Friday, July 22, 2016

VHS Summer Week #4 - Video Grab Bag!

Trollies Radio Show Sing-A-Long
Greg Page

We can thank the Chipmunks for starting this odd tradition of high-pitched voices crushing the life of out once relevant pop songs (I'm more of a Happy Hamsters person myself). Trollies Radio Show Sing-A-Long is not really different in that respect, the music is usually bland, but more often excruciating.  The Trollies are puppet versions of those semi-monstrous troll dolls with wild hair that become inexplicably popular every twenty-five years or so.  The puppetry is surprisingly decent. However, no amount of passable imagery on the screen can make up for the combination of screechy music and jokes so poorly written that toddlers would get up and walk out the door.  Trollies Radio Show Sing-A-Long is only thirty-five minutes long but you are going to be living every single one of those minutes. That said, the Trollies cover of the sub-par Beach Boys song, Kokomo, is livened up by a saxophone playing crab, and that made it almost worth the $0.25 I paid for this tape. Almost.

"The forecast calls for huge mountains of Angel Dust to the north..."

Night of the Living Glitch
George Romero/Art of the Glitch

Much to George Romero’s chagrin, Night of the Living Dead (1968), as most people have seen it, exists in the public domain. Throughout the 80s, it proliferated through numerous tape releases from every conceivable production company and countless showings on television. So there is something hardwired in those people who initially saw it through a CRT screen with a less than optimal source. Night of the Living Glitch takes the original film and deliberately introduces distortions and errors that are unique to each tape and each VCR that plays it. It transforms what is an endlessly repeated film into something new, and ties it back to the personal way it was experienced by many viewers. The image might not have been corrupted to quite the extent that Night of the Living Glitch displays, but I think it  adds a special personal element that many of Night of the Living Dead’s myriad remixes, remakes, and edits seem to miss. You can watch it in its digital form here.

"They're coming to glitch you, Barbara."

Rock N Roll Wrestling Woman vs. the Aztec Ape
Rene Cardona Jr./Rhino Home Video

Rock N Roll Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Ape is an edited version of Doctor of Doom (1964). It’s a tale of female luchadors, brain transplants, and an ape monster, so it’s pretty much perfect. One of the great paradoxes of luchador films is that the wrestling is often the least interesting thing in the whole production. This movie is no exception, but the trimming down of these scenes helps immensely. What makes these particular wrestlers Rock N Roll Wrestling Women, is the fact that Rhino has placed several rock-a-billy tunes throughout the story. They have been specifically written for this film and while they lack much in the way of polish, they are quirky little numbers that that manage to get stuck in your head long after you’ve rewound the tape.  At barely over an hour, the movie throws in a heady mix of music, action, plus a little gore, and manages to be quite a bit of fun.

Yep, wrestling women. Just like it says on the cover.

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