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Everyone put your hands together for Eric Cheevers, film and video maker to DC’s music’s finest (Scene Creamers, Dead Meadow, Georgie James…) AND our newest contributor. The man is an encyclopedia of information you didn’t even know you needed to know and whenever he feels like writing something-well, we will gladly publish it

we kick off with:

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Hollywood Video DC Locations:
4520 40th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20016 (Tenleytown)
2845 Alabama Avenue Southeast, Washington, DC 20020

The 80’s. I was there, and hated it. Other than deliberately breaking Warrant LPs before putting them back on the shelf at Waxy Maxies, one of my few fond memories of this retarded decade was going into the local mom-and-pop video store and renting lousy (and occasionally great) VHS movies of various genres in giant boxes, complete with garish/silly/poorly-drawn illustration on the front.
Edifying stuff, usually involving:

A car wash that’s being threatened with foreclosure, whose fortunes are reversed when its sexy lady employees wear bikinis to wash cars.
Oddly-dubbed foreign Star Wars rip-offs.
Barbarians in post-apocalyptic landscapes.
Horny teenagers on Spring Break.
Foxy boxing.
Obnoxious synth soundtracks.

You get the idea. The video revolution brought all kinds of players into the home video market, including some small labels that specialized in cheap product. This cheap product, often re-titled versions of previous releases, or stuff designed specifically for the home video market (or just crap) became a staple of the then-new video rental industry.

Twenty-odd years later, the latest convulsion of the video rental market has resulted in the bankruptcy of one of its main players.
You heard right: Hollywood Video is filing Chapter 11.
Their horrible (yet great) collection of 80’s-era VHS tapes is being sold dirt-cheap! What this means is a tsunami of horrible 80’s VHS tapes is about to hit land.

Here’s what video driftwood washed ashore:

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‘Fireballs’ – (1987)

“Pull out your hoses! Here comes Fireballs!”

A Japanese company wants to set up shop in whatever town this movie takes place in, but will only do so if the town has a decent fire department. But the local firemen are all drunken party animals! They even have a parrot in their frat house cum firehouse. The mayor orders the shameful firemen to restore the image of the fire department, so the firemen have a bikini contest to recruit sexy lady fire fighters! Woo hoo! The mayor fires them all and replaces them with Japanese firemen. But the Japanese firemen are even bigger party animals! It’s up to the original firemen to save the day. The parrot squawks “Nice boobs!”. With a cast of male and female mullets. I believe this is supposed to take place in the U.S., though the occasional Great White North accent slips oot now and then, eh. Basically, if you’ve looked at the VHS box, you’ve seen the movie. Directed by Charlie Wiener.

After years of post-9/11 veneration of firefighters, it’s strange to see them depicted as overgrown, beer-guzzling poon hounds.

‘Cosmos – War of the Planets’ – (1977)

Low-rent ‘Star Wars’ wannabe that’s so cheap you’ll wonder why they bothered.

In the unisex, day-glo future, a manned space station gets an alarm signal from a planet inhabited by Italian actors in green body paint. Since executive decisions are now made by a supercomputer called ‘The Wiz’, the captain of the space station sends a probe down to the planet, whose leader telepathically tells them that his people once ruled the planet till the machines they built took over. The leader telepathically tells the captain “My words are thoughts from the mind”, in case we didn’t figure it out. The aliens are being subjugated by a slow-moving, clunky, evil robot (much like the ones you see in Dollar stores). The captain agrees to help destroy the evil robot that rules the planet. They consult ‘The Wiz’, who tells them the evil robot “should have a self-detruct button, probably red”. They push the red self-destruct button. The robot explodes and causes a chain reaction that destroys the planet, which is illustrated for us with tinted stock footage of volcanoes. The crew and a guy from the planet (who seems ok with his whole species now being extinct) escape to the space station. The evil robot ‘possesses’ a crew member back on the space station, and goes on a killing spree! The lone green alien fights the possessed crew member and they both get sucked into space and die. Everyone celebrates. Yay! Then there’s a really stupid Deus Ex Machina ending.

‘Assault of the Party Nerds’ aka ‘The Nerd Terminator’ – (1989)

Rip-off of ‘Revenge of the Nerds’.

The Lambda Alpha Eta fraternity (LAE, as in getting LAE’d. Hilarious.) is in danger of losing their charter because only 4 of them are graduating at the end of the school year. They just love to party so much. So the fun loving party nerds plan a huge party and duke it out with some evil jocks. Featuring Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley and their breasts. Amazingly, this finger painting of a movie is out on DVD with a commentary track. And it somehow spawned a sequel, ‘Assault of the Party Nerds 2: The Heavy Petting Detective’.

I’m sure Hollywood Video has it. Next time…MORE TO COME

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