Plot: Stanley (Greg Calpakis) has dreams of making the basketball team, being a star player and winning glory for his school. But in reality, he is just the waterboy and even though the team is awful, he’s still not good enough to hit the court. Coach Cherry (Fred Travalena) dismisses his numerous attempts to join the squad, while his team racks up loss after loss. In his quest to be a basketball star, Stanley practices a lot and even tries hypnotism, to train his mind in the ways of the game. He thinks the hypnotic lessons might be working, but he is still pretty terrible at basketball. Meanwhile, a mysterious person with a basketball for a head is stalking the team, injuring or kill off the best players at the school. This narrows down the competition for Stanley, but he still doesn’t make the cut. As the police investigate this spree of attacks on the athlete, will they find Stanley is behind the violence or will the culprit be a total shock?
Entertainment Value: Night of the Dribbler was made in 1990, but wasn’t released to the public until a home video edition almost two decades later. The movie was envisioned as a typical slasher movie, but turned into a vehicle for comedian Fred Travalena and had most of the horror elements removed. The premise is gold, as someone with a basketball on their head is killing athletes in ridiculous ways. But as I said, the horror was drained out of this one, leaving most of the movie as a comedy. Travalena plays several roles and has a ton of screen time, which isn’t the best news. He stinks up the joint here, with lame jokes and a cringe inducing performance. The bad impressions are a highlight in the cringe arena, for sure. The humor in the rest of the movie follows suit, with the kind of jokes old people might get a chuckle out of. But I do have a soft spot for cringe, so I was able to get some entertainment out of how widely the humor misses. If more horror was still in the formula, this might have had some camp value. As it stands, the curio factor and the awkward humor/performances are the main draw. I’m glad the movie is out in the world and I’m glad I was able to check it out, but Night of the Dribbler is mostly for fans of cringe cinema.
No nakedness. We have a shower scene, but no dice. No blood either, but we do have some jokey death/injury scenes. A cartoon style explosion, complete with a lit fuse on the basketball, as well as a guy who loses his hands when he dunks a ball. I actually liked the hands falling off, as it was so out of left field. So a tiny bit of humor laced implied violence, but no blood or graphic on screen mayhem. The dialogue is pure cringe, with some of the lamest humor you’ll ever experience and performances that have little to no effort involved. Travalena seems to commit to the material, but everyone else seems to be sleepwalking through the lines. Stanley’s dad has some highlight though, I don’t want to forget about him. So I am giving a couple points for just how awkward and weak the humor is, but not much memorable dialogue. As far as craziness, the idea that this was made is pretty wild, but the movie isn’t that insane. Just bad jokes and dated references, so not all that wild or over the top. A pity point is awarded for the hands flying off during a dunk, as that scene was fun.
Overall Insanity: 1/10
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