Thursday, October 30, 2014

State Park (Rafal Zielinski, 1988)

Three friends enter Weewankah Park located in the wilds of Michigan... (Hold up. Aren't you going to bemoan the fact that this film is yet another Canadian production pretending to be American?) Nah, I'm done doing that. Besides, State Park (a.k.a. Heavy Metal Summer) was, according to my exhaustive research, shot in both Québec and North Carolina. However, when Rafal Zielinski's name appears in the credits, that should tell all you need to know as far as the national makeup of this motion picture goes. I know, he made Valet Girls, the ultimate L.A. movie. But, for the most part, the bulk of his cinematic output is Canadian. Like I said, though, I'm done doing that. Anyway, where I was? Oh yeah, three friends enter a Yellowstone National Park/Algonquin Provincial Park-style park located in Michigan. It sounds like a simple premise, but what occurs to these three friends whilst inside will... (Don't tell me, it will alter the spiritual trajectory of their lives forever.) It's true, some trajectories of a spiritual nature will be altered; three, to be exact. But the manner in which this film goes about altering these particular trajectories is the stuff of Canuxploitation legend.

Don't believe me? Um, a creamy, freckle-covered redhead dons a bear suit (in the middle of summer) to help a handsome environmentalist save his small business from an unscrupulous land developer.

Still not convinced, eh? How 'bout this. Instead of cheating on her boyfriend by engaging in vaginal intercourse with every able-bodied, penis-owning male in the park, a vivacious blonde gives them all haircuts.

Really? You still need convincing? Okay, if this doesn't convince you, than nothing will. A fashion-forward woman thinks she has landed a real hunk when she uses her no-nonsense gams to bag herself a good-looking fella down by the water. Only problem being, this anatomically correct hunk is actually a punk. Or, to use her words: "He's a heavy metaler!!! A disgusting lowlife!"

And thanks to a well-written scene that took place earlier in the movie, this fashion-forward woman makes it abundantly clear that she despises everything associated with heavy metal.

There you have it, this film has three strong female characters each with their own distinct personalities. Your move, other movies.

The cool thing about each character is that they all reminded me of someone else. The actress who plays Eve (Kim Myers), the creamy, freckle-covered redhead, was a dead ringer for Meryl Streep, while the actress who plays Linnie (Jennifer Inch), the vivacious blonde, had a Kelli Maroney vibe about her.

As for the fashion-forward woman, she reminded me of... Oh, who am I kidding? There's only one Isabelle Mejias. Not to take anything away from Miss Myers and Frau Inch, but the moment I saw Isabelle Mejias appear onscreen as the adorable Marsha, I knew she was going to be my favourite character.

You're right, her character could have turned out to be a real hosebeast. But I didn't care, I was on Team Marsha from the get-go.

Oh, and I just remembered who Isabelle Mejias reminded me of. She reminded me of, that's right, Isabelle Mejias. A channel called Citytv used to air a movie called Unfinished Business all the time back in the days when they didn't run infomercials 24/7, and the female lead was played by none other than Isabelle Mejias.

In an ironic twist, Unfinished Business features music by The Parachute Club. What's that? How is that ironic? Oh, I'm sorry. There's a scene in State Park where Isabelle Mejias is wearing what she describes as a "two hundred dollar jogging suit," and her designer jogging suit, believe or not, practically screamed The Parachute Club.

After enduring the film's goofy opening scene (a guy in a bear suit causes havoc on a construction site) and an opening credits sequence set to a song that was the definition of Yello-esque, we meet our principle cast. From what I gathered by paying attention to what the characters were saying, Eve needs money, Linnie is about to get married and Marsha... Well, Marsha, to put it in the crudest terms possible, just wants to get laid.

How about those guys a few cars back who are also waiting to get into Weewankah Park? What am I saying? Those guys are heavy metalers, and we all know how Marsha feels about heavy metalers. (Are you sure "heavy metalers" is the right term? I mean, I thought "headbanger" was the preferred nomenclature.) It is. But Marsha calls them heavy metalers. Which, in a weird way, makes me like her even more.

When the spiky-haired heavy metaler, Johnny Rocket (Peter Virgile) starts smashing his dark-haired pal, Louis (Louis Tucci), against the side of their van, Marsha says: "Violence is so passe."

Finally entering the camp... Though, you have to wonder how Johnny Rocket and Louis managed to get past Corky (Andrew Jackson), the park's sycophantic head of security? It wouldn't take much for Corky–who, on top of being sycophantic, is a real asshole–to send the heavy metalers packing. Hell, just looking at them would be enough. What I think happened was, Corky temporarily left his post to help Mr. Rancewell (Walter Massey), the area's resident evil businessman.

It would seem that Louis and Johnny Rocket and Eve, Linnie and Marsha have a lot to learn about camping, as both their attempts to prepare food are met with failure. To make matters worse, the women mistake one of Marsha's belts for a snake and Louis's Gerontophobia is brought to forefront when he discovers the camp site next to theirs is occupied by an elderly couple named Tallahassee Ray (Rummy Bishop) and Ethel (Jessica Booker). Upon seeing them, Louis says, "Old people.... weird, man."

Remember when I said that Eve "needs money"? Well, she needs it for collage. And she figures she can earn a quick 5000 bucks by winning the "Wilderness Challenge," a race that involves swimming, running, kayaking and orienteering, or, as Louis calls it, "oriental-teering."

This plan hits a bit of a snag when we discover that Eve doesn't know jack-shit about orienteering. And, to make matters worse, all the orienteering classes are booked solid. So what's a freckle-covered redhead with alabaster thighs to do? After rebuffing her first request to help her, Truckie Honeycutt (James Wilder), the owner of the Honeycutt Market, is given no choice but to help her when Eve threatens to reveal Truckie's secret identity. That's right, Truckie is a mild-mannered store owner by day, a bear suit-wearing environmental activist by night.

You see, while wandering the woods, Eve spotted a man carrying what looked a bear suit through the woods. She didn't see his face, but she did see his ass (which was packaged in a pair of tight cut-off jean shorts). Well, later that day, Eve saw that ass again (packaged in the same tight cut-off jean shorts). Anyone wanna guess who was attached to that ass? Yep, it was none other than Truckie.

Oh, and don't feel too sorry for Truckie for being saddled with a name like Truckie, his younger brother's name after all is Trailor (Christopher Bolton); who, by the way, spends the majority of the movie hitting on Linnie.

While Linnie is busy giving random dudes "haircuts" and Eve is out "orienteering" in the woods with Truckie, Marsha has decided to snag herself a man. Grabbing her trusty binoculars and slipping into a Adrienne Vittadini one-piece bathing suit, Marsha scopes the beach for man candy.

Spotting a colossal man-babe in the water, Marsha positions herself on the dock so that the first things he sees when he comes ashore are her sexy stems. Repositioning her legs in order to maximize their impact on the male viewer, Marsha uses her shapely lower half the same way a fishermen uses a lure to land himself a mackerel or a bass.

To surprise of no-one, Marsha catches her prey with relative ease. What is a surprise, however, is the identity of the man she caught. Yep, the guy Marsha snagged by employing her first-rate gams is none other than Johnny Rocket. Robbed of his spiky hair, make-up, leather jacket and chains, Marsha doesn't seem to realize that she has just fallen for a heavy metaler!

Will Marsha be able to put aside her prejudice towards heavy metalers and embrace the power of love? Will Linnie run out of men to give haircuts to? Will Eve win the Wilderness Challenge? Will Louis get over his fear of old people? Will...

Enough with the questions, tell the nice people if this film is good or not. Right. So, yeah, it's good and junk. In fact, it was more than good. It was refreshing to watch a camp-based movie that doesn't involve a masked psycho-killer murdering teens or one that has to rely so heavily on crass humour. Boasting a strong pro-environmental message, State Park (a.k.a. Heavy Metal Summer) taught me that you shouldn't judge people based on their clothing, some old people are not lame, and slow and steady does in fact win the race.


  1. Great memories with this movie. As soon as I saw the title, I knew you'd be sure to post a picture of her posing on the dock. Keep it up!

    1. Not only that, I posted a picture of her posing on the dock from both angles. What can I say, I aim to please.

  2. It's to bad Isabelle Mejias didn't have a better career in acting criminally underrated, got to chat with her last month really nice person and does great work with mending kids now hopefully she will publish an autobiography cause i think it would be one interesting story for sure you rock Isabelle.