Tuesday, December 27, 2005
“Always the cautious scholar, eh, Dr. Hunt?”
The title doesn't leap with jaw-clenched dagger from hundreds of faking-the-funk post-Tromatic direct-to-videos. But Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death is the real Cormanesque deal: an exploitation comedy that's genuinely funny.
Aside from the glaring absence of Queer Studies, its '80s-era academic and feminism jokes are knowing and affectionate. (I'm not going to spoil any of them here. The movie's fine for what it is, but it ain't inexhaustible.) For film scholars, there's an Immoral Mr. Teas reference. The performances are delightfully adequate, with Bill Maher standing out as Michael Douglas (or, in Time Out's phrase, "an ambulatory willy") and Adrienne Barbeau relishing her star turn as Dr. Kurtz. (And is that a long lost Kuchar brother heading up the male tribe?)
I first heard about CWitAJoD when it wowed a 1989 women's film festival in Portland. After fifteen years, my VHS copy's a bit bedraggled; happily, I was given the new DVD a few days ago. Very bare bones — it screams for a bootleg commentary track — but within an adjunct's travel budget. On your way to the MLA, pick up a copy as an interview icebreaker.
There’s a video clip and some audio from it with the review at badmovies.org, if people want a sample.
I’ve added it to my Netflix cue. Thanks for the heads up.
Umm, Karen Mistal (Bunny) has had a productive career, also making Return of the Killer Tomatoes a rare case of a sequel improving on the original.
RoKT, as we fans like to refer to it, also spoofs academia, with John Astin as mad Professor Gangreen.