FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

May 21, 2014

Juliette Cummins Week Day 3: RUNNING HOT

Okay, so if you've seen Running Hot (1984) then you know it's not a horror film. But hey, it's the kind of sleazy exploitation flick that would have (and probably did) fit right in on USA's Up All Night, and therefore it fits right in my heart. If you are too young to have indulged in Up All Night back in the day, I'm sorry. Things really were better in Olden Times.

The short of Running Hot is this: 17-year-old Danny (Eric Stoltz) has been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his father. He escapes police custody and goes on the run with Charlene (Monica Carrico), a 30-year-old prostitute. They head for Arizona, hoping to avoid the cops and to get to Danny's little sister Jenny (Juliette Cummins).

That sounds entertaining enough, I know. But y'all, it's the long of Running Hot that makes it so amazing and wonderful and will make you want to be its best friend.

We need to start with Charlene, our hooker with a heart of gold. She falls in love with Danny after she sees him on television because a) he reminds her of a boyfriend she had a long time ago, and b) she's obsessed with the number 13 and if you subtract 17 from 30 you get 13 and so they're meant to be together forever, duh. How does she express this obsessive love of hers? Well, before they meet in the flesh, Charlene kisses Danny's face when he appears on her TV.

She's also inspired to create interpretive dance routines to news reports about his trial.

"it's jazz, tap, and ballet all rolled into one"

She gets a Lucky 13 tattoo...or maybe she just draws it on with Sharpie, it's hard to tell.

As you'd expect, she masturbates face-down in the bathtub.

Most importantly, however, Charlene writes letters to Danny incessantly- sometimes 3 a day!- so when he manages to escape from the back of a cop car, he limps, bloodied and bruised, right into her lovin' arms.

That is, she'd like 'em to be her lovin' arms, but Danny's pretty bashful and put off by the fact that she's a prostitute. Don't worry, though, her winsome ways win him over eventually. OOPS SPOILER. But seriously, though, Charlene is just so strange that it doesn't take long for the viewer to succumb to her bizarre charms. In fact, that's true of Running Hot as a whole. As Danny and Charlene travel from Los Angeles to the Arizona desert, we're treated to all kinds of seedy, sordid goodness. To wit:

There are pimps in banana hammocks and hookers who read comic books!

that's Virgil Frye, the dad of Soleil Moon "Punky Brewster" Frye, just thought you should know

People bust out guns and blow people away at the slightest provocation!

Sorrells Pickard provides some of the most indelible lines in the films, such as "Don't get wise with me, fuckbutt."

If dates are accurate, Juliette Cummins is 19-20, playing 12!

There are some really weird-ass sexnanigans!

And finally, the Running Hot gallery of l'arte du sleaze:

He ends this conversation by saying "Nice nips."

Man, there's just so much more but you should really experience Running Hot for yourself, preferably with a group of friends and a group of beers. Watching it at the drive-in would be best, but as it's not 1984 anymore, I'm willing to let that go. Eric Stoltz is a bit of a dullard, but hey, it was his first starring role. Whatever spark he lacks is made up for by Stuart Margolin chewing up the scenery as the detective hot on Danny's trail, and newcomer Carrico, who seems game for anything. Get out your banana hammocks and your nips and give this one a won't regret it! Or you might, if you're a jerk. But you're not.



Anonymous said...

Stuart Margolin...Angel from The Rockford Files?

Stacie Ponder said...

Indeed! I believe Running Hot writer/director Mark Griffiths worked on the show in some capacity as well, and that's how they connected.

Carrie said...

I HAVE to see this. Thanks, Stacie!