Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Criminally Insane" 250 Pounds of Maniacal Fury!

Whenever I think of a giant, just-released mental patient wielding a cleaver, I think of my partner in weird cinema crime, Rachel. Not because Rachey resembles Crazy Fat Ethel from 1975's Criminally Insane in any way, but because way back in the day in undergrad, Rachey was the first to introduce me to Ethel. It went down something like this: Jenn, Ethel, Ethel, Jenn. And so a love was born, a love of Ethel Janowski, a woman full of repressed rage and a desire to eat until she becomes full, consequently a goal she never attains. But, here, here, sister, we gotta have goals in life. 

So unfolds the tale of Crazy Fat Ethel, directed by sleaze and soft-core director Nick Philips. This flick was a gear switcheroo for the porno director, but who needs skin when there's Ethel? Truthfully, you don't want to see any more of Ethel than you do. Her mumus thankfully leave much to the imagination. Aw, I'm being mean, I said I loved, Ethel, remember? And I do. 

I feel sorry for sourpuss Ethel right of the bat, because her grandma is just so damn mean. Ethels's been locked away in a mental institution for gosh knows how long, all she wants to do is get out and eat some damn ice cream.  Still, Granny locks up the keys to pantry and tells Ethel they're going on a diet. She'll get no meat and no milk until she drops some poundage. Well, a reasonable thing to do then is to kill Granny, take the keys to the pantry and eat, eat, eat. Of course, one thing leads to another, and Ethel becomes consumed with bloodlust resulting in more murders, namely that of her sister, Rosalie, a prostitute, Rosalie's pimp, and several grocery delivery boys. 

Speaking of Rosalie and her pimp, the pimp utters some of my favorite words ever uttered in a movie I have ever heard. He tells Rosalie, after he had left her ass for some other hooker after he gave her a beatdown, "All women deserve a beating sometimes. Especially you." Commence to make out. I know I love it when a pimp beats my ass, leaves me for another pro, then comes over to my dead granny's house, plies me with cocaine, and tells me I especially deserve a beating. Nothing in particular turns me on more. And they shoulda given Ethel some of that booger sugar, it'll might have quelled her appetite, but probably not her pent-up rage. Never give the white shit to a recently released mental patient. There, my friends, is advice to live by. 

So the bodies keep piling up in the attic and the stench is unbearable and eventually the inevitable will occur, poor Ethel will go back to the nut house. But what a wild ride before she gets caught! This is probably one of the first 'bad' good movies I ever saw with an appreciation of what I was seeing. Somebody had given Rachel a copy or she had a bootleg VHS copy or something, I don't know where she came by it, but she made me watch it several times in as many weeks, but she was, and still is, obsessed with it, and for good reason. It's terrible! It's wonderful! What to think? What's gonna happen next? The carnage! The dialogue! The Seventies!  It's Crazy Fat Ethel! 250 Pounds of Maniacal Fury! That's all you need to know. 

Until, of course, some bastard tried to make a Crazy Fat Ethel 2 in 1987, no less, with Priscilla Alden, the original Ethel, playing the titular role. Frankly, the magic from the original was lost. Completely. And I do mean completely. Ethel is still stunning, however. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jen, ma boogie. That movie is one of my most prized possessions and is one of the reasons that I will always own a VHS player (Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell super 8s being another).Ethel is misunderstood and probably the only other person in the world that finds bacon as essential as I do. Though I'm going to admit that I've not thought to cook a whole pot of it; bacon is not really a stir-able meat in my opinion. It was a titular role alright. Oh, and if she's only 250 pounds; I'm a Japanese jet pilot. "My God..."