Something Weird Video // 1975 // 172 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // May 7th, 2003
Heaven = Angels & Uschi!
God, who apparently obsesses on Bootsy Collins a little too much, has a problem in his afterworld corporate structure. Seems mortal souls are having a hard time giving up the non-holy ghost, and without available deadites to finagle into heavenly worker bees, the Omnipresent CEO is experiencing a heavy staff shortage. So he makes deals with potential pearly gate crashers: they help the living kill themselves and as casualty catalysts, they become a welcomed part of His Mothership Connection. The latest recruits, a couple of dead Chicago goombahs, agree to travel back down to the plane of reality to help Tex, a sick Stetson stick figure, kill video artist Leon DeWilde. Seems our elongated doogie puncher despises this girly generator of must die TV and his pouty, bib overall wearing "canvas" stretcher Ray. Leon is obsessed with death, so much so that he Betamaxes anything in the throes of imminent mortality and calls it Jasper Johns. But even with anger just a rootin' tootin' to rage, our slender vittle just can't seem to off the cathode offender. So it's up to God's goodfellas to use their skills at roller boogie and gay bashing to bring cow and party poke together for a final Brooklyn style wild west showdown. But who is the victim and who will be the victee...oh wait. Only Allah, and his Angels, knows for sure.
Meanwhile, in that addled bastion of otherworldly ethereality and make believe, also known as Hollywood, young actresses named Sin and Heaven just can't seem to get a job offer...acting, that is. When a policeman stops our Miss Afterlife Paradise, it's love at first ogle. Typical of getting out of a ticket, Heaven gets out of her blouse, and after a night on top of her cloud nine Valhalla, the oppressed officer becomes wildly possessive. He wants to marry Heaven, or at least take her home to "Momma." But she wants to be a legitimate film star, even though she looks like a lemur and speaks like Perini Scleroso. Hoping to land a much sought after audition with local "producer" Mr. Salacity, the girls primp and preen and practice their self-gratifying improvisation skills. But all Mr. S wants is a little slice of vice and a long hard night in the valleys of the kingdom of God. After a picnic debacle that leaves the lecherous S soaking in his own secretions, Mr. Big Shot now won't give the always-willing women the time of day. So our beauties concoct a plan to kidnap the moviemaker and fornicate him into providing Equity cards. And all the while we learn that, apparently, the Bible is wrong. No matter if you are a rich or righteous dude, it's pretty damn easy Getting into Heaven.
What in the name of nudity possessed Harry Novak, purveyor of rather solid soft-core sex farces and champion of the grind house grift, to release Angels? It's not like it's so blasphemous or teeming with Last Temptation tawdriness that churchgoers would line up simply to denounce its non-depravity. While the notion of angels as God's private assassins may seem a little outrageous, there is never once a slanderous shot taken at Jehovah or his need for contractual hit men (or women). Maybe Harry thought that, with the advent of Sheilds and Yarnell and Doug Henning, the world was ready for a movie co-starring wistful, effeminate manboys, one of which specializes in the deadest of ancient arts -- the pantomime. Really, there is nothing here for or by or to remotely engorge the well-worn exploitation enthusiast. The scorecard of carnality is putrid. There is a half-topless shot thirty minutes into the narrative, and some completely under the cover horizontal handsprings at the forty-five minute mark. But the rest of the movie is like one big long inferred homosexual brain buster, since the film is chockfull of gay imagery, queer suppositions, and way too many sequences of well-muscled mime. Sure, this could all be chalked up to the mid-'70s retreat into an "anything with anyone goes" attitude that seemed to welcome disco and its 54 feyness right through the velvet ropes. But the movie just makes no sense as a sellable item. It doesn't have anything novel or naughty to say about how the Lord works, either in mysterious or (as in this case) monotonous ways. And the avant-garde art angle of exploring entities on videotape the moment before they die sounds like a bad dream Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross once had. Kind of like a bong hit version of Peeping Tom, Angels wants to say something cogent about accepting life after death via the Sony camcorder. Unfortunately, it does so with a Fire Island road company version of Godspell.
Getting into Heaven, on the other hand, gets its raunch and randy factors just right. While not a Novak product (with a title like that it really should be), simply repeating this movie's marquee moniker will give you the gist, the grist, and the gravy of this seedy little sexcapade in a simple three word phrase. Then add the ample talents of one Uschi "Oh La La" Digart, and you're in for a goofy delight that is funny as well as frisky. True, the male leads represent manliness at its most bereft of beefcake, but apparently it is easier to convince a paying audience of Everymen that hot babes would rotate their tires if the studs in seduction looked like feed store clerks. Still, there are also a many ribald reasons why Getting into Heaven really ratchets up the rug burns for the connoisseurs of curves. While the notion of a full body snuggle with gallons of Vicks Vapo-rub seems a tad...how does one put this...mentholated?...the extended incident of Sin lathering up Heaven for a little "alternative" massage aromatherapy is guaranteed to enflame your sweetbreads and coldcock your bi-values. And when Uschi wants to, she can sell the sex act better than any standard, non-hardcore actress. Yes, she does occasionally look like a beaver in search of a good range of cedar to sink her choppers into, but more often she smolders with a fire down below burn that ignites the screen. It's no wonder she is a darling of the exploitation genre. Aside from being built like a terracotta bulldozer, she can really pour on the pure joy of playing jock hockey. Getting into Heaven may simply be 80+ minutes of simulated sex surrounded by cornball jokes and comic asides, but it meshes the two so effortlessly that you'll laugh as much as you leer. And when Uschi is in your eyeline, everything is bound to get steamier.
Something Weird can rest assured that, with this DVD release, no one could accuse them of falsely applying their corporate name. These movies and extras are truly items to be tagged as "objects de odd." Angels is presented in a defect free, near widescreen image (it's probably around 1.50:1) that captures it seedy '70s shimmer perfectly. There are tiny black bands across the top and bottom, and with no image loss or pan and scan crapola, this must be the preserved original aspect ratio. Getting into Heaven also looks brand spanking new, given a flawless full frame transfer that highlights the absolutely hideous eye makeup colors women were forced to wear to look fashionable in 1968. As for the extras, SWV uncorks another fine collection of marketing and media amazement to soothe the soul of even the most salacious sinner. Trailers for movies like The Rubber Gun, Pigeons, and the nude psychological group encounter sex therapy session entitled Out of Touch create unwelcome anxiety attacks of "when will they release it" psychosis in even the most patient die-hard of exploitation mavens. Fans of the buxom, barely intelligible über-Uschi will find her gyrating short subjects more than enough of a seemingly endless and plentiful thing. And the religious themed, show and tell style Door to Heaven proves once and for all that the only way you can sell Biblical salvation to the masses is in a paint by number, kindergarten level shapes and picture presentation. But it's not God's fault that deliverance and everlasting happiness are such a hard sell to the members of society. When one is faced with the decidedly earthly pleasures present in this whacked out SWV DVD, it's near impossible to avoid worshipping at its feet. Call it a craven image. Denounce it as the proverbial falsey idol. But Angels / Getting into Heaven is a true blast of insane iconography.
Review content copyright © 2003 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
* 1.50:1 Non-Anamorphic (Angels only)
* Full Frame (Getting Into Heaven only)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 172 Minutes
Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Excessively-Seventies Trailers for The Butterfly, Angels, Loving and Laughing, The Models, Out of Touch, Pigeons, The Rubber Gun, The Stewardesses, and Together
* Rare Uschi Shorts Uschi Digart's Bedtime Surprise and Uschi Digart, Girl Snatcher!
* Classic Celestial Short, Door to Heaven
* Gallery of Harry Novak Exploitation Art with Greatest Soundtrack Hits
* Harry Novak Gallery of Exploitation Photos
* IMDb: Angels
* IMDb: Getting Into Heaven