October Horrorshow: The Prowler, aka Rosemary’s Killer

Tom Savini is a horror legend. He’s every bit as important to the history of the genre as some of its greatest auteurs. Without Savini, George Romero’s 1970s and ’80s horror work wouldn’t have the same punch. It was Savini’s expertise that allowed Joe Pilato’s torso to be pulled to pieces in Day of the Dead, and Don Keefer to be dragged into a crate and mutilated by a Tasmanian devil in Creepshow. Savini is an artist in the medium of fake blood. And while his work elevated good horror movies, it also made obscure horror flicks, like Maniac, worth watching for the effects alone. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Prowler, aka Rosemary’s Killer”

Giant Monstershow: The Giant Gila Monster

Of all the shitty monster movies that I’ve watched so far for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow, The Giant Gila Monster might be my favorite, just for how bumbling the whole thing is. It wallows in everything clichéd and bad about the giant monster subgenre of horror flicks from the 1950s. It does away with the expository scientist, sure, but replaces that tired trope with a hip teenager and his girl, following the lead of The Blob. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Giant Gila Monster”

Giant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider

The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on! Today’s film is the sixth this month featuring b-cinema auteur extraordinaire Bert I. Gordon. The man made giant monster flicks his own cottage industry. That’s not too far off of the mark, considering Gordon would shoot effects in his own garage.

Today’s film is Earth vs. The Spider, also released as just The Spider. Released just a few months after War of the Colossal Beast, Earth vs. The Spider switches up the formula for giant monster flicks. Most of the films featured this past month have featured scientists and doctors as the main protagonists, or maybe a military man or two. This film does have those characters, but they’ve been relegated to supporting roles. In this flick, the heroes are teenagers. That’s right. By 1958, shitty filmmakers recognized that it was teenagers that were pumping large amounts of dollars into their coffers, and someone came up with the bright idea to make movies featuring teenagers in the leads. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends

I knew nothing about this film when I began watching it. I found it on a YouTube channel that collects old grindhouse and drive-in movies that have fallen into the public domain. That copy was crap, but being in the public domain meant that the film could be found elsewhere. Amazon Prime has a much better quality copy, so should one actually want to seek out and watch this turd, I recommend doing so on Amazon. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Hot Rod Girl

We viewers have been cheated! A 1950s flick with the title of Hot Rod Girl brings to mind all sorts of possibilities. Fast cars! Loose women! Police chases! Crime! Mayhem! Et cetera! What it does not bring to mind is a traffic safety film, which is about all this shitty movie amounts to.

From 1956, Hot Rod Girl comes to us via American International Pictures, that paragon of b-cinema. It was directed by Leslie H. Martinson (who would later direct the Adam West Batman movie), from a screenplay by John McGreevey. Both Martinson and Greevey spent the vast majority of their careers working in television, and that helps to explain this film’s strong resemblance to an after school special. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Hot Rod Girl”

Stallone Month: Paradise Alley

Before there was Rocky, there was Paradise Alley. That might not make any sense, since Paradise Alley was made two years after Rocky. But back in the mid-1970s, when Sylvester Stallone made his pitch to Rocky producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, this was the screenplay Sly wanted to make. They passed, but according to Sly, they said they would look at any other ideas he had. He went home that night and began to write Rocky. But there was still this screenplay out there, and after the success of Rocky, Sly was able to make this film. Not only did he write the screenplay, he also directed, starred, and, God help us, sang the opening theme song, Too Close to Paradise. All of this is very Orson Wellesian, in that it’s an overindulgent exercise in filmmaking, storytelling, and acting, but it doesn’t have the benefit of being any good. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Paradise Alley”

Stallone Month: Rocky

For no other reason than that I feel like it, I hereby declare this to be Sylvester Stallone Month here at Missile Test. For the next 31 days, this site will feature reviews of Sylvester Stallone films, from the early days of his career into the 2010s. I did this a few years back with Arnold Schwarzenegger because, not only do I like his films, I found myself fascinated with the progression of his career. I have a similar regard for Sly. Taken at face value, he’s just another action film star from the 1980s. But pay attention to the credits in his films, and one will find that he wrote and directed many of the films in which he appears. Sylvester Stallone is a filmmaker, and one who has been very successful in plotting his own course through Hollywood. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Rocky”

October Horrorshow: The War of the Worlds (1953)

The War of the WorldsMonsters, devil worshippers, demons, ghosts, sadomasochistic inter-dimensional travelers...it can get to be too much. It’s time for the Horrorshow to take a step back from all the gore and scary stuff and spend some time with some nice, wholesome alien invaders.

From 1953 and adapted from the famous HG Wells story, The War of the Worlds is not the first alien invasion flick, but it is prototypical. A mass surprise invasion by alien beings in possession of unstoppable destructive power threatens to overwhelm the world. The situation is dire, the entire world mere days or hours from being conquered. But, against the odds, and due to providence, luck, good old-fashioned American ingenuity, or a thorough lack of understanding of the laws of nature on the part of the aliens and the screenwriters, the invaders are vanquished. And I mean vanquished. No alien invaders ever just get beat, or end up slogging into insurgency warfare (with the notable exceptions of and Falling Skies, but that’s on TV). Aliens in these flicks get wiped out, in total, usually in a matter of minutes. The denouement in these films, The War of the Worlds included, can feel a bit rushed. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The War of the Worlds (1953)”

October Horrorshow: Sleepaway Camp

This film is a horror cult classic. It’s one of those flicks a person’s friends tell them about in high school. The teller’s eyes get big and mature elocution disappears. “Oh, man! You have got to see this movie. The ending is crazy!” No further details are given. The line has been drawn. Those that have seen the movie are in an exclusive club, while those who have not are on the outside, looking in with envy. Then the moment comes when a person finally sits down and sees the slasher flick with the shocking twist ending...and it’s a piece of shit. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Sleepaway Camp”

Schwarzenegger Month: Jingle All the Way

I was not sure I would be able to get through this movie even before I began watching it. I try to wipe my mind of all preconceptions before viewing a movie, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this is a squishy family movie. I do not like family flicks, and I’m not that much of a fan of Christmas movies, either. But, I like Schwarzenegger movies. What to do? Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Jingle All the Way”