Plan 69 From Outer Space

D: Frank Marino
with Dyanna Lauren, Celeste,
Brad Armstrong, Woody Long

Cult Movies magazine first called my attention to this porno "tribute" to Ed Wood's classic bad film Plan Nine From Outer Space. That fine publication pointed out that Plan 69 actually had ties to the original, issuing from (as I recall) the "next generation" of sleazemakers at the studios where Wood himself had worked in the then-softcore market. Personally, I find hard-core porn to be almost as sad and desperate as an MTV game show, and I'll leave it to Larry Flynt's boys to tell you how "hot" the sex scenes here are, but the comedic between-fuck scenes are indeed sincere homage and good for the occasional chuckle, as the cast debates whether they're being attacked by real flying saucers or pie plates, reminisces over the director's
previous horror flick, The Dead Smell Bad, and generally relishes the cheapness of their whole situation. With scenes like one wherein Armstrong (as the "Zombie in Dracula Costume") clumsily tries to attack a bikini-clad bimbo and gets laid instead (after she pops a couple of mints in his mouth to get rid of his "coffin breath"), Plan 69 is a must for true Wood freaks, and strongly suggested for you types who wander into adult video stores out of "curiosity." -- Ken Lieck

(This movie was rented at the reviewer's expense from Pleasureland, 613 W. 29th St.)


D: Doug Liman (1997)
with Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Patrick Van Horn.

When a movie hits video and it's still playing at the Dobie theatre, you know you've got a phenomenon on your hands. This is no exception. Swingers is one of the most sincere and earnest looks into single life to come along in quite a while. The film tells the story of a gaggle of L.A. wannabes who make the rounds of the Hollywood nightlife, the glam-less side of Vegas, and, eventually, the darker edges of self-pity. Mike (Favreau, who was recently seen as Monica's über-rich boyfriend on television's Friends) is the lowliest of the bunch, wallowing in misery after his girlfriend of six years leaves him. Trent (Vaughn) is their hysterical self-appointed leader, a king of retro whose doublespeak has already affected real-life American slang. Together, these two make a fall-down funny pair in the tradition of Martin & Lewis, and yet they convey a real sense of pathos. Overlooked by the masses in its wide release, but beloved by those who discovered its charms... it's money, baby. -- Christopher Null

Pass the Ammo

D: David Beaird (1987)
with Bill Paxton, Linda Kozlowski,
Tim Curry, Annie Potts, Glenn Withrow, Dennis Burkley, Anthony Geary

Tim Curry and Annie Potts are Jim and Tammy-Faye Bakker-type televangelists who have bilked Linda Kozlowski's grandmother out of her life's savings and Bill Paxton is the fiancé-in-shining-armor determined to recoup granny's losses. Paxton recruits a couple of ex-cons, played by Withrow and Burkley, to help in this mission, bungling hilariously when the four storm the evangelists' temple during a live TV broadcast. Over-the-top performances by the odiously sleazy Curry and the perfectly cast Potts ("Watch the hair," she coolly informs a born-again football player about to play Samson to her Delilah) make this sleeper, rated as a bomb when released, worth viewing. Indeed, the attempt to glorify the heroes' terrorism in the name of retribution is biblical to the core, but the outright ludicrousness of the script fends off any believability, making it perfect escapism. Kozlowski, who must have signed on for this before Crocodile Dundee made such a splash, attempts some backwoods, Daisy Mae charm but without as much success as Bill Paxton, who always seems most sincere when his roles require him to have a slight drawl. Watch for ex-General Hospital heartthrob Anthony Geary as the temple's stoner engineer. The laughs may have stopped before the cop-out ending but not before you've gotten a few yucks worth.

-- Margaret Moser

One Million Years B.C.

D: Don Chaffey (1966)
with Raquel Welch, John Richardson, Percy Herbert, Martine Beswick;
Special effects by Ray Harryhausen/laserdisc version

Yay! An excuse to use that photo of Raquel Welch from One Million Years B.C. For bonus points, remember that Tijuana Brass album cover?

One Million Years B.C. is the last of Ray Harryhausen's films to be made available on laserdisc. This is the movie that made Raquel Welch a star (sort of), but Harryhausen's dinosaurs are the real show. Although not as technically impressive as the computer-generated dinos in Jurassic Park, most of the prehistoric creatures in One Million Years B.C. are nonetheless made memorable by Harryhausen's masterful animation, particularly the small allosaurus that attacks the village of the shell tribe. The film is letterboxed and includes several minutes of footage that were excised before release in the United States. Among the new editions are several animation shots, the gruesome conclusion to a fight among
sub-humans, and a dance by cult favorite Martine Beswick. The additional footage doesn't make the goings-on any less ridiculous but it is certainly interesting for purists. At the very least, One Million Years B.C. will give kids their dinosaur fix until Spielberg's Lost World shows up.

-- Bud Simons

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