October Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars

John Carpenter is one of my favorite directors. He’s not on the Mount Rushmore of filmmakers, but his best films can be thought of as eminently watchable. They are respected. They are known and successful enough that a lot have been remade. But he also has some films that are not so good. It would be easy to blame Carpenter’s poorer quality films on budget, but that does not compute. Carpenter worked magic with the measly budgets he had in Halloween and Escape from New York. Rather, something happened in the late 1980s, starting with Prince of Darkness in 1987, that precipitated a steady decline. There were still sparks of life in his films, but that eminently watchable quality of his films seemed to fly away. In its place was substituted cheapness, sometimes of rank quality, and this turn was inexplicable from a filmmaker who had done so much with so little throughout his career. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Ghosts of Mars”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Orca

There are plenty of people to blame for this shitty movie. There’s director Michael Anderson, producers Dino De Laurentiis and Luciano Vincenzoni; maybe even star Richard Harris. While their culpability would hold up in a court of law, the person I hold the most accountable is Steven Spielberg. If he had not ushered in the era of the blockbuster with Jaws, there is no way in hell anyone, anywhere, at any time in cinematic history, would have made Orca. Well, maybe the guys over at Asylum would have...but not in 1977. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Orca”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Escape from L.A.

From IMDb’s trivia page on Escape from L.A.: Escape from LA [sic] was caught in development hell for over ten years. A script for the film was first commissioned in 1985 but John Carpenter thought it “too light, too campy.”

Too campy? Why? Were The Riddler and Two-Face in the original draft? I find it hard to believe that Carpenter rejected a script for this film because it was campy. This movie lives on camp. It’s not light, though. I’ll give Carpenter that. Escape from L.A. is a violent flick. A bit cartoonish, maybe, but that many bullets can’t be fired in a movie and still be considered light. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Escape from L.A.”