Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hawkeye (1988)

aka Karate Cops

George Chung made a few martial arts films (have I reviewed any others?) that are largely forgotten for good reason. This is very much a remake of "Rush Hour" and has an actor doing an Eddie Murphy impersonation - how intentional that impersonation is is hard to say. A cop's partner is killed and he's teamed with a new partner who's his opposite and they buddy-film cop-film karate-film away. Troy Donahue has a small role and Ronnie Lott a cameo. There's less fighting and fewer chases than you'd expect and they aren't done especially well. This has a few people who love it for its terrible dialogue, at least some of which must be bad translation of idioms, and awkward stereotyping. There's a scene in a gay bar that's cringeworthy. If you're into chop-socky entertainment, this is middling fare.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gutterballs (2008)

This is almost the definition of "uneven." The soundtrack is terrific and the gore is much better than anyone would expect for the budget, but the film goes out of its way to be offensive in ways it doesn't need to be. The black guy isn't the first killed and there's a transsexual character that is treated well by the film (until a horrific scene best not described here). Then there's a rape with a bowling pin. There's a rape played for laughs. There's a clever twist with the killers, though it's been done before and you can figure it out if you cared enough. Some of the film is quite bad, some effective, but mostly it's scattershot.

Added: I didn't adequately describe how offensive this film is. It's offensive. It also had a sequel.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer (2000)

Cousin Mel's evil, but a total babe and a sharp dresser!

First of all, I hate the novelty song on which this is based, so I went into this a little biased. Inconsistently animated, this is filled with additional novelty songs like "I'm Going to Sue the Pants Off Santa" and stretches a flimsy plot to 80 plus minutes. The voices of the characters are annoying, with a few exceptions, such as Michele Lee as Cousin Mel. Santa turns out not to be so jolly and the boilerplate villain turns out not to be completely awful and you end up being okay with the fact that a senior citizen is killed by Santa. Far from the worst Christmas movie (ahem. "Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny"), this just manages to be dull, annoying and not particularly well-suited to young children.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Gold Raiders (1982)

aka Commando Gold, aka Mission Firegame, aka Fire Game

A planeload of gold is lost in the jungle and there's a race to retrieve it between hero Robert Ginty and evil communists. The bad guy is named "Dr. Pinkeye." Even the parts in English are dubbed and there's no attempt to match the actors' mouths. There's an axe to a face, a fake shark, giant rubber bats with glowing eyes, a dog stealing a wooden leg during a sex scene and a flying motorcycle equipped with rocket launchers. All in all, it's a fun ride, though copies of this VHS are hard to find.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Gnome Named Gnorm (1990)

aka Galacticop, aka Adventures of a Gnome Named Gnorm, aka Upworld

In this film, gnomes live underground and have power crystals that have to be brought to sunlight on occasion to recharge. A cop played very unconvincingly by Anthony Michael Hall (I mean, he looks like a kid. Jerry Orbach, who always played cops, is in this and looks the part) finds the crystal - I think his partner's killed in a drug-related shoot-out and Hall finds it accidentally, but then it gets taken by more bad guys. Anyway, Hall and the gnome end up being partnered in this buddy film in an attempt to recover the crystal. Robert Z'Dar, sporting a mullet, shows up as a bad guy. There's no chemistry between the leads. While the film seems to be targeted to children, the gnome is ugly and fawns over breasts and butts and there are scenes really inappropriate for children, especially in the version called "Upworld," which includes some strippers. It's a passable action film, but highly derivative and not very interesting. Sam Winston directed and he's done both better and worse in other films.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Gayniggers from Outer Space (1992)

This is nearly impossible to review. It's offensive as hell, but intentionally so and meant as satire, yet the satire doesn't really work. Characters with names like Sgt. Shaved Balls free the men of Earth from their domination by women by eliminating the women, allowing for the creation of an entirely gay world (don't think about that too much). Mercifully, this is a very short film. It's terrible - the sound is intentionally out of sync and it's in under-lit murky black and white - and anyone who gives it a glowing review saying its political incorrectness is refreshing is suspect. It suffers the deadly flaw of a being an unfunny comedy.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Fungicide (2002)

Not the best or most entertaining killer mushroom film (that would be "Matango, Fungus from Hell"), this looks like a film thrown together in a couple of days by a few guys with some time on their hands and maybe a couple thousand dollars. A scientist spills a vial of serum he's developed and it seeps into the soil at a bed and breakfast where it gets absorbed by mushrooms, which then grow to be hand puppet mushrooms, then CGI (well, 1980's era home video computer effects) and finally guys in what look like trenchcoats with oversized Asian straw hats and gloves. And the mushrooms are killers that need to be destroyed. There's a climactic fight scene that's as bad as any grade school pageant and it takes forever. There's even a music video over the closing credits. It's awful trash and they knew it; if you want to poke fun at something while drunk, you're exactly the audience they aimed for.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


1) I changed the header to this blog to include a quote from Teddy Roosevelt that had nothing to do with films, but I hope it reminds me that most of the people who've made bad films really tried and deserve credit.

2) I'll be part of another blogathon this year, so you can expect an honest-to-goodness good review of a good film. The last time I did this, I got comments like "brilliant" and "genius," so no pressure this time...

Fight! Batman, Fight! (1973) and Batman Fights Dracula (1967)

The number of Filipino Batman films keeps expanding, but I haven't found copies of these yet.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fatal Justice (1994)

I try to use a photo from a film when I can find one, but this film's actually best known for its box art! It has a secret government agency use one of its assassins to kill one of the others (it's how they ensure silence in those they want to retire). It's very cheap, the acting poor (Joe Estevez is the big name) and there's no tension for an action film because of poor direction and editing. It is watchable, though, as it's competent enough to follow a storyline - with some plot holes - while managing to have enough explosions and nudity.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Expelled (2014)

If this was meant to be the Millennial answer to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," they are doomed. Starring people with a following on Vine and YouTube, it's about a guy who gets expelled from school and tries to keep his family from finding out about it. He's a prankster who avoids actually doing anything to ensure he has time to waste - and that's his most endearing characteristic. The other characters are even more one-dimensional and even less appealing. It's a comedy without a single laugh.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Existo (1999)

That's Jim Varney, covered in oatmeal.
I may need to take another break from reviewing, because I'm getting to the point where I hate the films I'm watching, the people who watch these things (especially those who recommend them) and writing about them. That's a lot of things to hate.

This film was made by the people behind Jim Varney's "Ernest" films and has Varney in a scene where he strips down, gets covered in oatmeal, screams at people and gets shot in the eye... as performance art. The idea of the film is that art has been outlawed and only the true subversive will go public with their artistry and there's an attempt to overthrow the powers that be through shocking people. There's bad musical numbers, poor humor, nearly random weirdness and nearly continuous narration of anti-conservative invective (I happen to be a liberal myself, but of the "stop being so annoyingly annoyed and DO something" variety). This has some very enthusiastic support from a few people who think it's like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," but that's like comparing "Ernest Scared  Stupid" to "Harold and Maude."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend (1992)

Some hail this a masterpiece and compare it to a Beckett play; those people are called delusional. Made for almost nothing, this is the story of a chubby guy in a dead-end job who has no social life, so he ends up alone watching porn. Then he decides to blow what money he has on hookers. There's an implausible resolution, but it's a long time coming (puns unintended). Essentially, this was an excuse to film naked girls by a guy for whom hiring girls to be naked on screen is an accomplishment. Most of the film is an interior monologue narration, but that's just because they couldn't sync sound, not because they're trying to make a point or be artistic. There are attempts at humor and one or two work, but that just points out that the film doesn't know whether to be a black comedy or a serious psychodrama.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Eaten Alive: A Tasteful Revenge (1999)

Okay, we've hit bottom on this blog. This video is extremely rare and deservedly unseen. Debbie D (who is in a few real oddities) stars as a woman who gets passed over for promotion at her company, so she takes a shrink ray developed in the company's lab (they make cosmetics - no, don't bother trying to reason this out) and uses it to shrink her competition to bite size and eats her. The effect is the cheesiest green screen. She then eats her boss, then... well, it gets repetitive quickly. You could make this film yourself and do it better. There's a rumor that the company behind this would film any script given them for a fee, which explains some of the poor quality.

Update: I'm told that this is actually a sex fetish film for something odd and weird enough I didn't know it exists and don't get the appeal.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Duck! The Carbine High Massacre (1999)

This film's difficult to categorize, much less review. It's sort of a low-budget satire of the Columbine High School shooting done in very exploitative style, but it seems to be both more than that and less than that at the same time. Two high school students, after bullying, decide to shoot up their school before killing themselves. The lead actors (who also wrote, directed and produced) are pretty good, but the rest of the cast, even despite being stereotypes, are not; Misty Mundae plays Bible Girl and she's the best of the lot. The special effects are rotten, which makes it a little easier to watch. It's sometimes meant to be humorous, but in those parts it fails utterly. When it works, it manages to give some insight into the characters and does so at least as well as Michael Moore or Gus Van Sant did with the same material and much larger budgets. In the end, it's just an unpleasant experience.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Drug Runners (1988)

Not even available on VHS, this has been available on YouTube. Aldo Ray stars as a Mexican drug kingpin - and that right there will decide whether you want to see the film or not. An undercover agent is sent to stop Ray's organization's selling drugs while at the same time romancing a woman sent undercover to stop his gun running. The film is just endless shootouts, where nothing gets hit unless the script calls for it. It's very predictable, the acting is sometimes over-the-top, lines get flubbed (apparently budget and time didn't allow reshoots) and the film's sets seem stagey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Droid (1988)

aka Droids

One of the most common comments about a cheaply made film is "It looks like someone edited all the sex out of a porno." Well, that's exactly what this is! The film "Cabaret Sin" and its sequel were spliced together (reportedly via VCR) with all the sex scenes removed, which makes a barely coherent plot even harder to follow. There's a McGuffin called a decoder that is sought by a policeman in the future and there's something about an android revolt and renegade cops, there's also a subplot involving an estranged spouse, but mostly our hero gets distracted by going to clubs and watching strippers and sex shows. The film has some really good props for cheapo science fiction, especially given that it was meant as porn, but the acting is of course porn-level. This has a sizable cult following, some who think it's a classic of good-bad films; I think it's passable.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Double Target (1987)

This film stars Miles O'Keeffe (whose name I've misspelled many times on this blog - so when the credits have misspellings of words like "crew" I have to make allowances), was directed by Bruno Mattei and was shot in the Philippines. It has Donald Pleasance and Bo Svenson (doing a poor Russian accent) in small roles. It's about a U.S. government agent sent to Vietnam on a secret mission and who's going to pick up his long-kidnapped son while at it. It's a Farm Film Report Blowed-Up-Good kind of film. There's the required exploding helicopter. There's rocket launchers destroying villages. There's motorcycle chases. And then there's O'Keeffe fighting a shark - and blowing it up, too. The film actually looks quite good and, despite some clumsy scenes where the star should by all reason get killed, doesn't bog down except when showing Pleasance sitting at a desk, slowly dying.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Double Down (2005)

This is the worst Neil Breen film I've seen so far, which is saying something. And saying something is what Breen does in this film: it's mostly narrated - over-narrated - as he spends most of the film by himself fiddling with a bunch of laptops and satellite dishes, while living in his car and eating tuna out of cans in the middle of the desert Southwest. When there are other people in this vanity project, the dialogue is inane and the acting painful to behold. Breen plays some sort of super spy, a technological genius, a philanthropist guru who happens to be building bioterror weapons for reasons unexplained. The editing is so bad that the plot is impossible to follow, making one lulled into torpor until assaulted by something, like his inevitable naked shot. I found myself comparing this to the latter "Billy Jack" films, and not favorably - weird non-linear self-proclaimed guru nonsense.

I forgot to mention: there's a LOT of stock footage in this film.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Double Blast (1994)

This film stars Linda Blair as an archaeologist who gets kidnapped (for reasons involving deciphering a stone tablet) and must be rescued by a black belt martial artist and two kids. The bad guys are Robert Z'Dar and Joe Estevez! "Unknown Comic" Murray Langston has a cameo. The kids break up laughing during the poorly choreographed fights. As a solid rule, those who can fight can't act and those who can act can't fight. There was a sort-of sub-genre of children fighting off adults that came out after "Home Alone" and this may be the worst of the lot. It's watchable in small doses - recommended only for fans of the cast.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (2017)

This has been eviscerated by some critics, but it's not terrible... just not good. The cast of the earlier films had aged out, so were replaced and the general consensus is that the new cast isn't as good (but many fans hated that the cast had changed - I got this from listening to a 9 year-old). Alicia Silverstone is the recognizable star, but she isn't given much to do. The plot has very little to do with the books and is just a National Lampoon Vacation remake, substituting vomit and poop jokes for charm and wit, with some references that are aimed to parents, but still not funny. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Devil's Dynamite (1987)

aka Devil Dynamite, aka Robo Vampire 2

Still another Godfrey Ho job of splicing together unrelated films and adding ninjas, this film has a guy who transforms into a futuristic ninja via jump cuts and develops the special power to, um, well he seems to materialize weapons at one point, but that seems incidental. The plot involves hidden loot, a woman double-crossing her boyfriend and then hopping vampires, zombies and ninjas - you know, as so often happens in real life. The action scenes are below par even for a Ho film this time around and the best part is this line of dialogue: "Be a real man. Do unto yourself what others want to do to you. Cut your balls off".

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Demon Cop (1990)

"Werewolf Parole Officer" would be a better title, as our monster is neither demon nor cop. There's added footage of Cameron Mitchell, Fred Olen Ray claims he was one of the three directors (he's not credited and Fred gets credit on everything - his production company did release it) and the cameraman either had trouble getting people's face into frame or made some odd choices. The plot - and a dozen subplots - are impossible to follow, so you're left watching the action (not great) and terrible 1980's hair. There's an AIDS allegory thrown in, which is disconcerting.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Death Warrior (1984)

Holy crap, what did I watch?! This Turkish martial arts film just starts with nonsensical fighting and never lets up until a telepathically thrown rock turns a ninja into a burning scarecrow that continues to fight. There's ninjas, monsters, mummies, wizards, ghosts, invisible men, mad doctors, motorcycle gangs, killer plants, women turning into frogs and a haunted rocking chair; what there isn't is plot. A stocky gray Turkish version of Chuck Norris stars in the scenes not cribbed from another film (or stock footage) and he encounters a bunch of women (mostly blondes) in bikinis. The copy I saw was muddy and badly translated, but that doesn't really matter. This is a strong contender for the next "worst movie ever."

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Death Row Diner (1988)

This shot-on-video film has a few fans who like its extremely cheap cheesiness. It also has Michelle Bauer in it, so that's a plus. A movie mogul is executed before getting his last meal, so when a freak electrical storm reanimates him, he's also hungry. The script is hackneyed and padded and played for laughs (which fall flat). The worst and most-memorable scene is when a man is killed with a ping pong paddle and his eye pop out like ping pong balls. I'm not a fan.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Death Metal Zombies (1995)

This inexplicably has a cult following and got remastered for a 10 year anniversary release. It's shot-on-video and has the hackneyed plot of a tape of a heavy metal band turning people into zombies (who look exactly the same, except for darker eyeshadow and some pasty foundation). There's also a killer in a Richard Nixon mask. There's about an hour of death metal videos tucked into the hour and a half of film and it's amazing how dated 1995 can look. It looks like it was more fun to make than to watch.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Death Mask (1998)

James Best, best known for his role in the TV show "Dukes of Hazzard." stars as a facially scarred circus worker who carves masks. Everyone puts him down except Linnea Quigley. He sees a swamp witch who curses him with making a mask that causes everyone who sees it to commit suicide and he can't take it off. The expected mayhem ensues. Directed by the same guy who did Jack-O, this tries to be a serious horror film, but has some serious flaws, both technical - an empty ride has people screaming on it - and budgetary - everyone talks about how beautiful the mask is, when you could make a better one yourself. It's interesting despite itself, not good, but watchable.