Review: Attack of the 50ft Cheerleader / Director: Kevin O’Neil / Screenplay: Mike MacLean / Producer: Roger Corman / Starring: Jena Sims, Olivia Alexander, Ryan Merriman, Anne McDaniels, Mary Woronov, Treat Williams, Ted Raimi and Sean Young / Release Date: TBC (UK), Out Now (US, via EPIX)
Filmed in 3D, Attack of the 50 Ft. Cheerleader opens with James Bond/Maurice Binder style credits (complete with catchy title song) setting the mood for this fun film that’s a delightful nod to the sci-fi gigantism movies of the '50s.
Plain Jane, college science major, Cassie Stratford (Sims) lives in the shadow of her domineering, former cheerleading debutant mother (Young). Reluctantly she tries out for a role on the cheer squad, led by the ego driven Brittany (Olivia Alexander), only to be ridiculed and laughed at by the mean spirited girl group.
Not to be discouraged, she and her lab partner Kyle (Merriman) have been working on a serum to alter the effects of ones genetics for corporate CEO sponsor, Dr. Grey (Williams). After successfully testing it on the lab mice Cassie decides to try it on herself. I mean, why not? If it works on rodents with bad complexions it has to work on humans... right?
Sort of. Initially successful, the serum makes her gorgeous and athletic, and by default the darling of the cheer squad - drawing the ire of Brittany in the process.
What follows is pure B-Movie magic as Cassie grows into the eponymous 50ft Cheerleader, is hunted by Dr.Grey and ends up in a topless catfight, with a now 50ft Brittany, resulting in both girls showing their bodacious ta ta’s on the football field during a crucial game. Now that’s a half time show!
Jena Sims is a stand out in this film as is her counter part, Olivia Alexander. Both women have a lot of fun with their roles. Miss Sims does a great job transforming from a shy, nerdy girl to an out going, voluptuous sex kitten. Miss Alexander tackles her part with gusto as the vengeful, queen bee, cheerleader overlord.
Treat Williams chews up the scenery as Dr. Grey and its always good to see Corman favorite, Mary Woronov on screen as a sorority house mother who plays her character with zest, perhaps even channeling a touch of Miss Hogar; the principal she portrayed in Rock n’ Roll High School. Ted Raimi does a fine job as the head teacher of the science lab, Dr. Higgs. Sean Young rounds out the movie veterans with an interesting turn as Cassie’s doting mother.
The supporting cast also does well with Kyle Merriman as Kyle getting the Richard Carlson/Hugh Marlowe archetypical hero of the '50s down perfectly, and Anne McDaniels as Tiffany is easy on the optics as Brittany’s second-in-command on the cheerleading squad.
We're even treated to a very amusing cameo by the master himself, Roger Corman, who plays the college dean auditing a teacher’s class (it just so happens that it's none other than John Landis behind the podium.)
Filmed at the campuses of U.C.L.A. and Santa Ana College, director Kevin O’Neil makes good use of the locations as well as doing a good job handling the story written by Mike MacLean. Effects are by O’Neil as well and are adequate though there is an additional scene involving a spider that gets some of the growth serum on it that could have been cut. It merely splits the story into two for a brief time and is just distracting. Despite its meagre budget the 3D is generally good and is very convincing in several parts (and you don’t have to guess what parts those are...)
Overall, it’s a fun movie to watch. Embrace the '50s B-movie spirit with your mates on a Friday night, and go see this with pig snacks and case of barley pop.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10
We interview the 50ft Cheerleader herself, Jena Sims, here.