Thursday, 14 February 2013



A double bill of David DeCoteau silliness: two films which have been inaccurately repackaged as Grindhouse movies but in reality are just softcore sex comedies with occasional famous faces in them (or, more specifically, blood relatives of famous faces). Neither of these two titles are any good at all as films - in fact they're mostly terrible - but they're probably ideal one-off-the-wrist fodder for the undemanding, undiscriminating teenage boy about four years too young to legally watch them. In their favour is a brief running time: they clock in at about 75 minutes each, which is frankly more than enough. And they're not actively hateful or mean-spirited: they're just dumb knockabout Z-movies for the drive-in and home video markets.

It's hard to fathom which of the two is the worse: Beach Babes From Beyond is probably marginally sillier but it's a very close run thing. A trio of space bimbos steal Dad's prize spaceship and crashland on a California beach, where they meet up with some shirtless guys and help a bankrupt hippie win $30,000 at a bikini jiggling contest organised by Burt Ward, much to the annoyance of scheming Linnea Quigley. Most of the running time is taken up with endless montages of girls in bikinis and muscled hunks in shorts while the same bloody surf rock song plays on a loop in the background for eternity, and more fun is had spotting Martin Sheen's brother Joe Estevez (hippie Uncle Bud), Patrick Swayze's brother Don (Space Dad), John Travolta's brother Joey (health food stall owner and former NASA scientist) and Sylvester Stallone's mother Jackie (Space Dad's new girlfriend).

It's flimsy, throwaway fluff and nonsense, albeit with a soul crushing message at its heart: that Uncle Bud should grow up, move out of his beach hut and become a besuited corporate whore to achieve success and happiness rather than live his life to his own preference. The rest of it is teenie romantic twaddle (which is no different to any other teen beach movie except the girls are from Planet Zog or whatever) and discreetly pubeless nudity and bikini sequences that go on so long you'll never want a pair of hooters thrust in your eyeline again. Directed in 1993 by David DeCoteau under one of his numerous aliases (Ellen Cabot in this instance).

Meanwhile, 1988's Dr. Alien is a SF rejigging of The Nutty Professor in which high school nerd Wesley is used as a guinea pig testing a sexual attraction serum created by a disguised blue-skinned alien scientist (Judy Landers - continuing the Famous Sibling tradition, she's the sister of one-time Dallas star Audrey) seeking to restore the virility of the males back home. The glowing green serum turns him into a cool and charismatic sex machine with a rectum-like tentacle sticking out of his head which for some reason turns all the girls crazy for him! He joins a rock band, gets into car chases, beats up the evil football jock, is dragged into the ladies' showers by the girls' gym class....but all he really wants is to date the sweet and sensitive girl-next-door type.

There's seems little point in detailing the stupidities of Dr. Alien - why do the aliens think testing their gloop on humans will indicate its effectiveness on an alien species? Why don't the girls all run screaming from the bloke with a tentacle sticking out of his head? - and, as with Beach Babes From Beyond, there's not much point in kicking it around town for its technical shoddiness and cheapness. They weren't made to be any good: they were made to be disposable horror quickies for guys who want a bit of skin, a bit of action, a few laughs and nothing deep and meaningful. In that event, they've succeeded in their ambitions, but what sad ambitions they are.



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