Sunday, March 27, 2011

Georgia Peaches / The Great Texas Dynamite Chase / Smokey Bites the Dust (2011, Shout! Factory)

Coming April 5, 2011 is an Action Packed Triple Feature from Shout! Factory's Roger Corman Cult Classics line.  Included in this 2 DVD set is 1980's Georgia Peaches, 1976's The Great Texas Dynamite Chase and 1981's Smokey Bites the Dust.  This release marks the return to DVD of The Great Texas Dynamite Chase, formerly available under Roger Corman's New Horizons, but more importantly it brings the first ever DVD releases for Georgia Peaches and Smokey Bites the Dust.  I have been interested in seeing Great Texas Dynamite Chase for a long time and honestly had never even heard of the other two films so it is very exciting to have them all here in one very inexpensive set.

Georgia Peaches features country legend Tanya Tucker and Teri Nunn (lead singer of the 80's pop band Berlin) as Lorette and Sue Lynn Peach, who are trying to save their deceased father's car repair shop from being taken over by crime boss Vivian Stark (Sally Kirkland) who wants the build on the land.  The two sisters, along with Sue Lynn's hot rod racing, moonshine running boyfriend Dusty Tyree (Dirk Benedict) are set up by Stark and put in jail.  They are soon let out by an agent for the Treasury Department, Randolph Dukane (Lane Smith), in order to go undercover to try to sabotage a cigarette smuggling ring.

The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is the story of Ellie Jo Turner (Jocelyn Jones from Tourist Trap and The Enforcer), a bank teller who is sick of her job and her life.  Prison escapee Candy Morgan (Claudia Jennings from Deathsport) robs the bank Elllie Jo works at and instead of trying to stop her, Ellie Jo ends up assisting Candy and they escape together.  Ellie Jo and Candy become partners and rob a series of banks by using sticks of dynamite to threaten the bank employees.

Smokey Bites the Dust stars Jimmy McNichol (Kristy McNichol's brother) as Roscoe Wilton, a young trouble maker who likes fast cars and has the hots for homecoming queen Peggy Sue Turner (Janet Julian).  At their homecoming dance, Roscoe kidnaps Peggy Sue and tells her that he won't let her go until she likes him.  Peggy Sue's father happens to be the Sheriff (Walter Barnes), who immediately goes after the two teens.  As Roscoe and Peggy Sue outrun Smokey (slang term for policeman), an all out race begins involving cops from the surrounding towns.  These cops though seem more interested in capturing the Sheriff (who manages to demolish every car he gets behind the wheel of) than the young kidnapper.  Also on their tail is the high school quarterback (William Forsythe), who is in love with Peggy Sue.

What we have here in this collection is a silly group of movies that, despite some minor flaws, are 100% fun.  Georgia Peaches was originally a TV pilot for a proposed series that never materialized.  The actual film on the DVD sports the title Follow That Car, which was the European theatrical cut of the film (there is a note in the set stating that this was the only version available).  Georgia Peaches has a lot going for it - fun characters, great car chases and a fun story that you find yourself way more immersed in than you should be.  The scenes with the sisters singing on stage are hilariously bad and dated but Tucker and Nunn are very easy on the eyes (despite their gawdy outfits).  Dirk Benedict also shines as Dusty.  The Great Texas Dynamite Chase is probably the best of the lot and the most "Corman-esque" with oodles of nudity and violence.  The beautiful Claudia Jennings, a Corman regular, shows that she was actually quite a good actress and it was a shame that she passed away at such a young age.  A very clever and original bank robbery tale, this one should please any exploitation and action film fan.  Smokey Bites the Dust is one hell of a weird film.  The plot is so simple (and bares more than a passing resemblance to Corman's Eat My Dust!) that to keep it interesting, the film makers threw in everything but the kitchen sink.  We see midgets, gorillas, bratty underage kids smoking cigarettes, arabian sheiks...weird, weird stuff.  The highlight of the film (other than its oddness) is definitely the car chases which I can't say I have seen many films with more car crashes and explosions.  The cast itself doesn't really standout but seeing a young William Forsythe as a super religious quarterback just added to the zaniness of this movie.  For fans of car crashes and strange films.

Overall, this set is a great addition to the Corman Cult Classics line and even if you don't have much interest in Georgia Peaches or Smokey Bites the Dust (which are definitely fun films and worth a watch), get it for The Great Texas Dynamite Chase.

Georgia Peaches:  8/10
The Great Texas Dynamite Chase:  8/10
Smokey Bites the Dust:  7/10

This set is available to pre-order directly from Shout! Factory HERE .  Release date 4/5/11

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