Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Imps* (2009) [filmed in 1983]

Directed by:
Scott Mansfield

This comedy that went unreleased for over 20-25 years... Now see why! The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) is a good example of a collection of comedy skits done right. IMPS* (which stands for The Immoral Minority Picture Show) on the other hand is an example of just how grueling this format can be when everything goes horribly wrong! Even Saturday Night Live on its worst day is funnier than this. I'm not really sure when IMPS* was actually filmed (checking the end credits says the DVD issue year of 2008), but it was obviously some time in the early/mid 1980s since several of the actors here were dead by the middle part of the decade. So is it a bad sign that it took about 25 years to actually release this? Absolutely! You will find yourself groaning and rolling your eyes about twenty times more than you'll snicker at this childish, horribly unfunny collection of skits that poke fun at various movies, TV shows, sporting events, news programs and commercials, as well as Nazis, gays, blacks, "Pollocks," Mexicans, Jews, "orientals" and other groups. I personally don't mind off color or offensive humor at all, but this movie doesn't go far enough to be over-the-top and outrageous, nor does it cleverly play up on stereotypes or anything of the sort. Though I can't recommend that anyone watch this, it's now of some interest as a curio piece because of the ensemble cast. Here we have a very interesting mix of up-and-coming young film and TV stars, washed-up former stars in their twilight years, magazine centerfolds, porn stars, cult/horror staples and even a Harlem Globetrotter!
One of the highlights is an ever-so-mildly amusing horror spoof "Don't Scream on My Face" (did Edgar Wright see this?) starring Linda Blair as "The Don't Girl," the dumbest horror movie heroine in history who does the expected stupid things (going into the house alone, the basement alone, the woods alone, etc.) Jason Voorhees even makes a cameo appearance in this one... using a walker! A young Jennifer Tilly goes to an auction to purchase a well-established bachelor in the next bit. "The 3 Mile Island People" is a sitcom spoof about a literal nuclear family (with Fred Willard as the dad). Marilyn Chambers shows up wearing see-through lingerie in a credit card commercial. Colleen Camp humiliates some poor guy at a bar for no real reason (was this even supposed to be funny?). John Carradine hosts "Great Moments" in Polish history (where an off-screen narrator reminds him there are no great moments in Polish history... har har). Wendie Jo Sperber is the Marquessa De Sade in a music video spoof about S&M and spousal abuse. Julia Duffy narrates a trashy soap opera sketch from a bed on a theater stage. Rich Hall tries to sell us an album from some Don Ho clone. Busty former Playboy model Lynda Wiesmeier plays sex queen Bambi Juliette in what is probably the most amusing segment - "Teenage French Stewardess Nurse Babysitter," though even that just rips off the much funnier "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble" sketch from the aforementioned Kentucky Fried Movie.

Jimmie Walker plays "the first black in space" in another segment that also features Keenan Wynn (who passed away in 1986). James B. Sikking gets to play a weight conscious Count Dracula in a stupid "Lite Blood" commercial. The two longest segments; one about a Nazi interrogation (with David Lander and Michael McKean) and the other a slasher/ detective movie spoof called "The Hanukah Horror," yield no laughs at all. There are also commercials spoofing everything from Calvin Klein jeans (featuring a young Erika Eleniak imitating Brooke Shields) to flavorless diet soda (with P.J. Soles) to dandruff shampoo (with Peter Scolari and Audrey Landers) to telephone companies (with Sybil Danning). Other commercial spoof involve super glue, aspirin, deodorant, Shake N' Bake, beer and "quaaludes for kids.

While some of this may sound amusing and many of the themes seem ripe for parody, this "comedy" is so horribly written and has such lame and obvious jokes that the laughs just aren't there. Like ever! I've seldom seen a film like this fail so badly. It's just plain painful to watch. Most of the segments last about a minute, though a few are longer are manage to wear out their welcome pretty quickly. The only thing the film really provides an abundance of is bare breasts, but you could always spare yourself the headache and just watch a porno instead.

The cast also includes Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. (The Return of the Living Dead), Karen Mayo-Chandler (Hard to Die), Diana Muldaur (The Other), Ed Marinaro, William Sanderson, Karen Witter, Meadowlark Lemon, porno actors Paul Thomas and Lori Wagner and many others. The 1983 year of production is just an estimate on my part based on the cast and some of the things spoofed (it couldn't have been shot any later than 1985). Either way, it didn't see the light of day until 2009!

p.s. I'm only including this here because of the horror spoof content.

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