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December 28, 2011

Movie Review: Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976)

Directed by Richard Lerner

Reviewed by Greg Goodsell

Everybody remembers that 1979 hymnal to anarchy and teenage rebellion Rock ‘N’ Roll High School. In that film, rock-loving students team up with the Ramones to eventually blow up Rydell High School. Now … imagine a film where the high school is blown up at around the halfway point, and there’s a riotous chase around a golfing course, a shopping mall, the giant Brontosaurus sculpture as seen in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1986) involving a villainous school nurse and some stoned and pregnant cheerleaders. If that doesn’t whet your whistle, the film features a very young David Hasselhoff as “Boner,” stumbling drunkenly through the action in the same manner that would later endear him to YouTube watchers! Are you ready to sign up now?

Buy Revenge of the Cheerleaders at Amazon UK!

In a world looking for the next cult movie theater going experience, Revenge of the Cheerleaders is the official hot ticket. Championed by Quentin Tarantino, this writer has it on very good authority that this here flick was the movie to see at the New Beverly Cinema’s Grindhouse Night! Revenge is just the ticket for a crowd of drunk-out-of-their minds movie geeks! There are lots of familiar faces, the gross outs are really gross, there is full frontal nudity from both sexes and reputed sex scenes that involved real onscreen sex. As Cheech and Chong once admonished, “Don’t go straight to see this movie.”

The plot? The free-wheeling Aloha High School is threatened with a merger with a far more conservative school, and the nasty, fun-lovin’ cheerleading squad is having none of that! The gals spike the spaghetti sauce with drugs and alcohol, and a somewhat nauseating food fight breaks out. The cheerleaders have lots of sex (as expected), as evil Nurse Beam (played by hefty character actress Eddra Gale, who prior to landing the lead in this opus appeared in such obscure, little-known titles such as Mike Nichols’ The Graduate and Fellini’s 8 ½) kidnaps the school principal. There is an out-of-control chase scene and things turn out alright by the end. Kind of, sort of.

Did I mention the film has musical numbers on top of everything else? The cheerleaders begin a dance routine and all the guys doff their shirts for a series of impromptu disco sketches that would have brought great shame to a Senior Citizen’s Aqua Aerobics class down at the Y!

In spite of all the boobs, butts, tube steak, bad jokes, gross outs and bad dancing, Revenge of the Cheerleaders does have a strangely moral center, provided by cult film actress Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith, who plays Heather, a very pregnant cheerleader. Very soft-spoken and not entirely there, Smith is unable to join in on many of the fun activities of her friends. Smith was really pregnant at the time, and she proudly displays her baby boy by the film’s end. Her presence here seems to be an afterthought on the minds of the producers, who wanted to tone down some of the hi-jinx on display. Play around, have fun kids, but do remember the poor pregnant teenage girls who are later forced to drop out of school, and drop out of fun altogether due to a lost 15 minutes.

As more details about Smith’s personal life come to light, it’s just a little bit heartbreaking – But oh well. Pop this in your DVD player with a room full of drunken friends and funk it up in the meantime!

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