Shitty Movie Sundays: LA Crackdown

Troma alert! Troma alert! LA Crackdown, one of seven(!) films that prolific shitty filmmaker Joseph Merhi directed in 1988, went straight-to-video back when it was made, and has since found its way into the stable of the legendary shitty film company Troma. When one sees the Troma card before the title sequence, one knows that the following film will have few redeeming qualities. Troma are curators of the dark recesses of film, preserving some of the worst films America has made for future generations. LA Crackdown fits well with Troma’s stated mission of “disrupting media,” seemingly by subjecting viewers to crimes against narrative consistency, and an endless stream of dead reads. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: LA Crackdown”

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”

Stallone Month: Rambo III

In the review for Rambo: First Blood Part II, I lamented that the film marked the end of a budding First Blood franchise, and the start of the Rambo franchise. Indeed, demoting, and then finally excising, the First Blood string from the title is as much a sign of the creative direction in these films as it was a marketing decision to promote the character of John Rambo, and the man who played him. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Rambo III”

Empty Balcony: Alien Nation

There is a nasty amount of racial tension in America right now, accentuated by President-elect Trump’s impending inauguration next month. I hate that current events are affecting my perception of Alien Nation, the 1988 sci-fi film from director Graham Baker and screenwriter Rockne S. O’Bannon, but they are. Really, the filmmakers bear most of the blame, here. A huge part of the fictional universe Graham and O’Bannon crafted deals with refugees assimilating into American culture and having an effect, both positive and negative, on native demographics. Boy, I really need to find a way to flip off the politics switch in my brain when I’m watching movies. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Alien Nation”

October Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

Clowns are creepy. But I didn’t realize this until I got older. Back when I was a kid, I remember my old man and his brother loading up our families in a van to head out to Richfield Coliseum to see Ringling Bros. We only went a couple of years — at most three in a row. Hardly a family tradition, but there are still parts of those outings I remember vividly, and clowns creeping me out is not one of them. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Killer Klowns from Outer Space”

October Horrorshow: Return of the Living Dead Part II

The Return of the Living Dead, the Dan O’Bannon film from 1985, is my favorite zombie flick. It was the product of a messy divorce between George Romero and screenwriter John A. Russo. Their creative split meant Romero went one way with his Dead films, and Russo, another. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Return of the Living Dead Part II”

October Horrorshow: Hellbound: Hellraiser II

It’s not a good sign for a sequel when there is not one, but two recaps of the previous film within the first twenty minutes. The Friday the 13th franchise used to have recaps at the beginning of every movie, but that was to pad runtime. In essence, recaps, sometimes in the form of extended flashbacks, are lazy filmmaking, entrusting big chunks of storytelling to a predecessor’s efforts. But, Hellbound’s director Tony Randel must have learned the technique as producer on Godzilla 1985, a film that was a recut bastardization of the Toho release, Return of Godzilla. Godzilla flicks are fun but they are stupid. They are stupid fun, I guess. Randel was part of a team that found a way to make a Godzilla flick even more stupid. Hopes were not high for this film. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Hellbound: Hellraiser II”

October Horrorshow: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Way back during the first Horrorshow I posted reviews for the first four movies in the Friday the 13th franchise, plus a review for Freddy vs. Jason. I had planned to do a review of the fifth Friday the 13th film, as well, but it was so awful I tuned out for most of the time I was watching. I can’t write about a movie I didn’t pay attention to. This franchise is iconic in the horror genre, but the truth is, these movies suck. Writing about them means I have to watch them, and I didn’t think I could do that anymore, until last night. I should have stayed away. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood”

Schwarzenegger Month: Twins

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a star before Ivan Reitman’s Twins was released in 1988, but of all the movies in Arnold’s filmography before this one, only Conan the Barbarian managed to crack a hundred million bucks at the box office, and quite a number didn’t make much cash at all. In fact, Arnold was being typecast, which is not necessarily a bad thing if that type is international action star. But it was with Twins that Arnold became a crossover star, much to the detriment of the moviegoing public, and myself, who will have to sit through some truly burdensome Arnold comedies this month. And it all began with Twins. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Twins”

Schwarzenegger Month: Red Heat

Most anyone who became aware of both self and American culture after the 1980s has heard of Arnold Schwarzenegger. They’ve probably seen at least one of his films, or maybe heard that he ran California and had terrible taste in SUVs. That’s not all these people would have in common. They would also all be collectively unaware that, once upon a time, Jim Belushi was famous. That’s right, Millennials and those from the generation-yet-to-be-adequately-named, once upon a time there was a mediocre actor and comedian who punched well above his weight, starring in such films as The Principal, Real Men, K-9, and Red Heat, all of which made money. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Red Heat”