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  King Frat Break Like The WindBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Ken Wiederhorn
Stars: John DiSanti, Charles Pitt, Roy Sekoff, Robert Small, Dan Chandler, Mike Grabow, Ray Mann, Suzina Volpina, Dan Fitzgerald, Tom Tully, Glenn Scherer, Lee Krug, Taryn Hagey, Teri Kelso, Karen Gold, Sally Rica, Rahnee Reiland, Lee Sandman, Jean Jarvis
Genre: Comedy, Trash
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: On the Yellowstream University campus, there is one fraternity which has become notorious for their relentless bad behaviour, and they are Pi Kappa Delta, members of which are driving around town amusing themselves by indulging in masses of drinking and mooning out of the windows of their vehicle of choice - a hearse - at any and everyone who they pass by. Nobody is impressed by this, nobody except the students in the vehicle, that is, who find it hilarious, but what is not so hilarious is when they drive past the university dean in this state of undress and cause him to be so angry that he keels over from a heart attack. The new dean will not be so lenient of their behaviour.

Animal House was a huge hit in 1978, but only with a very specific audience, the younger one who found the antics of party-hard students irresistible and something to admire in the characters' heroic dedication to having fun at the expense of everything else: their education, their criminal records, their future, you name it. Other filmmakers took note and before long there was a rash of imitators in its wake, from Revenge of the Nerds to Police Academy and countless more, one of those being this little item, a modest number with no stars and patently very little budget, but a lot of enthusiasm. Naturally, it was utterly dismissed by almost everyone, including those who caught it.

And yet, there remained a small core of fans who were willing to speak up for King Frat, for they decided it had been underrated and if not a masterpiece, then worth a look for those seeking lowbrow humour and lots of it. You couldn't exactly call this quality filmmaking, it was plainly a shameless cash-in and hewed close to the Animal House model, almost identically in some scenes, so much so you imagine they were checking with their lawyers once it had been completed to see if they could get away with what essentially amounted to a rip-off. Top-billed was John DiSanti, who was forty years old when this was made, therefore presumably portraying a mature student.

He sure wasn't in the first flush of youth, but his adherence to the slob model as laid down by John Belushi was almost admirable, going about it with Robert De Niro levels of commitment to being disgusting. He also had the line that summed up the tone of the entire enterprise: early on, he catches sight of an article in the newspaper and yells, "Holy shit! A fart contest!" which is indeed what has been advertised, and a must for the fraternity to sign up for, not all together, but with DiSanti's character Gross-Out as their representative. Indicative of the humour was that the American Indian character (obviously not played by an actual native) devises a special potion to enhance their entrant's power, which on initial trial run propels him headfirst through the nearest wall.

If that sounds funny to you, you would probably enjoy King Frat as it went through variations on the themes and scenes of the National Lampoon effort, which it would be sensible to say, even as a fan of that crass epic, were a pale imitation. And while there was truth in that, it was also true to observe it was so idiotic, so dedicated to utter stupidity, that you would find yourself laughing almost despite yourself; no, it was not clever in any way, shape or form, but sometimes something this dunderheaded strikes the funny bone. Details like Gross-Out's girlfriend being a blow-up doll (or a "humanoid balloon" as his ex-girlfriend, an actual woman, describes it), or a dog drinking all the potion on the big night and being shot into the air with rocket-powered flatulence may have been aiming for the lowest common denominator, but sometimes there are instances when that humour can hit its target, and though it's probably appropriate for such an inappropriate movie to be forgotten, it could surprise those taking a chance on it. Music by Red Neinkirchen (with catchy theme song).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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