Chased by Monsters (extra on Monsters Crash the Pajama Party Spook Show Spectacular DVD (Something Weird, 2001)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

Ever have one of those dreams where you're being chased by a monster but you can only run really slowly, like you're going through molasses? I bet it wasn't nearly as hokey as this clip from an LSD exploitation film that Something Weird dug up. A pathetic shmoe is chased by a bunch of Freudian female monsters. Like I said, this is hokey as all get-out.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Headline Stories of the Century (Questar Video, 1992). [Category: News]

A "photo album" of newsreel clips documenting pop culture trends from the mid 20s to the early 60s. "Photo album" is an apt description of this tape, as the clips are quite brief and have added narration. I wish they would have shown the whole newsreels with their original narration. Still, there are some interesting moments here, such as Billy Sunday raving against the demon rum, the mayor of Buffalo banning kissing (it spreads influenza), some really obnoxious hog callers, and a convention of fan dancers arguing about proper fan length.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

As the Twig Is Bent.

Made during World War II by Aetna Life & Casualty, this film encourages parents to make a special effort to look after their kids during wartime. It fairly accurately spells out the special problems the war was creating for children, such as lack of adult supervision, family upheaval, and teens dropping out of school to take jobs in war production. But, like many corporate-sponsored films, it places responsibility for these problems entirely in the lap of the individual, which seems particularly ridiculous during a worldwide war. This individual-blaming really takes the cake when the film asserts that so many of the generation who were children during World War I became criminals solely because of parental failure. Aw, c'mon––don't you think the Depression and Prohibition bootlegging had at least a little bit to do with it? The film then tells parents that it is their duty to maintain as normal a home life as possible for their children––how parents are supposed to do this when Daddy's off fighting the war, Mommy's working in a defense plant, and the family has just moved to a trailer court in a defense boomtown far from their extended family is not spelled out. A real guilt producer.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ***.

Bandaid Commercial (film #2 in the Comercial Section of Movieflix ( [Category: Commercial]

An evil clown encourages kids to injure themselves so they can put Bandaids with stars on them on their cuts. Unfortunately, he's only a Bucky Beaver wanna-be, but this is pretty campy all the same.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

Back to Nature (extra on The Beast That Killed Women/The Monster of Camp Sunshine DVD (Something Weird, 2001)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

A bunch of naked people frolic in a nudist colony. They swim, ride horses, swordfight, have barbecues, do laundry (towels only), and go rock climbing, all while carefully keeping their backs to the camera or draping a towel casually over their naughty bits. It's all supposed to be so wholesome, but you just know that this film is designed for ogling purposes. Most disturbing is the male shower sequence and the thoroughly disgusting-looking barbecue.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

Arteries of New York City (film #83 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

Fairly dry film about the various transportation routes into and out of New York City. It does have lots of historically interesting scenes of NYC in the 50s, though.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.

Amie en Matiere Plastique (film #3 in the Indie Section of Movieflix). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

A nerdy guy gives a heartfelt marriage proposal to...his inflatable love doll. Har-de-har-har. I saw this one coming a mile away. Still, it's lots better than Asphyxiated Heart, even counting the scene of him sucking the doll's fingers.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: *. Overall Rating: **.

Berkeley, California Fire

Berkeley, California Fire.

Silent newsreel footage of a devastating 1923 fire that destroyed much of Berkeley, California. Footage of the fire is followed by scenes of the aftermath and cleanup efforts. Most interesting is a few brief scenes of homeless fire victims cheerily making the best of it by cooking outdoors or playing a rescued piano. Mostly, this is just a historical document, though.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

All Out for Victory (film #43 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

Firestone produced this World War II film, in which it shows us all the different kinds of war materials being produced in its plant. It's a fascinating historical document, because it shows the diversity of workers hired for war production. Blind workers unravel the ends of parachute straps, a one-armed man operates a one-handed hole-punching machine, deaf workers work in the noisiest part of the factory, elderly men come out of retirement to offer their well-honed skills, and, of course, women are everywhere. It's also interesting to see the wide variety of war materials Firestone produced and how they produced them. And it's a stirring piece of propaganda, as we are constantly reminded that relatives of these workers who are in the armed services depend in a life-or-death way on the quality of these materials. For instance, one woman's son was saved by a lifebelt that she herself had inspected (it had her inspection stamp on it). This is shown to make the workers extra careful about the quality of their work. One of the better industrial incentive films that was made.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

Air Transportation (film #31 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

This 50s vocational guidance film outlines the various kinds of jobs available in the airline industry. It's pretty dry, though there is some interesting gender-related material, particularly the requirements for stewardesses. And there's some historical interest, if you're looking for information on how the airlines were in the 50s.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: *. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.

Better Reading

Better Reading . Teenager Harold Wilson has a problem—he can’t read for (expletive deleted). So he has to spend all his free time studying ...