Since its release 20 years ago, the raucous youth comedy "Hollywood Knights" has developed a huge cult following. And now Columbia TriStar Home Video has finally released the movie on video (for rental) and DVD ($25).
Written and directed by Floyd Mutrux of "American Hot Wax" fame, "Hollywood Knights" follows the outrageous and often tasteless adventures of a car gang that decides to raise hell throughout Beverly Hills on Halloween night 1965. The Beverly Hills elite have managed to close down the gang's favorite hangout, Tubby's Drive-In, so the Knights decide to get their revenge.
"Hollywood Knights" marked Michelle Pfeiffer's first major film role and the debut of Robert Wuhl ("Arli$$"), who plays the leader of the Knights, Newbomb Turk. The comedy also features Fran Drescher, Tony Danza and Leigh French.
Despite its cult status, "Hollywood Knights" is pretty much a guy flick with its share of bare-breasted females, cheerleaders without undies and crass jokes.
The DVD offers "Hollywood Knights" in both its full- and wide-screen formats, with production notes and talent files.
Mutrux supplies relatively entertaining audio commentary. After "American Hot Wax," he reports, he was set to direct "Urban Cowboy" but left during pre-production (the film eventually was directed by James Bridges). He turned his focus on "Hollywood Knights," which he envisioned as the car club version of "Animal House."
Mutrux had tested Pfeiffer for "Urban Cowboy," but after he left the production and Debra Winger was hired, he cast Pfeiffer in "Hollywood Knights" as carhop Suzie Q.
Though "Hollywood Knights" was set in Beverly Hills, the city wouldn't allow the production to be shot there. So Pasadena substituted, and the location for Tubby's Drive-In was Van Nuys.
On Tuesday, the Criterion Collection unveils its fab, fab, fab two-disc DVD special edition of another cult fave, the 1962 thriller chiller "Carnival of Souls" ($40).
This shoestring-budget film--directed by Herk Harvey, an industrial filmmaker from Lawrence, Kan., and penned by his collaborator John Clifford--deals with a young woman (Candace Hilligoss) who begins to see a white-faced phantom spirit called the Man (Harvey) after she survives a car crash off a bridge.
The first disc includes a beautiful new digital transfer of the 78-minute theatrical version, as well as "The Movie That Wouldn't Die! The Carnival of Souls," a fun 1989 TV documentary that features clips from a reunion of the cast and crew. Also included on the disc are 45 minutes of outtakes set to Gene Moore's creepy organ score; the theatrical trailer; and "The Carnival Tour," a video update on the film's locations. (The extremely eerie and atmospheric finale, featuring the dancing dead, occurs at the abandoned resort, Saltair, outside Salt Lake City.)
The second disc features the 83- minute extended director's cut of the film, plus intermittent audio commentary from the late Harvey and Clifford, which was taped in 1989. There's also an hour of clips of films Harvey either directed or appeared in for the Centron Corp., the industrial film company where he and Clifford worked for 30 years. Rounding out the disc is an essay on the history of Centron by Ken Smith and printed interviews by Tom Weaver with Harvey, Clifford and Hilligoss.
Two of the Fox network's most popular, long-running series, "The Simpsons" and "The X-Files," have done extremely well on home video.
The latest "Simpsons" offering on Fox Home Video is a three-volume set of six politically themed episodes, "The Simpsons Political Party" ($25 for the set; $10 each). Installments include the wonderful "Sideshow Bob Roberts."
"X-Files" fans can relive the fourth year of the Emmy Award-winning series with a new set featuring six episodes currently not in syndication (Fox Video: $15 each;$40 for the set).
But the big news for X-ies is the seven-disc DVD set of the first season of the show ($150). The collection offers every episode from the debut season, as well as such extra goodies as a new documentary on the first season.
Movie musical buffs take note: Warner Home Video has just released three classic musicals on DVD ($25 each).
"Anchors Aweigh," from 1945, has been restored to its Technicolor glory. Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra star in this tuneful Oscar winner about two sailors on leave in Hollywood during World War II. The highlight is "The Worry Song," Kelly's charming dance with Jerry the Mouse. Included on the DVD is the trailer and an excerpt from the TNT documentary "MGM: When the Lion Roared."
Sinatra and Kelly teamed up four years later for the landmark "On the Town." The film marks the directorial debut of Kelly and Stanley Donen. Featuring a beautiful Technicolor transfer, the digital version also includes the original theatrical trailer.
"Gypsy," from 1962, is based on the hit Broadway musical drama about the early life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee and her stage mother, Rose. Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden star in this uneven 1962 release. The disc includes a crisp wide-screen transfer, the trailer and recently discovered outtakes of "You'll Never Get Away From Me" and "Together, Wherever We Go."