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CampBlood Reviews: Senseless Rants from a Picky Sissy

 

Evils of the Night Mardi Rustam 1984

Let's Hear It for the Boys

Okay, I’m seriously going to have to start a section for movies that are worth viewing only because they feature really hot men shirtless. These movies generally aren’t good by any stretch of the imagination (well, maybe by ONE stretch) but afterward you can’t get the image of a half-dozen bronzed, buff mansteaks scrubbed off your retinas, no matter how hard you try. These films are the gay counterpart to the beloved T&A films – because while they also provide plenty of female flesh for the horror-viewing status quo, they seem to specifically go out of their way to showcase the physiques of their male performers. And for whose benefit? Their girlfriends? Nah – the films are generally still leering and misogynistic enough to pretty much rule out any identification from women altogether. No, the only audience hungry enough for exposed boy-parts and gore and with enough disregard for female competition to make the abuses committed upon the stacked co-eds acceptable are the ‘mos. And it is to the ‘mos that Evils of the Night is unofficially dedicated.

Case in point: it stars Julie Newmar and Tina Louise. There – I can probably just go home now. But yes, Catwoman and Ginger (the movie star) are both on-hand to lend some legitimacy (COUGH!) and keep John Carradine from falling over during his takes. Seriously – if these three washups are the masterminds of a predatory alien race, my fears of a hostile extraterrestrial attack have been alleviated forever. Not since Bunny Bixby minced his way through interstellar domination in Plan 9 From Outer Space has a predatory race been so addled, pathetic, and unthreatening. But whereas Bixby’s mastermind seemed more apt to swat you with a feather boa than melt your brain, Newmar and Louise seem more likely to tweeze you to death while Carradine talks to a lamp. Truly pathetic.

Maybe I should get to the point. Or the plot. Actually, there’s neither – but I’ll do my best. The film starts out with two couples balling in the woods. And I seriously mean balling – sure, T&A was pretty standard in slashers in the early 80’s, but this is bordering on porn here (not surprisingly, two of the actors, Jerry Butler and Amber Lynn, were hardcore porn stars). One girl is taking it from behind when her man is suddenly strangled mid-boff – not that that bothers or stops her, of course. She keep on riding his dead dong until she’s through – atta girl! Meanwhile, another couple goes at it in the lake, and both of them are similarly killed/abducted/surprised by their agents on-set, establishing that something odd is afoot at Porn Star Lake.

Suddenly, we find ourselves in what I was praying was the Worst. Spaceship. Set. Ever. Only it’s not – it’s actually just a lame, low-rent hospital populated solely by go-go girls in Pigs in Space costumes. Seriously. It’s never explained why or how the aliens have taken over this clinic, but there they are, going about their sinister alien business (draining teens of blood, making out – not sure why on the latter) amidst the stunning production design of various STOP SMOKING posters and thermostats. Just lovely.

Anyway, we soon get back to the “teens”, and thank god for that! This assortment of able-bodied fellas and their topheavy companions appear to be camping out at some sort of stagnant cesspool. I guess that counts as fun in some states. The best scene of the movie nearly approximates a bad 80’s teen sex comedy, complete with bikini-stuffing, water-dumping, and suntan-oil-rubbing, all set to some of the most screechingly awful pop music ever created (yes, I want the soundtrack NOW). Luckily, there are several beefcakes on hand of various calibers, all of whom spend most of their time running around in wet swim trunks and talking about sex. Just they way I like my men: fit, half-clothed, and stirringly simpleminded.

Well, a few of the kids run off to have sex or whatever and get abducted by what appear to be two stuntmen in mechanic coveralls and black ski masks. We then cut to inside the garage, and in the most hilarious body double bait-and-switch I’ve seen since the final dance number of Girls Just Want to Have Fun, the masked men are revealed to be the barely-alive Neville Brand and Aldo Ray, who by the looks of them are less suited for chasing and capturing horny teens than for sitting in recliners and farting all day. Anyway, they are working for the alien Golden Girl triumvirate (yes, Carradine – you’re Dorothy) and get paid one gold piece for each horny teen they deliver. That's right, I said “gold piece” – I don’t know why they are trading in the currency of reef pirates, but apparently the aliens don’t have a bank account among them (nor do the actors playing them, by the looks of it).

The bumbling mechanics trap a few more porn actors, and even go so far as to tie three kids up in the garage while they… well, I’m not sure what it is they do. But basically, for 20 minutes the movie changes yet again (we’ve gone from sci-fi to teen sex comedy already) to a survival slasher movie, as Ray and Brand stalk and slaughter hot chicks in bikinis for no apparent reason. After all, these guys weren’t evil, they were just broke and wanted money to get to Tahiti, where “the women walk around without clothes on, all day!” (considering that the same thing is going on 40 feet from their garage and the idiots don’t notice is testament to their powers of observation). The fact that they would start slaughtering people, especially when these people are their meal tickets, it perfectly ludicrous, and therefore perfectly appropriate for what has by this point amounted to a total piece of shit peppered with some nipples.

After a few reasonably gory deaths (the arm-lopping of Chopping Mall’s Karrie Emerson is a bit surprising, and at least there’s some blood to be had), the aliens hop back in their spaceship and fly back off into geriatric obscurity, but not before zapping Aldo Ray with – well, a ray – from millions of miles away. The fact that they hit the man square in the chest from outer space is quite impressive – my money is that Newmar was behind that one. Oh – did I forget to mention that Louise was murdered by Emerson with a couple of beakers wrapped in a pillowcase? Oops. Her death is such an afterthought that you have to wonder if she just refused to come back to the set one day and they had to kill her character off.

Anyway, while a movie starring three white-hot aging pop legends and boasting gore and teen T&A should be just the most amazing thing ever, Evils of the Night just isn’t. It’s boring, painfully stupid, and kind of sad, really. I’d rather watch Tina Louise skipping about on castaway island in her glory days than saddled with changing John Carradine’s diaper and acting as Julie Newmar’s fill card like she is here (my friend referred to her lighting as “hag lighting”, which is wonderfully apt). Newmar looks like an antelope dressed in a cheerleader uniform made up to look like Annette Funicello – it’s truly horrific what they (and several dozen of Mexico’s best unlicensed plastic surgeons) have done to the lady. Luckily, the humpy Butler (not to be confused with soul legend Jerry "The Iceman" Butler -- although that would be fucking hilarious), David Hawk, and Keith Fisher are on hand to take their shirts off, slap on the short-shorts, and keep us numbed and happy.

So with little camp value and less actual quality entertainment, all that’s left to pull us through Evils is some good old-fashioned hunk meat. And for that, my dear lads, we salute you.

Rating (out of 5):