28th Nov2018

‘The Best of 80s Scream Queens’ Blu-ray Review (88 Films)

by Mondo Squallido

When people think of VHS-era scream queens three names come to mind: Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens – the threesome of fear that sliced and seduced a generation of gorehounds and whose greatest hits can finally be seen in HD in this set, The Best of 80s Scream Queens, which comes from the schlock-lovers at 88 Films. This charming and chilling collection, perfect for addicts of excessive violence, gratuitous nudity and breathtaking bloodshed, all stem from the hand (and mind) of legendary director David DeCoteau and each nostalgic pot-boiler is packed with an enthusiastic fondness for breast-baring babes and skull-bashing set pieces!

best-80s-scream-queens-blu

NIGHTMARE SISTERS

Stars: Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer, Richard Gabai, Marcus Vaughter, William Dristas, Jim Culver | Written by Kenneth J. Hall | Directed by David DeCoteau

Melody (Quigley), Marci (Stevens) and Mickey (Bauer) are your typical geeky college girls who just can’t seem to find a man. When their fellow sorority sisters leave to have parties and spend time with their significant others, the nerdy trio are left to their own devices and decide to have a little party of their own. With slim pickings in the male department, they call the equally geeky Kevin (Gabai) to come over with his friends Freddy (Vaughter) and Duane (William Dristas – in his only role). It seems perfect; three boys, three girls and a house to themselves. That is until they decide to have a séance with a crystal ball that flea market obsessed Marci bought earlier that day. The group unfortunately summon a succubus, possessing the girls in the process and turning them in to beautiful sex crazed demons who are hungry for blood. Thankfully, the boys have some breathing space when a trio of their overbearing frat housemates crash the party and find themselves on the receiving end of the beautiful yet deadly succubi. This gives them time to call rent-a-exorcist Perrin (Culver) to hopefully help them get out of this bind and defeat evil. College should be a safe space after all!

Now before I get in to what I think of the film, it should be noted that the film was shot in around four days using a script that took seven days to write and was shot using loose ends of film from DeCoteau’s previous film: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. With that out of the way, I have to say that Nightmare Sisters wasn’t the greatest cinematic experience I’ve ever had. For an erotic horror comedy, it didn’t really deliver on any of those aspects. Sure, there is a hearty amount of nudity, but it really didn’t do too much for me, even though the female cast are easy on the eyes and probably the best thing about this movie. Although overly long, the scene involving nubile bath action did stand out however. Comedy wise, it was your typical schlock humour with more jokes missing than hitting. Aside from one genuinely clever and well executed reference to the The Exorcist, there’s really nothing there that will even raise a chuckle. What this film does have going for it is a somewhat intriguing story penned by Kenneth J. Hall (Critters, Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout) that ultimately suffered with pacing issues, but did bring something unique to the table. There were also moments that reminded me of Evil Dead that I got a kick out of. That’s really all that I can say about this film to be honest. It’s one of those films that isn’t awful, but just quite dull. However, I will say that under the circumstances, they pulled off a film that actually looks like a film. So it’s not all bad.

MURDER WEAPON

Stars: Linnea Quigley, Karen Russell, Lyle Waggoner, Lenny Rose, Stephen Steward, Michael Jacobs Jr, Allen First, Richard J. Sebastian, Eric Freeman, Rodger Burt, Allen Tombello | Written by Ross A. Perron | Directed by David DeCoteau

When mobster daughters Dawn (Linnea Quigley, Creepozoids) and Amy (Karen Russell, Vice Academy) by chance meet in an insane asylum, the pair hatch a plan to free themselves. They do this by manipulating and downright blackmailing their psychiatrists Dr. Randolph (Lyle Waggoner, Wonder Woman) and Dr. Gram (Lenny Rose, Beach Babes From Beyond). Once successfully free, the pair decide to celebrate their freedom by holding a little get together. They decide to invite their ex-boyfriends Kevin (Stephen Steward), Eric (Michael Jacobs Jr), Cary (Allen First), Billy (Richard J. Sebastian), Jeff (Eric “Garbage Day!” Freeman), Bart (Rodger Burt) and Al (Allen Tombello) to celebrate their release and hopefully get a little of welcome home action. Although something of a sausage fest, the party is going well and everyone is having a damn good time. Unfortunately however, things take a sinister turn when the boys slowly start getting picked off one by one in bloody and gory fashion by a mysterious clad killer. Is this the work of rival crime families? Maybe there’s some jealousy between the male party guests? Could the father of one of the girls be involved or could it just be the girls getting their revenge on past lovers?

I have to say that going in to this film, I really wasn’t expecting too much. Thankfully, what I got was a damn good time. First of all, the story is simple, but works well. It’s a solidly written effort from Ross A. Perron (this and American Rampage being his only credits) and the use of flashbacks to further the story and answer some of the twists and turns is quite refreshing in such low-budget schlock of its time. There’s not too much to some of the characters, but it doesn’t matter too much and never hurts the film. Performances through may not be Oscar worthy, but again, it doesn’t matter and what are you really expecting? For me, one of the greatest surprises with Murder Weapon is the violence and gore. I was expecting the occasional fit for purpose cheesy gore gags here and there, but what we have instead are a collection of genuinely nasty and quite shocking moments of gore. David P. Barton (300) and his team do a very impressive job indeed with the practical and make up effects. Another quite thing is the fact that the violence and gore is used sparingly adding that punch that most films would lack in that regard. Editing and cinematography are both solid enough and the only slight problem I had with the technological aspects was the sound. Even that is a minor gripe because the only time it was a real issue was when Del Casher’s (Tropical Heat) score would be playing over some of the dialogue. Like I said, a minor gripe. All in all, it’s far from a perfect film, but it’s a damn enjoyable one. It may be a little light on the sleaze and erotic elements, but Karen Russell and Linnea Quigley are a very potent combination so you smut peddlers out there will appreciate that aspect!

DEADLY EMBRACE

Stars: Ken Abraham, Linnea Quigley, Jan-Michael Vincent, Mindi Miller, Ruth Collins | Written by Richard Gabai | Directed by David DeCoteau

Chris Thompson (Ken Abraham, Hobgoblins) is your typical teenage college student. He’s got himself a stunning wannabe actress girlfriend named Michelle (Linnea Quigley) that he wants to spend the rest of his life with. One day at college after listening to a lecture from rich sleazeball Stewart Moreland (Jan-Michael Vincent, Airwolf), Chris finds himself getting a gardening and housekeeping job from said rich sleazeball [it's not what you know, it's who you know!]. The only condition is that he has to stay at the residence which isn’t too bad of a thing because Moreland’s wife is the lonely and horny Charlotte (Mindi Miller, Body Double). With her husband away and getting his jollies with his secretary DeDe (Ruth Collins, Death Collector), it’s only natural that her cougar sights are set on the fresh meat her husband has bestow upon on her. With a heartless husband and a madly in love girlfriend thrown in to the mix, this could make for a steamy affair or even a deadly one.

I’d say I hate to surprise you, but I think you know already that it will be the latter. I won’t be a prick and completely ruin it for you, but I will say that the final third is probably the strongest aspect of this whole film. The problem with a film like Deadly Embrace is it’s not amazing or terrible, it’s juts a bit dull. Richard Gabai’s (Kickboxing Academy) script is solid enough, but really doesn’t do anything too unique. It’s safe to say that you will have seen this film made multiple times in terms of its narrative. The build up to the finale and the psychological aspects however are satisfying, but it’s too little too late. Acting is above par and actually a lot more solid than most erotic thrillers of its time and budget, the standout for me being Mindi Miller who plays the bored and lonely housewife perfectly. You sympathise her situation perfectly. The erotic elements of the film work well, mainly in that so bad it’s good sort of way. There are those moments where people will be grinding against each other with underwear still clearly visible, but again seeing the likes of Quigley and Miller do make up for that (yes, I’m a pig!). All in all, there’s really not too much to talk about with this film. It’s your typical 80′s softcore erotica, just a tiny bit bland and needing some much spice! Just how was this one of DeCoteau’s biggest selling films?
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Regardless of what I think of the actual movies, this is another winner of a release from 88 Films. All three slices of DeCouteau schlock look and sound great and are presented in HD from the original 16mm camera negatives. Films of this niche could be seen as undeserving of the restoration they receive, but I for one am thankful that they exist. The only real imperfections found in the sound and visuals come mainly from the films themselves and the way they were shot, but with that being said, they are all very accomplished productions.

If you are either a fan of DeCoteau, or the triptych of Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer and Brinke Stevens… or even cheap erotic 80′s schlock – you are in for a breast, blood and cheesy synth filled treat.

The Best of 80s Scream Queens is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from 88 Films.

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