Welcome back to BabyRuth’s Six Pack of Crap, where I watch the bad, bizarre, and just plain batshit so you don’t have to! It’s been a little while since my last (and first) installment, because, well life… This one started off as being a Halloween-themed list for October but it’s going to cover my viewing from the last couple months. So let’s just do this before it gets delayed any longer!
Black Roses (1988)- Six Pack
From the director of Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) comes yet another 80s metalspliotation flick. (By far, my favorite horror sub-genre.) This time it’s about a band, Black Roses, who come to a small town to put on a series of concerts at the local high school. It’s the biggest thing to ever happen! But this band doesn’t want to just rock out, they want to transform the awful teenagers into even more awful teenagers! Soon the kids are doing terrible things: drinking, killing, and refusing to learn about Walt Whitman!
It is up to our hero, a literature teacher with a glorious pornstache to save the town from the possessed teens. Just wait until the big finale when he puts his master plan into action! (Spoiler alert: he goes to the gas station and buys some road flares and gasoline, then drips a little onto the stage during Black Roses’ concert, lights it, and the band ignites in flames and all the kids go back to normal, except the parents they killed are still dead. Oh well…)
This one was a lot of fun and a six pack in the best way. It’s cheesy and wonderfully terrible, and there are some legitimately cool practical effects. My only complaint is that the music was forgettable (Hard Rock Zombies’ pedo-power-ballad “Cassie” is still the one to beat!) This would make for a great double-feature with Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare.
Available on YouTube
Take a Drink: whenever pornstache teacher has a creepy interaction with his favorite student
Take a Drink: every time someone turns into a zombie or a demon (consistency is not this director’s thing)
Take a Drink: whenever the lead singer’s hair is different
Do a Shot: BOOBS!
Rocktober Blood (1984) – Five Beers
(You see, I was originally going for a theme here as this was supposed to come out in October.)
Rocktober Blood is about Billy, a lead singer who goes crazy and kills a bunch of people, gets sentenced to the death penalty, then comes back from the dead to get revenge on the surviving band member who turned him in. It’s not as entertaining as that sounds, though.
While Black Roses had a certain charm about it that kept me invested, I found myself losing interest in this one often. It’s a slog to get through until the very end with a groaner of a big twist reveal that is saved by a pretty killer final concert performance (the real-life band Sorcery provided the music), but it’s not worth sitting through the whole thing.
Available on YouTube
Take a Drink: when you catch yourself looking at your phone, dozing off, or doing anything else besides watching this movie
Take a Drink: for every fashion trend that has since been resurrected (hey, just like Billy!)
Do a Shot: for the big (stupid) twist that makes the movie worse
The Christmas Toy (1986) – Three Beers
When humans aren’t around, toys come to life and interact in their own social hierarchy! Crazy concept, I know! Stuffed tiger Rugby is the #1 toy in the playroom, the favorite of one of the children. Rugby is so excited for Christmas because that is when he made his grand debut the year before. He thinks every Christmas is going to be just like that wonderful day. That is, until he learns that Christmas means there will be new toys and he is in danger of being replaced as the favorite. The new toy is a space-themed doll, who doesn’t realize she is a toy and instead thinks she is an actual space goddess on a mission. Another doll named Apple knows all too well about what Christmas means, having been replaced by Rugby the year before. She even sings a sad song about it.
Right now you’re probably thinking “Hey wait a minute! This sounds an awful lot like Toy Story.”
Yes, yes it does.
It is totally Toy Story, which came out nine years later.
I’ll pause as your brain explodes as mine did when I came across this little-known Jim Henson TV special from 1986 on Prime recently.
So yeah, the similarities are hard to ignore and there is absolutely no way those Pixar people could not have known about this. There’s even a Barbie character who at one point dresses up as Little Bo Peep as well as a wise old teddy bear, Lotso Balthazar.
But there are some differences. Some very dark differences in that very specific children’s-programming-from-the-1980s-that-scar-kids-for-life way. See, if the toys are discovered out of their last known location, they will become frozen. Forever. So, they DIE. This happens to a doomed clown named Ditz. Yeah, he’s just a creepy clown, but it’s still super depressing the way the toys gather around his lifeless body to mourn him and then throw him on top a pile of the other frozen (aka dead) toys. Oof.
I should also mention that Apple looks an awful lot like a female Chucky, which adds to the nightmare factor.
This one doesn’t quite fit this column’s “crap” theme, but I had to include it because more people need to know it exists. It is actually very well done, with that unmistakable Henson puppetry and catchy music (see also: Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas – one of my personal holiday staples) and I may have cried at the end.
When this special originally aired, it was sponsored by Kraft and every commercial break featured several artery-clogging holiday recipe suggestions. Sadly, that insanity is not included on Prime, but the commercials are available on Youtube so be sure to pause the movie and watch those in between for the full 1986 experience.
Available on Amazon Prime Video
Take a Drink: whenever anyone calls little Mew the mouse “just a cat toy” or mentions how bad he smells
Take a Drink: every time Rugby reminisces about last Christmas when he was the star
Take a Drink: when Meteora (and Meteora’s boobs) are revealed for the first time
Do a Shot: for every similarity to Toy Story
Do a Shot: as needed during the end when they sing about “old friends” to the pile of fallen toys (Jesus)
The Knight Before Christmas (2019) – Four Beers
Because Hallmark and Lifetime weren’t enough, now Netflix is getting in on the cheesy holiday movie game and feeding us delicious garbage like The Christmas Prince (now a trilogy!). The latest offering is called The Knight Before Christmas and is most definitely a case of someone coming up with a “clever” punny title and writing a screenplay around it. In like an hour.
Vanessa Hudgens plays a high school teach who is unlucky in love. When one of her students is sad about being dumped by her boyfriend, Vanessa tells her “there’s no such thing as a knight in shining armor in real life.”
Whadaaya know? An actual knight in shining armor shows up soon after. Turns out he’s a time traveler from 1344, sent on a mission from an old woman in the woods he lovingly refers to as “Old Crone” to discover his destiny or something.
Oh, about that “real life stuff”- Vanessa Hudgens lives in this insanely huge and perfectly decorated mansion, complete with a guest house (which comes in handy if you accidentally hit a time-traveling knight from the 1300s and he needs a place to stay to recover from his supposed amnesia). Apparently her parents left it to her (her sister with a family’s gotta be pretty pissed about that, no?) but still, even if it were mortgage-free, the electricity bill alone would be tough on a teacher’s salary. Even Nancy Meyers watched this movie and was like “oh come on!” Probably.
Okay, obviously we are suspending a whole lot of disbelief on this one (I haven’t even mentioned how no one in this movie has a case on their iPhone) but if you want a cheesy holiday romance, this will satiate you.
Available on Netflix
Take a Drink: whenever anyone has an iPhone without a case
Take a Drink: “Old Crone”
Take a Drink: every time Vanessa is wearing a different coat
Take a Drink: when they watch Netflix (Inception!) Yes, that seriously happens.
Do a Shot: when the on-screen graphic lets you know what the place/date is (Thank goodness! We’d never figure it out ourselves!)
A Very Brady Christmas (1988) – Three Beers
Long before reboots of beloved sitcoms were a thing, The Brady Bunch sort of did it with a Christmas special in 1988, soon followed by an actual reboot dramedy series called The Bradys in 1990. The less said about The Bradys the better. (Spoiler alert: Bobby becomes paralyzed from the waist down after a race-car accident. Seriously, what a downer of a show that was.)
But two years before, the Bradys had their own Christmas special featuring the return of the original cast—well, everyone but Susan Olsen who was like “pass,” and was subsequently replaced by Jennifer Runyan (if that name doesn’t sound familiar, you’ll likely recognize her from the beginning of Ghostbusters as the college student Bill Murray flirts with while doing the experiment with ESP cards). The kids are all grown up now (this show follows yet another reboot called The Brady Brides in which Jan and Marcia get married) and after a hilarious misunderstanding Carol and Mike have about where to go on vacation, they decide to instead use the fund to fly all the children and grandchildren to the recently 80s-décor renovated family home so everyone can be together for the holidays! Even Alice shows up, after a terrible break-up with Sam the Butcher, who left her for a younger woman. (Personally, I don’t get it. Alice is a freak- she voluntarily dons her maid uniform, despite Carol continually reminding her that she no longer works for them, so she’s definitely into some S&M role-play stuff. I guess that’s not Sam’s kink.)
Of course, each kid is going through life stuff. Marcia’s doofus husband Wally lost his job and her kids are brats. Jan and her husband are secretly separated and even worse, she has a very unfortunate mullet. Greg’s wife wants to see her family for Christmas instead of the Bradys. Peter just can’t deal with his sugarmama girlfriend being his boss and making more money than him. Fake Cindy is tired of still being treated like a child and would rather join her college friends for a skiing trip. And Bobby is worried about telling his family that he dropped out of college to pursue a career as race-car driver (again, let’s just pretend The Bradys is not cannon, because that casts a really morbid shadow on this light-hearted family special).
Mike Brady is dealing with some work-related problems as well. His client won’t agree to pay for additional safety features that were recommend for his new building, which results in a gripping “Will Mr. Brady die in a collapsed building” finale. (Spoiler: It’s not very gripping, but it is unintentionally funny.)
This was a lot of cheesy fun and I recommend it to fans of the original show, if for nothing else, Jan’s mullet. I may be wrong, but this may have also been a catalyst for the people behind the perfect Brady parody movies that followed several years later. There’s even a moment where Mike says “I didn’t even get to finish my speech” and Carol says “oh honey, give it up.” (I’m paraphrasing here, but it was snarky and wonderful and one of two intentionally funny moments that worked. The other being Alice not recognizing Fake Cindy at the airport.)
Available on Hulu
Take a Drink: whenever Carol or Mike mention the vacation fund
Take a Drink: every time Alice wears her maid’s uniform
Take a Drink: for every flashback to a moment from the original series
Take a Drink: whenever you tell where a commercial break was inserted in the original airing
Do a Shot: whenever any of the Brady kids make out with their significant others (it’s still weird)
Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa (2002) – Six Pack
If you are looking for the worst animated Christmas special, you have many options: The Christmas Light, The Christmas Brigade (sequel to The Christmas Light), The Christmas Tree (not related to The Christmas Light or The Christmas Brigade, but just as awful), but my personal favorite is the (alleged) money laundering scheme for the Church of Scientology, Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa.
If you are a bad-movie lover and have not heard of this, I order you to watch this monstrosity that actually aired once on the now defunct WB network in 2002. Bad animation? Check. Terrible songs. Check. The voices of Ariel, Bart Simpson, and Luke Skywalker? Check, check, and check!
This is something that needs to seen to believed. It makes Food Fight! look like a Pixar film by comparison.
It’s right here, I dare you.
Drink: every time the animation (I use that term loosely) glitches
Drink: whenever the beloved character of Grandma appears to stroke out
Chug: through each mind-numbing song
Do a Shot: whenever you can’t believe what you are watching. Repeat as needed