Bob Calhoun

Bob Calhoun
Pacifica, California, USA
June 18
Bob Calhoun is a regular contributor to Film Salon and observer of offbeat media. His 2008 punk-wrestling memoir "Beer, Blood and Cornmeal: Seven Years of Incredibly Strange Wrestling" (ECW Press) has spent one entire week on the San Francisco Chronicle's Bay Area bestseller list.

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 12, 2012 1:35AM

Straight-to-DVD: Marsha Brady & the Snow White Slasher Flick

Rate: 5 Flag

For reasons unknown, 2012 is the year that the cumulative efforts of so many Hollywood lunches and industry cocktail parties have resulted in the release of several live action retellings of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." Currently, there's the light-hearted "Mirror, Mirror" with Julia Roberts as the wicked queen with Charlize Theron taking up the role in the decidedly more gothic "Snow White and the Huntsman" coming out in June. Never one to pass up the opportunity to snooker hapless redbox patrons into renting zero-budget dreck, Lionsgate has released "Snow White: A Deadly Summer," the teen slasher version of the fairy tale where dysfunctional teens stand in for the seven dwarves and get killed one-by-one instead of singing "Heigh-Ho."

Okay, so there's no A-list wicked queen in the straight-to-DVD "Show White," but we do get Maureen McCormick—yes, the original Marsha Brady from the 1970s "Brady Bunch"—talking to herself in the bathroom mirror of her sparsely furnished McMansion and plotting against Snow (Shanley Caswell), her rebellious stepdaughter.  Now the amount of time McCormick spends by the bathroom sink becomes especially funny when you consider that she also spent a lot of time brushing her hair in a suburban john during five seasons of "The Brady Bunch." It's almost as if after reading the script, the casting director said, "This wicked stepmom spends a lot of time looking at herself in the mirror in the can. I know, get me Maureen McCormick!"

"…And if you can't get her, see if Eve Plumb is still taking roles these days."

Yes, it'll always be Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

And if Marsha Brady turning evil isn't enough, we also get Julia Roberts' brother Eric as the milquetoast stepdad who wears suits that look at least one size two big for him as he lets his new wife railroad his only daughter.  The last time that Julia and Eric went head-to-head like this, "The Expendables" (also a Lionsgate release) completely destroyed "Eat Pray Love" at the box office, so there's got to be a tense sibling rivalry going on here.  Fortunately for Julia's leading lady ego, the cards are more stacked in her favor this time around.

After Snow is busted while driving around with some bad kids, evil stepmom McCormick convinces spineless Roberts to have the kid packed off to Camp Allegiance, which looks suspiciously like a public vacation site somewhere in British Columbia. The camp is run by Colonel Hunter (Tim Abell) from a command center that resembles your grandparents' 1980s kitchen remodel. In order to instill respect for authority in Snow and her seven troubled teens, Hunter paces around with a swagger stick, lecturing them on his "12 years as a Navy Seal," and dispensing clichés such as, "This is my world." He also makes the kids sleep in the dirt and rake at leaves—they don't actually rake the leaves, they just rake at them.

Of course, there's the prerequisite legend going around the camp that one of the campers went nuts 20 years earlier and killed a bunch of people. The current teens start turning up dead after they steal away to make out in a kind of lightweight "Friday the 13th" fashion, only with very little gore. Hunter attempts a really dumb cover-up plot consisting of leaving corpses out in the open on lawn furniture and then acting shocked when people find them. Without giving too much away, there are some really great Maureen McCormick psycho moments by the end of this thing that are almost enough to make "Snow White: A Deadly Summer" into a camp classic if only there were more of them.  Yes, this movie needs more Marsha, Marsha Marsha!

Bob Calhoun is the author of the bestselling punk-wrestling memoir, "Beer, Blood and Cornmeal: Seven Years of Incredibly Strange Wrestling" (2008, ECW Press). You can follow him on Twitter at @bob_calhoun


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I thought the trailer was a spoof. What is up with all the Snow White movies? What's next "Little Mermaid Shark Hunter"? "It's a whole new world MoFo and I'm in charge!" The Disney princess I grew up with is now a hard ass killing machine, but looks good doing it.
@PatienceP: The Snow White thing is a spiral. One big studio makes a big budget Snow White movie. Since it's all public domain, another studio follows suit. Then the low budget filmmakers decide to cash in hoping that absent minded movie renters/streamers/downloaders pick up their crappy Snow White thinking it's one of the other ones they've seen commercials for on TV. As Tom Bosley used to say, "Thaaaat's Hollywood." Thanks for commenting.
Oh my! Thanks for this. I'm going to have to hunt this down.
@Nick, it's terrible but it has a few laughs, plus Maureen McCormick really brings it.
Didn't Lionsgate start in the 80's by releasing "quality cinema," the achingly dull stuff churned out by Ivory and Merchant? Or was that Troma? Are they releasing Jane Austen adaptations now...Toxic Avenger Meets Emma? This is all so confusing...
@Boko, you are correct about Lionsgate's beginnings. They still release some Oscar fodder every year. In 2010, they put out "Winter's Bone," and "Rabbit Hole," the movie that snagged a nomination for Nicole Kidman. They're having a really good year this year with "The Hunger Games" and "Cabin in the Woods." But they are a very large entertainment distribution co., so they put out an inordinate amount of straight-to-DVD crap. Just about every MMA movie you'll has the Lionsgate logo at the beginning of it. I don't know where I'd be without them.
Big article on A. Breitbart in today's Style section of the NYT.
@Retablo, I'll check it out but I've already written my Breitbart reminisces in Republi-Con chapter of my conventions book, which I'm now struggling to complete. Once I finish the Vega$ Star Trek con, I can move onto the Portland Twilight Con, and then the Bigfoot conference.
I think it looks questionable... could be good or could really suck.
@John Rampton, Oh now "Snow White: A Deadly Summer" totally sucks but it does have awesome Marsha moments and even some funny bad cinema moments that don't involve Marsha at all. Most straight-to-DVD clunkers aren't so generous.
If Marcia Brady got this role, what movie did Jan end up making? Jan's right, everyone likes Marcia better!
Aren't these films really directed toward the GOP? On the one hand, they support the notion that 'Liberal Hollywood' is full of deviants while at the same time loving an old-fashioned morality play about the wages of sin. Cute teenagers who have sex die horribly. Everything from 'Friday the 13th' to 'Halloween' to 'Nightmare on Elm Street' played off the meme that sex = death. There's a whole cottage industry in that. So now, while we have a common theme emanating from the GOP that sex = death, being a sexually active person = slut, being a woman who wants to explore her sexual nature before committing to marriage = being a slut, a conniving manipulator of the system, and worse: A DEMOCRAT, we have films coming from the DVD side of Hollywood that offers up some more than tacit support for those notions. I'm surprised that Fox hasn't already put out a 'thumbs up' review of this film. At the same time, the GOPer geezers responsible for monitoring 'Hollywood' are buying extra Kleenex so they can 'fully enjoy' these horrible examples of Hollywood excess. It's like the old myth(?) about the Nixon SCOTUS having the world's largest private collection of porn (outside of the Vatican) from which they could render their decision about what porn was. After a couple years (and probably a lot of videos), they came up with no answer (but man, they looked tired).
Oh, I'm also going to have to track this down - sounds utterly psychotronic! And I thought nothing could top Eve Plumb as the wife of the ex-Black Panther in "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka!"