Shitty Movie Sundays: Strike Commando

Who wants to watch some bottom-feeding trash? I do! And we all should. Films like Strike Commando, the 1987 shitfest from Italian filmmaker Bruno Mattei, make serious film and art house fodder all the better. How would we be able to gauge excellence were it not for films like Strike Commando giving us a baseline of inferiority? Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Strike Commando”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Beastmaster

Filmmaker Don Coscarelli is known to horror fans as the man behind the Phantasm film series. While that series has spanned decades, all cinematic auteurs like to try new things on occasion. Sometimes, when they do, the result is shitty gold.

The Beastmaster, from 1982, is Coscarelli’s homage to the Italian sword-and-sandal flick, and also an opportunity to feed on the leavings, remora-style, of the Conan films. In fact, Coscarelli and producer Paul Pepperman took a book about a Navajo soldier who talks to genetically altered animals on an alien planet, and turned it into a Conan ripoff. There are no Native Americans and no alien planet in this flick. Instead, we get Marc Singer, in what would have been his defining role were it not for V, as Dar, a hunky tribesman who is the long-lost son of a deposed king. After Dar’s village is attacked by a horde and everyone is killed, Dar sets off on a journey, to somewhere a little vague, with something of an idea about what he’s going to do when he gets there. Focus isn’t really Dar’s strongest characteristic — wearing as little clothing as possible without being pornography is. Also, he can talk to animals. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Beastmaster”

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”