TWO VERY FORGETTABLE FLICKS DEBUT
Philadelphia Daily News
Wednesday, March 9, 1983
Regarding two of the new films that opened over the weekend, let me just say this: If I had more time, I would have been briefer:
"Spring Fever." A comedy starring Susan Anton, Jessica Walter and Frank Converse. Introducing Carling Bassett. Directed by Joseph L. Scanlan. Written by Stuart Gillard and Fred Stefan. Music by Fred Mollin. Running Time: 100 minutes. In area theaters. (Screened at the Ellisberg Cinema, New Jersey)
The print ads for this film loom as yet another message to and from middle America: It shows two bikini-clad young women dousing a not-so-unhappy stud with light beer. Specifically, they're spraying the foam in his crotch area.
I bring up this dubious ad, not because it titillated me, but because it has absolutely nothing to do with what goes on in the movie. One would be hard put to find either a beach or light beer in "Spring Fever," a throwaway comedy about a tennis tournament for teenage girls.
True, the central teen character (Carling Bassett) does get to jog on the beach, but she's wearing a sweat suit. And, yes, her show-girl mama (Susan Anton) does get to drink beer in the bar where she picks up men.
So much for beach-and-beer action in "Spring Fever" (even the title doesn't make sense!), a large part of which is devoted to the competition between the little girls in general and between the mothers (Anton and a wicked Jessica Walter) in particular. The clowning and bickering are terribly forced and, before long, "Spring Fever" seems nothing more than an extended (and endless) commercial for Nike sneakers, Dunlop tennis racquets, Bain de Soleil, Anton's teeth and her beer.
I'm not sure, however, if it's the same light beer used in the ads.
One great scene: Anton singing to herself and catty Walter slipping her a bill for her services.
"time walker." An action thriller starring Ben Murphy, Nina Axelrod, Kevin Brophy and James Karen. Directed by Tom Kennedy. Adapted by Tom Friedman and Karen Levitt from a story by Jason Williams and Friedman. Music by Richard Band. Running Time: 90 minutes. In area theaters (Screened at Budco Community, Barclay Farm, N.J.)
This movie bears a tenuous relationship to those old Mummy horror movies that were the bane of the '50s and still haunt certain TV channels on Saturday afternoons.
Its lone claim to fame, however, has nothing to do with the resurrection of a decrepit movie genre, but with its thorough lack of style. "time walker" is a veritable textbook example on how to make a horror film on the cheap - and without mirrors.
By restricting the action of his film to a college campus and by wrapping his monstrous thing in mummy garb, director Tom Kennedy had half of his film made. The remainder of it dotes on people who should know better (college profs, the police, brainy doctors) doing all the wrong things and going in all the wrong places on the misty campus.
Kennedy's mummy rises from his sarcophagus when a larky frat brother steals the five precious stones hidden in the tomb. Throughout the rest of the tilm, this "time walker" - a mummy from another galaxy - roams the campus, retrieving his stones and literally scorching the wrongdoers.
The cast is aptly flighty, risky and gabby, particularly Kevin Brophy as the fraternity house goof-off whose theft triggers the mayhem, and Nina Axelrod, a strong-willed, straight-haired blonde who gets to scream into the moonlight.
Note in Passing: I previewed "time walker" at South Jersey's Community Theater on the last day of the theater's existence. It is slated to become a restaurant. A sad farewell to yet another movie house. . .
Parental Guide: Both films are rated PG, both pretty much for their language.