Dr. Alien (1989)

dralien_2Dr. Alien (1989)
AKA I Was a Teenage Sex Maniac, I Was a Teenage Sex Mutant

Starring Billy Jayne, Judy Landers, Olivia Barash, Stuart Fratkin, Raymond O’Connor, Arlene Golonka, Jim Hackett, Robert Jayne, Julie Gray, Scott Morris, Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer

Directed by David DeCoteau

Expectations: Not much.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

Looking at the poster, it would be easy to assume that Dr. Alien is nothing but ridiculous, low-budget trash. Even with that weird alien face, it doesn’t look especially interesting to me. But over the last six years of reviewing films here at Silver Emulsion, one truth has continued to resonate: Keep an open mind. It’s a good piece of advice in general life, as well; being closed off to the unknown corners of the world doesn’t allow for much personal growth. I’ve also come to look forward to the David DeCouteau movies, as they are generally some of the better and more interesting offerings among the Full Moon catalog. So I started Dr. Alien hopeful and optimistic, despite not expecting much.

When the film ended 80-some minutes later, with a big grin plastered on my face and my commitment to pursuing artistic, creative endeavors bolstered, I was shocked. Dr. Alien might be one of DeCoteau’s best films; it’s certainly one of my favorites. Sure, it’s got all the dumb jokes and female nudity you’d expect of an ’80s sex comedy, which will definitely turn off some viewers (and keep the film out of the Criterion Collection), but it is a real achievement on DeCoteau’s part to craft a film that satisfies on both a lowbrow and intellectual level. Perhaps I’m overselling it, as the morality only comes in at the end, but regardless, the film excited me thoroughly. I expected sex comedy and nudity, but to leave the film reinvigorated in my appreciation of art as a vital component of the human experience, that’s something special.

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Remote (1993)

Remote1993Starring Chris Carrara, Jessica Bowman, John Diehl, Tony Longo, Stuart Fratkin, Derya Ruggles, Jordan Belfi, Kenneth A. Brown, Lorna Scott

Directed by Ted Nicolaou

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

I purposefully don’t do much research so I can come to movies without too many expectations. In the case of Remote, knowing nothing led me to incorrectly assume that the title referred to a TV remote. I imagined a magical remote control as the catalyst to the typical Moonbeam storyline of a kid getting sucked into an alternate world, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In actuality, Remote is more grounded than any other Moonbeam film I’ve seen so far, and the title refers to remote-controlled planes, cars and yodeling Germans.

The storyline is fairly scattershot, but if I had to classify it as something, it’s basically a Home Alone clone. Randy (Chris Carrara) is your typical ’90s whiz kid, and his special interest is in remote-controlled devices. His best friend is a baseball-playing girl named Judy (Jessica Bowman), and they spend a lot of time together flying remote-controlled planes, and racing remote-controlled cars around the duct work in the attic of the sole model house for an undeveloped housing tract. This house is their special hideout, but when a trio of bungling burglars seek refuge there, Randy finds himself trapped in the attic with nothing but his remote-controlled minions between him and the criminals.

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Mini-Review: Valet Girls (1987)

Starring Meri Marshall, April Stewart, Mary Kohnert, Jack DeLeon, Jon Sharp, Patricia Scott Michel, Michael Karm, Steve Lyon, Randy Vasquez, Stuart Fratkin, Tony Cox

Directed by Rafal Zielinski

Expectations: Low. I don’t even know what to expect.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

Welcome back to the screwball 80s sex comedy, courtesy of director Rafal Zielinski, the man who brought the world the Screwballs series and one of the final Empire films, Spellcaster. Y’know those pool party scenes that are inevitably in every 80s comedy? String three of them back-to-back and you’ve got Valet Girls! Surprisingly enough though, Valet Girls is much more female-positive than you’d expect from the genre, even if the whole movie is basically old men trying to hook up with eighteen-year-old girls casting couch style.

Lucy & Rosalind are a pair of girls looking for their big break, but so far, all they’re doing is parking cars for the Valet Girls company. They’re forced to wear lace stockings for the job, but they’re good sports about it and don’t take no shit from anyone. One day they catch wind that a big record producer is going to be at a party at Dirk Zebra’s house in Beverly Hills, so they drive over there after work post-haste. This leads into the first of the three pool party scenes.

Thankfully the comedy here is actually funny, which is always nice, but never taken for granted when viewing older “comedy” films. This is definitely one of those raunchy 80s comedies that laid it all out on the table: from cocaine to topless girls to dildo jokes, Valet Girls has it all. Consequentially the film seems a lot more timeless than it should because of the recent return of the raunchy comedy, although stupid shit like The Hangover would never dare have this many titties in it for fear of alienating the prospective female audience. This is a big part of the charm of Valet Girls, it is what it is, it doesn’t apologize and it’s a lot of fun for it. Also, at its heart the film has a strong female empowerment vibe which I enjoyed a lot, with the main girls throwing everything back into the misogynist’s faces and by the end, getting the ultimate revenge on the main offenders.

Valet Girls is not without its faults though, as there’s only so much pool party you can pack into one movie without it getting somewhat boring. It’s still rather successful for what it is though, and I had a good time watching it. This is sugary 80s bubblegum, and for my money, this is a million times better than the much more popular and well-known movie Valet Girls apes its title from, Valley Girl.

Next week, it’s the start of the 2nd Annual Horrific October! It’s all kickin’ off with the off-shoot entry into the Subspecies series, 1997’s Vampire Journals!

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