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‘The Lonely Lady’: Worst film of all time or filthy masterpiece of trash cinema? You decide!
06.19.2017
01:04 pm
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US movie poster for ‘The Lonely Ladyfor sale at Westgate Gallery

We’ve waited almost 34 years to see The Lonely Lady as it played on cinema screens during its cruelly brief Universal theatrical release.  Only 1983’s most depraved trash-film degenerate whose sense of camp was so finely tuned that the combo of Pia Zadora plus Harold Robbins set off an alarm-bell that sent them flitting, without hesitation, to the nearest multiplex, earned the privilege of experiencing on the big screen a motion picture that’s been called “a baby Valley of the Dolls”, “the funniest trainwreck ever lensed,” “Pia Zadora’s most shocking role,” and “the Showgirls of the Eighties.” 

An even smaller segment of the initial LL audience stumbled upon their life-changing movie ticket through magical good fortune.  In my case, it was a doubly mystical milestone.  My grandmother’s selection of The Lonely Lady for her precocious, film-crazed tween grandson not only left an indelible impression as the filthiest, most lurid motion picture I’d ever seen, it opened up a literary world of riveting, highly educational, frequently pornographic sagas euphemistically known as “beach books” which ensured I was completely corrupted before puberty.  She had, you see, chosen this film because she’d read the Robbins novel, as she told me on the taxi-ride home, sending me straight to a collection of paperbacks which my saintly, beloved, closet-freak meemaw had been quietly enjoying in plain sight for as long as I could remember:  In addition to the brilliant Mr. Robbins (The Adventurers, The Betsy, 79 Park Avenue), during my early teen years I discovered the best of Jackie Collins (Hollywood Wives, The Stud, The Bitch, Lovers & Gamblers), Judith Gould (Sins), Sidney Sheldon (The Other Side of Midnight, Bloodline), Sally Beauman (Destiny, possibly THE filthiest) and of course Jackie Susann (Valley of the Dolls).
 

British quad movie poster for ‘The Lonely Lady’ for sale at Westgate Gallery
 
As much as I cherish all of the above masterworks, only one of them spawned a movie in which Pia Zadora loses her virginity to a garden-hose wielded by Ray Liotta.  And now, thanks to Shout Factory’s gorgeous Blu-ray release, the first time this cult essential has been available on home video since the days of VHS, a whole new generation of thrill-seeking tweens can start learning everything their parents won’t tell them and be better prepared for the Hollywood careers that so many of them have already chosen.

Top 10 things about The Lonely Lady:

10.  The soundtrack includes Pia’s cover of “The Clapping Song.” 

9.  The bizarre and inappropriate Eurotrash accents of so many bit players in a story set entirely in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood & Beverly Hills. 

8. Pia’s brilliant writer character is named “Jerilee Randall.”  Jerilee Randall!

7. Jerilee’s attempt to get her indecently too-old, impotent and obscenely hairy-backed husband hard by cooing “Gently, gently”. 

6.  Instead of the luscious bi-sexy babes of Cinemax, the lesbos here are all repulsive predatory gargoyles, like the long-breasted bikini-clad matron in the hot tub who purrs the horrendously looped pick-up line “It’s wonderfully relaxing!” 

5.  The lesbian Italian movie star (who tricks Jerilee into a threesome with her toad of a husband) is cross-eyed, but her nipples point in different directions, too.

4.  Post-threesome, Jerilee is so disgusted with herself she showers with her clothes on and promptly suffers a nervous breakdown. 

3.  The best nervous breakdown scene EVER, in which the keys of Jerilee’s typewriter become the faces of her tormentors, before rising from the keyboard into a swirl of mocking sound-bytes and cheesy shattering optical effects. 

2.  The Blu-ray’s bonus “Network TV version” of the film features an extended typewriter-mad-scene and other unique bits to make up for the absence of the eight nude sex scenes Pia dutifully performed. 

1.  Finally, a cautionary tale that dares to expose Hollywood’s most sordid secret:  Everybody wants to fuck the writer! 
 
The bonkers nervous breakdown scene from ‘The Lonely Lady,’ after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Christian McLaughlin
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06.19.2017
01:04 pm
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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
09.06.2011
12:06 pm
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Like many Americans of a certain age, I saw Santa Claus Conquers the Martians in a movie theater. A later generation caught it as one of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s favorites in the 90s. It’s routinely listed as one of the “worst films ever made,” thus insuring its status as a cult film for years to come. It also stars a young Pia Zadora, but she’s hardly even an answer in Trivial Pursuit anymore, is she?

So, yeah, I actually saw this movie, twice, in a movie theater. I viewed it both times, UN-ironically, too, I might add and loved every minute of it (It was 1971, I was five, okay?). Although it’s a Christmas film, of course, its yearly screening in my hometown of Wheeling, WV, came on Halloween weekend.  Santa Claus Conquers the Martians was the lead film of a traveling holiday “road show” and I doubt there were that many prints struck of it, so smaller towns like mine probably got it first before it moved on to larger ones. It was an event as far as I was concerned, at least until I moved on to James Bond films and rock music…

Here’s the synopsis, from Wikipedia:

The story involves the people of Mars, including Momar (“Mom Martian”) and Kimar (“King Martian”), They’re worried that their children Girmar (“Girl Martian”) and Bomar (“Boy Martian”) are watching too much Earth television, most notably station KID-TV’s interview with Santa Claus in his workshop at the North Pole. Consulting the ancient 800-year old Martian sage Chochem (a Yiddish word meaning “genius”), they are advised that the children of Mars are growing distracted due to the society’s overly rigid structure; from infancy, all their education is fed into their brains through machines and they are not allowed individuality or freedom of thought.

Chochem notes that he had seen this coming “for centuries”, and says the only way to help the children is to allow them their freedom and be allowed to have fun. To do this, they need a Santa Claus figure, like on Earth. Leaving the Chochem’s cave, the Martian leaders decide to abduct Santa Claus from Earth and bring him to Mars. As the Martians could not distingtuish between all the fakes Santas, they kidnapped two children to find the real one. Once this is accomplished, one Martian, Voldar, who strongly disagrees with the idea, repeatedly tries to kill Santa Claus along with two kidnapped Earth children. He believes that Santa is corrupting the children of Mars and turning them away from the race’s original glory.

When they arrive on Mars, Santa and the children build a factory to make toys for the children. However, Voldar and his assistants, Stobo and Shim, sabotage the factory and change the programming so that it makes the toys incorrectly. Meanwhile, Dropo, Kimar’s assistant has taken a great liking to Santa Claus and Christmas, puts on one of Santa’s spare suits and starts acting like Santa Claus. He goes to the toy factory to make toys, but Voldar mistakes him for Santa and kidnaps him.

When Santa and the children come back to the factory to make more toys, they discover the machines have been tampered with. Voldar and Stobo come back to the factory to make a deal with Kimar, but when they see the real Santa Claus they realize that their plan has been foiled. Dropo, held hostage in a cave, tricks his guard Shim and escapes. Kimar then arrests Voldar, Stobo and Shim. Santa notices Dropo acts like him, and says that Dropo would make a good Martian Santa. Kimar agrees to let Dropo be the Martian Santa Claus and sends Santa and the children back to Earth.

Eventually, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians started getting shown on low-rent UHF TV channels and on “Creature Feature” type shows. Today, of course, there’s no waiting around for a yearly holiday screening of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. You can view the entire thing at Hulu, on YouTube or even watch a speeded-up version of this stinker condensed into 11-minutes. You can find a DVD of it in a 99 Cents Only store, too.

Here’s the trailer. Notice how the film looks all faded? It looked that way back then, too (not a result of aging, probably just technical incompetence or maybe they were smoking Angel Dust or something?).
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.06.2011
12:06 pm
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