Shitty Movie Sundays: Freejack

Freejack is one of those movies that potential viewers might remember. They will vaguely remember a time when Emilio Estevez was a leading man, and they might recall that he was in a movie once called Freejack. They probably won’t remember what the movie was about, but they could remember that Mick Jagger, yes, that Mick Jagger, had a role. But, us shitty movie fans, we happy not-so-few, remember this as an ambitious and silly sci-fi action flick. We also remember that not only did Mick Jagger have a prominent part — his gloriously shitty performance stole the film. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Freejack”

October Horrorshow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Here we are. October 31st. Halloween. The end of the October Horrorshow. The final film in this look back at Hammer Film Productions is a departure from type. If there’s one thing I’ve picked up on from watching 31 Hammer films in a row, it’s that Hammer basically made the same film over and over and over again. That’s not negative criticism on my part. Hammer had a style, in the same way that a musician like John Lee Hooker had a style or an artist like Willem de Kooning had a style. Listen to an album or see a painting hanging on a wall and it becomes immediately clear who is responsible. Hammer films followed a theme. They developed over time into something that was very much their own. Towards the end, though, they began to switch things up in search of a new formula. Such is the case with today’s film. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Satanic Rites of Dracula”

October Horrorshow: Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Films like Birdemic: Shock and Terror exist on a rare plain where traditional criticism and traditional standards of film quality no longer apply. There is no way possible that I could point out, any more effectively than the film itself, just how God-awful it is. This is, without a doubt, the single worst movie I have ever seen. There is nothing in it, at any point, that appears to be the result of a professional film production. It has a staggering amount of ineptness in everything — from pacing, plot, dialogue, cinematography, editing, sound, direction, acting, or anything else I can’t be bothered to name. Possibly the costumes were passable, but I’m not going back to double check. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Birdemic: Shock and Terror”

October Horrorshow: Maniac Cop

With a title like Maniac Cop, there’s no way this movie is going to be good, right? The title is simple and to the point, and instantly conveys a large amount of plot to any potential viewer that happens to pass by the marquee. But boy, oh boy, it sounds like a first draft title. If all other films had used their initial titles, we wouldn’t have Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Unforgiven. Instead we would have Star Beast, Journey Beyond the Stars, and The Cut-Whore Killings (although it would have been ballsy for Clint Eastwood and company to try that last one). Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Maniac Cop”

October Horrorshow: Bad Ben

What a glorious age in which we live. Sure, there are problems. American democracy is eating itself alive, with Russia giving us an unwanted assist. Capitalism no longer promises the kind of wage gains necessary to sustain a middle class over the long haul. Technology companies are being hacked, and our personal information is being stolen on a seemingly daily basis. That’s actually less disturbing than it could be, because those same technology companies have shown they don’t have our best interests at heart, anyway. No one can be trusted, whether it’s in our political lives or our technological lives. But at least in this new age, one man can write, film, star in, edit, and release his very own movie. It may not be a good movie, but all the gatekeepers that had been in place to prevent free expression in the art of film are now gone. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Bad Ben”

October Horrorshow: Jason X

It’s Friday the 13th! In October! Missile Test couldn’t possibly let the day go by without watching a Friday the 13th flick, and this one is a doozy. By 2001, the original Friday the 13th franchise was on its last legs. The producers, recognizing that the old formula had been ground into dust by overuse, decided to shake things up. And by shake things up, I mean they all contracted serious cases of the awfuckits and sent their franchise property into space. That’s right, no more summer camp and no more Crystal Lake. This film takes place in outer space…in the future. Hell yeah. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Jason X”

October Horrorshow: Contamination

The 1980s must have been an interesting time to be an actor in New York City. It was a mythic age, before Law & Order began filling multiple lines in the CVs of innumerable performers in the five boroughs. Instead, the city seemed to be crawling with itinerant Italian filmmakers, drunk on dreams of ripping off the latest American sci-fi hit and making some dollars on the cheap. Fabrizio De Angelis, Enzo G. Castellari, Sergio Martino, Luigi Cozzi, and more, made The Big Apple their home away from home in the ’80s. If it wasn’t possible to make it on Broadway or on TV, there was always bottom-feeding cinema. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Contamination”

October Horrorshow: Burial Ground, aka The Nights of Terror

What a gloriously shitty movie. Burial Ground, also released under a number of different titles, is an Italian horror gore-fest from 1981. Director Andrea Bianchi crafted a flick that ticks off just about all the boxes when it comes to shitty Italian cinema. The film stock is cheap, the dubbing sucks, there are numerous overlong shots used to mask a distinct lack of plot, et cetera. It really is a wonderful example of bad cinema of the era, taking its place alongside anything from Shitty Movie Sundays favorite Enzo G. Castellari. But, it also has the added benefit of being somewhat watchable. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Burial Ground, aka The Nights of Terror”

October Horrorshow: Chopping Mall, aka Killbots

I think it’s about high time to feature a flick from the Roger Corman stable. Chopping Mall, also released as Killbots, from 1986, doesn’t have Roger Corman’s name on it anywhere, but it’s definitely one of his. It was produced by Julie Corman, who has been married to Roger for almost fifty years, and it’s an underfunded piece of shit. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Chopping Mall, aka Killbots”

October Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars

John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors. He’s not on the Mount Rushmore of filmmakers, but his best films can be thought of as eminently watchable. They are respected. They are known and successful enough that a lot have been remade. But he also has some films that are not so good. It would be easy to blame Carpenter’s poorer quality films on budget, but that does not compute. Carpenter worked magic with the measly budgets he had in Halloween and Escape from New York. Rather, something happened in the late 1980s, starting with Prince of Darkness in 1987, that precipitated a steady decline. There were still sparks of life in his films, but that eminently watchable quality of his films seemed to fly away. In its place was substituted cheapness, sometimes of rank quality, and this turn was inexplicable from a filmmaker who had done so much with so little throughout his career. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars”