Friday, June 30, 2017

Snake Eater (1989)

aka Soldier

How bad is it? It's a Lorenzo Lamas movie. It is what it is.
Should you see it? If you're a Lamas fan.

That's a Harley turned jet ski, white trasheroo.

First, no snakes get eaten. Second, this had TWO sequels. Lorenzo Lamas is a former Marine (his unit was the Snake Eaters) whose parents are killed and sister abducted by hillbillies, so he goes to rescue her. Imagine Lethal Weapon meets Rambo by way of Deliverance. Ronnie Hawkins, Larry Csonka and Ron Palillo round out an unusual cast. A corpse blinks, a bear is obviously a guy in a bear suit, Lamas can't find a shirt that fits and the acting is quite bad (though Lamas is okay).

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Smokey and the Bandit III (1983)

aka Smokey and the Bandit, Part III, aka Smokey and the bandit 3, aka Smokey and the Bandit, Part 3

How bad is it? Even Burt Reynolds wouldn't be in it (except a cameo).
Should you see it? No.

I wasn't the audience for the original film, as I'm not a fan of Burt Reynolds or Sally Field, but it managed some good ole boy charm. The second film was much worse, the blooper reel during the closing credits being the best part. This third film substitutes Jerry Reed and Colleen Camp for Reynolds and Field, and they're more enjoyable - unfortunately, the film isn't about them. This time, Pat McCormick and Paul Williams wager Jackie Gleason that he can't transport a stuffed shark... oh hell, who cares? It's a bunch of chase scenes and stupid yuks and it's tired and it's trite and it's just a waste of time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Slumber Party Massacre III (1990)

aka Slumber Party Massacre 3, aka Stab in the Dark

How bad is it? Typical slasher sequel. Not good.
Should you see it? If 1980's slashers are your thing, it's watchable.

The first film in this series was interesting in how it subverted the genre, the second was just weird (which is not a bad thing) and this third (there was a fourth released in 2003) is true bare bones horror, executive produced by Roger Corman. The killer's given a backstory and then that's abandoned. There's volleyball at the start to up the jiggle factor. There's toplessness, mostly by Maria Ford. Hope Marie Carlton has a role. There's a vibrator electrocution, an impalement with a For Sale sign, a mallet to the head, a speargun... who has a mallet and a speargun?!... the guys who are mostly red herring jerks get offed before the girls, who eventually subdue the bad guy after blinding him.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Slash Dance (1989)

aka Night Chills

How bad is it? It's pretty bad.
Should you see it? Yes, if 1980's not-quite-horror is your thing.

First, this is NOT the 1984 Lucio Fulci film "Slashdance," which has a similar plot. This has a female cop go undercover as a dancer to try to catch a guy who's killing Broadway chorus girls. There's a whole tot of questionable dancing in leg warmers. There's not a lot of plot or characterization. There is, however, a high heel impaled into a forehead (wasn't that originally in Franco's "99 Women?" Even Tarantino's stolen that). The killer's identity is very obvious. There are stabs at humor that don't work. It's hokey and dull, but somehow not unwatchable.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Skinned Alive (1990)

How bad is it? It's a minor low-budget slasher flick.
Should you see it? For it's intended audience, it has its moments.

Produced by J.R. Bookwalter, this is a very cheaply made (under $20K) "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" kind of film, with bits of "Bad Taste" and "Mother's Day" thrown in. An incestuous family of hicks sells leather goods they make from the skin of people they kill. After car trouble, they end up at the house of an alcoholic ex-cop and his wife, who are having some marital problems. There's some gore that's surprisingly good for the budget (and a bit that's not), but the film tries for humor and that doesn't work. Dying's easy; comedy is hard. Bookwalter makes a cameo as a victimized Jehovah's Witness. I don't think anyone's actually alive when they get skinned.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Silent Prey (1997)

aka Silent Predator

How bad is it? Imagine a Lifetime film masquerading as Cinemax. More disappointing than bad.
Should you see it? If it shows up, it's not unwatchable.

Sometimes films are made around an instant celebrity (Xaviera Holland - look her up - got three) and here we have Carol Shaya, who got booted off the NYC police force for appearing nude in Playboy with her uniform in the shot. Here she plays a cop that goes undercover at a Catholic girls' school to catch someone who's been raping nuns; though she's a decade too old to be thought a teenager, she fits right in because the other actresses look even older. The film has very little violence or nudity and none of the luridness that nun-raping suggests. The twist ending is jaw-droppingly weird and the reason to sit through the rest of it.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Silent Night, Deadly Night, Part 2 (1987)

aka Silent Night, Deadly Night 2

How bad is it? Typical slasher sequel. Not good, but not terrible.
Should you see it? Maybe if you're doing a Xmas slasher marathon. There's a dozen.

It's no wonder that this film's had mixed reviews. The original film was controversial - they had to come out and say that it's not a "Santa is a psychopath" film, but rather a guy dressed as Santa is a psychopath. The whole first half of this film is flashbacks to the first film; if you haven't seen it, this tightens it up a bit, but if you have, you're shouting "Get on with it!" to the screen. In this film, the brother of the original film's star has been so traumatized that he's taken over the killing. Then it shows that he's killed eight people - in flashback! When the film finally starts, near the end, there's another 8 (I think) kills, with a pretty good eye pop and a decapitation. There's 22 kills shown in all, so the film just keeps throwing stuff on the screen and it doesn't get dull. It's just not all that good, either, lacking in plot and reason. There is some spectacular over-acting; wait for the "Garbage Day" scene for the worst of it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

She (1984)

How bad is it? More weird than terrible, it's still not good.
Should you see it? Yes, but not because it's so-bad-it's-good.

I've skipped over reviewing this a few times because it doesn't quite fit the blog's premise. Like all Italian fantasy films of the 1980's, it has a "Road Warrior" feel to it, even though this is supposedly based on the H. Rider Haggard novel - it's not, by the way, except for being about a leader of Amazons. Sandahl Bergman stars (and takes a bath, for those who wonder if Sandahl's body is a focus of the film). There's elements of parody and black comedy with anachronisms (chainsaws?). There's psychopathic monks, mutants who clone themselves when they lose an arm, a guy who can levitate his enemies, a mad scientist, vampires and some silly dialogue. The plot, for what it's worth, is the retrieval of a kidnapped girl.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sexual Malice (1994)

aka The Other Man

How bad is it? Low budget romance novel cum erotic thriller (pardon the pun)
Should you see it? Nah

This is one of those well-shot but empty films with roles for relatives of famous people (in this case, Edward Albert - son of Eddie - and Don Swayze - brother of Patrick). A beautiful and successful woman, unsatisfied with her sex life with her husband, has an affair with a male stripper. That, too, isn't great and she then has an affair with a woman. Then there's blackmail and murder and a friend who's coincidentally a cop. There's soft-core nudity, but little plot (the supposed twist ending you'll see coming) and stilted dialogue and acting. It's almost trashy enough to be a modern Harold Robbins story.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Stud (1978)

How bad is it? It's a trash time capsule, but not interesting.
Should you see it? Only if you're a fan of Joan Collins.

Having reviewed the worse (and better) sequel "The Bitch," I guess I should do the original. Jackie Collins novels are to Harold Robbins novels as "Cracked" magazine is to "Mad" magazine (take THAT, Miller analogies test!) and when they got filmed, her sister Joan starred. It's sort of a reverse gender Pygmalion, as nymphomaniac rich Joan makes guy-whose-name-I-can't-recall into her protege/sex toy. The best scene is probably the swimming pool orgy, where there are swings that get used interminably. There's one truly good thing in the film, in that the guy gets told that he's essentially "a turnstile in Grand Central Station, that everyone goes through once." He's fallen for Joan's daughter, who also rebukes him and he ends up as bad or worse off than when he started - that's interesting. There's a horrible disco soundtrack, but the 1970's fashions and hair aren't as bad as what you usually see, perhaps as they were supposed to be upscale.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (1983)

How bad is it? Dull. It's not even the best Sybil Danning "Seven Samurai" remake!
Should you see it? Only if you're a huge fan of Danning or Lou Ferrigno.

This film started as a way to capitalize on "Conan the Barbarian," but using Lou Ferrigno as Hercules meant trying to get his "Incredible Hulk" TV audience, so all the violence and sex was removed from the script. What we're left with is Lou as a baby repeating the Moses in a basket on the Nile, Lou throwing a bear into the sky to make a constellation, Lou and a sword pulled from a stone as in Arthurian legend, Lou fighting with what looks like Star Wars light sabre... and two women wrestling. Everyone's dubbed, even if they speak English. The effects are all dated. The plot devolves into a "Seven Samurai" remake with Lou, Sybil Danning and five guys no one can remember.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Secret Agent Club (1996)

How bad is it? Poor kid's film.
Should you see it? No. If you're a huge Hulk Hogan, fan, though... still no.

Hulk Hogan plays a nerdy toy salesman who happens to be a secret superspy. He brings home a laser gun, claiming it to be a toy, but bad guys want it and Hulk gets kidnapped. It's up to his son and the son's friends to rescue him. Lesley-Anne Down is the villain. Richard Moll, Barry Bostwick, James Hong and Jack Nance have roles. It's a version of "True Lies" aimed at the kid market, but there's a lot of bad messages - such as blowing holes through people that you can see through is cool. It seems almost every shot has a camera reflection or shadow and there's one editing error in the climax that makes one wonder what happened.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Scream Dream (1989)

How bad is it? One of the worst rock band horror subgenre of the late 80's.
Should you see it? Nope.

Nothing symbolic here!

Melissa Moore, who's been in a lot of Jim Wynorski films, shows why she doesn't get many lines in his films - she can't deliver - in this film directed the same guy who did "Cannibal Hookers."[That latter film is so bad I'm not including it on this blog.] A woman in a rock band tends to kill fans, often by biting them during oral sex. She also turns into a monster with horns, fangs and claws. She also has a sort-of cat played by a hand puppet, which also kills. Typical shot-on-video lack of quality, with few surprises.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Savage Instinct (1991)

aka They Call Me Macho Woman, aka Macho Woman, aka Edge of Fear

How bad is it? It's a very cheap, poorly-made and silly action film.
Should you see it? Yes, but don't expect too much.

This was given a great new title when re-released by Troma, but it's a fairly standard rape revenge film. A woman who's sort of a typical yuppie of the time runs afoul of a drug gang and spends most of the film escaping from them, until she turns - inexplicably - into a one woman army. Most of the plot exposition is in the first few minutes. The main bad guy wears a headband with a spike on it and he impales someone with it, but most of the kills are buy the woman and her extremely shiny hatchets and nails. One guy gets nails to the eyes, one gets decapitated. There's surprisingly little blood and gore and I can't remember any nudity. There's some priceless dialogue, as both our heroine and her attackers/victims spout one-liners, but many actors seem to have trouble with even one word responses.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (1957)

aka Viking Women, aka Viking Women and the Sea Serpent, aka The Saga of the Viking Women, aka Undersea Monster

How bad is it? One of Roger Corman's no-budget one-week wonders.
Should you see it? Sure, though it's nothing special.

This film tends to be dull, so I expect the MST3K version of it might be the one to watch. A bunch of viking women get tired of waiting for their men to return from the sea, so they set out after them. They end up captured by the same tribe that captured their husbands, they escape and meet a very cheap back-projected lizard for a few minutes. Anyone with dark hair is suspect and Susan Cabot, the only name in the cast, fits the bill. The boats, costumes and weapons don't match either history or other films of the genre and the dialogue is intentionally stilted. There's a good shot of a horse in a narrow passage in Bronson Canyon (which goes to show how hard you have to look for anything interesting).

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ring of Drakness (2004)

How bad is it? An interesting premise completely wasted.
Should you see it? No.

Yet another David DeCoteau travesty, this is about a boy band that happens to be zombies... or vampires (it's not clear). Adrienne Barbeau is their manager and Mink Stole shows up at one point. Horribly padded, the film has an endless parade of boys lip-synching to the same song - with the same voice. Because it's a DeCoteau film, there's a lot of shirtless boys (and a few girls). The killing happens in wide shot and is bloodless. A girl from the first season of American Idol proves that she cannot deliver a single line. There's some mild amusement from bad editing and foley effects, but it's not anything to look for.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The River: Legend of La Llorona (2006)

How bad is it? Dull, cheap and ruined by some bad special effects.
Should you see it? Nah.

This film has two sequels, which is hard to believe. A woman who drowned her child becomes The Weeping Woman of the title, a phantasm that abducts the children of others. After a decent start, where avoiding a child in the street leads to a car accident and then a missing child, the film bogs down, becomes talky - and at least one person mumbles all lines inaudibly - and ends with some of the worst green screen effects ever; the river of the title isn't even real. It's inept, but not without merit, but also not with any charm.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Recon 2023: The Gauda Prime Conspiracy (2009)

How bad is it? Last of the worst SF trilogy ever made (take THAT, Lucas!)
Should you see it? No. If you really really love cheesy science fiction, then maybe.

I didn't see the first two films of this trilogy, but from this final installment, I'm both sure I didn't miss anything and sure this is the worst science fiction of its decade. The plot's a mess, but after the Earth's destroyed, there's a battle on a sand planet. There's also mutant giant crabs, mutant giant chickens

This deserved a photo, didn't it?
and people with burn-like skin diseases. Then there's - wait for it - a 1970's blaxploitation soft-core porn scene, before it abruptly goes back to bad CGI spaceships. What the hell was that?! The film is just guys running around shooting weapons (which are from this century, in a future world, for no good reason) and making dick and boob jokes; yes, there's attempted humor, of the most adolescent type. The acting and direction are as bad as the non-existent plot. Some of the effects aren't bad.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Rawhide Terror (1934)

How bad is it? It's one of the worst B-westerns ever made.
Should you see it? Probably not.

It's hard to find films directed by Victor Adamson, but this one that he wrote at least part of (and may have directed some of) is on YouTube and a slightly longer version is on a DVD compilation. It's a complete shambles, as it was meant to be a serial, ran out of money and then was forced into completion with little time - and apparently without a "star" who just disappears. Two brothers witness their parents getting killed by fake Indians and get separated. Without giving much away, one becomes a bad guy who wears a ridiculous disguise of a snakeskin wrapped across his nose. The other becomes a sheriff and defeats his brother, they recognize each other by improbable identical birthmarks and the sheriff wins the love interest. There's plenty of action, and yet it's interminably dull.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Redline (2007)

aka Speed Returns, aka Red Line

How bad is it? Probably the worst car racing film.
Should you see it? No way.

I think the positive reviews this got were from people who mistakenly were reviewing the 2009 animated film of the same name. A woman in a band turns out to be a terrific car driver and one rich f$%^ needs her to beat another rich f$%^ in a race, where killing bystanders doesn't seem to be a problem. Eddie Griffin is the name actor. Imagine trying to dumb down "Fast and Furious," throw in some "Death Proof," "RPM," "Mischief 3000," "Gone in 60 Seconds" and "Death Race 2000" - but remove anything that made those films worth seeing. There's one attractive woman... and nothing else: no plot, no dialogue (it's sometimes cringeworthy), no characterization. Lots of expensive cars that you don't even get to see properly go fast, while I kept checking my watch.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ripe (1996)

How bad is it? Ham-handed and exploitative. Not terrible.
Should you see it? This might get a cult following. I say yes, but keep expectations low.

This film has had some very positive reviews and some scathing ones; this will be "meh." Twin girls from a very disturbed family lose their parents in a car accident and then decide to go to the promised land of Kentucky, where they spend time near a weirdly homoerotic army base. One girl is consumed with her budding sexuality, the other with violence. A man comes between them and violence ensues. The ending actually caught me off guard, which is surprising, as much of this film is predictable. It's often well-shot and the performances by the leads rather good (15 year-olds play 14 year-olds, which is refreshing). Unfortunately, the film seems to be trying to make a point without having any point to make. Things start to get interesting and then they change scenes. There's some laughable symbolism and some moments so odd that you wonder if you missed something.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Robot in the Family (1984)

aka Golddigger, aka A Robot Called Golddigger

How bad is it? Wow this sucks. I mean... wow.
Should you see it? It's VHS only and not worth the search.

Just when I think I've seen all the worst films aimed at children, I discover this (actually, I saw part of it in 1988 and was so bored I turned it off, but I have now seen it all). A father who's an antique dealer creates a robot to find gold and to tend to his children. For some reason, he gives it a creepy voice not unlike Jon Frink of "The Simpsons." A villain steals a gold helmet and that's about to start a Muslim holy war. The family then, after 60 minutes of tiresome "antics," confronts the bad guy and recover the helmet. Joe Pantoliano and John Rhys-Davies are both in this! The film was redubbed, with the children's voices sometimes done by adults, rarely matching their mouths and ALWAYS AT EXTREME VOLUME. There's Drano in food, which gets ignored; there's guys in drag for no apparent reason; there's a rescue by toy robots that's inexplicable. The effects are terrible, even for a no-budget film, the dialogue when it's about anything still meanders, the plot's too contrived and requires too many coincidences. It's just awful.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rest in Pieces (1987)

How bad is it? Very poorly made, but not uninteresting, slasher film.
Should you see it? If you're a fan of cheap 1980's horror films (especially those from Spain).

I first saw this because I was told it had Scott "Carrot Top" Thompson in it, but instead it has Scott Thompson Baker (full disclosure: I've met Scott Baker. He's a well-known actor in my city). A woman inherits a creepy mansion in Spain when her aunt dies with the stipulation that she has to live there - possibly the hoariest plot in horror history. There's a lot of weirdo retainers living there, including a lawyer, a priest and a psychotherapist, and they refuse to leave. Strange things start happening and then people start getting killed in gory ways. There's so many killers involved that people have to be introduced as fodder, such as a string quartet. One actress is excruciatingly awful, but manages to go topless at least five times, earning her paycheck. The director has a cult following, but this film meanders and, while at least part is tongue-in-cheek, the tone shifts frequently.