• The Best Of 80’s Scream Queens (88 Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: 88 Films
    Released on: November 26th, 2018.
    Director: David DeCouteau
    Cast: Linnea Quigley, Michelle Bauer, Brinke Stevens, Dukey Flyswatter, Karen Russell, Eric Freeman, Jan Michael Vincent, Jack Carter
    Year: 1988/1989/1989
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    The Best Of 80’s Scream Queens – Movie Review:

    Three low budget, sexy shockers from the big hair era get a Blu-ray release from the UK’s 88 Films. Here’s wat to expect…

    Nightmare Sisters:

    Shot over four days, Nightmare Sisters introduces us to a trio of nerdy sorority sisters – the off-key singing Melody (Linnea Quigley sporting some hokey buck teeth), the insatiably hungry Mickey (Michelle Bauer in a fat suit credited as Michelle McClellen) and dorky antique collector Marci (Brinke Stevens in some big goofy glasses). But before we get to them, we open with a scene where a medium named Omar (Dukey Flyswatter) uses his crystal ball to try and con a widow out of her money and jewelry. It doesn’t end well for Omar and years later, said crystal ball winds up in the possession of Marci, who finds it at a flea market and brings it back to the Tri Eta Pi house.

    The girls are alone in the house and bored so Melody calls up her pal Kevin (Richard Gabai), an equally dorky new pledge at the frat house down the street, and asks him to bring two friends over. He agrees, but before he and his pals Freddy (Marcus Vaughter) and Duane (William Dristas) can split they’ve got to contend with the jocks in the fraternity accusing them of gay shenanigans. They sneak out the window and make it to the house and soon enough, the girls pull out that crystal ball. When Omar’s face emerges and encourages the girls to touch the ball, they ‘break the circle’ and unwittingly allow themselves to be possessed! At this point, all bets (and most of the girls’ clothes) are off!

    The three sexy succubi have an insatiable lust and they need these guys to satisfy them – but those jocks want in on the action, even if they’ll learn the hard way that there is more to these ladies than meets the eye. But Kevin and the others, they want the girls back the way they were, so, being concerned for their wellbeing, they call a disgruntled exorcist (Jim Culver) who takes American Express for help…

    Shot almost entirely in producer John Schouweiler’s bungalow (and backyard), this was clearly made fast and cheap, but Nightmare Sisters definitely has its own stupid charm. Very much a product of its time and not in the least bit concerned with political correctness, the movie takes a little while to get going and spends too much time showing us how nerdy the three female leads are before getting down to business. It’s amusing, but it hurts the pacing. Once they make contact with Omar and the possession occurs, however, the pacing picks up considerably. The movie never gets particularly bloody, DeCoteau probably didn’t have the budget for much in the way of gore effects, but it’s got plenty of skin and a few pretty amusing set pieces – the three girls taking on one of the jocks with their BDSM gear, Linnea’s musical number to Bauer in her jungle outfit.

    Most of these amusing set pieces involve breasts. This movie has six unique breasts in total and they get a lot of screen time. These breasts are pretty great. Sometimes breasts are smothered in pie in a kitchen, other times breasts are washed in a bathtub. Breasts are on display in this movie a lot, actually, so yeah, if you like breasts there's an excellent chance that you’ll dig Nightmare Sisters. The humor is… bad, but intentionally so. The script goes for the lowest common denominator, tossing around gay jokes and racial humor without any sort of afterthought. Hey, it was the eighties, it was a different time – and while it might be in bad taste to laugh at Dukey Flyswatter doing the absolute worst Indian accent you’ve ever heard, it’s hard not to laugh at it (and his character is a bastard anyway, so it’s not like the movie is really glorifying this). There are a lot of references to other horror movies thrown in here too, such as the exorcist character complaining about not getting any royalties from that movie to a Creepozoids poster proudly displayed in the boys’ room to a nod towards an earlier Bauer vehicle, The Tomb.

    Murder Weapon:

    “They lust for revenge ... They do it at night ... And they're more than lethal. “

    Up first, we learn the story of a woman named Dawn (Quigley). While institutionalized after her entire family is killed in a freak fire, she meets a woman named Amy (Karen Russell). Amy is doing a stint away from a society in hopes of breaking her from a continuing cycle of abuse that seems to damn all of her relationships with men. The two girls hit it off and decide that whichever one of them finds her freedom first will be obligated to throw a serious bash for the other at the time of her release.

    Dawn uses her feminine charms to get horny shrink Doctor Gram (Lenny Rose) into a situation precarious enough that he agrees to have her set free. As such, she’s the one to throw the party. Not too far down the road, Amy coerces Doctor Randolph (Lyle Waggoner) to set her free and it’s party time. As they’ll want some companionship at the shindig, Dawn invites her old flame Jeff (Eric Freeman) to the party as well as pretty much every one of Dawn's exes to the party. So, guys like Kevin (Stephen Steward), Cary (Allen First), Billy (Richard Sebastian), Bart (Rodger Burt), as well as Eric (Mike Jacobs Jr.) – who she seems to be having recurring dreams about again – make the scene at the mansion owned by Amy’s connected father.

    Lots of beer is consumed and lots of sex takes place and soon enough the bodies start piling up – is Amy’s dead taking care of business or is it possible that one or both of these previously institutionalized ladies might be off her damn rocker?

    This one is just as ridiculous as it sounds. Staged as a ‘sexy thriller’ it’s chock full of boobs and even a little bit of carnage. Quigley’s better known as a scream queen and it’s interesting to see her starring in a non-horror project like this. The film wears its low budget on its sleeve and most of the acting is pretty questionable but the plot moves at a good pace and it offers up enough of its own screwy charm to easily entertain. This one has that weird mix of horror, action and comedy (sometimes intentional sometimes not) that shouldn’t work but does. It’s also got a pretty cool score that cements it permanently in the era that birthed it. Not a masterpiece, but as far as straight to video low budget thrillers go, it does at least try to stand apart from the herd and for the most part it succeeds. By tying in the insane asylum angle and the mafia angle it manages to tell a pretty fun story.

    Deadly Embrace:

    The second feature follows Stewart Moreland (Jan Michael Vincent), a slimy businessman cheating on his wife, Charlotte (Mindi Miller), with his hot to trot secretary DeDe (Ruth Collins). Stewart is pretty tired of Charlotte, there isn’t much left of their marriage, but after he talks to his lawyer pal Evan Weiss (Jack Carter) he learns that he’ll wind up giving away a sizable amount of his fortune to her should divorce court proceedings not go in his favor.

    This is where Chris (Ken Abraham) comes in. He’s the hunk-of-the-month that the Moreland’s have hired to tend to their pool. Stewart figures he can hand the guy some cash, get him to have an affair with Charlotte and make out like a bandit but what he doesn’t know is that Charlotte’s had her eyes on him for a while now. Their affair gets Chris in trouble when his girlfriend Michelle (Linnea Quigley) shows up to stay at the house for a spell. When she clues in to that ‘something’ that exists between Charlotte and her beau, she takes matters into her own hand.

    This one isn’t quite as zany as the first feature but it’s quickly paced and reasonably sordid enough to hold our attention. Quigley is in fine form here and both Ruth Collins and Mindi Miller are easy enough on the eyes. It’s fun to see Jan Michael Vincent pop up in the movie. He plays the rich slimeball type rather well. The house that serves as the movie’s primary location is plenty fancy and makes for a decent enough setting for the story to play out. It’s a moderately predictable affair but any time you get Michelle Bauer starring in a role like ‘female spirit of sex’ you’re on the right track.

    The Best Of 80’s Scream Queens – Blu-ray Review:

    Nightmare Sisters arrives on a 25GB Blu-ray using the same transfer that was used on Vinegar Syndrome’s North American Blu-ray release. It uses an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a new 2k scan of the original 35mm negative framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. Detail looks really great and texture is strong too. Skin tones, ever important in a movie such as this, look perfect and black levels are nice and deep. For a movie shot over four days for peanuts, it’s impressive how slick looking the image quality is here. Colors pop with all that eighties garishness really standing out and the image is virtually pristine, showing very little actual print damage, just a nice and natural looking amount of film grain. This is a nice transfer.

    The other two films share the same 50GB disc and also mirror the Vinegar Syndrome release. They are presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers taken from a new 2k scans of the original 16mm negatives framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. Detail looks really great and texture is strong too. Skin tones also fare really nicely while black levels are nice and deep. Colors pop with all that eighties garishness really standing out and the picture quality, while reasonably grainy, is virtually pristine and shows very little actual print damage. These are very solid transfers that make these goofy low budget pictures even more fun.

    The English language DTS-HD Mono tracks sound just fine, offering up clear dialogue without any noticeable background hiss or noise and the incredibly eighties sounding scores have pretty impressive range. The levels are well balanced, the scores sound good and there are no problems here to complain about. There are no alternate language options although English subtitles are provided.

    Unfortunately, there are no extra features on this disc (the aforementioned Vinegar Syndrome discs did include some extra features which remain exclusive to those releases).

    The Best Of 80’s Scream Queens – The Final Word:

    The Best Of 80’s Scream Queens is fun stuff, delightfully goofy and loaded with gratuitous nudity and nonsense. There are no extras here, but the transfers for each film are really strong and the movies themselves make for plenty of schlocky entertainment.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Best Of 80’s Scream Queens Blu-ray screen caps!