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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Sex > Teens > High School > Canada > Screwballs (1983/Severin Blu-ray + DVD)

Screwballs (1983/Severin Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Film: C+



At the tail-end of the counterculture comedies, especially those made by independent companies in either the U.S. or Canada, Rafal Zielinski’s Screwballs (1983) was a then-shocking, single-entendre teen (hetero)sex comedy that played like the straight, non-musical equivalent of Can’t Stop The Music.  Roger Corman was indirectly involved, but it would easily fit into the cycle of the time as he helped start it and remains a curio to this day.  Severin has issued it in both Blu-ray and DVD.


At Taft & Adams High School (go T&A!?!), every stereotype and prototypical character you could find in such a film is here, including sexually oppressed young men, young ladies, older teachers… well, just about everybody of age.  Innocent and light by today’s standards, its style of almost expressionistic comic sexual satire had been ongoing since the early 1970s and as is the case for these films, the cast remains mostly unknown to this day.  However, with Linda Speciale as “last virgin” Purity Busch, Linda Shane as Bootsie Goodhead, Terrea Smith as Rhonda Rockett, Donnie Bowes as Principal Stuckoff and Russ Meyer alumni Raven De La Croix as Miss Anna Tommical, plus nudity and the T&A cheerleaders, you are getting a really silly film.


The 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray shows an aged print with softness issues, though Severin and the makers may be lucky this even survived with all the trouble orphan films have in surviving.  It was shot in 35mm, but some of this looks like 16mm.  Flesh tones can be too red, detail an issue and though color can look good, depth and grain are also issues.  What is odd about the anamorphically enhanced DVD version is that it hides some of the flaws, but also does not fare as well with color or as solid a look.  Video black is also not as good as the Blu-ray.  Director of Photography Miklos Lente had lensed the original Happy Birthday To Me (reviewed elsewhere on this site) so this looks like it is from its era.  Both versions have simple, aged and somewhat distorted Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, showing the age of the recording and its low-budget shortcomings.


Extras are the same for both versions and include feature-length audio commentary Director Zielinski, Theatrical Trailer, amusing Deleted Scenes, Mr. Skin on Comedies of the ‘80s and five on-camera interview segments: Zielinski, Co-Writers Linda Shayne (who also starred) & Jim Wynarski, Actor Kent Deuters, Special FX Artist Gerald Lukaniuk and Canucksploitation Scholar Paul Corupe.


Some sequels of sort followed and maybe we’ll se them next, but diehard fans of this cycle will be happy with this release, even if it has not aged well for the rest of us.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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