Monday, 22 June 2015

Vinegar Syndrome Peekarama Review: Fast Cars Fast Women (1981) / Starship Eros (1979)

(1981, dir: Scott McHaley)

“With Every Lap She Will Shift Your Gears!!!”

Our film opens up with a cute little blonde named Kristy, played by Sylvia Benedict (The Bitch Goddess), getting pulled over by a cop. Even though she is more than willing to 'cooperate' with the officer, she still gets the ticket! No need to worry though, she's on her way straight away because she has an appointment with the feisty Molly, head of the Davis Racing Team, played by Kay Parker (Sexworld). Before that however, she has some catching up with her old room-mate Casey, played by Carolyn Jackson (Anytime Anyplace). I think you know what I mean by 'catching up'. As they are busy being reacquainted, we meet Molly's rival. He's a sleazy piece of work named Orson, played by Al Chiurrizi (in his only starring role). His second in command is Dutch, played by Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo). He too is a sleazy piece of shit, but with added moustache! Dutch wants to buy Molly out, but she is one tough cookie. So much so, that even the blatant tampering of her cars (which lead to a fatality) won't make her succumb to his harassment. That's one hell of a woman right there! Anyway, once Kristy has met with Molly and has been warned about the potential dangers, she's on the team straight away and ready for action. Before we get to see any racing action, there's a hell of a lot 'team bonding'. Enough to make even the likes of Bernie Eccleston blush! Once we do get to the tracks, Kristy sure shows us that she knows her way around a gear stick. Will her new career take off? Will she be Dutch's next victim? Can she be bought!? Well, you're going to have to buckle yourself in and find out for yourself!

Fast Cars Fast Women is a very enjoyable piece of film. There's a great story there that has depth and is somewhat original. The acting isn't the greatest, but the likes of Ron Jeremy and Kay Parker more than make up for that. The female cast throughout (PATRIARCHY WARNING!) are very pleasing on the eye, but not only that, they are all strong characters. The racing action is well done, but is taken down a gear compared to the 'off road' action. Speaking of which, the hardcore elements of this entry are all solid and if you like a bit of lady love, there's enough here to shake a stick at. It's always a good thing seeing Kay Parker on screen! Aesthetically, this film is very competent. There's a great use of an actual racetrack and some of the cars on display are just as nice to look at as the female cast. It's shot well and stock footage is incorporated somewhat seamlessly, we are nowhere near Mattei territory in that regard! For those looking for some good laughs, there's some really spot on humour throughout. There's even a nice amount of fighting in the film. It's clear this was directed by a stuntman! All in all a solid effort that has something for everyone!

(1979, dir: Scott McHaley)
“A probing of sensual space...”

We are thrown in to the future. 1995 to be exact! We join the all female crew of the Feminist Regime Starship Eros headed by big haired Commander Venus, played by Lily Rogers (Indecent Exposure). Her crew consist of the cute and sex starved newcomer, Executive Officer Moon, played by Becky Savage (Sexloose), the nearly as cute Communications Officer Bev, played by Beth Evans (in her only starring role) and their part human / part not quite C-3PO robot assistant Quasar, played by Mike Ranger (Taboo). The new Executive Officer makes quite an 'impression' on her new colleagues. Even good ol' Quasar gets to experience her credentials hands on, even if there are the occasional wiring problems (robots can suffer too!). After the usual greetings, the team embark on their Search and Destroy mission, involving a ship piloted by raging lesbian Amazoids! Even with such an important mission ahead of her, Moon can't help but make the most of her new robotic companion, so much so that this leads to a punishment (I think) at the hands of Commander Venus. It makes Princess Lea's enslavement look like child's play... Ok, maybe not! After her punishment, the crew manage to track the damaged (oh, there was an uneventful dogfight by the way) Amazoid ship to a nearby planet. Before the crew of Starship Eros have chance to land, they manage to beam up Megan, the Amazoid captain from the ship before it explodes. Naturally, they interrogate her and show her what a man is like (poor Quasar, you'll know when you see Megan!). Yep, more 'torture' ensues! Oh well, at least Quasar's wiring problem gets sorted out and hey! Megan becomes a new member of the crew! Not even Star Trek showed us this much unity!
All in all, Starship Eros is an entertaining piece of hardcore sci-fi that is blatantly (some may say poorly) cashing in on the Star Wars and Star Trek boom of the time. McHaley has written and directed a fairly solid, if not obscenely simple story that plays second fiddle to the hardcore elements directed by producer Wesley Emmerson (Foreplay). That being said, it's clear that the story wasn't just thumbed in after hard scenes were shot. The sex, although seemingly dominating the runtime, work well within the film and are done to a high standard. If you have ever wanted to see a glorified C-3PO halloween costume getting down, you're gonna get a laugh from the scenes he stars in. Personally, I could have done with more Quasar, but oh well. Arguably the stars of the show are actually the special effects and miniatures created by McHaley and K.M. Kemper. Although crude and nowhere near as good as what we would see from the likes of Star Trek and Star Wars, they do add a level of scope to the film and add production value. The aesthetic elements of the film as a whole are impressive and are captured nicely by Pablo Lepell's (Weekend Fantasies) cinematography. All of the charm can be found within those elements. The score (I'm guessing a collection of library tracks) is the icing on the cake. As far as low budget (the film was shot within a few days in a basement) hardcore sci-fi goes, this is an enjoyable and competent enough effort. Not bad for a directorial debut from a stuntman!
Overall, both films are presented wonderfully. Aside from a few dips in picture and sound quality at times, there's nothing to complain about Vinegar Syndrome's 2k restoration. Both films are stylish in their own ways and the retoration really shows how nice these relatively low budget efforts are. Once again, for a stuntman, these are two interesting and entertaining films. In terms of special features you get the trailer and additional softcore scenes for Fast Cars Fast Women and a brief audio introduction for Starship Eros from producer Wesley Emmerson. This is definitely a unique release that showcases two films from a director whose career behind the camera was short. From both a historical and entertainment standpoint, this is a really solid release!

The DVD double feature is available from Vinegar Syndrome
here, as well as your favourite online retailers.