Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Revenge of the Teenage Vixens from Outer Space (1985)

How bad is it? It almost looks like a high school project.
Should you see it? Not really. It's hard to find, anyway.

This is one of those films where they take a great title and try to make a silly movie out of it, playing it straight. Sometimes that works; here it doesn't. A mis-delivered catalogue causes a planet of women to come to Earth seeking men. They seduce essentially every male in a high school, upsetting all the girls and finding that Earthlings are disappointing lovers. So they turn them into vegetables - literally: they become things like squash. The ending is a truly awful "homage" to "The Wizard of Oz," as they click their ruby heels and head for home. The film was shot mostly in 1981, with additional footage in 1985 (and people's looks changed) and stars people who never made another film. The actors look only slightly too mature for high school. The special effects are close to non-existent, which isn't surprising for a reported budget of around $30000. This used to show up late at night on the USA network and had a brief release on VHS.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Reefer Madness (1938)

aka Tell Your Children, aka Dope Addict, aka Doped Youth, aka Love Madness, aka The Burning Question

How bad is it? It's the most notorious of anti-drug "educational" films.
Should you see it? Yes.

Somehow, my review of this disappeared, so I'm doing a brief re-do.

Every generation has its favorite bad film. "Plan 9" wasn't well-known until the 1980's and before that, this was the choice, particularly among those who smoked marijuana while watching it. After a very long intro, it tells the story of four teens, the future of the country, who are led to destruction by a marijuana dealer who introduces them to parties with wild jazz music, frenetic dancing, making out and drugs. The most famous scene is the playing the piano "faster - FASTER." One guy when high runs his car over someone and continues, unconcerned. Another tries to rape a girl he wasn't really all that interested in. Then there's a gunshot - which somehow, when pointed at the ground, hits a woman in the back and kills her bloodlessly. There's a ludicrous trial and a commitment to an insane asylum. The acting, while over-the-top, is not terrible compared to that in similar films (Dave O'Brien, the manic addict in this, went on to do other films). The colorized version is not an improvement and the MST3K treatment adds little; it's silly enough on its own.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Revenge of Dr. X (1970)

aka Venus Flytrap, aka Body of the Prey, aka Revenge of Doctor X, aka The Double Garden, aka The Devil Garden, aka Revenge of the Venus Flytrap

How bad is it? Turgid retread of Universal horror themes with a silly monster.
Should you see it? Don't go out of your way, but if it shows up, it's worth a watch.

This film is usually seen by people who start out with bad directions. There was a story that it was written by Ed Wood, Jr (it wasn't) and the credits are for "Mad Doctor of Blood Island," with which it was billed, so people mistakenly report that John Ashley and Angelique Pettyjohn are in it (I really had hoped that it would include the deleted sex scene from that other film). In this, a man does experiments with plants, including an aquatic kind of venus flytrap procured for him by topless female divers in Japan. He creates a human/plant hybrid, which he has to feed ever larger animals, eventually including people. The creature turns into a sort of man with venus flytrap hands and uproots itself, going after more human prey. The scientist then debates whether he should warn people or protect his work. It's very dull, but there are a number of nods to classic horror, from the hunchback assistant to using lightning to animate the creature and it's not unwatchable.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Rats are Coming! The Werewolves are Here! (1972)

How bad is it? It's the worst Andy Milligan film, so the worst of the worst.
Should you see it? NO! I HATE THIS FILM.

In one of the first posts on this blog, I said I wasn't going to review Andy Milligan films and this film was the main reason why; this is I think the seventh of his now reviewed here. One of five films Milligan shot while in England, this takes place in a gloomy old house a long time ago (people wear period costumes not identifiable to era, though you can see light switches on the walls and a neon sign in one shot). A woman brings her husband home to meet her weird family and tries to hide the fact that she's pregnant. The sister whips and beats her imbecile brother and brings home a collection of rats which get tortured and killed: this is not faked. In the last few minutes, the titular werewolf turns out to be the brother. The rats - actually mice - were added three years after most of the film was shot, to capitalize on the surprise hits "Willard" and "Ben," which happen to be the names of two of the rats in this film. Like all of Milligan's films, this was shot in 16 mm, there's problems with sound pick up, action scenes are underlit, most of the film is just talking shot in wide angle, but the acting is better than usual for his films. I find it unwatchable... and I've seen it twice.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Return to Frogtown (1992)

aka Frogtown II, aka Hell Comes to Frogtown II

How bad is it? Terrible.
Should you see it? No, but definitely see the original Hell Comes to Frogtown.

Robert Z'Dar as Sam Hell (replacing Roddy Piper) teams with Denise Duff to rescue a flying Texas Rocket Ranger (Lou Ferrigno) from a professor (Brion James) who's kidnapped him to make a serum to turn humans into frogs. This has abandoned everything that made the original Donald G. Jackson "Frogtown" film fun and has an obviously much smaller budget. People wear bandages on their faces to cut down on make-up costs. The armory is a shed protected by one guy. License plates are used as armor. There's a hand puppet (which gets interrogated), stripper frogs, tacky songs and the expected shootouts and swordfights. Don Stroud, Rhonda Shear and Charles Napier all have roles.

I hope you're as glad as I am that Donald Jackson week is over with this review.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Roller Blade Seven (1991), Return of the Roller Blade Seven (1991) and Legend of the Roller Blade Seven (1992)

How bad is it? Among the worst-made films done by supposed professionals.
Should you see it? Fuck no.

This installment of Donald G. Jackson's Roller Blade franchise ups the number of names collecting a check (Scott Shaw, Frank Stallone, Karen Black, Don Stroud, Big Bill Smith, Joe Estevez, Rhonda Shear, Jill Kelly) and removes all plot. This was what Jackson and Shaw went on to call "zen film" - making a film spontaneously - so there's no plot, beyond roller skating sword fighter Shaw battling assorted... er, ninjas? punks?  and rescuing women in swimsuits. Dialogue gets repeated, scenes are slap-edited together and not much happens. There were, amazingly, more sequels.

"Return of the Roller Blade Seven" and "Legend of the Roller Blade Seven" are more of the same. I can't tell if footage not used in earlier films is used in the later ones and I don't really care. Much of the cast returns in each, often with different character names.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force (1989)

How bad is it? Sightly polished crap.
Should you see it? Not unless you're a fan of someone involved.

This sequel to "Roller Blade" is somewhat better filmed, with perhaps a more coherent story line; this actually makes it less entertaining to watch. Directed by Donald G. Jackson, it has Kathleen Kinmont, Elizabeth Kaitan, Rory Calhoun and a slew of actors who've had minor roles in other films. Once again, women roller skating in the desert apocalypse fight badly with swords. This time, there's an ore refinery operated by a monster created by radiation that's being fed with human sacrifices. That's kind of it - people in cheap costumes saying silly lines between battles. There's a fair amount of sex and misogyny.