Eat My Dust Charles B. Griffith

When one plunges into a Roger Corman flick, one has to come in with a different set of expectations than with most films. Corman’s productions revelled in being the B movies that they were. You cannot, and should not, take them seriously. This 1976 film is a ludicrous and very fun screwball comedy. A teenage Ron Howard (whose character is given the laughable name Hoover Niebold) is a huge fan of drag racing and while at the track, he seizes the opportunity to joyride in a red racing car. He does this in order to impress Darlene (Christopher Norris), the requisite beautiful blonde; she’s dressed in hot pants, which the director enjoys including in close-ups. Soon, Niebold’s father, the hard ass sheriff of the town (played with extremely enjoyable camp by Warren Kemmerling), calls on a pursuit of the car by his squad of police officers, none of whom have learned proper driving skills. It’s a throwback to the Keystone Cops comedy model — each officer is incompetent in his own way — leading to a high-speed chase that lasts the majority of the film. The excitement comes from watching the police cars flip and crash in various ways. The production values are laughably low budget yet in this lies the pleasure of the film. The townspeople, irate at the destruction of their property by Howard’s car, begin to gather at the police station, much to crabby Sheriff Niebold’s chagrin. The town’s residents are a motley crew of the most eccentric characters any small town could produce; it’s like Mayberry on acid. The film comes recommended to anyone willing to check their cynicism at the door and just have pure, unadulterated vintage racing fun for 90 minutes. The special features include the strange original trailer for the film, as well as a documentary with a few of the filmmakers and former eye candy Chris Norris sharing their memories of the film. This is worth checking out but strap yourself in first! (Disney/Buena Vista)