Thursday, September 13, 2018

Down Among the Z Men (1952)

aka Down Among the "Z" Men
Peter Sellers made some great comedies and he made some terrible ones. The worst is undoubtedly "Ghost in the Noonday Sun," which isn't so much a film as a series of filmed improvisations loosely tied together. This was his first film and it stars the Goons, who were a radio comedy team. Unfortunately, they didn't write the movie, so it just isn't funny. There's dance numbers and other things tossed in and the whole plot is an army "let's put on a show" chestnut. The main character is a messy absent-minded professor played by Michael Bentine, who was barely part of the Goons... and he's dreadful. Sellers has minor duties and doesn't interact much with most of the cast. But now you know where I got the blog title and now the Americans reading it should know they've been pronouncing it wrong: it's "Zed Movies" and not "Zee Movies!"

Thanks for playing along for 1700+ reviews. I may come back.

Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)

Co-directed by the guy who directed Tokyo Gore Police, this is another wild ride and this one will probably offend people in the US unexpectedly, as it shows girls following a fashion fad in Tokyo that's extremely racist to some. So you were warned. A high school girl gives a boy a box of chocolates. These chocolates contain drops of her blood she put there intentionally because she's a vampire and she wants him to be one and live with her forever. ["Twilight" has so damned much to apologize for.] She, however, has a rival, who she pushes off a roof, killing her. But wait! The girl's father turns her into a Frankenstein-like monster. It's very very gory and played for laughs, which mostly don't work (it might be a cultural thing, but I think they just aren't funny). It's yet another attempt to make a sure-fire cult movie.

Santa Jaws (2018)

This is the 6th film directed by Misty Talley I've seen (fourth with sharks) and I may have managed to review them all without noting they're by the same director. [See Arachnoquake Ghost Shark Ozark Sharks and Mississippi River Sharks.] She hasn't improved on her use of CGI, but for once she's made a pretty entertaining film. Santa falls in the water, gets attacked and magically becomes the title creature, complete with cap on a fin. A young boy gets a present of a magic pen. He draws cartoons, where he wishes he could be alone for the holidays. This brings about the magic of his family being hunted by Santa Jaws. There's good use of Christmas-related weapons, from candy cane harpoons to wrapping it in strings of lights. The characters are better than usual and even the music is better than usual, being mostly holiday-related. It's cheesy and silly and stupid and the kills are not bloody, so kids could conceivably watch it, if that's the kind of family you have.

Roboshark (2015)

This is at least the 15th horror film directed by Jeffrey Lando, but I think it's the first I've reviewed. It's a very cheap Sharknado wannabe, but it has its moments. A space probe lands in the ocean, where a shark devours it and becomes Roboshark. It then decides to attack Seattle, specifically a Starbucks and a high school swimming pool. There's a lot of local humor that will be lost on those not from the area. A girl finds out Roboshark is following her on Twitter. The sharks messages are mostly emojis, that when deciphered mean "Roboshark Phone Home." They dispatch it by toppling the Space Needle on it. It's a minor shark film, but better than most.

Prey of the Jaguar (1996)

I'm hoping this is the last David DeCoteau - directed film I cover (there have been two dozen). It has Stacy Keach, Linda Blair and Paul Bartel in it, though none of them star. Keach's look makes me laugh every time he's on screen. The star, Max Caulfield sports a pornstache. His wife and son have been murdered, so he does what anyone would do: learn martial arts and don a superhero costume drawn in crayon by his son, then go after the bad guys non-lethally... he uses a dart gun and tranquilizes them. Alas, as loopy as this sounds, it's not very entertaining.

Ozark Sharks (2016)

aka Summer Shark Attack
Directed by the same guy who did "Zombie Shark" (2015) which I really thought I'd covered, but apparently haven't, this is much better, though a very by-the-numbers shark attack film. A small town in the ozarks is having a fireworks festival that gets interrupted by bull sharks (I think I'm starting to recognize species of sharks). It's up to a family and the arsenal in the back of a bait shop to stop the sharks. One goes through a woodchipper. It's surprisingly watchable, though it makes no real impression; the acting is better than expected, characters are fleshed out, the CGI is - of course - execrable and it has few slow spots.

Night Ripper! (1986)

Wow, that knife just stops at the teeth, doesn't it?

Directed by the same guy who did "Fertilize the Blaspheming Bombshell," "Streets of Death"and a few other turkeys, this has Larry Thomas in it and you will never not think "that's the Seinfeld Soup Nazi" when you see him; at least he's not going to be remembered for this. There's a guy killing and disemboweling (off-camera) models, a photographer becomes a suspect and the photog tries to keep his girlfriend safe. There's a twist ending, but I knew who the killer was the second he appeared on screen. The non-acting is tedious, the endless shots of people driving is tedious, the poor SOV photography and sound are irksome, there's nothing original and nothing interesting. Some have hailed this as a slasher so bad it's funny, but it's not worth seeking out (and it's VHS only as far as I know).