Troma Triple B-Header
By: Devon B. on July 28, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0 English DD 1.0 (Blades). 275 minutes
The Movie
Director: Thomas R. Rondinella, Jim Mallon, John N. Carter
Starring: David Aldrich, Hank Berkheimer, Ron Butko, Mark Jacobs, Lisa Todd, Patrick Danz, David Broadnax, Tom Cantrell, Debbie Ewing
Screenplay: William R. Pace, Thomas R. Rondinella, Larry Edgerton, John Galligan, David Broadnax
Country: USA
Year: 1989, 1987, 1984

The Troma Triple B-Header disc features three Troma films on one DVD. Is this too much of a 'good' thing? Kind of.

As is to be expected, the DVD begins with an intro by Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger. Then you get to pick your movie. I'm going to be reviewing the films in the order they're listed on the DVD slick and menu, which is not only alphabetical, but also best to worst.

The first film is Blades, which is a much-overlooked Troma title. But there is a paradox present in reviewing Blades. No matter how I try to phrase things, the movie is going to sound horrible, because in writing the movie sounds horrible. I spent a long time trying to make it sound good, but couldn't. So, ignore everything else I've written and just watch the movie.

Blades is Jaws. On a golf course. When I say it is Jaws, I mean it is Jaws. Well, okay there are some obvious differences due to locale, but Blades is more similar to that shark movie than not. The two stories are often identical, so a plot synopsis is somewhat moot. While it is a Jaws parody, the change in setting has made it possible for Blades to be funny simply by taking things directly from Jaws. It sounds ridiculous, but somehow this movie that trades 20 foot of white pointer for a possessed lawn mower actually works.

The film is well acted and made. It benefits greatly from the deadpan performances of some of its players, so it's almost like a serious horror film for its first half. But, as I said, many things come directly out of Jaws, and when it comes time for the equivalent of the final shark hunt, things get really ludicrous. In a good way. Blades' heroes don't chum with blood, but rather with hay. Instead of sinking boats, the lawnmower tips vans. Even the underwater 'monster' point of view shots have made it in. Of course, the whole thing is ludicrous, but highly entertaining.

Do not be fooled by the plot synopsis and how terrible it all sounds, Blades is not only good, it's one of the best in Troma's catalogue.

The next movie is Blood Hook, which was directed by Jim Mallon, who went on to be heavily involved in Mystery Science Theater 3000.

A young boy sees his grandfather freak out and fall into a lake. 17 years later, the boy is back, older and wiser and looking like a cross between Nicholas Cage and Trey Parker. He's brought some friends back the lake community with him, just in time for a Muskie Madness fishing competition. Unfortunately, shortly after their arrival, someone starts fishing for people instead of Muskies. Our hero suspects this may be connected to his grandfather's mysterious death.

Blood Hook is mostly bland, but has a few good lines. The film does provide loveably ludicrous motivations for the killer, and the finale makes it quiet clear the film is meant to be funny, but overall it's too slow building to remain engaging in the earlier scenes.

The final film is Zombie Island Massacre, staring everyone's favourite ex-congressman's wife, Playboy cover girl and pictorial subject, and real estate broker, Rita Jenrette.

The movie opens with a shower scene, but don't get too excited. After this promising start, it seems the best the filmmakers could do was get Rita to flash one breast in another early scene, and then she remains clothed throughout. Aside from Rita's breasts, Zombie Island Massacre is about a tour group that encounters trouble on an island. After witnessing a voodoo ceremony (which resurrects the presumed zombie of the title, though he doesn't really come back after his debut) the group are attacked by shrubs. Okay, they're not really shrubs, but wouldn't that have been cool? Well, better than what we got, any way.

I didn't much like Zombie Island Massacre back in the 80s, but with hindsight, I really miss the horror gratuity of that decade. Notice, I didn't say I LIKED the movie now, but I was less bored with it. It's still stupid, and poorly made, with simple gore, and seems to want to be Night of the Living Dead (there's even a Ben character) meets Zombie Holocaust.

Ms. Jenrette does provide the movies funniest moments, particularly her acting in a great sex scene on a boat (that second nude scene I mentioned) and when she says she can't move because she's too scared. For some reason, the costume designer dressed her in really unflattering clothes, so if you're looking for eye candy only, you can stop the movie very early on.
All three films are presented at 1.33:1. All three films suffer compression artefacts, grain, specks, dirt, and haze. The older a film is in this set, the worse its condition, which happily leaves Blades the best looking of the lot.
Blood Hook and Zombie Island Massacre both have two channel tracks, and are both way too fucking loud. Both suffer distortion, but Zombie Island Massacre also has a poor mix in that the score can drown out the dialogue, and the dialogue sometimes is just indecipherable without any interference from music or sound effects. Blades has a mono mix, and is a bit on the quiet side. The levels fluctuate a bit, but again, Blades is the best quality of the set.
Extra Features
The original release of the DVD had a few trailers, but we don't get them. Oddly, one of the trailers was for Zombie Island Massacre. I guess the movie's okay, but for God's sake, don't let anyone see the trailer!!!
The Verdict
This set is worth checking out for Blades, but Blood Hook is also deserving of a look, even if most of it should be viewed on fast forward. Zombie Island Massacre is only for those who love 80s cheese. All three films suffer heavily from the compression to fit them all on one disc. I wish Troma had only put two films on with higher quality transfers, because I REALLY like Blades. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the following it deserves, so this may be the only DVD release we get for awhile. I'm giving the set a three, based on how good Blades is, but if you care about video or audio quality, subtract an Australia.
Movie Score
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