John Waters – Polyester (1981)



Polyester is a 1981 comedy film directed, produced, and written by John Waters, and starring Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey, and Mink Stole. It was filmed in Waters’ native Baltimore, Maryland, and features a gimmick called “Odorama”, whereby viewers could smell what they saw on screen through scratch and sniff cards.

The film is a satirical look at suburban life involving divorce, abortion, adultery, alcoholism, foot fetishism, and the Religious Right.
Continue reading

John Waters – Cry-Baby – Directors Cut [+Extras] (1990)

Free Image Hosting at


Various excerpts:
“Cry-Baby is a 1990 American teen musical film written and directed by John Waters. It stars Johnny Depp as 1950s teen rebel “Cry-Baby” Wade Walker, and also features a large ensemble cast that includes Amy Locane, Iggy Pop, Traci Lords, Ricki Lake, Kim McGuire, David Nelson, Susan Tyrrell, and Patty Hearst. The film did not achieve high audience numbers in its initial release, but has subsequently become a cult classic and spawned a Broadway musical of the same name which was nominated for four Tony Awards.

The film is a parody of teen musicals (particularly Grease) and centers on a group of delinquents that refer to themselves as “drapes” and their interaction with the rest of the town and its other subculture, the “squares”, in 1950s Baltimore, Maryland. “Cry-Baby” Walker, a drape, and Allison, a square, create upheaval and turmoil in their little town of Baltimore by breaking the subculture taboos and falling in love. The film shows what the young couple has to overcome to be together and how their actions affect the rest of the town. Continue reading

Michael Pressman – The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1976)


The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is a well-made exploitation film which works on two levels, providing kicks for the ozoner crowd and tongue-in-cheek humor for the more sophisticated. The film had some initial playdates under the title Dynamite Women.
Claudia Jennings and Jocelyn Jones are stylish and attractive as a pair of brazen Texas bankrobbers. They stay firmly in character throughout as a loyal but very divergent criminal pair.
Jennings is a hardened prison escapee, while Jones goes on the road to avoid the boredom of being a smalltown bank teller. They use lots of dynamite along the way, but there’s little bloodshed until the last part of the film, when the film’s dominant spoof tone turns uncomfortably and unsuccessfully close to reality. Continue reading

Franklin J. Schaffner – Planet of the Apes (1968)


Originally intended as a project for Blake Edwards, the film version of Pierre Boule’s semisatiric sci-fi novel came to the screen in 1968 under the directorial guidance of Franklin J. Schaffner. Charlton Heston is George Taylor, one of several astronauts on a long, long space mission whose spaceship crash-lands on a remote planet, seemingly devoid of intelligent life. Soon the astronaut learns that this planet is ruled by a race of talking, thinking, reasoning apes who hold court over a complex, multilayered civilization. In this topsy-turvy society, the human beings are grunting, inarticulate primates, penned-up like animals. When ape leader Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans) discovers that the captive Taylor has the power of speech, he reacts in horror and insists that the astronaut be killed. Continue reading

John Brahm – Hot Rods to Hell aka 52 Miles to Terror (1967)


This revolutionary masterpiece was, at first, misunderstood as a mere exploitation film. However, the subversive genius shown in its subtext and plot construction was eventually recognized. It now plays quarterly at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which has instituted a lecture series on the various intellectual facets of the film. While the series is still in its infancy we have already heard Barak Obama speak on, “Hope and Hot Rods,” and Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan on, “Christian symbolism and family values in Hot Rods of Hell,” to say nothing of the hilarious speech by Tim Curry, “What exactly is a ‘Hot Rod’.” Those interested in perusing the literature on the subject can contact the Hot Rods of Hell Research Department at Columbia University in NYC. However, you should be prepared to show your research credentials.
@Unkabunk at TIK Continue reading

Russ Meyer – Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! [+ Extras] (1965)



It’s been 26 years since I last reviewed a Russ Meyer movie (“Vixen”). In 1969, I wrote the screenplay for Meyer’s “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” (“simultaneously the best and worst movie ever made” – Michael Dare, Film Threat magazine). In the years since, I have passed on reviewing other Meyer films; there was an obvious conflict of interest.

But now, with the re-release of Meyer’s “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” (1965), perhaps the statute of limitations has expired.

Besides, why not a review from someone who has a conflict of interest? Meyer’s fans are vociferously partisan, and here is the movie that director John Waters (“Hairspray”) called “beyond a doubt, the best movie ever made. It is possibly better than any film that will be made in the future.” Completing the circle, Stephen Holden, in his recent review in the New York Times, credited Meyer with having invented John Waters, not to mention Madonna. Continue reading

Jack Arnold – Games Girls Play AKA The Bunny Caper AKA Sex Play (1974)


Sultry ’70s B-movie bombshell Christina Hart (THE STEWARDESSES, HELTER SKELTER) stars as Bunny O’Hara, the underage man-eating daughter of a wealthy American businessman. After sleeping her way through the brass ranks of the U.S. military, Bunny is packed off to Swinging London and a remote finishing school for wayward rich girls.

Bored in the British boondocks, Bunny leads her nubile classmates in a contest to seduce a group of foreign dignitaries visiting London for disarmament talks…the winner being the first girl to get her V.I.P. into B-E-D!

Escapist, sexist and as politically incorrect as they go, GAMES GIRLS PLAY (aka THE BUNNY CAPER) is a titillating product of its heedless time, directed with an unblinking eye by Jack Arnold (THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN) and costarring Ed Bishop (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY). Continue reading