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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: The Cheerleaders Collection



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#1 of 9 Michael Osadciw

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Posted October 17 2003 - 04:05 AM

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THE CHEERLEADERS
COLLECTION







Studio: Anchor Bay
Genre: Comedy
SRP: US$39.98

The Cheerleaders
Year: 1972
Rated: X
Film Length: 82 min.
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: DD 2.0 mono
Subtitles: none

Revenge of the Cheerleaders
Year: 1975
Rated: R
Film Length: 87 min.
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: DD 2.0 mono
Subtitles: none

The Swinging Cheerleaders
Year: 1974
Rated: R
Film Length: 91 min.
Aspect Ratio: Non-enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Audio: DD 1.0 mono
Subtitles: none




Release Date: August 05, 2003



Ahhh…the high school days…there was the chess club, the librarians, the cool guys, the geeks, the pervert teachers, the jocks, and, oh yes…those cheerleaders…

The cheerleaders, representing every growing boy’s desire and fantasy are brought to the big screen to make us men lust for those smiling youthful and tight-topped bouncing girls. As the cover of the DVD box art says: “These girls don’t ‘bring it on’, they take it off!” I couldn’t agree more with this! With each movie having its own disc, this 3-disc The Cheerleaders Collection features barely legal high school girls getting down and dirty with the football team(s), teachers, fathers, and anyone else they can get laid by. These girls live to get laid, and for the ‘70s soft porn drive-in and grind house theatres this was a refreshing film. There were already many films of swinging nurses, stewardesses, and teachers. The vibrancy of youth in this film and the identification by the audience was icing on the cake.

The first Cheerleaders film was released in 1972 and had trouble with the film’s financers because of the exploitive nature of the movie. Director Paul Glickler managed to keep the film going after some executives from Montreal, Canada came to the set and loved what they saw. Starting off with only a few available prints regionally, the movie became a hit nationwide within months.

The story revolves around 15 year old Jeannie (Stephanie Fondue) who wants to loose her virginity. Knowing she isn’t going to get it on with her current boyfriend Norm (who is a workaholic but protective of her), she decides to join the Amoroso High’s Cheerleader’s squad in hopes of getting laid. With the help of the cheerleaders, who are the horniest of all teenagers, we get to see everything from attempted gang rape, student/teacher lesbianism, pervert janitors, and suburban sex fiend fathers. These girls have to make sure their team wins the championship and has a plan to suck the energy out of the other team.

The acting is the worst I’ve seen in a while, but the sex is always constant but is presented innocently in this film despite how morally disturbing it may be to today’s level of thought. This film could be feminism at its best: girls taking control of their own sexuality to control the weak minds of males as the girls dominate them.

The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974) takes on a whole new approach. Written and directed by Jack Hill [Spider Baby, The Big Doll House, Foxy Brown, Coffy], the story now takes place at Mesa State University where Kate (Jo Johnson – who reminds me of Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science) goes undercover as a cheerleader to write about the ‘female exploitation in contemporary society’ only to find that there is some other shady deals going on with school officials rigging the outcomes of the football games.

This movie is a turn from the first because there is a story. Wow! Actually, with the improved acting this movie was rather enjoyable to watch. It was filled with laughs (and I’m not just talking about the ‘70s attire, either) and convincing rolls played by the talents.

This movie is also different from the first because the cheerleaders (played by Colleen Camp, Rosanne Katon [Playboy’s ’78 playmate], and adorable Cheryl ‘Rainbeaux’ Smith), seem more naïve rather than dominating. It does not have the female empowerment of the first film, and would seem more of a film about the exploitation of females. Thus The Swinging Cheerleaders is not really swinging at all. Like almost all sequels, they don’t live up to the first film especially when another director and writer take over. Fans of ‘70s soft porn will be disappointed when watching this film if boobs and sex is your goal. I thought this film was more enjoyable than the first because of the better acting and tighter story. That’s just me even though I do appreciate all of the other stuff just as equally.

Finally, to wrap up the series, and considered to be the true sequel to The Cheerleaders, director by Richard Lerner (who had co-written, co-produced and shot the first film) brings Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1975) to the screen. The story takes us back to high school where sex and drugs corrupt the morality of the students. Evil developers are trying to capitalize on this by exposing it to the local press and so they can plough down the school for new development. This film comes back to the soft core sex of the first film to a lesser degree, but is charming nonetheless with performances from Jerii Woods, Susie Elene, Patrice Rohmer, July ’76 Penthouse Pet Helen Lang, and a early performance from David Hasselhoff (a performance he is most embarrassed of in his career. Chances are you will not find this feature listed in his biography).

Still the story was more enjoyable than the first and features rather numerous and lengthy dance sequences as well as an extended drug sequence where everyone in the school gets high from a hard mix of spaghetti sauce and drugs. Let the hormones fly!

So how does each disc perform compared to the actresses?


The Cheerleaders

PICTURE QUALITY? Posted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

The 1.85:1 enhanced widescreen image is rather poor. With loads of film grain throughout, the image lacks three-dimensionality because of undefined black levels and poor sharpness. Colours are muted and have a pasty look that resembles much of what I remember of low budget ‘70s films. There are also a lot of dirt specs that mar the image from a better presentation. This picture leaves you wanting.

SOUND QUALITY? Posted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, the sound is strident and thin, but at least dialogue is intelligible. There is background hiss and pops here and there, and is far from a full-range mono signal. Don’t expect too many cheers for this soundtrack.


SPECIAL FEATURES? Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

We are treated with an audio commentary with writer/producer/director Paul Glickler and writer Ace Baandige. I enjoyed listening to the commentary more than watching the film. It has its funny moments as they reflect back to shooting the film and how it was financed and perceived by everyone involved.

We also get some behind the scenes stills, cheerleader cheesecake gallery, posters and advertising art, production stills gallery, theatrical trailer and radio spots.



Revenge of the Cheerleaders

PICTURE QUALITY? Posted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Despite being filmed after the much better looking The Swinging Cheerleaders, this widescreen enhanced 1.85:1 image looks the same as the The Cheerleaders. Director Richard Learner wanted to carefully match the film stock of the first film, so he did quite successfully. The image is the same muted and undefined image that plagued the first film. Lack of solid blacks, with an over-contrasted look and undefined colours makes this presentation rather poor. This is the uncut version of this film and was sourced from two different elements, and Anchor Bay even notifies the viewer at the beginning of the film of its poor picture quality that will hopefully not detract the viewer from the enjoyment of the film. Even though the picture sucked, I still had my laughs.


SOUND QUALITY? Posted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack is similar in quality of the first film, although at times it really is an ear-bleeder. Treble dominates this film so I recommend listening to it at lower volumes. The only other issue is dialogue is less intelligible than the first film. Cheers from the girls are mashed into this bright screech and the words can barely be made out. Not pleasant for the ears, especially if you are one to love bright metal tweeters. Be careful, she’s a screamer!


SPECIAL FEATURES? Posted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

On this disc, all we get is an audio commentary with ex-cheerleaders Heather Swanson and Lisa Webber, an 8 minute featurette which is silent behind the scenes footage put to music from the film, some theatrical trailers, tv spots and a radio spot.



The Swinging Cheerleaders

PICTURE QUALITY? Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

This is the best looking film of the three regarding both image quality and cinematography, but unfortunately is not presented with an enhanced widescreen option. It looks to be framed at about 1.75:1, and the image is free from large artefacts and has minor film grain. The only bad looking scenes are the football action sequences. They have major grain and scratches and have a ‘cool’ look to them (eg. Grass is blue-green). They were clearly not shot for this film, but rather look like 8mms of college games with a spectator-packed stadium inter-cut between the film’s cheerleaders’ scenes and the actors who clearly do not look like they are about to play football (especially since the parking lots are empty in the background when the scoreboard is shown). The rest of the film has solid blacks but shadow detail is satisfactory. A neutral colour palette and adequate sharpness makes this a pleasing three-dimensional presentation. I felt like I was watching a film from a totally different series. Enhanced widescreen would have made the fun even better.


SOUND QUALITY? Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

The soundtrack is mono and presented properly in Dolby Digital 1.0. It is surprisingly clean of noise and has a balanced frequency response that made watching this film more pleasant than the other two. Dialogue was always intelligible and even the music score has broadened to include strings rather than just a cheesy ‘70s soft porn pop soundtrack.


SPECIAL FEATURES? Posted ImagePosted Image/Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Features are small on this disc like the other two and features an audio commentary with director Jack Hill and film historian Johnny Legend, and tv spots.



THOUGHTS…

This collection represents exploitation of females at its best. The male fantasy of being in the girls locker room with empowered young women glorifying their sexuality through exposing their breasts, taking drugs and having unprotected sex with some pretty nasty looking dudes is lived in these films. The ‘70s was the decade for this genre of films spawning many cheerleader spin-offs that died during the ‘80s and ’90s. In 2000 the film ‘Bring It On’ was the most prominent of new cheerleader films, although with a much respectable tone to the characters. So if you are in the need for some lusty all-natural young cheerleaders getting it on and taking it off, The Cheerleaders Collection is rooting for you.

Michael Osadciw
03.10.17
Warner Bros. Blu-ray Reviewer
Anchor Bay/Starz Entertainment Blu-ray Reviewer

THX/ISF Professional Video Calibrator
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#2 of 9 Paul Arnette

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Posted October 17 2003 - 08:02 AM

Dude, where are screenshots when you need them! Posted Image
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#3 of 9 richardWI

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Posted October 17 2003 - 09:25 AM

I thought I'd read that The Cheerleaders later had some hardcore porn inserted (!) into the movie. I see it's rated "X" here, so can anyone confirm or deny?

#4 of 9 Jesse Skeen

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Posted October 17 2003 - 02:07 PM

Not really hardcore, but during the commentary they point out a few scenes that were cut for the R version.
Great set, but I was a little annoyed since I already had "The Swinging Cheerleaders" and had to buy it again to get the other 2 movies, since they're not available seperately. They should've just put the first 2 out as a double-feature disc, or redone Swinging Cheerleaders in 16x9 at least.
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#5 of 9 Fred_Krampits

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Posted November 04 2003 - 10:33 AM

This movie is a good example of what was X-rated 30 years ago and what is a mild R now!

Barbarella, Midnight Cowboy were both rated X initially and barely rate a R now!
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#6 of 9 Victoria K.

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Posted November 04 2003 - 02:20 PM

I saw the R version by accident once. It ran only 70 minutes & had everything cut out!

I finally saw the uncut version & what a great fun film it isPosted Image

I think it would still get an NC-17 today. You know how uptight the MPAA viws nudity,then add in sexuality. Proves we are still pretty conservative today(which is a shame) than we think. Afterall,violence always seems more acceptable than nudity in this country,go figure?

#7 of 9 Dan Rudolph

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Posted November 04 2003 - 06:16 PM

Barbarella was never X. It was an M, which was given a R when the rating was introduced. It was edited down to a PG in 1977 by removing the nudity (and there was very little to begin with).
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#8 of 9 Jon Hertzberg

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Posted November 05 2003 - 01:58 AM

I think it would still get an NC-17 today. You know how uptight the MPAA viws nudity,then add in sexuality. Proves we are still pretty conservative today(which is a shame) than we think. Afterall,violence always seems more acceptable than nudity in this country,go figure?

I must agree with you here. Throughout the 70s, the carryover effect of the new ratings system was quite evident in American cinema. There was, I think, a palpable excitement coming from these films and their makers, in terms of what could now be shown in mainstream films. And, in hindsight, the times were a lot more liberal than the current era.

Sure, a lot of these films were exploitation films, but there is a strange innocence about them, which I think is evident in and works quite well for the films like the Cheeleaders series.

Sometime during the Reagan era, the trend reversed and we a see a helluva lot more violence than nudity in our R-rated films.

It's also quite interesting to note the often quite mature content found in PG films of the 70s (before the ever handy and useful PG-13 rating.) Posted Image Some favorites of this category, that come to mind, are Phantom of the Paradise and Electra Glide in Blue.

Let's not even get started on the usefulness of the NC-17 rating which seems to be reserved only for films with "objectionable" sexual content.

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#9 of 9 Dan Rudolph

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Posted November 05 2003 - 09:53 PM

From what I've seen up until 1980 or so, you couldn't make an R without a little nudity. It often slipped into PGs even.
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