Double dipping and damn proud of it.
Monkeys, Monkeys and even more Monkeys! When it comes to too much of a gorilla good thing, Something Weird Video sure knows how to overindulge Darwin's own Dixie Chicks. And no one serves it up simian better than Seattle's number one purveyor of the exploitation film. After releasing nearly 100 heretofore forgotten titles onto DVD over the course of the last three years, the independent company has decided to repackage and reconfigure some of its more obscure properties into budget friendly box sets to soothe the savaged consumer soul. And with their first combo platter, the Beauty and Beasts Box Set, the company has brought together three of their King Kongiest discs along with an overstuffed sampler highlighting the rest of SWV's crazy catalog. The result is a titillating travelogue of nekkid Neanderthals, open-heart surgery, weird organ rituals, and nudist colony craziness. Oh, and let's not forget…red-hot ape on ape antics.
Reviewed elsewhere on the site, the titles included are:
Night Of The Bloody Apes / Feast Of Flesh—a double feature in which the Hispanic ideals of horror are put to the fiesta test. In Night, a despondent doctor decides to play Dios and give his dying son an oversized baboon heart. The offspring rejects such misplaced medical meddling by going psychotic and killing innocent people, all the while looking like a lost member of the Nairobi trio. In Feast, a disfigured freak wants to have his way with women. So he learns a siren song on the Hammond upright, woos wanton waitresses to his seaside flat and then tickles their ivories with the help of a love drug.
The Beast That Killed Women / The Monster Of Camp Sunshine—another double-header featuring the terrors and potential pitfalls involved in being a sun-worshipping nudist. In Beast, the rather matronly members of Miami's only Vietnam themed nature camp are constantly accosted by a rogue gorilla with an itching for woo pitchin'. In Monster, the big burly bunghole brother of a nudist camp commandant drinks some poisoned swamp water and goes goofy, chasing disrobed daydreamers with an axe and a snarl. Eventually, stock footage kills him.
Mighty Gorga / One Million AC/DC—the final double bill, this time mixing forced perspective ape and dinosaur footage with miscreant Manson family cave dwellers. In Gorga, a down on his luck zookeeper explores the Dark Continent for possible exploitables, hoping to find a mighty giant of a Chimpanzee who befriends plastic dime store toys. In One Million, the concepts of personal hygiene and shame are cast aside as people with values as fossilized as a T-Rex tooth fornicate for no other reason than to further soil themselves. And this is supposed to teach us about ancient cultures. Apparently, we are dealing with the bacterial, not the civilized.
The three movie discs included are a wonderfully mixed bag, as previous
reviews have indicated. By far the best is Beast / Monster, in that it
combines cheesy monster mania with nudist camp coolness to create a kind of soft
bumbling breeze on a hot summer's day. This disc also relies on SWV's once
popular Drive-In format, in which you can play the entire disc as one long lost
evening at your local passion pit. As for Night / Feast and Gorga /
Million, each of these discs provides only semi-insanity. Night takes
the whole idea of the monster movie to a new, decidedly melodramatic level of
medicinal lunacy. Gorga is basically the movie Dino De Laurentis would
have made were Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange not available for his "big
monkey" remake masterpiece of 1976. Even with the less than entertaining
qualities of the scabby One Million and the flabby Feast Of Flesh,
we still can learn enjoyable lessons in how not to make a viable
exploitation vehicle. Basically, these co-features teach us that one should
The final disc included in the box is called The Extra Weird Sampler, and it is by far the primary reason any fan of SWV would want to double dip into this set. Originally offered as part of a freebie deal at Borders bookstores around the nation, people who bought a standard SWV title got this Sampler for free. Now it is enclosed in the set and it is, for lack of a better term, great! Consider what you get. Nearly 100 Something Weird Video Titles, each given a two to five minute film clip or trailer treatment. There is nearly four hours of preview goodness on this disc alone, and those interested in just what type of movie SWV handles will discover this to be a wild and welcome introduction. Fans and devotees of the Weird canon can also utilize this as a greatest hits compilation, a chance to have all their favorite moments captured on one easy to play and peruse DVD. And when one considers this is just a small sampling of the overall product line that this Seattle company has been keeping alive for over twenty years, it becomes an impressive, and depressive thing. Impressive because this lost genre of motion picture now has a respectful and careful champion. Depressive in that more product isn't out on DVD right now!
Overall, the Beauty and Beast Box Set will mark a trend for SWV, one that will continue on with a Best Of Burlesque collection later on in the year. For those completists out there, here's hoping that they offer another obscure bonus disc of goodies to round out that package. (Long time fans not fond of re-buying their already owned gemstones will be glad to know that the SWV website sells the Sampler DVD separately.) For those new to the Something Weird catalog and would like a low cost introduction to the genre, the Beauty and Beasts Box Set is a stellar way of starting off. Where else would you get to witness an overweight caveman announcing an orgy, Laugh-in style? Name another time you'd get to see a Mexican wrestler in a monkey mask mincing around the tract houses of Tijuana? Add the numerous attempts at menace the filmmakers made by taking plastic toys and smooshing them up to the camera lens, and you've got hours of merrily misguided pleasure. And remember, there is no denying the inherent glee value in the noble monkey. Thanks to SWV, you too can experience ape amusement in all its parasite picking, poo-flinging, self-satiating fun. Gracias, Something Weird, for making us laugh about love, and lemurs, all over again.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Something Weird Video
• Four-Disc Box Set: Night of the Bloody Apes / Feast of Flesh, Mighty Gorga / One Million AC/DC, The Beast that Killed Women / The Monster of Camp Sunshine, Plus a Bonus Fourth DVD Packed with Trailers from the Outrageous Something Weird Collection
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