Suburban Grindhouse Memories Goes to Times Square!
SUBURBAN GRINDHOUSE MEMORIES No. 17:
Sometimes You Just HAD to Go to the City…
By Nick Cato
Regardless if you’re a horror, sci-fi, or fantasy film fan, the above ad managed to get anyone with a love for B-cinema out of the ‘burbs for one gloriously cheese-filled fall evening back in 1987. As far as I can recall, this double bill was one of the LAST trash-fests to play in NYC’s Times Square, thanks to a distributor known as “Urban Classics” (who also released these titles to video shortly after their week-only theatrical run). Was it worth the bumpy train ride, dodging peddlers, hookers and drug dealers, and attempting not to stick to the theatre floor? Yes . . . and no.
The first feature, SLAVEGIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY, turned out to be a loin-cloth-bikini version of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932). Two cute “slave girls” escape from a slave ship in a cheap-looking space shuttle and crash land on a planet where some nut named Zed throws them out into the jungle and hunts them with his goofy-looking robot. Unless you’re a teenaged boy (as I was at the time), chances are you’ll scan through this with the fast forward (although we didn’t have that option in the theater). If not for scream queen legend Brinke Stevens, and beautiful newcomers Elizabeth Kaitan (or Cayton—she has used both in several films) and Cindy Beal, the film would basically have been a total wash. There’s one scene that did stick with me: our two hunted femmes find themselves at a ravine that’s bridged by a fallen tree. At the time I thought, “Man, this reminds me of KING KONG.” Sure enough, I read an interview with director Ken Dixon a year or so later where he said Kong did indeed inspire this sequence. I’m also assuming most of the film’s budget went into this decent visual.
So, if you want to see cute girls running around on an alien planet (that doesn’t look much different from any national state park) in bikinis as robots chase them with continual lame dialogue, SLAVEGIRLS is the film for you. The NY crowd I saw this with mocked the acting for most of the running time. And despite the babes, I was eager to get on to the second feature. (Did I mention Elizabeth Cayton returned a year later in the wonderfully-titled ASSAULT OF THE KILLER BIMBOS? Surprise time: it was worse than SLAVEGIRLS!)
Moving on: Just two years after making a name for herself (and her shapely buttocks) in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985), Scream Queen Linnea Quigley had already began her downward spiral with CREEPOZOIDS, a tedious ALIEN rip-off that features one of the dumbest-looking monster babies ever committed to celluloid.
Shortly after the film started, I remember everyone in the theater laughing because the film took place in the distant future of 1998 (!)
After the world has been nuked (yawwwn), a group of survivors find an underground government research facility, where they discover scientists were trying to find a way for humans to survive without food (yes, this script had Oscar written all over it). The crowd laughed like hyenas at the attacking giant rats (which weren’t a quarter as cool-looking as those in THE FOOD OF THE GODS (1976)), and of course shouted praise for Linnea’s arse during the too-long shower/sex scene. YES—even the shower/sex scene wore out its welcome in this darkly-filmed non-epic from director David DeCoteau, who had previously been responsible for gems such as DREAMANIAC (1986) and NIGHTMARE SISTERS (1987). (Ironically, while researching DeCoteau for this article, I discovered he’s been actively directing ever since, his latest being a FOOD OF THE GODS remake slated for a 2011 release. Heaven help us if he recycles CREEPOZOIDS’ rats for it).
Like all classic-era Times Square double features, the time spent outside the theater, along with the audience hi-jinks and continual insults at the screen, is what made films like these so enjoyable: I don’t know how well I (or anyone else) would do with them on home video, so even if you’re a sci-fi/trash film completist, approach both of these titles with extreme caution.
And a double-shot of espresso if you plan on making it to the end.
© Copyright 2010 by Nick Cato