Friday, March 31, 2017

Ninja Fantasy (1986)

How bad is it? Pretty terrible, even for a 1980's ninja Frankenfilm.
Should you see it? Nope.

This was directed by Godfrey Ho under a pseudonym. It has some ridiculous dubbing, a torture scene where the villain cackles and the victim giggles, a scene where it looks like ninjas turn into fish (I think I missed something) and some bad 1980's fashion. The plot has something to do with the CIA trying to stop drug smuggling ninjas, with a second unrelated film spliced in.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ninja Hunt (1986)

How bad is it? Bad enough Godfrey Ho didn't put his name on it (that's pretty bad).
Should you see it? Nah.

That headband shows up in a lot of Ho films.

Joseph Lai has the directing credit on this, but Godfrey Ho who has a cameo (as Dr. Ho) did at least some of the directing in this cut-and-paste travesty, where a mediocre action film has Americans - Richard Harrison and Stuart Smith - cut into it as ninjas, when it wasn't originally a ninja film. This one's particularly dull and the plot isn't worth discussing and the final confrontation isn't good. There's a lot of slow motion cartwheels and a snazzy yellow ninja suit with 1980 lady's suit shoulder pads, guys in interior shots having conversations with guys in exterior shots... and not much else.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985)

How bad is it? One of the sillier films of the genre.
Should you see it? Yes, if you ever watch martial arts flicks.

Sho Kosugi stars as a lollipop-sucking ninja, with Brent Huff of "The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak" and Emilia Lesniak (and her glue gun) as a team of anti-terrorists sent to rescue a hijacked tour bus in the Philippines. There's bimbo terrorists in tight khaki shorts, dwarf assassins and a lot of blown attempts at humor that fail so awesomely that they become amusing for the wrong reasons. There's action sequences without action, characters without character and a title that has no connection to the flimsy plot.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Nude on the Moon (1961)

aka Girls on the Moon, aka Moon Dolls, aka Nature Girls ion the Moon, aka Nature on the Moon

How bad is it? Pretty bad, even by 1960's nudie standards.
Should you see it? If you've never seen a nudie, a Doris Wishman film - maybe on a slow night.

I saw this originally on a "Joe Bob Briggs Presents the Wold's Sleaziest Films" VHS and my main memory of it was a guy with some silver hair pasted down with greasy kid stuff and my thinking "that looks like bird poop." Astronauts travel to the moon, which looks just like the Coral Gables nudist colony in Florida and encounter a world of topless women. When they return, they have no proof of their discovery and one guy suddenly notices that his secretary looks like the queen of the moon, so he takes an interest in her. There's little effort at making anything reasonably scientific, nor of developing characters or plot. The silliest moment is perhaps when the guys communicate by radio, though sitting next to each other. It's slow. The only reason it exists is because it was made in that brief era when films made in nudist camps were considered "educational" and could thereby bypass the requirement that women couldn't be shown topless. I didn't know it was directed by Doris Wishman under a pseudonym for some time, though her trademarks are all there.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)

How bad is it? Too frightening for intended audience, too muddled for others.
Should you see it? Probably not; if "The Nightmare before Christmas" wasn't dark enough for you, then maybe.

Filmed in 2-D in 2007, this was retrofitted into 3-D which is so murky that it's awful. Elle Fanning plays a child in the 1920's left in the care of her uncle, Albert Einstein (played by Nathan Lane). John Turturro plays the Rat King as a Nazi intent to blot out the sun with smoke from furnaces fueled with burning toys. Tchaikovsky's ballet is absent, but a bit of his music remains, buried within original songs that are forgettable. Hoffmann's original story is very loosely interpreted. There might be an idea in there somewhere and there's talented people involved, but it's a trainwreck and one of the darkest Christmas films made for children.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

National Lampoon's Gold Diggers (2003)

aka Lady Killers, aka National Lampoon's Lady Killers

How bad is it? The worst of the National Lampoon franchise.
Should you see it? God no.

Two hapless thieves get beaten up by two older women they try to rob, then end up marrying them for their money. The women don't actually have money and plan to kill their new husbands for insurance. Meanwhile, the audience contemplates suicide. Louise Lasser and Renee Taylor are wasted, the one joke premise of trying to have sex with someone you find repulsive doesn't work and there is nothing else to recommend it.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Night Stalker (1979)

aka Nightstalker, aka Don't Go Near the Park, aka Sanctuary for Evil, aka Curse of the Living Dead

How bad is it? Surprisingly professional, but still cheap and bizarre, crap.
Should you see it? Okay, yes. [I think I've been getting lenient of late]

I saw this in the theater when it came out (yes, I'm old). People discover it because it has Aldo Ray and Linnea Quigley and was on the UK Video Nasties list, but it's a typical, if strange, zombie film. Thousands of years ago, a cavewoman curses her incestuous children to eternal life and they prevent aging by becoming cannibals, but there's an out: he has to sire a child that they sacrifice when a teen. Cut to the present, when they are in L.A. and the plot goes all weird. There's a magic amulet that causes a van (obviously pulled by a rope) to go over the side of a bridge and explode... and how does the girl get out?! A man sneaks into a woman's house and watches her in the shower... and she rents him a room! The opening title card has spelling errors, corpses blink, there's a shoddy aging dissolve shot of Tammy Taylor (NOT the better known Tamara Taylor, but billed as Tamara)...

The film is surprisingly well-shot (kudos Mr. Cinematographer), which sort of makes the terrible makeup and effects look all the worse. The acting ranges from passable to terrible. The film's a bit slow until the end, when all the action takes place.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Nail Gun Massacre (1985)

aka Texas Nailgun Massacre, aka Carnage

How bad is it? Really stupid and cheap.
Should you see it? Sure (I'm guessing you have, if you're reading this blog).

Who needs a tinted visor when you have duct tape?
In the world of cheap 1980's psycho killer films, this one's well-known and a bit of a cult favorite. There's a rape scene at the start (very PG-rated) and one assumes that it's going to be a rape revenge film, but then other people get killed too - it's never explained - and the killer, who is obviously a woman (and is played by one throughout the film) is revealed to be... a man, in fact the one obvious possible killer. [Sorry if that's a spoiler.] The killer makes jokes, usually three or four puns, at every kill and they're so terrible and so badly delivered that they're quite funny. No one seems to see the killer when he's in plain sight, as if his/her camouflage completely works no matter what the background. People are repeatedly killed with non-lethal shots, usually to the hands. There's some nudity, including guys you wish you hadn't seen and some very 1980's-looking women. There's a doctor with a "Canadian tuxedo" that you know is a doctor because he says so. The sheriff, whose badge moves between shots, comes to the obvious conclusion late and instantly solves the case; watch for the killer's death scene, where his/her foot bounces back into the shot. There's some fun errors: the radio plays the same song twice in a row, a victim attempts to steady an object and keep it from falling after getting shot, etc.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Norseman (1978)

How bad is it? Anachronistic, cheap, hammy and slow.
Should you see it? Sure, but be prepared for long dull stretches.

Nice 70's perm and porn 'stache there, Lee.

Directed by Charles "Return to Boggy Creek" Pierce, this stars Lee Majors as a Viking, who with Cornel Wilde and Jack Elam (with a fake hump and hiding his wonky eyes behind a cloak), search for Majors' father, Mel Ferrer in America. It's Vikings vs. Indians, with no actor looking his part - and then they throw in two NFL'ers, Deacon Jones and Fred Biletnikoff; do I need to point out that Jones is black?! The dialogue is atrocious, the fights - always in deadly slow slo-mo - tedious and the plot ludicrous. If it weren't so deadly slow, it'd be a laugh riot.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

No Dead Heroes (1986)

How bad is it? Cheap Filipino version of a bad Chuck Norris-type film.
Should you see it? If you can find the VHS easily and cheaply, maybe.

This film averages three deaths per minute for its 86 minutes, so there's plenty of action! It starts in Vietnam (or Cambodia) during the Vietnam war and then lurches ten years to an attempted assassination of the Pope in South America. A KGB agent has implanted a microchip into a Green Beret's head and controls it with what looks like a cheap wristwatch. The accents are all wrong, the editing cuts off dialogue, the same sound effect is reused for everything, the soundtrack is ludicrously inappropriate and there's a long boring unsexy sex scene. It's neither the best of the worst of this type of film nor the worst of the best.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Night Patrol (1984)

How bad is it? Scattershot comedy with unusual cast. Not terrible.
Should you see it? Yes - for the cast.

This appears to have been two film ideas that got forced together: a "Police Academy" type of comedy and a Murray Langston "Unknown Comic" film about trying to make it as a stand-up comic. [Full disclosure: I met Murray. He's a nice guy.] The cast is once in a lifetime: Pat Paulsen, Jack Riley, Jaye P. Morgan, Linda Blair, Billy Barty, Pat Morita, Kitten Natividad, Andrew Dice Clay and Sydney Lassick (if you don't recognize that last name, you'd recognize the face, at least from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"). It's an endless string of jokes in extremely poor taste, like a lesbian bar where even the pool table doesn't have balls, to grade school puns like "You can have your Kate and Edith too." Maybe one joke in twenty works, but it keeps moving and if the farting sergeant doesn't bother you, the rape victim that enjoyed the assault should and the climactic scene in blackface undoubtedly will. The director, Jackie Kong, made only 5 films, but they're all interesting; I considered reviewing "Blood Diner" and decided it was too good for the blog.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nemesis 4: Death Angel (1996)

aka Cry of Angels: Nemesis 4, aka Nemesis 4: Cry of Angels

How bad is it? Bad enough to terminate a not great series.
Should you see it? Not unless you're really desperate for naked female bodybuilders.

It was really hard to find a clothed photo.

This, the last of Albert Pyun's sequels to "Nemesis," (see also Nemesis 2 - Nemesis 3 is mostly recycled footage of 2, with Tim Thomerson added) and it attempts to return to the style of the original film, though that fails. Star Sue Price spends almost all of this film naked. She kills by crushing with her thighs, she has a drill implanted in one breast, she has sex with cybernetic implants and she seems to be after a poorly explained character called the Death Angel, which she dispatches easily. Though barely an hour long, including 10 minutes of credits, this seems slow.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995)

aka Cyborg Terminator 2

How bad is it? Cheap imitative exploitation action film. Not terrible.
Should you see it? Sure, but not because it's so-bad-it's-good.

Full disclosure: I've met the lead actress of this film and am a little biased.

This Albert Pyun film has nothing to do with the original "Nemesis" (which is a pretty good flick), but is an obvious rip-off of "The Terminator" and "Predator." A child with "perfected" DNA is the last hope against cyborgs, so the mother and child are sent back to the past of 1980 in East Africa (the film was shot in Arizona). The mother gets killed and the child grows up to be bodybuilder Sue Price, who does a credible job - but can't deliver a line for shit; there isn't a word of English dialogue until the middle of the film! The film's well-shot and is worth seeing for its improbable stunts: firing weapons during backflips, people falling out of windows while firing weapons at each other and using each other as shields, and so on. There's almost no plot, characters or logic... and that's just fine.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Navajo Blues (1996)

How bad is it? Mediocre implausible thriller full of stereotypes.
Should you see it? No. It's for Joey Travolta completists only (if there are any).

This film has been seen by few and has been praised by even fewer. It was directed by Joey Travolta (who I hear has a cameo in it, but I didn't spot him) and has Sam Travolta (brother) and Rachel Travolta (daughter or niece) in the cast, but the cast is largely Native American, though not Navajo. A Vegas cop goes into Witness Protection on an Indian reservation to hide from the mafia only to find that a serial killer's on the loose there. Some of the cast are quite good - Irene Bedard has a cult following and is better than the material - but the film is not shot on the reservation and frequently far from it. There are numerous preposterous coincidences. An overturned car explodes for no reason. A cop throws someone through a window for no reason. It would've made a decent 1970's TV show.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Memorial Valley Massacre (1989)

aka Valley of Evil, aka Memorial Day, aka Son of Sleepaway Camp

How bad is it? Bottom of the barrel slasher flick.
Should you see it? Not really.

There's a couple of versions of this floating around. The "Son of Sleepaway Camp" version steals some music from the original "Sleepaway Camp" and has a short hard-core porn insert. Cameron Mitchell is a real estate developer that wants to tear down an old camp. Big Bill Smith has a role. The killer is a caveman whose white underwear occasionally shows and who somehow knows how to drive a bulldozer and rewire a camper to make it explode (the one good effect in the film). There's some bikers, a dog in a well, some snakes on food at a picnic and a bear attack as a red herring. The kills are uninteresting, as are the characters. A sign early on shows it to be "Memorial Valley" and it takes place on "Memorial Day," which is an odd coincidence leading to differing titles.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Midnight (1982)

How bad is it? Minor forgettable slasher film.
Should you see it? Only if you've seen The Hills Have Eyes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre dozens of times.

A girl leaves her abusive alcoholic father and connects with two young thieves. They run from the authorities only to wind up in the hands of hillbilly satanists. This has a small following, as the writer/director, John Russo, was also involved with "Night of the Living Dead" - it should be noted that he also did "Santa Claws," which is closer to this in quality. Tom Savini reportedly did the effects. Lawrence Tierney has a role. All the action takes place in the last third and it's nothing special; perhaps the one saving grace is that there's no rape scene. It's cheaply made, poorly acted and somewhat confused. There was a sequel made in 1993; I haven't seen it yet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mutilations (1986)

How bad is it? Deliriously tacky no-budget wonder.
Should you see it? Yes, if you can find it (VHS only). [see comments]

I missed this because I mistook it for "The Mutilator" (1983) or "The Mutilator" (1985). It's a regional film from Tulsa that's reminiscent of Don Dohler's work. An alien craft crashes into a house and the aliens go on a killing spree as a college class takes a field trip. It's surprisingly good-looking, shot on film rather than video and with a lot of fog machines and saturated colors. Then there's the effects, which are mostly stop motion claymation. There's a cheap synthesizer score, a digression about Mormonism (!), actors reading cue cards, blowing lines and underacting, cattle mutilations, an arm punching through a chest. It's puerile, but it's perfect for emptying the fridge of beer.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Mad Mutilator (1983)

aka Ogroff: The Mad Mutilator

How bad is it? Grade-Z zero-frills splatter film.
Should you see it? If you're a gorehound, it's probably a must - otherwise, no.

This film is so odd that it's hard to discuss. Made in France, it was shot without sound then had a drone synthesizer soundtrack and a few lines of dialogue added. There's almost no plot: a crazed killer living in a shack in the woods kills everyone he encounters. There's plenty of sick twisted stuff, there's an axe vs. chainsaw battle, masturbation with an axe, people behaving in such a way that it must be a parallel universe. And then they throw in zombies and vampires. People who love weird disgusting shit praise this as the ultimate low budget gore film. I, however, kept checking my watch.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Maxim Xul (1991)

How bad is it? Pretty damn bad.
Should you see it? No.

Adam West gets top billing, though he's only in 10 minutes of this film. A reporter, a detective and a professor (West) uncover that the killings attributed to a psychopath released from an insane asylum are really the work of a Babylonian demon. There's an interesting music score, but much of the sound is unsynched. The real killer is seen wearing high heels and there's only two actresses in the cast, so it doesn't take much to figure this one out. The cops don't make the obvious connection between victims, there's a poor demon mask seen only briefly in poor lighting and the demon is rather easily dispatched by beheading with an obviously plastic sword. The plot and acting are poor, the direction and camerawork marginal.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mongrel (1982)

How bad is it? Pretty bad, even by 1980's slasher standards.
Should you see it? No.

There are a few people who swear this is a misunderstood gem; I am not one of them. A bunch of unappealing characters in a low-rent apartment building get killed in a mysterious way, perhaps by a dog. Mitch Pileggi (best known from "The X-Files") has his first role and Aldo Ray plays the owner of the place. There's a prank where a dead dog is put in a bed and then another one that goes wrong and electrocutes a guy; it's after this that the horror starts and the characters stop. It's slow. The surprise payoff is not a surprise - and you really won't care by that time - and the most interesting thing in the film turns out to be a Deep Throat pinball machine (I saw one in real life about the time this came out).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Meteor Monster (1958)

aka Teenage Monster, aka Teen-Age Monster, aka Monster on the Hill

How bad is it? If it weren't dull, it's be a classic of bad films.
Should you see it? Mmm. Yes, but don't expect much.

This was filmed to be the bottom of the twin bill with my beloved "Brain from Planet Arous." In the 1880's old west, a meteor kills a man and rays from it turn his young son into a monster. The mother then hides the monster - now ludicrously miscast as a 50 year-old man in hair and ugly make-up - in a cave, but he escapes. There's actually a whole lot of plot and side-plots, some of them unseemly (particularly for the 1950's), but you won't care. The monster is involved in a lot of long dialogues, even though he's become a moron and is unintelligible. There's some truly laughable bad lines and some bad line readings as well. The lead actor/monster reacts to everything in the same weird awkward way. Well, childhood has its awkward phases, with or without cattle killing.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

M'Lady's Court (1973)

aka The Countess Died of Laughter, aka Devils in the Convent, aka Knickers Ahoy

How bad is it? Sex comedy with few laughs and a lot of padding.
Should you see it? Not really.

This was the last (sixth?) of a series of German-language films based on a bawdy song and filmed with a largely Italian cast. It's sort of in the "Carry On" tradition of silly comedy with a lot of nudity, in this case a lot of bare bottoms (which is at least a change from breast-obsessed comedies, I guess). A courtesan dies - ridiculously - and her heir is a girl in a convent. A man goes to the convent to find out which of five girls is the heir and all five are apparently nymphomaniacs. The film is heavily padded with footage from the earlier films, which appear to have been higher in budget.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mutant Hunt (1987)

How bad is it? In some ways, stupifyingly bad.
Should you see it? Yes.

God help me, I like some Tim Kincaid films (see also "Robot Holocaust"), which are terrible, know that they're terrible and just keep going like that's not an issue. The plot to this one involves a new generation of androids (or cyborgs or mutants - the terms get thrown around haphazardly) which have been injected with a drug to become an army of uncontrollable sex deviants - or so they say in the film, though there's absolutely no evidence of that shown. And, while we're at it, if you create an army, wouldn't you want to be able to control it? Oops, that kind of thinking has no place in Tim Kincaid's New York of the future, where men in tighty whities live in minimalist rooms decorated with weapons fully ready for use. The "mutants" wear sunglasses for no perceivable reason and spew yellow cheese when killed. Oh, and they're telepathic. The best scene has a handcuffed mutant stretch his arm several yards to get an axe so he can chop off his own arm at the wrist and continue fighting. There are people on the street who just accept decapitations as everyday occurrences. The evil Domina is laughably weird; I think she's supposed to be both sexy and dangerous, but is neither. The one reasonable character gets tossed out a window to her death (actually, she's a robot of sorts, so she just gets destroyed) and no one seems to care.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Moscow Zero (2006)

How bad is it? Dull and pretentious, but different.
Should you see it? Probably not. There are a few people who really love this film, but just a few.

Vincent Gallo plays a priest who goes to Russia in search of a man who went into the catacombs beneath a Moscow church, never to return. The film is mostly shot underground, so it's dark, and there's a lot of interior monologue, so it's quiet, and the film slowly gives hints to the mystery at the center of the story, so it's dull - and there's a lot of artsy shots that make it pretentious. Val Kilmer has a cameo as the gatekeeper to hell. Sage Stallone has a small role. The pretty blonde is Oksana Akinshina of "The Bourne Supremacy."

SPOILER - I think it might be better to go into this knowing what's only hinted at. The children found underground believe that the entrance from above, our world, is hell and that we are demons or ghosts. If you miss that, and most people seem to, the film has nothing going for it.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bat Pussy (1973)

How bad is it? It's often regarded as the worst porn film ever made.
Should you see it? If terrible 1970's porn is your thing, it's a revelation.

This one's out of alphabetical order, but I've been putting it off because I can't find a usable image (my security balks at photos and the word "pussy"); if you have one safe for work, send it my way!

An average to unattractive couple attempt to make a porn film in a cheap motel room. The hero, a supposed parody of Batman, is on his way to stop their immorality; his scenes consist of inserts of him riding a red rubber ball across the countryside. The couple spend most of the film arguing. The guy has some performance issues (as would anyone hoping to use this as porn). The quality is slightly better than home movie level. There are no credits.

First: is this the worst porn film? My standard is "M 3-D: the Movie," which I saw about 1982 and was filmed about 1974-1977. That film is a pastiche of shots - naked people bouncing on trampolines (but not high enough or fast enough to jiggle), a guy in a pink rabbit costume for no reason and 3-D inserts of John Holmes that had to be outtakes from some other film. The 3-D is out of focus. "Bat Pussy" is certainly in the running for worst, but there are several contenders.

Second: is the terribleness intentional? I have a feeling that this was made as a joke, perhaps for a bachelors party, where they wanted to swap out the intended stag film for the worst possible film... and that required actually making one. The fact that no one has ever been identified as being involved with this is very suspect.

It's terrible. For some tastes, the terribleness is amusing (I found it a bit annoying).

Friday, March 3, 2017

Meatballs 4 (1992)

aka Happy Campers, aka Summer Vacation,  aka Meatballs 4: To the Rescue, aka Meatballs 4: Summer Vacation

How bad is it? It's about as bad as sequels get.
Should you see it? No.

The good news: there's no Meatballs 5.

This time Corey Feldman stars, making a grand entrance by parachute and skateboard and finishing the film breaking the 4th wall saying "I was in 'Goonies!'" Jack Nance is the owner of the failing water skiing summer camp that has a fortune in equipment and tons of college-age girls that could be models (certainly not actresses) who are willing to go topless. There's a rigged competition that Feldman wins anyway and the payoff is a rematch, which goes as expected.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986)

How bad is it? Yikes, this one's crap!
Should you see it? No (unless you must see every film by someone in the cast). Still VHS only, I think.

Meatballs 2 wasn't an actual sequel or a sex comedy, so Meatballs 3, which is, should be better, right? Well, it's not. Patrick Dempsey returns as Rudy, though his character's very different and the film doesn't even take place at a summer camp. A porn star, played by Sally Kellerman, dies (in flagrante delicto) and St. Peter won't let her into heaven unless she does a good deed, which turns out to be helping Rudy lose his virginity. She suggests stuffing his underwear with salami. There's a wet t-shirt contest. Shannon Tweed is involved, as are a lot of Canadians (Al Waxman, Ronnie Hawkins and that's Loverboy on the soundtrack). It's very rape-y, but not sexy or even dirty and not at all funny.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Meatballs, Part II (1984)

How bad is it? Pointless and unneeded sequel, lacking in all departments.
Should you see it? No, though the cast is interesting.

The first "Meatballs" succeeded despite itself, but this time Bill Murray doesn't return and nothing works. The summer camp will close unless they win a boxing match and there's a tough kid doing community service there that they depend upon. Most of the film follows camp counselors trying unsuccessfully to find a secluded place for romance, but there's also an extraterrestrial named Meathead that doesn't move its eyes or mouth, but smokes weed and whose first words are "Who farted?" The cast is surprising: Richard Mulligan, John Larroquette, Misty Rowe, Felix "Cousin Itt" Silla, Paul Reubens, Kim Richards, Elayne Boosler and a very young Nancy Glass.