Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Death Drug (1978)

How had I missed this? Philip Michael Thomas, before becoming a household name with "Miami Vice," made this anti-PCP film, which may not have been released until 1986, when, trying to promote his singing career, a music video got spliced in for a VHS release. [That convoluted sentence fits the film.] A struggling musician gets PCP at a tennis court - conveniently hidden in the racket handle - and quickly becomes paranoid enough that he estranges his wife (Vernee Watson) and his band (The Gap Band) and then starts hallucinating snakes and spiders. He has a freak-out that leads to a tragic accident and everyone mourns the star that, if you were following the plot, he had not actually become. There were a few "Reefer Madness"-type films in the 1970's, mostly failures because they tried to be "hip," but this one manages to be over-the-top and completely serious at the same time.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Dead Undead (2010)

This is an action film posing as a horror film and so it offends its target audience. Vampires have created zombie vampires and have to be stopped by an elite force of vampires (and a few human teenage campers, because... well, it's a movie) from different eras. The flashbacks to origin stories in the Old West, Ancient Rome and so on are actually more entertaining than the film itself, which seems to just be endless shooting. Some of the cast look familiar, but I didn't bother to find out why. If you wonder if destroying the brain or sunlight kills the bad ones, it's both. There, saved you an hour and a half.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Dead Sea (2014)

For once, a SyFy film eschews bad CGI monsters for a generally unseen monster and goes for a slow burn creepiness rather than jumps and cheesy gore. It isn't any better, though. Sent to explore a fish kill, a researcher hears about the local legendary monster that feeds every 30 years and requires a sacrifice. You can guess the rest. The plot isn't interesting, nor is the cast, nor the monster.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Day of the Reaper (1984)

I think this is my second review of a Tim Ritter film. He made this during high school on Super 8, then added a narrative track and the VHS transfer was done by videotaping a screening of the film, all reportedly for $1000. Technically, this is as bad as it gets. It's very much inspired by H.G. Lewis, even down to the quality; a killer stalks five women - that's the plot, or as much plot as one can discern. It's a standard slasher, poorly conceived and executed, but has a loyal following because of its naive cheesiness, which is almost endearing after having watched thousands of these things.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Dark Lurking (2009)

aka Alien vs Zombies: The Dead Lurking, aka Alien Undead

This film probably got most of its negative reviews when under titles that suggest there are aliens and zombies in it (there are not). Beside some atrocious acting and poor dialogue, and shooting everything in the dark in close-up and then editing to a frenzied pace, this is actually a pretty watchable flick. The monsters, which come from cloning DNA found in Russia during WW II and whose origin is a neat, though confounding, twist - if you think about it at all, the film unravels - are done well and they kill people in exciting and gruesome ways. The film looks surprisingly good for its budget. It's worth a watch, if you don't expect too much from it.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day of Reckoning (2016)

Another SyFy original, this one avoids the standard tongue-in-cheek approach and tries to be serious horror; it doesn't work. The plot has a hole in the ground releasing monsters and a warning that they'll return - but no one fills the hole or anything. The monsters are CGI, so they can't interact with the cast or anything on set and it's very obvious they can't, so there's no fright factor. It's a passable time-waster, I suppose: things get wrecked, people are put in peril, and so on, but you've seen better.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

D4 (2010)

Ugh. Don't bother with this one. The son of a wealthy man is kidnapped and believed held at a facility where science stuff happens, so a not-so-magnificent less-than-seven team is called in to rescue him, but there's a man-made monster they have to deal with as well. It's all cliche, all predictable, by the numbers, poorly constructed and executed, with poor effects. And it's neither fun, charming or silly.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Crowley (1987)

The first film from Uruguay that I've covered, this is truly obscure; it was shot on a home camcorder by a teenager who also stars. It's a standard vampire story, with some very inept technical aspects (for once, the whole film is OVER-lit), an eye gouge, a head crush, a knife to the skull and a bunch of neck bites. The credits were drawn by hand and the music must be from another film. It's not laughably bad by any means, but an attempt at making a serious horror film by someone with no resources. The titular connection to Alaistair Crowley is minimal.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Crossroads (2002)

Written by Shonda Rhimes, this is a Britney Spears vehicle - hey, it's a road movie, so that's unintentionally appropriate! Brit, with Zoe Saldana and another girl whose name I've already forgotten, make a time capsule to open at high school  graduation, but they've drifted apart since then. Still, they get together and then all decide to drive across the country to California for different reasons - for an audition, to meet a long-lost mother, for... a boyfriend? (really, that third girl is completely forgettable); one of them's pregnant. The music is, of course, Britney, plus "Bowling for Soup" and a couple of others. They pick up a guy who they briefly think might be a psycho before one of them falls in love with him. Britney's not a great actress, the film is contrived and predictable and there's nothing for anyone not a teenage Spears fan, of whom there can't be any anymore. It's better than some other pop-star-trying-to-do-the-Elvis-movie-thing, but nothing remarkable.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Crocodile Jones: The Son of Indiana Dundee (1990)

Um, this was in untranslated Tagalog, so I can't really review it. It's a satire of both "Crocodile Dundee" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" from the Philippines. It looked about Wayans Brothers level parody, but who knows if any of the jokes would work in English? The visual humor didn't work.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Creep (1995)

aka Tim Ritter's Creep

Hire a porn star wannabe with ridiculous 1980's breast implants, buy (probably rent) a video camera and film a script that tries for every offensive thing it can think of in the guise of a serial killer flick and you get this. There's grave robbing, incest, burning of a papier mache head, a subplot (!) about a female cop whose mother was killed by her father and a lot of dull mayhem. The acting is quite bad (the killer is better than the rest, fortunately) and the director prefers Dutch angles to coherence.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Country Bears (2002)

Christopher Walken arm-farts the 1812 Overture... that's the highlight of this bizarre surreal children's film that parodies the "Behind the Music" format, which won't mean much to the small children the film is targeting. Queen Latifah, Don Henley, Wyclef Jean, Elton John, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Setzer, Don Was (of Was Not Was), Xzibit and John Hiatt perform as themselves - and yet the music is not good! Haley Joel Osment, Diedrich Bader, Brad Garrett and Stephen Root provide the voices of the bear band - in the world of the film, talking bears are a given - and Daryl "Chill" Mitchell and Alex Rocco have roles. The story is of a child that seeks out his favorite retired musicians, to reunite them for a benefit concert to save the music venue that launched them. It's so weird that it should be seen. The musical numbers are entertaining despite themselves.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cobra vs. Ninja (1987)

aka Cobra Against Ninja

Usually with Godfrey Ho cut-and-paste ninja films, the best scene is at the end, but this one's at the start; it was odd enough to keep me watching. A guy "born a ninja" needs to challenge all other ninjas to show he's the best, so he produces his "ninja challenge card" (I thought he said "cod," which would make as much sense). The accents are all over the place, the plot is impossible to follow, there's a white guy afro worth the price of admission and there's the expected bizarre fight scenes. This is one of the worst of Ho's films, but an easy one to poke fun at.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Clash of the Ninjas (1989)

aka Clash Commando

Still another Godfrey Ho cut-and-splice two films into one job, this one's edits are better than usual; he may have got the original cast(s) to shoot new scenes. This is not "Fatal Needles vs Flying Fists," which is also called "Clash of the Ninjas." In this, the good guy tries to stop an evil corporation that is harvesting people's organs and smuggling them; of, course, it just happens that it's run by a bad ninja that has some personal connections to our hero. A girl in aerobics clothes throws a vinyl record at a ninja and a ninja throws a CD at another, yet there's not much music in the film. There is, however, some great dialogue, such as "Hello big boy - shaving your lovely beard?" and "I like to wrestle through my days." You know the red ninja is a good guy because he wears an American flag headband.  There's laser fingers, head spinning, exploding heads, and a good guy who turns into several people who get massacred and then reassemble. The film is a typical waste of time until the final 20 minute fight scene, which if nothing else, should be fast-forwarded to.

Monday, February 12, 2018

City Dragon (1995)

aka Warrior brother

Holy moly, this is the weirdest bad film of the 1990's. Made by "Philthy" Phil Phillips (his only film) and starring MC Kung Fu - I am not making that up - almost all of the dialogue in this film rhymes in true bad rap form. It starts out comically and then goes into territory of abortions and depression and then ends in a really bad martial arts set piece. I'm not sure why it looks like a 1980's VHS, but the lighting gives everything a weird glow and makes the truly awful clothing stand out even more. It's almost unendurable, yet I couldn't stop watching.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chickboxer (1992)

Directed by David DecCoteau and produced by J.R. Bookwalter (who also has a small acting role), this obscurity is now available on DVD, though it still looks like it's on a VHS tape. One woman loves the TV show "Chickboxer" and wants to learn martial arts and her friend gets involved in some unrelated political story arc. Not much happens for most of the 60 minutes - we see shoes getting laced up for about 5 minutes - until the climactic fight scene involving people who don't know what they're doing. The dialogue is ridiculous and the acting typical for a cheap regional film. Then there's a tacked-on sex scene with Michelle Bauer, complete with visible boom mic and off-camera direction about how the guy's coin purse is visible. This is dementedly bad crap, but definitely one of the better films by the director and producer. I heard Linnea Quigley has a role in this, but I didn't see her.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Cheetah Girls (2003)

You know what? I'm going to stop the "How bad is it" intros, unless people say they want them back.

The downside to diversity and feminism, it would seem, is that you get movies like this. Aimed at young girls, this Disney film follows Galleria, Chanel, Aqua and Dorinda as they try to take their musical group "The Cheetah Girls" to the next level - and, if you're not gagging on those character names, you might enjoy the film. Then you find out the male characters are named Mackerel, Jackal and Dodo - a scumbag manager named Jackal is not exactly subtle. There's a talent show and then the film falls apart with an ending that involves a dog stuck in a vent hole. Raven-Symone is the star. There was a sequel and a TV series. It's fluff, bad lip-synched songs, trite character arcs and matching track suits, with a moral that might temporarily make you forget how much you'd actually hate these people if you met them in real life.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Cat in the Hat (2003)

How bad is it? 5
How unintentionally bad is it? 8
How entertainingly bad is it? 2

I, for one, hated the live-action "The Grinch," and everyone who has seen both that and this film say that this is worse. That it is. This is all Mike Myers as the Cat, and he's less funny here than he was in "Inglorious Basterds." A book that took me 4 minutes to read as a child is padded relentlessly with unfunny schtick that's inappropriate for children of the age that would enjoy the book. The design of the film is such that it looks great and it's all very professionally done, with a good backing cast of Alec Baldwin, Kelly Preston, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, Sean Hayes and Dan Castellaneta; perhaps more telling is the presence of Clint Howard and Paris Hilton. Plot: mother needs a house to be spotless and anarchic menace ruins it. There is a small cult that believes that this is a genius take on... something and an even smaller group that thinks this is so terrible that it becomes enjoyable. It does not.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Buttcrack (1998)

How bad is it? 9
How unintentionally bad is it? 7
How enjoyably bad is it? 4

How much you like Mojo Nixon will decide how much you can stand this film - if you're not familiar with him, "Elvis Is Everywhere" is his best-known song and you should watch it on YouTube and you'll see. He plays a trailer trash preacher whose roommate can't seem to keep his buttcrack from constantly showing. The roommate is accidentally killed and his voodoo-priestess sister brings him back as a zombie. Anyone who sees the zombie buttcrack becomes a zombie. Nothing happens for 45 minutes of the hour-long film and then there's a clumsy resolution. Most of the film is Nixon making rambling incoherent remarks that are supposed to pass for humor.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Burglar from Hell (1993)

How bad is it? 9
How unintentionally bad is it? 7
How enjoyably bad is it? 3

This inexplicably got some positive reviews from fans of low budget schlock, perhaps because the director went on to better things, or because a topless Debbie D kicks off a man's penis (easily the most interesting thing in the film). An old woman kills a guy who burglarizes her house, she buries him in the back yard and, after she dies, some brainless young people move in and have a seance, bringing back the burglar. After the initial kill, nothing happens for an entire hour. Shot on video (now on DVD, taken from a poor VHS print), the film, as I must be saying for the 1000th time on this blog, was frequently underlit. This is a typical slasher, cheaper than most, less interesting than most.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Bruce Lee Against Supermen (1975)

aka Bruce Lee vs. the Supermen, aka Call Me Dragon, aka Superdragon vs. Superman

How bad is it? 9
How unintentionally bad is it? 7
How enjoyably bad is it? 8

This might be my new favorite Bruceploitation film. First of all, the heroes are called the Green Hornet and one of the two is Bruce Li. Then, the bad guys are sort of giggling mimes wearing monkeyish devil masks. Then there's a catfight in a shower without nudity. Then there's a car chase that takes 10 minutes and never breaks any traffic laws, including speeding. There's some noodly prog rock synthesizer music that doesn't match the action. There's some horrendous dubbing. The plot involves a scientist who's discovered a way to make food from petroleum byproducts and who needs rescuing.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Boo! A Madea Halloween (2016)

aka Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween

How bad is it? 5
How unintentionally bad is it? 5
How enjoyably bad is it? 3

I've got a bunch of Tyler Perry films to review and I didn't enjoy any of them. Granted, I'm not the target audience, but I was hoping a horror comedy would manage either horror or comedy. This has a girl wanting to go to a frat house for a party sneaking out, then her family calling the cops on them, then the frat retaliating and then, an hour into the film there's supposed zombies and paranormal activity, which gets explained away in time for the film to deliver a moral lesson in the most grating way imaginable. The humor failed. The horror failed. Technically, even the lighting failed at points, for a professional crew.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Bionic Ninja (1986)

aka Ninja in the Killing Field

How bad is it? 8
How unintentionally bad is it? 4
How entertainingly bad is it? 6

Still one more Godfrey Ho cut-and-splice-films-together deal, this one has no bionic ninja in it. There's a guy who is sent on a mission to find a secret film, but has to deal with KGB ninjas (really, that makes as much sense as anything in a Ho film). Unfortunately, there's a whole 'nother film spliced in that's very talky and so poorly dubbed as to be entertaining... for a minute, maybe. There's very little ninja action until the dockyard showdown at the end, where our hero becomes a red ninja fighting a white ninja, switching the usual Ho dynamic of the good guys wearing white.

Oh my God, I just did a historical Ho sentence.

It's not the loopiest of Ho's films, as he seems to have hired the actors of the original film(s) to appear in new scenes together, to tie it together. Unfortunately, one gained weight and another changed his hairstyle, so there's no continuity. It's a middling Ho - for enthusiasts only.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Bimini Code (1983)

aka Raiders of the Lost Code

How bad is it? 8
How unintentionally bad is it? 10
How entertainingly bad is it? 6

If Andy Sidaris hadn't made films, this might be better known; as it is, it's almost impossible to find on VHS, but someone's uploaded it to YouTube, so you can watch it (for now, anyway). Two girls who do a lot of scuba diving find a can on the beach that gives them a clue to a woman who runs a drug ring, but whose main drive is finding an ancient Mayan (?) nuclear source code. There's some chase scenes, motorcycles and horses, and a lot of underwater nonsense. There's a plot point lifted directly from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (note the alternate title), unless they came up with it independently and simultaneously; this may be why it's obscure. There's a very short cameo by Hulk Hogan (!) which may be why this thing still exists. The story drags and is full of holes, one actress is quite bad, there's laughably bad music, there's obvious use of stock footage and there's even some nonsense that had to be pointed out to me by someone who watched it with me: the women communicate with each other at distance without equipment, as if they're psychic. One of the girls, in a tiny blue bikini, gets tied up, gets all sweaty and then bounces up and down for no good reason, except that it seems to free her hands - and this is the high point of the film - then she finds the exact tools she would need to escape conveniently placed an arm's length away. It repetitious and silly, but I actually enjoyed it in a put-your-brain-on-hold sort of way. It might have been planned as a TV pilot, it has the right look and it has no nudity or swearing.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 (2011)

How bad is it? 7
How unintentionally bad is it? 4
How entertainingly bad is it? 2

If your kids were into the racist stereotypes of the original, they get more here, but without any of that annoying talent to get in the way. George Lopez returned, but no one else did and the director of this seems to have made a career of straight-to-video sequels of children's films. The two main dogs of the first film get married and have pups; there's a mortgage to pay so the dogs enter a dog show (where one plays the piano) and there's a bank robbery and... there's a lot of costume changes and bad attempts at humor. Really, there's no point in describing this beyond "it's dogs in costumes" and, if that's enough for you, there's something called the internet that's full of it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bermuda Tentacles (2014)

How bad is it? 8
How unintentionally bad is it? 7
How entertainingly bad is it? 4

Another SyFy original, this from The Asylum productions, by prolific director Nick Lyon (though this is the first of his films I've reviewed, I think). The president of the U.S. (John Savage) has to eject from Air Force One into the Bermuda Triangle and then there's a military rescue mission. Linda Hamilton is the Admiral in charge. Trevor Donovan is the guy who goes against orders - of course - to do the rescue. Jamie Kennedy plays a doctor who comes in handy as he's an expert in everything they need an expert in. Mya is in there for some reason; she is terrible. There's a tentacled monster that impedes the rescue and it turns out to be extra-terrestrial. There's very poor dialogue, no character development, some laughably bad CGI and only a couple of non-descript sets; all the building interiors look the same and submarines look like airplanes which look like boats. It's played seriously, not for laughs, but there's little to care about.