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Something Weird Video presents

Hooked!/The Flaming Teen-Age (1957/1958)

"Sometimes heroin works on our side when we arrest an addict, or 'bust a junkie', as they call it."- narrator from Hooked!

Stars: Paul Kelly, Alex Wells, Regis Toomey, Noel Reyburn, Ethel Barrett, Sheila Urban
Other Stars: Jerry Franks, Cathy Downs, Cullen Wheelas
Director: Alexander J. Wells, Irwin S. Yeaworth, Charles Edwards

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 02h:19m:58s
Release Date: 2006-04-04
Genre: cult

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-B-B- B-


DVD Review

Something Weird dips into teens, heroin and alcohol with this double bill of message films about the dangers of addiction. Characters are simple, one-note caricatures throughout, and the acting varies from stiff to stiffer, with the exception of the campy cool of Sheila Urban as a girl from the wrong part of town in Hooked! Time may have aged the message, morphing it into laughable over-exaggeration, and that's the real entertainment message here.

Directed by Alexander J. Wells

Here's a combo platter of Dragnet! and Reefer Madness, where as one character puts it, "To get to the top, you have to get to the bottom." Heroin is ruining the lives of some very old looking high school students, and the local cops are doing their best to halt this deadly scourge from ruining more lives. Sexy Julie Barnes (Sheila Urban) comes from the wrong side of the tracks, and despite her involvement with a slick and shifty dealer, she sets her tight-sweatered, self-described "jailbait" goodness on naïve goofus Dick (Cullen Wheelas) and havoc ensues.

You know you're in for trouble when the opening sequence features extended stock footage of an airplane landing, including unnecessarily long shots of things like the stairs descending, etc., and director Alexander J. Wells further pads the narrative by ladling on some heavy-duty preaching from the cops. Good, for the most part, prevails over evil, and one of the highlights is a completely bizarre dance scene with a hip combo featuring a scat-singing sax player with very disturbing facial expressions.

The Flaming Teen-Age
Directed by Irwin S. Yeaworth and Charles Edwards

Yes, that is The Blob director Yeaworth's name on this one (originally known as Twice Convicted), though the finished product was eventually juiced up by Charles Edwards after the fact with additional footage. And ironically it is the Edwards footage that boosts this one into bad dream land during the surreal tour of "bars and other unwholesome places" during a montage segment in the first of this film's two parts.

The first half deals with a young teen about to embark into the world of drink, saved by a tour of boozy dives by his old man, and the general message of parental cluelessness is the principle theme. The second half, according to the opening credits, is "based on the true life story of Fred Garland," who apparently was a boozer, a user and eventually became a preacher. The Flaming Teen-Age sports some hilariously campy "concerned narrator" dialogue that bookends the film.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Both films have been presented in roughly tolerable 1.33:1 full-frame transfers, and Hooked! looks the better of the two films. And by better, that takes into account its own set of flicker, nicks, splices, vertical lines and the like. The Flaming Teen-Age is terribly grainy, and overall looks the worse of the pair.

I wasn't expecting these to look new, but apparently the source prints were in rather awful shape.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Audio for both films has been issued in Dolby Digital mono, and while they each contain there own set of minor problems, the presentation is still within acceptable limits for long-forgotten 1950s edu-tainment films. Hiss and crackle is recurring, but voices are generally clear and discernible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Assassin of Youth, Devil's Harvest, Hopped Up, The Narcotics Story, The Pusher, Youth Aflame
2 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Something Weird continues the theme of the two features, as they usually do, with the extras. In this case, it's an unintentionally hilarious trio of educational films proclaiming the dangers of drug and drink. The set includes Drug Addiction (21m:30s), Alcohol Is Dynamite (10m:22s) and The Choice Is Yours (23m:09s), and even if the print quality is a little sketchy the dated laughs are still plentiful. We learn that "youth is a happy time, a carefree time" but that occasionally there is the "living nightmare of the thoughtlessness of youth." Also included is a handful of lurid, thematically similar vintage trailers.

Each feature is cut into 12 chapters.

Extras Grade: B-

Final Comments

Drugs, alcohol and our fragile teenagers are the subjects here, with a pair of films laughably touting the dangers of addiction. Not that there's anything funny about addiction, mind you, but the simplistic Reefer Madness-leaps of faith contained within comically dilutes the fear-mongering message of these 1950s parental wakeup calls.

Rich Rosell 2006-07-06