The Empty Balcony: The Final Countdown

When I decided to watch The Final Countdown, I was expecting to get a Shitty Movie Sundays review out of it, but the movie failed to live up to expectations. It is not a shitty movie. It’s not great, but it was good enough to keep me interested. I remember seeing the film as a kid, a long time ago, and I remembered that the premise was incredibly wild. Add in the fact the film has faded into obscurity, and I thought I had a winning combination of shitty. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: The Final Countdown”

October Horrorshow: Slither

October. If it weren’t for Halloween, October would be an intolerable month. Last week, New York City was sunny and the temperature was in the 80s. When in the apartment, I’d have all the windows open, breathing fresh air, wearing nothing heavier than a t-shirt. Today, as I write this, it is 54 and raining. It’s a cold rain, too, matched in ugliness during the day only by the grey skies that spawned it. And at night, it’s a barrier, something to keep a person locked away indoors. No windows open today. They’re shut tight, and a cotton fleece has replaced the t-shirt. In a matter of days the life has been sucked out of this city. Everything feels like it’s dying. But, that’s autumn. Thank goodness for horror films. Because it’s time once again for the October Horrorshow, when Missile Test chases away the doldrums of the changing seasons by watching and reviewing horror films. The good, the bad, and the putrid. It doesn’t matter. As long as it has blood, it’s better than dealing with fall. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Slither”

October Horrorshow, Spring Edition: Class of Nuke ‘Em High

Class of Nuke Em HighWhat a shitty movie. From Troma Entertainment, a production company well-versed in churning out b-movie fare (most famously the Toxic Avenger series of films and its spinoffs), Class of Nuke ‘Em High is self-aware schlock. From the opening scene to the end, the filmmakers never miss a chance to remind the viewer that what they are watching is not meant to be taken seriously. But the way they choose to draw attention to this fact, with overwrought characters and performances, only serves to make the film feel forced. It revels in cheapness, and this would be a good thing, if only they weren’t trying so hard. At every step of the film, Troma seeks to establish its brand, reveling in its ineptness at putting together something that is watchable.

The film has a strong beginning. After an opening shot purposefully evocative of Troma’s production logo, the scene shifts to the fictional town of Tromaville, New Jersey, where an accident at a nuclear power plant has leaked radioactive goo into the high school next door. A hapless student is exposed to the contaminant when he drinks from a water fountain before class, and his transformation from stereotypical 80s film nerd to smoking corpse is hilarious. But in that scene is a first glimpse of the film’s downfall. Most of the ensemble cast is present, and all exist, like the poor victim, as caricatures of the diverse collection of jocks, losers, horndogs, and punks that populate the banal visions of high school typical of so many films from the 50s to today. The problem is, there isn’t a straight man among the bunch to balance things out. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow, Spring Edition: Class of Nuke ‘Em High”