October Horrorshow: Piranha (1978)

What a classic drive-in schlockfest. From the Roger Corman stable, Piranha could have been just another cheap Jaws ripoff, à la The Last Shark. But Corman hired filmmakers with some genuine talent to write and direct. He was way too tight to give them a budget, but their skills allowed them to weave some shitty gold.

John Sayles wrote the screenplay and Joe Dante directed. This was very early in both their careers, and they have since gone on to greater things. But I wouldn’t call this a humble beginning. By 1978, when this flick was released, Corman had been in business for decades. The flicks he produces are not humble — they are just cheap. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Piranha (1978)”

October Horrorshow: The Being

What a gloriously stupid movie. From schlock producer Bill Osco and writer/director Jackie Kong, The Being walks on the wrong side of the line separating exploitation from good ole b-horror, but it’s also silly enough to satisfy one’s more mirthful desires from bad cinema.

Filmed in 1980, but shelved until three years later, The Being stars Osco, billed as both Rexx Coltrane AND Johnny Commander, as Detective Mort Lutz of the Pottsville, Idaho police. He’s investigating a rash of disappearances in the town. Also in the cast are Jose Ferrer as Mayor Gordon Lane, Ruth Buzzi as his wife, Virginia, and Martin Landau as Garson Jones, an engineer investigating the safety of a nuclear waste dump just outside of town. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Being”

October Horrorshow: Humanoids from the Deep, aka Monster

A viewer won’t find his name in the credits, but Humanoids from the Deep, an exploitative schlockfest from 1980, was produced by Roger Corman. He didn’t direct it and he didn’t write it, either. Barbara Peeters did the directing (with reshoots handled by an uncredited Jimmy T. Murakami), and Frederick James did the writing. But Corman’s hand is all over this film. It fits his demands at the time that cheap horror should be bloody, and feature some rape. Bloody is fine. Bloody is fun. Rape is really only useful in a horror flick if the mood a filmmaker is going for is revulsion. In a stupid monster flick, it’s overkill. Still, it doesn’t ruin too much of the fun of this putrid mess. Other stuff is responsible for that. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Humanoids from the Deep, aka Monster”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Battle Beyond the Stars

Roger Corman was absolutely shameless. There wasn’t an idea he wouldn’t steal, nor a corner he wouldn’t cut to save a buck, in any of the dozens of films in which he had a part. He is hailed as a pioneering and legendary filmmaker. He launched the careers of numerous, better filmmakers and is showered with credit for their talents. And he did all this, and more, while cranking out a relentless stream of awful films. Terrible, unwatchable, dreadful sins against the art of cinema. And sometimes, he managed to make a shitty movie that was worth a damn. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Battle Beyond the Stars”