Take a trip back to a time when rock ruled the world, with this mind-blowing, deliriously decadent musical that's a psychedelic feast for the senses and "a camp lover's delight" (American Cinematheque)! Deliciously decadent and exploding with glitter and glam, The Apple is a psychedelic sci-fi feast for the senses!
When folk singers Alphie and Bibi enter the World Vision song contest, their wholesome appeal catches the evil eye of music mogul Mr. Boogalow, a Faustian fiend who promises the pair fame and fortune. Seduced by Boogalow's devilish denizens, Bibi surrenders her soul and soon becomes a superstar...and a pawn in Boogalow's plot to take over the planet with the power of pop music! Now, Alphie must free Bibi from Boogalow...and save the world from rock-and-roll ruin!
"I've never been so high in my life!"
When Hollywood enjoys hit musicals like Grease, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Saturday Night Fever released in relatively quick succession to adoring fans, you can't fault a guy like a writer / director Menahem Golan and producing partner Yoram Globus for attempting to cash in. With The Apple, the world is given a biblically inspired schlock-rock musical. The only problem is the film features all of the blunt touches that comes with your average Cannon film - minus the appearance of Chuck Norris or Charles Bronson. While the film initially attempted to be the next big rock musical movie event, it only managed to become a severely tongue-in-cheek and hilarious midnight movie extravaganza.
It's 1994 and the world is under the control of rock mogul Mr. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal) and his label BIM. His stars Pandi (Grace Kennedy) and Dandi (Allan Love) take center stage with their catchy tunes winning the hearts and souls of teens the wold over. However, Boogalow's plans are nearly thwarted by a pair of innocent Canadian folk singers Bibi (Catherine Mary Stewart) and her boyfriend/songwriter Alphie (George Gilmour). As Alphie and Bibi's music starts to win hearts, Boogalow has no choice but to corrupt the pair by seducing them into his web of sin. As they're given promises of recording contracts, lavish living accommodations, and riches beyond their dreams, Bibi is won over, but Alphie rejects the offer severing their partnership and romance. As Bibi struggles to adjust to her new lifestyle, Alphie struggles to find work and a sense of purpose in a world controlled by the BIM. Their only salvation may be a commune lead by an aging Hippie (Joss Ackland) that has completely rejected anything and everything to do with Mr. Boogalow and the BIM.
Like most of the Cannon Group films I love so dearly, The Apple is not a good film in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, the film makes little sense as the plot is thin, performances are stilted, and the biblical undertones are so on the nose they punch you in the face. However, the film is so over the top, so bizarrely innocent of its total and complete badness that it actually becomes one of the most entertaining films of the entire Cannon Group library. Like so many of Cannon's films through the late 70s and the 80s, The Apple is a classic piece of cinema gone wrong where the final result wasn't the intended blockbuster but is instead a kitsch classic.
My first true introduction to The Apple was thanks to Rifftrax with Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy delivering one of their best riffs to date. I had heard of this disaster before, but outside of tracking down a prohibitively over-priced out of print DVD, I hadn't seen the film before the release of the VOD Rifftrax takedown. One joke after another left my wife and I rolling in fits of laughter. Between the crazy fashion, the cheeky songs, and the pretty terrible yet earnest performances, we became instant fans of The Apple. When we finally got the chance to watch the film without riffing - we were delighted to discover that the film wasn't only enjoyable, but perhaps even endearing without the jokes being lobbed at it. It was funny all on its own and has become an instant favorite film of ours. Whenever one of us is having a tough string of stressful days, a good beer and a viewing of The Apple is the perfect cure providing instant smiles and a bevy of laughter.
One of the big reasons The Apple doesn't entirely work is, in part, due to the typical production disasters that accompany most Cannon films. Apparently an entire prologue between the devil-inspired Mr. Boogalow and the godly Mr. Topps (also Joss Ackland) sparring over the creation of the earth. The scene was supposed to feature a menagerie of various animals, both predator and prey, as some sort of peaceful symbolism and would only be corrupted by Mr. Boogalow's satanic influences. While Menahem Golan's intentions we're artistically innocent, he didn't anticipate the predator animals actually starting to kill and eat the prey creatures - so the entire scene and sensible setup for the film was scrapped entirely. I mention this piece of trivia only because it's the only way to make sense of when Ackland's Mr. Topps descends from Heaven in his golden Rolls Royce and saves the hippies from Mr. Boogalow. On top of bizarre edits, inept story structure, and the blunt imagery, The Apple quickly becomes a hilarious combination of 1984 meets the book of Genesis via a rock musical.
The overwhelming sense of earnestness is the biggest asset to The Apple. From the sci-fi futuristic West Berlin locations to the campy costumes and makeup to the infectious song numbers, you can tell everyone was giving this film their all. No one is sloughing off. Each actor is giving their best performance as they wear ridiculous costumes and belt out terrible lines of dialogue and engage in colorful song and dance routines. It's because this movie is trying so damn hard to be something incredible that it is so easy to love - and laugh at. If you've never seen The Apple, there is no time like the present to give this camp classic a spin. Grab your friends, get some drinks and great food and hold on tight. If you thought Cannon Group action flicks were amazing, you haven't seen anything yet!
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Apple makes it's Blu-ray debut courtesy of Scorpion Releasing and Kino Lorber. Pressed onto a Region A BD-25 disc, the disc is housed in a standard sturdy Blu-ray case. The disc loads directly to a static image main menu with all of the bonus features linked directly without any submenu options. The artwork indicates the apsect ratio as 1.78:1 but it is in fact, 2.35:1.
If you're going to enjoy The Apple you've gotta watch it with some style! Scorpion Releasing and Kino Lorber bring The Apple to Blu-ray with a newly minted 1080p 2.35:1 transfer. I've got to tell you as someone who has seen this movie more times that I'd care to admit publicly, I'm extremely happy with this new restoration. With a pleasing amount of film grain apparent, detail levels are fantastic as you're now allowed to see and appreciate numerous details. My wife and I kept stopping the movie as we noticed weird and crazy details we'd never spotted before.
Makeup effects, costuming, and the zany futuristic production design are all on display. Colors are brighter and more vibrant than ever before with a healthy amount of primary saturation. Skin tones are healthy and even throughout. Black levels are nice and inky with plenty of shadow separation allowing for a nice sense of depth and dimension to the image. the print sourced for this transfer is in great shape without any notable damage or speckling to report. Considering the standing of this film, I wasn't expecting much, but this transfer exceeds even my best hopes for this release!
With a solid DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix, The Apple has never sounded better - which is important when you're going to enjoy a silly sexy tune like "Coming For You" (how this movie still got a PG rating with that song is still a mystery to me). Dialogue is handled with care and ease while the song and dance numbers get the most heft out of the mix. Sound effects serve well and provide a nice sense of atmospherics to the film. The song and dance number in Mr. Boogalow's BIM building features a nice bit of echo for a massive room of that size. Scoring is strong and helps accent the mix nicely. Free of any hiss, pops, or other annoying age-related anomalies, this DTS mix is spot on and perfectly complements this crazy movie.
The Apple arrives with a nice assortment of bonus features prominently featuring Bibi actress Catherine Mary Stewart. Her interview provides a terrific amount of information while her commentary moderated by Nathaniel Thompson is a treasure trove of trivia about the film. Unfortunately, the Rifftrax commentary isn't included as it was with releases like Astro Zombie and The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant. While I encourage everyone to give this film a viewing straight and unriffed, the Rifftrax Commentary is well worth the viewing so do check that out. Unfortunately, the longer Screening Print that ran during the premiere that features extended scenes and additional songs remains missing and wasn't available for this release. Hopefully, someone will find it in the future and fans can enjoy this film to its fullest.
Audio Commentary Featuring moderator Nathaniel Thompson and star Catherine Mary Stewart. A lot of the ground covered in Stewart's on-screen interview is repeated a bit here, but moderator Thompson keeps the conversation flowing nicely while Stewart offers up a ton of fun information about the film and her career.
Catherine Mary Stewart Interview (HD 47:07) Stewart clearly has a lot of love for this film as it was her first big break leading roll. She doesn't shy away from the embarrassing stuff while also providing a ton of great trivia about being cast in the film and shooting in West Berlin.
Theatrical Trailer (SD 2:49)
No, The Apple is not a great movie in the traditional usage of the word, but damn is it entertaining. It's a Cannon Group film through and through with Menahem Golan giving the film every ounce of his creativity serving as screenwriter and director. It's a kitschy rock-musical misfire that provides incredible entertainment value packed into a 91-minute runtime. Scorpion Releasing with Kino Lorber have given The Apple the star treatment it rightfully deserves with a stellar video and audio transfer along with some worthwhile extras. As the Screening Print is still missing, this release of The Apple may not be as complete as desired, however, it's an easy one to recommend to fans of schlock cinema. If you haven't seen it, I hope you give it a whirl soon. Recommended.