Monday, March 27, 2017

Nude on the Moon (1961)

aka Girls on the Moon, aka Moon Dolls, aka Nature Girls ion the Moon, aka Nature on the Moon

How bad is it? Pretty bad, even by 1960's nudie standards.
Should you see it? If you've never seen a nudie, a Doris Wishman film - maybe on a slow night.

I saw this originally on a "Joe Bob Briggs Presents the Wold's Sleaziest Films" VHS and my main memory of it was a guy with some silver hair pasted down with greasy kid stuff and my thinking "that looks like bird poop." Astronauts travel to the moon, which looks just like the Coral Gables nudist colony in Florida and encounter a world of topless women. When they return, they have no proof of their discovery and one guy suddenly notices that his secretary looks like the queen of the moon, so he takes an interest in her. There's little effort at making anything reasonably scientific, nor of developing characters or plot. The silliest moment is perhaps when the guys communicate by radio, though sitting next to each other. It's slow. The only reason it exists is because it was made in that brief era when films made in nudist camps were considered "educational" and could thereby bypass the requirement that women couldn't be shown topless. I didn't know it was directed by Doris Wishman under a pseudonym for some time, though her trademarks are all there.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)

How bad is it? Too frightening for intended audience, too muddled for others.
Should you see it? Probably not; if "The Nightmare before Christmas" wasn't dark enough for you, then maybe.

Filmed in 2-D in 2007, this was retrofitted into 3-D which is so murky that it's awful. Elle Fanning plays a child in the 1920's left in the care of her uncle, Albert Einstein (played by Nathan Lane). John Turturro plays the Rat King as a Nazi intent to blot out the sun with smoke from furnaces fueled with burning toys. Tchaikovsky's ballet is absent, but a bit of his music remains, buried within original songs that are forgettable. Hoffmann's original story is very loosely interpreted. There might be an idea in there somewhere and there's talented people involved, but it's a trainwreck and one of the darkest Christmas films made for children.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

National Lampoon's Gold Diggers (2003)

aka Lady Killers, aka National Lampoon's Lady Killers

How bad is it? The worst of the National Lampoon franchise.
Should you see it? God no.

Two hapless thieves get beaten up by two older women they try to rob, then end up marrying them for their money. The women don't actually have money and plan to kill their new husbands for insurance. Meanwhile, the audience contemplates suicide. Louise Lasser and Renee Taylor are wasted, the one joke premise of trying to have sex with someone you find repulsive doesn't work and there is nothing else to recommend it.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Night Stalker (1979)

aka Nightstalker, aka Don't Go Near the Park, aka Sanctuary for Evil, aka Curse of the Living Dead

How bad is it? Surprisingly professional, but still cheap and bizarre, crap.
Should you see it? Okay, yes. [I think I've been getting lenient of late]

I saw this in the theater when it came out (yes, I'm old). People discover it because it has Aldo Ray and Linnea Quigley and was on the UK Video Nasties list, but it's a typical, if strange, zombie film. Thousands of years ago, a cavewoman curses her incestuous children to eternal life and they prevent aging by becoming cannibals, but there's an out: he has to sire a child that they sacrifice when a teen. Cut to the present, when they are in L.A. and the plot goes all weird. There's a magic amulet that causes a van (obviously pulled by a rope) to go over the side of a bridge and explode... and how does the girl get out?! A man sneaks into a woman's house and watches her in the shower... and she rents him a room! The opening title card has spelling errors, corpses blink, there's a shoddy aging dissolve shot of Tammy Taylor (NOT the better known Tamara Taylor, but billed as Tamara)...

The film is surprisingly well-shot (kudos Mr. Cinematographer), which sort of makes the terrible makeup and effects look all the worse. The acting ranges from passable to terrible. The film's a bit slow until the end, when all the action takes place.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Nail Gun Massacre (1985)

aka Texas Nailgun Massacre, aka Carnage

How bad is it? Really stupid and cheap.
Should you see it? Sure (I'm guessing you have, if you're reading this blog).

Who needs a tinted visor when you have duct tape?
In the world of cheap 1980's psycho killer films, this one's well-known and a bit of a cult favorite. There's a rape scene at the start (very PG-rated) and one assumes that it's going to be a rape revenge film, but then other people get killed too - it's never explained - and the killer, who is obviously a woman (and is played by one throughout the film) is revealed to be... a man, in fact the one obvious possible killer. [Sorry if that's a spoiler.] The killer makes jokes, usually three or four puns, at every kill and they're so terrible and so badly delivered that they're quite funny. No one seems to see the killer when he's in plain sight, as if his/her camouflage completely works no matter what the background. People are repeatedly killed with non-lethal shots, usually to the hands. There's some nudity, including guys you wish you hadn't seen and some very 1980's-looking women. There's a doctor with a "Canadian tuxedo" that you know is a doctor because he says so. The sheriff, whose badge moves between shots, comes to the obvious conclusion late and instantly solves the case; watch for the killer's death scene, where his/her foot bounces back into the shot. There's some fun errors: the radio plays the same song twice in a row, a victim attempts to steady an object and keep it from falling after getting shot, etc.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Norseman (1978)

How bad is it? Anachronistic, cheap, hammy and slow.
Should you see it? Sure, but be prepared for long dull stretches.

Nice 70's perm and porn 'stache there, Lee.

Directed by Charles "Return to Boggy Creek" Pierce, this stars Lee Majors as a Viking, who with Cornel Wilde and Jack Elam (with a fake hump and hiding his wonky eyes behind a cloak), search for Majors' father, Mel Ferrer in America. It's Vikings vs. Indians, with no actor looking his part - and then they throw in two NFL'ers, Deacon Jones and Fred Biletnikoff; do I need to point out that Jones is black?! The dialogue is atrocious, the fights - always in deadly slow slo-mo - tedious and the plot ludicrous. If it weren't so deadly slow, it'd be a laugh riot.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

No Dead Heroes (1986)

How bad is it? Cheap Filipino version of a bad Chuck Norris-type film.
Should you see it? If you can find the VHS easily and cheaply, maybe.

This film averages three deaths per minute for its 86 minutes, so there's plenty of action! It starts in Vietnam (or Cambodia) during the Vietnam war and then lurches ten years to an attempted assassination of the Pope in South America. A KGB agent has implanted a microchip into a Green Beret's head and controls it with what looks like a cheap wristwatch. The accents are all wrong, the editing cuts off dialogue, the same sound effect is reused for everything, the soundtrack is ludicrously inappropriate and there's a long boring unsexy sex scene. It's neither the best of the worst of this type of film nor the worst of the best.