The Cheerleaders Collection (1973, 1974, 1976) from Tuna

The collection:

The Cheerleaders Collection (2003) is about to be released by Anchor Bay, and is the most entertaining thing I have yet seen on DVD, even though I own well over 4,000 DVDs. More about why later. The set includes The Cheerleaders from 1973, a personal favorite, as I saw it in the theaters with Mrs. Tuna, one of our first adult films. Second is The Swinging Cheerleaders from 1974, which is the slickest of the three in terms of acting, plot and overall technical merit. Finally, they have Revenge of the Cheerleaders from 1976, the worst of the three in plot, acting and technical, but the main reason this set is so entertaining. The first two have feature length commentaries from the director and a writer, which have the usual information on what they were trying for, where things were shot, etc. For Revenge of the Cheerleaders, they were unable to find anyone who would own up to having been associated with the film for a commentary, and hired Heather Swanson and Lisa Weber, two cheerleaders from William Taft High School in Pomona, class of 1976. They have set a standard for commentary that will be nearly impossible to beat.

First, they still have the same bubbly, exuberant personalities that made them cheerleaders in 1976. Second, they researched every aspect of the film, and the careers of every member of the cast. And lastly, they are absolutely hilarious. As an example, consider the following. "See, this girl is a method actor, and modern actresses wouldn't do this. Watch how she sticks her face right up that guys ass. You wouldn't catch that Dunst girl sticking her face up a guys ass." They also relate that the biggest name in the film, David Hasselhoff considers making this film the single most embarrassing thing he has done in his life. It is not listed on his official Web site. Each film also has trailers and advertising art. This set is a clear A. Even if you hate teensploitation in general, young naked girls, and cheerleaders in particular, these lovingly remastered uncut theatrical aspect ratio films with the commentary from Swanson and Weber make it a must see.



The individual films:

The Cheerleaders (1973) was ground-breaking in several ways. First, it was the first of the cheerleader teensploitation films. Second, it was the first about High School girls. Third, it was the first teensploitation comedy. The cheerleaders are short one member, who had to drop out of school due to pregnancy. The head cheerleader and the cheerleading coach want to fill the vacancy with a girl who will make it through the rest of the school year without getting pregnant. They find the perfect solution - a (gasp) virgin, played by an actress named Enid, who is credited as Stephanie Fondue. Note that most of the characters used a name other than their own, in most cases because they belonged to SAG, and this was an ultra low budget non-union film. Enid, who plays the inept virgin, was actually the most uninhibited young woman in the cast, and had a background posing nude for magazines. Nonetheless, she was convincing in the role.

The coach bets the head cheerleader that Enid will lose her virginity. The loser of the bet has to sleep with a creepy janitor or a dorky gardener. Meanwhile, Enid has joined the squad with the idea of getting laid, and the other girls try to help her. The film is really a series of scenes, complete unto themselves, but eventually add up to create a plot. Someone is paid to cause the football team to lose the big game, and brings the team to a slumber party hosted by the opposing cheerleaders, where the lads are screwed nearly unconscious. When our own cheerleaders catch on to the plan, they go after the opposing team to even the odds, but they miss a third string player who wasn't on the roster.

The following nudity summary will give the rest of the highlights.

  • Denise Dillaway, as the head cheerleader shows breasts having sex with the football coach, and having sex in a car wash (possibly the first sex in a car wash scene), in the locker room, and having sex with a biker type that follows her and Enid home.

  • Jovita Bush shows everything, first undressing in a locker room, and then having sex at the slumber party orgy.

  • Enid shows full frontal being initiated by showering in the boys locker room, and breasts in several sex scenes.

  • Kim Stanton, who was a little shy, shows breasts and buns, first having sex on an exercycle with the female gym coach (Terri Teague), and then again at the slumber part orgy.

  • Sandy Evans shows breasts in the locker room scenes, and then again having sex at the slumber party orgy.

  • Brandy Woods shows breasts and buns, first having sex in the back room of a fast food place, and again at the orgy. She also jumps out of a pizza naked to nail two of the opposing team.

The film was cast in LA, but shot mainly in the San Francisco area. Most of the football shots were done at a High School in Silicon Valley, and the school officials didn't know it was a sex film. The football team was the freshman team from San Francisco State and the locker room scenes were shot at Laney college in Oakland. They managed the rest by creating a sound stage in a Berkeley warehouse. They didn't pay anything at all for permits, or to use the physical locations.

The film was shot for $153K. The producer wanted a sexploitation film full of naked young girls, and left the rest to the writers and the director. He had no idea they were making a comedy. They initially released it themselves with a self-imposed X, but later created an R version, with, among other things, the lesbian scene removed. IMDB readers, not that I care about the IMDB score for this type of film, have it at 4.0 of 10, making it one of the higher scoring films of its ilk. It actually had important and timely themes, relating to open sexuality and the power women have using sex. For me, this is a clear C+, as one of the more entertaining films of the genre.

Scoop's note: You have to love a film written by someone named Ace Baandige!


The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974) is a very different film. First, it is set in college. Second, it is pretty much plot-driven, and doesn't have nearly as much nudity. Jo Johnston plays a liberated feminist and journalism major, living with the campus radical and publisher of the underground press. She decides to become a cheerleader to write an expose on the most exploited group on campus, the cheerleaders, and, at the same time, trash their brainless jock boyfriends. To gather enough material, she moves into student housing, sharing it with the other girls. Key among them is the required virgin (Cheryl Smith), who thinks she wants sex, but has not been completely seduced yet. She is dating the star wide receiver. Also important is Rosanne Katon, who is having an affair with a married professor. The team is on their way to an undefeated season. The writer gets next to the quarterback (boyfriend of the head cheerleader) and decides that the cheerleaders and the players are real human beings after all.

Meanwhile, the head of the alumni association, the married professor and the coach are betting on the games, and the jock tells Jo of his suspicions. They want to lose the last game of the season and make a fortune.

The following summarizes the nudity:

Jo Johnson shows breasts and buns in two sex scenes. Cheryl Smith and Rosanne Katon both show breasts in short scenes.

This film is rated 3.0 at IMDB, and was made for $150K. For me, the plot and acting is good enough, and the nudity is a real plus, also earning this a C+ as a genre effort.


Revenge of the Cheerleaders (1976) takes place at a very shabby High School, essentially run by the cheerleaders, who do pretty much what they want. The sport this time is basketball, and the star of the team, Boner, is played by none other than David Hasselhoff, who shows his tool briefly. He is the most ungainly basketball player I have ever scene. The plot, such as it is, concerns an unscrupulous developer, who wants to condemn the school, and build a shopping center. Cast member Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith showed up several months pregnant on the first day of shooting, but they left her in anyway. In an epilogue, she is shown greeting the other four cheerleaders holding her new baby son. The film is disjointed, poorly edited, has a painfully bad sound track, and universally poor acting.

There are five full time cheerleaders, although two mysterious ones appear and disappear to fill out dance production numbers. The nudity summary follows:

  • Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith was seen naked from the back only. I guess they thought frontal of a very pregnant woman was a little much even for exploitation. She is probably the best known of the five cheerleaders, and has appeared in Caged Heat, The Swinging Cheerleaders, Video Vixens (as the Twinkle Twat Girl), The Pom Pom Girls, Slumber Party '57, Melvin and Howard, and Vice Squad, among others. She unfortunately died in 2002 from Hepatitis.

  • Jerrie Woods also appeared in The Switchblade Sisters, and was the most competent actress of the five, but showed no skin.

  • Susie Elene, the one who "stuck her face up a guys ass," showed everything in several scenes.

  • Helen Lang, Penthouse Pet July, 1976, also appeared uncredited in Caligula. She shows everything in a long outdoor scene.

  • Patrice Rohmer is the most naked of the cheerleaders. Her clothes seem to explode off of her every few minutes. Her credits include The Harrad Summer and Jackson County Jail.


The film includes many well known character actors, including:

  • Eddra Gale as the school nurse. Her credits include 8 1/2, The Graduate, I Love You Alice B. Toklas, Hotel Paridiso, What's New Pussycat and Somewhere in Time.

  • William Bramly (Officer Krupke from West Side Story) plays the unscrupulous developer.

  • Carl Ballantine plays the first principal of the High School. He is best known as Gruber on McHale's Navy, but has made a career doing bad magic, and playing the fool.

The High School is supposedly Aloha High, allowing for some really cheesy luau themes and decorations. Commentators Heather and Lisa Point out that there is no Aloha High School in California, but there is one in, get this, Beaverton, Oregon. They repeated the city name twice to make sure we saw the beaver. The film was actually shot at Venice High School near L.A. Heather and Lisa (not their real names or stage names) are Hollywood insiders, and also celebrities, although they are not contractually allowed to tell me what their celebrity names are. To fill in during slow moments, they accuse nearly every film made since 1976 of being influenced by this one, present Hassel-facts about male lead David Hasslehoff, and teach us cheerleader stuff like "spirit fingers" and spanky pants.

The plot is too silly to say much about, but I will give you one scene as an idea. Two of the girls are out hiking in the nude, and double-team a boy scout their own age, then continue their hike naked. They are stopped and frisked by a cop (looking for concealed weapons on their naked bodies, then their friends knock the cop out, and they all take off in the cop car.

IMDB readers give this 3.6 of 10. Were it not for the commentary, watching this film would be a chore. The choreography is a little odd, and even more so when Hasselhoff tries to dance, but his dancing is great compared to his basketball playing. The sound track includes nothing I recognized as music, and most scenes have a high ambient noise level. This is barely a C-, and would be lower were it not for the excellent transfer.

DVD info from Amazon

  • see main commentary


see the main commentary

The Critics Vote

  • no comments from major reviewers

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this package is a C+. Top of the line remastered exploitation fare with plenty of nudity. One hilarious commentary. David Hasselhof playing basketball, dancing, and whipping out his willie. What else does one need in life?

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