Friday, May 27, 2011

Worth Mentioning - How Hot Can You Get?

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Cody talks about The Car, The Curse of the Living Corpse, and H.O.T.S.

THE CAR (1977)

Evil has come to the small desert community of Santa Ynez, in the form of a strange black car with no visible driver at the wheel. The car speeds along the roads, horn blaring, mowing down innocent citizens. Emphasis on the word innocent - this car isn't indiscriminate in its choice of victims, it goes for the good people. When an abusive husband steps into its path, it swerves and passes him by.

It's up to the local police force to try to stop the car, a task which seems impossible. Bullets don't damage it, they don't even appear to hit it. When cars are coming at it in both lanes of a bridge, it flips itself and rolls over them, ending up back on its wheels without a scratch. If its intended victim is inside a house, it just drives through the house. But it can't drive on hallowed ground - when it chases people into a cemetery, it stops at the gates.

The film's cast includes James Brolin as police officer Wade Parent, Kathleen Lloyd as his very likeable girlfriend, Ronny Cox as one of Parent's fellow officers, great character actor R.G. Armstrong as the aforementioned wife beater, and Parent's two daughters are played by Kim and Kyle Richards. Kim had been in John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 a couple years earlier, and the following year dealt with another demonic entity in Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell. Kyle was in John Carpenter's Halloween the next year, and was in Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive, released the same month as The Car. Today, the Richards sisters are best known as the aunts of Paris Hilton.

This is a really cool movie, the concept of an indestructable, evil killer car is very entertaining to me. The car itself is awesome, a Lincoln Continental Mark III that was customized by George Barris, creator of The Munsters' family car and the Batman TV series Batmobile.


The film begins with a funeral. Rufus Sinclair, who we gather wasn't a very pleasant man in life, is being laid to rest, the service attended by the also-not-very-pleasant family members that he's left behind.

Once Sinclair's casket is locked away in its tomb, a reading of his will commences. We learn that the man had a medical condition, attacks of which can cause a living person to appear dead, so his greatest fear was that he would be entombed while still alive. He left strict rules for his family to follow to make sure he was really dead, and if they didn't follow them, he promises to return from the grave and make sure that they all die in ways related to their own greatest fears - fire, disfigurement, asphyxiation, drowning, etc. By the time that this is read from the will, we know that none of Sinclair's rules have been followed and that his widow even caused his death, so it's clear that these people are screwed.

The characters are then knocked off one-by-one by a mysterious cloaked figure in some early slasher-esque entertainment. A couple victims even have sex in the tomb before one of them gets decapitated. Writer/director Del Tenney was ahead of his time. Roy Scheider makes his feature film debut as one of Sinclair's sons.

H.O.T.S. (1979)

The first movie I remember ever requesting be taped off TV for me, with the exciting technology of a VCR that could be set to record things at certain times, is Return of the Living Dead Part II. I was a young kid at the time, and the movie was going to air on Cinemax after my bedtime. So the VCR timer record was set, did its job, and from then on I had ROTLD2 to watch on VHS. It was customary to set timers to start recording a little early and stop recording a little late just to be safe, and one day I watched ROTLD2 all the way through the end credits and beyond, to the Cinemax promo for the next movie they were airing: something called H.O.T.S. It sounded promising. The movie began, with text saying that it was set at Fairenville University, fondly known as "Good ol' F.U." Cut to the girls' locker room, with a topless blonde standing in the shower. She puts a towel around her waist, throws another around her shoulders, and walks to the lockers. This looked promising. Then, static. The timed recording had ended.

For twenty+ years, it was a fact in my mind: one day I would watch all of H.O.T.S. I would occasionally encounter references to it over the years, Kevin Smith referenced it and mentioned one of the supposed meanings of the titular acronym, "Hold on to Sex", but I didn't have a chance to see it until Netflix. I saw it was available for Instant View and gave it a quick look through, but still didn't actually watch it. Despite the years of build up, to be honest it's not the type of movie that would be guaranteed to keep my attention if I just started it up on my computer these days. Then I heard that a couple of the guys behind Cheese Magnet were going to be live tweeting through a viewing of the movie. Watch H.O.T.S. on Netflix, accompanied by tweet comments from Scott Phillips, writer/director of The Stink of Flesh and Gimme Skelter? This was the perfect time to give the film its first full viewing.

H.O.T.S. tells the story of four college girls who, after being dissed by the rich snobs of the Pi sorority, decide to start their own sorority and become the most popular group on campus so they can steal the Pi girls' men. And damn a Greek alphabet, the girls name their sorority H.O.T.S... What does it mean?!

This movie has everything - sorority girls, bare breasts, amazing '70s fashions, a moonshine still in an attic, gangsters, hidden loot, a seal, a bear, a plan that involves someone acting like a robot, a personal hot air balloon, the musical stylings of special guest star Danny Bonaduce, a climactic strip football game... and more! It's goofy as hell, a lot of fun, and charming in its own way. Watching it with others who can appreciate and laugh at some '70s sex comedy cheesiness is highly recommended.

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