Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rollerpocalypse (sans bras)

1986 was a pretty amazing year. In a triumphant season of homeruns, rapping, and Ivory soap ads, the New York Mets won the World Series. A little animation studio named Pixar was formed. Halley’s Comet appeared for freezing cold East Coast early birds to view and Geraldo Rivera discovered the most anticipated bottle of moonshine ever.
And perhaps most importantly, a post-apocalyptic film about roller skating was made by Donald G. Hell Comes to Frogtown Jackson. 
Quick Plot: In the second dark age in the city of lost angels (according to the title cards), an all-female cult clad in red phallic headdresses protects a magical crystal from an evil luchador-esque masked (over a pink winter ski mask) man and his borscht belt comic hand puppet.

I know right? Been there, done that!
I should specify that the ‘cult’ I speak of is none other than the Cosmic Order of the Roller Blades, the self-proclaimed ‘only force on earth where all weapons and battle techniques are converted into tools of love.’ Because, you see, in the second dark age of humanity, the world has been overrun by folks on roller skates. Yes, four-wheeled skates, as the invention we now know as the ‘roller blade’ was still some years from widespread popularity. As my knowledge of things on wheels is composed entirely of what I’ve learned from the movies, we’ll assume the modern roller blade was born in 1991, since that’s when it appears in Silent Night Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker.
Back on track--or rink, roller pun zap!--the evil Dr. Saticoy and his puppet right-hand-man (literally) enlist the skills of a blond rollergirl to infiltrate the Roller Blades and steal the crystal. It’s a lot of work, considering he could probably have found an even nicer one in any 50 cent gum ball machine. Still, we don’t get to see a lot of roller nuns naked unless this plot unfolds, so unfold away, ye madness!
The good get a sapphic nude bathtub baptism; the bad get a sapphic nude wrestling match. All speak with the occasional sprinkling of ye olde English and sport hip high wedgie-making undies. None wear bras.

Seriously, for any modern woman who enjoys comfort, this IS the dark ages.
Roller Blade, as you might now realize, is not the easiest film to recap in terms of what you commonly call ‘story.’ I think there was one, as evidenced by the important subplot of the Roller Marshall (you read that right)’s son being kidnapped by the bad guy. There’s the matter of the crystal, which will bring about an even darker age (maybe?) where I can only assume roller skates are replaced by something even more nefarious, like unicycles or pogo sticks or that impossible ‘80s toy that looked like Saturn and was designed for you to stand around a bouncing ball and not break your ankle. Primarily, there are a lot of boobs and an almost comparable amount of camel toe.

That’s about as ringing an endorsement as I can make for Roller Blade. It’s as ridiculous and insane as its cover art suggests, plus a little more. By a little, I mean the mother superior of the Cosmic Order of the Roller Blades is a wheelchair bound woman named Mother Speed who laments about the olden days, “when we skated for fun. Now we skate or die.” This is a heartfelt memory, and kind of all you need to know in order to judge whether Roller Blade will rock your world.

High Points
You can’t argue with the imagination of the film, right?

Low Points
I know this is besides the point, but I find it pretty impossible to believe that some of those roller superstar females would go bralass based on their bust size. There is back pain to consider folks!
Lessons Learned
Recycled Saticoy brand batteries have very short lifespans
Tears will cause thy wheels to rust
If one can only venture outside on roller skates, it’s probably a good idea to learn how to, you know, roller skate when as soon as you’re able to walk

Skin-melting acid will not harm your body if you immediately remove all clothing as soon as it touches you
The future will mean the rise of mohawks and death to bras
I scored my copy of Roller Blades at last year’s Chiller Theater convention along with the new Doll’s House classic The Refrigerator and the soon-to-be-watched Slashdance. It’s a VHS transfer, and one that you can probably find lurking on youtube or at your local gray market dealer. It’s pure 80s cheese in the most delightfully ridiculous of ways. The film won’t change your life like, say, The Stabilizer, but it will most definitely entertain your pals at the local roller rink!


  1. This definitely sounds like a must-watch, I'm all for post-apocalyptic madness!
    Have you seen Donald G Jackson's Rollerblade Seven 'trilogy'?They seem like they'd be fun. (Naturally, like the Frogtown sequels, they show that if there's something that Jackson liked more than reusing the exact same cast, it's reusing the exact same pose of his film's actors and pasting them on every poster for that series!) (I wonder how successful his self-proclaimed 'zen filmmaking works anyway.)

    What did you think of the briefly appearing boss in The Refrigerator? And did you know about it being based on a short film? (There's also a short film that actually exists by the way, The Kansas City Blender Massacre!)

  3. Chris: I think this was somehow my first Jackson film. I've always known OF his work, but it apparently took bralass roller skating nuns in the apocalypse to make me sit down and watch one. I will have to further explore this man's catalog.

    Anonymous: I have an extreme affection for The Refrigerator, in part because I work in that industry but also because I found the film surprisingly funny and sweet. I remember the scene with the boss although not him specifically, but I'm sure I'll rewatch that one soon! Also, the world needs more blender massacres. Plain and simple.

  4. Wonderful. This could be a great double feature with Airborn, maybe?!

    Also, I hated those fucking Pogo ball things. They make it seem as if you can get this amazing air, when in all reality you're just using a ton of unnecessary energy to jump two inches off the ground. However, I really wish someone had exploited that toy fade and made a movie with those as the focus. One can only dream.

  5. I'm going to consult my "gray market dealer" for this one.

    Those pogo balls are ass. A movie about murderous pogo balls definetly sounds not like ass though.

  6. I've never seen Airborn! But I tells ya Matt, this movie is practically made for you. And fuck those Pogo Saturn things. They are simply impossible (though cool looking).

    And Tangerine, enjoy! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts after you track it down.

    Damn, now I'm dying for a killer pogo ball thingy movie.

  7. Emily, this sounds like just my kind of thing. Could Roller Blades finally be the movie that dethrones Xanadu as my all-time favorite roller skating movie? Only time wil tell...

  8. While it's true that there's no original music in Roller Blade, it's also true that it has evil hand puppets and therefore, is a natural detrhoner.

  9. Evil hand puppets? I'm sorry Xanadu..but thats Checkmate.

  10. Or in the words of Hans Landa, 'a bingo!'

  11. Have you ever seen the film Nightmare Detective? If not, do so right away.

  12. Ok. My gray market contact supplied me with a grainy copy.. But even if this was restored by James Cameron on 3d blu-ray, I still would not know what I just saw.. Evil hand puppets, generous nudity and by far the most use of "haha i have an extra knife in my boot/and or sock" motif I have ever seen. It sounded like most of the film was dubbed, by the same guy. He even made up a dog voice.
    Incompetent and Incomprehensible but lovable nonetheless.

  13. I forgot about the dubbing! An extra layer of gloriousity!

  14. How did I miss this? You certainly made better sense of it than I did. I sorta thought the puppet dude was in charge of the dude in the mask. I dunno.

    Oh, when I saw your Facebook post, I was listening to the song "Like Emily" by All About Eve. I swear to God.

  15. Oh I still don't understand the puppet dude. Or where all the bras went. The future is a dark place.