Revenge of the Teenage Vixens from Outer Space (Jeff Ferrell)
“The Vixens are coming… the Vixens are coming… They’ve landed on earth to wreak havoc on the male student bodies at Mayland High School. The Vixens come from a far off planetary system and every so often they’ll visit earth to fulfill their ravenous desires. Unfortunately, the adolescent boys are no match for these lustful female aliens, and in their frustration the Vixens start zapping them with ray guns. So what’s a teenager to do? Be sure to see this fun filled high-camp classic. You’ll stare in awe at the shapely Vixens. You’ll bite your fingernails to the knuckles trying to figure out how to save the earth from the foxy zappers! You’re sure to have the strangest dreams of your life after you see this remarkable film!”—- Video box blurb.
Very few films that set out trying to be ‘cult’ actually manage it. Movies like ‘Assault of the Killer Bimbos’, ‘Surf Nazis Must Die’ and ‘Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers’ all failed, to some extent, to live up to their titles. However, now and again, one appears that deserves fame for completely different reasons to those it aspires to. Such a film is ‘Revenge of the Teenage Vixens from Outer Space’, picked up for 4.99 in a car boot sale near Heathrow Airport and never seen anywhere else before or since. It’s roughly the cinematic equivalent of a footballer trying a shot from 25 yards out, miskicking, and still scoring via two defenders and the post.
There are no name actors in the film at all. To make up for this, there are several actors with interesting, rather than famous, names. One such person is called Sterling Ramburg. Whether this is his real one or not is uncertain: if the former, he is deserving of some sympathy; the latter and it’s a sharp tap on the wrist for borrowing the name of a second division West German soccer team (“Bayern Munich 5, Sterling Ramberg 1”). Meanwhile, the leading lady is Lisa Schwedop and we also have an Amy Crumpacker and a Julian Schembri; scarcely the most lyrical names I’ve heard.
We first meet the cliches, sorry, characters at a party in the woods. There’s Danny the Macho Asshole (Ramburg), Stephanie the Bimbo Bitch (Crumpacker), Carla the Nice Girl (Schwedop) and Paul the Squeaky Clean (the relatively normally-named Howard Scott). After some rambling conversation we see, posed against a background of dry ice, the four Teenage Vixens. Carla returns home and finds said TV’s there; she’s remarkably unfazed by the presence in her front room at 2 a.m of bimbos wearing off-the-shoulder Bacofoil, greeting them with a mild ‘What are you doing here?’. They explain that they received a copy of a magazine (called “Teen Drivel” – that’s the wittiest idea in the film, folks!) and are wanting some pointers on boys, having just ‘moved to the area’. Carla’s brother, a DJ, returns home and also barely notices the TV’s (who deserve to join Wendy O. Williams in the geriatric teenager hall of fame).
The next day, at school. One of the TV’s, Zodie, arrives in Biology class, given by Mr. Morelli (Schembri), who is Paul’s father. We discover that Stephanie has the hots for the teacher; he rejects her, only to find Zodie has the same idea. Here the film earns the ’15’ certificate as she rubs the stalk of a flower, which moans squeakily before spurting nectar all over the place and drooping. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that somewhere in the bowels of the BBFC is a big, black book with “Explicit masturbation of flora – 15 rating” written in it…
It’s about now we get a shower scene. Or at least, a brief shot of a shower head, which there may or may not be anyone using – as happens so often in this movie, any nudity and violence happens out of shot. However, since it takes place in the BOYS changing room (the director clearly hasn’t quite got the hang of exploitation!), this coyness is probably a good thing.
Clara and Paul go on a date. Zodie visits Mr. Morrelli for some ‘private tuition’ (out of shot). Stephanie and Danny break into the school for a quick (out of shot) session on the teacher’s desk. The Vixens are chewing their way through the male population (out of shot), which annoys the hell out of the local girls, who give their guys an ultimatum: leave the TV’s alone, or suffer the consequences. For the record, the consequences involve getting yoghurt poured down your shorts. This, surprisingly, happens IN shot.
Stephanie finds out about Mr. Morelli’s extra-curricular activities with Zodie, and gets him suspended. He reveals to his son that the TV’s were here before, 16 years ago – he’d had a dalliance with one and Paul was the result. In a moment of high drama, he also reveals that they are not of this earth!! At least, it might be high drama, if this fact wasn’t already blatantly apparent from the title of the film. Mr. Morelli rushes out to find them, hoping his one is with them again; Paul goes to collect Clara and follow his father.
Our hero has just discovered his powers as a half-alien, specifically that “by thinking about things, I can make them happen” (it says a lot for his intelligence that he has reached the age of 15 without noticing this talent). And what is the first thing he does with his ability to alter reality? He undoes Carla’s dress without touching it. Wow. Naturally, we see nothing apart from a bikini line that could have been drawn with a ruler, and has ‘sun-lamp’ written all over it.
Up at the old school, where the TV’s are based (we know it’s an old school, because there’s a sign next to it saying ‘old school’), Mr Morelli meets his old flame, who is now a Queen of the Teenage Vixens and is wearing a milk-bottle top dressing gown. The TV’s ‘came to find love’, having received the misdirected copy of ‘Teen Drivel’, but have been a little disappointed with the boys here.
Said TV’s begin to get nasty when the local girls try to rail-road them out of town. One turns into a cat (out of shot, and the cat is an average moggie, nothing cool like a black panther. I’m sure there’s a joke in there about pussy; that’s where it’s going to stay.) and savages a girl to death (out of shot). The other girls, despite their ability to change space-time, resort to good old-fashioned ray guns which turn the rest of the students (tho’ Danny & Stephanie escape) to vegetables, Mr. Potato Head style, complete with high-pitched voices and little beady eyes. 90% of this happens, yes, you guessed it, out of shot; since the effects for the remainder are the most un-special I’ve seen, it’s easy to understand why. We next see Peter and Carla post (out of shot) coital bliss in the back of a car, though by the next scene, the car’s totally vanished and they’re walking along railway tracks. They return to the old school and discover the vixens are from a planet where there are no men and they have to mate with plants (which probably explains why they are so good at giving hand-jobs to flowers).
Peter & Carla go home and meet Carla’s brother, just in time to see Danny get his come-uppance when the TV’s turn him into a giant pickle. Then the TV’s really start to get their ass in gear despite the efforts of a rampaging mob of villagers to prevent them, though the efforts are little more than a set-up for a weak joke :
“We all saw those girls, there’s nothing like them on Earth!”
“Well, there’s Brooke Shields…”
The town of Springfield is turned into a summer squash; Laurel Heights becomes a humongous courgette. Mayland is evacuated (though there is no-one else on the roads ) and the military prepare to attack – cue stock footage of planes, tanks and soldiers. Mr. Morelli has returned to warn the TV’s, which is where his son and friends catch up with him. Now things get VERY confused. The Queen of the TV’s leaps up through the roof (FX – something being pulled, with a very visible string, through a model roof) with Mr. Morelli clinging to her legs and they both crash into a plane. John uses his ‘talent’ – “There’s no place like home” – to return to the TV’s planet and escape the rapidly arriving Air Force. The End.
“Fun filled, high-camp cult classic…” claims the video box. What they forget is that there’s more to high-camp than bad acting; while “Reform School Girls” was superbly OTT, the entire cast here seems doped up to the eyeballs on Valium. It’s strained attempts at matiness (asides to the camera such as “Well, it’s not THAT far fetched!) provoke nausea; the complete lack of sex and violence leave only the sheer awfulness to sustain the viewer through what is claimed to be 72 minutes, but seems a LOT longer. In that department, at least, it does not disappoint…
Around 2000, I did some further research. While a lot of the links are no longer active, here’s what I found out.
- Ryan Johnson was in the film. And oddly, doesn’t want to deny all knowledge. Interestingly, he also says the producers never sold the overseas rights, meaning the British copy I got was a bootleg. The obvious question is, “Why?”.
- Greywizard’s Unknown Movies did some detective work; the film was made in Seattle, and the site is Lakeside Upper School, which was Bill Gates’ high school, apparently.
- According to the Internet Movie Database, the 18 people listed in the cast cast mustered three other movies between them. Julian Schembri was 21st billed in the River Phoenix film Dogfight, while Anne Lilly (Mary Jo) did Medium Straight (available on Yahoo Broadcast) and Drawing Down the Moon, starring Walter Koenig.
- Should you care, the Drawing Down the Moon website has some more info on Lilly. If I may digress for a moment and quote from it: “Our movie contains some interesting ideas: Homeless people are people like us!”. I sense another potential IBFS entry. Spookily, it was released direct-to-video two days before I started writing these notes. What are the odds against that?
- But DVD-Daily magazine for August 13th, 1999 reports that, according to Variety, David Paymer (Payback), Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) and Jennifer Lewis (Blast from the Past) will team for director Joey Travolta’s indie roadshow, Partners. The comedy, from Revenge of the Teenage Vixens from Outer Space writer-director Jeff A. Ferrell, chronicles “the adventures of a drifter (Van Dien) and a strait-laced man (Paymer) who are inadvertently brought together by a briefcase containing an important computer disk.” Can’t wait…