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Maria's "B" Movie Mayhem: Riot on 42nd St. / Bad Girls Dormitory

2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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(Nov 08, 2011)
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Code Red
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005ION4T2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,957 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Under a different name and in another genre, Tim Kincaid actually enjoys a reputation as a gifted director (John Waters called him an auteur). That name is Joe Gage and that genre is gay porn. Under his nom de porn, Kincaid had directed such 1970s genre classics as "Kansas City Trucking Co." and "El Paso Wrecking Corp.", movies that actually show an artistic flair. Like so many directors of adult movies--Tom DeSimone, Gregory Dark--he made the jump to R-rated exploitation movies in the 1980s, directing as Tim Kincaid.

As evidenced by this double feature, no one would call Tim Kincaid an auteur, not even John Waters.

If a high school drama club were to decide that instead of putting on a production of "Our Town" or "South Pacific" it would make a trashy exploitation movie, it might look like "RIOT ON 42ND ST." (albeit with less nudity). Except "Riot" isn't even that good. John Hayden went on to have a lengthy acting career ("The Social Network" is a recent credit), but as the ex-con Glen he's just a glowering mustache, returning to "the Deuce" to re-open his family's old nightclub, the Garage. He's undeterred by a cabbie's ongoing monologue about what a sleazy cesspool the street has become (roller skating thugs are a particular problem, apparently). Besides, Glen has more serious threats with which to contend, namely a rival club owner Farrell (Michael Speero). When Farrell isn't fighting with his mouthy alcoholic girlfriend he's ordering his muscled, mulleted henchman--who can pull a bullet out of his arm with his teeth!--to menace the stoic Glen.
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This is the first of the Maria collections I have seen. Both movies are set in 80's NYC. Both are extremely cheap and trashy. As far as B movies go these really scrape the bottom of the barrel. Picture quality is pretty good. Riot on 42nd has lots of outdoor shots of the city which I really enjoyed. I was a bit disappointed in the extras. There are a lot of trailers which was nice. There is a music video of Maria which is awful and unwatchable. There is an option to watch the movies with Maria. This is just a 30 second introduction by her, she does not give any commentary during the movie. They missed a big chance her as there is tons to make fun of in both films. Consider this just for the movies, the Maria packaging does not add anything at all.
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Having seen lots and lots of this kind of stuff through the years, this two-film collection isn't one of the best. In fact it's among the worst.

The problem is the original material rather than the extras, which actually help the presentation significantly. I'd never heard of Maria Kanellis before this but she's actually very cute and a good host. The added trailers from other movies also is always appreciated.

Beyond that, we have "Riot on 42nd Street," which is, quite certainly, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Production values are pretty poor, but you'd expect that. What hurts this one is the editing and storytelling, which are so helter-skelter that I never really could figure out what was going on. The best that I could figure, it's about a turf war between two club/theater owners, but there's so much jumping around through space and time that it's hard to decipher which is which most of the time. The acting is workable, but the pacing and narrative are just atrocious. And the movie was shot almost entirely in the dark, leading to an eye headache extraordinaire. There is a little bit of topless nudity but not nearly enough in that realm to make this exciting enough to overcome all of the other negative qualities. The biggest head-scratcher actually is the release date, 1987. You'd expect crap this bad to have been produced at least 15 years prior, but nay.

The second film is a women-in-prison flick from the same director, "Bad Girls Dormitory," from 1985. It actually has (very) slightly better production values and acting, and the pacing and story are significantly better.
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