The Swinging Cheerleaders – Review (Arrow Video Blu-ray)
I hate to say it, but I’ve had The Swinging Cheerleaders Blu-ray sitting in my backlog for quite a while now. My site usually focuses on horror, if you haven’t already noticed, so I never got the time to pop the flick in. Nonetheless, I figured seeing how I did get it for review, I should probably watch it and last night was the right time to do just that. All the other movies I have left to review, require a couple of days of work to get through, but The Swinging Cheerleaders, on the other hand, wouldn’t take very long, as the special features aren’t overly long and the movie itself is a quick 91 minutes. Was the wait worth it? Grab a cheerleader and prepare to find out.
DISCS: 2 (1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD) RUN-TIME: 91 min ASPECT RATIO: 1.66:1 RESOLUTION: 1080p AUDIO: LPCM Mono LANGUAGE: English SUBTITLES: English REGION: A, B RATING: R PRODUCTION DATE: 1974 RELEASE DATE: Jul 5, 2016
Kate, an undergraduate at Mesa University, goes undercover as a cheerleader for her college newspaper in order to expose ‘female exploitation in contemporary society’. But instead of oppression she finds love, friendship and a bigger fish to fry: corruption in the football team, headed up by the coach and his pals.
At first, I was not entirely sure what type of genre I would lump The Swinging Cheerleaders into, however, after checking out drive-in history, you will see that there was a string of Cheerleader drive-in classics like THE CHEERLEADERS (1973) and REVENGE OF THE CHEERLEADERS (1976). I suppose The Swinging Cheerleaders is part of that lesser known (to me) Cheerleader genre. Also, having Jack Hill as the director, who you may know from such hits as Switchblade Sisters and Coffy, gives the film a strong female lead and a bit of a blacksploitation vibe. It most certainly isn’t the raunchy movie I thought it was going to be, based on the title. There are a few scenes of female nudity thrown in to please fans, as was necessary for the time, but the film plays it rather tame.
The movie does have a bit of a funny bone running throughout, with an ending that turns everything into complete slapstick comedy, which might throw off the viewers, as the rest of the film wasn’t as in your face with the comedy as the ending was. I’m talking Three Stooges level of comedy here.
Nevertheless, The Swinging Cheerleaders has a strong female lead in Jo Johnston, who is a sight for sore eyes and carries the film. She is tough as nails and gets shit done, even if some of the shit she has to do is sleeping with the quarterback for “research” purposes. Also, I would be remiss in not mentioning my Clue crash Colleen Camp, who plays the mean head Cheerleader with such zeal.
The Swinging Cheerleaders resulted in a fun flick that had bits of comedy (slapstick, etc.), nudity and a few scenes that played rather serious. Jack Hill once again had another hit on his hands with this one.
Arrow Video takes yet another older film and lovingly restores it to its former glory. The film’s video quality is rather nice, with nice even film grain and an audio presentation that keeps things loud and clear. There are moments of choppy film and scenes transition that are rather jarring, but that comes down to the film negative used and is no fault of Arrow Video.
The special features on The Swinging Cheerleaders might seem like a lot at first, but once you start to crack into them, you’ll notice that most of them only run around the 8 to 10-minute mark, with the New Beverly Cinema Q & A being the longest at nearly 20 minutes. Of course, there is the much welcome audio commentary with Jack Hill that is worth a listen.
Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentations
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio commentary by writer-director Jack Hill, recorded exclusively for this release
Brand new interview with Jack Hill
Archive interview with cinematographer Alfred Taylor
Archive interview with Hill and Johnny Legend
Q&A with Hill, and actors Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon recorded at the New Beverly Cinema in 2012
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
The Swinging Cheerleaders was a nice detour from the realm of horror and into the lesser known Cheerleader genre that I’m just finding out about now. I’ve loved Jack Hill’s previous flicks, so I knew I would at least get some enjoyment out of this one and I was most definitely right. The Arrow Video Blu-ray has been out for some time now, but if you haven’t checked it out yet and are curious, you won’t regret picking it up.