Case Number 22299: Small Claims Court

MARIA'S B-MOVIE MAYHEM: LOVE ME DEADLY / THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CAMPUS CORPSE

Love Me Deadly
Code Red // 1973 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
The Curious Case Of The Campus Corpse
Code Red // 1977 // 93 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker // September 16th, 2011

The Charge

Are ya dead yet?

The Case

Lindsay (Mary Wilcox, SCTV) is a lovely young lady with troubles. For one, she's frigid. This dovetails nicely with her other trouble: she's a necrophiliac. The colder they are, the hotter she gets. It all has something to do with unresolved daddy issues...I mean, doesn't it always?

Thanks to her frequent and overly affectionate appearances at the funerals of handsome young men -- evidently, in this town, being under 40 and attractive is the kiss of death -- Lindsay is invited by a mortician (Timothy Scott, Blue Sky) to an elite club of other dead lovers.

Then Lindsay meets a very handsome -- and very alive -- man, Alex (Lyle Waggoner, The Carol Burnett Show), who marries her; trouble is, that whole having-a-pulse thing gets in the way of their sex life, and they end up living as brother and sister.

Will Lindsay be able to summon the strength to love a man who still has red blood -- rather than embalming fluid -- flowing through his veins? Or will the siren song of funereal orgies prove too strong to drown out her desires to Love Me Deadly?

love me deadly

Next, we're back in college with track star Craig Lewis (Jeff East, Superman: The Movie). At this campus, fraternity pledging is all the rage, and no house rages harder than the Delts. Not only are they hard party boys, they're also influential: One former member who is now a computer programmer at the college is able to get Craig and affable fellow pledge Barney (Charlie Martin Smith, American Graffiti) all the classes they want, a luxury usually not afforded freshman.

campus corpse

Barney and Craig are given a tough initiation: they have to strip to their jockstraps on a freezing cold day and run several miles through the woods. Unfortunately, Barney falls and breaks his leg, so Craig continues on his own to get help. But when he and his new frat bros return, they find Barney dead. Instead of going to the police, as Craig wants, the brothers insist on hiding the body in the freezer then taking it to a ski slope the following week to make it look like an accident. The other Delts seem OK with this, but Craig looks like he's going to lose his mind. Will dealing with The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse drive him over the edge?

Campus Corpse -- the onscreen title, not to be confused with the film's other a.k.a. The Hazing -- is an odd duck of a film. It's like a short story by a high school sophomore that's really, really good, provided you keep telling yourself that it was written by a high school sophomore. It takes a kind of interesting premise and then drags it out interminably. It's not a horror movie at all, and despite scenes of campus high jinks, it's not really a comedy. It's well-acted and well-made for its budget, but it's really a forgettable curiosity.

campus corpse

Love Me Deadly, on the other hand, is not so easily forgotten, in the way that a mouthful of year-old cottage cheese isn't easily forgotten. Like Campus Corpse, this is a mighty confused bit of celluloid, but the confusion here seems to be about just how sick a film these folks wanted to make. There are endless musical montage scenes (usually scored with the film's loungey/romantic theme) of Lindsay and Alex frolicking, and plenty of flashbacks to Lindsay's childhood with her daddy.

But then, we get some really nasty stuff, the nastiest being a scene in which the mortician picks up a male prostitute (played by briefly ubiquitous hard- and softcore star I. William Quinn, Poor Cecily), takes him back to the funeral home, gets him naked, and...well, I don't want to spoil it. Let's just say that it's as hearty a combination of sleaze and horror as I've seen in a while. There are killings and corpse orgies -- shot in, like, psychedelic vision, man! -- and Lyle Waggoner, looking like he wandered onto what he thought was a Carol Burnett movie spoof, only to discover, to his horror...

love me deadly

The question is, why are these two films sharing a disc? Other than the low budget and the appearance of an errant corpse, The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse has nothing whatsoever to do with the sleazy, exploitative Love Me Deadly. It would be like pairing Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer with Regarding Henry because they both feature characters named Henry.

Newly minted B-movie maven Maria Kanellis brings us this entertaining if awkward edition through her "Maria's B-Movie Mayhem" line courtesy of Code Red. Love Me Deadly looks pretty good, Campus Corpsea bit rougher, with a lot print damage and some streaking. For supplements, there's a gallery for Love Me Deadly that includes promo shots as well as pictures of DVD cases from the film's other releases. Campus Corpse gets a very nice supplement ported from an earlier release: a retrospective featuring cast members and the director, though a commentary from the earlier release is absent. We also get (once again) Maria's music video for her song "Fantasy," evidently a staple of the series.

The Verdict

Yeah, the movies are pretty guilty, but Maria's starting to grow on me.

Review content copyright © 2011 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, Love Me Deadly
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, Love Me Deadly
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 1973
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks, Love Me Deadly
* Gallery

Scales of Justice, The Curious Case Of The Campus Corpse
Judgment: 72

Perp Profile, The Curious Case Of The Campus Corpse
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1977
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks, The Curious Case Of The Campus Corpse
* Featurette

Accomplices
* IMDb: Love Me Deadly
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0136376/combined

* IMDb: The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0076131/combined