Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Almighty Thor (2011)

How bad is it? Bad enough I debated giving it added attention. IMDB score = 1.8
Should you see it? NO.

This is another mockbuster by Asylum for SyFy and perhaps the worst yet. Richard Grieco stars as Loki, who steals Thor's hammer of invincibility and then Thor has to get it back. Much of the action happens off camera, in one climactic scene you can see the actors looking around (perhaps for direction, perhaps for police to shut down production). The film is loud. Really loud. I turned the volume down twice. Even at 80 minutes, the film seems padded and plods.

Alienator (1990)

How bad is it? It's often considered one of the worst films by one of the worst directors.
Should you see it? Maybe just to see how awful it really is, but I'd say no.
Fred Olen Ray's directed more than 100 bad films and though I've covered some of them, it's been a while since I've gone back to that (poison) well. This film has an alien escaping from a space prison crash-landing on Earth and getting help from some campers and a forest ranger. Then the Alienator (the worst imaginable Terminator) arrives to bring him back - there's also a few plot twists at the end, but you may not make it that far. The Alienator is played by female bodybuilder Teagan Clive (billed, as usual, just by first name) and co-stars Jan-Michael Vincent and John Phillip Law make up for her name deficiency, if not acting deficiency. Most of the special effects, such as they are, occur in the first minutes of the film; it looks like the budget ran out and they just made the rest of the film happen on Earth - and not the future - because it's cheap.

Alien Interceptors (1991)

aka Interceptor Force, aka The Last Line of Defense, aka Interceptors, aka Predator 3: Interceptors

How bad is it? It's a typical "Predator" clone with a poorly-done monster.
Should you see it? If you're a fan of the cast or you have nothing better to do.

Olivier Gruner has made an interesting career as a low-rent Jean-Claude Van Damme and this film is one of his more entertaining effotrts. Brad Dourif, Ernie Hudson and William Zabka also have roles. There's a special team that finds that their fighter jet recovery mission is actually an extraterrestrial hunt and they end up being killed off by the alien one by one; if they don't succeed in time, the whole area will get nuked. The alien is very bad CGI (even by 1991 standards), everything goes so predictably that it's amusing and there are some jaw-dropping errors - such as outrunning the shockwave of a nuclear blast.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Aztec Rex (2007)

aka Tyrannosaurus Azteca

How bad is it? It's a SyFy dinosaur film with Ian Ziering. That's a terrible combination.
Should you see it? If you want to see what one of the better SyFy films looks like.

Hernando Cortez (played by Ian Ziering) searching for gold in Mexico in 1521 instead finds a dinosaur, which they end up killing as a way to save their lives when caught by locals. This upsets the dinosaur's mate and they have to devise a clever plan to kill it too, making this the modern equivalent of 1950's lost civilization films. The CGI is particularly bad in this one, ruining what could've been a decent film. There also is no explanation of why there are dinosaurs there in the first place.

Autopsy of a Ghost (1968)

aka Autopsia de un Fantasma

How bad is it? It was not made available for English-speaking audiences for 40 years.
Should you see it? It's only for Mexican horror fans and those interested in the stars.

This film has only recently been made available in a subtitled version, which seems odd given that it stars Basil Rathbone, John Carradine and Cameron Mitchell. Rathbone, in his last role, plays a ghost that after 400 years can redeem himself by getting a woman to fall in love with him. Carradine plays Satan, complete with horns and tail, but disappears for much of the film. It's actually worse than the four Mexican films that Karloff did at the end of his career.

Automaton Transfusion (2006)

How bad is it? It's very amateurish, plotless and unoriginal.
Should you see it? Almost - it could've been fun, but ultimately I say skip it.

Army experiments on regenerating the dead leads to the creation of zombies and it's up to a bunch of teenagers to chainsaw their way through them to get the serum that will cure the zombie disease. This weak and tired plot seems long at only 75 minutes; the characters are thinly drawn, the picture quality is poor and shaky and the film is merely a fake blood launching vehicle. That said, the film has some qualities that could've made for a cult film had they worked. Instead, we end up noticing plot holes - like the girl who seems to think she's safe in a convertible.

The title also makes no sense.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Arachnoquake (2012)

How bad is it? It's one of the shoddier SyFy monster movies. That's an accomplishment of sorts, I guess.
Should you see it? No.
An earthquake releases giant spiders which attack New Orleans; the spiders also breathe fire (no explanation given). This was directed by the same guy who did Swamp Shark and its main interest lies in the cast of former child actors: Tracey Gold, Edward Furlong, Bug Hall, etc. There's a lot of poorly conceived ideas, explosions without consequence, plot laziness, cheap work-arounds and just a general feeling of contempt for the audience. There is one good scene: the giant fire-breathing spider water skis!

Anaconda: The Offspring (2008)

aka Anaconda 3, aka Anaconda 3: the Offspring

How bad is it? It's a SyFy sort-of sequel to a hokey film that fails to deliver.
Should you see it? Nah.

This movie isn't actually a sequel to "Anaconda" and, while David Hasselhoff is the headliner, he disappears for most of the movie. This snake has a genetically attached machete on its tail (oy vey). John Rhys-Davies is wasted, but was needed for the next sequel which was shot concurrently. There are a few good moments, a few good lines, but the plot was weak and the direction strictly by-the-numbers.

The American Scream (1988)

How bad is it? It's an unfunny horror comedy that's almost bad enough to be funny.
Should you see it? I'd say no.

This film's hard to find - I saw the 2012 film of the same title three times trying to find this; I think the problem was that an actress that shows up nude later played a teenager and someone thought this might be illegal (it's not). A family on vacation ends up in a town full of weirdos, including George "Buck" Flower, who eats pancakes ominously and Edy Williams who really was too old to be playing strippers by this time. It turns out that this is a place that parents drop off unwanted children to be killed and so the teens are in trouble. The characters are annoying, the jokes fall flat and the ending is really really implausible, but the overall enduring weirdness of the film makes it somewhat interesting.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Amazing Transplant (1970)

How bad is it? It's one of Doris Wishman's better films (utter dreck).
Should you see it? If you really want to see a penis-transplant film and "Percy" isn't available. No... not even then.

This is a version of the oft-filmed "Hands of Orlac" theme, where a killer's hands are transplanted onto someone, turning him into a killer; the variation here is that a penis transplant turns the guy into a rapist. Someone once wrote that Wishman directed films like she'd never seen one (in fact, she rarely did watch films); she also made sex films like she was alien to the concept of sexual attraction. This one has a golden earring fetish. The transplant of the title is supposed to be a surprise, but it's IN THE TITLE. Meanwhile, you can spend the 70 minutes of the film wondering why Wishman shows static shots of her carpet or shoes or sidewalk (did she always look down?) and why we hear conversations only as overdubbed reaction shots. Otherwise, it's just ugly naked people... and no penis is shown, though that seems to be the reason for the film to exist.

Alien vs. Ninja (2010)

How bad is it? It's low-budget and almost plotless.
Should you see it? If you like violence and gore, plus a few unintended laughs, yes.

This is one of the ultraviolent trash films to come out of Japan recently. A nasty alien lands on Earth and ninjas fight it off. The alien is cheap - man in rubber suit - and the effects are often obvious. The pacing, at least, is brisk and the ninja fight scenes are well choreographed. The best bit are creatures that go into peoples' noses.

The Alien Factor (1978)

How bad is it? It's probably Don Dohler's first and best film... so quite bad.
Should you see it? Yes. It's the textbook for low-budget films.

Creatures meant for a galactic zoo end up escaped on Earth and must be rounded up; one of the three is good, the other two evil - but which?! One is sort of reptilian, one a Wookie created by kindergarteners, one kind of oozy with claws. The sort-of stop-motion one is transparent for much of the film, due to cost. The chase by a guy lumbering in an awkward costume is fun for a while. Most of the film was shot in bright daylight to save on lighting, the acting is pathetic, the music is grating and the film drags. Still, for the East Coast's answer to Ray Dennis Steckler, the film is moderately entertaining.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Third time through the alphabet

Okay, I've gone from A to Z in bad films twice - 450 films the first time, 250 the second - and I've got 125 more cued for a third time through. I'm looking at a new way to find bad films and think that will give me a fourth time through with 50-75 more films. That should do it - 900 bad films!

Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead (2011)

How bad is it? It's very gross and lowbrow.
Should you see it? Yes, though it's hard to watch at times.

I was expecting this to be silly and campy, but it's in the vein of "Tokyo Gore Police," so it's wild, violent, gory, sick and still pretty funny, though the humor is about as base as one can get. A girl and her friends go camping and she intentionally swallows a parasite to keep her skinny, but it sends her running to an outhouse, where there are zombies hiding below. Soon, there are crap-covered zombies attacking and the girl tries to use her karate skills to stop them before discovering she can stop them with farting.

Werewolf in a Women's Prison (2006)

How bad is it? Part parody, part exploitation, it's not well-acted and it's very low budget.
Should you see it? Yes.

If there were ever a title that demanded I watch the film, this would be it. A girl on a camping trip gets attacked by a werewolf, then wakes up in a prison only to find that she's been charged with the murder of her boyfriend (who returns in a zombie-ish role to explain). From that point, it's a typical women's prison film for a while. Then there's a full moon, people get cut in half, arms and heads get pulled off, people get disemboweled and burnt and a werewolf gets killed by the silver flecks in vodka. The girl escapes and the monster gets put on display in a cabaret (shades of "The Monster and the Stripper!") The "acting" is done by women chosen for their assets and the budget looks like it went to getting as much stage blood and fake severed limbs as possible.

Voodoo Academy (2000)

How bad is it? It's one of the worst of Full Moon's productions, which is pretty damn bad.
Should you see it? Only if you really wonder what a gay version of all the usually boob-obsessed horror films looks like.

Charles Band has been responsible for some real schlock, but the director's cut of this film (about 20 minutes longer) shows what even he thought too terrible to release - essentially young men in tight underpants rubbing themselves. The film's about a Bible college that only accepts 6 men a year that is really a... voodoo academy. The film itself looks grainy with poor color saturation, the plot is lame and given away in the first 5 minutes, the special effects and dialog are terrible, leaving guys bathing, guys working out, guys walking around in their shorts and guys (including the priest) removing their shirts for no discernible reason.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Vixen Highway 2006: It Came from Uranus! (2010)

How bad is it? I'm the only person who's seen it that wasn't given a free copy to review.
Should you see it? No.

Tony "Tex" Watt tries too hard to make cult films and this remaking of "Vixen Highway" (2001) lost my interest when there was still 130 minutes left to see. It supposedly takes place in Minnesota, but any native could tell it was not filmed there. There's a girl gang, a rock star needing a liver transplant, a demon Star Beast with a Faustian wager and every retro-exploitation idea they could cram in. The plot, such as it is, is impossible to follow. The film has a "look," which seems to be all Watt really cares about.

Vampire Blvd. (2004)

How bad is it? It had no script. Or budget. Or reason for existing.
Should you see it? No. On paper, it looks like it might work, but on film...

Directed by and starring Scott Shaw, with cinematography by Donald G. Jackson (and 3 others), this film was shot "organically" without a script, just letting things develop and trying to piece it together. Shaw and Jackson have done this several times, never successfully - "Lingerie Kickboxer" being so bad I briefly called it the worst film I'd seen - and this one got my interest for being blaxploitation and a vampire film and also for having Robert Z'Dar, Joe Estevez and Jim Kelly. The plot has a Hong Kong actress pursued by vampires and helped by private investigators. It relies heavily on bad music and meaningless images. Watch at your own risk.

Ultrachrist! (2003)

How bad is it? It's incredibly cheap and looks like it was filmed in a day.
Should you see it? Yes.

I wasn't big on "Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter" and this Jesus as a superhero film came out soon after, but it surprised me. It's really really cheap, but makes its cheapness work for it, such as in the cheesiest hero costume in decades. Jesus returns, finds that people can't relate, so he has a superhero costume made and thhts the Antichrist (New York City Parks Commissioner - I'm thinking they had some permit problems with him when filming this). The film's jokes run a bit thin in the middle, but the ending is quite good and for once - thank God [perhaps literally!] - the level of humor is above farts, boobs and puns. This might be a cult hit waiting to be discovered.

Friday, March 20, 2015

2-Headed Shark Attack (2012)

How bad is it? It's neither as good nor as bad as the title would have you think.
Should you see it? Depends: Just how badly do you need to see augmented breasts?

Carmen Electra plays a professor leading a class on a cruise ship that wrecks on an atoll that begins to flood. Then the shark attacks. Brooke Hogan (daughter of Hulk) is second-billed. There's no explanation as to why the shark has two heads, why it's so huge or why it can swim in shallow water - and on land - when that large. The film has standard CGI and one very bad rubber monster and zero believable breasts. The dialog consists mostly of "Run" and "Oh my God!" This is probably the last shark film I'll review here - they're starting to become indistinguishable.

Update: I have one more shark film on my list of reviews...

Turkish Exorcist (1974)

aka Seytan

How bad is it? It's one of the less terrible/less interesting Turkish rip-offs of American films.
Should you see it? If you must see every Turkish turkey. Or even if you just need to see one.
Some 1970's remakes of American films are entertaining (Wizard of Oz, for example) and some are terrible (Star Wars), but this nearly shot-for-shot remake of The Exorcist is just unneeeded. The reaction shot of the crotch-punched hypnotist is the funniest bit. The odd texture of urine (I guess you have to see it to understand), the poorly done head spin and levitation, the endless vomit and the really long finale are all cheesy enough for a laugh.

Transylmania (2009)

How bad is it? "Transylmania is so inept that it even fails as an adolescent breast-delivery device" - A.V. Club
Should you see it? Nope.

Vampire spoof films are becoming almost as over-saturated as teen-oriented vampire films. This one is a college road trip (to Romania) sex comedy. Two directors and two screenwriters and apparently all misogynists were involved. There's a Siegfried and Roy and tiger puppet joke that's pretty offensive. There's sheep testicles, there's a horse farting homage to Mel Brooks, there's a penis slammed in a laptop, there's even a "tribute" to "Duck Soup!" Mostly, these films are just boobs and groans and this one delivers neither particularly well.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thunderpants (2002)

How bad is it? It's one continuous fart joke.
Should you see it? If fart jokes always make you laugh.

A boy's ability to fart leads him to fame, then to death row and then to NASA. Some see this as a good children's film about succeeding when different. Others find it hysterically funny. Most find it to be shockingly immature and just silly enough to entertain. Amazingly, the cast includes Stephen Fry, Paul Giammati, Ned Beatty and Rupert Grint; that alone makes it different from most films on this blog.

Things (1989)

How bad is it? It's so bad that many wonder if it was intentionally bad.
Should you see it? Yes, though it's been hard to find.

An artificial insemination experiment goes awry and leads to a monster that escapes. Or monsters. Or bugs. It really is that hard to follow. This film probably only still exists because of an early appearance by Amber Lynn. It was shot in Super-8, and dubbed in post, but not synched and with drop-outs and noise. The dialog is unbelievably banal. One of the stranger things is that people put their jackets in a refrigerator, where there's a tape recorder. Some of the action may be a dream sequence, or a hallucination, but I'm not sure. Nothing makes sense in this, but it did hold my attention.

Terror in Beverly Hills (1989)

How bad is it? It's perhaps the worst Frank Stallone film.
Should  you see it? Sure.

The president's daughter is kidnapped and held for ransom in Beverly Hills ("Beverly Hills" in a title almost guarantees awfulness) and it's up to a retired Green Beret to rescue her - the Secret Service apparently has better things to do. And of course, the terrorist just happens to have a personal connection to the Green Beret (played by Frank Stallone). No cliche is missed. There's plenty of product placement. The tone shifts abruptly, being quite serious at the start and bloody at the end, but seems to be almost a parody of the genre in the middle; perhaps the director realized after shooting some of the film to try to change the film. Cameron Mitchell adds to his bad film resume with this as well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Talking Cat!?! (2013)

How bad is it? It's lazy film-making at its laziest.
Should you see it? No. The photo below is all you need.

Another dud from David DeCoteau, this time with Johnny Whitaker (who it's nice to know still gets work) and the voice of Eric Roberts. A magic collar allows a cat to talk, but only to one human at a time - for no reason, other than the plot requires it. The animation of its talking is just drawn-on black, without even teeth being added. The cat doesn't even talk much, though he does narrate endlessly. He unites two families at odds, but there's no dynamic tension; meant as gentle kids' fare, it lacks energy and interest. The only moment of entertainment is when the cat gets hit by a car and dies (no, I'm not being mean); he comes back to life with a choir of angels and heavenly glowing light!

Tales of an Ancient Empire (2010)

aka Abelar: Tales of an Ancient Empire

How bad is it? Poorly constructed and not what people expect from the genre.
Should you see it? No. It's a mediocre film and life's too short to watch mere mediocrity.

This is a swords and sandals epic starring Kevin Sorbo, where a princess tries to unite five warriors against a vampire/demon/sorceress. The film has a really shaky start that has nothing to do with the rest of the film and it has no ending, suggesting it was meant as part of a series, perhaps as a pilot episode. It's plot-heavy, with a lot about family dynamics and a father who's never actually seen. This may have been started as a sequel to "The Sword and the Sorcerer," but the fight scenes and special effects are dull and poor.

Tales from the Quadead Zone (1987)

How bad is it? It is among the worst home movies ever released on video.
Should you see it? If you really love bad films, you have to.

This is the better of Chester Turner's two films, the other being "Black Devil Doll from Hell" [how have I not reviewed that?! I assumed I had]. An actress reads two stories from a horror anthology to the ghost of her son, who's never seen, apparently just off-screen and occasionally whispers. You expect four stories from the title, but it's 'qua - dead' as in "quasi," not "quad." The first story is about a redneck family that murders each other over sandwiches and the second about a zombie clown. At the end, the actress kills her boyfriend and the cops arrive. This has a little gore and a theme song, but is still inconceivably cheap and shoddy, even by shot-on-camcorder standards.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Swamp Shark (2011)

How bad is it? It's one of the better, therefore less entertaining, shark attack movies.
Should you see it? If you're watching shark movies, it makes for a nice change of pace.
Kristy Swanson, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, stars in this shark attack film, that differs from others mostly in the use of a real shark in some scenes (which doesn't help), the location (that's the deepest swamp in the world, given the way the shark leaps and its size) and the odd film role of baseball hall of famer Wade Boggs. There's the requisite stereotyped characters, there are hovercrafts, exploding propane tanks (wow, ripping off "Jaws" directly) and impossible action - when the shark goes on land, you just have to shake your head.

Sugar Boxx (2009)

How bad is it? It's a cheap homage to grindhouse films.
Should you see it? If you're in the mood for a women's prison film, it satisfies.

Following Tarantino and Rodriguez, this movie tries to recapture the feel of Jack Hill's films (Hill actually makes an appearance), with a bit of Russ Meyer thrown in: Kitten Natividad and Tura Satana have roles and there's bare breasts in nearly every shot. The story is exactly the same as any women in prison film: a reporter, hearing of prostitution and murder in a prison, goes undercover, finds out that catfights, whippings and forced prostitution are standard, starts a revolution and gets revenge. There's plenty of action and very little blood for this kind of film.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Strike Commando (1987)

How bad is it? It's a very poor action film.
Should you see it? It's actually pretty watchable, so yes.

Bruno Mattei directed this film starring Reb Brown in a "First Blood - Rambo 2" clone. That's three strikes right there. The combat scenes are just Brown firing at people who fall down and are completely incapable of shooting, fighting or planning. There's a Russian bad guy in Vietnam for some reason (played by an Italian-American) and a French Peasant (played by an Italian). There's obvious stock footage, a flamethrower scene where protective suit is obvious, a bad snake scene, an obviously undersized dummy and shots of Reb running through swamps amid mortar fire.

Sting of Death (1965)

How bad is it? It has one of the worst rubber suit monsters of all time.
Should you see it? Only if "Zaat" wasn't enough for you.
Shouldn't that garment bag have a warning label?

Director William Grefe made a number of bad films; "Wanna Ride, Little Girl?" is on my list to review later. In this, a mad scientist, experimenting with Portugese Men-of-War in an underwater cave, turns himself into a tentacled monster when trying to fix his melted face. Neil Sedaka appears and performs - inexplicably. This is yet another film MST3K made better known.

State Property (2002)

How bad is it? It's the least interesting gangsta rap film.
Should you see it? No.

Jay-Z and his Rock-a-Fella Productions made this film about Beanie Sigel - here imaginatively named "Beans" - and other musicians, including Jay-Z, that details a Philly thug's take-over of the local drug trade with his ABM ("All Black Mafia" or "All 'Bout the Money" or, as it seems "Agonizing Bowel Movement"). The film is filled with seemingly improvised rap done poorly, gratuitous nudity - finding a screen grab to use without a naked woman in it was difficult and pointless, unbelievable violence. The thin script falls apart and seems to become a self-parody at the end and there's only one rapper with any acting ability (and he's not a major character). There is a minor laugh to be had with the repetitious story as one scene replays a dozen times.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spymate (2006)

How bad is it? It's one of the worst Disney films.
Should you see it? If you're babysitting a 6 year-old and drunk (not a recommendation, by the way).

The director of "Air Bud" and "Most Valuable Primate" makes his most lamebrained film about a monkey (named Minky) that's a superspy called out of retirement to rescue a girl (Emma Roberts) whose invented a laser thingy from a mad scientist (Richard Kind). There's a hand-to-hand/paw combat sequence that's almost funny and a skydiving sequence that's amusing, but the intentional humor in the film falls flat. Debra Jo Rupp and Pat Morita make appearances. It's silly and juvenile and a bit condescending to its audience of small children and is ultimately tedious.

Spring Break Shark Attack (2005)

How bad is it? It's atypical of the recent glut of shark films, but still not good.
Should you see it? Only as a palate cleanser from other shark attack films.
It's spring break and sharks attack. Oh, you need more? The sharks are more rubber fins than CGI and the attacks aren't as silly - or gory - as in other films, though one guy windsurfs into the mouth of a shark. The film is light on attacks and heavy on relationships and character, which is truly unusual, and the acting is pretty good (except for thrashing and screaming during attacks). It's ambitious, but mostly dull, so it's a failure.

Splatter Farm (1987)

How bad is it? No-budget and nauseating, it's bottom of the barrel film making.
Should you see it? If you have a strong stomach for weird and gross, it's entertaining.

There's actually a making-of video for this, which is remarkable, as it should just be "we found a home video camera and shot this on our way back home." This has an Ed Gein-like character that kills, dismembers, stores and THEN has sex with his victims. A man craps out a knife. There's feces eating. There's fisting - but not how you'd expect. There's sex with a severed head. There's old lady sex (and this is treated as worse than the other things mentioned). This has a necessarily small cult following.

5 Readers!

Just want to thank the now 5 of you who read this blog on a regular basis. I know who two of you are. Feel free to comment on posts - I like comments!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell (1990)

How bad is it? You could've made it yourself, if your female friends didn't mind getting anked.
Should you see it? Don't go out of your way.
I'd really hoped this would be another "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama," which I loved, but it's cheapness and tackiness aren't endearing. A vengeful Native American spirit has taken over a guy while her niece and her sorority sisters stay at a remote cabin. There's plenty of nudity, which becomes silly - I once said to the screen "Stop toweling off. You're dry already!" The creature from hell, a kind of rock creature, is a throwback to 1950's rubber-suited monsters.

Slaughter Daughter (2012)

How bad is it? Unlikeable people are killed gruesomely in contrived plot.
Should you see it? I don't think so.

This film has a small cult following of people who enjoy bloody films and don't care about anything else. A woman is committed to an institution, but released for a wedding and she plays out her obsession with a serial killer (she mails him one of her fingers). It has some originality, makes some effort to make a statement, but is essentially just continuous carnage. I found it as dull as it was sickening.

The Skydivers (1963)

How bad is it? It's the best film of one of the worst directors of all time.
Should you see it? Only in the MST3K version.

I should stop being surprised to find terrible, unenjoyable films listed as so-bad-it's-good and then finding that they appeared on a MST3K episode. That's the case here; Coleman Francis directed three absolutely terrible films (Beast of Yucca Flats, Night Train to Mundo Fine) and all three have been covered by those guys because they're easy to make fun of. Couple owns a skydiving business and she gets revenge on him for cheating - no, wait, she was cheating - it doesn't really matter. Lots of coffee and odd music, along with interminable skydiving footage. The threadbare plot meets actors who read cue cards of inane dialog, and continuity errors galore.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Shark in Venice (2008)

How bad is it? It's a typically bad shark attack flick.
Should you see it? Yes. It's one of the more entertaining typical shark attack flicks.

Just when you think there's nothing left to the shark attack franchise on SyFy, they throw in Mafia, the Knights Templar (a bit Indiana Jones, a bit DaVinci Code) and Stephen Baldwin. The plot doesn't make sense, there's continuity problems, there's stock footage and recycled footage from earlier shark films... and there's Stephen Baldwin. On the plus side, there's plenty of action, including chainsaw-wielding ninja stunt bikers. None of the film was made in Venice. It's terrible, but it's what shark flick people will enjoy.

Shark Attack (1999)

How bad is it? It's the turkey that spawned a network and as imaginative as its title.
Should you see it? If you like generic shark attack films.

This came out the same year as "Deep Blue Sea," a film that just shouldn't be fun, but is. Sharks in South Africa are attacking, it gets investigated, a chemical is found to be causing a feeding frenzy, that chemical is being introduced by a company that wants to lower values so they can exploit oil reserves. There are plenty of attacks, a car chase, a boat chase, a gun battle and a helicopter (for some reason, helicopters became a staple of shark movies on SyFy). Casper van Dien and his then real-life brother-in-law Bentley Mitchum (grandson of Robert) star, with former Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson. Stock footage and robotic sharks are used, rather than the CGI of later shark films, but they're not that much of an improvement. The biggest flaw is that the attacks are mostly early, with everything else happening on land.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Russian Terminator (1989)

aka Russian Ninja

How bad is it? It's a completely predictable espionage film in broken English.
Should you see it? Not really.

Despite the title(s), there's no Terminator - though a scene or two does get lifted from that film - and certainly no ninja. The film does have Russians, though; filmed in Denmark, this film seems authentically Russian, from the bizarre-looking hero to the minimalist landscapes. The film is about an FBI agent rescuing a kidnapped woman and they encounter a one man death squad that has a couple of martial arts moves that are almost Dolemite level. Most of the scattered laughs come from completely botched line readings from people speaking second languages.

R.O.T.O.R. (1987)

How bad is it? It's solidly in the IMDB Bottom 100 films.
Should you see it? It barely, BARELY, qualifies as so-bad-it's-good.
That woman's only other role was in Flesh Gordon Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders.
This film is a straight Robocop imitation, that also manages to rip-off The Terminator, Short Circuit and Judge Dredd - none successfully. There's some funny sight gags and some funny sci-fi dialog. The star also produced and the screenwriter also did the production design; it shows. The beginning of the film gives away the ending, the robot is activated by a Native American named Shoeboogie misplacing headphones (I'm not making this up), the robot can see into the past by removing his sunglasses - technical marvel, that - and then there's a truly terrible hero and spouted technobabble. It would make a good MST3K film.

Rockula (1990)

How bad is it? It's high camp. Pretty good high camp.
Should you see it? Yes, but because it's good, not because it's bad.

I'm not sure why this cult B-movie has developed a bad movie reputation. It's a silly musical comedy about a 300 year-old virgin vampire who, every 22 years on Friday the 13th, meets the woman he loves again, only to lose her, via a curse, to a pirate with a rhinestone peg leg wielding a ham bone. The songs aren't half-bad, written by Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO. The cast really is why people will watch this: Susan Tyrell, Bo Diddley, Thomas Dolby and Toni Basil (who steals the show).

"Rapula" is worse.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rock 'n Roll Space Patrol Action Is Go! (2009)

How bad is it? It's a homemade parody of bad sci-fi and mostly fails.
Should you see it? It's only an hour. Fast-forward through 40 minutes of it and... maybe.

This is truly is a YouTube clip packaged as a film. A mad scientist plans to turn a planet (looks like Earth) into a mass of mindless consumers by using space ninjas, so the space patrol tries to stop them. They fail. So then they go shooting cows with lasers. If that sounds entertaining, you've found your film. The movie drags terribly for being so short, but it has some nicely nuanced jokes and the cheesy special effects are better than expected. The cast is uniformly bad and the dialog uninteresting, but it has a "let's have a party" feel.

Robo Vampire (1988)

How bad is it? Well, for one thing, the robo vampire isn't in the main plot.
Should you see it? It's my favorite Godfrey Ho film. Even so, it gets a cautious "yes."
Godfrey Ho has made a career of taking bad films and then splicing in a few minutes of unrelated ninja action and re-releasing it with a title that sounds like a current blockbuster. This time, he added a robot instead. The main plot is about a kidnapped female agent rescued by a killed agent reborn as a vampire fighting robot (seemingly designed by 5 year-olds). These vampires, who are vampires only incidentally to the story, are the Chinese variety that hop and are killed by placing messages ion their heads - and that alone is funny to Americans - but they also shoot fire from their arms. There's a naked ghost. There's the worst body doubles in film (really. worse than in Plan 9). One guy gets killed, looks to the camera to see if the scene's over, and dies again.

Quest for the Mighty Sword (1990)

aka Hobgoblin, aka Troll 3, aka Ator 3: The Hobgoblin, aka Ator 4: Quest for the Mighty Sword

How bad is it? It manages to take the bad Ator series to new depths of ineptitude.
Should you see it? Yes - after seeing the other Ator films and Troll 2.

I found the Ator series of films to be just good enough that they didn't quite make the so-bad-it's-good category, but this, the last of the series, more than qualifies. First of all, Ator dies in the first scene and is replaced by his son Ator - neither is played by Miles O'Keeffe, who played Ator in the other films. The son needs his father's sword to take his role, so he searches for it and in the process runs across dragons, wizards, a goblin (left-over from Troll 2) that gets cleaved in two, a two-headed robot... and he finds the sword in 20 minutes in the cave he lives in under a rock. There's also a love story and some embarrassing costumes. The film just ends when it runs out of things to do.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Pumaman (1980)

How bad is it? It has the worst special effects of any movie of its generation.
Should you see it? Yes. It has enough silliness to make it bearable.

Donald Pleasance is the villain in this Italian-made superhero film. There's an Aztec legend complete with aliens, a golden mask that can make its wearer rule the world, hypnosis, and a superhero who is actually called the "worst I have ever seen." Pumaman can fly (because, of course, the power of the Puma would be flight), so he's being sought by throwing men out of windows. The fight scenes are not good and even Pleasance beats up the hero. The flying by being suspended on wires before a green screen and then standing up and looking around is true bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. Hypnosis by moving the camera doesn't help. And there's a sickening love theme as well. I see that MST3K parodied this, but I haven't seen their version.

Psycho from Texas (1975)

aka Wheeler

How bad is it? It's low-budget, poorly produced and nonsensical.
Should you see it? I give it a very marginal thumbs-up.

A wealthy oil man is kidnapped in a southern town and then there's some meaningless murders and a couple of rapes. The main character is a sociopath who has flashbacks to his childhood when he was forced to watch his mother sleep with men and that apparently led to his current situation. I'm guessing a bit, as there's no real character development. The acting is generally sub-par, except by Linnea Quigley in a small role. Made in 1974, this wasn't fully released until 1982. There's continuity problems and I think the background sounds are looped. The film, considered as a sort of southern gothic hillbilly trashfest, has a small cult following.

Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies (2014)

How bad is it? It's low-budget schlock, but exactly what you'd expect from the title.
Should you see it? If you're a fan of late 1980's pro wrestling.

I'm not a fan of either wrestling or zombies, so I'm not the target audience for this. One wrestler catches another with his girlfriend and kills him with a piledriver move. Then there's a show at a prison and the murdered guy's brother has a plan involving an ancient Aztec ritual that brings back the dead. Then there's a girl who shows up out of nowhere who knows all about Aztec curses and zombies and shows the wrestlers how to fight the zombies. There's plenty of fight scenes, thankfully no CGI, but the actors are all quite old and decrepit by wrestling standards.

Power King (1995)

aka Armicron in Outlaw Power, aka Outlaw Power, aka Armicron

How bad is it? It's like a badly edited episode of a Power Rangers episode.
Should you see it? The Zero Nine version is okay, the Master Film Int'l. version is not.

I've actually seen this turkey twice, in the original Korean edit and in the Americanized version, which is badly edited and has annoying actors. The sets are cheap, there's a lot of stock footage, there's a lot of ripping off of other franchises. Earth is invaded by a villain, then two princesses come to Earth and help a guy become a hero that can defeat him. There's plenty of martial arts and explosions, punctuated by buffoonery.