Over
here at the CHUD offices we have a shelf that is chock full of amazing
titles. Some have been featured in proper reviews while others belong
safely hidden in a few toilets. Sometimes we get the feeling film
studios hate us, judging by some of the content we receive, but in the
end we’re able to find uses for them – like here in the War section!

Here we have two films from the Roger Corman’s Cult Classics Double Feature DVDBig Bad Mama and Big Bad Mama II, but only one features William Shatner…


COMPARISON
#1

The title screens.



vs.


Advantage: Big Bad Mama II.

When Big Bad Mama was released back in 1974 (the back of the DVD lists 1976 for some reason – maybe because that’s when it debuted in Europe’s cold areas?), it was a ratty little B movie shot on the budget of around $10. The crafting of a fancy title screen was hardly important for getting the movie’s message across, a message that’s more about boobs and guns than intricate titles.

On the other side is Big Bad Mama II, released in 1987 and showcasing a bolder, more colorful title sequence. Having the title pounded onto the screen, followed by a barrage of bullet fire belongs more in an A-Team episode than anything else but you have to give it props from establishing a new Mama tradition.

SPECIAL BONUS ROUND

Dueling co-stars.



vs.


Advantage: Big Bad Mama.

There’s a cosmic law that states “nothing can beat a Shatnerian credit”, and that stays true here. Having Robert Culp be your candidate to disprove that law only furthers the proof that your film is a deeply flawed and troubled mess. I love Bob Culp’s work on The Greatest American Hero as much as the next 80’s kid, but to be fair to him nothing could have unseated Shatner in this round. Although, the Raggedy Ann doll is pretty great on its own.


SPECIAL BONUS ROUND #2
Sexploitation directors.


vs.


Advantage: Big Bad Mama.

Steve Carver is a very capable director. He would go on to direct Chuck Norris in An Eye for an Eye and the beloved Lone Wolf McQuade years later, so he at least has those Norris classics to claim as shining stars on his resume. Plus, Carver would later work with other action luminaries like Dudikoff and… Gary Busey.

And then there’s Jim Wynorski, the man who brought us the great Chopping Mall and the not-so-great 976-Evil II. Jim’s a hard working fellow, still going after all these years, but he’s made so many questionable cinematic decisions that Carver would have beaten him regardless of Chopping Mall and Sorority House Massacre II sitting nicely on his resume. While I love Return of the Swamp Thing for some ungodly reason, he’s just made too much crap to stay in the ring long with Carver. Wynorski’s made a living scrounging on sequels (see above and Ghoulies IV), but he doesn’t have a ‘Norris’ to put him over the top.

For that, Carver wins.

NIPPLE SLIP #1
Spot the nudie shots.


vs.


Advantage: Big Bad Mama II.

While the daughters in the first Mama movie were better according to some, the old adage “four for the price of two” applies here.


SHOOTIN’ COMPARISON
Simple question: Skerritt or Dickinson?


vs.


Advantage: Big Bad Mama.

You can’t judge this round based on gun flare alone, but rather where and why they’re shootin’. In Big Bad Mama Skerritt is holed up in a barn, blasting away at the police. In Big Bad Mama II Dickinson is taking shelter inside a house with boarded up windows. She’s just emptied both barrels into Bruce Glover’s ribs, which pretty much ends him. Skerritt, on the other hand, manages to take out a few policeman in his tirade, so in a slight nod he gets the victory… plus his muzzle flare is superior.

NIPPLE SLIP #2
More nudity, or just a trick of the light?


vs.


Advantage: Big Bad Mama II.

Panel 1 features the famous Tan-Line Lady, while panel 2 features Julie McCullough, Playmate of the Month for February 1986.

That means “victory”.

RAUNCHY SEX SCENE

Who gives it to Angie Dickinson the best?



vs.


Advantage: Draw.


This is what industry insiders consider a “lose-lose” scenario. On one hand there’s Bill Shatner. On the other hand there’s naked Bill Shatner feeling up Angie with a vengeance! It’s a disturbing scene amazingly devoid of any sense of eroticism. Yes, the Shatner element adds to the creepiness of the moment, but the sex scene is so poorly executed it would have failed no matter who laid with Dickinson.

Proof in the pudding is her love moment with Bob Culp in Mama II. Using a copious amount of body doubles, the sex scene here is not near as creepy, but still equally horrid. These older people kiss and roll around a bit, but there’s more spark in a kick in the ass than in their love making.

Luckily both scenes are fairly short, but the sight of seeing Bill grope Angie is simply too horrifying to behold. Even though Robert Culp’s technique wasn’t any better, they cancel each other out in morbid fashion.

WINNER!
Swingin’ Angie.

This is why Big Bad Mama is victorious.

There’s a reason why Big Bad Mama is considered a cult classic. Sure it was made with no money and looks terrible, but it has a certain charm to it that’s beyond regular human understanding. A real Hollywood actress (Angie Dickinson) does nudity several times, an ex-Starship captain gambles and does nudity, a future Xenomorph victim does nudity and shoots cops, and two very young looking girls take their clothes off with reckless abandon.

It’s hard to argue with those results. Plus, Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia plays the banjo on the soundtrack.

Taking all of that into account, it’s probably why it took roughly 13 years before Big Bad Mama II appeared, and it’s too bad it did. It awful, and not really in a good way. Yeah, it’s great to see Bruce Glover every now and then – and Angie Dickinson shoots the daylights out of him for his troubles – but there’s nothing else this film really has going for it. It has the shot-on-video look many late 80’s films of this caliber had and sports none of the charisma of its predecessor. Still, Angie appears as though she had fun making it, and that’s about the only good thing worth mentioning in any serious fashion.



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