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Revenge Of The Teenage Vixens From Outer Space
(1985)
 
Director:
Jeff Farrell                              
Cast:
Lisa Schwedop, Howard Scott, Amy Crumpacker

Revenge of the Teenage Vixens From Outer Space is a badly made movie, but, you know, that didn't bother me at all. You would expect that with a really low budget and that title, the filmmakers would have tried to pump up its "camp" value. The movie is deliberately campy at times, but mostly the filmmakers play it straight. It's casual, matter-of-fact attitude gives the movie a gentleness that dwarfs any cheap effects, bad acting, and silly plot elements - and makes the movie surprisingly watchable.

As I've said, the story is silly: It's late at night in the small town of Mayfield. A piece of jewelry falls from the sky and sizzles into the nearby forest floor. Later that night, a group of teenagers from town are having a beer blast, and four mysterious young women come out of the dark, making eyes at the male teenagers. This doesn't go well with the girls at all, seeing these women (who join their school the next day) as competitors to their boyfriends.

Our heroine Carla doesn't care much about these women; she has Paul, her nice average boyfriend. Paul is the son of Mr. Moreli, the biology teacher in school. Fellow student Stephanie has a crush on Mr. Moreli, and unsuccessfully tries to seduce him. However, one of these new students manages to do that, enraging Stephanie enough to report Mr. Moreli to the school district. Mr. Moreli is suspended.

The four mysterious girls get angry - not about what Stephanie did, but the fact that their new boyfriends have not been able to satisfy them. That night, they attack their new boyfriends and much of the community with mysterious powers, turning the poor victims into...vegetables. Yes, giant big ping-pong eyed tomatoes, carrots, and broccoli that squeak helplessly. Paul and Carla then find out from Paul's father that Paul is the son of an affair of Paul's father and another mysterious alien female years earlier. Missing her greatly, Mr. Moreli goes out to search for his long-lost love, while Paul and Carla set out to find his father and a way to end the town's crisis.

Ridiculous? Yes. But the filmmakers don't seem to think so. Although they occasionally wink to the audience with things like a character speaking to the audience, a truly crummy special effect, or a line of dialogue like "That's what's left of my son - a giant pickle!", they do not push a comic tone at all. The characters react to incidents with mild incredibility or in a way that's expected of the situation. Compare this with a movie like Mars Attacks!, which failed because the actors though they were funny and therefore acted funny - it didn't work. Here, because the actors act more "normal", they are both believable and funny when it's appropriate.

The movie isn't afraid to take an occasional break from the action; witness such scenes as when Mr. Moreli tells the truth to Paul about his real mother, or when Paul and Carla take five to spend a tender moment together. Although none of these segments are exceptionally funny or exciting, they are nice intermissions that give the characters more depth and likeability.

There is some poor acting, but overall the level of acting is passable. The mostly youthful cast is well chosen for both acting skills and looking the appropriate age for their parts. It's an occasion to celebrate when a cast that boasts mostly last names you've never heard of managing to pass muster.

Something happened to me that doesn't usually happen to me when I watch a movie; I wondered about the people who made this movie. I wanted to know how the filmmakers came up with the idea for the movie. I wanted to know how they cast the movie and any production stories. I wanted to know what ever happened to them (this was a one-shot effort.) These are things I still want to know. Probably I'll never learn. But these are fun things to think about, and I'd like the filmmakers to know they touched this reviewer, and he won't forget this movie shortly.
 


UPDATE: Reader David Beynon pointed to some possible clues identifying the makers of this movie:

"I'd seen this tape knocking around for $2 or $3, and bought it after being intrigued by your review. While I don't know what happened to the filmmakers/cast either, I was also pleasantly surprised by the way in which a film with such a campy premise is played mostly straight!

"Anyway, to try a bit of detective work I scoured the end credits. Not revealing much, apart from the fact that nearly everything was done by the same two people, it did give a clue in thanking radio station "KNHC 89.5" at the end. This turns out to be a 'high school station' in Seattle. They have a website (although unfortunately I can't remember the address since I accessed it from work! - try doing a search on 'radio station KNHC' or something!) Anyway, Seattle. That narrows it down a bit. Can anyone else add to the tale of this film, which , 15 years after it was made is still proving a mystery!!

"One theory of mine is that it may have been made by students, given the school locations and setting(?!) or by people working in local TV or something... Grateful as always for any info!"
 


UPDATE 2: I got this letter from Sean MacQueen Smith:

"I think I can help out with a few of the mysteries about the movie Revenge Of The Teenage Vixens from Outer Space. First, the radio station KNHC was mentioned by somebody else in the clues section.  It is true that this is a local high school station, called C-89 which specializes in techno music and bad DJ's.  The high school is Nathan Hale, in Seattle. Second, the site of the movie is Lakeside Upper School, a small private high school in North Seattle that I went to.  Most of the filming took place in Bliss Hall (the one with the clock tower). Interestingly, this is the same high school that Paul Allen, Bill Gates and a few other famous Seattleites went to. Hope this helps. BTW, if you want to take a look at the website for the school, go to: http://www.lakesideschool.org"


UPDATE 3: Another reader sent me this:

"I stumbled across your site while trying to locate an inexpensive copy of this film. (Which I'm still trying to do, so if you have any leads I'd be most appreciative.) I saw your musings re: the film's makers and can give you a bit of indirect history on the film...it's pretty funny actually. All I ask is that you don't reveal my identity if you post this update on your site - if I'm found out I'll be shot!

"I have my reasons for wanting to see the movie, you see. I received my undergraduate degree at the University of Washington in Seattle, in Industrial Design. While I was there I became acquainted with one student by the name of Howard Lichter, a senior in the program. He was intensely serious and prone to intimidation. He took himself and his design work very seriously. He was also an accomplished master of the tea ceremony, and co-taught a tea class at the tea garden at the Seattle Arboretum. He treated me pretty indifferently (as he did most of the students), but my worst interaction with him was interviewing for an internship at a design firm in town which he worked at after he graduated. He sat me down, turned on the firm's stereo full volume, and then expected me to answer questions over the blasting music. In short I'd say he enjoyed messing with people's heads.

"About a year after I graduated and had moved away, I received a surprising phone call from a former classmate who had been watching late night TV and stumbled across Revenge of the Teenage Vixens from  Outer Space. The lead in the film looked awfully familiar until ... he realized it was Howard! He immediately called Howard's former  girlfriend, and she said he was really embarrassed about it, but yes, he had done the movie years before under a different name. She said  Howard's sister wrote the script.

"Naturally, I've hunted around online and confirmed an Ellen Lichter is in the film credits (look at the credits, lots of Lichters there). Howard Scott is obviously a stage name (maybe it's his middle name?) I can't say when, where or why the film was made, but the update on your site crediting a prep school in Seattle fits Howard's personality perfectly. Who knows, maybe they made the film as a project while in high school.

"So, where is he now...? Again, some online hunting reveals:

http://www.atcm.org/publ/World%20Congress/wcintro10.htm

"Hee, hee. I wonder if Nike knows..."


UPDATE 4: From "Ric":

"I was recently researching this movie and discovered your web site.  I have a few bits of information that can help shed some light on the history of this movie.  I can confirm that the movie was filmed in north Seattle, WA circa 1981 and was not released until 1985 and then again in 1986.  I believe there are two edited version of the film one 72 minutes long (1985) and other 84 minutes long (1986) although I have not confirmed this.  I have only seen the movie once on cable and am not sure which version was being played.  I currently work with one of the actors from the film and she has given me little bits of information about the film but seems kind of embarrassed to talk real in-depth about it.  Back when the film was shot she was 16-17 years old and will be turning 39 this week.  Her acting name at the time was Bonnie McKnight (the girl in the car) and she acted the part with her real life boyfriend of the time, Steve Thompson (his real name).  Well, I hope this helps any of those curious enough to wonder."


UPDATE 5: Charles Trafford wrote in to say:

"I dated one of the cast (Susanne Dailey - a vixen)  back in 1985.  The film was shot in Seattle around 1984 and was entered in the Seattle Film Festival."

Check for availability on Amazon (DVD)

See also: Sinbad Of The Seven Seas, Blood Freak, The High Crusade

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