Just for the Hell of It/Blast off Girls
By: J.R. McNamara on January 21, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Siren Visual Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0 Mono 163 minutes
The Movie
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
Starring: Rodney Bedell, Ray Sager, Nancy Lee Noble, Agi Gynes, Steve White / Dan Conway, Ray Sager, The Faded Blue, Lawrence J. Aberwood, Col. Harland Sanders
Screenplay: Allison Louise Downe / Herschell Gordon Lewis
Country: USA
Year: 1968 / 1967
Never let it be said that Herschell Gordon Lewis didn't take opportunities as he saw them arise. Starting out in advertising in 1953, he eventually broke into movies where he made his legend in exploitation and horror flicks. Starting with soft core nudies, he eventually made his way to horror, where he filmed his and David F. Freidman's 15 page script for Blood Feast, and proceeded to make two more films that eventually became known as the Blood Trilogy. The partnership of Lewis and Freidman split after the filming of Color Me Blood Red, with Friedman moving to L.A., leaving Lewis to write, produce and direct his films solo. His film career slowed down and it was during this period that he made not just gore and exploitation flicks, but also delved into the rock 'n' roll field with The Blast Off Girls (1967) and two gang flicks, one of these being Just For The Hell Of It (1968). Lewis left movie making after his production of The Gore Gore Girls in 1972 and followed a prosperous career in book writing, mainly about marketing and business public relations, and teaching Grad courses in mass communication. He briefly returned to film making in 2002 with his sequel to Blood Feast, where he reunited with old partner Freidman. Something Weird Video have been kind enough release a double Feature of Just For The Hell Of It and Blast Off Girls, so now Lewis' less than golden years can be exposed to fans of sixties trash cinema.

Just For the Hell of It - A gang decides to terrorize a city by committing random acts of law breaking, which starts with petty vandalism, but eventually end up becoming child abuse, gang rape, savage attacks on the infirmed and eventually murder, well I think it was murder…do dead bodies still breathe? This one sure was! This film only needed a few things to be truly terrifying. Things like actors who can act, a decent script, good lighting, a camera man who knows his equipment, some decent sets and a soundtrack that has the actors audible when they speak. Maybe shocking in its day, but in the wake of films such as Last House on the Left, Fight for your Life and their ilk, it comes off as laughable. Its non-stop action is so dumb it is actually entertaining. This film boasts H.G. Lewis stalwarts Ray Sager, Rodney Bedell and Nancy Lee Noble amongst its cast.

The Blast Off Girls - I guess when it comes down to it we should all be thankful that Lewis only ever made one rock 'n' roll movie. Small time band The Big Blast is constantly manipulated by their manager Boogie Baker (Dan Conway), who uses everything from drugs to girls to get their allegiance with him. The band see that Baker is taking too much of the profits and decide that they need to break from him, but to what lengths will Baker go to get them to sign permanently with him? Imagine The Beatle's A Hard Days Night, but with worse acting, terrible camera techniques, no stars of note and below average music, and you would still have a mental image of a movie better than this. It only just registers on the 'so bad it is good' scale. Its big claim to fame is that it has a cameo by Colonel Harland Sanders…yes…THAT Colonel Sanders.
Not remixed or re-mastered or re-tooled, the presentations have all the hairs, cigar burns and scratches you would expect of forgettable films of this vintage.
The audio is really ordinary on this disc. You have to give Something Weird credit for presenting movies with their original soundtracks, but the music is always far too loud, and some of the dialogue is almost impossible to hear. The music is groovy though, if you like that sort of thing.
Extra Features
Unfortunately, this double feature disc doesn't contain any of the usual trailers, shorts, radio or print advertisements that Something Weird are renowned for.
The Verdict
Daft and entertaining is the only way to describe these films. They are definitely NOT for the discriminating cinema lover, but for fans of bad acting, the Hammond organ, and the total and utter schlock fests from the Godfather of Gore, this collection is gold.
Movie Score
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