CampBlood Homo Horror Features: So Readable They Hurt


A Vacation in Hell   1979

Priscilla Barnes, Andrea Marcovicci, Barbara Feldon, Maureen McCormick, Michael Brandon
If someone had told me just a mere few weeks ago that a movie starring Priscilla Barnes, Andrea Marcovicci, Barbara Feldon AND Maureen McCormick existed, I would have scoffed. Why, that’s simply just a dream. However, all fantasies became a reality when this little ditty showed up in my mailbox in its apt plain brown packaging.

These four hot women have all gathered at the hippest, swingingest resort this side of the Love Boat to find romance, passion and themselves. Feldon (who looked like she stuck her finger in a light socket) is there not to get a little action but to form some sort of bond with her underage daughter (McCormick). Otherwise, these chicks are hot to trot whether or not they’ll admit it. Barnes is obviously the requisite knock-out-looking-for-Mr.-Rich and she ends up bunking with lesbian-in-training Marcovicci. They share their vastly different ideas on love and decide that beauty can hang out with brains if the disco music is right. Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, Barnes hooks up with cutie-pie Michael Brandon and he invites her on a cruise to the other side of the island. She invites the rest of the gang, but the inflatable “yacht” (as he refers to it) bursts a hole, leaving the group stranded. They decide to hike it back to the other side and Barnes ends up accidentally stabbing a young native boy and killing him (that happens to me every time I go hiking!). After Barnes swipes his necklace, I’m assuming as a trophy, his brother goes looking for them.

This is a movie that one can certainly call provocative and others will just call it awesomely odd. A Vacation in Hell has a little bit of everything from seriously tense and surprising moments to stories of child abuse to campfire songs to hot men in loin cloths to campy dialog about love and sex to McCormick, in a very strange dance scene, making me wonder why we never got to see her in Playboy (the scene is shot complete with a Vaseline smeared lens! Ooh La La!). My boyfriend felt Marcovicci’s man hate was a bit annoying, but she also gets some of the best lines. When asked if she thought the native was really trying to kill them, Marcovicci simply replies “he’s a man, isn’t he?” Plus she’s got cheekbones that could cut glass. In a word—Fab. Barnes is the clear winner here, playing the dumb blonde who isn’t all that dumb. She even uses her feminine wiles to lure nutty-as-a-fruit-cake Marcovicci back down to planet earth. It doesn’t really work, but we appreciate the gesture. And there’s the group shower scene at the end featuring the survivors groping each other (in public!) in that way Mom told me not to. Directed with flair by David Greene (Rehearsal for Murder), A Vacation in Hell is one of the most defining TV Films of the swinging 70s, namely it wasn’t all wine and roses and yeah, Marsha Brady makes my knees weak.

Recapped by Amanda By Night

Rating (out of 5):