Thursday, February 01, 2007

Various Artists 'Rave 'Til Dawn Techno's Finest'

At a family Christmas gathering many years ago, my cousin Dan Lively and his wife started talking about a movie called Hysterical. It was made in the early 80’s, was written by the Hudson Brothers, and they were also the stars of the flick.

I had never heard of the film they were describing as “hilarious” and “down right funny”.

Dan’s wife even purchased a bootleg copy on VHS from an eBay seller that didn’t keep up their end of the bargain. If I recall correctly, they lost about twenty-five bucks on the deal. But they didn’t let those grapes sour them. They maintained that Hysterical was one of the funniest movies EVER!

They tried to recall and describe how funny the movie was through their laughter and knee-slapping, but I wasn’t quite convinced. The Hudson Brothers had an old kids show back in the 70’s that I made time for until I had to go to Sunday School, but I never ever heard of Hysterical. The film was completely lost on me.

I always kept it in the back of my mind for future reference.

A couple of weeks ago, it surfaced to the forefront of my feeble mind. I logged onto Netflix and searched their “over 50,000” titles in their database just so I call file that card back in the “every-so-often” recall file. Somehow I knew that it wouldn’t be listed or even available.

Boy Howdy! Was I surprised! They had it!

I immediately recalled the knee-slapping and laughter filled retelling of the movie from my cousin and his wife long ago on Christmas in West Virginia (technically it was in January because it’s so hard to get everyone together during the holidays).

I put it on my queue and waited until it was shipped to me.

It sat there at the top of my list as available “now” for over a week. I thought that perhaps it was just listed, but Netflix didn’t actually own it. I figured that Hysterical was a movie that no one wanted to see since it hadn’t been available in almost 20 years. Eventually, I would get it. I would just have to be patient.

Finally, the DVD was shipped to me last Friday and I finally received it today on the first of February. The return envelope said that it came from Richmond, Virginia, but I have my doubts. I think it was shipped from the home office in San Jose, California and Richmond would be its point of dust collecting until some other person wanted to see it. Normally, things sent from Richmond only take 2 days to get to me.

I sat down to watch this wonderful cinematic parody of horror films from a time before 1982 with my nephew Preston. There was no title screen; it went straight into the film. There wasn’t even one of those pesky, stay-on-the-screen-forever FBI warnings.

Within minutes, Preston got bored and I was right behind him. I knew that Dan had a “wackier” sense of humor than me (I was always the straight man), but this was his biggest misguided suggestion. I had to eventually send Preston into another room because his boredom led to hitting and beating on Unka Gene. It was the ultimate sign of his disapproval.

I soldiered through it while thinking there must be something redeeming in the film, but I came up emptier than Rosie O’Donnell at an Ethiopian all-you-can-eat buffet. The movie was a complete waste of my time and DVD rental. Hysterical is probably one of the worst films ever made.

And of course now I’m thinking… Was the The Hudson Brothers Show just as bad too? Was I just too young and stupid to realize it for the crap that it really was?

I’d like to give The Hudson Brothers Show another try, but I’m afraid that I’ll see with different and grownup eyes.

I managed to watch the whole picture, but I sadly gave Hysterical 2 out of 5 stars on Netflix.


  1. Anonymous9:42 AM

    According to the plot synopsis at

    During the peak of the slasher-movie boom of the early '80s, there were numerous attempts at Airplane!-style horror parodies, all of which fell considerably short of their comic targets and vanished into cable-TV obscurity. Hysterical, an abortive vehicle for the questionable comic talents of the Hudson Brothers, is perhaps the weakest of the lot. Filled with insipid puns, tired sight gags, silly musical numbers, and unfunny cameo appearances from the likes of Bud Cort and Charlie Callas, this inept spoof has perhaps three genuine laughs scattered throughout its ninety-minute runtime, amounting to only one decent joke per half-hour of wasted film.

  2. Anonymous10:01 PM

    Well, Susan and I took the leap today and signed up for Netflix. Any movie suggestions? Your top 5 of all time?

  3. Well Jeff C. .... If that truly is your name... If you haven't seen Little Miss Sunshine yet, do yourselves a favor and check it out.

    As for suggestions... Electra Glide In Blue is a flick that I've been raving about since I saw it on TCM Underground. I actually bought it! And save yourself a rental, I'll loan ya mine.

    My top 5...

    1. Airplane!
    2. This Is Spinal Tap
    3. Female Trouble
    4. Little Miss Sunshine
    5. Natural Born Killers

    Little Miss Sunshine just snuck in there. I tend to lean more towards comedies.

    BTW... You'll love Netflix! Welcome! We're family now.

  4. Took that album cover quiz a couple of posts down - got 20 of them, artist and album - got another 6 with just the artist.

    Oh, and so you know, I finally bought a used copy of Cheap Trick's In Color and in Black and White from Ed McKay's. Years of hearing "Hello There" on your show finally convinced me, long after the fact. :)

  5. Careful Josh.... You could be setting yourself up with a Cheap Trick addiction. I know that Maddog was calling the 'Rockford' album on of the best of 2006! Welcome to the CT family!

    Just yesterday I was listening to a tape of 'The Non-Conformist Cult Radio Show' and you were in the studio getting ready for your show and yelling in the background... It's that cosmic consciousness, I think.

  6. Anonymous12:12 AM