Monday, December 13, 2010

RUSH WEEK (1991) - a whole week of Geddy Lee and the boys...oh wait, no, it's The Dickies in a boring college slasher...still pretty sweet

I couldn't find a trailer, but this shit rocks harder anyways

The BDB frat house is throwing a Hawaiian themed party, which is really just a standard frat party riddled with hula skirts and coconut bras. In other words, the keg is flowing, the band is rockin’, white people are dancing poorly, tits are flying out, etc., all under the pretense of paying tribute to another culture foreign to theirs (despite Hawaii being located in the same country). The BDB rules of living are as pig headed continental Americana as you can get: rock ‘til you drop, party ‘til you puke, and screw ‘til you’re blue. Not that I’m judging mind you.

“Rush week” is that time of the collegiate calendar when the expansion of the mind is put on hiatus in order to engage in some heterosexual defying pledge rituals. It officially begins when some guy cuts a bit of twine with a battle axe, accompanied by some caustic metal riffage, as overdoing something with a battle axe demands that sort of background noise. The pledges start out dressed in drag, and god knows what gender bending activities we’re in store for if this is where it begins.

Meanwhile, the main plot thrust gets underway when a nerdy 19-year-old female student (i.e. 32-year-old model wearing glasses) is being stalked while walking home alone in the dark. She gets to her nudie photo shoot in tact, and all she has to do is take off her glasses and unfurl her hair to transform into the pin-up model she most definitely aspires to (on screen and off). The mystery photographer tells her he wants some “pink" (that’s code for beaver). She calls him a sicko, and he retorts with "I'm not the one posing for nude pictures." I guess he has a point, but she could come back with “at least I don’t photograph beavers!”. However, this could just descend into some sort of infinite meta regress, a seesaw of nudie photo character aspersions. It never gets that far though, as some guy in a robe whacks her with a battle axe, while the official Rush Week guitarist screeches out a wicked solo. Toni, our heroine, is a journalism major no doubt down for some Nancy Drew silliness. The movie alternates between these modeling sessions/axe murders, the homocentric Greek rituals, the unfettered partying, and Toni’s pursuit to make sense of it all.

The hazing rituals run a truly bizarre gamut, and are sometimes directed towards BDB’s arch rivals, the “GAE” fraternity (rhymes with “gay” as they frequently point out, which may be ironic considering the ass related festivities these pledges get into). We head to bio class, where they are dissecting a human being (I hope they pay well). However, one of those pesky BDB pledges, wearing nothing but a jock strap and a "scary" monster mask, jumps out of the body bag, scaring the heck out of the professor and no doubt disappointing those who sat in on the class just because they wanted to see some sick shit. BDB pulls the "moon bus" trick, where they all stick their bare asses out of a school bus window and drive it around campus. Our pledges crash the GAE pledge drive, where, in a brilliant stroke of homosexual displacement, switch the initiation film with some cowboy themed gay porn, featuring cowboys with bullseyes painted on their asses.

They also charge people to watch a sex show by peeking through a Hills Have Eyes poster. This entails a paid sex “artist” getting busy with what looks to be a frat boy…oh no, it’s that corpse from the biology class. She runs away in her G-string, and all the guys think it’s just hilarious. I guess they’ve never felt the shame of accidentally fucking a corpse. Next we get the rush week bike race, and our BDB's show up dressed as real bikers, not bicycling assholes in spandex shorts. However, the homoerotic distinction between spandex and leather is rather moot at this point.

The murders are mostly bloodless axings of aspiring models, the most curious one being the girl made to dress as a Native American. I guess there’s a market for photos of white chicks dressed up as slutty Indians (I mean, a market apart from myself). Anyway, in the final showdown, Toni is chased into the animal lab, just as a bunch of tarantulas bust free from captivity (this same gag was used in Chopping Mall, for the record). She hits the killer on the head with a lead pipe, but it turns out that he wasn’t the real killer, but rather, someone that just likes to run around in the dark, wearing a robe and carrying a battle axe, just like the “real” killer of the movie Rush Week. No, the real killer is the dean of the school, as we all know that deans are complete assholes (see Animal House). Toni heroically cuts his head off and, some time later, the new dean shows up and congratulates the two survivors for triumphantly decapitating his predecessor.

Lost in the formula of Rush Week are three surprising cameos. There’s Freddy Krueger (not the real one, but some dude dressed up as Freddy), showcasing the self-reflexive state of the slasher post-1987. There’s also a frat party performance from The Dickies, one of the great punk bands (though apparently not great enough to avoid having to play a frat party in a mediocre slasher). Most unusual of these cameos is “special guest” Greg Allman, who is seemingly involved to add name value. A consumer might pick up the VHS box for Rush Week and see “a special appearance by Greg Allman!” emblazoned on the cover, and think "holy shit! One of the Allman brothers is gonna go toe to toe with some mad zombie slasher!".

Well…no, not really. He shows up to do some meditation with a topless girl, who’s presumably following the teachings of a zen stripper. He also tells Toni to “live long and prosper”, which is what amounts as profound advice when you’ve destroyed your brain with drugs and seen a couple of episodes of Star Trek. I guess Greg is supposed to represent the cool hippie teacher, in touch with “alternative” ways of discovering knowledge. Unfortunately, he is surrounded by meathead jocks and ascot wearing poseurs, who think profundity is merely a cover-up for the material emptiness that comes with not owning a BMW.


  1. Never heard of "Rush Week", but if The Dickies are in it, at least their part is worth the watch.
    I always thought their part in "18 Again" was a bit off, but totally awesome at the same time!

  2. @Morgan
    Yeah, the movie is not that good, but The Dickies frat party performance is amazing. I will try to rip it from my VHS and include it in the review at some point.