Slumming With Teen Sex Comedies of the 1980’s in Triplicate
OK gentlemen. Raise your hands if you’re old enough to recall the days when you’d hit the video stores looking for those raunchy titles that not likely ever played the local movie theater but had a jacket cover promising beautiful gals and the possibility of bare breasts parading across the TV screen. No I’m not referring to the titles behind the curtain in the back room either before specialty shops turned up to cover that market. I’m referring to titles that Mom and Dad may have let you and your buddies get away with cause they themselves hadn’t heard of them unlike Porky’s that they may have seen at the theater or at least knew of it’s reputation. So no you couldn’t rent that one. At least not on their dime because they knew all about that peephole in the girl’s shower.
So where did the teen sex comedy originate? Was it the 1960’s when Frankie met Annette? Maybe. The Carry On flicks started off in the late 50’s but no one ever confused Sidney James with a teenager. Animal House was a box office smash but I’ll always go with Porky’s as the gold standard that others aspired to be during that period of filmmaking. No I haven’t kept up with the genre in recent years but American Pie and Old School had me in stitches when I first saw them.
Digging around the movie room I’ve come up with a trio of flicks I’ve accumulated in my attempt to own a copy of pretty much any film from the straight to VHS era and discovered at the same time I’m missing “classics” of the genre like Zapped and Homework. Now that I’ve confirmed that I’ll be sure to right that wrong. Now on to the not quite skin flicks which includes one in particular with a trio of favorite faces you’d never expect to see slumming in a high school.
You could almost subtitle this one, “A Good Girl From Walton’s Mountain Gone Wrong.” Well, almost.
Mary Beth McDonough who played Erin in the long running family show The Waltons turned up in this not so raunchy tale of a high school ski competition where students gather at the Park City Ski Festival. They hit the slopes, chase members of the opposite sex and go to battle against the crooks who own the hotel and run the competition.
Our plot will follow the adventures of a quartet of teenage boys whose primary goal is to score with girls on this ski trip. Things go a bit off course for the boys when they find that a faculty member is assigned to their room played by Alan Sues. Sues, a regular on TV’s Laugh-In gives it a decidedly Adam West feel and his performance grew on me as the film progressed thus succeeding in giving it a campy feel when he’s on screen.
Of the foursome, one has the worst come on lines we can imagine including informing his pals that, “Something about the ski business drives the girls crazy” and that “high altitude makes them horny.” Yes it’s a teen sex comedy folks! Another is a fine skier who will be a factor in the race and has to go up against a jock for the girl of his dreams. Mary fits in as a hotel employee who will help the boys blow the whistle on her crooked boss.
The gang will discover that the hotel manager is skimming money off the whole fest and set out to expose the corruption. This leads to one of the more amusing scenes when a hooker is called in as a set up with the cooperation of crooked sheriff, Bill Zuckert. She winds up in Sues bed and his reaction is a hoot. Zuckert by the way was a long time character player who got his start in a bit way back in 1947’s classic Kiss of Death.
Cruelty also comes to a head with the jokes and pranks directed at an overweight Bonnie Hellman that had me wondering if they’d be toned down for today’s sensitive market. Directed by Charles E. Sellier, who had already helmed the cult horror flick, Silent Night, Deadly Night the year before, I was surprised to discover that there was no nudity in this comedy aimed at a market that expects it. Makes for a tame outing in the genre.
Aside from Sues brand of Adam West acting I guess this one had me wishing I’d pick up that copy of Zapped sooner rather than later.
Stewardess School (1986)
When Ralph Malph and Brett Cullen flunk out of pilot school they decide to reroute their flying dreams by signing up with a group of other outcasts at stewardess school in what amounts to an alternative universe of Police Academy. For those who might not have caught that Ralph Malph reference, it’s actor Donald Most of Happy days fame.
“Gee. I never done it on an airplane before.”
That from call girl and busty blonde Judy Landers giving us a Judy Holiday/Marilyn Monroe impression who joins the boys along with a punk rocker whose parents want her to wise up, a gay man, a lady wrestler, a klutz with no confidence, once again an overweight gal and three generations of the Poke family who hope to earn a passing grade.
Sure the gang is trying to earn their wings against all odds set forth by school owner William Bogert and a bondage loving drill sergeant Sandahl Bergman but Ralph Malph is all for chasing the girls. He loves the multiple cologne trick as it keeps the gals off their guard and is quick to tell his near sighted buddy, Cullen, “When in doubt, whip it out.” Remember this is a teen sex comedy!
The gang are being set up to fail and when Vito Scotti’s low budget airline is in need of a crew, Bogert sends his group of misfits into the skies. It’s an amusing setup that includes Sherman Hemsley as a cranky blind passenger freely swinging his cane all about. The film strays a bit into Airplane territory when the crew in the cockpit go down leaving the near sighted Cullen to bring the plane in safely.
Thankfully Miss Landers was on board as her call girl skills would prove to save the day leaving an important passenger to state, “Best flight I ever had.”
Amusing with a gang of familiar faces and a funny bit that involves the near sighted Cullen in the women’s showers. Yup, this one passed the nudity quotient with flying colors for the rowdy teenage boys who scored a weekend VHS rental back in the day.
And did anyone ever realize just how much a young Ralph Malph looks like a young Jack Warden? Considering this was the only film ever directed by Ken Blancato, it’s not all that bad for a first timer. Only question I might ask is are there any teenagers in the movie that is clearly aimed at the teenager market?
Now on to a teen sex comedy with what can only be described as an”all-star cast.”
Starring Count Dracula, Shaft and R.G. Armstrong.
While I’m not sure if going from directing Chuck Norris action flicks like cult favorite Lone Wolf McQuade to teen sex comedies is a move up in a career projection, that’s just what Steve Carver has done here under Crown International Pictures. While I believe it’s a step backwards, Carver did bring along three actors who all have a cult following. Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree and from all those westerns and Peckinpah films, R.G. Armstrong.
This effort puts us squarely back into the frenzy of partying teenagers chasing members of the opposite sex.
Chris Lee is the sword wielding school principle and lets his athletic director R.G. know that his job is on the line if the school does not produce a championship team in any sporting event this season. R.G. would like nothing better than to ditch the tennis team and put the money into the football program but it’s the tennis players that offer the best chance at securing a national championship when the big tourney is played in Vegas. Enter Richard Roundtree as the teams coach who isn’t exactly ruling the boys with a firm hand. Meaning they’ll have plenty of opportunities to hit the nightclubs and strip bars in the city that never sleeps.
The star player is Scott Strader who made this his final film in a short career. He’s joined by his teammates, Perry Lang, Stoney Jackson, Trinidad Silva and Donald Gibb who fans of certain Nerd movie are sure to recognize. Vegas regulars are sure to recognize plenty of landmark casinos and might have even stayed at the Desert Isle Motel where the team is shacking up for the tournament trip. They’ll make good time ducking out on coach Roundtree and hooking up with some gals for a game of dice where the losers have to remove articles of clothing. Cue the topless babes who have little luck with dice. Remember this is a teen sex comedy!
Sex comedy, yes. Tennis players? I doubt it. With some sloppy editing I’m not sure there was one long shot of two combatants actually playing a game of tennis but all the actors sure know how to face the camera and hit a ball leading me to suspect there wasn’t a talented player in the bunch.
Funny bits include old R.G. making the mistake of coming on to a younger woman who is more than receptive to his advances. Problem is it’s a transvestite and R.G. nearly goes Peckinpah on the disappointed fellah. Mariska Hargitay is also on board as the main squeeze for Strader and when some underhanded shenanigans take place, she’ll prove to be the loyal type where beating hearts are concerned.
Don’t be surprised to see a big come from behind ending but in case you’re not sure you really want to tune in to this lower tier product, Lee fans should at least catch the opening five minutes. Sir Christopher is chewing up the scenery with that sword and looks to be enjoying himself as he threatens R.G. and makes it known he’s prepared to take on the musketeers one more time as if he’s turned the clock back to his portrayal of Rochefort in the Richard Lester trilogy.
Lee, R.G. and Shaft had all worked with Carver prior to this and it would appear as if they wee doing him a personal favor this time out so aside from the trio of actors I’ve always been a fan of, there’s not much to recommend here unless you’re a fan of strip dice and want to see just how the game is played.
Now where the hell did I leave those DVD copies of Meatballs, Revenge of the Nerds and my poster of Joan Collins in Homework!!!