Monday, April 30, 2018

Mind Trap (1984)

aka Danger USA
This is a rare VHS mindless actioner that I ended up enjoying. A scientist that has developed a mind control device and an ability to come back from the dead (just to get killed again) is killed with all of his family excepting one daughter, which daughter then seeks revenge and tries to uncover the cover-up and stop the evil guy bent on world domination. Dan Haggerty and Lyle Waggoner have cameos, which is why I watched this. There's a woman who does a terrible Russian accent. There's silly shoot-outs and an ending that's truly implausible. It's nothing special, but it's been a while since I could sit through a film I reviewed and not wish I were watching something else.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Living Dead Lock Up 2: March of the Dead (2007)

The first film in this series (number 4 is being shot) had the clever idea of being chased by zombies when confined to a prison; it unfortunately made little of that. This second film takes place in a hospital, rather than the prison and as far as "March of the Dead" goes, there's never more than 3 or 4 zombies on screen. The hospital seems to have a total of 4 people, including staff and patients. It's extremely low budget (under $1000), but has nothing to make up for that. What more do I need to say?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Last Zombi Hunter (2010)

This is the third part of a trilogy made in England by a guy whose budget is way south of $100 - really - and looks it. He gets people to volunteer to be in it wherever he happens to be shooting. There's a Nazi zombie. There's a cameo by Lloyd Kaufman (he's not part of the plot - it was added). There's very poor gore. The hero has a thick northern England accent (I'm not good at these - Newcastle, maybe?) and speaks in falsetto. The continuity is non-existent.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Legion of the Night (1995)

aka Dead City

This is a standard cheapo zombie flick with Ron Asheton of The Stooges in a role. A doctor gets blackmailed by the mob to create "cybernetic zombie assassins" to do their hits. Then there's a glitch, of course, followed, of course, by a rampage. The doctor's son is killed, but becomes a zombie so he can fight them on their own terms. The plot is bad and nothing is done with it. The acting and direction are particularly bad and sometimes cringeworthy. The effects are about what you'd expect given the budget. Most people would consider this terrible, but having seen so many of these things, I can say it's far from the worst out there.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lizard Boy (2011)

I suppose it was inevitable that someone would make a "Zaat" or "Hideous Sun Demon" remake and this is close to it. A man is left by his wife for his inability to produce a child, but he's a geneticist, so he joins his DNA to a lizard's to create an offspring. He then watches MMA fighting on TV with his "son" while they get high on weed, before the inevitable rampage. The film doesn't know whether or not it's supposed to be a parody - there's some intentional jokes, the mask and tail make-up are silly, the fight choreography is minimalist and the acting, cinematography, editing and directing are... acceptable for this level of film making.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Loony in the Woods (2006)

Released by Troma in 2013 - on VHS - this is a British partial-spoof of slasher films. In a little more than an hour, there's a face pushed onto a barbecue grill, an arm chopped off, fireworks strapped to a head and ignited, impalement with eye gouged out, electrocution and a face flayed. The characters are just fodder for the killer, whose identity is revealed at the end; he wears a ski mask throughout the film and seeing him at the end means nothing. It's very slapdash and amusing in small doses.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Locusts (2005)

aka Locusts: day of Destruction, aka Locusts: The 8th Plague

This is a strictly by-the-numbers insect attack film from the SyFy network, starring Lucy Lawless and with John Heard and Mike Farrell in support. A breed of locusts that grow and reproduce rapidly, eat anything - including people - and can't be killed by pesticides is developed and, of course, accidentally released. There's little tension, development or surprise.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Little Bigfoot (1997)

A family on vacation in the woods in Oregon discovers a baby Bigfoot and its mother as laughably evil loggers destroy their home (really - one of the bad guys even has a pirate eye patch). There's some terrible slapstick comedy for the tykes as well as a very thick environmentalist message. P.J. Soles, Kelly Packard, Don Stroud and Matt McCoy are in this, but the film focuses more on the children, played by non-actors. The Bigfoot costumes are cheap-looking, but this could be passable for younger viewers (perhaps I think this because I just watched a bigfoot porn film that I may get to reviewing). There was a sequel made almost simultaneously, but I haven't seen it.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lift (1997)

There are a dozen films with the same name that came out about the same time and I kept hearing about this one, but kept getting copies of the Dutch film "The Lift" (from 1983) about a killer elevator - which, while not a great film, is worth seeing. This "Lift" is not worth seeing. Essentially plotless, the main character is a pizza delivery guy who believes aliens are coming, so he goes out in the desert to meet them. He's so naïve that he believes everything he's told as he encounters a bunch of weirdos. The best scene has his goth girlfriend making him wear an alien mask while they have sex. It's just random scenes.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Lady Avenger (1988)

This is pretty typical girls with guns fodder that I picked up because Michelle Bauer is in it (supplying the nude scenes) and it was directed by David DeCoteau. A woman furloughed from prison to attend her brother's funeral takes the opportunity to get revenge for his killing. The lead actress looks wrong for the part and can't act. She also seems to be able to find things like a flame thrower lying around in suburbia. The villains are over-the-top and so are their deaths, but there's little else to recommend.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Kill Crazy (1990)

I haven't covered any David Heavener films before this, though he was in "Guns of El Chupacabra," which I did cover. He makes action films that rival David A. Prior's for inanity. In this one, soldiers with PTSD are released from a mental hospital to go into the wilderness, where they get preyed upon by a gang of sociopaths until Heavener's character goes full-on Rambo in retaliation (and the Rambo influences are very heavy in this). The cast is fun - two guys from "Welcome Back Cotter" (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs and Robert Hegyes), Burt Ward from "Batman" (though he has no lines) and Danielle Brisebois from "Archie Bunker's Place" are in it, though they aren't the focus. This has some classic lines of dialogue, e.g. "If you want sympathy, you'll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis." Our hero gets buried to his neck, but a dog digs him out... and then fetches water for him! Heavener not only wrote, directed, produced and stars, but he wrote and performs several songs, none of which help in any way. It's a bit light on action for this kind of film, but I enjoyed wasting time with it.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Kick or Die (1987)

aka No Hard Feelings, aka The Expert

In this film, people with decided South African accents play Californians at a college where women are getting raped. A guy is brought in to teach the women self-defense, but if you're expecting a rape revenge film, it ends up with our hero fighting the bad guy in the end, with poor choreography. There's a love triangle and an unneeded subplot about an aspiring singer and our hero of course has a past. The dialogue is stilted, some of the line deliveries are even more stilted and there's a boom mike in a lot of the film (it looks like it was meant to be reformatted to then-TV dimensions, but wasn't, so it's probably not the cinematographer's fault). It's not exactly engrossing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Kara Simsek (1985)

aka Turkish Rocky

This isn't so bad. Turkish remakes range from the bizarrely good (Wizard of Oz) to the terrible because of budget (Star Wars) and this falls squarely into the "okay" category. Sure, the music is stolen and sometimes inappropriate and the crowd shots are meager, but the story is solid and the acting doesn't detract much from that. The way the story is adapted to Turkish culture is even interesting. The same director made "Korkusuz" which is far worse.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Jan-Gel, the Beast from the East (1999)

Holy crap, this crap is crap. And it even had two sequels. Conrad Brooks, who was in a few Ed Wood Jr. films, stars (and wrote and directed) as the hero opposite a caveman found in a block of ice in the arctic, who gets shipped, lost and then thaws and ends up in a murderous rampage somewhere around Maryland or West Virginia. There's little explanation of how or why this happens. Jan-Gel wears part of an animal skin (imitation ocelot maybe), which also makes no sense, given his being from the arctic... or the east, as the title says. None of his kills are shown - people scream and then the camera cuts to the next scene. The acting... well, there is none. The scenes go on forever, aimlessly, mostly people moving from place to place pointlessly. Obviously shot on camcorder, there appears to have been no editing nor thought to continuity. It's terrible, but not enjoyably so.

Friday, April 13, 2018

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman! (1975)

A Broadway musical that had a deservedly short run got the TV treatment, eliminating the few interesting moments, but adding some parts and keeping most, if not all, the songs. The main character of the play is not Superman/Clark Kent, but a rival reporter. The villain is Lex Luthor-like, but not him and there's a lot of Chinese henchmen played by Caucasians. The supporting cast is remarkable: Loretta Swit, Lesley Ann Warren, David Wayne, Phil Leeds, Harvey Lembeck, Allen Ludden, Al Molinaro and has Gary Owens narrating. There's a cute inside joke about the original cartoonists of the comic strips, but the performances are weak musically (Warren and the main - forgotten - actor excepted) and the songs aren't memorable, which leaves the plot and characters, which are barely there.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Infestation (2005)

I hate drawn on muzzle flashes, if you hadn't heard.
I was tempted to make my review in its entirety: "Meh." In the not too distant future of a few years ago, mankind has gone underground to avoid zombies. They have flying cars, too. Unfortunately, they also have terrorists. So for reasons not worth going into, a troop heads to the surface to encounter zombies about half-way through the film. The special effects are mostly poor even for the low budget (getting machine gunned in front of a white wall leaves no blood splatter), the acting and dialogue are weak and the plot is standard after a promising start. Meh.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Image of the Beast (1980)

aka A Thief in the Night III: Image of the Beast

This is the third of a series of four films about the Biblical apocalypse and is generally considered the one to see; it might be better out of context, as the heroine who died in part 2 is back here and looks completely different as it was filmed years later, though is supposed to be immediately following that film. There's a ton of bad facial hair and weird clothes, even given the year it was released. The antichrist establishes a world government and a few who refuse to follow him are the heroes. The technology shone is quite laughable by today's standards, though it's supposed to be enough to take over the world. There's a TON of preachiness that will test your willingness to sit through the film before people are attacked by a giant locust. It's a small pay-off, I think.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Illegal Aliens (2007)

Anna Nicole Smith and wrestler Joanie Laurer (Chyna) together - that's high-concept, right there. Smith and two unknowns named Lenise and Gladise (I never found out which was which and it doesn't much matter) play extraterrestrials that take on human form and end up battling bad alien Chyna. There's a lot of explosions and chases, some fart jokes, a giant insect and some skimpy costumes, though surprisingly no nudity. There's also not one laugh, though this is meant to be a parody of both cheap science fiction and anything else recently filmed; the aliens are named for the actresses that starred in "Charlie's Angels" for example. Smith does an annoying baby voice that just might be worse than the one Kathy Ireland did in "Alien from L.A." This has a somewhat professional decent budget look, but it's all squandered. It's like a rough draft for a skit drawn out to feature length time.

Monday, April 9, 2018

I Am Here.... Now (2009)

Plunging necklines and dolls in strollers.

By the time Neil Breen made this movie (writing, directing, producing and starring), he was getting a bit more proficient technically, but his plots stayed bizarre. He plays an alien who comes to Earth in what looks like a giant paperweight and who created humanity as an experiment; he is not happy with the result. He's also maybe Christ, as he has stigmata, and he may be a cyborg, as he has computer circuitry glued to him; sometimes he wears a monster mask. That's pretty "Breensian." There are long tracking shots of desert with doll heads and stock footage of dolphins. There are twin environmental activists that are also prostitutes and they really like spaghetti straps and not buttoning their blouses. There's a man in a wheelchair whose lifelong ambition is to see the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. There's bleeding from eyes and a sextuple crucifixion. Mostly, though, there's long painful monotone expositions, sometimes in voice-over and "meaningful" shots of things that don't mean anything. Pro tip: if you're trying to find information on this film, the four dots in the title's ellipsis is crucial.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

I Am Omega (2007)

The first 20 minutes or so of this film are not bad. It's a cheap remake of "The Omega Man" and "I Am Legend" (hence the title) released almost immediately after the latter was in theaters. It stars a martial artist I've never head of. Unfortunately, the zombies aren't actually scary after the first scenes and the film devolves into arguments among the last humans and plot entanglements that don't lead anywhere or develop the characters. Eventually, it just grinds into mediocrity and then boredom. For a film produced by The Asylum, it's one of their better efforts, but still not anything to look for.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Horrors of War (2006)

aka Zombies of War, aka Nazi Zombies

I've seen a ton of Nazi zombie films (THREE underwater Nazi zombie films!) and I'm not a fan of any of them. This one tries for a giant war spectacle on maybe $10-20K budget, which would doom it to failure even if it didn't have poor special effects; that bullets make "ping" sounds when they hit dirt is especially disconcerting. It's actually more of a werewolf film than a zombie film - and, yes, Nazi werewolves has been done before and better, too. There's nothing new, nothing interesting, nothing done particularly well. If you're a gorehound and a WW II buff, it's watchable, though the story meanders and there's not much tension.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Holyman Undercover (2010)

Clint Howard in an Amish beard. That's the high point.

This one caught me off guard; I saw it for the cast and didn't know I was going to be watching a Christian family values film.  David A.R. White wrote and directed and gave himself two roles in bad disguises that look like one guy in bad disguises.  Fred Willard, Edie McClurg, John Schneider and Clint Howard are in this, and must've been most of the budget; Jennifer Lyons plays "Tiffany Towers" which is unintentionally the funniest thing in the film, if that name means anything to you. It's the story of an Amish man who goes to Hollywood and gets cast as Satan in a TV show (Schneider plays Satan in "real life" in the film). It's meant to be a comedy and has a cast that would be great with the right material, but it pulls all its punches trying to be a Christian film. Nonetheless, there's plenty of drugs and the stereotypes are over-the-top, so it manages to offend both its intended audience and those who want to make fun of it.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Holocaust Cannibal (2014)

I hate Bill Zebub films. In this one, at the end of WW II, Nazis fleeing to Argentina have their plane hit by lightning and are forced onto an island of cannibals. Misty Mundae has a role. The cheap gore is plentiful, the humor sparse and it goes on WAY too long.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Hell On the Battleground (1988)

This is still another David A, Prior cheapie about the Vietnam War, but this one has zero Vietnamese in it. Instead, our heroes are fighting Russians, for reasons inadequately explained. Two veterans (Ted Prior is one) are leading a troop of newbies when they get ambushed and then it's just fight scenes to the end. For more unexplained reasons, the heroes' wives are along for the trip. If endless drawn-on muzzle flashes and the required helicopter explosion aren't enough, Big Bill Smith narrates poetry about the heroes that he apparently extemporizes. There is also a distracting soundtrack, editing that suggests the film is missing entire scenes (it has a suspect short run time) and a high 1980's perm/mullet/mustache factor. It's poor even by Prior standards, but not his most entertainingly bad.