Hell Ride


If you think back to the original concept for Grindhouse, Rodriguez and Tarantino were going to make their films based on the premise, "What if the drive-in/grindhouse movies had been as good as the posters made them seem?" Rodriguez lived up to the premise. He made a zombie movie with all the CGI frills, all the gore, and all the action that were never actually in those films back in the day. Essentially, he made a Robert Rodriguez movie from a 1969 movie poster. Tarantino, however, did not make a modern Tarantino movie. He basically just made a perfect clone of the period films. That's OK, I guess, if you actually liked those films and wish they were still being made with modern stars. Personally, I had a hard time staying awake during Death Proof. Just about everything that was wrong with drive-in films was also wrong with QT's clone.

Which brings us to Hell Ride, another type of drive-in film: the biker flick. Writer/director Larry Bishop got Tarantino's imprimatur for this one and gave QT a producer credit ... and went about making the same mistake Tarantino made with Death Proof: he recreated a late 60s biker flick, warts and all. Was there anything you disliked about biker flicks? Bad acting? Hell Ride has it. Incoherent plot line? Check. Long stretches of nothingness while bikers ride the open road while a rock song plays? Check. Ludicrous dialogue? Check. Gratuitous macho posturing? Check. Complete absence of character development? Check.

However, Bishop did honor the Rodriguez Promise in that he delivered the nudity and gore that the period flicks never did. As I recall from nights at the triple feature drive-in, there was often a crappy biker flick mixed in with the crappy horror films and crappy softcores, and the biker epics were always disappointing in the nudity department. There wasn't much flesh, and what there was seemed to have been hit with the fugly stick. So I guess Hell Ride is actually an upgrade from the originals, at least in the flesh department, since there is nudity about every ten minutes, including copious nudity in some scenes, and the women are all reasonably attractive.

And I surely don't remember the old-time gore being as explicit as that in Hell Ride, in which victims are slaughtered in automatic weapon fire, garroted, decapitated, set on fire, and shot with harpoons which are pulled rudely out. Others get their throats slit on camera. Pretty much all of those things happen to Vinnie Jones at once, and he takes a bullet to the dick for good measure!

Apart from the intensity of the exploitation elements, you could take this flick back in time to 1968, project it at the local drive-in, and almost nobody would realize it came from the future. The editing style and tone mimic the old films perfectly. It even stars the same guys. Of course those guys are old codgers now. Auteur Larry Bishop, who appeared in several biker flicks in the 1968-74 era, is also the star of Hell Ride. I suppose he's about 60 now. (By the way, he's the son of Joey Bishop, Sinatra's crony.) Dennis Hopper is 72. David Carradine is 71. The young whippersnappers are Michael Madsen, who's about 50, and Vinnie Jones, who's only in his 40s, but is plenty grizzled enough to match the old geezers. These guys are so old that the film could be a Monty Python sketch about Hell's Grannies. If they do a sequel, they'll have to replace the bikes with those riding carts that the aged and infirm use for shopping at Wal-Mart. It'll be like the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza led the irate oldsters on a low-speed chase.

Astoundingly, Hell Ride managed to get a theatrical release. Sure it was only 82 theaters, but still ... what were they thinking? It's obviously a guilty pleasure film aimed at a tiny niche audience. Predictably, it took in only about $1200 per screen on its opening weekend. The numbers per screen rarely go much lower than that. Even Gigli, the notorious Bennifer bomb, took in $1700 per theater on its opening weekend. As you might imagine, Hell Ride disappeared from every single theater after the owners had fulfilled their contractual two-week obligation.

Critics disliked Hell Ride because it lacked a sense of irony, and was therefore just a bad 1968 biker flick with more gore and sex. Genre lovers and B-movie fanatics liked it for those very same reasons. As a result, Hell Ride combines quite a respectable IMDb score (6.3) with a bottom-dwelling score at Rotten Tomatoes (11%). You can use that combo to do a "one of these things is not like the other" for an adult version of Sesame Street.

  % positive reviews: IMDb rating:
Postal 9 3.7
The Love Guru 14 3.6
Hell Ride 11 6.3

If a film receives approximately 10% positive reviews, that should translate to about a 3.5 at IMDb, right? Not in this case. The genre lovers made an effort to see it, made an effort to vote, and really appreciated the film. They held the day on the voting because very few other people saw it, or even know about it.



  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








In Her Defense


Michael Dudikoff stars as a former Crown Prosecutor who left in disgrace. He is eking out a meager existence in private practice, mostly by defending people he knows to be guilty. As the film opens, he is up against a former colleague that he is clearly still friends with. She agrees to a plea bargain. and invites him to an art opening where he happens to meet a lovely deaf artist (Marlee Matlin). Since he knows some sign language from a former girlfriend, they hit it off, at least until her husband, a real rich creep with underworld ties, takes her home forcibly. Some time later, the artist shows up in Dudikoff's office asking his help to nullify a prenuptial agreement. The two soon become intimate, and Dudikoff eventually ends up shooting and killing her husband in self-defense. Naturally, the police blame her, and he defends her.

What follows is more twists and turns than I would have believed possible, given that we know whodunit going in. Of course most will guess, especially anyone who has seen Body Heat, that he is being set up by Matlin and someone, but I was genuinely surprised at the final twist or two. This film has thematic elements in common with Body Heat, most especially that men, even lawyers, can be led around by their dicks, but there are more than enough differences between the two films to make In her Defense stand on its own. While it completely lacks the atmosphere of Body Heat, and has little of the humor, it is a good enough crime/courtroom drama.

IMDb readers say 4.8. Too low. User comments indicate to me that many didn't understand the plot, as all their comments contain errors.

Marlee Matlin shows breasts in dark scenes.










Here's a very young Susan Dey in Looker. The former Partridge Family girl and L.A. Law babe gives up some sexy T & A in this eighties flick. She was really cute.



Notes and collages

Best Seller


Claudia Stenke, "woman at bar," whose career in films was very short








Lovely and Amazing


Emily Mortimer film clips. Collages below.








This section will present film clips to accompany Charlie's collages (which are found in his own site).

Today: Melanie Thierry in Ecorches








Alison Lohman downblouse, in which she nearly loses an entire breast from her dress.


Film clips

Tennis-lover's special: Venus Williams upskirt at the US Open. Sample right.
Loryn Locklin in Fortress. (Samples right)
Two women from Schmanski Muss Leiden: Susanne Bormann (sample right) and Jale Arikan (sample far right)