Worst Movies Ever Made

Scraping the Bottom of the Cinematic Barrel

CATEGORY: Comedy

WORST (BUT SEXIEST) SPACE GIRL MOVIES

Space. The final frontier. Who knows what lies beyond the barriers of our universe? Don’t ask me – I can hardly navigate my way through the drive-in at my local McDonalds. It’s a subject that has fascinated moviemakers for many years now (space, not Maccy Dee), and particularly those who deal in the area of what we at this website might fondly refer to as the low-budget quickie.

These enlightened souls believe that man will one day travel among the stars, where he will probably discover a race of big-busted Amazon ladies, who will immediately strip off their clothes and jump all over them. This is nice work if you can get it – but is it enough justification for spending five thousand billion dollars on the space programme? We say yes, actually.

91BJmC3sKWL_SL1500_cropThe first space girl to make an impact on me was Jane Fonda, working out in zero gravity to some really groovy 60s music under the main titles of Barbarella [Buy HERE] Piece by piece she removed her space suit until you could see bits of her that film stars weren’t supposed to have. The sight gave me such a thrill that I almost put my name down for the space shuttle there and then. The film itself wasn’t so hot; it was a silly comedy directed by Roger Vadim (then Jane’s husband), and told of 41st Century bimbo Barbarella’s various misadventures rescuing scientist Duran Duran (yes, the group did take their name from this character) and saving the universe from a fate worse than a sequel.

51MKBH0BHWL_cropOne of the most memorably lusty space voyages was undertaken in 1953′s immortal cinema classic Cat Women Of The Moon [buy HERE], where intrepid rocket ship commander Laird Grainger, played by Sonny Tufts (now there’s a name to conjure with), crash-landed what looked like an intergalactic dustbin into a moon made of cardboard rather than green cheese. There he discovered a large amount of pussy…cats, so he blasted off a bit smartish and the titles came up as he went into a wholesome clinch with navigator Helen Salinger, played by Marie Windsor.

71XYc0-cOsL_SL1500_cropThe male fantasy of visiting distant worlds populated exclusively by gorgeous, man-hungry females also served as the basis for the unforgettable Fire Maidens from Outer Space [buy HERE] a film so bad that people have been known to walk out when it’s shown as an in-flight movie!

This time, it was instant has-been Anthony Dexter who pranged his tinfoil spacecraft on the surface of the planet Jupiter and found a number of hotcha starlets wearing skimpy bathing suits and dancing to the music of Borodin. When not doing this or casting lusty glances at Dexter, the fire maidens lay around in pools of lava getting all steamed up – these chicks were really hot stuff. Fortunately, a lumpy faced monster in tights appeared to create a diversion and let the lads escape back to earth, where they all had a jar in the pub and no doubt slagged their agents off something rotten.

LUSTFUL ADVANCES
5195DK9F4EL_cropAnother version of this plot turned up in the sexy sci-fi spoof Amazon Women on the Moon [buy HERE], which saw the usual bunch of blundering astronauts getting drawn into the clutches of a well-endowed Amazon queen (the bounteous Sybil Danning) and being subjected to her lustful advances – a prospect that seems to me to be far from daunting. This one tried to be funny but, surprisingly, turned out to be a lot less of a giggle than the unintentionally hilarious movies it set out to parody.

91d5QXKW0IL_SL1500_cropOur exploration of some of the steamier spots in the galaxy continues with the intellectually stimulating Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity [buy HERE], which has its protagonists out riding among the stars in a chintzy spacecraft manufactured from egg cartons and silver paper (complete with furry dice on the dashboard and a nodding dog in the back). And what will we find out there? That’s right: Big paper mache monsters that look like bizarro universe Teletubbies, and plenty of big-busted babes just raring for a spot of ‘hide the salami’.

This film may not be 2001, but it’s certainly a space oddity. It opens with the two luscious heroines of the title (played by sassy New Yorkers Elizabeth Cayton and Cindy Beale - didn’t she use to be in Eastenders?) chained helplessly to the wall of a slave galley as an offering for a randy android. Fortunately the chains are made out of the same flimsy material as the script, and before you know it they’ve kicked their captors just below their Darth Vader lunchboxes and have made good their escape in a rickety spacecraft. ‘It says here we need a glove to start it’ says Cindy. ‘Well, look in the glove compartment’ says Liz. Brainpower is not this kid’s strong point – in fact she has to take her bra off to count to two.

Not long afterwards, their flying Kellogs box piles up on one of those remote planets at the far end of the galaxy that serves as a magnet for every low-on-fuel space wreck around. Having lost their bearings (and most of their clothes) in the prang-up, Cindy and Liz don fetching chamois leather bikinis and begin to explore this strange, extraterrestrial garden centre, stumbling across a mad hunter called Zed, and a plot that’s as old as 1932’s Most Dangerous Game. It’s all great fun in a daft way, and just the thing to put on when you invite a few mates back from the pub on a Friday night. If you want them to leave early, that is.

91bj-XjKESL_SL1500_cropSEX-STARVED FEMALES
Of course, the other problem we may have to face in the future is sex-starved alien females coming down to Earth to capture we hunky fellahs for erotic experiments. It’s certainly made me think about taking the mortise lock on the front door, I can tell you.

Sexy extraterrestrials are among us in the Troma release Dr Alien [buy HERE], which has bulbous-headed creatures grabbing hold of nerdish, sex-starved teen Billy Jacoby and giving him a big prick in the bum (no comments please) which causes this funny sort of penis thing to grow out of his head – a cosmetic addition that proves fatally attractive to all females who cross his path.

Before long, all the cracking crumpet on campus are tearing off their clothes and throwing themselves at Billy. But is our hero happy? Not a bit of it. He is, in fact, what we describe in the trade as ‘cream crackered’ or ‘completely shagged out and not at all ready for the libidinous attentions of Dr Alien herself (played by the gorgeous Judy Landers). The moral of this story is clear; if a big plonker grows out of your bonce then start wearing a hat, pronto!

51FXC9P46EL_cropA more sinister extraterrestrial invasion can be seen in Not Of The Earth [buy HERE], a re-run of a 50s cheapie which features the lowest budget alien invasion in many a moon: just one guy in dark glasses and a 50s-style business suit who comes to earth to raid a few blood banks. This film is primarily of interest to film scholars because it stars a certain Miss Traci Lords, better known as the notorious hardcore porno star who rocked the industry in the late 80s with her confession that she was underage when she first started bonking on celluloid.

In fact the film was made as the result of a wager between the legendary producer Roger Corman and his youthful protégé, Jim Wynorski, that the latter couldn’t turn out a reasonable remake of Corman’s 50s quickie in a period of twelve days. Wynorski managed to do it, winning a brand new Porsche in the process. But it’s easy to see where the corners were cut: in one scene you can see the whole film crew reflected in the shiny surface of a sports car! It’s fun though, in a corny sort of way, and Traci does get to take her clothes off a few times.

91S4L513YAL_SL1500_cropOther bad but sexy sci-fi spoofs well worth tracking down include Femalien [buy HERE], Bad Girls From Mars [buy HERE], Prison Planet, Space Sluts In The Slammer and the inevitable Beach Babes From Beyond Part 2. Perhaps we’ll return to this intriguing subject at a later date, but now we’ve run out of, er, space.

So as we boldly go off to seek out new civilisations, the questions we must ask ourselves are: Is there intelligent life out there? The late Patrick Moore insisted there was, and he should have known – he always looked like he’d come in from Saturn on the last shuttle. The answers lie in the future. In the meantime, just remember we are not alone. So lock the bathroom door.

Worst TV Variety Show Ever: The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club (1974-77)

71iGFPwoJBL_SL1077_cropTitle:  The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club (1974-1977)
Produced by:  Granada Television
Starring:   Bernard Manning, Colin Crompton, and a host of “turns”
Buy here:  Amazon UK

Sometimes when you look back at really bad old TV shows from the 1970s it’s hard to believe that millions of people once used to tune in to watch them on a regular basis. The fact that there were only three TV channels to choose from undoubtedly had a lot to do with this, but it’s still quite inexplicable that so many people would choose to spend their Saturday evenings pint in one hand, fag in the other, wallowing in the dubious pleasures of The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club.

Produced by Granada Television from 1974 to 1977, the series was set in a fictional working men’s club up North, with that most un-PC of comedians, the overweight, sleazy Bernard Manning, leering at the busty barmaid amid a blue haze of cigarette smoke while announcing a series of ever more awful “turns”. Manning’s fellow Comedians star Colin Crompton was the club chairman, ringing a fire bell every now and then and uttering spoof resolutions “On behalf of the Committeeeeeeeeee… I should like to tell you we made a mistake in offering the raffle prize of a diving suit. It is in fact a divan suite.”

According to Manning, Crompton had “less meat on him than Lester Piggott’s whip”. He certainly looked like he’d just given the undertakers the slip, but fitted right in with the rest of the punters, who were a remarkably unattractive bunch. The only sure way to tell the working men from the working women was the latter were drinking port and lemon instead of pints of Double Diamond.

wheeltappers6bAs for the aforementioned “turns”, they were usually performers whose careers were in freefall, the likes of Bill Haley and the Comets, Kathy Kirby, Freddie Garrity (dressed as a chicken) and “Two Ton” Tessie O’Shea, who could always be relied upon to get a sing song going with “Knees Up Mother Brown.” Some of the imported acts who’d seen better days were clearly bewildered at finding themselves on a tiny stage performing for pissed punters munching on peanuts and pork scratchings. Their embarrassment was often compounded by the introductions they got. You could see that Gene Pitney wasn’t happy when Manning announced:  “It’s a good job he was nice to me on the way up because I’ve just met him on the way down.”

Mixed in with the more well known performers were the kind of acts that would have been buzzed off Britain’s Got Talent in five seconds flat, including a female Charlie Chaplin impersonator and glove puppets performing card tricks. There was also a bloke in a gold lame cowboy jacket playing tubular bells and a kettledrum, and some lunatic wrestling a discordant tune from glass bottles. Was there no care in the community back in those days? German Oompah Pah Pah bands and middle-aged pianists were also popular, and crowd participation was not so much encouraged as insisted upon, especially when Bernard launched into an old favourite like “Show Me The Way To Go Home.”

Most of the old Wheeltappers and Shunters shows are available on DVD from Network, but for sheer toe-curling awfulness I’d have to recommend you check out Series 5, containing an oily Patrick Mower hosting the Miss Nightclub 1977 beauty contest. This is not something to put on for feminists. The judges are Alvin Stardust, Corrie’s Bet Lynch and that, er, highly respected MP, Cyril Smith!

Yes, it was indeed another country.

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Best Worst Sit-com: Love Thy Neighbour (1972-76)

514NE0wO_oL_cropTitle:  Love Thy Neighbour (1972-1976)
Written by:  Vince Powell & Harry Driver
Starring:  Jack Smethurst, Kate Williams, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper, Tommy Godfrey, Keith Marsh
Buy here:  Amazon UK

You can see endless reruns of most old TV comedy shows these days on channels like Gold and Dave, but conspicuous in its absence is Love Thy Neighbour. Made in the less enlightened days when PC meant friendly old Dixon of Dock Green, the aim of this lowbrow, working class sit-com was to poke fun at bigotry, and when it succeeded it was a hilarious guilty pleasure.

Clocking up 57 episodes and a spin-off feature film, the show starred Jack Smethurst as Eddie Booth, a dim-witted Labour-voting slacker married to long-suffering Joan (Kate Williams).

In the first episode, originally transmitted back in April 1972, Eddie goes round to welcome their new neighbours. Seeing a black guy and a white guy humping in a sofa he naturally assumes that the white guy is his new neighbour, not the removal man.

Of course Eddie gets the shock of his life when he discovers he’s now going to be living next door to a black couple, Bill and Barbie Reynolds (Rudolph Walker and Nina Baden-Semper). And as if it wasn’t bad enough Bill being black, it turns out he’s also a bloody Tory!

The show’s scriptwriters Vince Powell and Harry Driver were old hands at the sit-com game, having created such hit shows as George and the Dragon, Bless This House and For The Love of Ada. Their intention here was to show how ridiculous a thing racial prejudice was by getting people to laugh about it.

The timing was right for this and it proved a huge hit in an era when Britain was struggling to come to terms with its recently arrived population of black immigrants. At its peak the series was getting around 17 million viewers, who rolled about in their armchairs laughing when Eddie referred to Bill as “Sambo” or “King Kong,” and Bill called Eddie “Snowflake” and “White Honky”. Another favourite slur of Eddie’s was telling Bill to “Get back on the marmalade jar!” What a shame

Regular cheap chuckles also came courtesy of Eddie’s drinking pals Arthur (Tommy Godfrey) and slow-witted, tight-fisted Jacko (Keith Marsh), whose catchphrase “I’ll have ‘alf” really caught on with the public.

One of the most successful episodes is the Series 2 show where Bill convinces Eddie he’s the victim of a voodoo spell and that the only way this can be reversed is if Eddie dances naked round a tree at midnight, yelling “Pinky ponky, me white honky!” Of course a policeman turns up on his bicycle to witness this spectacle…

Putting aside the racist aspects, at least the series offered a plum role for Rudolph Walker – nowadays a regular in EastEnders – at a time when leading men roles for black actors were scarce. In an interview at the time he said: “Here are white men writing for blacks and there isn’t a touch of the Uncle Tom.” He also claimed that he saw no problem with the noisy disputes between Eddie and Bill because: “My arguments are as silly as his.”

The early shows managed to strike an even balance by mocking the bigotry that existed on both sides. The men usually came off looking stupid while their more sensible wives having to act as peacemakers. Later on, though, the jokes started to wear thin and the name calling just got monotonous.

Is Love Thy Neighbour the most racist sit-com of all time? I’d have to say no, because that dubious accolade surely belongs to Spike Milligan’s Curry and Chips – in which Spike played a blacked up character called ‘Paki Paddy.’ Spike’s show was actually taken off the air for being racist, and this was in 1969!

As for Love Thy Neighbour, it’s well worth a second look on DVD if you’re able to mentally adjust to the language and times. If you are, then as Eddie Booth would say to wife Joan, “the subject is closed.”

Ten of the Worst Box Office Flops Ever

51I64Byt3jL_cropDanny Dyer’s recent movie Run For Your Wife only managed to muster a box office take of just over six hundred quid in its brief and very misguided theatrical run, but since it looked like it only cost about five hundred quid to make the producers probably weren’t suicidal. Danny wasn’t too worried either, since he was pulling pints in the Queen Vic by then.

There are some movies, however, which have so much dosh poured into making them that if they flop they can completely ruin the careers of their directors and stars, and even in some instances bankrupt the studio that backed them – as was the case with the bloated 1980 western epic Heaven’s Gate. United Artists rolled the dice on this one and they came up snake eyes.

Heaven’s Gate director, Michael Cimino, was on a roll after the success of The Deer Hunter, but he basically pissed on his chips (as they say in Tinsel Town, well Vinnie Jones does) overspending by $30 million and shooting 220 hours of footage to come up with what was called “an unqualified disaster” by respected New York Times critic Vincent Canby. Astute Vince also compared Heaven’s Gate to “a forced four-hour walking tour of one’s own living room.”

51yHeIaUDYL_cropIronically the movie was later praised by the likes of Martin Scorsese, but by that time UA was no more and a reconstructed Michael Cimino had salvaged what little was left of his reputation to team up with fellow plastic surgery fan Mickey Rourke on Year of the Dragon and The Desperate Hours. Kelly Lynch was one of the stars of the latter and recently revealed that Cimino wanted her to look like a drag queen in the film. “I didn’t know at the time that Michael was kind of … interested in dressing like a woman,’ she said. If only UA had known earlier that they were basically giving a shitload of cash to a modern day Ed Wood!

Another film that dragged a big studio to the wall and lined up the firing squad was Cutthroat Island (1995), which effectively put an end to Carolco, the company behind Rambo, The Terminator and Total Recall. Production problems spiralled the cost of this Geena Davis pirate epic to an estimated $115 million and Carolco got jolly rogered. It certainly put Hollywood off pirate pictures for a while, until Disney wisely signed up Johnny Depp for Pirates of the Caribbean.

Speaking of Disney, they have also made more than their share of megaflops in their time, which I suppose is appropriate for a Mickey Mouse outfit. John Carter (2012) wasn’t exactly a terrible movie, but it would have needed to make more than $600 million at the box office to repay its bloated budget. Only 63 movies have done this in the history of moviemaking, and John Carter wasn’t even in the race.

The failure of John Carter followed hot on the heels of Disney dropping even more filthy lucre on Mars Needs Moms (2011), an animated feature that proved the biggest box office failure in the company’s entire history. Walt’s accountants will probably now steer well clear of films with Mars in the title, but if I was them I‘d be asking how an animated film can cost $150 million to make and distribute in the first place!

81rrnkpeLHL_SL1500_cropThe strange thing is, nobody really knows when a movie is going to bomb at the boxoffice any more than they do when it is going to be a massive success. Look at the way Spielberg nearly got fired from Jaws, and even the stars of that one, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, went to the preview screening thinking they were going to be witnessing a big budget disaster.

There’s also a famous story that when George Lucas showed his director mate Brian De Palma (Carrie) an early cut of Star Wars, De Palma told him it was bound to be a flop. Lucas became so convinced it would that he went on holiday to Hawaii with his good friend Steven Spielberg instead of attending the premiere.

The problem with blockbusters today is that it isn’t just the lolly that’s spent making them that disappears down the U-bend. You’ve got to add the many millions more spent on promoting them and all the tie-in tat flooding the market that nobody then wants to buy. Even George Lucas is not always on the money – remember Howard the Duck?

Nobody is surprised when a film that’s utter rubbish proves a loser at the box office, but sometimes even good movies can flop if they’re not marketed correctly. In many cases however these will recoup their losses on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download. A good case in point is 2012’s excellent and vastly underrated Dredd, which earned $41 million at the box office on a budget of $44 million, but earned so much money on home video that a sequel now seems likely.

Brad Pitt’s World War Z is another great example of a film that was expected to tank and duly did so, even though it wasn’t half as bad as we were all expecting. In the end, with home video sales factored in, it has gone on to earn a tasty $540 million against a production budget of $190 million, again prompting demands for a sequel.

What will be the biggest financial disaster of 2014? It’s a bit early to say, but Hollywood pundits are already predicting box office meltdown for the $150 million Jupiter Ascending, the new science fiction epic from the Wachowski Brothers, er I mean the Wachowski brother and sister.

Apart from the fact that their last movie, Cloud Atlas, ended up with red ink on the balance sheet, and their 2008 Speed Racer left skid marks in the underpants of Hollywood studio bosses, there are two further clues this might be a disaster… Firstly, the film was originally going to be released this July, and now it has been delayed until February of next year. Secondly, it stars Channing Tatum.

Similarly, great things are not predicted for the $125 million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, produced by Michael Bay and directed by the guy who gave us Wrath of the Titans (2012) and Battle: Los Angeles (2011). It stars Megan Fox, presumably because Meryl Streep wasn’t available. If this turns out to be a good movie, the pizzas are on me. As far as I can see it could very well figure prominently on the list below if we update it in 2015.

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1.  Heaven’s Gate (1980); estimated loss:  $120,953,664

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2.  Mars Needs Moms (2011); estimated loss:  $130,503,621

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3.  The Lone Ranger (2013); est. loss:  $95,926,537—121,237,25

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4.  Speed Racer (2008); est. loss:  $73,027,117

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5.  The 13th Warrior (1999); estimated loss:  $97,896,514—182,838,584

 

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6.  The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002); estimated loss:  $96,448,014

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7.  Cutthroat Island (1995); estimated loss:  $88,741,339

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8.  R.I.P.D. (2013); estimated loss:  $90,837,890—114,837,890

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9.  John Carter (2012); estimated loss:  $108,610,950

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10.  47 Ronin (2014); estimated loss:  $149,518,762

Supervan – 1977 – George Barris, Morgan Woodward, Len Lesser

Supervan (1977)
Directed by: Lamar Card
Starring: Mark Schneider, Katie Saylor, Morgan Woodward, Len Lesser, Skip Riley, Bruce Kimball, Tom Kindle, George Barris, John Chambers, Cheryl Hepler

Supervan - Groovy  Titles - 1977

Super Vans of the 70s


Ah, the 70s. Pot, sex, hippies, CB radios, bad music, stagflation, and… totally super custom vans! Water beds, painted unicorns, shag carpets! That’s what SuperVan is all about, man! It’s 1976 (Bicentennial! Wooh!) and wouldn’t you rather be ridin’ high in your Super Van? Of course you would.

As Bob Stone (who?) famously sings: I don’t care if i’m not a wealthy man, cuz I’d rather be ridin high in my supervan!

This is sunshine at the front door, we have a bear report.
Smokey is eastbound I-70 and Oakland
Let’s close ‘em up and take em on down to double nickels!
Sunshine to Convoy: Our ETA to Freak Out way is 4 hours and 20 minutes.
We’re west bound with the pedal down and we’re doin it to it!

Clint (Mark Schneider) leaves in his van headed for the Van Happening “Freak Out” competition where he can possibly win $5,000. His dad is pissed because his kid isn’t interested in working the family business. Instead Clint wants to “do something.”

The Van (1977) – Connie Hoffman, Danny DeVito, Stuart Goetz

The Van (1977)
Directed by: Sam Grossman
Starring: Stuart Goetz, Deborah White, Harry Moses, Marcie Barkin, Bill Adler, Steve Oliver, Connie Hoffman, Danny DeVito

The Van - Title

Totally boss, stellar, and tubular!


The 70s. Bell bottoms, disco music, skating, prog rock, and, uh… vans! What did it all mean? What was in the air that drove people to levels of insanity where they actually thought that having a van was the end-all be-all of super-coolness? One theory I have is that it was the weed. Another theory is… well, I don”t have another theory, actually. Set in some California beach town, The Van is a 1977 time capsule about a total dweeb named Bobby (Stuart Goetz) who wants to buy a van, with all the options, and by options I mean water bed, 8 track, TV, mag wheels, cup holder. Wow. The idea is that with this totally cool rad van he”ll be able to score with chicks left and right.

Roller Boogie – Linda Blair, Beverly Garland

Roller Boogie (1979)
Directed by: Mark L. Lester
Starring: Linda Blair, Jim Bray, Beverly Garland, Roger Perry, James Van Patten, Kimberly Beck, Mark Goddard, Stoney Jackson, Christopher S. Nelson

Roller Boogie - Opening Title

It’s A Wonderland!


It’s 1979, year of the Iran hostage crisis, the energy crisis, and the Chicago “Disco Sucks” crisis. You don’t care, because you’re in Venice Beach, it’s a beautiful day, and you’ve got your quad skates on! Besides, Roller Boogie is playing down at the drive-in and your favorite skater Jim Bray is in it! I mean, you have all those Roller Skating mags with his mug all over ‘em. You think Hollywood doesn’t also have a subscription?

Yes, Roller Boogie, one of two 1979 cult skating disco classics (the other being Skatetown, U.S.A, naturally) featuring 70s actors well on their way to obscurity (and B-movie heaven). In this case it’s the adorable Linda Blair, everybody’s favorite possessed kid. She was doing fine after The Exorcist until she starred in Exorcist II – The Heretic, John Boorman’s beautiful failure that was the wrong exit ramp to Roller Boogie (and beyond).

Skatetown USA – Patrick Swayze, Scott Baio, Maureen McCormick

Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979)
Directed by: William A. Levey
Starring: Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Ron Palillo, Maureen McCormick, Ruth Buzzi, Greg Bradford, Patrick Swayze, Billy Barty, Katherine Kelly Lang, Bill Kirchenbauer, Murray Langston, Denny Johnston

Skatetown USA - Sign

Skatetown USA – It has it’s own zip code!


I remember skating rinks. Went to them as a kid. Had lots of fun skating around in a circle while disco music played. But even as a kid I never felt that roller skating was anything other than a pleasant diversion. Skatetown USA would have you believe otherwise. Skatetown USA assumes that the only world that exists is the world of roller disco. But that’s part of its charm.

Skatetown USA came out in 1979. It was the height of the roller disco craze. They even had a bunch of magazines dedicated to it. Disco Demolition night had occurred that past July, but you would never know that by watching this movie. Yes, disco was about to die, but nobody saw it coming at this moment in time. Skatetown, U.S.A. was only the first in a string of disco/skating movies – the release date for the film beat out Roller Boogie (with Linda Blair) only by a couple of months. To quote Thompson, they were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. As we all know now, that wave broke and rolled back hard.

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