Monday, October 24, 2016

High Kicks (1993)

How bad is it? It's like porn without nudity.
Should you see it? Yes. This is developing a cult following.

An aerobics studio owner is raped by the most diverse gang possible. Then a karate afficionado with a mullet helps her get revenge, fall in love and develop an exercise program combining karate and aerobics - karobics. There's huge plot holes; for example, you never know how they find any of the bad guys. The actors can't act, though some have some martial arts skills. There's extended aerobics sequences focusing on butts and boobs, but there's no music and there's no nudity. There's a strange homoeroticism that pervades the film as well. It's terrible, but I couldn't stop watching it.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Help Me... I'm Possessed (1976)

aka The Possessed, aka Nightmare at Blood Castle

How bad is it? Over-the-top, fairly well-filmed, but utter trash.
Should you see it? Yeah, this one's okay, if not special.

A mental hospital in the middle of a desert (which looks like a miniature golf course) is run by a mad doctor who experiments on (i.e. tortures) patients. Those that die get dismembered by a hunchback assistant to fit in coffins; one girl gets put live in a coffin along with snakes. One experiment led to a monster in the basement which looks like red licorice whips or maybe a bloody mop blown by a fan. The usual parade of unsuspecting innocents get brutalized. It's all very tacky and has some wondrously saturated color, but it also is reminiscent of Al Adamson's "Blood of Dracula's Castle," which is not a good thing.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Haunted (1977)

aka The Glass Cage

How bad is it? Bizarre, slow and not the horror film it's advertised as.
Should you see it? No - unless a drunk shirtless elderly Aldo Ray is your thing.

This film starts with a Native American woman forced to ride a horse - topless - through the desert until she dies, because of witchcraft. One minute in and there's nine things that don't make sense, including the phone booth being installed in a cemetery, but that's 100 years after the beginning and now the reincarnated "witch" has returned and she's British and doesn't act like she's possessed. Got that? There's a decent theme song by Billy Vera, but there's also scenes missing and surreal moments like microphones on the roof. Plot points are picked up and thrown away randomly (what about the gold?) and Virginia Mayo and Aldo Ray do not class up the film; in fact, Ray appears to be drunk in part of the film. There's some nice scenery, but there's also lighting issues. It's just such a mess! Anyone expecting this to be a horror film will be disappointed that there's only one scene with blood and that's accidental.

Friday, October 21, 2016

How to Undress In Front of Your Husband (1937)

How bad is it? Dated, slightly offensive and completely unneeded.
Should you see it? Sure. It's availability comes and goes. See the 13 minute version.

Dwain Esper directed some classic trash films, four of which I've already reviewed (one accidentally twice). Upon the Hays Code that tried to tame Hollywood, Esper started making "educational" films, which allowed him to break from the code. This film has very brief nudity - censored in some prints, which is why it exists. It starts with a rambling written intro and is bookended with footage of a Peeping Tom. John Barrymore's last wife, Elaine Barrie, is shown as the alluring example of the "correct" way to alluringly disrobe and comedian Trixie Friganza (who specialized in humor making fun of her looks) groans and scratches her way through undressing while the narrator makes fat jokes and ugly jokes. There's a number of versions of this floating around, including a 1950's one with added later footage.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Houseboat Horror (1989)

How bad is it? It's generally considered the worst Australian film.
Should you see it? Hmmm. Yes, if you like slasher films.

There are dozens of bad films about a killer on a boat and this one is one of the worst. A crew is going to film a music video on a boat, but a killer stows away; his motivation is dicey at best - getting revenge for having been left in a fire (or something... I really didn't care). In typical slasher style, there are way too many characters before they start getting killed and they're all annoying. There's plenty of mullets and bad 1980's clothes and a ton of odd accents. Much of the dialogue appears to have been improvised and it's not exactly riveting: "Nice scenery." There's a lot of continuity errors, especially of lighting (Ed Wood's confused day and night has a successor!), the acting is generally awful and there's plenty of nudity - but none of it appealing. There's a head cut in two, a horseshoe in the eyes and a stabbing through a mattress. The actual "video" being shot is probably the highlight in bad ideas being filmed. It's dull and predictable, but it's also oddly watchable.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Honeybee (2001)

How bad is it? Perhaps the worst boxing film.
Should you see it? No.

There have been so many films about boxing that it should be easy to make another by just putting together what one's learned from the past. The makers of this film learned nothing, particularly in how to shoot in the ring - the lead actress looks like she's following choreography she learned a minute earlier and the cameraman never gets a good angle. The story has a young woman who wants to box, but her father (James Avery, the only face one will recognize) wants her to go to college. Her boyfriend is also unsupportive. The promoter of women's boxing seeks contenders in strip clubs, the champ has a lesbian attraction to our heroine and finally the star's father uses his political connections to get venues shut down. Of course, she's undeterred and succeeds.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hell's Bloody Devils (1970)

aka Operation M, aka The Fakers, aka Nightmare in Blood, aka Smashing the Crime Syndicate, aka The Swastika Savages

How bad is it? Okay spy film gets messed up with tacked on plot(s).
Should you see it? A mild yes - after you've seen Satan's Sadists.

Al Adamson's horror films are among the worst ever made, but his westerns, blaxploitation and biker films are sometimes quite watchable. This one started as a fairly standard - even competent - film about a Nazi who has plates for printing out American $20 bills and the FBI's attempt to stop him. Then director Al Adamson decided to splice in footage of bikers (perhaps from a different planned film) and then it has Mafia connections and the plot spirals out of control. The film quality also varies enormously, as the great Laszlo Kovacs filmed some of it and hacks did the rest. The soundtrack is by Nelson Riddle and is quite good. Character's hair and clothes change in mid-scene, there's an exploding grenade pen and karate chops to the neck, shots of a dolphin show and of Hitler are spliced in, Col. Harland Sanders makes a cameo (!), and John Carradine and twins you might recognize from a Star Trek episode have a scene in a pet shop. Broderick Crawford gets top billing, but does most of his lines seated at a desk. A Playboy Playmate from 1967 also has a role, as do Scott Brady and Kent Taylor. It's complete nonsense, but you never know what's coming next.