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Video Rewind: Cult Camp Classics Vol. 3

Updated on November 7, 2014
"Oh, Tom! I can't drive this!" Jeanne Crain cries as Dana Andrews takes the wheel while daughter Laurie Mock looks on
"Oh, Tom! I can't drive this!" Jeanne Crain cries as Dana Andrews takes the wheel while daughter Laurie Mock looks on

When one of my friends saw an article in the paper about campy movies she immediately cut it out and gave it to me the. Am I glad she did.

The first set I watched was Cult Camp Classics Vol. 3 "Terrorized Travelers," which includes Zero Hour! (the basis of Airplane!). Along with this high flying drama are Skyjacked and my new favorite Hot Rods to Hell (aka 52 Miles to Terror). The latter is so bad I've never cried so much while laughing.

Beginning with Skyjacked the friendly skies aren't so friendly when a hijacker takes over a Boeing 707 piloted by disaster fave Charlton Heston. Remember Heston took control of another famous doomed flight in Airport '75 (taking over from Karen Black at the controls) and made a safe landing in Salt Lake.

This time he's forced to fly to Russia with a limited manifest as most of the passengers were released earlier in the film. Those taking a detour to Russia include head stew Yvette Mimieux; pregnant Mariette Hartley; Vietnam vet James Brolin; The Shaws (Jeanne Crain and Ross Elliot); Roosevelt Grier; Susan Dey and Sen. Arne Lindner and son (Walter Pidgeon and Nicholas Hammond).

While Heston has to contend with the hijacker, Mimieux and passengers have to deal with the early arrival of Hartley's baby.

This is somewhat of a yawner but the fun just begins when we go into Zero Hour!

It's just another routine Canadian flight when passengers and crew succumb to food poisoning so it's up to Ted Stryker (Dana Andrews) to fly the plane. However, since this is the film in which the parody is based on, Stryker is trying to get his wife back (Linda Darnell) before she sets up shop across the country. Also on board is their son Joey (Raymond Ferrell) and one stewardess (Peggy King) plus the sick and dying passengers who chose the seafood over the lamb dinner.

If you've always wondered where all the great lines came from in Airplane! it doesn't take a rocket scientist to follow this script. Add a few characters, change a few and you have yourself a great parody of a classic camp feature. It's also interesting to point out that Darnell helped in the bumpy landing of the doomed liner making her the first female co-pilot on film.

Another interesting note is while many people think Airplane! is a parody of the famous Airport franchise. Airport writer Arthur Hailey did work on the screenplay which was based on his 1956 teleplay Flight Into Danger.

It would have been kind of cool if they had included the movie on the DVD as well.

Now we can finally feel free to drive cross country from Boston to Mayville (somewhere in the desert) where Dana Andrews, Jeanne Crain, Laurie Mock and Tim Stafford are the Phillips family moving to a new life in Hot Rods to Hell.

After surviving a horrible car wreck on Christmas Eve and then being hospitalized for a couple of months, the Phillips family is flat broke and Uncle Bill (Harry Hickox) comes up with an idea to have the family move closer to him in California. There they can start a new life as the owners of a motel.

You know, the first sign of a bad movie is the acting (which is horrible) and since I'm not a meteorologist I think it's pretty cold and snowy in Boston around Christmas. Can't say I've ever seen flowers blooming at that time of year (or green leaves on the trees for that matter) so getting the right weather conditions might have been a good idea. Maybe it was global warming or a mild winter in 1967. Who knows?

Getting back to the movie, young Tina (Mock) is nothing but a prude and doesn't want to leave Boston, but when the family is forced off the road in the middle of nowhere by Duke (Paul Bertoya), Ernie (Gene Kirkwood) and trampy Gloria (Mimsy Farmer), Tina's mood quickly changes as the bad boys intrigue her.

When they end up pulling into a gas station to have a flat tire changed (and the whole cost was $1.50) the trio show up again. Evil Ernie shows his muscle to the downtrodden Tom Phillips after giving him a lecture and threatens to go to the police.

Once they leave (after they find out Tom's the new owner of The Arena) well, the trio can't have it and they call in for backup from the other dragsters.

Peg Phillips can't take it anymore and asks Tom to "pull into the picnic area. It's Saturday and there should be people there." Duh! (It's also hard to believe that Crain was nominated for an Oscar in 1949).

While at the picnic grounds Tina has a run in with the notorious Duke and starts to fall for this bad boy (later she goes looking for him once the family settles into their new digs)

After making it to the motel and staying only a few hours Tom can't take it anymore and tells Lank Dailey (George Ives) the deal's off and he's heading to California. And along the way he plans on talking to the police.

The race is on again as Duke and Ernie track down the family for some nighttime road rage terror.

And if you thought you had problems on your last vacation I highly recommend checking out these camp classics. You're guaranteed a great "trip" and a few laughs along the way.

Are Nicholas Hammond and Susan Dey about to join the Mile High Club?
Are Nicholas Hammond and Susan Dey about to join the Mile High Club?

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