Forgotten Films: Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama (1988)

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama promises B-movie sex and violence — and it delivers.

By Scott A. Cupp

This is the 167th in my series of Forgotten, Obscure or Neglected Films.

It has been a while since I did a really bad B film. (Fans might remember the enthusiastic review of Zombeavers last August.) The other day, I was reviewing a DVD catalog and this film was available for about $7 and I knew I should see it. When it comes to horror movies, I’ve got a soft spot for so-called Scream Queens, and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama promised plenty. I’ve only ever met one Scream Queen — Jewel Shepard, when she was signing her book If I’m So Famous, How Come Nobody’s Ever Heard of Me? She was a very fun signer and I really enjoyed talking with her. Her book was a hoot and a half, too.

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama has, hands down, one of the great sleazy names for a B horror film (not that Zombeavers was any sort of slouch). It really tells you what your audience is going to be. You got college girls, horror, bowling and slimeballs. Well, in truth, you only sort of have slimeballs.

College roommates Keith, Jimmy and Calvin (John Stuart Wildman, Hal Havins and Andras Jones, respectively) are bored one night. Calvin’s playing a video game, Jimmy’s drinking beers and Keith wants one of the beers. Jimmy is not the giving sort, but Keith offers up that he knows where Delta Delta Delta sorority is doing their pledge initiation that night. The sorority, known as Felta Delta, promises to have some salacious happenings. So the boys go over to see what they might.

Pledges Taffy and Lisa (Scream Queens Brinke Stevens and Michelle Bauers, respectively) are on the wrong end of a sorority paddle and an aerosol whip cream attack from initiation masters and all-around bitches Frankie, Rhonda, and Babs (Carla Baron, Kathi O’Brecht and Robin Rochelle). Babs has some sadistic ideas for finishing up the initiation, when the boys are discovered inside the Delta house watching Lisa and Taffy shower. Soon, all six are sent off to the mall bowling alley to secure a bowling trophy. Babs’ dad owns the mall and they plan on doing some mean stuff to the group.

Inside the bowling alley, Calvin runs across punk thief Spider (huge Scream Queen Linnea Quigley) ripping off the gaming machines and register. He tries to pick her up, but she’s not having any of it. Eventually, though, she helps the group get into the area with the trophies. They steal a large one that’s 30 years old.

Unfortunately, they accidentally drop the old trophy, and out of it comes an ancient imp (voiced by Dukey Flyswatter). The imp is grateful for his release and offers each of the folks a wish. Jimmy orders lots of gold, but Calvin cautions that things might not be as good as they seem.

Keith wants to have sex with Lisa and Impy makes her amenable to the idea. Suddenly, Babs, Rhonda and Frankie interrupt things and we find out that Calvin was absolutely correct in not trusting the imp. Of the 10 main characters (the nine listed plus a janitor for comedic relief), eight are going to die. I hope I’m not spoiling it for anyone, but this one is nearly 30 years old and has been shown a lot. Just because I never saw does not imply that you did not.

We have knifings, smashed heads by bowling ball, flame thrower, deep fryer, decapitation, zombie-ism, Bride of Frankenstein-itis (for Frankie, of course), being pulled apart and more. The mayhem is handled very effectively. The budget was low but you can tell the movie makers put it all onto the screen.

All in all, this one delivers exactly what it promises: a B movie with sex and violence and some humor. If, like me, you enjoy that sort of thing, this movie is definitely for you. Be warned, though, this is not Akira Kurasawa or Citizen Kane, and if that’s what you want, well, to each their own. As I always say, your mileage may vary. I was glad to finally see this one. Maybe you will be too. If not, there’s always next week.

Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.

 

Forgotten Book: The Whispering Gorilla (1940) and Return of the Whispering Gorilla (1943)

Don't expect to use your logic muscles when you read the "Whispering Gorilla."

By Scott A. Cupp

This is the 157th in my series of Forgotten Books.

My love of the gorilla in prose and film has been well documented in the various Forgotten reviews that I have done. So, when Bill Crider reviewed The Whispering Gorilla a few months ago, I was intrigued. Particularly since the novel and its sequel were both readily available from armchair Press for a mere $12.95 with covers on both sides of the trade paperback, much like an old Ace Double, except the second novel and cover were not printed upside down.

Ace reporter, Steve Carpenter, is stepping on toes and receiving death threats. He is investigating the rackets and their possible ties to Nazis! Carpenter is sent by his boss to Africa to hide out and continue writing his stories. But the mob has a hit man who takes his job seriously and he manages to track down Carpenter in Africa.

Carpenter has found a refuge next door to scientist Dr. Devoli who is working on getting a gorilla to speak by modifying the voice box. The gorilla, Plumbutter, is responsive to the surgery. However, when Carpenter is killed, Dr. Devoli decides to go one further and transplants Carpenter’s brain into Plumbutter’s body.

The transplant works and now Carpenter wants to return back to the U.S. to continue writing his expose. To do this, he convinces a Broadway promoter to star him in a play as the most amazing gorilla actor ever. Everyone knows that he must be someone in a gorilla suit, because gorillas cannot talk. He never appears out of the “suit” which creates publicity and gets on the radio under the pseudonym “W.G.” Clever.

He fights the gangsters and the mob on the air and in the paper. He is once again a target but he is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Gradually, he finds the transplant has some problems and Plumbutter’s body begins to invade his consciousness. With Devoli’s help, they manage to stop the Nazi threat.

This sequel and its predecessor offer simian pulp fun.

This first “novel” was written by Don Wilcox under the editorship of David V. Reed who worked hard with Wilcox in its construction. Later, Reed would write the sequel.

Carpenter is still fighting his gorilla nature. He and Devoli are working in Africa. However, the drugs necessary to keep Carpenter in control are becoming harder to obtain because the World War is going on and the sanity doses are becoming less frequent. Carpenter is in communication with the local gorillas, whom he can understand. He is called Ologwa the Strange One and he tries to teach the gorillas how to control fire and other human traits.

Since the World War features in here, we’ve got to have Nazis! And they show up with a beautiful girl in tow. They want Devoli to provide trained gorillas to pilot suicide mini-subs to throttle the Allies’ fleets.

Ologwa is having trouble with hisz reasoning abilities and starts to work with the Nazis, but he fools them at the same time.

This is pure pulp fiction. Logic is not going to work hard here, but I had fun. This has B movie written all over it and I am surprised one wasn’t made. It would have been great fun for America’s youth and the war effort.

You are not going to confuse these books with anything written later than 1945, but if you’re in the mood for some wild gorilla action, they fill the bill. Check it out.

Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews at her own blog, and posts a complete list of participating blogs.

 

Forgotten Films: Invisible Invaders (1959)

Who wouldn't want to witness a war-to-the-death of all civilization?

Review by Scott A. Cupp

This is the 127th in my series of Forgotten, Obscure or Neglected Films

Between 2011 and 2014 I produced a regular (mostly) weekly column of Forgotten, Obscure or Neglected Films as part of the Missions Unknown blog and as a part of a loose gathering of writers and fans coordinated by Todd Mason (there should be a link at the end of the review).

But the Missions Unknown blog got hit with some form of ebola or other disease and has not been revived for more than a year. I loved doing these reviews and inflicting my weird thoughts on folks so when Sanford Allen asked me to continue them, I was ready to continue. So check here each week for cinematic wonders and horrors alike.

That said, let’s go a film I saw as a child and had fond memories of – INVISIBLE INVADERS. The film starts with an annoying voiceover about nuclear experimentation and a quick explosion which kills Dr. Karol Noymann (John Carradine). His friend, Dr. Adam Penner (Phillip Tonge) decides to renounce the nuclear experiments. After giving Noymann’s eulogy, he is visited by the animated corpse of Noymann, possessed by invisible aliens from the moon. They have hidden bases on the moon and have decided Mankind is a pestilence and gives the Earth 24 hours to surrender or be destroyed. They plan a mass invasion to annihilate all Earth life. They have bases on the moon hidden by invisibility.

Earth, being what it is, decides not to surrender on the basis of one man’s word, no matter how renowned. When no surrender comes, the invaders animate corpses and attack the living. Their blank stares and zombie walk would make Tor Johnson proud. When the destruction starts, the Army assigns Major Jay Bruce (John Agar) to assist Penner, his daughter Phyllis (Jean Byron), and co-worker Dr. John Lamont (Robert Hutton). John Agar is his usual semi-wooden self as the military man out to help scientists solve the invasion problem,

It’s not an awful movie. It’s just not good. Script and acting are weak. Special effect rival early Dr. Who for crudity. Many shots just use stock footage. The music overpowers several scenes with terrible results. And that annoying voice over keeps on coming, telling us the story rather than having the script and actors show us the story.

But it appears that it might have had an effect on George Romero as several Night of the Living Dead shots seem to echo scenes from this film. Could be coincidence, but I wonder.

Some of the logic of the film seems to belong to current political debates, with as much logic. The invaders are portrayed with drag marks through sand. Overall, it’s just a mess. Fortunately, at 67 minutes, it’s not an interminable mess. It just seems that way. Watch at your own risk.

Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.