If your idea of a happy ending is one villain having his throat cut, another being burned alive, a third sinking in a bog and a fourth getting run over, this movie is for you. Not that the bad guys don't deserve it, having spent 89 minutes raping, murdering, pillaging and—worse—overacting. But the violence lacks focus, unlike that in Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, whose revenge-against-hoodlums theme was similar. Here, however, a woman—a superliberated model played with lack of conviction by Brenda Vaccaro—rises up to smite the evildoers and, presumably, warm the hearts of feminist vigilantes everywhere. (R)

Employing a batch of yeasty young stars and USC students, Charles Gary Allison produced (and scripted) this low-budget gem as part of his Ph.D. dissertation. With documentary accuracy, the 1950s rites of the Greek system pass from schmaltzy serenades and pinnings to cruel blackballs and hazings. The climax is in a horrifying spring semester "hell week." The villainous "Chunk Cherry," Gamma Nu Pi's pledge-monger supreme, is played by stuntman Scott Newman, whose eyes are nearly as blue as his dad's. (PG)

Perennially befuddled Monty Pythonite Michael Palin wanders into the realm of King Bruno the Questionable. There he hopes to make his fortune so he can marry Griselda Fishfinger, who looks like a distant relative of Petunia Pig. He ends up stuck with Bruno's beautiful blond daughter. Unfortunately, the film doesn't live up to its premise and director Terry Gilliam (Python's animator) relies excessively on splattering blood and strewing corpses to get laughs. (Unrated; there is some brief nudity)

A dog 'n' cat comedy in which Sam Waterston, a sincere buttoned-down lawyer, tries to reform a street-smart auto klepto, Stockard Channing. (With the aid of movie newcomer Franklyn Ajaye, who specializes in radios and tape decks, she has been cleaning out the parking lots of Seattle.) Some hotter wiring between the principals would have helped, but this is still a lively film with an engaging cast. (PG)

Whither El Dorado, mythical city of the Incas? Nowhere, archeologists now seem sure. But Lope de Aguirre, a real-life 16th-century Spanish conquistador, and his band of explorers learned that the hard way: by two months of rafting through an Amazon River jungle, dodging cannibals and poisoned arrows. The trip is the stuff of which myths are made, and this German film—with Klaus Kinski's quietly flipped-out, Queeg-like performance as Aguirre—makes it a contender for cult-film status. (Unrated)