Sunday, December 17, 2017

Extended Hiatus

Thanks for reading! This blog was planned to be 6 months and 300 films and has hit four years and 1500 films. I've covered everything I wanted to and a lot more; now it's time to move on. I probably will do a "hall of fame" post, a list of 1000-2000 films I watched and didn't think worth reviewing (sorry if you really wanted that review of "Malibu Bikini Vampires") and occasional updates as I discover new films that bear watching.

Shaitani Dracula (2006)

How bad is it? Possibly the worst film to come from India.
Should you see it? If you can find a subtitled copy (I couldn't).

This random goose is my favorite thing in the film.

Two people told me that this was "the real thing" - one of those films made in a few days for a few hundred dollars that manages to not be yet another boring slasher but a film weird enough to be original and entertaining, so I sought out the DVD. Not many have seen it and for good reason: there's no English version yet. The story has Satan's Dracula (hey, I know enough Hindi for the title) and his minions attack a group of helpless women and hapless men. There's a skeleton that is a guy in a Halloween skeleton costume, there's a werewolf that wears a sweater (I think; I'm forgetting) and vampire women with Styrofoam angel wings. Dracula himself seems to be dressed as an American cowboy, which makes as much sense as anything. There's various masked monsters that are obviously actors you've already seen, but wearing masks to portray new characters; one has his mask fall off... twice. There were no shots taken twice, so we may have, not India's Ed Wood, but India's William "one-shot" Beaudine. One girl goes into a haunted house, finds a book that tells her what to do, she explains it to the rest and they set to work, beating the monsters with crosses. It's so disjointed as to become surreal. And then there's the random goose.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Psyched by the 4D Witch (A Tale of Demonology) (1973)

How bad is it? It's pretty damn bad.
Should you see it? It's on a Something Weird double bill with "Monster A Go-Go," so if you're okay with that, then watch it. Otherwise, no.

This gets mentioned on occasion as the worst film ever made. It was shot silent with a narration track added later (like so many of the worst films on this blog - see Beast of Yucca Flats, for example). A woman has a seance - or at least meditates with a couple of candles - and brings up the title witch, which forces her into ever worse sexual encounters. Nothing's shown (there are a few breasts), but the film shows faces during what's supposed to be rape, necrophilia, bestiality with a snake and so on, usually in masks and distorted with psychedelic lighting and effects. Finally, the girl's brother is turned into a sex vampire, which is not adequately explained. The score has a lot of classical music, but also steals (I think) a Pink Floyd song and plays the film's theme song 8 to 10 times. There are some swear words edited out, but that seems to be the only editing in about 80 minutes.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Mob Boss (1990)

How bad is it? Lame comedy, but far from terrible.
Should you see it? If it shows up on TV late at night, maybe.

I'm not sure why this has received so many terrible reviews, though it has the makings of a real turkey. William Hickey plays a mob boss who's ailing, so he has his nerdy incompetent son (Eddie Deezen) take over the business; then hit men try to take him out. Morgan Fairchild, Don Stroud, Brinke Stevens, Dick Miller, Mike Mazurki, Len Lesser, Robert Quarry and Teagan Clive all are in it. It's directed by Fred Olen Ray and this falls squarely between his better efforts (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) and his terrible ones (too many to mention). There are Three Stooges-type sound effects and a very self-conscious tone for a parody. There are some decent gags - which is rare for any comedy on this blog.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Furious (1984)

How bad is it? Essentially plotless weirdness.
Should you see it? Yes, it's weirdness makes it interesting in small doses.

There's not much point to explaining the plot of this, as it was essentially made up as it went, shooting in sequence and the plot gets explained only near the end of the film. It starts as a routine martial arts film and there are some quite good fight scenes. There's also an epic moustache villain, chickens shooting out of hands, people turning into pigs, death farts of one said pig, and it takes more than 10 minutes before the first word is spoken. It doesn't have any basis in time or location and it appears that they shot something cool and then tried to make it make sense somehow in the context of the other weird things happening. In the end, you have two film school guys with a camera and some film making whatever pops into their heads, which is sometimes fun to watch and sometimes a chore, but even the bad stuff stays with you, like the one character being told to go home as if he's a dog ("Go home. Go home... Go home! GO HOME!")

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

An American Hippie in Israel (1972)

aka Ha-Temprist, aka The Hitch Hiker

How bad is it? Sort of Rocky Horror bad: more weird than terrible.
Should you see it? If you like weird 1970's films.

This was impossible to see outside Israel, where it's developed a midnight-movie cult, until a brief DVD release. An American decides to hike through Israel, get high as much as possible, have as much sex as possible and he meets up with a like-minded woman and they go to a deserted island. Why there are sort-of mime overseers, dream sequences with guys with cassettes for heads and extremely fake giant sharks is hard to explain (well, it was the 1970's). The film meanders a lot, there's some anti-war monologues and then the film goes bonkers in the final reel as the fun-loving hippies go feral and beat each other to death with rocks. It's competently shot and acted, adding to the oddity.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

After Last Season (2009)

How bad is it? It's among the most inept films ever made.
Should you see it? Yes. I think it's a fake, but it's still entertaining.

That's supposed to be an MRI machine. Really.

Depending on your source, this is either the holy grail of bad film-making or it's a clever attempt to make a fake terrible film. People tracking down those involved for interviews and trying to debunk it seem to come away saying "well, that explains some of it." I still claim it's a fake. The plot is impossible to explain, but on one level - which may or may not be a 10 minute dream sequence - it's about tracking a serial killer through MRIs. The MRI machine is obviously cardboard boxes (someone watched "The Corpse Grinders" for inspiration, maybe) and in a bedroom with a ceiling fan. Signs in the "hospital" are either tacked-up paper from a home computer printer or added with really really terrible software. People aren't dressed for their scenes (reportedly, there was no heat) and line deliveries are perplexing when delivered at all (reportedly a directorial error - just let the camera run and then shout at people to say things, causing them to be startled). The film looks exactly like a $5000 film would, but reportedly had a budget one thousand times that (and the director claims this went mostly to renting spaces, I think). It is less coherent than "Glen or Glenda," and that, in itself, is enough to convince me that it's intentionally bad.

It's still worth seeing.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon (2008)

How bad is it? Typical cheap monster film of the era.
Should you see it? Nah.

A college football team going from California to Japan crashes in the Himalayas - okay, so right off you have the wrong direction, plus the fact that a 737 can't fly there. The quarterback's name is Peyton Elway, which is the funniest thing in the film. They consider cannibalism to survive, but then - after an entire hour of film, mind you - they get attacked by a yeti. The monster is a bad suit, except when it's bad CGI (it leaps about 40 feet). Heads get crushed, limbs get torn off, one guy is beaten to death with his own leg - and if you can name the TWO films I reviewed here where a guy gets beaten to death with his own arm, you deserve a prize. For a SyFy original, it's not as bad as most.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The World Is Full of Married men (1979)

How bad is it? I think it's the worst Jackie Collins book adaptation. That's bad.
Should you see it? Not really. It's hard to find, anyway.

After "The Bitch" and "The Stud," there apparently was a market for Jackie Collins novel film adaptations, but even her sister Joan, star of those two, wouldn't do this. Carroll Baker and Tony Franciosa star in this otherwise British film and Bonnie Tyler sings the title song (God I hate Bonnie Tyler). He's a philandering husband and she gets revenge on him by having her won affairs - that's about it for plot. There's a lot of terrible disco music, some bizarre kaleidoscope effects in nightclubs, a couple of people I might recognize if I were British and - in Collins trademark style - ludicrous dialogue. There's a lot of clothing in the sex scenes, but not so much that you don't think about Franciosa's armpit hair. Really - that's the image that stuck with me.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Woodchipper Massacre (1988)

How bad is it? Amateur schlock.
Should you see it? Mmmmaybe. If you watch enough trash, this is passable.

Three kids are being babysat by their religious fanatic aunt and they accidentally kill her. So, to cover this up, they toss her body in a woodchipper. Then their cousin comes by and... well, you know. The film becomes "can we get this mess straightened out in time" as they wait for their father to come home. There's no gore. There's no massacre. There's no budget - reportedly made for under $500 on a home video camera, it's often underlit, the in-camera mike drops out (one character SHOUTS all her lines), there's terrible music and the plot meanders. The little kid's amusing at times, such as when he plays air guitar. It's awful - but it's kind of watchable in a cheap black-comedic way.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Witless Protection (2008)

How bad is it? Not the worst Larry the Cable Guy film, but not good.
Should you see it? Um, that would be a no.

Having said that I thought the biggest problem - besides being unfunny - of Larry the Cable Guy's films was that he's made out to be a genius in disguise, I was told that this one was different. Here he plays a police officer who dreams of being an FBI agent (though he doesn't know what the letters in 'FBI' stand for), runs across FBI agents escorting a woman in witness protection and he gets the idea that they're really bad guys and she needs his help. It turns out that they're really bad guys and she needs his help - so, once again, Larry's the smart one. Ugh. Even discounting the stereotypes, the sloppiness (in direction, acting, writing, etc.) and the crassness, it's just not funny. Jenny McCarthy, Yaphet Kotto (why, Yaphet, why?), Eric Roberts and Joe Mantegna are all wasted.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Wild Ones on Wheels (1962)

aka Drivers to Hell, aka Hell Drivers

How bad is it? Very cheap with noticeable flaws.
Should you see it? Yes, but not because it's so-bad-it's-good.

This film would be worth seeing just for the presence of Frances York (as Hazel) and Ray Dennis Steckler (as Preacher). There's a lot of money hidden in the desert and some bad guys after it. It all follows very predictably, there's some continuity problems and there's some lighting/editing issues (I'm not sure if shooting day-for-night failed or if there was just a huge difference in contrast between A and B rolls; maybe both). There's hot-rodding, there's an accidental killing, there's a couple of nice PG-rated shots of Francine, the acting's pretty good and the sound is good for a change.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Wicker Man (2006)

How bad is it? Terrible remake of a great film.
Should you see it? Only if you're a Nic Cage fan.

I absolutely loved the 1973 film "The Wicker Man," so I was not expecting good things when hearing that a remake starring Nicolas Cage was in the works. The film eliminates the sexual undertones of the original, much of the creepiness and all of the suspense. Ellen Burstyn and Leelee Sobieski are the other names, with cameos by Aaron Eckhart, James Franco and Jason Ritter. The plot has a man's daughter disappear, so he goes to a remote agricultural island to investigate, only to find a ritualistic group of weirdos. For those who think Cage's eye-rolling, shouting and general twitchiness is hysterical, he starts at full boil and just keeps it up to the end. The final scenes, with CGI bees and Cage punching a woman, are probably the most amusing, but you have to wade through a lot of film to get there.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Warbirds (1989)

aka WarBirds

How bad is it? Cheap "Top Gun" knock-off, poorly done.
Should you see it? No.

Swedish subtitles weren't available on my copy.

I kind of feel sorry for Ulli Lommel; he proved he could make a good film with his first film and then there's been nothing but dreck since. This is the hoary plot of: pilot sent on mission (in this case, in a made-up Middle Eastern country), gets shot down and must be rescued. The film is so cheap that there's very little footage of planes flying - and stock footage is cheap - so cheap, in fact, that in one shot, a clock is PAINTED rather than getting a real clock. That being the best thing, you know this isn't much to see.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Underclassman (2005)

How bad is it? Bad enough.
Should you see it? No.

Nick Cannon stars in this "21 Jump Street" meets "Beverly Hills Cop" would-be action comedy. A cop is sent undercover to an elite school to infiltrate a car theft ring. So there's basketball as well as the usual stereotypes and chase scenes. There's little character development, nothing in the plot that isn't ticking boxes of what studios think can be marketed and not one good joke.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Turbulent Skies (2010)

How bad is it? Unoriginal crap.
Should you see it? No.

This is one of those days when I ask myself why I watch these films. This one was directed by Fred Olen Ray (I've reviewed over 20 of his films here) and stars Casper Van Dien, Brad Dourif and Nicole Eggert. That should scream "Stay away!" but I watched it anyway. There's been a pilotless aircraft designed and then there's a virus downloaded that's going to crash the plane, the air force plans to shoot it down before it hits a populated area, the designer's wife is on board so he plans a rescue. Then it turns out there's no one on board who can fly a plane. Ugh.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) and Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977)

I saw the original "Billy Jack" in the theater in 1974. It had a weird cult following, partly due to its Native American mysticism, partly to it's (inexplicable) hit song "One Tin Soldier," partly due to it's being slightly sleazy and violent. I was 11 and wondering how anyone would come up with the "peace through violence" philosophy this espoused. I didn't know that it was the second film with the hero Billy Jack until the 1980's. It was an okay film, nothing more or less.

"Born Losers" (1967) was the first film with Tom Laughlin as Billy, a half-Native American veteran of Vietnam. It has him stopping members of a gang with his fists and feet, with plenty of bad acting and a surprise role for Jane Russell! This also happened to be the most entertaining film of the series, though not the most competently made.

The Trial of Billy Jack (1974)

How bad is it? God-awful preachy borefest.
Should you see it? No.

Stare at this photo for three hours - that's the film.

"Billy Jack" made a boatload of money, so Laughlin went on to make this film, which continues the saga by retelling it - slowly - in the form of a desiccated blond woman in the witness box of a trial telling you the plot of what would be a better film. For three hours! Until the box set of DVDs came out recently, the only release for this was a VHS discontinued about 1995, so it was generally seen on late night TV with an additional hour of ads. I fell asleep watching this countless times. You need not.

Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977)

How bad is it? Largely a ludicrous amalgam of unrelated shots.
Should you see it? Oddly, it's kind of a fun watch in 10 minute doses, so maybe.

This film seems to be shots of parades and football games and rallies, with almost no plot for much of it. Billy does take his crusade for peace (and fighting - no peace without mopping up the streets with someone, ya know) to Washington D.C. There's the usual mumbo-jumbo and pointless hero worship, but it's more than worn out its welcome by this time. The film is so loose and disjointed that you can sit back and laugh at it while wondering what they'll throw on the screen next. The pretension hits fever pitch as well.

There was another late installment of the saga "The Return of Billy Jack," but I don't know if it ever went beyond the planning stage. No version of it is available, at any rate.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Tormentors (1971)

aka Terminators

How bad is it? Minor Nazi biker flick (yes, that's a sub-genre).
Should you see it? No.

I sought this out because the director under an assumed name turns out to be David Hewitt, who also did Wizard of Mars, The Mighty Gorga and the sublimely weird Monsters Crash the Pajama Party. This has a girl killed by a Nazi biker gang and her boyfriend then retaliates, but first he has to join them to get close. There's also a strange subplot with a messiah-like figure - which goes nowhere. It's largely uneventful.