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  Please Don't Eat the Babies Because they'll raise your cholesterolBuy this film here.
Year: 1983
Director: Henri Charr
Stars: Elizabeth Monet, Tanya Louise, Michael Wayne, Mike Jacobs, Joe Lombardo, Ross Hamilton, Hank Worden, Ed McClarty, Robin Haden, Sheri Oliff, Stanley Wells, Kirsten Baker, Joe Lucas, Darcy Lee, Mitzi Strollery, Jonathan Gravish, Ed Weinburg, Bob Linder
Genre: Horror, Trash, Weirdo
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Perky teenage girls Sugar (Elizabeth Monet) and Bobbylee (Tanya Louise) are shopping and, er, shoplifting happily when they are snatched off the streets of Chinatown by two thugs working for a crime boss called Sid (Joe Lombardo). It happens Sid is intrigued by the gold doubloon hanging from Sugar's neck and demands to know where it came from. At first the girls prove reluctant to talk but are coerced into telling their story. Whereupon we flash back to how ten year old Sugar (Sheri Oliff) and Bobbylee (Robin Haden) were on a yachting holiday with fun-seeking teens Todd (Ed McClarty), John (Joe Lucas) and itsy-bitsy bikini-clad Candy (Kirsten Baker) and Sylvia (Darcy Lee) when they decided to visit a remote island. On discovering a gold doubloon on the shore, Todd is eager to go on a treasure hunt but is warned off by island-dwelling youngster Jimmer (Stanley Wells) who says his crazy Gramps Jebediah (Hank Worden) does not take kindly to trespassers. But Jebediah seems like a harmless eccentric and invites John and the girls home to meet friendly old Granny (Mitzi Strollery) who serves them some tea. Unfortunately it is poisoned tea that knocks everyone out cold, whereupon Todd, Sugar and Bobbylee try to save their friends from crazed geriatric cannibal hillbillies.

Although viewers are most likely to find this on DVD under the alternate title Island Fury, its original title seemingly and inexplicably riffs on the 1960 Doris Day comedy Please Don't Eat the Daisies. And if that gag seems obscure wait till you see the movie, one of the strangest and just plain inept low-budget horror efforts of the Eighties. It was also the last film for western character actor Hank Worden, a member of John Ford's stock company perhaps most fondly remembered for his role as prairie mooncalf Mose Harper in The Searchers (1956). He is a long way from that masterpiece and far from scary comes across unsettlingly frail and confused. Executive producer Mardi Rustrum did the whole teens terrorized by psycho western character actor thing before with Eaten Alive (1976) directed by Tobe Hooper, but this is a far scrappier, in fact borderline incoherent effort despite an unusually ambitious story structure. Henri Charr was actually a respected maker of documentaries before he segued into a career in exploitation movies including a trilogy of women-in-prison films: Cellblock Sisters: Banished Behind Bars (1995), Under Lock and Key (1995) and Caged Hearts (1997). He went on to specialize in family fare often with an animal theme in such films as Little Heroes (1999), which spawned two sequels, Abe & Bruno (2006) and The Big Goofy Secret of Hidden Pines (2013).

It is hard to say whether the cross-cutting between the past and present day perils of Sugar and Bobbylee was an artistic decision present in the script co-written by David Golia (a cameraman on several more mainstream films, here with his sole writing credit) and John B. Pfeiffer who went on to pen two more films for Henri Charr, or an afterthought in post-production to try and make sense of an ineptly assembled plot. Whatever the case the conceit does little to maintain narrative cohesion or suspense. Oddly, the cinematography is glossy and certain sequences like the opening chase are competent, even excitingly staged though the bulk of the action is clumsy or incompetent. At several points the film veers off into strange detours. The island gets shaken by unexplained tremors (wherein Charr shakes his camera while the actors stagger around) and the captives venture down a trap door into a bizarre Dario Argento type netherworld where a naked knife-wielding nympho straddles then castrates John (offscreen, mercifully). Who the hell she is remains anyone's guess as we never see her again. Oh, and there is a sequence where Candy tries to escape up a wall before she is attacked by a pair of hideous hands that suggests someone involved saw Suspiria (1977).

One hopes it was a warm shoot given all the actresses sport very skimpy bikinis including the fetching Kirsten Baker from Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981) and her much younger co-stars. In fact, the fleeting violence (which includes an axe to the head and a naked corpse hung from a meathook) proves less unsettling than the bizarre sexual undercurrent involving the pre-pubescent girls. Sugar and Bobbylee are obsessed with sex, with the latter flirting incessantly with the older Todd ("You won't push me away when my boobs get bigger!") to an uncomfortable degree. While the acting is uniformly atrocious, Todd's half-assed heroism and amateurish emoting prove especially hilarious. Even funnier, after switching from crime thriller to horror movie the last few minutes inexplicably end up resembling The Blue Lagoon (1980). A bizarre end to a bizarre but oddly compelling movie.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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