On top of Old Smokey, all covered with cheese, Thom Keith made a movie, with not enough sleaze.
We open with a bunch of sorority girls (including Savannah, Suzanne Ager, and Michelle Bauer) showering and doing other lovely things, but that quickly ends as Professor Hamilton (Vincent Van Patten), his student girlfriend Jamie (Betsy Russell) and some other girls whose names I never bothered learning head out to a field trip into the wilderness to meet as many clichés as possible….
So, Professor Hamilton and his merry band head off on an anthropological trip to examine some Indian remains up in the mountains. As is expected when they leave civilization, they must stop at a weird gas station that includes a man who makes dire predictions about what they can expect to find up in the mountains and a drunk (George ‘Buck’ Flower) who tells them to beware … BEWARE. Why every gas station on the edge of a wilderness has to have some kind of weirdo or weirdos who warn everyone about the terrors nearby is unclear. What is also unclear is why no one ever listens to them. The most important unanswered question is: how does one advertise for help at a gas station like that? Can you imagine the applications you would get and how much fun it would be to find the exact right strange person to upset the tourists?
Something notable about the school stuff in general is how totally bizarre the field trip is in the first place. Normally only graduate students in advanced programs go out into the field under the supervision of an already existing dig. This sort of thing would be strongly frowned upon, especially since the professor is having sex with one of his students. I cannot begin to express how much trouble he would get into for having a sexual relationship with a student under him (and no, that does not mean it is okay as long as she is on top either), but she is clearly risking her future. Often if a male instructor is found to have an inappropriate relationship with a female student, he will get a slap on the wrist and she will be shunned by the rest of the department, giving her no choice but to leave the school and try again, hopefully a little wiser. I can only imagine how bad it would be at a woman’s college. Betsy Russell is cute though.
The addition of the bikers is a pretty weird choice for the writers to have made. Here they have already set up a mountainous setting that has an ancient druid working with a lake monster and they think that is somehow not enough, they need bikers too. The bikers really contribute very little to the film except to force the students to remain on the mountain as they try to rape them as was the style in the 90s. Because we are apparently supposed to like the girls on the mountain, the bikers also serve as the useful victims to show us how the other baddies work. They don’t even do this very well and could easily have been written out if fraternity boys or some other males could have been made available for dismembering and as monster chow. Horrible death is the best use for fraternity brothers anyway, it is something they all should aspire to.
The bikers fit in as well as the Indian named Indian (Jim Elk) who is up on the mountain to fight against the evil that is going to be unleashed because the world is coming to an end or something. Like most cinematic Indians, Indian is present to give out some exposition to explain what will be going on as the film goes. Strangely, he does not particularly warn the Professor and the women that the threat up on the mountain is a druid who seeks to save the world or something. That might have been more clear, but honestly this film was not easy to pay any attention to as it seemed to be cobbled together from three or four scripts.
Finally, there’s the druid millennial stuff, which seems odd since this film was made a decade before the changing millennium and who says that druids and Indians keep the Gregorian calendar anyway?The druid (Tiny Ron) is a giant scabby man who seems to be violently Welsh. What the hell is a Welsh druid doing in California? We have a lot of diversity here, but I’m pretty sure that we don’t have any pre-Roman holdouts of ancient religions. Well, actually, we probably do. The Welshman seems to use Cuneiform for some reason, making him still more international since Cuneiform was Sumerian and not Welsh. The druid is around to sacrifice some of the women that Professor Hamilton has stupidly brought up for him to have easy access to. He also dresses the women in skin bikinis, something that I agree was completely necessary to the plot. The sacrifice appears to be to a lake monster … yeah, a lake monster. Why is there a lake monster up there? No idea.