Shitty Movie Sundays: The Sadist

This film was up in the air. There was much debate upstairs about where this film should be categorized. It is clearly a b-movie, but it’s also shot very well, by a cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, who would go on to win an Oscar for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Writer/director John Landis doesn’t have anything in his filmography that would make potential viewers think he had a movie like this in him, yet this film is gripping from beginning to end, and, while being steeped in noir tropes and cliché of the era, has moments of true shock and unpredictability. But, despite how excellent is this movie, I have to slot it into Shitty Movie Sundays, for one reason, and one reason only: Arch Hall, Jr. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Sadist”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Blood Mania

There is some sleaze to Blood Mania, the 1970 neo-noir drive-in flick from purveyors of shit Crown International Pictures. Tony Crechales and Toby Sacher were responsible for the screenplay, while Robert Vincent O’Neil sat in the director’s chair.

The plot is straight out of an old issue of Crime SuspenStories. A wealthy, aging doctor, Ridgeley Waterman, played by Eric Allison, is on his deathbed. He is being cared for by one of the partners in his practice, Dr. Cooper (Peter Carpenter, who is also credited with this film’s story). Cooper is being blackmailed by some smarmy gangster played by Arell Blanton. The blackmailer has concrete evidence that Cooper performed abortions while he was in medical school. This film being from 1970, abortions were a crime, and Cooper’s life and career would be ruined if the authorities were to find out. All it will cost Cooper to make this threat go away is fifty thousand dollars, which is much more than Cooper can raise. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Blood Mania”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Devil’s Express, aka Subway to Hell, aka Gang Wars

What a strange movie. Usually, when a film tries to be too many genres at once, the result is a jumbled mess that takes too many shortcuts, and is difficult to follow. That’s a good description of Devil’s Express (released under a number of other titles), the 1976 blaxploitation/martial arts/street gang/monster flick from director Barry Rosen, and screenwriters Rosen and Niki Patton. But, we like jumbled messes here at Shitty Movie Sundays. The closer a film comes to flying apart at the seams, the better. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Devil’s Express, aka Subway to Hell, aka Gang Wars”

October Horrorshow: Split Second

Split Second, the 1992 flick from director Tony Maylam and screenwriter Gary Scott Thompson, has all the look and feel one would expect from low-budget Hollywood sci-fi schlock of the era. Everything is lit with colored gels, the film stock stinks, sets look cobbled together from whatever was piled out back behind the lumberyard, most location shots are dirty alleys, the original score is synthesized crap, and, in star Rutger Hauer, there is a fading Hollywood action flick veteran looking to pay some bills. In more ways than just this abbreviated list, Split Second is kin to the products of the Roger Corman gristmill, only this movie comes from England. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Split Second”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Samurai Cop

Samurai Cop, the 1991 stinker from writer/director/producer/editor Amir Shervan, has more shitty filmmaking moments than are possible to recount in any review of reasonable length. Here’s a sample:

  • Fight scenes and car chases have sped up footage to simulate quickness. It’s not subtle, either — approaching Benny Hill Show levels of speed.
  • A great deal of dialogue was recorded in post. That’s not unusual. But Shervan did many of the voices himself, dubbing the voices of stars and bit players, alike. That is unusual.
  • There are a lot of cops in this flick. Many of them wear uniforms. Some of those uniforms don’t have badges.
  • Star Mathew Karedas cut his glorious locks after principal shooting wrapped, but was called back months later for reshoots. Shervan put a ridiculous wig on his head with little regard to whether or not it looked right. It does not look right. In at least one scene, it briefly popped off of Karedas’s head.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Samurai Cop”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Death Wish II

Forget for a moment that Death Wish II is one of the defining films for The Cannon Group and its producing pair of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Forget that it was this film, along with Enter the Ninja, that would come to define a style of shamelessness that has brought endless amounts of joy to both the shitty movie fan and the wider action flick audience. Forget that a film like this scratches a primal itch that high culture would like to pretend doesn’t exist. Instead, revel in the fact that Jimmy Page did the music for this flick. That’s right. Jimmy Page. From Led Zeppelin. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Death Wish II”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Truck Stop Women

What a relentless pile of exploitative schlock. They don’t make them like this, anymore. The combination of online mob outrage, and the actual progressive growth of our morals, makes a flick like this a difficult proposition in the 21st century. Even watching this film, and a whole plethora of its contemporaries, can make a viewer feel a little squirrely, as if they were doing something wrong. This is one of those flicks that can make a person feel ashamed of being entertained. But, in for a penny, in for a pound. Truck Stop Women is wonderfully shitty. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Truck Stop Women”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Chrome and Hot Leather

Chrome and Hot Leather walks and talks like drive-in outlaw biker gang flick, but it’s missing the two most important elements of true exploitation cinema: blood and nudity. It starts out promisingly enough, and, overall, it’s a quite enjoyable shitty movie watch, but it’s like a cake with no icing. It’s still good, but it wouldn’t be all that hard to make it better.

From way back in 1971, Chrome and Hot Leather was directed by Lee Frost, from a screenplay by Michael Haynes, David Neibel, and Don Tait. Whomever came up with the title isn’t listed in the credits, but that mysterious person certainly did more for this film’s longevity than anything that was captured on film. Perhaps it was producer Wes Bishop. No matter who is responsible, they did a nice job. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Chrome and Hot Leather”

Empty Balcony: Triple Frontier

Netflix is in a battle with the Hollywood establishment. Hollywood patting itself on the back, in the form of endless awards shows in the winter, is more than just a glad-handing circle jerk. There is a lot of money at stake. Hollywood is a business, and the rules the establishment sets aren’t meant to maintain artistic integrity or anything else so noble. They are meant to protect the interests of the established players. The arcane rules of Hollywood state that a movie isn’t eligible for an award if it premiered in any other place than a movie theater. Should a movie premiere on something as ephemeral as the internet, it’s not a movie, apparently. That’s silly and stupid, and it’s only a matter of time before the powers that be are forced to reverse that decision. But the legitimacy of the movie theater is why Netflix, distributors of Triple Frontier, gave it a limited release in theaters before throwing it into their online catalogue. It doesn’t matter, though. If this flick gets nominated for any awards I’ll be shocked. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Triple Frontier”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Bone Dry

We all have egos, right? There’s no use in pretending that we don’t. Personal and professional relationships can be thought of as a constant battle between our egos and our desire for successful interactions. In other words, not being a dick is learned behavior. I thought of this at the end of Bone Dry, a neo-noir flick released in 2007. That’s because right after the final shot of the film, the credits begin, and they read, “A Brett A. Hart Vision.” Oh, please. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Bone Dry”