Friday, April 28, 2017

A Place Called Today (1972)

aka City in Fear

How bad is it? For an X-Rated film, it's pretty dull.
Should you see it? No.

Cheri Caffaro has had a cult following, though I've never understood it. Her "Ginger" films are like all other hardboiled woman action sleaze, except that Caffaro would get naked - actually, she'd always get raped, which, given that the director (Don Schain) was her husband, is creepy. She gets raped again in this film, again directed by her husband, and then killed, as she isn't the star of the film for once. Neither is Lana Wood, who has a bigger role (the only other recognizable actor is Harry Reems in an uncredited cameo; many sources mention Janet Leigh, of all people, being in this, but if she were, her scenes were cut). The "star" of the film is social and political commentary, of which the film is replete. The film consists largely of static shots of people very angrily shouting about racial conflicts, usually straight into the camera. The plot, such as it is, has a mayoral candidate inciting racial violence to catapult him into office - that sounds more relevant to today's politics than it is.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Polanski Unauthorized (2009)

aka Polanski

How bad is it? Perhaps the worst biopic I've seen.
Should you see it? No.

Roman Polanski's led an unusual life that's not easy to encapsulate, but this film does no justice at all to the subject. The story ping-pongs between times involving such things as his mother being raped in a Nazi prison camp, his statutory rape of a 13 year-old (played by a woman who looks 20) and the filming of "Rosemary's Baby," where he had a satanist on staff. There's a suggestion that it was actually the Devil himself, plus Polanski's being European and maybe just a bit of mental illness that led to his downfall, but it's such a muddle that nothing gets said. It's also dull.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pulsebeat (1985)

How bad is it? The worst of the aerobics exploitation films of the 1980's.
Should you see it? If you can find it and you're a fan of the sub-genre.

After "Perfect" and "Heavenly Bodies" and not crossing genres like "Aerobicide," this is the end of the line for aerobics films. A guy who owns a gym, but has a fear of failure, is pushed toward an aerobics competition (including a bike race on stationary bikes) against a rival gym that's been stealing away his best instructors. When people are clothed - there's so much nudity that there's actually nudity during the credits - they're wearing the most atrocious spandex and lycra outfits with leg warmers and their hair teased to its limits. There's sex in a weight room as well as in a shower and there are so many exercise montages that they almost overlap; the cameraman hovers over bodies in as perverted a way as possible. The acting and dialogue could be in a porn film and the film's story is such that you keep wondering if you zoned out and missed it. Unfortunately, zoning out is all too frequent, as this is a dull little snoozefest.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Penitentiary III (1987)

How bad is it? Perhaps the worst men's prison film.
Should you see it? It's so weird I have to say yes.

The first two films in this series were strange, but the third one is so odd that it becomes self-parody. A boxer is given a drug that makes him so violent that he kills a man in the ring, so he's sent to prison. This prison, first of all, has a dungeon. Second, it has a little person, "Midnight Thud," that's like a feral ninja, occasionally unleashed on unruly prisoners; this leads to some bizarre fight scenes worth watching. Then the boxer is trained by the the little guy in boxing/martial arts/wrestling and this leads to the final redemptive fight. There's a lot of crack smoking in this film and, I suspect, in the writer's apartment.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Please Don't Eat My Mother! (1973)

aka Sexpot Swingers, aka Glump, aka Hungry Pets, aka Please Not My Mother, aka Please Release My Mother

How bad is it? Bottom-tier 1970's soft-core.
Should you see it? I can't imagine why you should.

This is an obvious remake of "Little Shop of Horrors" that escapes legal action by adding sex subplots and removing what wit or charm the original may have had. A 40 year-old living with his mother is unable to get a girlfriend, so he becomes a peeping Tom. This means that our main character does little but stare and leer while the cameraman shoots mostly unattractive people having sex. One couple is in a park, but manage to be in the same sex act every time they're peeped upon, supposedly over the course of days. The guy then buys a plant that eats people and his mother gets dispatched about half-way through the film - and she's such a harridan that you'll be glad and feel that her son must be of two minds about it - and he then becomes attached to the plant and recruits more victims. The director gave himself a small role as a detective. Porn star Rene Bond is the only recognizable, um, face. The jokes, such as they are, fall flat.

The Playgirl Killer (1967)

aka Decoy for Terror

How bad is it? Low-budget lurid trash, but watchable.
Should you see it? Yes. It's a classic of sorts.

William Kerwin, who had been in H.G. Lewis films under the names Thomas Wood and Tommy Smallwood, stars in this film, did the writing with his brother and directed at least some of it. Similar to Lewis' "Color Me Blood Red," this is the story of an artist, who, upset by his models moving - such as breathing - kills them and stores them in a meat locker. The police send a girl in undercover as bait. Neil Sedaka (!?) lounges by the pool for the first 30 minutes, having little to do with the plot, but supplying two songs, including "Waterbug," before disappearing. The film seems to have been made for Canadian television, but the video version has shots that couldn't be aired. It's silly and badly acted, but it does seem coherent.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn (2013)

aka Goat

How bad is it? Dull gangster film.
Should you see it? Nope.

This has decent cinematography and a good cast, including Armand Assante, Cathy Moriarty, Ice-T, Ja Rule and Vincent Pastore, but it will disappoint anyone expecting this to be a standard gangster film. There are no drugs, car chases or sex scenes and almost no swearing or deaths. What you do get is a guy fresh out of jail going back to what put him in jail and wondering if that's what he's cut out to do. Add some intrusive guitar music to his musings and stretch to 100 minutes. It's not terrible, but it is a waste.

Friday, April 21, 2017

One Missed Call (2008)

How bad is it? Perhaps the most disappointing horror film of the decade.
Should you see it? No.

Miike has directed some of the most interesting horror films of this generation, but his "One Missed Call" (2003) was a bit of a misfire. This western remake is far worse. Voice mails from the future presage people's deaths, with time, place and some details. Ed Burns barely stays awake through this and you will have trouble as well. Margaret Cho and Ariel Winter show up. There is no tension or scares, but there is an ending that is completely lame and comes much too late. Ho-hum.

Sorry to return from my vacation from posting with such a loser of a film.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

One Million AC/DC (1969)

How bad is it? Pretty terrible even by 1960's soft-core standards.
Should you see it? It's only for Ed Wood fanatics.

Cashing in on the popularity of the Raquel Welch film "One Million Years B.C." and recycling some footage from "One Million B.C." (color-tinted), this was at least partly written by Ed Wood Jr. There's a virgin sacrifice that involves straight and lesbian sex, plus rape with dildo and it's really uncomfortable to watch. There's also rape by gorilla. There's a cat-fight to the death. The director has a cameo (hard to describe, but he has a typical porn 'stache of the time). The puppet from "The Mighty Gorga" is re-used and the one laugh is when a static plastic puppet is hunted with spears that fall woefully short. There's some very old jokes delivered poorly, but mostly this is just non-stop sex... also delivered poorly.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ozone: Attack of the Redneck Mutants (1986)

How bad is it? It's both better and worse than the title suggests.
Should you see it? Don't go out of your way, but if you like 1980's gore films, then maybe.

This was shot on Super-8 video, with post-synched sound and there's a lot of mouths moving to different words than what you hear. It looks like there was an attempt to punch up the humor in post-production. Zombies (mutants) are created by a chemical company's punching a hole in the ozone layer and then they create new ones by puking on them. There's a female environmentalist hero going against a male industrialist and they do not end up romantically involved, fortunately. Not much happens for 80 minutes, then there's a lot of carnage that's way over the top, but not done particularly well. In the mean time, you get treated to such things as a geriatric redneck drunken karaoke contest.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ocean Drive Weekend (1985)

How bad is it? Perhaps the worst "Porky's" clone.
Should you see it? No.

She is the best part of this film.

I think I saw this on USA Channel's "Up All Night," (which was quite a while ago)* and it was briefly released on video by Troma. Supposedly Miami in the 1960's, this is a very 1980's California film, where hopelessly stereotyped college students - played by amateur actors in their 30's - occasionally remember their dialogue and sometimes break into song. There's no plot, no real (intentional) laughs and it runs out of steam quickly.

*Just looked it up. It's not listed as having been on that show.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Omega Doom (1996)

How bad is it? It's one of Albert Pyun's better films, so pretty bad.
Should you see it? Not unless you're a fan of Pyun or Rutger Hauer.

Take the plot of "Yojimbo," place it in the world of "Terminator 2" and lower the budget to a few sets on one city block and you get this film. Rutger Hauer plays an android whose memory is wiped and who gets between two rival factions of androids seeking a cache of guns needed for when the humans arrive. The humans don't arrive. Shannon Whirry has a role and surprisingly keeps her clothes on. More existential science fiction than an action film, this is slower than most Albert Pyun films, with stupid dialogue and no real characterization. There's a bit of interesting weaponry and even an attempt at style, but it's nothing special.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

One Man Army (1994)

How bad is it? Poor generic martial arts film.
Should you see it? No.

This was the second film starring Jerry Trimble, directed by Cirio Santiago and produced by Roger Corman (Live by the Fist was first, "Stranglehold" third). It's essentially "Walking Tall" set in the Philippines, though it's supposed to be southern California - the Mexicans look quite Filipino. The story has a champion martial artist go to his grandfather's funeral, only to find that the area's run by corrupt police and businessmen, with gambling, prostitution and smuggling and then he has to clean up the town. In the climactic scene, he unloads his gun on one guy, when there are several others, and it's his dog Hank (played by "Yup," according to the credits) that does the most damage. It's all very by-the-numbers. Melissa Moore plays the love interest.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Operation Delta Force 5: Random Fire (2000)

How bad is it? Completely generic action without direction.
Should you see it? No.

The director of the second film in the series returns and Todd Jensen plays a third character, but no one else returns for this last installment and it has no real connection to the previous films. Delta Force tries to rescue an ambassador, but men get left behind to be turned into suicide bombers through mind control. Now they have to be rescued before they act (the ambassador is forgotten). There's plenty of slo-mo, plot holes everywhere, continuity errors (the number of people on screen changes between shots and Boston has palm trees), bad acting and inane dialogue. There's only one good action shot, where a plane crashes into a train. This is incredibly generic: any character could be any of the others and any location could be anywhere.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Operation Delta Force (1997)

aka Great Soldiers, aka Operation Delta Force 1

How bad is it? Nearly competent.
Should you see it? You won't remember if you did.

This TV film had four video sequels (and a review of one of them is next). Trying hard to be mistaken for the similarly named Chuck Norris films, this has South African terrorists steal some Ebola virus and its antidote [I worked in a virology lab. I have more issues with this than you'd care to read.] Jeff Fahey, Ernie Hudson, Frank Zagarino and a completely forgettable actress are called in to stop them, but Jeff blames Ernie for his brother's death and Frank hates women in uniform. Joe Lara plays the bad guy fairly well and Hal Holbrook almost literally phones in his lines as a general. They find the bad guy, he escapes, they get new intel... and repeat ad nauseum. There's a decent shoot-out on a train, a village blown up from dune buggies, a drop off a bridge, but it's all done with a minimum of excitement.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Operation Golden Phoenix (1994)

How bad is it? Amateurish martial arts flick.
Should you see it? Probably not.

Jalal Mehri was a Lebanese martial artist and this was his directorial debut, making himself the star. Much of his dialogue is hard to understand because he has a very heavy accent. James Hong is the only recognizable actor. The plot revolves around an amulet - then two amulets - which have to be put together to make a map. The film is heavily padded, with a lot of travel scenes in Beirut and even watching the star read a map. The pacing is snail slow, there are a lot of improbable coincidences, the climactic fight is not choreographed well (if at all) and the boom mike is visible in the final scene.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Operation Warzone (1988)

How bad is it? One of David Prior's better war films; in other words, dreadful.
Should you see it? No.

David A. Prior has a cult following among bad movie fans and this film is one of his better, thus less interesting, directorial efforts. A courier with a classified document is lost in Vietnam during the war and a platoon search for him, only to find it's a plan to sell weapons to the enemy. Joe Spinell is the only name actor and he has little to do. There's way too many plot twisting double-crosses to follow, but that doesn't matter, as the film is just explosions (too far away from those who react) and shirts filled with squibs. The music is way too cheerful for the serious scenes, the scenery and clothes scream 1980's California rather than 1960's Vietnam, there's an unexplained Australian and at least two dead characters return later in the film.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Night of Terror (1986)

aka Escape from the Insane Asylum

How bad is it? Truly awful. Pathetically awful.
Should you see it? No (it's very hard to find, anyway).

This film has been getting attention because it has Renee Harmon in it and she's been in some of the worst films: Run Coyote Run, Executioner Part II, Lady Street Fighter, Van Nuys Blvd., Cinderella 2000 and Frozen Scream. This film actually lifts scenes from "Frozen Scream," filmed a decade earlier, and Harmon's age is obviously different in those. The plot is about abductions for amateur brain surgery experiments in an insane asylum. I had to watch it 10 minutes at a time because it was too dull for a continuous watch.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Nora's Hair Salon (2004)

How bad is it? Painfully unfunny comedy.
Should you see it? No, though it has a strong cult following among black audiences.

This film, which has had two direct-to-video sequels so far, is probably immune to criticism; just as the audience for brainless action films like all brainless action films, fans of contemporary black comedies will like this, unless they expect another "Barbershop." Jenifer Lewis, Tamala Jones, Tatyana Ali, Bobby Brown (as an abusive boyfriend), Claudia Jordan, and Lil Kim and Whitney Houston (in a cameo) as themselves do very little with a hackneyed script involving a lot of stereotypes. The one serious moment, involving a heart attack, unintentionally has the funniest line. It reminded me of a poor episode of a 1970's TV show aimed at black audiences. How so many "names" appear in such a low budget independent film is the one remarkable aspect.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Natas: The Reflection (1983/1986)

How bad is it? Really cheap and poorly acted, with a terrible ending.
Should you see it? You know, I'm going to say yes - it's refreshingly weird.

The first problem with this film is that the "surprise" is that the reflection of "Natas" gives "Satan," which is only slightly less obvious than all the old "Alucard" films. A reporter goes into the New Mexico hills to find the legendary gatekeeper to Hell, named "Natas." He's given direction by a very old Native American (actor Nino Cochise was believed to be 109 when this was filmed - he died in 1984 - but was probably the son of Ciyo Cochise who was born in 1874) and finds himself in a ghost town filled with zombie cowboys, who act just like regular cowboys, except they're dead. There's a final confrontation with the gargoylish "Natas" that has terrible special effects and then a resolution that completely undermines the whole film. Having seen so many terrible films, it's nice to see something that, while impossibly cheap, is unusual. The downside is that the film is slow and dull and no one in it can act.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Narcosys (2000)

How bad is it? Imagine the "Matrix" filmed by a junior high schooler. Worse than that.
Should you see it? No. There's a small chance that, in 30 years, people will look at this the way that we look at bad 1980's films, though.

This appears to have been an attempt to cash in on "The Matrix." There's cyberpunk and raves and drugs and computer animation and weird fashion. There's little coherent plot or acting, however. In a dystopian future of 2018, corporations run the world by keeping people drugged and they want to reinforce their control with an engineered virus. Then a bunch of annoying characters fill the screen for far too long and eventually it ends. Really - that's the review: images are on the screen.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Ninja Champion (1986)

aka Ninja Connection, aka Poisonous Rose Stripping the Night, aka Poisonous Rose of Night

How bad is it? Not the worst Godfrey Ho ninja film of 1986, but that's damning with faint praise.
Should you see it? Yes, if you've never seen a Godfrey Ho film before. It's one of the more interesting ones.

 I'm guessing those are the Chinese ideograms for "Ninja."

This is the third consecutive Godfrey Ho ninja film from 1986 I've covered and there won't be a fourth. Once again, he took an apparently unfinished film and spliced in footage of Richard Harrison as a ninja fighting others (including Dragon Lee), without explanation and with the bad guys frequently just showing up and disappearing again. One guy disappears mid-jump. It's a film where a woman seeks revenge for a rape, so she becomes a diamond smuggler (don't expect logic) who hides the diamonds in her breasts. In the shot where this surprise is revealed, her breasts and most of the bottom half of the screen is weirdly obscured, though we see her topless frequently later. The woman often changes shoes four or five times per scene, if you seek continuity errors. In the version I saw, Sho Kosugi (unbilled) introduces the film, never to be seen again. There's a scene where one character explains the plot to another, though they share no scenes. Music lifted from "Star Wars" and "Dark Side of the Moon" is used. There's an identical twin sub-plot. The masked rapists are identified by "female intuition." [My head hurts.]

Friday, March 31, 2017

Ninja Fantasy (1986)

How bad is it? Pretty terrible, even for a 1980's ninja Frankenfilm.
Should you see it? Nope.

This was directed by Godfrey Ho under a pseudonym. It has some ridiculous dubbing, a torture scene where the villain cackles and the victim giggles, a scene where it looks like ninjas turn into fish (I think I missed something) and some bad 1980's fashion. The plot has something to do with the CIA trying to stop drug smuggling ninjas, with a second unrelated film spliced in.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ninja Hunt (1986)

How bad is it? Bad enough Godfrey Ho didn't put his name on it (that's pretty bad).
Should you see it? Nah.

That headband shows up in a lot of Ho films.

Joseph Lai has the directing credit on this, but Godfrey Ho who has a cameo (as Dr. Ho) did at least some of the directing in this cut-and-paste travesty, where a mediocre action film has Americans - Richard Harrison and Stuart Smith - cut into it as ninjas, when it wasn't originally a ninja film. This one's particularly dull and the plot isn't worth discussing and the final confrontation isn't good. There's a lot of slow motion cartwheels and a snazzy yellow ninja suit with 1980 lady's suit shoulder pads, guys in interior shots having conversations with guys in exterior shots... and not much else.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985)

How bad is it? One of the sillier films of the genre.
Should you see it? Yes, if you ever watch martial arts flicks.

Sho Kosugi stars as a lollipop-sucking ninja, with Brent Huff of "The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak" and Emilia Lesniak (and her glue gun) as a team of anti-terrorists sent to rescue a hijacked tour bus in the Philippines. There's bimbo terrorists in tight khaki shorts, dwarf assassins and a lot of blown attempts at humor that fail so awesomely that they become amusing for the wrong reasons. There's action sequences without action, characters without character and a title that has no connection to the flimsy plot.

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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Night Patrol (1984)

How bad is it? Scattershot comedy with unusual cast. Not terrible.
Should you see it? Yes - for the cast.

This appears to have been two film ideas that got forced together: a "Police Academy" type of comedy and a Murray Langston "Unknown Comic" film about trying to make it as a stand-up comic. [Full disclosure: I met Murray. He's a nice guy.] The cast is once in a lifetime: Pat Paulsen, Jack Riley, Jaye P. Morgan, Linda Blair, Billy Barty, Pat Morita, Kitten Natividad, Andrew Dice Clay and Sydney Lassick (if you don't recognize that last name, you'd recognize the face, at least from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"). It's an endless string of jokes in extremely poor taste, like a lesbian bar where even the pool table doesn't have balls, to grade school puns like "You can have your Kate and Edith too." Maybe one joke in twenty works, but it keeps moving and if the farting sergeant doesn't bother you, the rape victim that enjoyed the assault should and the climactic scene in blackface undoubtedly will. The director, Jackie Kong, made only 5 films, but they're all interesting; I considered reviewing "Blood Diner" and decided it was too good for the blog.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nemesis 4: Death Angel (1996)

aka Cry of Angels: Nemesis 4, aka Nemesis 4: Cry of Angels

How bad is it? Bad enough to terminate a not great series.
Should you see it? Not unless you're really desperate for naked female bodybuilders.

It was really hard to find a clothed photo.

This, the last of Albert Pyun's sequels to "Nemesis," (see also Nemesis 2 - Nemesis 3 is mostly recycled footage of 2, with Tim Thomerson added) and it attempts to return to the style of the original film, though that fails. Star Sue Price spends almost all of this film naked. She kills by crushing with her thighs, she has a drill implanted in one breast, she has sex with cybernetic implants and she seems to be after a poorly explained character called the Death Angel, which she dispatches easily. Though barely an hour long, including 10 minutes of credits, this seems slow.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995)

aka Cyborg Terminator 2

How bad is it? Cheap imitative exploitation action film. Not terrible.
Should you see it? Sure, but not because it's so-bad-it's-good.

Full disclosure: I've met the lead actress of this film and am a little biased.

This Albert Pyun film has nothing to do with the original "Nemesis" (which is a pretty good flick), but is an obvious rip-off of "The Terminator" and "Predator." A child with "perfected" DNA is the last hope against cyborgs, so the mother and child are sent back to the past of 1980 in East Africa (the film was shot in Arizona). The mother gets killed and the child grows up to be bodybuilder Sue Price, who does a credible job - but can't deliver a line for shit; there isn't a word of English dialogue until the middle of the film! The film's well-shot and is worth seeing for its improbable stunts: firing weapons during backflips, people falling out of windows while firing weapons at each other and using each other as shields, and so on. There's almost no plot, characters or logic... and that's just fine.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Navajo Blues (1996)

How bad is it? Mediocre implausible thriller full of stereotypes.
Should you see it? No. It's for Joey Travolta completists only (if there are any).

This film has been seen by few and has been praised by even fewer. It was directed by Joey Travolta (who I hear has a cameo in it, but I didn't spot him) and has Sam Travolta (brother) and Rachel Travolta (daughter or niece) in the cast, but the cast is largely Native American, though not Navajo. A Vegas cop goes into Witness Protection on an Indian reservation to hide from the mafia only to find that a serial killer's on the loose there. Some of the cast are quite good - Irene Bedard has a cult following and is better than the material - but the film is not shot on the reservation and frequently far from it. There are numerous preposterous coincidences. An overturned car explodes for no reason. A cop throws someone through a window for no reason. It would've made a decent 1970's TV show.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Memorial Valley Massacre (1989)

aka Valley of Evil, aka Memorial Day, aka Son of Sleepaway Camp

How bad is it? Bottom of the barrel slasher flick.
Should you see it? Not really.

There's a couple of versions of this floating around. The "Son of Sleepaway Camp" version steals some music from the original "Sleepaway Camp" and has a short hard-core porn insert. Cameron Mitchell is a real estate developer that wants to tear down an old camp. Big Bill Smith has a role. The killer is a caveman whose white underwear occasionally shows and who somehow knows how to drive a bulldozer and rewire a camper to make it explode (the one good effect in the film). There's some bikers, a dog in a well, some snakes on food at a picnic and a bear attack as a red herring. The kills are uninteresting, as are the characters. A sign early on shows it to be "Memorial Valley" and it takes place on "Memorial Day," which is an odd coincidence leading to differing titles.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Midnight (1982)

How bad is it? Minor forgettable slasher film.
Should you see it? Only if you've seen The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre dozens of times.

A girl leaves her abusive alcoholic father and connects with two young thieves. They run from the authorities only to wind up in the hands of hillbilly satanists. This has a small following, as the writer/director, John Russo, was also involved with "Night of the Living Dead" - it should be noted that he also did "Santa Claws," which is closer to this in quality. Tom Savini reportedly did the effects. Lawrence Tierney has a role. All the action takes place in the last third and it's nothing special; perhaps the one saving grace is that there's no rape scene. It's cheaply made, poorly acted and somewhat confused. There was a sequel made in 1993; I haven't seen it yet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mutilations (1986)

How bad is it? Deliriously tacky no-budget wonder.
Should you see it? Yes, if you can find it (VHS only). [see comments]

I missed this because I mistook it for "The Mutilator" (1983) or "The Mutilator" (1985). It's a regional film from Tulsa that's reminiscent of Don Dohler's work. An alien craft crashes into a house and the aliens go on a killing spree as a college class takes a field trip. It's surprisingly good-looking, shot on film rather than video and with a lot of fog machines and saturated colors. Then there's the effects, which are mostly stop motion claymation. There's a cheap synthesizer score, a digression about Mormonism (!), actors reading cue cards, blowing lines and underacting, cattle mutilations, an arm punching through a chest. It's puerile, but it's perfect for emptying the fridge of beer.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mad Mutilator (1983)

aka Ogroff: The Mad Mutilator

How bad is it? Grade-Z zero-frills splatter film.
Should you see it? If you're a gorehound, it's probably a must - otherwise, no.

This film is so odd that it's hard to discuss. Made in France, it was shot without sound then had a drone synthesizer soundtrack and a few lines of dialogue added. There's almost no plot: a crazed killer living in a shack in the woods kills everyone he encounters. There's plenty of sick twisted stuff, there's an axe vs. chainsaw battle, masturbation with an axe, people behaving in such a way that it must be a parallel universe. And then they throw in zombies and vampires. People who love weird disgusting shit praise this as the ultimate low budget gore film. I, however, kept checking my watch.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Maxim Xul (1991)

How bad is it? Pretty damn bad.
Should you see it? No.

Adam West gets top billing, though he's only in 10 minutes of this film. A reporter, a detective and a professor (West) uncover that the killings attributed to a psychopath released from an insane asylum are really the work of a Babylonian demon. There's an interesting music score, but much of the sound is unsynched. The real killer is seen wearing high heels and there's only two actresses in the cast, so it doesn't take much to figure this one out. The cops don't make the obvious connection between victims, there's a poor demon mask seen only briefly in poor lighting and the demon is rather easily dispatched by beheading with an obviously plastic sword. The plot and acting are poor, the direction and camerawork marginal.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mongrel (1982)

How bad is it? Pretty bad, even by 1980's slasher standards.
Should you see it? No.

There are a few people who swear this is a misunderstood gem; I am not one of them. A bunch of unappealing characters in a low-rent apartment building get killed in a mysterious way, perhaps by a dog. Mitch Pileggi (best known from "The X-Files") has his first role and Aldo Ray plays the owner of the place. There's a prank where a dead dog is put in a bed and then another one that goes wrong and electrocutes a guy; it's after this that the horror starts and the characters stop. It's slow. The surprise payoff is not a surprise - and you really won't care by that time - and the most interesting thing in the film turns out to be a Deep Throat pinball machine (I saw one in real life about the time this came out).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Meteor Monster (1958)

aka Teenage Monster, aka Teen-Age Monster, aka Monster on the Hill

How bad is it? If it weren't dull, it's be a classic of bad films.
Should you see it? Mmm. Yes, but don't expect much.

This was filmed to be the bottom of the twin bill with my beloved "Brain from Planet Arous." In the 1880's old west, a meteor kills a man and rays from it turn his young son into a monster. The mother then hides the monster - now ludicrously miscast as a 50 year-old man in hair and ugly make-up - in a cave, but he escapes. There's actually a whole lot of plot and side-plots, some of them unseemly (particularly for the 1950's), but you won't care. The monster is involved in a lot of long dialogues, even though he's become a moron and is unintelligible. There's some truly laughable bad lines and some bad line readings as well. The lead actor/monster reacts to everything in the same weird awkward way. Well, childhood has its awkward phases, with or without cattle killing.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

M'Lady's Court (1973)

aka The Countess Died of Laughter, aka Devils in the Convent, aka Knickers Ahoy

How bad is it? Sex comedy with few laughs and a lot of padding.
Should you see it? Not really.

This was the last (sixth?) of a series of German-language films based on a bawdy song and filmed with a largely Italian cast. It's sort of in the "Carry On" tradition of silly comedy with a lot of nudity, in this case a lot of bare bottoms (which is at least a change from breast-obsessed comedies, I guess). A courtesan dies - ridiculously - and her heir is a girl in a convent. A man goes to the convent to find out which of five girls is the heir and all five are apparently nymphomaniacs. The film is heavily padded with footage from the earlier films, which appear to have been higher in budget.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mutant Hunt (1987)

How bad is it? In some ways, stupifyingly bad.
Should you see it? Yes.

God help me, I like some Tim Kincaid films (see also "Robot Holocaust"), which are terrible, know that they're terrible and just keep going like that's not an issue. The plot to this one involves a new generation of androids (or cyborgs or mutants - the terms get thrown around haphazardly) which have been injected with a drug to become an army of uncontrollable sex deviants - or so they say in the film, though there's absolutely no evidence of that shown. And, while we're at it, if you create an army, wouldn't you want to be able to control it? Oops, that kind of thinking has no place in Tim Kincaid's New York of the future, where men in tighty whities live in minimalist rooms decorated with weapons fully ready for use. The "mutants" wear sunglasses for no perceivable reason and spew yellow cheese when killed. Oh, and they're telepathic. The best scene has a handcuffed mutant stretch his arm several yards to get an axe so he can chop off his own arm at the wrist and continue fighting. There are people on the street who just accept decapitations as everyday occurrences. The evil Domina is laughably weird; I think she's supposed to be both sexy and dangerous, but is neither. The one reasonable character gets tossed out a window to her death (actually, she's a robot of sorts, so she just gets destroyed) and no one seems to care.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Moscow Zero (2006)

How bad is it? Dull and pretentious, but different.
Should you see it? Probably not. There are a few people who really love this film, but just a few.

Vincent Gallo plays a priest who goes to Russia in search of a man who went into the catacombs beneath a Moscow church, never to return. The film is mostly shot underground, so it's dark, and there's a lot of interior monologue, so it's quiet, and the film slowly gives hints to the mystery at the center of the story, so it's dull - and there's a lot of artsy shots that make it pretentious. Val Kilmer has a cameo as the gatekeeper to hell. Sage Stallone has a small role. The pretty blonde is Oksana Akinshina of "The Bourne Supremacy."

SPOILER - I think it might be better to go into this knowing what's only hinted at. The children found underground believe that the entrance from above, our world, is hell and that we are demons or ghosts. If you miss that, and most people seem to, the film has nothing going for it.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bat Pussy (1973)

How bad is it? It's often regarded as the worst porn film ever made.
Should you see it? If terrible 1970's porn is your thing, it's a revelation.

There's a usable photo somewhere, I just don't have it.

This one's out of alphabetical order, but I've been putting it off because I can't find a usable image (my security balks at photos and the word "pussy"); if you have one safe for work, send it my way!

An average to unattractive couple attempt to make a porn film in a cheap motel room. The hero, a supposed parody of Batman, is on his way to stop their immorality; his scenes consist of inserts of him riding a red rubber ball across the countryside. The couple spend most of the film arguing. The guy has some performance issues (as would anyone hoping to use this as porn). The quality is slightly better than home movie level. There are no credits.

First: is this the worst porn film? My standard is "M 3-D: the Movie," which I saw about 1982 and was filmed about 1974-1977. That film is a pastiche of shots - naked people bouncing on trampolines (but not high enough or fast enough to jiggle), a guy in a pink rabbit costume for no reason and 3-D inserts of John Holmes that had to be outtakes from some other film. The 3-D is out of focus. "Bat Pussy" is certainly in the running for worst, but there are several contenders.

Second: is the terribleness intentional? I have a feeling that this was made as a joke, perhaps for a bachelors party, where they wanted to swap out the intended stag film for the worst possible film... and that required actually making one. The fact that no one has ever been identified as being involved with this is very suspect.

It's terrible. For some tastes, the terribleness is amusing (I found it a bit annoying).

Friday, March 3, 2017

Meatballs 4 (1992)

aka Happy Campers, aka Summer Vacation,  aka Meatballs 4: To the Rescue, aka Meatballs 4: Summer Vacation

How bad is it? It's about as bad as sequels get.
Should you see it? No.

The good news: there's no Meatballs 5.

This time Corey Feldman stars, making a grand entrance by parachute and skateboard and finishing the film breaking the 4th wall saying "I was in 'Goonies!'" Jack Nance is the owner of the failing water skiing summer camp that has a fortune in equipment and tons of college-age girls that could be models (certainly not actresses) who are willing to go topless. There's a rigged competition that Feldman wins anyway and the payoff is a rematch, which goes as expected.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986)

How bad is it? Yikes, this one's crap!
Should you see it? No (unless you must see every film by someone in the cast). Still VHS only, I think.

Meatballs 2 wasn't an actual sequel or a sex comedy, so Meatballs 3, which is, should be better, right? Well, it's not. Patrick Dempsey returns as Rudy, though his character's very different and the film doesn't even take place at a summer camp. A porn star, played by Sally Kellerman, dies (in flagrante delicto) and St. Peter won't let her into heaven unless she does a good deed, which turns out to be helping Rudy lose his virginity. She suggests stuffing his underwear with salami. There's a wet t-shirt contest. Shannon Tweed is involved, as are a lot of Canadians (Al Waxman, Ronnie Hawkins and that's Loverboy on the soundtrack). It's very rape-y, but not sexy or even dirty and not at all funny.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Meatballs, Part II (1984)

How bad is it? Pointless and unneeded sequel, lacking in all departments.
Should you see it? No, though the cast is interesting.

The first "Meatballs" succeeded despite itself, but this time Bill Murray doesn't return and nothing works. The summer camp will close unless they win a boxing match and there's a tough kid doing community service there that they depend upon. Most of the film follows camp counselors trying unsuccessfully to find a secluded place for romance, but there's also an extraterrestrial named Meathead that doesn't move its eyes or mouth, but smokes weed and whose first words are "Who farted?" The cast is surprising: Richard Mulligan, John Larroquette, Misty Rowe, Felix "Cousin Itt" Silla, Paul Reubens, Kim Richards, Elayne Boosler and a very young Nancy Glass.