DO THE BIM
An excerpt from JUST BE THE BITCH…DARLING
by David del Valle
“DO THE BIM”
Since we are honoring the memory of Vladek Sheybal in this installment I decided to put the spotlight on one of Vladek’s favorite films, THE APPLE (1980), in which he had the most fun singing and dancing, not to mention camping like there was no tomorrow, as Mr. Boogaloo. THE APPLE is now regarded as a cult film in the grand tradition of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, with fans that know all the lines and dress up like characters out of the film (in other words everyone looks like Boy George before the arrest).
THE APPLE now enjoys midnight screenings on both coasts. Vladek would have loved that fact that just this past Halloween his character of “Mr. Boogaloo” was a favorite costume in the Annual West Hollywood Halloween Costume parade. I recently heard that there was also interest in making a Broadway musical out of it, so THE APPLE lives on regardless of its vast array of detractors.
If you have never seen, or much less heard, of THE APPLE, be forewarned that you must either possess an undying admiration for the aforementioned Mr. Sheybal or get a perverse thrill from watching a film go horribly, gloriously wrong. If you do not see yourself in this, then be advised to stay far away from this rapturously hideous film.
THE APPLE is “The Mt. Everest of bad screen musicals.” When we discuss “bad films” that are so bad that they are good, like PLAN NINE FROM OUTER SPACE, the criteria is always the same, it must be a film that was made by people who really had no idea what they were doing wrong and most importantly never set out to make a bomb. Any attempts by filmmakers to capture this essence deliberately always fails, and rightly so.
Now just how bad is THE APPLE? Well it bites the big one, it blows, and it stinks on every level in every department. The film is set in 1994 and was dated before the paint dried on the flats laying about the soundstage. George S Clinton is partly responsible for lyrics, like this charming ode to Meth addiction with couplets like: AMERICA THE LAND OF THE FREE/IS SHOOTING UP WITH PURE ENERGY/AND EVERY DAY SHE HAS TO TAKE MORRRRRRE SPEEEEEED/. This song is staged with fey glam rock male dancers dressed in gay-bar leather outfits that look like they were in a number cut from Friedkin’s CRUISING, if that were ever to be made into a musical.
The film’s premise is very old fashioned, with that old chestnut the battle between good and evil being waged by the good boy and girl singers versus the evil Rock Mogul and his corrupt boy and girl singers. The sets and costumes defy description and bear no resemblance to “futuristic” unless the future took place in Las Vegas with disco and roller ball in vogue.
I love the fact that the men’s costumes have Joan Crawford shoulder pads with openings to expose their hairy armpits; also most of the outfits are favoring that underwear-as-outerwear look to no advantage. The budget really shows on the cars that populate this film, as Cannon films was forced to glue wings and fins onto station wagons to give them that 1994 futuristic look, whatever that means.
One of my two favorite musical numbers
is the “Hell cave apple dance.”
The evil boy singer, wearing a bulging bejeweled codpiece, tries to get the good girl singer to take a bite of the proverbial apple with more insane couplets like: IT’S NATURAL, NATURAL, NATURAL DESIRE/ TO SEE AN ACTUAL, ACTUAL, ACTUAL VAMPIRE/. While this is being sung, a Bride of Frankenstein clone bares her fangs into the camera. This number looks like it belongs in that Broadway musical SATAN”S ALLEY, in which John Travolta is supposed to be playing the lead dancer, in Stallone’s film STAYING ALIVE. You know, Sly was working at Cannon Films at the time…I wonder?
This was Menahem Golan’s brainchild, and obviously he knew next to nothing about making musicals except what he saw in Vegas or thought young people were doing off the Gaza Strip. He and his cousin Yorum Globus ran Cannon Films throughout the eighties and produced an amazing amount of crap in record time, things like the further adventures of DEATH WISH’S Charlie Bronson. They were even going to remake THE GOLEM with Charlie at one time; I know, because I was a script reader there during the eighties.
Anyway this train wreck of a movie keeps moving down the tracks with boy loses girl to evil promoter, to boy hallucinates at evil promoters penthouse party while a Donna Summer inspired disco number turns into a sex scene which unfolds with yet more gay dancers wearing silver jock straps dry humping girl dancers for the duration on spinning beds while the evil girl singer moans the lyrics to ‘I’M COMING FOR YOU’ and those lyric’s are not to be believed for how explicit they were for the times. What Ken Russell could have done with this material boggles the mind.
Eventually this film does come to an end when all the good hippies who hate rock, and especially disco, confront the evil promoter/Satan and are miraculously saved by MR. TOPPS, dressed in white and played by Joss Ackland (with a great sense of presence, or maybe just nerve) channeling the almighty, and seen earlier as a GODSPELL version of Santa Claus (if he took drugs). All the “Children of Love” - another song... don’t ask - are transported to another planet in (now get this) a long white pimpmobile in the sky. THE END. A Cannon Film….
I loved this story when I heard it …it appears that on opening night of THE APPLE in Hollywood at the PARAMONT THEATER when the film ended the audience threw their complementary soundtracks directly at the screen damaging it in the process. Those Soundtrack albums are now sought after collector’s items on EBay. Also from the Twilight Zon,e the young lead, George Gilmore, who was kind of sexy in his near nude scenes but couldn’t act his way in or out of a jock strap, was never heard from again. Greetings from the Glitter dome….TAKE A BITE.
-David del Valle, March 2007
cannon.org.uk -please try and read the ful Vladek Sheybal article (a wonderful read) here
This article is used with the very kind permission of the author David Del Valle and was originally published as part of the March 2007
article JUST BE THE BITCH…DARLING at Films in Review www.filmsinreview.com/Features/CampDavid/campdavidMar07-01.html
This article is used here for educational use and as an archive only. The original article (where available) is
linked to.All text/images are copyright ©2008 their original owners and no other copyright is implied or claimed.
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