Posts tagged active home video
Posts tagged active home video
By Dan Kinem
What are the five best things in the world? Boobs, boobs, boobs, boobs, and
tapes boobs. Few things even come close to rivaling the almighty breasts, yet, somehow Active Home Video and producer Bret Rhine managed to film a contest featuring some of the least appealing jugs imaginable. The majority of the contestants look like post-op sex change patients and the pathetic dance routines do everything but turn the viewer on. Thankfully, the video is hysterical, so the ugliness of most of these females doesn’t matter. The overall sleaziness and kitchiness make this a blast to watch.
^Good sign when there are two different opening title screens…
Comedian Dick Shawn hosts the event and opens with a painful stand-up routine that culminates in forcing the audience to sing, “What’s the hippie gonna do? Suck on a shoe.” This goes on so long that it almost gets funny… almost. The celebrity guest judges they got are Avery Schreiber, Carol Wayne, and Pat McCormick. They are there for comic relief, but the real comedy comes from the girls embarrassing themselves. Pat does point out how big Carol Wayne’s tits are at one point and says, “This lady will never drown,” which is both hilarious and haunting since Carol did drown in real life a couple years later.
There are three separate categories: Itty-Bitties, Middle-Weights, and Hefty Honies. Each girl comes out and dances to porn score and tries to impress the judges. Some of the girls make the mistake of leaving their tops on, which results in an obvious lose, while others know what it takes to win. They put a huge troft of water at the front of the stage for girls to dunk their junk in and most of the females take full advantage of this.
In the middle of the video they announce that there are some celebrities in the audience, which includes Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, and Woody fucking Allen. They all even go up on stage and dance with the girls at the end. Seeing Woody Allen up there getting down with some honies is priceless. It was so memorable I told Dabeedo about it over lunch at the local Chinese buffet (shout out to Ocean Buffet, woop woop!). We immediately rushed home (not before polishing off about 15 more chicken-on-a-sticks) to watch it. While watching, though, Dabeedo noticed these celebrities looked a little off. That’s when he started to doubt me. After hours of arguing and painstaking research we found nothing. That’s when we decided to watch the credits and sure enough, “Celebrity Look-a-Likes” was a credit. So depressing. Dabeedo squashing yet another one of my dreams.
Like I said, most of the girls are disgusting, yet you can’t take your eyes away. The entire time you are waiting for the “hefty honies,” but it keeps being delayed by unfunny jokes and even a male stripper segment (which was fucking hilarious).
When you finally get to see the goods you have lost most of the excitement. There is one girl who blew me away, though, but she ends up losing so it’s pointless. For the
whore horror fans out there, Michelle Bauer even makes an appearance (as does Russ Meyer favorite, Raven De La Croix).
Overall, it was great watching for all the bad stand-up, terrible dancing, and mediocre-to-horrible gazoombas and I would recommend it to anyone who likes weird video oddities. The tape is super rare (probably because of all the celebrities) and is hard to find for a good price. It was released in a slipcase by Active Home Video and two years later a sequel was also released by them which seems even more rare. This is the type of stuff that will probably never be released on DVD and shows why VHS is such a great and relevant format.
Get ‘em Woody!
By Dan Kinem
If you couldn’t tell by the bad ass cover, Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is about a crazy half-frog/half-human monster and his regular-sized frog minions fiercely and furiously protecting a mountain of gold at the bottom of a lake. Sadly, few plot outlines have promised so much, yet delivered so little.
The movie focuses more on the boring lives of the characters rather than showing any frog action. Kelly, our male lead, is telling his girlfriend all about when he was 11-years-old and found a strange bone fragment, a fragment that could obviously only belong to some bizarre half-human/half-frog-like creature. Kelly was the king as a kid, and just like myself, he also drinks nonstop bottled Coke and stashes beef jerky chunks in the front of his overalls. But, unlike myself, his only friends are his pet skunks and a crazy hillbilly hermit named Charlie, who has the ability to talk to goats.
Charlie is the only one who believes Kelly when he thinks something fishy is going on in the lake, but little does Kelly know, Charlie is hiding a deep dark secret. Occasionally, the frog-man will pop out and kill, but it’s always so quick you can’t tell what the hell is going on. I kept hoping you would get some crazy long-frog-tongue carnage, but instead, the monster chooses to kill with a spear. The only time you get any evidence that there’s even a monster doing the killing is when you see a green flipper under the murky water.
The movie focuses most of its energy on the bland story of Hermit vs. The Loggers. Charlie the Hermit will run around shooting at these loggers to try to get them to leave the woods, but all it does is piss them off. Around this point is where I started pulling a Tim (aka struggling to stay awake at 6 p.m.), but the possibility of maybe getting to see the monster kept my eyes open. Instead of the monster, all I got was real frogs, who would come out of the water to nibble and stare at people.
Finally, the legend of Shadow Lake is revealed: Years ago, a guy found a gold pebble and threw it into the lake. The water began to bubble and boil and Rana appeared at the surface and was super pissed off. He demanded more gold, so in order to appease the monster, the entire town threw all of its gold to the bottom of the lake. Now the monster lives every day of its life fearing someone will take the gold, while the decedents of the townsfolk (who call themselves “frog people”) give it more gold and feed it. Charlie is the last of these frog people left and continues to feed it, which all reminded me of that terrible movie, Lake Placid.
It does start to get good at the end, though, after one of the loggers shoots Charlie. Rana gets fucking ticked off and comes jetting out of the water and starts wrecking people. He blows through Kelly and his family’s front door, steals some chick, blows the entire house up, pounds some dude’s head into a tree, and disappears. Fast forward to the present day and Kelly has the genius idea to go looking for Rana’s gold. Big mistake. Of course, Rana is still alive and kicking and the second Kelly and his girlfriend find the gold, he comes chasing after them. Credits. So, after all of that, it leaves me asking the question: Why does a frog need gold?
Few movies have had so much potential, yet failed on every level. Rana was directed by one of the masters of the cheesy horror movie, Bill Rebane (Capture of Big Foot, The Giant Spider Invasion), but features too many boring side-plots to become so-bad-it’s-good. It does have some laugh-out-loud moments, however, like the use of “Swan Lake” during a shoot out near a lake. Talk about on the nose. And, of course, the plot itself, which is the one thing that makes me want to still recommend this boring, mess of a movie. It’s godawful, but I would still say it’s worth owning and watching at least once just to say you’ve seen a movie about a frog who loves gold.
The movie has had a bunch of different releases, most notably this big box release through Active Home Video and a clamshell through the Canadian distributor, Astral Video. The movie rights were later bought by Troma (no surprise) and the title was brilliantly changed to, Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell for a bare-bones DVD release. Stick with any of the VHS.
Someone also uploaded the whole movie to YouTube here.
By Dan Kinem
It’s been way too long since the last sex comedy review, and what better way to kick it off then with the radical, racy, and reckless, Summer School! The whole three R’s thing doesn’t actually work for me. I would much rather go with my own list (which you need to learn, ‘cause there’ll be a test on it), “The Five B’s”… Babes, boobs, butts, bikinis, and beaches! All of which this movie is loaded with.
You know you’re off to a good start when a bunch of teens pull up in a van and go sprinting onto the beach and bust into a free-for-all frisbee match. No holds barred. Teens are diving, ripping off bikini tops in that fun, free-spirited sexual harassment kind of way, and getting mouthfuls of sand in the process. That’s how you know it’s intense. They even cut high school to do it. Our two leads are Steve (John Laughlin’s first role) and Anita (Shelly Horner’s only role). They don’t know each other, but fall in love instantly while at the beach. It’s no surprise why Steve likes her… she has huge boobs. You know who else has boobs, though? Steve’s girlfriend, who doesn’t take kindly to this new bitch’s flirtatious ways. She vows to ruin Anita’s life. And pretty much succeeds.
Now I should get this out of the way. I will never understand the whole 70s van culture, especially after seeing this movie. Correct me if I’m wrong, but, according to this movie, there were gangs of girls who were obsessed with pickup trucks and gangs of guys who were obsessed with vans, and they often would get in violent altercations because of it? This seems highly unlikely and completely ridiculous, which is why I like it so much.
Anita has it really hard, and I mean really, really hard. In her first week at her new job she gets raped by the sleazeball boss because she asks for her check, then Steve’s girlfriend and her friends chase Anita with their van and try to kill her by running her off the road, then she gets home and her dad flips out on her and won’t believe anything she tells him. Don’t worry, it gets worse. Her and Steve are hitting it off, despite the fact Steve still has a girlfriend. They go to a creek to make out and, of course, Steve tries to feel her up. She stops him, but he keeps forcing it. She says she doesn’t want to do it, so he “romantically” throws her into the creek and forces her to have sex.
Steve is as sexist and sleazy as they come. He not only basically forced Anita to have sex with him while he still is dating someone, he also delivered this brilliant exchange of ideas:
Steve: Chicks aren’t supposed to be tough!
Random girl: Why not?!
Steve: ‘Cause guys won’t like ‘em.
Random girl: I get laid once in a while.
Steve: If chicks were supposed to be tough, God would have given them muscles.
Random girl: We got muscles where it counts!
Did the head writer for Hustler magazine pen this movie?!
Steve’s idiotic girlfriend finds out they had sex, so she lies to the cops and says Steve is selling coke. When the cops bust Steve, she blames it on Anita. Instead of asking Anita if it’s true or confronting her, he and all of his friends RAPE HER. They literally have a high speed chase which involves jumping between the vans and pickups and crossing ropes, then they throw Anita to the ground and rip all of her clothes off and rape her.
In school the next day they happen to be discussing rape, which makes all of the people involved start arguing and results in a huge cat fight between Steve’s girlfriend and Anita, which Anita gets blamed and expelled for. Then, the pickup girls decide to have a “drag out” with the guys, which apparently is a tug o’ war between cars across a giant pit. The loser fucking dies. Yeah, this movie got even more fucking insane, but it doesn’t stop there. Anita still has feelings for Steve and in order to stop the rival gangs from killing one another, she drives her fucking car into the pit to commit suicide. Steve runs down there to see if she’s okay and finds out she’s still barely alive. Everyone jumps in the air because she is still breathing, and the movie ends. Yep, you heard me right. This is one of the most insane and fucked-up movies I’ve ever seen. I could not believe my eyes when I saw this suicide attempt or when I found out Anita still liked Steve after he raped her twice and almost killed all of her friends. I applaud this movie for being so ridiculous and highly recommend it to anyone into cult/exploitation cinema.
Summer School is also known as Mag Wheels (terrible title), and was the last movie from one of my favorite directors, Bethel Buckalew, and with a name like that it’s no surprise he got his start in the 70s directing hixploitation sex comedies like Midnight Plowboy, Country Cuzzins, and The Pigkeeper’s Daughter. In all of his movies he comes across as one of the most misogynistic, sexist, sleazeballs ever, but damn does he make entertaining films.
The movie is actually fairly rare on VHS and hard to come by. It was released in a big box through Active Home Video and has that fantastic cover art. Active tried to promote this like a straight-up hilarious comedy and even compared it to Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This movie is nothing like either of those. It’s in a category all by itself and honestly no one should try to compare it to anything. The movie was released on DVD in a Drive-In Grindhouse four-movie pack, with The Farmer’s Other Daughter, Psychedelic Fever, and Up Yours. I’d go with this VHS, though, because you not only get the great cover, you also get an excellent trailer reel from Active (linked at the bottom).
This movie literally has everything: rape, car chases, an original rock soundtrack by the band The Word, a nerdy pledge who gets paddled, pinball, skateboarding, and of course, The Five B’s. What were those again? You were supposed to fucking learn them! Babes, boobs, butts, bikinis, and beaches! What’s so hard to understand?! Go see this movie.
(The trailer features some great nudity!)
The first video in a series of videos Dan will be doing where he opens everything he gets in the mail on camera and discusses his in-store finds (VHS and occasionally other things). We’d love to get some letters/other packages in the mail. You can send us letters asking questions, send us stickers/advertisements for your site, or send us some goodies. We’d love it and give you a free shoutout!
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