Alexander’s Ragtime Band (film #3 on Sabucat Movie Trailers). [Category: Commercial]

Trailer for a bouncy 40s musical of the type they don’t make anymore. This is pretty ordinary, but it has some nostalgia value.

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

Progress Island (MST3K Episode #621: The Beast of Yucca Flats (short #2)). [Category: Commercial]

This is probably the worst short they've ever done, both in terms of the film itself and their msting of it. The film is a promotional travelogue for Puerto Rico made in the early 70s. They're trying really hard here to get more tourism and industrial development in their country while at the same time showing how completely modern and successful it already is. These two goals constantly undercut each other, creating a slightly bizarre tension. But mostly the film is rather dull, like most travelogues. The msting seems to be mostly on the level of the " not present!" joke over and over.

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

Sex Psycho Trailers (extra on The Psycho Lover/Heat of Madness DVD (Something Weird, 2003)). [Category: Sleaze & Outsider]

A collection of trailers from 70s exploitation movies about psycho madmen who like to rape and kill women. Being one myself (a woman, not a psycho madman, you dingbat), this is not my cup of tea. I will say that the last trailer, for Scream Bloody Murder, is mildly campy, featuring as it does the term “Gore-nography” and a gimmick blindfold that was given out free to audience members. Also, seeing Haley Mills here is a tragic testament to the fate of child stars in this culture.

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

Christmas Island (film #1 in the 0800064 JTF-8 Presents Operation Dominic section of DOE Nevada). [Category: Military & Propaganda]

The narrator tells us a little bit about the history of Christmas Island, then says that nothing else in its history has given it as much notability as being blown up by an atomic bomb. Appalling and mercifully short.

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

Plan for Pleasant Living (film #3 on The 1950s Time Capsule (Video Resources, 1994)). [Category:Industrial]

Why, hello! So nice of you to drop by the Good Housekeeping Model Home! A smiling perfect 50s housewife gives us a tour of a perfect 50s suburban home for a perfect 50s family, complete with twin beds in the master bedroom, sparkling new kitchen appliances, garishly colored wallpaper and upholstery, and telephones in every room, including the bathroom, the little boys' bedroom, and the patio (you don't suppose the Bell System had a hand in making this film, do you?). Campy elements include the hostess' super-bright white teeth; the first person perspective of the film, complete with complimentary comments you're supposed to be thinking ("Why how lovely!", "That's certainly practical!", etc.); and a deliveryman who's confused by the disembodied voice of the hostess coming through an intercom system (and the strong implication that the great thing about the intercom is that nice middle class housewives like our hostess won't have to deal with working class people like the deliveryman face-to-face). Everything is so darn "nice" and "lovely" that after awhile you just want to scream. A great slice of 50s suburbia at its campiest.

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

Accidents Don’t Just Happen (film #33 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Public Service]

After operating unsuccessfully on an accident victim, a sleep-deprived doctor relaxes in the tiny, ill-equipped doctor’s lounge and settles down to read a government pamphlet on accident prevention. The pamphlet does a good job of putting him to sleep, but he ends up having a weird animated dream about accident prevention, in which he helps a limited-animation family become “accident free” by having the wife lose weight (this is considered to be a major cause of this family’s accidents, for some reason––she ends up with a 50s hourglass figure and blonde hair, to boot) and getting the husband a pair of glasses. The dream ends by insisting that more money be spent on research into accidents, so that they can be “conquered” like polio was, and insisting that the doctor get seat belts in his car. Before it can get to the dangers of sleep-deprivation, though, the doctor is awakened for another round of surgery on accident victims. This is mildly weird, with plenty of the 50s “cute” style animation, though it somehow seems foreboding here. At least this is one safety film that doesn’t attribute accidents to “carelessness.”

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

Big Man on Campus (film #215 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

High school student Jerry Warner sits in front of the principal's office, his life flashing before his eyes. Mostly it's a life filled with such horrible crimes as throwing milk cartons, riding a bicycle with no hands, and spray-painting a teacher's lab coat. Jerry narrates his life story, and either puberty is still several years in the future for him, or they got a 4th-grader to dub in his voice. Jerry gets suspended for his pranks and this causes him to turn over a new leaf in the direction of conformity to adult expectations. He'd better, or I'm sure Sid Davis has gruesome consequences in mind for him.

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

Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things

Beginning Responsibility: Taking Care of Things . Grade-schooler Andy is a slacker in the taking-care-of-things department, so he suffers t...