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SYBIL DANNING-PALOOZA: SYBIL IN THE 80’S

FAMOUS T & A (1982) ***

Sybil Danning hosts this shot-on-video compilation of nude scenes of famous (and not-so famous) women. If you’ve seen Filmgore or The Best of Sex and Violence, you should be familiar with the set-up. Sybil appears (dressed as a gladiator no less) and introduces a bunch of clips for 75 minutes. Some of the highlights include Phyllis Davis appearing in outtakes from Terminal Island (including some full frontal nudity that doesn’t appear in the film), a pre-Flash Gordon Ornella Muti, Ursula Andress (the body painting scene from Slave of the Cannibal God is shown), Bridget Bardot, Claudia Jennings (in scenes from Truck Stop Women), Elvira (her striptease from Working Girls), Jacqueline Bisset, Laura Gemser, Vanity, and Russ Meyer stars Edy Williams and Uschi Digard. The awesome trailer for Sweet Sugar (also with Davis) also appears, as does a trailer for Dr. Minx.

The trailers are an especially nice touch. They break up some of the monotony of the unedited clips, some of which play out too long. Don’t get me wrong, having someone as lovely as Sybil introducing “only the good parts of movies” is a good idea. I just wish there was a bit more variety here. Plus, Sybil herself doesn’t strip down for the camera (although we do get to see some side boob when she’s putting on her gladiator costume), which is a bit disappointing.

At 75 minutes, Famous T & A is just long enough not to wear out its welcome. However, if the filmmakers cut out all the filler of non-famous T & A (like the chick on the motorcycle and the naked archery montage) and kept the running time to about an hour, it might’ve been classic. Still, there’s plenty of T & A to keep exploitation fans happy, so it’s pretty hard not to enjoy it.

WARRIOR QUEEN (1987) ** ½

Well, when Chuck Vincent, Harry Alan Towers, and Joe D’Amato team up to make a costume skin flick, you know you’re in for… well… something.

Sybil Danning stars as the titular lady, who basically just glowers at people and doesn’t say a whole lot. Donald Pleasence is the overacting Emperor who holds gladiator games. The Deathstalker himself, Rick Hill plays everyone’s favorite gladiator. Naturally, Pleasence’s gladiator games are put on hold when Mount Vesuvius erupts.

But mostly the film is about various orgies that happen in Donald’s palace.

The video box may make Warrior Queen look like another female Conan knockoff. Actually, the film plays more like a low budget version of Caligula. Given Vincent’s background in porn, it’s easy to see why he favored the orgies over the fighting. But even some of the simplest scenes are rather sleazy, so you definitely feel the presence of D’Amato in there. (Like the scene where slaves are stripped and hung upside down and sold at the market.) It also has to be said that a lot of the sex scenes go on forever. None of them are all that good, but lots of skin is shown, so based on quantity alone, Warrior Queen is still pretty watchable.

Sybil Danning looks pretty miserable in this. I don’t know if she refused to say the dialogue they wrote for her or what, but she barely says anything. She still looks great and wears some skimpy costumes though.

It’s fun seeing Pleasence chew the scenery. He chews so much of it, I’m sure they had someone on standby ready to do the Heimlich on him just in case he choked. Whenever the movie gets slow, you can always look back to the scene of him in a toga frantically trying to catch pigeons in a net and think, “Damn, what the Hell was that about?”

I don’t think Vincent’s heart was in the action scenes. They just kinda sit there and are indifferently edited. The gore is pretty good though (guts get ripped out) and I did like the Frisbee of Death scene. And I did think it was funny that they used scenes from The Last Days of Pompeii for the finale.

Warrior Queen is pure cheese. I can’t say I loved it, but I found myself amused for the most part. We all need a little cheese in our diet every now and then.

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