Friday, April 22, 2016

Night of the Living Babes

Night of the Living Babes

Jon Valentine

Chuck (Andy Nichols) is an incurable horndog who loves to regale his friend Buck (Louie Bonanno) with lurid tales of his indiscretions while their put upon wives, Sue (Michelle Bauer) and Lulu (Connie Woods) hang out not far away. Chuck finds a flier for a ‘Zombie Fantasy Ranch’ which he is convinced is just the kind of kinky establishment he is looking for. Chuck tricks Buck into going to the ranch. There they meet the Mondo Zombie Girls who work for Madame Mondo (Forest Witt). When Chuck and Buck don’t return the next day, Sue and Lulu set out to find them. Little do they know that Madame Mondo has them captive, chained in a dungeon and wearing punk tutus. Will the ladies find their douchebag husbands before Madame Mondo can enact her scheme?

My face when I get a coupon for free gummi bears at the Alamo Drafthosue
Night of the Living Babes is the kind of mildly naughty T&A fest that found a niche in the home video market of the 1980s. It feels  like a set-up that could easily segue into pornography, but Night of the Living Babes never takes it quite that far. It is seemingly naughty enough to attract attention, but not get relegated to the ‘back room’ of the video store. In fact, on the surface this film feels like it could be very lurid, but there is an underlying good natured tone that keeps the whole sixty minute run-time feeling light and silly. Night of the Living Babes exists to bring juvenile comedy to the screen just as much as it exists to show off boobs.

The acting, as you may have guessed, is very broad. Andy Nichols in particular is constantly mugging for the camera. Forest Witt is channeling more than a little of Tim Curry’s Dr. Frankenfurter for the role of Madame Mondo. Michelle Bauer is ,as usual, great to watch on screen. Sue is a one-note character, but Michelle works well with what little the script gives her. It’s very easy for such cartoonish characters to become grating quickly, so it is a testament to all involved that I wanted stay with these people and see where the story was going.

"How about we put the 'let' in ballet..."
What the creators of Night of the Living Babes probably did not count on was how this cheap little direct-to-video film would be a great time capsule into the aesthetics of the mid-80s. It is a window into the world of cheap VHS releases that were just as much at home on the VCR as they would be playing in a censored form on such shows as USA’s Up All Night.  It’s in this we can enjoy the neon spandex, giant hair, and cheap sets lit in the most exaggerated way possible. To date, Night of the Living Babes has never received anything other than a VHS release and I feel like that is where is best represented. It’s a low-fi movie in every sense of the word.

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