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By Scott Phillips

SEPTEMBER 2, 1997:  Y'know, I finally figured out what the problem is with "Star Trek Voyager:" It sucks. Except for the doctor. I realize this is old news, but I feel compelled to share it. Watch "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" instead.

Creature From Black Lake (aka Demon of the Lake) (1976) A classic entry in the unheralded "Bigfoot/ Abominable Snowman" subgenre of horror flicks, Creature is one of my all-time favorites, after The Legend of Boggy Creek and its really odd sequel, Return to Boggy Creek. Treat Williams lookalike John David Carson and the endlessly-overlooked Dennis Fimple (well, I might be pushing it a little) play anthropology students who hop in their van and drive to Louisiana in search of a mysterious creature, apparently for extra credit. Arriving at a tiny town, the boys run into trouble with the local sheriff when they start asking about the creature. Taken to the home of Dub Taylor, they blow it again by mentioning the creature in front of Mom, who blames the monster for her son's disappearance. Eventually, our heroes run across a couple of nubile (and ridiculously willing) country gals ("we just do what comes natural"), one of whom turns out to be the sheriff's daughter. After a midnight encounter with the girls is spoiled by strange snuffling noises, the boys are tossed in the pokey to think things over. There, they meet Jack Elam (himself a creature), who insists that the monster has been hanging around his house. The fellas enter the woods again, finally coming face-to-face with the object of their search, and all hell breaks loose. Now, there ain't much to this flick, but what the hell do you want from a Bigfoot movie anyway? We get to hear Dennis Fimple tell the chicken story, a '70s van is knocked around by the monster and the cast members say the word "creature" more often than Pacino spouted the f-word in Scarface. Rent it. (Saturn)

Transvision Vamp: If Looks Could Kill (1991) OK, I know this is kind of a departure from the normal crap I review here, but watching this collection of videos and interview clips made me realize all the more just how damn fed up I am with this current crop of pathetically whiny "songstresses" who wail on and on about how it's OK to act like a psychotic, immature jerk just because you're a woman. Transvision Vamp's songs were catchy, fun little pop numbers and lead singer Wendy James managed to be tremendously sexy while still scaring the hell out of me (for all the right reasons). This collection includes videos for "I Just Wanna B With U," "Baby I Don't Care," the incredibly cool "I Want Your Love," "If Looks Could Kill" (featuring "voodoo and swamp imagery," according to Wendy) and TV's cover of Holly and the Italians' classic "Tell That Girl to Shut Up." The pure joy of wading through Wendy's dorky-yet-endearing interview (at one point while discussing their new tour, Wendy says she wants people to "feel like they're witnessing something slightly dangerous") made me long for the days when Chrissie Hynde, Pat Benatar and Dale Bozzio (OK, maybe not Dale Bozzio) were the standard-bearers for "women in rock." For cryin' out loud, even the absurdly wimpy "poetry" of Kate Bush's lyrics were a step above today's angry yowling. Anyway, Wendy and the boys didn't last long after this tape, and Wendy seems to have disappeared after her abysmal solo album (Elvis Costello wrote all the songs--unfortunately he wrote them with his butt). A damn shame, if you ask me. (MCA)

--Scott Phillips

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