Shitty Movie Sundays: Damnation Alley, or, RVing the Apocalypse

Jan-Michael Vincent is dead. He passed mostly unnoticed on February 10th, his death remaining unknown to the media for almost a month. He was, once upon a time, a middling star. His looks were better than his talent, but that’s just what Hollywood wants. His career was derailed by age and substance abuse, as happens to so many in the entertainment industry. He had many roles in mainstream films, but I will always remember him for his contributions to shitty cinema and television. In remembrance of Jan-Michael Vincent, here’s a review for a Vincent star vehicle, that also happened to be a pretty good shitty movie. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Damnation Alley, or, RVing the Apocalypse”

Giant Monstershow: Monsters

And so we’ve reached the end of the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow. For the last month, we’ve seen giant apes, giant dinosaurs, giant insects, giant arachnids, giant men, giant lizards, giant gelatinous masses, giant leeches, giant rats, giant rabbits, giant birds, and even giant shrews. We’ve seen so many giant creatures of so many shapes and forms that the word ‘giant’ has become subject to semantic satiation. It’s become a mere shape in the text, devoid of all but intrinsic meaning. Still, we soldier on until the job is finished. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Monsters”

Giant Monstershow: King Kong (1976)

The 1976 remake of King Kong might be peak Dino De Laurentiis. The legendary Italian producer’s films whipsaw back and forth between the grandiose, the absurd, the exploitative, and the just plain shitty. King Kong is a prime example.

Clocking in at an interminable 134 minutes, this King Kong is meant to be an epic retelling of a cinema classic. Everything about this film, directed by John Guillermin, seems meant to showcase how film has improved and grown in the forty years since the original film was released. The original King Kong was severely limited by what was possible at the time, yes, but it never felt like a failing. Nor is this film an indictment of what came before. But this film does live and die on an implied promise that it will be a better technical film than that which came before. Other than making money, there really isn’t much more reason for this film to exist. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: King Kong (1976)”

October Horrorshow: Matango, aka Attack of the Mushroom People

Forget the original title of Matango. It was the Americanized title of Attack of the Mushroom People that grabbed my attention. People that look like giant fungi on the attack? Sign me up. I’m not naïve about movies like this. I know, before ever seeing it, that a title like that promises more than it can deliver, but I’m okay with it. Should the film be dragged out and the mushroom people only make significant appearances during the last few minutes, that’s just fine by me. I wanted this movie to be bad, after all. And it is! Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Matango, aka Attack of the Mushroom People”

Giant Monstershow: The Cyclops

Exactly one month after Beginning of the End was released in 1957, another epic Bert I. Gordon schlock-fest hit theaters. Both written and directed by Gordon, The Cyclops is about as worthless a film as this terrible filmmaker ever made…for half of its Spartan 65-minute running time. But then the titular cyclops finally appears onscreen, and all is forgiven. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Cyclops”

Giant Monstershow: King Dinosaur

One of the things we love here at Missile Test is a short running time. We praise filmmakers who are able to reign in their desire for epic grandiosity and who can tell their stories in a reasonable amount of time. Sure, we wouldn’t want Francis Ford Coppola to do any further trimming of The Godfather, but we’re still holding out hope that Paul Thomas Anderson will come to his senses and take a hacksaw to Magnolia. And then there’s shitty film auteur Bert I. Gordon’s first feature film, King Dinosaur. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: King Dinosaur”

October Horrorshow: The Ritual

A creepy cabin in some lonely woods. A small cast. A mysterious monster that stalks them. Most of us film fans have seen this movie many, many times. Such a broad outline has spawned hundreds of horror films over the years. Some are good, some are awful, and most are just mediocre. In that, these horror films are like every other film that features well-worn tropes. One can’t expect too much originality, which makes it all the better when something new is to be found. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Ritual”

October Horrorshow: It (2017)

It, the 1986 novel from Stephen King, clocks in at over 1,100 pages. It’s a massive tome, from a part of King’s career in which it seemed he was abusing his editors. 1,100 pages is a huge commitment for a reader to make — one in which they are prepared to spend weeks or months with a book. How does one translate such an expansive work to the big screen? Peter Jackson might have some thoughts on that.

It, the 2017 film from director Andy Muschietti, is the first in a planned two movies that cover the source material. The novel has two main parts, as well, and this movie covers the first. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: It (2017)”

Giant Monstershow: King Kong

And so it begins. The leaves are turning (later and later every year, it seems), the air is grown crisp, the skies are beginning to cloud, and the sounds of the wind at night evoke creatures dastardly and dark. It is October, that sacred month which ends with the day of the dead. That also means it is time for another installment of the October Horrorshow, when Missile Test is devoted to horror film reviews. In the past, that meant ghouls, ghosts, zombies, slashers, vampires, and even the occasional werewolf.

This year the Horrorshow is going in a slightly different direction. There will be plenty of reviews of straight horror films, but the theme for this month is giant monsters.

Welcome to the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow! Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: King Kong”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Shape of Things to Come

A lot of filmmakers in the late 1970s wanted to get some of that sweet, sweet Star Wars money. That resulted in shitty cinema being overrun with Star Wars ripoffs — some much better than others. At the bottom of the scale is something like Cosmos: War of the Planets, while today’s film, The Shape of Things to Come, is about as compelling a ripoff as shitty cinema managed to produce. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Shape of Things to Come”