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Anchor Bay presents
H.O.T.S. (1979)

"I promise to do everything within my power, using all my abilities, talents and assets, to win every man on campus away from Pi Sorority, so help me H.O.T.S.!"
- The H.O.T.S. Girls

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: June 23, 2000

Stars: Susan Kiger, Lisa London, Pamela Jean Bryant, Kimberley Cameron
Other Stars: Danny Bonaduce
Director: Gerald Seth Sindell

Manufacturer: Complete Post
MPAA Rating: R for nudity, sexual situations, language
Run Time: 01h:37m:55s
Release Date: July 11, 2000
UPC: 013131118698
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ CB+C D-

DVD Review

H.O.T.S. is a 1979 comedy whose enduring appeal can perhaps best be summed up by a two-word phrase coined (if memory serves) by Francois Truffaut in the pages of Cahiers du Cinema circa 1952: STRIP FOOTBALL. If ever a concept was designed to appeal to adolescent male moviegoers of all ages, this is it—it's got football AND nudity! A raunchy cable staple in the early 1980's, it still shows up on late-night TV, but most people have never seen it in its original widescreen format.

In an era when almost every R-rated comedy concerned a bunch of guys trying to lose their virginity, H.O.T.S. (a.k.a. T & A Academy) borrowed heavily from Animal House to produce this story of a rebel pseudo-sorority at Fairenville University (cue the obvious jokes). This film (from a script by Joan Buchanan and Cheri Caffaro) leaves Blazing Stewardesses, The Pom-Pom Girls and The Swinging Cheerleaders in its dust by truly emphasizing the women's roles. Not that H.O.T.S. doesn't require its female leads to get naked—they do so frequently and for extended periods, but the women are the drivers of this particular story, staging "jock strap raids" and otherwise taking charge. There are boyfriends around, but they function primarily as moral support in this story of an all-out war between the H.O.T.S. girls and their snooty Pi Sorority rivals. The girls leverage their considerable physical assets to achieve their goals, seducing men and upstaging their opponents—they're exploiting themselves, which lends an oddly empowering flavor to a film that's otherwise pretty much what one would expect.

H.O.T.S. is no masterpiece—even the best gags only raise mild chuckles, and there's a lot of filler, like the subplot about two ex-cons trying to recover a bank robbery stash hidden in the formerly-abandoned H.O.T.S. house. The meaning of the H.O.T.S. acronym isn't revealed until the end of the film—some guesses are made along the way ("Hands Off Those Suckers!"), but the ultimate revelation is nothing special. None of the characters are very thoroughly developed (the movie really has no "central" characters) and the film plays like a sequence of disconnected college-prank gags, most of which involve the removal of clothing. Danny Bonaduce (of The Partridge Family) turns up as one of the guys—he hosts the obligatory Wet T-shirt contest and ends up in bed with Slinky, the H.O.T.S. seal mascot. The young cast members can't really act but seem to be having fun, and the older character actors do their best with run-of-the-mill bumbling "comic relief" roles. Gerald Seth Sindell's direction is technically competent, with decent shot composition and some very attractive lighting, but there's only so much he can do with this material.

Still, H.O.T.S. has survived while many of its contemporaries have vanished from pop-culture consciousness because of that furshlugginer climactic Strip Football game. The worm's-eye-view shots of attractive, topless women in a huddle provide imagery most people will not soon forget. And from a contemporary perspective, H.O.T.S. is refreshing in its way—it's neither Zalman King softcore porn nor cable-ready Bikini Car Wash/Bistro/Chiropractor/Mortuary "comedy." It's one of the last of the drive-in "nudie-cuties," simple and unsophisticated, and it deserves digital preservation as a prime example of its genre if for no other reason.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Anchor Bay presents H.O.T.S. in its original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio with a fine anamorphic transfer. Light grain is visible in a few shots with heavier grain in the opening sequence (apparently due to the optical titling process), but the source print is very clean and the digital transfer is solid with good color and detail and no distracting compression artifacts. Obviously, this is a low-budget, twenty-year-old film, but most people have never seen it the way it was meant to be seen, and I can't imagine it looking better than it does on this DVD.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: H.O.T.S. features its original monophonic soundtrack, presented in true Dolby Digital 1.0, but the audio hasn't aged well. There's some echo in a few interior dialogue scenes, almost NO bass at all, a "pop" or two and a general tinniness and muddiness in most of the sound, with a narrow, warbly frequency range. Anchor Bay does a competent job of preserving the audio "as is" with minimal hiss—it's a solid transfer of a dated, below-average source.

Audio Transfer Grade: C


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Not much to report here, unfortunately—just the original H.O.T.S. theatrical trailer in all its bombastic, exploitative glory, rendered in 1.85:1 with a solid anamorphic transfer, though it's quite a bit grainier than the feature. Anchor Bay provides no other clues to the film's origins or context; move along, folks, there's nothing here to see.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

H.O.T.S. is what it is—a lewd, nude late-70's campus comedy with an uncanny ability to stick to the retinas. It has never looked better than it does on Anchor Bay's DVD, and anyone with dim adolescent memories of Pan & Scan VHS/cable or heavily-edited TV versions will want to check out this uncropped, uncut edition. The uninitiated need not apply.


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