Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator (1984)

How bad is it? Typical Troma release - low budget horror, poorly done.
Should you see it? Actually, yes! It's weird enough for one viewing.

No one gets stuffed in an incinerator. Guy gets knocked out, wakes up in mansion with two women (one a man in drag), has it suggested he has sex with one while the other watches, tries to escape, finds that one has disappeared ... whew... then he and the woman plan an escape, but end up making love while the missing "woman" watches, as was planned, and then they get captured and he's going to be forced to have sex with the "woman" and the other (Stephanie) gets stuffed in... an iron maiden.

THEN it gets weird! as Stephanie becomes Casey and Paul becomes Jared and the time setting of the film changes and the film becomes about missing money and revenge. It's like they gave up on one film and started anew. It almost works, but the low budget and lousy acting make it hard to warm up to.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Strike (2007)

aka 7-10 Split, aka Strike!

How bad is it? Unfunny comedy.
Should you see it? Nah.

I actually saw this because I confused it with a Volker Sclondorff film of the same name from the previous year. This stars Tara Reid and was directed by her brother; it has a number of familiar faces: Ray Wise, Vincent Pastore, Robyn Lively, Robert Carradine, Eddie George and Whitney Cummings. Two actors get fired from their pizza delivery job and go on the pro bowling tour - which makes little sense. Most of the alleys are the same one, inexpertly disguised and many of the interiors look like they were thrown together. There are a few mild jokes, the acting isn't great and the film just doesn't go anywhere.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Streets of Death (1988)

How bad is it? It's bottom of the trash barrel stuff.
Should you see it? No, unless you're doing a dissertation on how not to make a movie.

This was directed by Jeff Hathcock, who also lensed "Victims!" "Night Ripper!" and "Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell!" and this film differs in that the title doesn't have an exclamation point. I haven't reviewed those other films, because they're bad enough that they're not entertaining. This has two gay men abducting prostitutes and then using them to make snuff films, so a cop goes undercover as a hooker to catch them. It's more violent than you expect and a lot less sexy than these things tend to be (though there is one striptease that's passable). The dialogue is wretched and delivered woodenly. Mostly, the film is misogynistic and homophobic.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Street Wars (1992)

How bad is it? Low budget and weird, with a questionable ethos.
Should you see it? Only if you've enjoyed other Jaama Fanaka films.

Jaama Fanaka directed the surreally weird "Soul Vengeance" and the "Penitentiary" films, the third of which was bizarre. This one is a sort-of sequel to the latter. When a crack dealer is killed, his brother takes over, with a plan to become a legitimate businessman in three years, but doing just about anything until then. He ends up hunting down his rivals in an ultralight airplane with a mounted machine gun - so there ARE new ideas in exploitation! There's a few musical numbers, which aren't bad (except the lyrics), but which seem out of place. There's a funeral scene that I swear copies the "Blues Brothers" "I see the light!" scene. There are guys named Sugar Pop, Humungus (sic) and Montana. Khalid Muhammad plays himself, in a bid to make the film more than exploitation... it's not.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Strays (1991)

How bad is it? It's about the 5th worst killer cat movie.
Should you see it? If you like shoddy TV horror, sure.

No one has successfully made a killer housecat film. First of all, they're hard to train, secondly they're not all that frightening to begin with (though I had one that killed the neighbor's cat). This one has the added problem of being made for TV, so it can't even be over-the-top scary if it wanted to. Kathleen Quinlan and Timothy Busfield move into a house and adopt some strays that have moved in. Claudia Christian plays Kathleen's sister, so there's more people to attack. The attacks are silly, with the kitties looking off-screen at someone probably holding a toy or some food. In one memorable scene, a vent has a pillow stuffed into it to keep the cats out and one claws its way through - but it's obviously fake cat paws on the end of sticks! People keep trying to look terrified of cats that are just sitting there, but that gets old before the film's done.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Strangers In Paradise (1984)

How bad is it? Cheesy trash, but better than most Ulli Lommel films.
Should you see it? It's hard to find and not worth the search unless "The Apple" is a favorite.

Eventually, every Ulli Lommel film will have someone claiming it's a bad film classic. This is one of his earliest films, before horror and Nazisploitation, and he stars in it as well. A hypnotist is cryogenically frozen in Nazi Germany and then thawed in the present time by a guy who wants to convert punks, homosexuals and anyone else he doesn't like into his way of thinking. In the end, everyone is converted TO punks and homosexuality, including the lead villain. There's a ton of musical numbers, which aren't bad, but aren't quite what would fit with the film's theme, either. There's some laughs to be had in the earnestness of the kitschy characters, but it's more an oddity than a trash classic.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Stoogemania (1986)

How bad is it? Unfunny comedy.
Should you see it? Only if you're a completist for someone in the cast (which is unlikely).

Josh Mostel plays Howard F. Howard (yes, that's the level of humor), whose planned marriage to Melanie Chartoff is endangered by his growing obsession with the Three Stooges. He ends up on Stooge Row (Skidrow) - at the corner of Shaddup and Nyook Nyook - where people continuously relive their favorite Stooges bits. He gets sent to a rehab center, where he's treated by Sid Caesar in full-on fake German mode. It all ends in a pie fight. There's cameos by Victoria Jackson, James Avery and "Mousie" Garner (who you may remember from the Stooge shorts), plus a lot of archive footage of the Stooges, mostly from the Shemp era. Director Chuck Workman has an Oscar for his documentary work, but he just can't do comedy.

While on the subject, I'm not reviewing the few full-length Stooge films made at the end of their career: "Have Rocket Will Travel," "Snow White and the Three Stooges," "The Three Stooges in Orbit" and "The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze" as they are all pitiful. Also, "The Three Stooges" (2012) is mediocre [I like Will Sasso as Curly] and I expect its upcoming sequel to be more of the same.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Stealth Fighter (1999)

How bad is it? Bottom of the barrel action flick.
Should you see it? Only if you're a fan of someone in the cast.

I stopped counting the errors in this film when I hit 100, and I wasn't half-way through. Ice-T plays a fighter pilot (who also is a Navy lawyer and a Navy Seal!) who steals the titular stealth fighter and then joins up with arms dealer Andrew Divoff, who also manages to steal a satellite. They then threaten to destroy Washington D.C. if they aren't paid $10 billion. Costas Mandylor, Ice-T's former partner, then has to go after him, despite protests from his wife Erika Eleniak. Ernie Hudson plays the president. This is yet another Jim Wynorski film - he should be paying me for advertising his films here by now.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Starship Invasions (1977)

aka Project Genocide, aka Alien Encounter, aka War of the Aliens

How bad is it? Silly campy nonsense.
Should you see it? Sure.

The stories behind this film are better than the film itself: Christopher Lee and Robert Vaughn both claim that they were duped into making this, being told it would be a serious "Star Wars"-type film, rather than the camp it is; the Canadian film (the first SF film from Canada since... well, ever) may have been made as a tax shelter or it may have been hastily assembled to beat "Close Encounters" to the screen and it may have been either a serious homage to 1930's serials and 1950's sci-fi or it may have just failed. Beside Helen Shaver, there are no other names in the cast. Aliens decide to colonize Earth and use a suicide ray, leading to fun scenes of people strangling themselves; they also take a sperm sample from an Elmer Fudd wannabee. There's bizarre - and in one case rather sexy - costumes, robots that look like they found the top of "Robot Monster," special effects that range from excellent to "my Gawd that's lame," aliens that are telepathic just to cut down on dialogue and more references to the Bermuda Triangle and pyramids than in "Chariots of the Gods" (which clearly inspired the makers). It's slapdash, it's puerile, it's worth checking out.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Starship (1984)

aka 2084, aka Lorca and the Outlaws

How bad is it? Generic cheap science fiction.
Should you see it? No.

Someone must've thought the original title "Lorca and the Outlaws" didn't sound like science fiction, so they re-titled this; there's really not a spaceship involved. There's a mining colony and a plan to replace the miners with robots, so they fight back. The film looks good, mostly because of the location shooting in Australia in a mining operation, where you get to see things like the giant trucks, which probably looked futuristic to many people in 1984. If you're from a mining area today, the trucks look antique and dinky! There's no plot, characterization, energy, blah blah blah - a generic review of a generic film seems appropriate.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Star Hunter (1996)

How bad is it? It's the worst "Predator" rip-off and I've seen dozens (maybe hundreds).
Should you see it? No.

Produced by Roger Corman and directed by Fred Olen Ray, I knew this would be god-awful tripe, but it has Roddy McDowall and Stella Stevens in the cast, so I gave it a watch. Three high school football players and two cheerleaders, plus their assistant principal (Stevens) seek refuge after a bus breakdown, only to be taken in by a blind man who turns out to be an alien hunter (MacDowall), who unleashes a robot to collect their heads, while they are stuck inside a forcefield and have to improvise weapons. That sounds better than it is. It's padded heavily and it drags.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Star Crystal (1986)

How bad is it? Cheap SF that manages to rip off both "Alien" and "E.T."
Should you see it? Yes, it's just bizarre enough to recommend.

Five people on a spacecraft pick up a lifeform imbedded in a rock crystal from Mars, but don't have enough food or energy to get back home. Those problems become secondary when they start getting attacked by a tentacled alien. Several bad actors say lines like "She's got slime all over her!" and "All that emptiness makes you crazy after a while" before getting dispatched, leaving a cast of two. There's a chase scene shown as dots on a monitor, like a 1980's video game, but other effects are decent and the sets are good. In a bizarre and baffling twist, making you wonder if a major re-write happened during shooting, the creature taps into the computer, reads the Holy Bible!, gets converted!, apologizes for its behavior! and becomes an "E.T."-like alien that helps them get home.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Splatter University (1984)

How bad is it? Great title, but poor film.
Should you see it? If you're into regional 80's slashers, maybe.

This was a regional film (New York City) with a largely amateur (and quite unattractive) cast. Three years after a psycho escapes an asylum, women are getting knifed at a school. The students wear the same clothes to school every day, one person shows bloodstains before they're attacked, people nonchalantly go back to sex and beer after someone close to them dies and a dead body moves, but some of the laughs are intentional - there's a priest who has porn mags and peeps through windows, which provide some amusement. The killer is supposed to be a surprise, but is obvious to anyone who watches a lot of these kinds of film. There's no nudity, surprisingly, and the soundtrack appears to be one song by a group into The Cars.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Spine (1986)

How bad is it? It's pretty bad, indeed.
Should you see it? It's really hard to find and isn't worth that much effort.

This was reportedly made by porn producers who wanted to cross over into mainstream via horror. A guy released from a mental institution attacks nurses, hog-tying them and slicing their backs open to revel their spines (but you don't get the gore shots you'd expect). It has the flaws you'd expect in a shot-on-video slasher of the time: both overacting and underacting, a confused plot, some nudity (including an uncomfortable rape scene that doesn't fit the rest of the film) and some gaffes (it appears some lines had to be re-dubbed and they don't sync at all). It might appeal to aficionados of the genre.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Spawn of the Slithis (1978)

aka Slithis

How bad is it? Typical rubber-suit monster film hampered by a low budget.
Should you see it? If it shows up, sure, but don't go out of your way to find it.

The makers of this were obviously big fans of the monster movies of a generation earlier; they even used some of the same advertising gimmicks. Unfortunately, no one was asking for yet another "monster created from nuclear waste" film with a guy in a rubber monster suit. The suit looks like it took up most of the small budget - the script has some laughable dialogue, which is delivered by some very poor actors, the effects aren't great and everything has a cheap feel to it. It's not a terrible film.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Spaceship (1983)

aka The Creature Wasn't Nice, aka Naked Space

How bad is it? Unfunny space comedy.
Should you see it? Maybe if you're really desperate.

I always confuse this film with "Galaxina" for some reason; they're both SF comedies from the early 1980's, but that's all they have in common. This one has Leslie Nielsen, Cindy Williams and Patrick Macnee and a number of songs, most notably the alien singing "I Want to Eat Your Face." It seems like it would work on paper and the cast is fine. It just falls flat for some reason.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Soul Survivors (2001)

How bad is it? Dull psychological horror posing as a teen horror flick.
Should you see it? No.

The attractive young cast will probably appeal to many: Melissa Sagemiller, Casey Affleck, Eliza Dushku and Luke Wilson and a few others. The story has a car accident where someone dies and then weird things start to happen, with reality and dream sequences merging. There's a plot twist at the end that explains everything, which takes far too long to be revealed and which I had guessed from reading the plot synopsis on the DVD. There's one good joke based on one character's sexual identity, but that doesn't make up for the general homophobia of the film. You've seen this before, done better. For once, though, I've reviewed a film with a competent plot, direction, acting and film-making; it's just not good.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sorority House Party (1992)

aka Rock and Roll Fantasy

How bad is it? Wow this sucks.
Should you see it? No.

A male model is held in a sorority house while his manager wants to kill him. This has nothing going for it - a couple of lame jokes, some brief nudity in the early going, no more. This isn't worth wasting more time describing.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sorority House Massacre II (1990)

How bad is it? It's exactly the rubbish the title suggests.
Should you see it? Yes, for two contradictory reasons.

Something must be wrong, as this is the second Jim Wynorski film I've said good things about this week [Sorceress]. He's made this film and concurrently shot "Hard to Kill" which is essentially the same film, but not good enough to review. It has every cliche imaginable and delivers the goods promised in the title, making this a typically misogynist slasher film. Its prurience is so apparent and its titillation so constant, some have argued that it was meant as a parody; I've seen enough Wynorski films to know it's not, but it's interesting to watch it that way.

The film has flashbacks to the wrong movie - it shows "Slumber Party Massacre" shots, rather than "Sorority House Massacre." Did Wynorski not know - and is that why this film has no connection to the original - or is this an in-joke? Again, it's interesting to speculate. The plot has girls rehabbing the building of the first film because it's cheap and could make a decent sorority house - then they get killed, one by one.

There's a maniac running around with a guitar with an attached giant drill, a phallic symbol that'd be hard to miss if there weren't odd moments of riffs in unusual places... I can't make my point without a spoiler. You can skip this next paragraph, if you care.

The obvious killer weirdo is not the actual killer. One of the girls has been possessed by a spirit uncovered in the rehab of the building. When the typical climax, where the killer takes an inhuman amount of punishment before finally being offed, happens, it's happening to an innocent man! That's original, and a bit unsettling, if you think about it.

There's a twist at the end that actually works, though it kind of subverts the whole film and even the whole genre. Whether that's good or bad is moot; it's an enjoyable watch.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell (1990)

How bad is it? It's about what you'd expect from the title - not good.
Should you see it? Sadly, no.

I think that most people see this for the same reason I did, that they like "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama" and hope this is a sequel. Instead, they get a shot on 16mm largely bloodless slasher starring Deborah Dutch and Len Lesser (Uncle Leo on "Seinfeld"). A convict escapes, attacks our heroine who escapes, and then disappears. Then the girl and her friends, each more annoying than the last, go camping. The girl's uncle explores a cave for Native American artifacts and gets possessed by an extremely cheap-looking mask, gets extremely cheap-looking monster makeup and terrorizes the cast. Lesser, as a backwoodsman, comes to a firearm-toting monster hunt. This film has nothing (except skin): no plot, acting, direction, cinematography, lighting, sound, effects, characters to care about or action.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sorceress (1995)

aka Temptress

How bad is it? Low budget supernatural thriller that works, despite itself.
Should you see it? Yes. Not because it's so-bad-it's-good, though.

This is why I still watch Jim Wynorski films. His first films were thoroughly enjoyable trash, but then he started grinding out boob films with nothing else going for them. Occasionally, when he tries, he manages a fun little film like this one. A woman (Julie Strain) helps her husband succeed by killing off anyone that stands in his way. Then it turns out one of those people (Linda Blair) is a witch and people start getting payback. There's a lot of bad 80's hair and fashion... and a lot of boobs - it is a Wynorski film, after all - but there's characters you care about, a plot and some action. Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Song of Norway (1970)

How bad is it? Marginal kitschy musical.
Should you see it? Is "pretty, but pretty dull" good enough for you?

It's been a while since I covered a film panned by the Medved brothers. This one is the life story of Edvard Grieg, shot mostly in Norway (in Cinerama, which doesn't hold up on a home screen) and featuring the music of Grieg - lots of it; 40-50 numbers of it, some repeated, about half with added lyrics from the operetta from which this was based. You know what Grieg's music didn't need? Lyrics. You know what Grieg's life didn't have? Dramatic tension. Nothing happens; Grieg's early struggles were minimal and you know historically he succeeds and you can tell why because you're listening to his music. Grieg is played by an untalented nobody who's also the wrong age. Florence Henderson, Robert Morley, Edward G. Robinson and Oskar Homolka and other miscast actors make you wonder who cast this dreck. It's pretty, it's syrupy, it's tedious.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Soldier Boyz (1995)

How bad is it? One of the worst-written soldier pics.
Should you see it? No.

Imagine "The Dirty Dozen" written by the guy who wrote "Big Momma's House" and starring Michael Dudikoff; that's actually what this is! Once again, some bigshot's daughter is kidnapped and a ragtag group is assembled to rescue her. This time the team, taken from prison, is a rapist and a psychopathic woman, a skinhead (with a swastika tattoo that was obviously hand-drawn magic marker) and minorities that don't get along... and all want to kill the retired army major (Dudikoff) - pretty much the worst team one could assemble (also, none have any training, but that gets taken care of in one day). No one, good or bad, uses weaponry that makes any sense, nor do they use them properly. No one acts in a way consistent with their established stereotype character (to be fair, they're supposed to have grown as people in this time). All of this could've made for a laughable film, but it's just tiresome.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Social Intercourse (1998)

How bad is it? Dull and annoying.
Should you see it? No.

Okay: this film was made in a bit more than a week for about $15000 and looks it, but that's not the problem. The plot is about a guy who loses his girlfriend, is forced to go to a party, meets his old flame and acts reprehensibly and then apologizes. None of the characters is likeable and none of the interactions feel natural. The dialogue is over-written for the characters and not enlightening on its own. It might even be trying to be pretentious. Let's call it a student film and be done with it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Solarforce (1995)

aka Lunarcop, aka Solar Force, aka Astrocop, aka Lunar Cop

How bad is it? Typical low budget Road Warrior clone.
Should you see it? I say no - but it does have a following, who think it good.

First of all, all of the various titles are misleading, as while the cop does indeed come from the moon, he comes to Earth 5 minutes into the film. The moon base is especially cheap - so ludicrous a model that one hopes (futilely) that the rest of the film will be as shoddy. This was directed by the same guy who did "X-Ray," "Dutch Treat," "Going Bananas" and "American Cyborg: Steel Warrior," all of which were just barely good enough not to be included on this blog; this one came close. Michael Pare' stars - his brother wrote the script - and Billy Drago plays the heavy. The story has those on the moon having come up with an antidote to the plague that's destroyed the Earth; our hero comes to Earth, finds that there are inhabitants farming and being harassed by a motorcycle gang and he falls in love. The film just forgets the whole original premise for an hour. The love interest isn't what he thinks, the Bad guys turn out to be the moon people trying to get the Lunarcop to do their dirty work, there's unlimited motorcycle stunts and there's an ending that's actually rather interesting. At any rate, it doesn't qualify as so-bad-it's-good, just underwhelming.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Shotgun (1989)

How bad is it? It may be the worst cop action film. Really!
Should you see it? If you like bad films, this one's a solid pick, so yes.

PM Entertainment made a bunch of action films, probably all in the same week, and they're all crap, but this one has a bit of a following. It's essentially a low-rent "Lethal Weapon" about a cop whose hooker sister gets murdered, so he and his mismatched partner go after the bad guy and go off the book - yes, it hits every possible cliche. The acting is phenomenally weak, particularly by the lead, particularly in his drunk scene. The dialog is so clunky it sometimes causes laughter. The plot has its flaws as well - for example, there are no repercussions for a cop just killing everyone in his path. And there's the intrusive heavy metal guitar riffs. And the poor direction: in an early scene, a guy leaves a bedroom, a guy then enters wearing S&M gear and it's a different guy, but it takes forever for you to figure that out, because it could be the first guy and there's no reason for it to be anyone else. Th unintended laughs aren't frequent, but there's enough action to keep your attention between them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stranded (2013)

How bad is it? Cheap "Alien" rip-off.
Should you see it? Not really.

There are at least 3 films by this name from the same year - this is the Christian Slater one.

The director of "Battlefield Earth" got to make another science fiction film (he actually has an Oscar for set design in some other SF film!), this time with Christian Slater. It involves an alien that can take over people's bodies and shape-shift, which cuts down on budget. They're on the moon, but the whole film is interiors - an abandoned hospital or factory, I'm guessing - which cuts down on budget. It has cheap effects, extremely cheap props (some look improvised) and mostly non-name actors, which brings costs down even more. Sadly, they didn't spend anything on writing, either. The film just starts; there's action and people and you never get any exposition to explain what's happening. And then it grinds on tediously for 80 minutes and stops.

That's my review: it starts and it stops.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Starving Games (2013)

How bad is it? Another in a long line of parody turkeys.
Should you see it? No.

Made by the team behind Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans and Vampires Suck - some of which I've reviewed - this is their take on (duh) The Hunger Games. The hallmark of bad parody is when going off-target and this also parodies Harry Potter, The Expendables, Marvel's Avengers, the Wizard of Oz, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes... and even Gangnam Style and Taylor Swift. I did not crack a smile even once, unless wincing counts.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sir Billi (2012)

aka Guardian of the Highlands

How bad is it? Holy crap, kill me now.
Should you see it? Not unless you want to know how bad animation can be.

This. This... is awful. Sean Connery plays the poorly-rendered and unflattering title character, an octogenarian veterinarian who's into skateboards and is still much the lad when it comes to the ladies. I have to wonder if Connery was making fun of himself, with the slurred esses of Shshshcotland. Alan Cumming and Ruby Wax are also wasted in this. The story has the Scottish government trying to exterminate the last beaver - by the way, the beaver can't swim; let's just throw that out there, shall we? - and it's up to Sir Billi to save it. There's a lot of smarmy and tedious sexism, with a lot of the female characters being quite, um, bosomy... including a duck, which just might give me nightmares. I could go on about the technical defects and the plot problems, but I'll say that this is the worst animated film I've seen since the Titanic had that happy octopus.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Space Chimps 2: Zartog Strikes Back (2010)

How bad is it? Combines the worst of: kid film, 3D, CGI and sequel.
Should you see it? No.

This is by far the best 3D image in the film.

This is a sequel bad enough that Andy Samberg wouldn't return for it (nor would several others; Kristin Chenoweth's replacement is particularly bad). Patrick Warburton, Cheryl Hines, Stanley Tucci and Jane Lynch are the biggest names, but are given little to do. Only one chimp goes into space and Zartog barely strikes back. The story goes nowhere, the characters aren't developed and the humor falls flat. Even the small children for whom this is intended will be bored.

Friday, July 14, 2017

S. Darko (2009)

aka S. Darko: Donnie Darko 2, aka S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale

How bad is it? Pretentious drivel.
Should you see it? No.

I thought the bad reviews of this might because it's a sequel to "Donnie Darko," which needs a sequel as much as "Hamlet" does (and, yes, I've seen "Hamlet 2"). The "S" in the title is for Samantha, Donnie's sister, whose car breaks down and the film devolves into hallucinatory dream sequences and appallingly bad dialogue. The dialogue is so terrible that it's almost funny... almost. There's no real connection to the first film, has none of the same people involved and has nothing original to say.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Super Capers (2009)

aka Super Capers: The Origins of Ed and the Missing Bullion

How bad is it? In the running for worst Christian superhero film (yes, I've reviewed another one).
Should you see it? No.

If you see this, it's either because you're a devout fundamentalist Christian with small children who want to see a superhero film OR you've seen the cast list and were intrigued: Michael Rooker, Tom Sizemore, Tiny Lister, Adam West, June Lockhart, Christine Lakin, Jon Polito, Clint Howard... The film was produced by, directed by, written by and stars (as Puffer Boy) Ray Griggs, who should've given more talented people some say in the film. A guy with no real super powers gets into situations needing a superhero, so he prays. The special effects are sub-par, the acting poor (the cameos by pros notwithstanding) and the storyline confusing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour (2007)

How bad is it? Perhaps the blandest "thriller" ever.
Should you see it? No.

According to the DVD cover, Sarah Landon is a sort of modern Nancy Drew; this film aims squarely at the readership of those books... tween girls looking for something R.L. Stine-ish, with nothing too macabre. There are five members of the same family involved in the making of this film - I started to believe that the film would be better if they all just switched jobs (not sure which male would play Sarah, however). The star is bland. The story is bland; a girl visits the grandmother of a friend who died in an accident and runs across a boy who believes an evil spirit will kill him on his birthday, then there are red herrings and a lot of things jumping into the shot for a "jolt" and you wish you'd spent 90 minutes watching something else.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sex, Politics and Cocktails (2002)

How bad is it? Well, it got 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Should you see it? No.

Almost universally panned by mainstream critics, this has had some very favorable reviews from individuals I suspect have an agenda. A man who has trouble committing to his girlfriend gets to film a documentary on gay lifestyles, so the girlfriend introduces him to an assortment of gay men and he starts to question his own sexuality. The direction tries to be arty, but looks more like a student experimenting with whatever he's heard of doing and failing; he even uses silent film intercards with typos. The main actor (also writer & director) is likeable, but the story has nowhere to go and it all seems empty and paltry. The "politics" of the title must refer to sexual politics, as there's no other explanation.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Sometimes They Come Back... For More (1998)

How bad is it? It's okay for an unneeded sequel.
Should you see it? If you're bored and it's around.

I think this got terrible reviews because it has nothing to do with the previous films in the series, nor with the Stephen King story that started the series. It's a remake of "The Thing." People die in Antarctica, guys get sent to investigate, dead bodies reanimate, they discover something Satanic. The first half isn't bad, but it gets implausible - a guy goes outside shirtless... in Antarctica - and there's a tacked-on romance. Faith Ford is the biggest name in the cast.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sledgehammer (1983)

aka Sledge Hammer

How bad is it? Widely regarded as one of the worst 1980's horror films.
Should you see it? Yes, but you'll hate me for the recommendation.

David A. Prior is all over this blog for directing bad action films, generally starring his brother Ted. This was his first film, a bad horror film, starring his brother Ted. It's yet another contender for the first horror film shot on video to be released; it appears to have used the built-in light and microphone - both inadequate - though a boom mic shadow is visible in one shot. It also was either edited with a camcorder package or a Commodore computer, which explains the clunky credits and bad effects, as well as the "arty" cinematography - there are lots of freeze frames, slow-motion and slow fades, all of which appear to have been done to pad the film's running time. And wow, but the film's padded; there's a food fight in one static shot that I swear takes 10 minutes! The story starts with a child locked in a closet as his parents have sex and get bludgeoned with the title tool; but is the child a witness or the killer? Ten years later, to the day of course, a bunch of 30-somethings pretending to be college students arrive and the killings start again. There's no nudity, surprisingly. The death of the killer makes no sense, but then the plot's not terribly strong on many points.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Slaughterhouse Rock (1988)

How bad is it? Typical cheap 1980's horror, with some style.
Should you see it? Yes, but not because it's so-bad-it's-good.

Five young people go to Alcatraz to stop the spirit of a cannibalistic cavalry commander - the explanation of why there, why them, why now is confusing - but one of them is taken over by its spirit. There's a severed hand, a ripped-open torso, a human barbecue, worm vomiting and a punch through a skull. Hope Marie Carlton removes her shirt several times, as that's what she does. Devo contributed a song to the soundtrack. Toni Basil ("Hey Mickey") plays the ghost of a rock star responsible for unleashing the spirit (don't ask). The plot makes little sense, the acting and dialogue are below par - the star is the son of a co-executive producer - but it looks good, it's fast-paced and it's just weird enough to be entertaining.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Sex Adventures of the Three Musketeers (1971)

How bad is it? Pretty bad, even by 1970's German sex farce standards.
Should you see it? No.

This was directed by Erwin Dietrich under a pseudonym; his films always look good, if nothing else, and his collaborations with Jesus Franco are among the best work of either director. Ingrid Steeger, who had a small following, especially in Germany, spends much of the film unclothed. I had hopes for this, but it's essentially plotless and threadbare. D'Artagnan discovers that the Musketeers are just a bunch of drunks and lechers and the film suddenly ends, looking like it's missing the final reel. For an obviously minuscule budget, the costumes and sets are quite good and the one unforgivably bad gaffe is having the Musketeers ride saddles that are obviously not connected to horses in front of a screen showing the same countryside, wherever they happen to go.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Senior Week (1987)

How bad is it? Very typical nerds-and-boobs comedy, somewhat worse than standard.
Should you see it? If you think "Porky's" is the apex of cinematic art, maybe.

There were a slew of films in the 80's that were lowbrow "Tits n Laffs" comedies, hoping to glean a few dollars from teenage boys. The plot revolves around a stolen term paper and the resolution is... finding it. There's some stellar overacting by one actress in a neck brace, but the supposed hero of the film is unlikeable, there's a five minute dream sequence with toplessness early on that makes one hope for more that never comes and there's just nothing of substance or style.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Snuff (1975)

aka Big Snuff, aka American Cannibale

How bad is it? It's one of the lesser grindhouse staples of the 1970's.
Should you see it? It's certainly not mandatory.

He pulls her heart out - from her bowels?

After Michael and Roberta Findlay had made a bunch of roughies, he got the idea of saving money by filming in Argentina without sound, then adding sound so that it looked like it was a South American film. It turns out that his dubbing of voices was worse than what you usually get from Spanish language films. The original film was called "Slaughter" and it was so bad it couldn't be released; then, when a rumor of an authentic snuff film from South America started circulating, this film got sold and had the ending changed by tacking on a fake snuff scene. the plot has an American actress brought to South America, where she encounters a Manson-like cult. there's some scenes of Carnivale, a stabbing in the heart, some women fighting over the cult leader, the actress's pregnancy by the cult leader and then her "slaughter" by the cult. The film is fairly short. but still hard to sit through, but not because of violence. It got banned in the U.K. as a "video nasty" and that's really why anyone knows about it today.

Thus far, no authentic snuff film has been made.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Snake Eater (1989)

aka Soldier

How bad is it? It's a Lorenzo Lamas movie. It is what it is.
Should you see it? If you're a Lamas fan.

That's a Harley turned jet ski, white trasheroo.

First, no snakes get eaten. Second, this had TWO sequels. Lorenzo Lamas is a former Marine (his unit was the Snake Eaters) whose parents are killed and sister abducted by hillbillies, so he goes to rescue her. Imagine Lethal Weapon meets Rambo by way of Deliverance. Ronnie Hawkins, Larry Csonka and Ron Palillo round out an unusual cast. A corpse blinks, a bear is obviously a guy in a bear suit, Lamas can't find a shirt that fits and the acting is quite bad (though Lamas is okay).

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Smokey and the Bandit III (1983)

aka Smokey and the Bandit, Part III, aka Smokey and the bandit 3, aka Smokey and the Bandit, Part 3

How bad is it? Even Burt Reynolds wouldn't be in it (except a cameo).
Should you see it? No.

I wasn't the audience for the original film, as I'm not a fan of Burt Reynolds or Sally Field, but it managed some good ole boy charm. The second film was much worse, the blooper reel during the closing credits being the best part. This third film substitutes Jerry Reed and Colleen Camp for Reynolds and Field, and they're more enjoyable - unfortunately, the film isn't about them. This time, Pat McCormick and Paul Williams wager Jackie Gleason that he can't transport a stuffed shark... oh hell, who cares? It's a bunch of chase scenes and stupid yuks and it's tired and it's trite and it's just a waste of time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Slumber Party Massacre III (1990)

aka Slumber Party Massacre 3, aka Stab in the Dark

How bad is it? Typical slasher sequel. Not good.
Should you see it? If 1980's slashers are your thing, it's watchable.

The first film in this series was interesting in how it subverted the genre, the second was just weird (which is not a bad thing) and this third (there was a fourth released in 2003) is true bare bones horror, executive produced by Roger Corman. The killer's given a backstory and then that's abandoned. There's volleyball at the start to up the jiggle factor. There's toplessness, mostly by Maria Ford. Hope Marie Carlton has a role. There's a vibrator electrocution, an impalement with a For Sale sign, a mallet to the head, a speargun... who has a mallet and a speargun?!... the guys who are mostly red herring jerks get offed before the girls, who eventually subdue the bad guy after blinding him.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Slash Dance (1989)

aka Night Chills

How bad is it? It's pretty bad.
Should you see it? Yes, if 1980's not-quite-horror is your thing.

First, this is NOT the 1984 Lucio Fulci film "Slashdance," which has a similar plot. This has a female cop go undercover as a dancer to try to catch a guy who's killing Broadway chorus girls. There's a whole tot of questionable dancing in leg warmers. There's not a lot of plot or characterization. There is, however, a high heel impaled into a forehead (wasn't that originally in Franco's "99 Women?" Even Tarantino's stolen that). The killer's identity is very obvious. There are stabs at humor that don't work. It's hokey and dull, but somehow not unwatchable.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Skinned Alive (1990)

How bad is it? It's a minor low-budget slasher flick.
Should you see it? For it's intended audience, it has its moments.

Produced by J.R. Bookwalter, this is a very cheaply made (under $20K) "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" kind of film, with bits of "Bad Taste" and "Mother's Day" thrown in. An incestuous family of hicks sells leather goods they make from the skin of people they kill. After car trouble, they end up at the house of an alcoholic ex-cop and his wife, who are having some marital problems. There's some gore that's surprisingly good for the budget (and a bit that's not), but the film tries for humor and that doesn't work. Dying's easy; comedy is hard. Bookwalter makes a cameo as a victimized Jehovah's Witness. I don't think anyone's actually alive when they get skinned.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Silent Prey (1997)

aka Silent Predator

How bad is it? Imagine a Lifetime film masquerading as Cinemax. More disappointing than bad.
Should you see it? If it shows up, it's not unwatchable.

Sometimes films are made around an instant celebrity (Xaviera Holland - look her up - got three) and here we have Carol Shaya, who got booted off the NYC police force for appearing nude in Playboy with her uniform in the shot. Here she plays a cop that goes undercover at a Catholic girls' school to catch someone who's been raping nuns; though she's a decade too old to be thought a teenager, she fits right in because the other actresses look even older. The film has very little violence or nudity and none of the luridness that nun-raping suggests. The twist ending is jaw-droppingly weird and the reason to sit through the rest of it.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Silent Night, Deadly Night, Part 2 (1987)

aka Silent Night, Deadly Night 2

How bad is it? Typical slasher sequel. Not good, but not terrible.
Should you see it? Maybe if you're doing a Xmas slasher marathon. There's a dozen.

It's no wonder that this film's had mixed reviews. The original film was controversial - they had to come out and say that it's not a "Santa is a psychopath" film, but rather a guy dressed as Santa is a psychopath. The whole first half of this film is flashbacks to the first film; if you haven't seen it, this tightens it up a bit, but if you have, you're shouting "Get on with it!" to the screen. In this film, the brother of the original film's star has been so traumatized that he's taken over the killing. Then it shows that he's killed eight people - in flashback! When the film finally starts, near the end, there's another 8 (I think) kills, with a pretty good eye pop and a decapitation. There's 22 kills shown in all, so the film just keeps throwing stuff on the screen and it doesn't get dull. It's just not all that good, either, lacking in plot and reason.

Friday, June 23, 2017

She (1984)

How bad is it? More weird than terrible, it's still not good.
Should you see it? Yes, but not because it's so-bad-it's-good.

I've skipped over reviewing this a few times because it doesn't quite fit the blog's premise. Like all Italian fantasy films of the 1980's, it has a "Road Warrior" feel to it, even though this is supposedly based on the H. Rider Haggard novel - it's not, by the way, except for being about a leader of Amazons. Sandahl Bergman stars (and takes a bath, for those who wonder if Sandahl's body is a focus of the film). There's elements of parody and black comedy with anachronisms (chainsaws?). There's psychopathic monks, mutants who clone themselves when they lose an arm, a guy who can levitate his enemies, a mad scientist, vampires and some silly dialogue. The plot, for what it's worth, is the retrieval of a kidnapped girl.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sexual Malice (1994)

aka The Other Man

How bad is it? Low budget romance novel cum erotic thriller (pardon the pun)
Should you see it? Nah

This is one of those well-shot but empty films with roles for relatives of famous people (in this case, Edward Albert - son of Eddie - and Don Swayze - brother of Patrick). A beautiful and successful woman, unsatisfied with her sex life with her husband, has an affair with a male stripper. That, too, isn't great and she then has an affair with a woman. Then there's blackmail and murder and a friend who's coincidentally a cop. There's soft-core nudity, but little plot (the supposed twist ending you'll see coming) and stilted dialogue and acting. It's almost trashy enough to be a modern Harold Robbins story.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Stud (1978)

How bad is it? It's a trash time capsule, but not interesting.
Should you see it? Only if you're a fan of Joan Collins.

Having reviewed the worse (and better) sequel "The Bitch," I guess I should do the original. Jackie Collins novels are to Harold Robbins novels as "Cracked" magazine is to "Mad" magazine (take THAT, Miller analogies test!) and when they got filmed, her sister Joan starred. It's sort of a reverse gender Pygmalion, as nymphomaniac rich Joan makes guy-whose-name-I-can't-recall into her protege/sex toy. The best scene is probably the swimming pool orgy, where there are swings that get used interminably. There's one truly good thing in the film, in that the guy gets told that he's essentially "a turnstile in Grand Central Station, that everyone goes through once." He's fallen for Joan's daughter, who also rebukes him and he ends up as bad or worse off than when he started - that's interesting. There's a horrible disco soundtrack, but the 1970's fashions and hair aren't as bad as what you usually see, perhaps as they were supposed to be upscale.