The Cheerleaders Collection (2003) is
about to be released by Anchor Bay, and is the most entertaining
thing I have yet seen on DVD, even though I own well over 4,000
DVDs. More about why later. The set includes The Cheerleaders from
1973, a personal favorite, as I saw it in the theaters with Mrs.
Tuna, one of our first adult films. Second is The Swinging
Cheerleaders from 1974, which is the slickest of the three in terms
of acting, plot and overall technical merit. Finally, they have
Revenge of the Cheerleaders from 1976, the worst of the three in
plot, acting and technical, but the main reason this set is so
entertaining. The first two have feature length commentaries from
the director and a writer, which have the usual information on what
they were trying for, where things were shot, etc. For Revenge of
the Cheerleaders, they were unable to find anyone who would own up
to having been associated with the film for a commentary, and hired
Heather Swanson and Lisa Weber, two cheerleaders from William Taft
High School in Pomona, class of 1976. They have set a standard for
commentary that will be nearly impossible to beat.
First, they still have the same bubbly, exuberant personalities that
made them cheerleaders in 1976. Second, they researched every aspect
of the film, and the careers of every member of the cast. And
lastly, they are absolutely hilarious. As an example, consider the
following. "See, this girl is a method actor, and modern actresses
wouldn't do this. Watch how she sticks her face right up that guys
ass. You wouldn't catch that Dunst girl sticking her face up a guys
ass." They also relate that the biggest name in the film, David
Hasselhoff considers making this film the single most embarrassing
thing he has done in his life. It is not listed on his official Web
site. Each film also has trailers and advertising art. This set is a
clear A. Even if you hate teensploitation in general, young naked
girls, and cheerleaders in particular, these lovingly remastered
uncut theatrical aspect ratio films with the commentary from Swanson
and Weber make it a must see.
The individual films:
The Cheerleaders (1973)
was ground-breaking in several ways. First, it was the first of the
cheerleader teensploitation films. Second, it was the first about
High School girls. Third, it was the first teensploitation comedy.
The cheerleaders are short one member, who had to drop out of school
due to pregnancy. The head cheerleader and the cheerleading coach
want to fill the vacancy with a girl who will make it through the
rest of the school year without getting pregnant. They find the
perfect solution - a (gasp) virgin, played by an actress named Enid,
who is credited as Stephanie Fondue. Note that most of the
characters used a name other than their own, in most cases because
they belonged to SAG, and this was an ultra low budget non-union
film. Enid, who plays the inept virgin, was actually the most
uninhibited young woman in the cast, and had a background posing
nude for magazines. Nonetheless, she was convincing in the role.
The coach bets the head cheerleader that Enid will lose her
virginity. The loser of the bet has to sleep with a creepy janitor
or a dorky gardener. Meanwhile, Enid has joined the squad with the
idea of getting laid, and the other girls try to help her. The film
is really a series of scenes, complete unto themselves, but
eventually add up to create a plot. Someone is paid to cause the
football team to lose the big game, and brings the team to a slumber
party hosted by the opposing cheerleaders, where the lads are
screwed nearly unconscious. When our own cheerleaders catch on to
the plan, they go after the opposing team to even the odds, but they
miss a third string player who wasn't on the roster.
The following nudity summary will give the rest of the highlights.
Denise Dillaway, as the head
cheerleader shows breasts having sex with the football coach, and
having sex in a car wash (possibly the first sex in a car wash
scene), in the locker room, and having sex with a biker type that
follows her and Enid home.
Jovita Bush shows everything, first
undressing in a locker room, and then having sex at the slumber
Enid shows full frontal being
initiated by showering in the boys locker room, and breasts in
several sex scenes.
Kim Stanton, who was a little shy,
shows breasts and buns, first having sex on an exercycle with the
female gym coach (Terri Teague), and then again at the slumber part
Sandy Evans shows breasts in the
locker room scenes, and then again having sex at the slumber party
Brandy Woods shows breasts and buns,
first having sex in the back room of a fast food place, and again at
the orgy. She also jumps out of a pizza naked to nail two of the
The film was cast in LA, but shot mainly in the San Francisco area.
Most of the football shots were done at a High School in Silicon
Valley, and the school officials didn't know it was a sex film. The
football team was the freshman team from San Francisco State and the
locker room scenes were shot at Laney college in Oakland. They
managed the rest by creating a sound stage in a Berkeley warehouse.
They didn't pay anything at all for permits, or to use the physical
The film was shot for $153K. The producer wanted a sexploitation
film full of naked young girls, and left the rest to the writers and
the director. He had no idea they were making a comedy. They
initially released it themselves with a self-imposed X, but later
created an R version, with, among other things, the lesbian scene
removed. IMDB readers, not that I care about the IMDB score for this
type of film, have it at 4.0 of 10, making it one of the higher
scoring films of its ilk. It actually had important and timely
themes, relating to open sexuality and the power women have using
sex. For me, this is a clear C+, as one of the more entertaining
films of the genre.
Scoop's note: You have to love a film written
by someone named Ace Baandige!
The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974) is a
very different film. First, it is set in college. Second, it is
pretty much plot-driven, and doesn't have nearly as much nudity. Jo
Johnston plays a liberated feminist and journalism major, living
with the campus radical and publisher of the underground press. She
decides to become a cheerleader to write an expose on the most
exploited group on campus, the cheerleaders, and, at the same time,
trash their brainless jock boyfriends. To gather enough material,
she moves into student housing, sharing it with the other girls. Key
among them is the required virgin (Cheryl Smith), who thinks she
wants sex, but has not been completely seduced yet. She is dating
the star wide receiver. Also important is Rosanne Katon, who is
having an affair with a married professor. The team is on their way
to an undefeated season. The writer gets next to the quarterback
(boyfriend of the head cheerleader) and decides that the
cheerleaders and the players are real human beings after all.
Meanwhile, the head of the alumni association, the married professor
and the coach are betting on the games, and the jock tells Jo of his
suspicions. They want to lose the last game of the season and make a
summarizes the nudity:
Jo Johnson shows breasts and buns in two sex scenes. Cheryl Smith
and Rosanne Katon both show breasts in short scenes.
This film is rated 3.0 at IMDB, and
was made for $150K. For me, the plot and acting is good enough, and
the nudity is a real plus, also earning this a C+ as a genre effort.
Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976)
takes place at a very shabby High School, essentially run by the
cheerleaders, who do pretty much what they want. The sport this time
is basketball, and the star of the team, Boner, is played by none
other than David Hasselhoff, who shows his tool briefly. He is the
most ungainly basketball player I have ever scene. The plot, such as
it is, concerns an unscrupulous developer, who wants to condemn the
school, and build a shopping center. Cast member Cheryl Rainbeaux
Smith showed up several months pregnant on the first day of
shooting, but they left her in anyway. In an epilogue, she is shown
greeting the other four cheerleaders holding her new baby son. The
film is disjointed, poorly edited, has a painfully bad sound track,
and universally poor acting.
There are five full time cheerleaders, although two mysterious ones
appear and disappear to fill out dance production numbers. The
nudity summary follows:
Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith was seen naked
from the back only. I guess they thought frontal of a very pregnant
woman was a little much even for exploitation. She is probably the
best known of the five cheerleaders, and has appeared in Caged Heat,
The Swinging Cheerleaders, Video Vixens (as the Twinkle Twat Girl),
The Pom Pom Girls, Slumber Party '57, Melvin and Howard, and Vice
Squad, among others. She unfortunately died in 2002 from Hepatitis.
Jerrie Woods also appeared in The
Switchblade Sisters, and was the most competent actress of the five,
but showed no skin.
Susie Elene, the one who "stuck her
face up a guys ass," showed everything in several scenes.
Helen Lang, Penthouse Pet July, 1976,
also appeared uncredited in Caligula. She shows everything in a long
Patrice Rohmer is the most naked of
the cheerleaders. Her clothes seem to explode off of her every few
minutes. Her credits include The Harrad Summer and Jackson County
The film includes many well known character actors, including:
Eddra Gale as the school nurse. Her
credits include 8 1/2, The Graduate, I Love You Alice B. Toklas,
Hotel Paridiso, What's New Pussycat and Somewhere in Time.
William Bramly (Officer Krupke from
West Side Story) plays the unscrupulous developer.
Carl Ballantine plays the first
principal of the High School. He is best known as Gruber on McHale's
Navy, but has made a career doing bad magic, and playing the fool.
The High School is supposedly Aloha High, allowing for some really
cheesy luau themes and decorations. Commentators Heather and Lisa
Point out that there is no Aloha High School in California, but
there is one in, get this, Beaverton, Oregon. They repeated the city
name twice to make sure we saw the beaver. The film was actually
shot at Venice High School near L.A. Heather and Lisa (not their
real names or stage names) are Hollywood insiders, and also
celebrities, although they are not contractually allowed to tell me
what their celebrity names are. To fill in during slow moments, they
accuse nearly every film made since 1976 of being influenced by this
one, present Hassel-facts about male lead David Hasslehoff, and
teach us cheerleader stuff like "spirit fingers" and spanky pants.
The plot is too silly to say much about, but I will give you one
scene as an idea. Two of the girls are out hiking in the nude, and
double-team a boy scout their own age, then continue their hike
naked. They are stopped and frisked by a cop (looking for concealed
weapons on their naked bodies, then their friends knock the cop out,
and they all take off in the cop car.
IMDB readers give this 3.6 of 10. Were it not for the commentary,
watching this film would be a chore. The choreography is a little
odd, and even more so when Hasselhoff tries to dance, but his
dancing is great compared to his basketball playing. The sound track
includes nothing I recognized as music, and most scenes have a high
ambient noise level. This is barely a C-, and would be lower were it
not for the excellent transfer.