summer and attention turns to the new lifeguard at Malibu beach, Dina, guilelessly played by Kim Lankford. In this corner, weighing in at roughly 200 pounds of weightlifting, gum-chewing, Speedo-wearing, referring-to-himself-in-the-third-person stupidity we have Dugan (Steve Oliver), the sandkicker. In the other corner, we have the requisite Bobby (James Daughton of Animal House fame), a nice guy with a winning smile, a flip blonde hairdo, and a Jeep. Bobby and Dina spend the summer cavorting with their friends, Sally and Paul, getting their harmless kicks at the beach.
The film sports subtle gimmicks like stoned cops, a belching shark and a dog that steals bikini tops, but for God's sake, what cretin is looking for subtlety in a movie called Malibu Beach? It's nothing more than what it purports to be: a lighthearted teenage flick about girls, cars, summer, and dumb pranks - the 1978 equivalent of a Beach Boys song. The teenagers appear to be played by people well into their 20s (or later), but this type of attention to detail is not going to best serve the viewing audience. Just kick back and enjoy the carefree, pre-digital vibe, when media/information/constant communication was not of general interest, 18 was the legal drinking age, there were no helmet or seat belt laws, drinking and driving was tacitly approved of and irony/sarcasm was not yet ubiquitous. It truly looks like an alien culture, if that's the correct word, though one that has a certain mindless appeal and effortless spontaneity. When's the last time you smoked a joint on the beach, swigged out of a jug of cheap wine and went skinny-dipping with a group of brand-new friends?
As for under the radar kicks, watch for Ms. Plickett, the uptight teacher Dugan attempts to seduce - it's Jan Brady's lesser-known sister, Flora Plumb. The [initial] resemblance should pretty much hit you over the head. Watch for Bobby's yellow Crown Pictures International t-shirt, and Sally sporting one that promotes the Bla Bla Cafe, a legendary Studio City hangout of the era. Wait, was that a Honda CVCC? "1-Adam-12, 1-Adam-12, see the girl who plays pinball like it's important to be at eye-level with the playing field." And if you've seen Van Nuys Blvd, there will be a few locations, themes and cameos that should look familiar, such as Bill Adler as Vanner [Who did he play in Van Nuys Blvd again? Oh yeah, Bobby.] and Glorianna, played by the rather sensual Tara Strohmeier.
On the more overt front, will there be a chickie run? A disco party with alarming fashion, big-hair androgyny, some sweet ADR and genre songs you'll never hear elsewhere? A final ridiculous showdown with Dugan? Oh man, would I ruin shit like that for the likes of you?!
PINK ANGELS The first time I tried, I could not finish this movie. The setup of six gay bikers riding down the West coast to a drag cotillion in L.A. was fine, but the seemingly improvised dialogue and sketch comedy scenes of clashes with straight society felt like it wasn't paying off really - neither funny nor particularly captivating. I just watched it a second time, to the end, and although it is somewhat trying at times, the shocker of an ending recontextualizes the ambling, slight scenes that lead up to it and add an unexpected layer of poignancy.
In typical early 70s fashion, the Angels shock and run afoul of the law, roadside diner employees, clothing store clerks, a straight motorcycle gang, and so on, interspersed with plenty of road footage and initially inexplicable cuts to a general in a remote office. It's essentially a typical loose counterculture road movie with a gay twist. As genres go, it's probably one-of-a-kind, and as gay cinema, it's probably also historically significant. I just thought it fell short of the mark in terms of comedy, characters, and what I generally am looking for in "drive-in cult classic"-type films: either so bad it's good, or surprisingly good for how bad I expected it to be.
SINGLE ROOM FURNISHED Painfully horrible. Within 15 minutes you're in a digression within a digression and have the sinking feeling you stumbled into a black box theater where a scene study class is taking place. A blue collar couple is on a fake firescape talking about their not-actually poignant lives. The guy can't for the life of him fake a New York accent and can't stop moving his head with every word he speaks. Gave up after 30 minutes. Two nights later I picked up where I left off. That scene thankfully ended and another couple was introduced. They were no more watchable than the first, so I gave up again.
54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
The best of the Drive in DVD Series18 Nov. 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
The films and picture quality were very wonderful. While the other two box sets had some real duds on them, I am happy to say that every film on this box set was watchable, and enjoyable. While the movies are by no means oscar worthy, they deliver the trashy thrill fans of this genre will love. If you bought the other two, or were holding out, this is the one to grab. Happy Viewings!
58 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Another great set from our friends at BCI.16 Oct. 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Here is another fine collection of Crown International Pictures' drive-in movie madness. You get eight classic b-movies all lovingly restored using new film transfers (with the exception of The Babysitter, which was mastered from PAL tape). I won't go into the plots of each film (I figure anyone who is seriously looking at this page already has an appreciation for schlock cinema and can navigate his/her way to IMDb) but I can tell you that the films look great. For example, Blood Mania's crisp, wide-screen picture looks about a thousand times better than its full frame VHS release; there are no scratches or drop-outs and the sound is fantastic.
I constantly look forward to all BCI/Navarre Corporation's releases and it always amazes me that they put out such quality products at a price far less than their competitors. Right now you can order this set for $8.99 brand-new from Amazon; that's $1.13 per film!!! A great deal! Again, the quality of these films is fantastic and it genuinely seems that whoever is mastering these sets has a real love for the genre; the transfers are great and there is always the surprising extra, for example, Van Nuys Blvd has a wonderful commentary track by the film's director, William Sachs.
If you are a life-long fan of drive-in/exploitation films or are someone who wants to know what it was all about, this collection provides a nice variety (teen, biker, beach party and horror) in the spectrum of classic cult cinema at an extremely affordable price.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The joy of trash cinema25 Sept. 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
In Drive-In Cult Classics Volume 1, the viewer got a collection of trashy but fun dramas which focused on illicit sex and death. I have not watched Volume 2, which is a set of low-budget horror movies, some of which have even made it to Mystery Science Theater. Volume 3, however, is a true mish-mash of movies, but are overall pretty fun. All come from Crown International Pictures, a distributor of cheesy exploitation flicks (with a definite inclination towards gratuitous nudity).
Volume 3 has eight movies on four discs. On the first disc is The Babysitter and Weekend with the Babysitter, a pair of generally unrelated but similar movies. Each involves a middle-aged man (played by the same actor in both movies) having a fling with his child's babysitter and in the process getting entangled with crime. The Babysitter is the only black-and-white movie in the set.
Disc 2 has The Pink Angels and Blood Mania. Blood Mania is basically a suspense story with a lot of sex and a bit of trippiness. The Pink Angels is nominally a comedy, but it lacks any real laughs. It's the story of a gang of gay bikers. They don't actually do anything with each other, but instead are just an over-the-top collection of gay stereotypes. Even for those who find this movie likeable will be put off by the ending where things take an abrupt turn.
Things get both better and worse on Disc 3. Single Room Furnished is a rare Crown attempt to be arty, with an adaptation of a play about the tragic love life of a young woman. Unfortunately, the movie is too stagy and the acting and writing are subpar, led by Jayne Mansfield in her final role before her death in a car accident.
On the other side of Disc 3 is the first of a threesome of similar movies that continue on Disc 4. All three are late-`70s teen sex comedies. Van Nuys Blvd. (on Disc 3) romanticizes the era of cruising down the boulevard every Wednesday night. The Pom Pom Girls focus on some high school football players and their attempts to woo the title characters. Malibu Beach takes place mostly on Malibu Beach. All three are reasonably interchangeable: I enjoyed Van Nuys Blvd. the best (it seemed to have the most likeable characters), but they're all decent and pieces of cinematic greatness compared to some of the other Crown fare.
Overall, this is another collection of trashy fun; I enjoyed all these films with the exception of Single Room Furnished (more boring than bad) and to a lesser extent, Pink Angels. There are even a couple extras: a commentary and a couple movie trailers. For what these movies are - cheap entertainment - this is a good set to pick up.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Not cult by any means by worth a watch!8 Sept. 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This set of 8 movies in a doubledvd style case are by no means cult classics. Perhaps rare and lowbudget but cult films usually have a following or a "special" quality that makes them memorable. What we have here is 3 or 4 decent movies with groovy soundtracks- frontal nudity and occassionaly interesting camera work. On this set Blood Mania(great soundtrack and nudity) and The Babysitter were my favorites but the later California Beach movies(Van Nuys Blvd and Malibu Beach) had some nice 70s girls baring it all and a lighthearted comic feel. This whole series of sets- 4 in total are pretty much all the same. You get a couple of decent movies and for the price its hard to complain but i wish they could land some real cult classics like Ilsa- Emanuelle- or Russ Meyer or Roger Corman films. A good way to pass a Sunday night.