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.