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VIDEOPHILIAC


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Who - or what - is a videophiliac?
Simply put, it is a video collector with a relentless, driving force and who is dedicated to the acquisition of rare and unusual programs on videotape. It's usually not too hard to find someone at the local video store suffering from this disease. But these stores cannot satisfy their patrons' compulsive disorders; they can merely give a temporary fix.
For the videophiliac, nothing hits the spot like a rare, unknown, strange or plain-ol'-bad "B" film. Unfortunately, films like this are often stolen from the few stores that carry rare videos. Frustrated, the store owners may then decide to stop carrying them. This is especially common for cult, X-rated and out-of-print Disney films, in that order. (By the way, would-be Disney-film burglars can purchase flicks from distributors like Value Video International, 2140 S. Ivanhoe St., G-5, Denver, CO 80222. But be warned that you may have to fork over as much as $250 for films like Lady and The Tramp, Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty.)

MARS NEEDS WOMEN If you're sick of mainstream movies and are searching for something weird, a bad B film is just the prescription. And Mars Needs Women is the perfect medicine. This 1966 color film stars Tommy Kirk (The Shaggy Dog) and Yvonne Craig (who played Batgirl in the Batman television series starring Adam West). The video is a cheap knock-off of a more popular film, Pajama Party, which also starred Tommy Kirk as an alien. Mars, a low-budget picture, sports poor microphone usage, canned background music and stock footage compliments of U.S. Air Force and NASA.
Mars is fascinating in its ridiculous simplicity; nonetheless, it is entertaining. Special effects include women disappearing and aliens appearing out of thin air. (It might be more interesting if we could hear the director say: "Cut. Everybody freeze. Now move out of the frame. OK, roll 'em. See, I made movie magic.") Yet these effects aren't as bad as the slow panning across a modified kettle top to simulate motion of the spacecraft.
Kirk plays Dop, the head of the five-alien team, which sports scuba-diving space suits and on their ears wear hockey pucks from which vertical, foot-long antennae protrude. The alien team is on a mission to obtain females from Earth to use as test subjects for artificial insemination, because the genetic deterioration of the Martian race has produced a 100-to-1 male-to-female population.
Unfortunately for them, the Martians don't have a death-ray or the like. Their only weapon is an expertise in hypnotism. They must pose as ordinary humans in order to abduct perfect female specimens. (Too bad the aliens posing as humans had to wear neckties, those "were abandoned 50 years ago on Red Planet" according to a member of the alien team. - humans are so naive!) Dop poses as a reporter and discovers the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Space Genetics, Dr. Marjorie Bolen (Craig), fashionably adorned with horn-rimmed glasses. After a romantic walk with the pretty doctor, Dop takes a liking to her.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bolen, not knowing that her new-found love interest is Martian, teams up with the Air Force to raid the alien spacecraft. Dop discovers this at the last minute and hurries to save the alien team, with Craig at his side.
The mission is aborted, and the Martians must scurry off. Dop holds Dr. Bolen in his arms and says: "The word 'love' went out of our vocabulary 100 years ago, but, whatever love is, it must be what I feel for you."
But their love can never be, and the kettle-top flies off in the sky leaving behind a tearful Dr. Bolen.
The film is available from Something Weird Video for $20. Or you can request their free catalogue. Write: Something Weird Video, P.O. Box 33664, Seattle, WA 98133.

THE MONKEES: 33 1/3 RPM
Thanks to RCA, past episodes of The Monkees TV series, which ran from 1966 to '68, are now available on video. Fans of these Beatles imitators may be happy with just watching the old TV episodes, but the videophiliac wants, needs and must have more. A little digging will yield the TV-series heroes in some more compromising roles. An avid collector will likely turn up something like The Monkees' 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Minute, originally a one-shot, made-for-Saturday-TV, hour-long feature, starring The Monkees.In 33 1/3, The Monkees are abducted by Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll (using their real names in the film), who have a dastardly plan to brainwash the Monkees and use them to rule the world via mind control.
Otherwise-unseen performances by the madcap modsters include a nightclub-style version of "I'm a Believer" and a duet featuring Mickey Dolenz and Driscoll. Also, Peter Tork performs a song as a mystic guru singing King James English, Michael Nesmith performs a split-screen duet with his two selves - one country, one rock 'n' roll - and Davy Jones becomes a singing and dancing doll in a doll shop.
The Monkees in therir Monkeemobile
Mid-brainwash, an interpretive dance troupe in body suits offers a tribute to Darwin's theory of evolution and evolves into The Monkees performing in monkey suits. The brainwashed, new and improved Monkees are re-introduced to society in pseudo-1956 and play tribute to music of the '50s. Moved by the performances, Auger and Driscoll have a change of heart and declare that they are no longer interested in world domination, but total unrestrained freedom. Tork plays a classical piano piece and is joined by the rest of the band in a garage- band-style rendition of "Listen to the Band," which turns into a hippie infested psychedelic happening.
33 1/3 is not necessarily good film making, but it gives an insight to the psychedelic, free-love movement that was popular at the time.
UPDATE: The film has been recently re-released and you may Click Here for more information on obtaining a copy of your very own.
CURVACEOUS CORPSES
Every once and a while, an ambitious person with dreams of joining the ranks of famous motion-picture producers goes out and produces his own motion picture. Paul Knopp, for example, nearly single-handedly produced Curvaceous Corpses (1995) shot entirely with a camcorder.
Corpses was made with the intent of being a video screenplay, to be sent to producers with the idea they might buy it and make a feature film. "It turned out better than we expected, so we went to direct sales," Knopp said.
The production value of the film is reminiscent of low-budget X-rated film, with poor lighting, weak writing, script-reading actors and a canned-music soundtrack. The editing job, which tries to give the appearance of more than one camera, is done so poorly it is extremely obvious.
All of this gives Curves a "garage band" feel to it. Tony McDowell stars as Brace Randolf, a low-budget film maker armed with nothing more than a camcorder and a lust for women and death scenes. Various women audition for parts in the low-budget suspense/horror film by sleeping with Randolf.
Curvaceous Corpses
Assisted by his girlfriend, he uses a snake necklace that injects lethal poison into the necks of the actresses, to assure their death scenes are authentic. As his collection of death scenes grows, as well as the body-count, (pre-production title: Curvaceous Corpses), Randolf and his girlfriend take a vacation to a remote resort where he plans to add his girlfriend to his film - and succeeds. But in a twist of fate, he pricks his finger on the necklace and dies alongside his dead girlfriend. The bodies are discovered by resort owners who have an aversion to bad publicity, and who also just happen to have an expertise in hot tub maintenance and taxidermy. The taxidermist stuffs the post-mortum pair and transforms them into a work of art he calls "Lover's Quarrel."
The film includes a variety of bathing-suit-clad co-eds but no nude scenes. This non-rated kiss-the-girls-and-make-them-die video! is available by clicking here.
But don't bother looking for this film at your local Blockbuster. Until more people are interested in this sort of film, they will continue to exist only in a videophiliac's collection, obtained via underground sources.

TONYA HARDING'S WEDDING NIGHT
Not all great films come from independents. Occasionally a mainstream distributor will pick up the rights to an off-the-wall video. Jeff and Tonya's Wedding Night is a good example.
During the infamous scandal where Olympic ice-skater Tonya Harding had competitor Nancy Kerrigan whacked in the knee, someone got their hands on a home video of Tonya stripping out of her wedding gown for her new husband, Jeff Gillooly, along with a complete video record of the actual copulation.
Tonya Harding
Excerpts of this video were featured in the TV-tabloid shows and also in the print media. And with his "mounting" legal defense fees (he was criminally charged in the attack on Kerrigan), Gillooly sold the rights to Penthouse Video.
You may be able to rent this film from your local video store. This is not necessarily the type of video the videophiliac would rent to watch; the thrill comes from owning it. (Certainly there is no plausible reason to view such an item!) If you would like to add this film to your collection, CLICK HERE.

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Dave Lewis, a non-recovering videophiliac, is constantly on the lookout for strange and unusual videos. If you have an independent film (with or without good production values) or know of a rare or unique film that may be good for review, please write:
Dave Video Addict, P.O. Box 1753, Aberdeen, WA 98520. Or, e-mail Dave at webmanabc@hotmail.com.

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