Film Reviews

Joe Bob Briggs

So far this summer, we've lost only 849 lives in Texas boating accidents, and I think that's a real credit to the new Alamo Plastic Speedboat Propeller, which often maims instead of killing.

One reason Texas lakes are so much safer this season, I would have to say, is due to the much smaller number of jet skiers. Of course, that's after 7,000 of 'em were killed last year.

Before the invention of the jet ski, it was possible to hold a beer in one hand, a bag of Doritos in the other, and still drive a boat with your knees while a Bikini Hag was rubbin' suntan oil on your back. All that changed when you stuck a bunch of seagoing dirt bikes into the water and they started buzzin' around the boats like schizoid piranha-fish that forgot to take their medication. If you hit one of those things just right, you can flip 'em upside down and they might sail right over the water coolers and kill your bawling children.

Anyhow, all I'm saying is that I wanna congratulate your bass boaters, your water skiers, and your jet-ski scum for cuttin' down that daily Carnage Quotient to less than 40 dead and 200 maimed per day. It's enough to keep the Legislature off our backs for another year. There's gotta be at least one disgusting thing left in the world that we can all do together. What's the dang throttle for? Sometimes I think the government cares more about the goldurn fish than they do about human beans.

Speaking of nature-lovers, this week's flick is Showgirl Murders, the 37th rip-off of Showgirls, which is not so strange until you realize that Showgirls failed at the box office.

Anyhow, this is my old buddy Roger Corman, the drive-in legend, at work here, and this time he's using an old script that he's remade five different times.

Anyhoo, it's the old let's-murder-the-sleazebag-husband plot first popularized in Body Heat, and Roger has twisted it into let's-murder-the-sleazebag-wife in the interests of equal-opportunity exploitation.

Matt Preston and D.S. Case are the struggling husband-and-wife bar owners, and Maria Ford is the hot little coke-dealing vixen who shows up and turns the place into a topless-bar money machine. Pretty soon we've got G-strings coming off, cash pouring in, and the boozy bitch of a wife is about to become worm food.

This is a weird one, with B-movie queen Maria vamping through so many topless numbers that we get to study every rib on her pale white torso. The gal has a little tattoo and piercing action going, too, which, lemme just say right now, is major yucky. Maria must've moved to Malibu or something, 'cause she used to be the only innocent-lookin' one.

It's one of those totally original B classics that you've seen a hunnerd times.

Nine dead bodies. Thirty-five breasts.
Nasty coke O.D. Drink to the face.
Twelve production numbers, including a sword dance, a feather dance, a belly dance, an S&M dance, a champagne dance, a girl-out-of-a-cake dance, a body-painting dance, a Cupid dance, a torch dance, and, of course, a two-lesbos-with-a-snake dance.

Multiple aardvarking, including one of those painful pool-table scenes.
Three fistfights. Stabbing. Motor-vehicle chase, with crash.
Head-bashing fu. Lead pipe fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...

* Maria Ford, as the hot little number who shows up in the bar and says, "I'm willing to do anything."

* D.S. Case, as the drunken redheaded wife who says, "I'll stop when the nightmares stop."

* And Bob McFarland, as the sleazeball cop who says, "I'm in the crime business, and I smell a crime."

Two and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

Joe Bob's Find That Flick
This week's noodle-strainer comes from...Dennis Nivens of Hermosa Beach, California:

"When I started college in 1975 there was a lunkheaded Marine R.O.T.C. guy in my dorm named Griswold. He was pissed off that we pulled out of Vietnam because he was planning on saving the bullet he shot his first 'gook' with to wear on a pendant around his neck. He wanted to start a campus Rollerball team (motorcycles and all), and he had an all-time favorite movie that he would describe to me in detail every time he drank more than a six-pack of beer (every four days or so).

"The movie, set in the future, had the whole Western Hemisphere merged into one big country called Pan-America. Anybody from the Commie-infested rest of the world who dared to cross over the wrong longitude line would be blasted into the next millennium by an arsenal of very cool weapons, including the dreaded flying submarines (?).

"Griswold didn't know the name of the movie. Nearly 20 years and some 43,000 hours of late-night TV later, I've never seen anything that vaguely resembles it. Does anybody out there know the name of Griswold's favorite flick?"

We might have a winner!
Terry Campbell of Mesquite, Texas, wrote:
"I'm looking for the name of a movie that my father saw while in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the late '30s. It was black-and-white (obviously), and had to do with zombies.

"There was a woman who could kill people just by staring at them, and she may have had some type of weird ring on her finger.

"My dad thinks it was called Among the Living Dead. He saw it alone in the camp theater while everyone else had gone into town. Scared the crap out of him.

"Please help me!"
We had two close calls (listed below), but will still award a prize to anyone who can more clearly identify the film. If we don't get a better answer, honorary prizes will go to...

* Ed Dravecky III of Addison, Texas: "I found Among the Living from 1941. Leonard Maltin describes it as an 'intriguing little B film about a deranged man, one of twins, kept isolated for years, who breaks loose and stirs up trouble.'"

* Evelyn C. Leeper of Matawan, New Jersey: "The flick is probably The Scotland Yard Mystery (1933), a.k.a. The Case of the Missing Coffins and The Living Dead. It was directed by Thomas Bentley and starred absolutely nobody memorable. There was something about a serum that made people catatonic. I don't know about the ring."

To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221 or fax him at (213) 462-5982. Joe Bob even hangs out on the Internet:

1996 Joe Bob Briggs (Distributed by NYT Special Features)

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Joe Bob Briggs