It had been a while since we'd done an all day Zombie Club, so theme for the day was hotly debated. Italian Sci-Fi came up a lot (doesn't it always) as did Trolls and Leprechauns at one point too bizarrely. But when it came down to it was quite obvious which idea we were going to win with, and that was Warrior Women Day.
Yes, we're looking for chicks in tight leathers or loin cloth bikins sporting guns or swords or something like that. We're looking for the kind of movie where all the actors are really models, the acting suffers terribly because of that, and so does the action choreography accordingly. But that doesn't matter as long as we get to see chicks swinging swords, chicks shooting guns, and hopefully a few bras will get lost along the way for good measure.
So let's get straight on with it. And let's keep our finger crossed that watching four warrior women movies that all involve leather bikinis at some point or another don't all blur in to one as a result of excessive behaviour.
Tonight's Zombie Club is bought to you by Jim in Association with the Don't Do That Or You'll Go Blind Society of Great Britain.
She Wolves of the Wasteland (1988)
Plot Big hair, big guns, big personalities, and a serious lack of wardrobe.
Jim Let’s get this show on the road, then. First up is She-Wolves of the Wasteland, which is a classic early 80s post apocalyptic action movie where everything is desert, the main method of transport is the dune buggy, all the buildings are made out corrugated iron, all the women are models that either wear animal skin bikinis or tight strappy leathers and all the men dress like extras in a Mad Max movie. Actually, there’s only one man in it. Okay, maybe we should explain the plot first.
It centres around Phoenix, a scantily clad leggy blonde hunter (played by Kathleen Kinmont, who went on to marry then divorce Lorenzo Lamas, the mildly famous early-90s crappy action movie and TV star, with hits like Renegade and Snake Eater) who meets pregnant scantily clad chick Keela. The fact that she's pregnant is amazing though because in the future there are no men so nobody gets pregnant. Pursued by Reverend Mother's minions (she's the old hag with the pipes coming out of her head) they escapes to the mountains.
There they bring the kid up, with some very abrupt editing and no montage at all. Seven years have passed even though they have the same clothes and hairstyles ("I don't believe a girl would keep the same hairstyle for 7 years." - Rawshark) and it's time for the guys to come out of hiding, and what follows is a series of scantily clad adventures that include traversing the Badlands ("There must therefore be Goodlands? I'd stay in the Goodlands." - Rawshark), fighting in a shanty town gladiator arena, hooking up with the last man alive, and getting past a bunch of TV-addicted zombies called the Razules ("He died watching TV!" - Zomblee). Then there's a fight with Persis Khambatta in what looks like a factory basement with loads of big pipes, before the final confrontation with Reverend Mother that's a bit of a let down ("Like Zomblee I was quite disappointed there was no bubble and melt." - Rawshark)
But apart from the lack of a melty finale, the rest of the movie's great. The whole look of the movie's pretty cool and the action scenes are fun in an endearing way, the costumes occasionally are a bit outlandish ("She should go on 'What Not To Wear'." - Zomblee) but for the most part the minimalness of them is the guilty pleasure that makes the whole movie so easy on the eye ("It's like watching candy floss being made." - Rawshark). And there's a liberal sprinkling of boobs throughout the movie too.
”I swear she will pay for this 100 times!”
Rawshark A post-apocalyptic movie set on a future Earth where there exist only women who drive around in dune buggies in various states of undress? Add to the fact that this film stars Persis Khambatta, the bald chick from Star Trek: The Motion Picture and ‘star’ of Mega Force (”I think she’s the bad guy in this” - Jim) and I’m signed up straight away for the first film in tonight’s awesome Zombie Club line-up.
In the future of She Wolves of the Wasteland, the Reverend Mother (an evil old hag with very cool cheap tube effects sprouting from her head) doesn’t want anyone to reproduce, so when she hears that a girl, Keela, is with child, she sends her troops out in hot pursuit. Luckily for Keela though, she has managed to hook up with a tough blonde trapper called Phoenix (”She even eats apples in a tough way” - Jim) and together the two run off to a gang of white-striped topless girls (”I’ve written ‘Tits times three’ - and not in a Total Recall way” - Zomblee) to look after the baby-to-be.
The child (”A child? A boy child? Oh boy!”) grows up quickly to the age of six, living with Phoenix and Keela whilst on the run until they meet a man and together they try their best to defy the evil Reverend Mother and her henchwoman Cobalt (Khambatta) whilst travelling through several Shanty Towns (”I’ve lost count of the times I’ve written Shanty Town!” - Zomblee) and cage fights along the way.
So, if you’re looking for a cheap post-apocalyptic movie with a twist, then you can do far worse than She Wolves of the Wasteland. With several cool car chases, and dodgy near-naked fight scenes (”Oh, is she fighting the one with the ineffective brassiere then? Brilliant!” - Jim), the film is good trashy fun, as long as you don’t mind overlooking the 80s styling for most of the lead women. Still, it’s good to know that In the post-apocalyptic future, if women ruled the world, you’d still be able to get hairspray.
”We had a chance to repopulate the earth and you perverted it” .
Zomblee Despite the disappointing final confrontation, I think we all approved of the Reverend Mother's head with all the crazy tubes of brain juice being pumped about the place. In fact, her tubes were one of the coolest things about She Wolves of the Wasteland. Mention must also go to the scene where the three main girls get completely naked under the waterfall ("I like how this scene drives the plot forward" - Rawshark). This is a very pleasant scene, where you will learn many things, and you'll find it about 15 minutes into the running time. Boobs. Don't you just love them?
So, one of the girls bears a child, which doesn’t happen much in the virtually man-free future, and the evil piped-up hag needs the child to control her vision of ‘mankind’, or perhaps I should say no-man-kind. It’s post-apoc sci-fi gibberish about a genetic programme and a purified gene pool, and that’s as much as you need to know, really. Persis Khambatta plays ‘Cobalt’, the Reverend Mother’s henchwoman, who pursues the she-wolves, and what appears to be the only man around, Guy, who says stuff like ”I’m not gonna get caught and get sent back to the sperm bank again”.
Cue ”loads of chicks randomly firing big guns” in the desert landscapes Jim was convinced were used in The Beastmaster, and eventually some mutants (yay!), here known as the Razuls, who appear to be a monkey-faced people with voices that should like they’ve been put through a flanger pedal. Some of the monkey masks were a bit crap, and as Jim pointed out, you could clearly see the peoples’ lips behind the monkey lips. I call this ‘double mutant lip’.
As with a great many movies we watch at Zombie Club, it’s endearingly daft fun. The pace moves along fairly well, and there is enough eye candy throughout to keep purveyors of this type of movie well amused, not to mention dune buggies, those monkey mutants, post-apoc shanty towns, and characters who call each other ‘child’ all the time.
”Why do they always call everyone ‘child’ in the future?”
Director Robert Hayes
Cast Persis Khambatta
Runtime 89 mins
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Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987)
Plot Lovely and resourceful Daria and Tisa escape a space gulag only to crash land on a nearby world where a guy in tight pants named Zed is playing The Most Dangerous Game.
Zomblee "She's got crap little tits!" shouts Jim, because tonight there has generally been bigger tittles in abundance, so you notice when they're a bit small...and crap. Big, small, whatever, they're still boobs, and should be celebrated at every available opportunity, especially if we're talking a low-rent futuristic re-telling of The Most Dangerous Game, which is exactly what Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity is.
This time, unsurprisingly, it features two slave girls, Daria and Tisa, who escape from a corrugated iron space prison, eventually landing on a jungle planet where they're welcomed by a hammy wierdo called Zed (which, you'll have noticed, is a very 'space' name). Joining Zed is his two huge, clunky robots and some other unlucky intergalactic folk who also happened there by accident and who will soon, like our scantily clad space chicks, become prey for the sadistic Zed and his penchant for hunting and killing stuff ("He's a bit of a hunt" - Rawshark)
It's all fantastically daft, and done with just enough competence to make it work as no-frills 80s fun. Don Scribner excels as Zed, overacting to the hilt, while the girls just run about the place, showing loads of skin ("She's got one of those loin cloths that doesn't even cover her butt cheeks" - Jim), and inviting the robots into the water for a skinny dip ("You can't take a robot for a swim!" - Rawshark). No, Rawshark, you can't.
"I'd give a year's pay for ten minutes with them."
Jim Damn, that was my favourite Rawshark quote of the day, the robot swim comment! He's right though, the sequence where one robot tells the other robot that he's going swimming with the scantily clad human chick is equally bizarre and hilarious. Imagine a Cylon from 70s Battlestar Galactica going "Err, I'm just escorting the prisoner down to the beach..." to another Cylon and that's how it sounds. I imagine that plot device worked okay in the original The Most Dangerous Game, where the guard is human, so you didn't have a metallic based life form perving over a carbon based one. That is if you consider the robot a life form and not a simple automaton. Do robots have a sex drive? Can you see what a can of worms we've opened?
Anyway, Slave Girls is loads of fun, mainly because it's a quite simple story that literally transplants the Most Dangerous Game plot in to space and doesn't mess about. Girls are marooned, Zed takes them in with all other travellers that come near and then he hunts them. So the film revolves around Zed hunting the other visitors first, then the slave girls, which is where he meets his match. What the massive hunchback rubber alien with the laser gun for an arm was doing in this movie we didn't really get, but it was appreciated ("Look at the size of this!" - Zomblee, "He's got the hump!" - Rawshark)
And, of course, the slave girls spend sometime running around topless in loin clothes (even the crappy titted one - thanks Zomblee!), which is nice to see, although it prompted Zomblee to get his big pointy stick out and continuously point out nipple exposure to us. Now, I know that sounds very juvenile, but trust me at the time it was very funny ("That's not the last you've seen of my pointy stick!" - Zomblee). Meanwhile, Rawshark lost his pen for the umpteenth time and came up with what must be an extremely marketable invention, the pen with lighter attached. ("On EatMyBrains, The first ever Plighter!" - Rawshark)
Whatever will we think of next?
"I'm itching to get my hands on some serious weapons."
Rawshark You know, I was sold on Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity the minute I saw the opening credit – ‘Zombie and Mutant created by Bruce Stubblefield’. I mean, come on, what a cool name – Bruce Stubblefield! And then the film began with its excitingly cheap opening featuring buxom bikini girls being chased by mutants (clearly ripping off the creature design in Predator) and laser blasts (”I think they’re called laser bows actually” - Jim), and we’re strapping in for yet another cheap tacky 80s sex-fi-ploitation flick.
As both Jim and Zomblee have mentioned, the plot is pure Most Dangerous Game as Daria and Tisa, two bikini-clad girls, crash land on the planet of Zed (the hammy but great Don Scribner) and soon become the hunted around Zed’s Indiana Jones type estate (”It’s building up to a three-way chick hunt finale” - Jim). One or two people are killed off right away via giant spider webs and more laser bows before the film settles into one long lingerie chase movie as Daria and Tisa go on the run from the moster / alien / robot guy with the glowing eye wearing very little in the way of warm wintry clothing.
Luckily they find weaponry, arm up, perform the ”Double panel push move” (Jim) and end up with a final fight on Vagina Bridge. Sure, it’s not going to pop up on any college syllabus as a work to be studied any time soon, but there are a lot of things going for Slave Girls, namely Elizabeth Kaitan, Cindy Beal and the fact that it’s only 70 minutes long – yay to that, a genre film that knows not to overstay it’s cheap and cheery welcome!
”I’m going to give you hunting knives, and an hour’s head start”.
Director Ken Dixon
Cast Elizabeth Kaitan
Runtime 70 mins
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The Lost Empire (1985)
Plot A tough female cop goes out for revenge at Dr Sin Do’s secret island martial arts tournament.
Rawshark Brought to us my epic schlock master Jim (Beastmaster II) Wynorski, The Lost Empire follows Angel Wolfe (Melanie Vincz), a tough female cop out looking for revenge after her brother Rob is killed by the gang of thieving ninjas from the opening scene. On the trail of the killers she pairs up (boom boom) with two other buxom buddies, Raven Del La Croix as Whitestar and Angela Aames as Heather McClure and together they enter Dr Sin Do’s mysterious martial arts tournament to take on Dr Sin Do and Lee Chuck, the undead wizard, and thereby avenge Robbie’s death.
Kicking off like a female version of Dirty Harry (Dirty Harriet anyone?), the film soon switches through genres like a kid with too many cartoon channels in an effort to please all exploitation movie fans, taking in Russ Meyer (”This movie is a breast fest!” - Zomblee), westerns and Women in Prison movies (”An island chick tournament!” - Jim), before ending on a Bond-style megalomaniac taking over the world sub-plot that includes a penis cannon – more on that later. But be warned, if that all sounds just like your cup of tea, you may be disappointed as the film isn’t really all that great with some terrible action work from some of the female members of the cast (”I’ve never seen so many ‘running like a girl’ displays”” – Jim) and a real disappointing turn from Angus (Phantasm) Scrimm as the maniacal Dr Sin Do.
However, there are a few standouts (and no, I’m not just talking about the semi-naked mud fights or Raven’s short dream sequence featuring her naked breasts and a snake), chief of those being the final confrontation scene whereby Angel finally meets Sin Do who promptly rips his own face off to reveal himself as a skeleton dude whose secret weapon is a big penis cannon. Luckily, our crappy moustached male hero dude (Jim - ”What’s he wearing?”, Zomblee - ”I don’t know, but it’s very high-waisted”) turns up at the last minute to knock the skeleton’s head clean off before the penis cannon shoots off into overload, setting the other baddie Prager on fire in the process. Nice ending then, just a shame all it seems to do is remind you how much of the rest of the movie is just a bit cock.
”Well, Dr Sin Do I presume. Or should that be Lee Chuck?”
Jim On paper, The Lost Empire sounds like a Zombie Club classic in the making. It opens with a scene in a Chinatown curio shop where a bunch of kooky ninjas with spinning spikey balls on string things steal a glowing jewel from the eye socket of a statue, killing some cops in the process. Then we meet the lead chick, whose brother was killed in the robbery so, without the help of her poor man's Chuck Norris boyfriend, gets a trio of big busted babes together to go to an island tournament to avenge him. And, um, do something about the eye socket jewel that's obviously very important ("He's got another glowing eye!" - Rawshark).
So, to summarise, it's got ninjas, chicks, a poor man's Chuck, loads of booby sequences (Raven De La Croix was amazing at the time, despite pushing 40), that guy from Cannonball Run who has a green head in Starcrash in multiple roles, and a chick tournament of martial arts. It also has Angus Scrimm, De La Croix writhing around with a big snake (watch it...) and a bizarre but quite hilarious penis cannon ending. Sounds amazing, eh? So why isn't this completely brilliant?
The problem I reckon is in the execution. I guess with trying to squeeze so many cool things into this movie they forgot to actually write a decent script or choreograph any of the action sequences effectively. It seems all the attention is on the booby sequences, which are done well but that fact changes this movie from a crappy action movie with boobs to a sleazy booby movie with a few badly shot action sequences in. It can't even be saved by the ("very short and unsatisfying do-jo sequence..." (Zomblee).
Still, a thoroughly good laugh though, and I'm now keen to check out Beastmaster II, but looking at the rest of Jim Wynorski's output on imdb, I think I'll stop there...
"If you're gonna come to school, punk, you'd better learn how to count."
Zomblee Well, if you're going to fail on any count, then why not do it by trying to squeeze in just about every genre of exploitation movie making? Remember the video cover of the Cameron Mitchell classic, Rawforce? Well, this movie tries to do something like what that artwork promises, yet manages to fail, except of course for the mighty McBreastages of Raven de la Croix and her bosom buddies.
The Lost Empire does however contain a few great scenes, one of which is the first, where three ninjas appear to indulge in a spot of carnage in an unsuspecting Chinese man's shop. There were big boobs and ninjas in the same scene for Christ's sake - you just can't argue with that, can you? Anyway, Angel's cop father gets killed by the said ninjas, and so this being the 80s, she sets out for vengeance and heads for the outsize wing of Marks & Spencers lingerie department to track down her F cup colleagues Heather and Whitestar ("What's she called, White Stallion?" - Rawshark, "No, Whitestar. As you can see, she's got really big tits." - Jim)
Raven DeLa Croix's boobs are so big, even Russ Meyer cast her in his cult flick Up!, though why she wears a mega-fluffy bra in this movie is anyone's guess, it's not like she's in need of fluffy enhancement. Boobs aside, she's not the greatest of actors but it doesn't really matter here, because The Lost Empire isn't a straight faced affair. On the contrary, there are loads of intentional gags here and believe it or not, a few of them really work. Which can't be said of the crappy 80's special effects on show here - zero-budget stuff of the lowest order, including what Jim referred to as "the 80s floor splitting effect".
As a John Carpenter fan, I feel it's my duty to mention the soundtrack, which you may notice sounds a bit like the man himself tinkling on his Casio keyboard. There's a good reason for that, because these electronic stylings come courtesy of long time Carpenter collaborator Alan Howarth. But obviously it's nowhere near as good without his mate John.
Cast Melanie Vincz
Raven De La Croix
Runtime 83 mins
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The Phantom Empire (1989)
Plot When a man-eating cave creature appears with a fortune in uncut diamonds around his neck, Dr. Chambers' daughter Denae hires adventurers C & C Salvage to find the underground source of the gems.
Jim Last up today, The Phantom Empire, which is quite literally as cheap as they come. But it is a Fred Olen Ray picture, so what did you expect? (Look him up on imdb.com if you don't know that name, and be ready to be appalled.)
Anyway, this is one of those movies that is so cheap it only has a handful of locations, and it recycles footage from another movie too. We have the opening park scene with the most ridiculous rubber monster attack I've ever seen (Zomblee summed it up with "Oh God..."), the detective's office scene where the lady that Rawshark kept referring to as Dynasty girl hires them to look for a lost city (can't remember why), Russ Tamblyn's house (can't remember why they go there, but he's a great addition, "He's great, isn't he?" - Rawshark) and finally just outside, just inside and through the other side of some big cave. Oh, and through the other side (which looks a lot like this side, being still daylight and everything) is where the regurgitated footage of stop motion dinosaurs was added, from the movie Planet of the Dinosaurs (on its way to a Zombie club soon), of which Zomblee said "I like the way they look, it's a bit crappy."
They also stretched to a futuristic looking vehicle that initially Sybil Danning drives with her top that has one big sleeve, and at one point another member of the cast gets tied to the front (prompting one of my Zombie buddies to cry out "I'd like to be strapped to the front of a vehicle!", but I was too wasted to catch who) before they steal the vehicle and make a break for the surface, fighting Robbie the Robot on the way using a mirror to reflect his badly aimed lasers (ridiculous) while Sybil Danning throws a spear into that dinosaur from a film made years before.
No, it doesn't really make much sense, but the cave girl that takes a shining to Jeffery Combs of Re-Animator fame (what the hell is he doing in here?) is gorgeous and wear's the leathers so skimpy she could be in She Wolves of the Wasteland, and there are a few other brief examples of nudity too. So it's got boobs, stop-motion dinosaurs and Sybil Danning. That's why I bought it to Zombie Club and I'm not embarrassed about that at all.
"All of these caves have this strange illumination of their own."
Rawshark It’s not often you get to see Jeffrey Combs and Sybil Danning in the same film, but when Jim promised not only those two cool cult heroes, but also ”tits and dinosaurs” we could be forgiven for thinking that The Phantom Empire could well turn out to be a long lost gem of a schlocky movie. Unfortunately, it’s not so much a gem as a loose bundle of carbon atoms that still requires several millions of years of time before even thinking about the possibility of perhaps forming a diamond.
Opening with a ridiculous fly-like cave monster attack on a couple and their dog in a park (including one of the worst head rip scenes ever filmed), the movie then focuses on Denae Chambers who hires a couple of adventurers to help her find the source of the valuable stones found around the neck of the slain cave monster (”What is it with these strange mutants who have precious stone necklaces?” - Zomblee). They then recruit a mineralogist and an archaeological dude and set off together into the depths of a nearby cave to search for the ‘lost city’.
It’s not long before they encounter a monster screaming at a bikini-clad cave girl, so the guys do what only guys in bad B-movies do and rescue her, but they soon run into an evil Robbie the Robot (listed on IMDB as playing himself) who fires green lasers at them. Luckily the group manage to kick and punch the metallic Robbie and then use the old mirror trick on him, so that he ends up short-circuiting himself with his own firepower.
Finally reaching daylight on the other side of the cavernous tunnel, the group encounter not only more scantily clad cave girls, but also Sybil Danning in a rubbish ‘futuristic’ taxi as well as stop-motion Stegosauruses. Anyway, it turns out Sybil is a bit of a bitch and fights the old dude before the adventurers team up with the cave girls and finally escape through the tunnel after a brief topless fight. Cue final explosions and corny dialogue - ”That place belongs lost kid”. Damn right.
”Robots aren’t indigenous to this area”
Zomblee One of the main things I recall about this one is how hard it was becoming to tell big-haired babes in loincloths apart. It's the fourth movie guys. They're all blending into one, and I'm officially a lightweight. But thankfully, The Phantom Empire is tonight's final entry, and it sucks pretty bad, although it does feature the recently deceased Robert Quarry, in a quarry, so it can't be all bad.
This one falls into the oft-seen 'people on the hunt for jewels walk around a cave for a long time' category of b-movie filmmaking, occasionally being accosted by crap monsters with, as Jim put it, "eyes that never move". It features the aforementioned Robert Quarry as some kind of poor man's Indiana Jones, which is ok, because director Fred Olen Ray is sure no Spielberg. But does Speilberg give us rubbish monsters, gratuitous boobs, crap robot fights, and even worse space cars? No, no, no, and no.
Anything featuring Sybil Danning (wearing that mono-sleeve top Jim mentioned and a hole cut out for the cleavage) and Re-animator man Jeffrey Combs has a home here at Zombie Club, and if you stick with this one in the right company, you might just have a great time. The appearance of stop motion dinosaurs swung it for me, and even though we had already witnessed cave zombies, robots, Quarry in a Quarry, and a bitchy alien babe, those dinosaurs still knocked me for six. Nice one, Fred.
"They looked at us like we were a supermarket!"
Director Fred Olen Ray
Cast Ross Hagen
Runtime 83 mins
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So what did we learn today? Sybil Danning is actually an alien, stop motion dinosaurs still are cool, robots like to watch girls swimming, tubes coming out of your head look cool, some women really do have massive boobs and Zomblee is a bit of a light-weight? Did I miss anything? To be fair though, we hadn't done an all day Zombie Club for so long it was a time of celebration, so we celebrated as best we know how. So here's a toast to bikini leathers and skimpy loin clothes everywhere!
I'll leave you with one last though though. Nobody clocked it at the time, but we've seen Kathleen Kinmont before at Zombie Club. She actually plays the bride in Bride of Re-Animator which we covered in this Zombie Club nearly five years ago.
Tune in next time for some Fulci jibberish featureing some of the most shocking and disturbing scenes ever committed to celluloid.