Shitty Movie Sundays: Hands of Steel

The importance of the Italian contribution to Shitty Movie Sundays cannot be overstated. Many of the most outrageous and joyfully incompetent films featured in the Watchability Index hail from that land of ancient art and culture. I’m sure that way back in the day, before the miracle that is recorded media, there were countless shitty penny operas and circuses for the masses to enjoy. For all we know Verdi had a secret passion for sleaze. My point is, shitty Italian cinema didn’t just come from nowhere. The DNA had to be there already. For every master filmmaker such as Federico Fellini, there has been an Enzo G. Castellari. For every Lina Wertmuller, a Bruno Mattei. And for every Bernardo Bertolucci, there has been a Sergio Martino. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Hands of Steel”

October Horrorshow: The Belko Experiment, or, That Guy Battle Royale

I can’t recall seeing a film that had as many moments when I said to myself, “Oh, look. It’s that guy.” The Belko Experiment is chock full of that guys, and they all feature prominently. There’s that guy from Ghost, (Hollywood aristocrat Tony Goldwyn), that guy from Scrubs (John C. McGinley), that guy from The Killing (Brent Sexton), that guy from The Walking Dead (Michael Rooker), that guy from ER (Abraham Benrubi), budding that guy from The Newsroom (John Gallagher, Jr.), and plenty of other that guys and gals that have been featured in Hollywood films for a generation. Why has such an ensemble been assembled? To kill each other in bloody fashion. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Belko Experiment, or, That Guy Battle Royale”

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: Droid Gunner, aka Cyberzone

His name isn’t in the credits, but Roger Corman was an executive producer on this piece of shit, which means a viewer can expect a masterful showcase of parsimonious filmmaking. Director Fred Olen Ray wasn’t given two pennies to rub together to make this flick, and it shows. Just about anything of consequence in the entire film was shot in the same three locations: an industrial basement, a dive bar, and an alley. That’s it. And, despite this being made in the mid-1990s, Corman and company didn’t spring for anything remotely resembling contemporary special effects, instead relying on work that belonged in cheap sci-fi from twenty years earlier. Hell, it could even be cribbed from a different Corman movie. He did that all the time. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Droid Gunner, aka Cyberzone”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Turkey Shoot, aka Escape 2000

At first glance, a viewer could be forgiven if they thought Turkey Shoot, also released as Escape 2000 in the US, comes to us via an Italian master of shitty cinema such as Enzo G. Castellari or Alfonso Brescia. Turkey Shoot has the same look and feel, but it hails from Australia.

Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, from a screenplay by Jon George and Neill D. Hicks, Turkey Shoot takes place in a near future where an unnamed fascist regime has control over vast swathes of humanity. Like in all good totalitarian states, citizens who insist on holding onto their personal freedoms are sent to reeducation camps. Turkey Shoot follows the tribulations of the three newest detainees at Camp 47. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Turkey Shoot, aka Escape 2000″

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Humanity Bureau

Nicolas Cage is a precious resource in the world of shitty movies. Looking at his filmography, he’s not a rare resource. But, how many Oscar-winners have devoted so much of the latter days of their careers to starring in absolute shit? Sure, there have been plenty of faded stars that showed up for a day’s filming and a check in the worst film has to offer (see Carradine, John), but Cage seems committed. He doesn’t just put in token appearances in bad movies. He stars in them. A LOT of them. His IMDb page lists 27 roles from 2010 through 2017, and the majority of them have been some real dogshit. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Humanity Bureau”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cyber Tracker 2, or, Century City Bullet Storm

Sometimes miracles do happen, and a shitty, straight-to-video movie finds enough success that it gets a sequel. If viewers of Cyber Tracker were left feeling a little wanting, if they felt like they needed more Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson and more stiff androids with bottomless gun magazines, then they needn’t have feared. Wilson, director and producer Richard Pepin, and producer Joseph Mehri felt this emptiness — this animalistic need for more shitty action — and goodness gracious they filled it. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cyber Tracker 2, or, Century City Bullet Storm”

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Freejack”

Empty Balcony: Battle Royale

Before The Hunger Games, there was Battle Royale. In fact, it’s not all that hard to go back through literary and film history to find stories about groups of people being hunted in a confined environment, commonly an island. Some pit characters against each other, while some feature characters whom are hunters, specifically. A quick trip through my memory (aided by the Google machine) brings up The Most Dangerous Game, The Running Man, and even Death Race 2000. This isn’t a hard idea to come up with, which is why Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games novels, can plausibly claim that she never heard of the book and film Battle Royale before the similarities were pointed out to her. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Battle Royale”

Stallone Month: Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd, the comic sprung from the minds of writers John Wagner and Alan Grant, has perhaps the most fully realized fictional universe in all of human storytelling. Every week since the late 1970s, with only a single exception, an issue of 2000 AD has been published with a Judge Dredd story inside. Since that time, the titular Judge Dredd and supporting characters have aged along with the rest of us, and the universe has retained the same continuity. Meanwhile, Judge Dredd’s superhero competitors retcon their universes ever time their sales need a punch up. DC recently carried out its 2nd reboot in five years. Continue readingStallone Month: Judge Dredd”