Low Budget for the Summer – By Mark Hite

time is here again and that means many different things. Beaches,
boardwalks, and fun in the sun. These are all great, but to me summer
means bad movies at discount prices.

Usually once a summer I make the pilgrimage up Route 95 to New
Hampshire. It is there that one can enjoy the sub-arctic temperature
waters of Hampton Beach. It’s actually a nice little place which can
best be described as a mini Daytona Beach. There is a little boardwalk
across from the beach where games, shops, and restaurants can be
located. After I work on my tan and etch my name into Karate Champ’s
high score list, I usually leave the beach happy. This is because I
know once I leave, the real vacation can begin.

Up Route 1 there is a little shop on the side of the road called
Seacoast Bargains. At first glace, no one would think anything of it.
It’s a bit of a crummy place with novelty shirts out in front with a
huge neon sign that reads in black marker, “Shirts 2 For $20.00". The
parking lot is always jammed and I usually end up going down a steep
hill to the back of the store for a lot.

The cluttered store has novelties galore covering all walks of it’s
creaky floor. However towards the back, behind the boxes of sparklers
and salt water taffy, is where the true treasure lies. A bunch of
plastic totes stand on a table and a huge shelf lines the wall. Within
this room are movies on VHS moderately priced at 3 for $10.00. VHS, for
those of you who may not forgotten already, was the big thing in home
video during the 80s to early 90s.

A sense of utopia comes over me when I paw through the endless stacks
of films nobody wants. Movies with holograms, monsters, and guys
holding assault weapons on the cover immediately go into my shopping
basket. By the time Im walking out of the store, I am usually fifty
bucks lighter but armed with an arsenal of trash cinema. Below are
three films that I have dug out of this place in the past:

Ice Cream Man: Clint Howard stars in this film about a killer ice cream
man with a mean streak. At a young age, he witnessed the murder of his
idol, the so called “Ice Cream King”. He goes off the deep in later in
life and kills off several people. He stores their body parts in his
truck, terrorizes everyone around him, and develops a puppet act with
two severed cop heads. As an added bonus, I was able to get the one
with the more racy cover.

The Fly 2: This sequel to 1986 masterpiece is filled with pure lameness
til the end. That is why I enjoy it so. Seth Brundle’s kid Martin has
come into the world in non maggot form. Martin is being held up in a
lab so he doesn’t see the outside world much. He has some serious
growing pains when after a short amount of years he is fully grown.
Martin takes up his father’s research but unfortunately for him he
takes after his father. Not to be missed is pre-Melrose Place fame
Daphne Zuniga as the love interest. More importantly though, this movie
has one of the best face melting scenes in film history.

The Clown At Midnight: This flick is a pure piece of garbage from the
opening credits til the screen goes dark. It is about a group of kids
who go to clean up an old theater. Lead character Kate’s mother was
killed in the theater years ago supposedly by her father. He was never
seen again after the murder but now the clown he played in the theater
is back once again. Predictable til the end, the teens cover every
stereotype known to film. Not to be missed is Margot Kidder as their
shaky professor. Life after fame truly isn’t for the faint of heart.

There you have it, all that “exceptional” cinema for only ten bucks. In
the future I will cover more of my misadventures in bargain movie
shopping. For now, all I can recommend is if you happen to be taking a
nice summer drive and see a little shop on the side of the road, stop
by. You never know what kind of cinematic tripe lay inside.