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Video Rewind: From Sharks to Beauty Queens

Updated on November 17, 2014
Phantom of the Mall
Phantom of the Mall

I've always said that after the Fourth of July, the year is basically over. If you're still dreaming of warm summer days at the beach or just lazing around, here are some films worth checking out.

Begin the day by going to an amusement park in Rollercoaster where George Segal plays a cat and mouse game with Timothy Bottoms.

Bottoms plays a disgruntled young man who makes his presence known by blowing up rollercoasters throughout the country. The last park on the list is Magic Mountain where he hopes to gain a lot of attention by blowing up the Revolution on its inaugural run.

Rollercoaster is a pretty good entry into the disaster genre of the late '70's. Of course it comes with cheesy special effects. If you're able to slow down your DVD player (better yet if you have this on tape) check out the stuffed dummies in the cars. Nothing gets better than that.

This isn't really a disaster movie per say, but a good thriller which follows on the heels of the granddaddy of all Fourth of July films, Jaws. People were afraid to go into the water as a giant great white shark had a buffet off the coast of Amity Island. It still carries the punch to make you believe the waters are unsafe.

After the body of Chrissie Watkins (Susan Backlinie) washes ashore, mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) tries to cover up the shark attack. He does this so visitors will come to the island community to help celebrate the Fourth.

Two attacks (of a dog and young boy) can't stop the mayor from closing down the beach while the sun worshippers spend most of the time onshore, he convinces some friends to go into the water.

Sure it seems safe with a fleet of boats protecting the shoreline chaos breaks out when two young boys pull a trick on the bathers. The real shark goes into a pond where it attacks another boater and has it's sights on chief of police (Roy Scheider) Brody's young son and friends.

In an effort to make swimming safe once more, Brody goes out to sea with Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and bounty hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) to kill the evil. The scenes while the three are on the boat tend to be boring.

But if you don't want to go to an amusement park or swim in the ocean, stay away from beauty pageants and teenage drinking.

I Know What You Did Last Summer is basically your Fourth of July movie.

It begins at the annual Croaker Queen contest Sarah Michelle Gellar receives the crown. After the pageant, she and fellow friends Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze, Jr. celebrate at the beach and on the way home they hit a man.

Not knowing what to do, the four agree to dump the body into the ocean. It seems like a simple idea. They don't plan the man's still alive and eventually drowns.

A year goes by and Hewitt gets an anonymous note saying at college. When she gets back home for the summer, she goes to Gellar, they go to Phillippe and then finally to Prinze.

They have an inkling the note might have come from Johnny Galecki, so Phillippe has a little talk with him and tells the girls he put a scare into him.

Soon weird things start happening and the body count begins.

If the outdoors isn't your thing, head off to the opening of the Midwood Mall. Take your life into your own hands as bodies pile up thanks to Eric Matthews (Derek Rydall). You see, the year before the mall was built his house was "in the way" and there was a mysterious fire. Everyone thought he was dead, but his girlfriend Melody (Kari Whitman) thinks otherwise.

After getting a job as a waitress in the mall, she finds her favorite flowers in her locker and mysteriously their favorite song begins to play on the jukebox.

With the help of local photographer/reporter Peter Baldwin (Rob Estes) and Melody's friends (Kimber Sissons and Pauly Shore) the four of them start to put pieces of the puzzle together, especially when the security guard (Gregory Scott Cummins) tries to harm Melody.

Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge is a pretty good late '80's thriller but is predictable so don't say I didn't warn you.

See what happens when dummies ride the Rollercoaster?
See what happens when dummies ride the Rollercoaster?


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