• Gas Pump Girls (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: April, 2019.
    Director: Joel Bender
    Cast: Kristen Baker, Dennis Bowen, Huntz Hall, Sandy Johnson, Leslie King
    Year: 1979
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    Gas Pump Girls – Movie Review:

    Directed by Joel Bender in 1979, Gas Pump Girls plays like a cross between Grease and Six Swedes At A Pump, but with fewer musical numbers than the first movie and less sex than the second one. When the film begins we meet the graduating class of Hometown High, just as a trio of nogoodniks, a biker gang who call themselves The Vultures – Butch (Steve Bond), Peewee (Ken Lerner) and Hank (Demetre Phillips) - rig the girls’ gowns to their chairs so that when they stand up they’ll be torn off. A few boobs later and we’re off and running and after the graduation dance, the actual plot of the movie begins.

    June (Kirsten Baker) finds out that her Uncle Joe (Huntz Hall) has had a heart attack and so she and her hot friends – Betty (Linda Lawrence), April (Sandy Johnson), January (Rikki Marin) and Jane (Leslie King) - decide to run his filling station for him. Before you know it they’ve got the place all painted up and have even put up a new heart shaped sign touting the joint’s new name, Joe’s Super Duper. Their business plan? To prance around in skimpy outfits to lure gas customers to their station from the big, corporate Pyramid Fuels station across the street, the one run by Mr. Friendly (Dave Shelley). Once their plan becomes a success they bring their boyfriends on to work as mechanics and hire the Vultures to run their towing business and before you know it, Mr. Friendly is in trouble. When he hires two aging mobsters, Moiv (Mike Marzuki) and Bruno (Joe E. Ross), to rough the kids up, the Vultures prove to be good for security too but eventually Friendly calls the bigwigs at Pyramid and cuts off the supply of gas they’ll need to continue.

    Gas Pump Girls isn’t very good, but it is fun. The movie seemingly moves at its own random pace, not afraid to throw in a musical number just for the sake of having a musical number and throwing in enough topless nudity to keep the drive-in audience it was no doubt aiming for plenty happy. Performances are hamfisted and goofy across the board but it’s keen to see a few recognizable faces pop up here. Kirsten Baker will be familiar to slasher fans for her role in Friday The 13th Part II and Sandy Johnson as well for her role in the original Halloween. Rikki Marin was married to Cheech and pops up in a few Cheech and Chong movies while Huntz Hall was one of the Bowery Boys and appeared in loads of other films. The interesting cast help make this one enjoyable (the nudity doesn’t hurt either) and the unabashed stupidity of it all actually starts to get rather infectious about a half an hour in. A classic? No, not by a long shot, but an enjoyable B-movie footnote worth seeing for fans of seventies sex comedies who don’t mind substituting sight gags for plot development or realism.

    Gas Pump Girls – Blu-ray Review:

    Gas Pump Girls looks very nice presented here in 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer on a 25GB disc. This is a substantial upgrade over the older MGM MOD/DVD-R release. Detail is much improved, there’s better depth and colors look nicer too. The transfer is filmic, retaining the expected amount of film grain, but also quite clean, showing very little print damage outside of a few small white specks. Compression artifacts are never a problem and the picture shows no evidence of noise reduction or edge enhancement. Skin tones look great. No complaints here at all.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track on the disc is also pretty good. Optional subtitles are offered up in English. Clarity of the track is fine. It’s properly balanced and the dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow. No problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary featuring director/co-writer Joel Bender moderated by Jeff McKay. Bender talks about how he came to make this, his first feature film, after he and his writing partner failed to come up with a good script for a horror movie. Eventually they collaborated on Gas Pump Girls, where some of the ideas came from, what the actresses were like to work with, his appreciation for musical numbers, the actors who played ‘the three Vultures’ in the film, some of the locations that were used in the film, the double-entendres that are featured throughout the film, the planning that was involved in pre-production (they didn’t use storyboards!), the film’s distribution and how it played on TV and quite a bit more. There’s a little bit of dead air here and there but for the most part this is pretty engaging and interesting.

    Scorpion Releasing also includes an interview with Bender that lasts five-minutes. In this piece he talks about moving to Hollywood to make the film, how it was picked up by Cannon Films, the film’s success at the box office, shooting at a gas station in Sacramento, and how Kristen Baker and the other girls were perfect for their respective roles. It covers some of the same ground as the commentary but it’s interesting enough to check out.

    Rounding out the extras are trailers for the feature, Record City (which looks amazing!), the fantastic Act Of Vengeance (a.k.a. Rape Sqaud!), Youngblood, Bucktown and Angel Unchained. Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    Gas Pump Girls - The Final Word:

    Gas Pump Girls isn’t very good nor is it very original but it is amusing enough in its own dumb, derivative way. It’s a fun drive-in movie that offers up enough cornball humor and enough T&A to keep most exploitation fans happy. Scorpion Releasing has done a very nice job bringing this to Blu-ray with a fine transfer and a few new extra features thrown into the mix.

    Click on the images below for full sized Gas Pump Girls Blu-ray screen caps!

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