October 19th, 2009

TEENAGE MOTHER (1967) **

Ms. Peterson (Julie Ange) comes to a small town high school to teach sex education.  A lot of people don’t like that too much, particularly a greasy pornographer, because Ms. Peterson threatens his “business” of selling dirty pictures to school kids.  Meanwhile, one of her students, Arlene (Arlene Farber from Female Animal) is upset that her jock boyfriend won’t marry her so she fakes being pregnant.  Arlene’s dad becomes furious and thinks the Sex Ed teacher should be fired, so he calls an emergency PTA meeting.  Arlene eventually fesses up and Ms. Peterson's name is cleared, but not until she shows everyone an “educational” film strip showcasing the actual birth of a baby. 

 

Jerry Gross, producer of such classics as I Spit on Your Grave, I Drink Your Blood, and Zombie wrote and directed this landmark in exploitation entertainment.  In terms of a movie, Teenage Mother ain’t much.  It’s slow paced and far too much of the flick is padded with useless scenes of teens dancing and drag racing.  As a piece of exploitation showmanship, it deserves it’s place in schlock history.  Gross was smart enough to know that people would sit through an hour of After School Special crap just to see 3 minutes of disgusting “clinical” birthing footage.  (Plus, movies like this were the only place you could see full-on vag.)  Gross even put together a great ad campaign (“Teenage Mother Means Nine Months of Trouble!”) that had nothing to do with the actual movie.  I mean Arlene doesn’t even get pregnant… what a rip-off!  

That’s OK though because the birthing scene is appropriately disgusting.  As someone who has watched a lot of birthing movies lately as part of his parenting class, I can attest that obstetrics have come a long way in 42 years.  This clinical footage looks about as clinical as Faces of Death (or maybe Let Me Die a Woman).  Not only does the doctor use some medieval looking forceps, but he also performs a hasty episiotomy (the cutting of the vagina) as well.  All this and you get an extremely youthful Fred (Best in Show) Willard popping up as the high school coach.

 

Teenage Mother is pretty worthless but the birthing stuff is guaranteed to make you want to upchuck in your shorts.  One Star for the lame-o “plot”, Three Stars for the baby coming out of a bloody cooch.  That makes a Two Star average.

LEPRECHAUN (1993) ** ½

Leprechaun was Jennifer Aniston’s film debut.  It’s kind of a shame that she never made another movie quite as good as this one.  She’s fairly decent in this flick and you can only imagine how good of a scream queen she could’ve been had she not starred in that Friends bullshit.

 

The plot has a centuries old Leprechaun (Warwick Davis) terrorizing a bunch of people at a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.  The murderous munchkin is looking for his gold and he’s prepared to rip off someone’s face if they don’t produce his coins in a timely manner.  Naturally the only thing that can kill a Leprechaun is a four leaf clover, so the precocious brat of the group slingshots it into the Leprechaun’s mouth; causing him to melt.

 

Leprechaun has it’s share of chuckles.  I for one think it’s pretty hilarious that a shamrock is to the Leprechaun what a cross is to a vampire.  (They even have to “believe” in order for it to work.)  While a Killer Leprechaun is a promising concept, not much is really done with it to make the film completely worthwhile.  It also doesn’t help when the characters are all annoying.  (The know-it-all kid, the slow-witted handyman, the shrill vegetarian chick, the hunky painter, the useless father, etc.)

 

The biggest problem with the flick is that the tone is all out of whack.  Sometimes the film is extremely silly (Leprechaun eats some fake Lucky Charms at one point), and other times, things are played completely straight.  Thankfully, the sequels would take the formula and run with it.  They invented new rules, ignored continuity, and gave Leprechaun more silly rhymes, which resulted in bigger laughs.

 

The reason to watch Leprechaun is for Warwick Davis.  This is hands down his best role.  Fuck Willow.  He’s great in these movies.  They don’t give him a lot funny stuff to do in this one (besides ride a tricycle in fast motion) but he does have his moments.  I like how he had OCD and frantically polished people’s shoes.  There’s also a great scene where he uses a pogo stick to jump up and down on a pawn shop owner’s chest.  (“This old man, he played one, he played pogo on my lungs!”) The highlight of the flick though comes when a cop pulls Leprechaun over for speeding in a Power Wheels car.  Their dialogue is priceless. 

 

Cop:  “Aren’t we a little young to be out this late?” 

 

Leprechaun:  “I’m 600 years old!”

 

<Tomorrow’s Horror Franchise Movie:  Leprechaun 2>