Posted by:on March 7th, 2004
Another recent re-issue. This time form ON video. Although this movie was released in 1980, it reeks of the 70’s. It’s fascinating too because it was filmed over a time period where skateboarding was rapidly evolving. As a result you get to see narrow 70’s boards mixed with the beginning of the pig era. Freestylers, bikes, and even rollerskaters make an appearance as well as the movie loses is focus on the target audience. Venice beach makes a case for Hollyweird at’s it’s peak. Skateboard Madness follows “Mellow Cat” as a reporter for a skate mag (Remember Mellow Cat form Skateboarder magazine?) on his quest for some really “out there” perfect skate photography. Humorous narration is provided by the ubiquitous Phil Hartman, doing some voices that would later morph their way into the Simpsons. The famous turning point ramp makes an appearance as well as Stacey Peralta as one of the cast members. Also of note is Dennis Dragon from the Surf Punks who has a brief un-credited appearance as the world’s oldest skater who is now into Punk Rock. He’s also involved in the soundtrack, cementing a relationship with Peralta that evolved into the Bones Brigade videos (which actually reused an audio track from Skateboard Madness), and continued to Nickelodeon’s Sk8TV for incidental music. The movie is a hokey classic that deserves a place on anyone’s shelf next to Fruit of the Vine and Future Primitives. (Don’t get me started on how bad Animal Chin is!) Like this review, the footage is all over the place, from the parks of California to the deserts of AZ to the flatlands of Florida. Pre-Dogtown era styles mix with early vert agro of the 80’s. Even if your memory of stop action skate animation stops at the original Santa Cruz video, you’ll love the psychedelic time traveling claymation piece. It’s horribly funny and sometimes just plain horrible. Steve Cabellero even shows up as an improbably young ripper in extra footage that wasn’t in the theatrical release but did make it’s way into later video releases. Speaking of extras, the DVD has interviews with Peralta and others in the Bonus Grinds section that also has footage of the famous Cherry Hill park in NJ. There is piece the Alba brothers that predates the Screaming Lord’s title. The only major flaw present in the DVD release is that the transfer was made from a damaged print of the film. Portions of the audio cuts out and some footage is dropped in a couple of places. The first minute of the film is a painful example, but don’t let it deter you. A budget affair to say the least, but with some mildly interesting extras and the time capsule kitsch appeal, Thanks to VideoActionSports.com for the video.
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