Rest in Power: Julie Strain (1961-2021); Five Great Movies from the Model and “Queen of the B Movies”

Sadly, yet another cult icon has left us. Julie Strain, on January 10th, the one and only Heavy Metal model died at the young age of 58 after complications from Dementia. Strain went in to star in a hundred movies, and was well known by pop culture fans. With her tall stature, and incredibly sexy good looks, not to mention her enthusiasm for pop culture, Strain was well known for her charisma, bright smile, and affable sense of humor.

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To Your Last Death (2020)

Director Jason Axinn’s animated gore fest is “Funny Games,” meets “Saw” meets Twilight Zone’s “The Masks” wrapped up in one sick sadistic mutant. It’s gory, and vicious and mean spirited and occasionally baffling, but damned if I didn’t have a good time with it. There’s just something about watching the wealthy tear each other apart that hits a nerve, and “To Your Last Death” is a movie that has fun with its own concept. Not only does Jason Axinn break the conventional narrative, but he uses it as a means of bringing the ugliest sides out of his characters.

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Five More Gems Still Not on DVD, Blu-Ray, or 4K UHD

While Studios are once again repackaging John Hughes movies in to yet another compilation Blu-Ray, and re-releasing “Grease” for the umpteenth time, there are still a laundry list of movies that have only ever been released on VHS and Laserdisc. Continuing from the last list, here are five more movies that deserve a Deluxe Physical release for collectors.

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BloodSisters: Leather, Dykes and Sadomasocism (1995)

It’s incredibly how only twenty five years ago, the idea of the sub-culture of S&M and fetishes like bondage and roleplaying were still so hush and barely spoken of. In modern society we’ve somewhat turned a corner and managed to embrace kink and sexuality a lot more, but the people we get to meet in “BloodSisters” are clearly individuals that have been suppressed by a society that just doesn’t understand them.

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Morgana (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

Isabel Peppard and Josie Hess’s “Morgana” is a documentary begging to be turned in to a feature film. It’s a wonderful and heartbreaking account of sexual repression, forced domesticity and using pornography as a means of re-claiming individuality. “Morgana” is short, but it’s an engaging journey in to the life of Morgana Muses, who suddenly found herself without the demands of a marriage that offered zero fullfilment. When she’s finally free she has no idea what to do with herself. That is until she realizes sex is a big part of what kept her from blossoming as a woman and adult.

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The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield (1968) [Blu-Ray]

One of the most bizarre pieces of Mondo exploitation, “The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield” is archival footage of the model traveling the world that was intended to be cute for the sake of a weird travel documentary focusing on Manfield. Sadly though when Mansfield died she was further exploited by the trio of directors Charles W. Broun, Jr., Joel Holt, Arthur Knight all of whom used stand ins (the movie shifts awkwardly from black and white to a color shot of her stand in), old footage of her frolicking, and a voice over actress who came on board to narrate as Ms. Mansfield.

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You Have to See This! Showgirls (1995)

The nineties had a weird trend where studios took classic films and attempted to rework them in to contemporary trash films. Pamela Anderson starred in a “Casablanca” remake with “Barb Wire,” Vanilla Ice tried for his own “Rebel Without a Cause” remake with “Cool as Ice,” and oddly enough Paul Verhoeven aims for a remake of “All About Eve” with the cult Joe Esterhas anomaly known as “Showgirls.” Simultaneously lambasted and praised for being so unabashedly stupid and sleazy, Verhoeven attempts to hide a narrative better suited Skinemax than world wide release in theaters beneath thin art house veneers that fool no one.

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Hot Dog… The Movie (1984): Unrated Producer’s Cut [Blu-Ray]

“Hot Dog… The Movie” is that film right at the end of the “Animal House” spectrum and the beginning of the “Police Academy” phenom, where every single work place or setting had its own wacky, madcap plot and array of cartoon characters. Most of the eighties were all about taking what worked and truing to copy its success. In the decade the followed, “Animal House” gave way to a large library of comedies (often teen based) that borrowed from its formula. Some of the titles were pure dreck and some of them were humongous gems. “Hot Dog… The Movie” is the absolute former.

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