1985 - 93m.
This is a film from my video store days that I remember absolutely despising. I tell you this because when Vinegar Syndrome announced that they were releasing this on Blu-Ray, I inexplicably ordered it after being caught up with a clip of a bunch of people in really bad 80s clothes lip-syncing and dancing around to a terrible neo-disco tune. Although these scenes rate an easy Roquefort on the cheese meter, they are by far the most entertaining parts of the movie. I can't recommend much more as this film was stitched together by editing parts out of feature films into short anthology segments in a way that would have both Charles Band and Roger Corman shaking their heads in puzzlement. The result is a confusing mess of a movie held together by a hero with a headband to give us something to look forward to as he bops and breakdances his way through the wraparound segments. I would rarely recommend a disaster like this but this flick really does need to be seen to be believed.
The first story is about a salesman named Harry Billings (John Philip Law - Barbarella) who finds himself in a sanitarium after his car goes off a bridge. He experiences some shock therapy and then Bull from "Night Court" (Richard Moll) shows up with both hair and a crazy look in his eyes. The rest of the segment features random scenes such as various naked women strapped to tables, Billings punching out a nurse, and Moll running around frantically. The thing is that this tale makes no sense whatsoever and plays as though it was blindly cut together by a first year film student after a drug fuelled frat party. Oh wait, that's because it is just a bunch of scenes from an unfinished (at the time) movie called Marilyn Alive and Behind Bars (aka. Scream Your Head Off) that have attempted to be salvaged but it feels like it was edited by someone cutting up the footage with scissors and then haphazardly putting it back together. If this really was Frankenstein's monster, it would not be able to stand upright.
Next up, we have a tale of a guy who falls for an exploited porn actress named Gretta (Merideth Haze) who brings him to her favorite pastime - a death club where the participants play some creative games of Russian roulette. The first game they play involves a flying beetle that has the ability to kill. This is fun for some cheesy claymation effects and watching the death club member who is a Jimi Hendrix clone (but we don't know if he can play the guitar). The group also plays a fun game that involves a wrecking ball, sharp blades, and the possibility of the heavy ball landing on a participant if the rope holding it breaks. This tale was edited from a movie called Death Wish Club (aka. Carnival of Fools) and is the most engaging of the three thanks to its interesting premise and the fact that Haze is easy on the eyes. It still feels unnatural but piqued my interest enough that I may seek out the source material.
The final segment features classic gangster film character actor Marc Lawrence (The Asphalt Jungle) in a dual role but I honestly can't tell you what it is about. It involves Nazi war criminals, a claymation stone monster, a guy with a hoof foot who looks like an evil David Cassidy, and a spider creature. Like the first story, it is totally incoherent. Richard Moll returns but this time, he is playing a controversial author who believes that God is dead. Cameron Mitchell appears as well as a cop. As with the other segments, this was a poorly edited condensed version of a film called The Nightmare Never Ends (aka. Cataclysm) but there is not enough here for me to have any interest in seeking out the original. The fact that three directors were involved (four if you include Jay Schlossberg-Cohen who shot extra footage) should tell you something. Sure, there are a few fun moments featuring stop motion but I have a sneaking suspicion that anything worth seeing from the source material is onscreen here. In other words, not much.
Overall, I can honestly say I wish I was drunk when I watched this but I was stone cold sober and stupidly chose to watch this alone. It may have been fun in a group but it is not likely that I will give this another chance. In addition to the dancing fools, the wraparound also consists of God and the Devil having a conversation that is not very engaging. For some reason, I remembered them playing chess but this was not the case. As frustrating as this flick is, there is nothing else like it and it will probably stick to you for years to come for better or worse. (Josh Pasnak, 5/20/15)
Directed By: Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, John Carr, Phillip Marshak, Tom McGowan, Greg Tallas.
Written By: Philip Yordan.
Starring: John Philip Law, Marc Lawrence, Richard Moll, Merideth Haze.