Saturday, September 30, 2017

Thunder in Paradise II (1994)

aka Thunder in Paradise 2

How bad is it? Silly spliced-together TV action.
Should you see it? Against my better judgment... I say yes.

This comes in a box set (!) of three Thunder in Paradise films; the first one was a pilot episode for a TV series, the other two were cobbled together by splicing episodes of the TV show. It's best not to watch them together, though, as characters just appear and disappear and get re-cast (the annoying little girl in this one looks nothing like her counterpart in the first film). Chris Lemmon and Carol Alt have roles and Patrick Macnee does not... but he does get billing! There's an Arabian prince kidnapping a woman after promising to marry her, a bad guy in a ridiculous fake beard, an overlong dream sequence of a harem and then the required chase scene involving a boat that has rocket launchers and stealth technology - which, given a tiny budget, is where most of the laughs come. Oh, and though I hadn't mentioned it, it's a Hulk Hogan star vehicle (the credits nicely point out his real first name is Terry) - so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

Friday, September 29, 2017

3 Strikes (2000)

How bad is it? Unfunny comedy.
Should you see it? If you know who DJ Pooh and E-40 are.

Every positive review of this is by a young black male, so I'm not the audience for this. A guy's released from jail just as a "Three Strikes" law is passed and the guy who picks him up ends up shooting at police, making this his third strike. The rest of the film is his trying to stay ahead of the law, a bit like "The Fugitive," but substituting fart jokes for tension. There's some familiar faces: David Alan Grier, Mo'Nique, George Wallace, Antonio Fargas and Mike Epps.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tha Eastsidaz (2000)

How bad is it? Plotless rap vehicle.
Should you see it? If you're a hopeless Snoop fan.

Okay, I've lost my notes on this one and it isn't terribly memorable, so the review is going to be as shoddy as the film. "Tha Eastsidaz" was the name of a short-lived rap trio that included Snoop Dogg and this film was probably made just for the soundtrack album. The characters seem to sleepwalk through it, their lines spontaneous or improvised - no writing credit is given. I honestly can't tell you what the plot is and I'm not going to look it up; it's for those who want to see Snoop on film being Snoop.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Terror in the Swamp (1985)

aka Nutriaman: The Copasaw Creature

How bad is it? Amateurish, but not completely incompetent.
Should you see it? It's hard to find, not really worth seeking, but if you find it...

First, how could you NOT watch something called "Nutriaman: The Copasaw Creature?" Filmed in the Louisiana bayous with a local cast, including one guy whose accent was so thick he was redubbed, this is the story of trying to breed a supersized nutria (um, why not just get a capybara, that's sort of what they are) and getting a killer bigfoot-like monster instead. We never really get a good look at the monster, which is probably good, but we get some real hicksploitation: one guy says he had to watch the monster kill his dad because he was too drunk to act. There's a helicopter that dumps pesticide on people hunting the beast, just to make them move along and, in the end, it's a voodoo priestess that ends the show by luring people into quicksand. Sounds like a great film, doesn't it? Unfortunately, the first half is very good, but it unravels, cheapens and sputters in the second half.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Terror in Paradise (1990)

How bad is it? Barely there action film.
Should you see it? No - not that you're likely to find it.

This film is nearly impossible to find (VHS only); this review is from my recollection 25 years after seeing it. Filmed in the Philippines, produced by Cirio Santiago (well-known on this blog), and directed and written by brothers, this is truly by-the-numbers: a couple stumbles upon evildoers and then gets hunted by them, with completely predictable results. There's a guy who recovers from facial plastic surgery in a moment. The pretty female lead takes off her clothes whenever possible. The military guys can't hit anything with weaponry. There's a helicopter, but I don't remember if the cliche' of it exploding is used.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Tentacles (1977)

How bad is it? Exceptionally dull supposed horror.
Should you see it? Only if you want to see the cast embarrass themselves.

This was made to capitalize on "Jaws," substituting a giant octopus (created, I think, by underground radio waves?) for the shark. John Huston, Shelley Winters, Bo Hopkins, Henry Fonda and Claude Akins are in it, but have little to do - Fonda's scenes look like they were shot separately and spliced in. In the end, Hopkins convinces (yes, that's the right word) killer whales to kill the octopus. The action scenes are the least action-filled they could be, with some good underwater shots and an obvious small octopus in a tank in close-up. The soundtrack seems to be the same three tunes repeated, with no connection to the action. There's a scene with Winters on a phone and her voice cannot be heard. The plot just picks up storyline threads and drops them again. Action scenes get gutted by freeze-frames and cutaways to a non-sequitur guy in an Uncle Sam suit telling jokes. Director Hellman (Assonitis) made some other poor films, but mostly produced after this one.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Teen Wolf Too (1987)

How bad is it? Dull, sloppy sequel is the worst boxing film ever made.
Should you see it? Chances are, you already have - but, no.

The original Teen Wolf was not good, but it had originality, energy and a charismatic lead; this sequel has none of that. The plot is identical to the first film, except that Michael J. Fox is replaced with Jason Bateman and boxing replaces basketball. It's tedious and forced. Where the first film treated lycanthropy as a problem of pubescence (lots of unwanted hair in both), this one has nothing to say.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Teen Vamp (1988)

How bad is it? Fails as both horror and comedy.
Should you see it? No.

This film tries to be a throwback to the 1950's monster flicks, but uses cars from the 1950's and hair and clothes from the 1980's (and several anachronisms, such as flags with too many stars, advertising logos, etc.) and a plot from Bad Movie 101. A nerd takes up with a prostitute, who turns out to be a vampire and she turns him into a vampire, which suddenly makes him (inexplicably) cool and strong enough to beat up the bullies that tormented him. His mother doesn't like the change and gets an exorcism planned (though that isn't traditionally the way t stop vampires). Everything's cheap, which one expects, but it's also deadly dull.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Teen Sorcery (1999)

How bad is it? Lame and sometimes laughable.
Should you see it? Not really, though I have a soft spot for Canadian/Romanian films.

This is one of hundreds of films about teenage girls involved in witchcraft and one of six films made by a Canadian production team with a Romanian crew in less than a year (I'm trying to track down some of the others). It starts well, with some iffy special effects, bogs down in the middle and then shifts gears and becomes a completely different film. Two cheerleaders each have half of a magic amulet and vie for power in high school, summoning the dark lord to move a test to another day and to bring them pizza - you know, as you do when you have such power at hand. The acting is cheesy (and the accents do not match it's supposed locale at all, in fact don't match each other), but it's when there's a wormhole in a locker that brings them to a medieval land and a girl turns into a poorly-rendered dragon that you really wonder why you're still watching. Aimed at tweens, presumably.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

TeenAlien (1978)

aka Varrow Mission

How bad is it? Made by teenagers, and looks it.
Should you see it? Sure. It has it's low-rent charms.

Available in two versions on VHS, this story follows a group of teens decorating an old mill for a Halloween party. Why they're wearing costumes days ahead of the party isn't explained, except the story doesn't work without it. You see, the one dressed as an alien... is actually an alien and hunts the rest of the cast. The kids are all squeaky clean (even for Utah) and none can act, but the film is one of the first of those "anyone can make a film" things that got released in the '80's. The monster is cheap, of course, and not frightening.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

More bad news

While other things are getting better for me, this blog has a problem. I lost the list of the next 80 films I was going to review and my notes on them. I also lost the back-up of just the list of films. I also lost some of the original source material, so I can't recreate the list.

It's gonna be a while, folks.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

All hell breaks loose

Sorry - this blog's hiatus will be longer than expected. Lots of personal stuff to tend to.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Temp post

I just finished with the "S's." I thought that would never end. Now I need a week off to do other things.

Surf II (1984)

How bad is it? Dated silly comedy.
Should you see it? If you're old enough to remember 1984, it has its moments, so yes.

This has a terrifically weird cast. Eddie Deezen stars as a nerd (of course) who gets revenge on a group of surfers by giving them plutonium laced cola, which turns them into zombies with a punk esthetic (mohawks, ripped clothes, etc.). Ruth Buzzi, Lyle Waggoner, Cleavon Little, Linda Kerridge, Carol Wayne, Eric Stoltz, Terry Kiser, Ron Palillo and Brinke Stevens are all in it. There's a great soundtrack, featuring bands like Oingo Boingo. The humor is spotty, and often dated and politically incorrect - and Deezen's an acquired taste to be sure - but there are a couple of good laughs.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Superchick (1973)

How bad is it? Mediocre 1970's sex farce.
Should you see it? Only for the cast.

This film stars Joyce Jillson, who became an astrologer and (yes, this is true) advisor to Nancy Reagan in the White House. It also has John Carradine, Dan Haggerty (unbilled as a biker) - and Uschi Digard and Candy Samples, so there's some enormous breasts on display. There really isn't much of a plot; the story just follows a stewardess/kung fu expert through her escapades, which include a pot party, a hi-jacking, the mile-high club, a run in with a biker gang and about twenty lovers. It's mild exploitation of the very-1970's breezy style (as opposed to most 1970's exploitation I cover on this blog).

Friday, September 1, 2017

Suicide Cult (1975)

aka The Astrologer

How bad is it? Interesting premise, badly botched.
Should you see it? It's dull and confusing, but worth a look, I suppose.

This got re-titled, I think, because there was another film (made by Craig Denney) that year with the same name. The CIA (actually an organization called Interzod, but it's CIA) has computers that are able to use astrology to figure out what each person's potential future could be. There's a guy in India that may be the anti-christ and he has the cult of the title. Meanwhile, the CIA researcher's girlfriend may be destined to be the mother of the second coming of Christ, so he has to avoid having sex with her while the bad guy pursues her... but wait, there's more! The baby's actually already here, there's all kinds of odd subplots that don't go anywhere, including a psychic lady that keeps appearing for no discernible reason. There's some ideas, like implanted eyeball cameras, that get tossed around. There's ping-ponging between locales (3 continents in 8 minutes), all of them looking similar and India especially looks fake. The director tries to be artistic, but it's distracting to see every scene dissolve into its negative. The acting is spotty, there's little action or violence and no gore, and there's one Playboy playmate that goes topless (memorably).