Shitty Movie Sundays: Chain Gang Women

We have been hornswoggled. We have been bamboozled. Hoodwinked. Swindled. Tricked, and defrauded. A movie with a title such as Chain Gang Women has obligations to be met. There needs to be women. On a chain gang. And there should be, at minimum, two nude shower scenes. A film with a title like this owes its audience genuine exploitative sleaze. This flick is that, to be sure, but to an inadequate extent. Nor does that change the fact that viewers are the victims of shameless misdirection in the pursuit of drive-in dollars. I shall explain. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Chain Gang Women”

Empty Balcony: Valkyrie

Sometimes big time actors put on their serious pants and play a Nazi-era German protagonist. I don’t know if ego or decades spent in a celebrity bubble deprive these actors of common sense, but these movies occasionally get made, and there’s always an A-lister out there willing to play one of the 20th century’s most notorious bad guys. In Valkyrie, the 2008 film directed by Bryan Singer, that A-lister was Tom Cruise.

Going over Cruise’s public persona is a waste of time, but I do remember hearing about this film back in the year it was released, and thinking Cruise must be delusional about the amount of leeway movie audiences are willing to give him. There is only one man in Hollywood who can play a good World War II German, and that man is Liam Neeson. With any other actor and any other character other than Oskar Schindler, a film is walking a fine line. To stumble means embarrassment, at best, and career-threatening ostracization, at worst. With a degree of difficulty that high, who in their right mind would choose to star in a film such as Valkyrie? King Mapother, that’s who. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Valkyrie”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Point of Terror

Point of Terror is the final film in a career cut short. Actor/producer Peter Carpenter only has four credits on his IMDb page, and this is the last. There are conflicting stories in the tubes, but what they all agree on is that Carpenter is dead. It happened at any time between 1971, not too long after this film was released, and the early 1980s. Either way, Carpenter was poised to have a fantastic career in shitty movies, akin to that of Andrew Stevens, but it wasn’t to be. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Point of Terror”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Trip with the Teacher

When a b-movie from 1975 has a title like Trip with the Teacher, all sorts of filthy stuff comes to mind. That decade remains amazing because of what filmmakers could get away with.

Written, produced, and directed by Earl Barton, Trip with the Teacher tells the story of four high school girls and their teacher on a bus trip into rural southern California or northern Baja. The idea is to get these girls some life experience outside of the sunny confines of Los Angeles. The teacher and her girls are: Miss Tenny (Brenda Fogarty), Bobbie (Dina Ousley), Julie (Cathy Worthington), Tina (Jill Voight), and Pam (Susan Russell). They are joined by a bus driver named Marvin (Jack Driscoll). Barton didn’t do much to differentiate the girls from one another. He just made sure to cast actresses who were pleasing to the eye. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Trip with the Teacher”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Sadist

The Sadist movie posterThis 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.

From 1963, The Sadist is a noir thriller that is one of many films inspired by the real-life crimes of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, who went on a killing spree in 1958. Their analogues in this film are Charles Tibbs (Hall), and Judy Bradshaw (Marilyn Manning). Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Sadist”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Armed Response (2017)

Saban Films is a clearing house for crap. I have yet to see anything bearing the Haim Saban imprimatur that wasn’t total garbage. From distributing low-rent Japanese television imports Dragon Quest and Power Rangers decades ago, to spreading Dolph Lundgren films the world over, Saban continues its quest to bore viewers to death. Such is the case with Armed Response, whose production companies include WWE Studios. Sometimes, viewers can know what they’re in for before all the pretentious opening logos have flashed past. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Armed Response (2017)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Stanley

Stanley movie posterI love it when a film’s main character is an eccentric nutjob. I don’t mean a character remembered for an over the top performance by an actor, like a Captain Jack Sparrow or even the Joker. I’m referring to characters who have quirks so wild they defy typical Hollywood tropes. Take the main character in 1972’s Stanley, Tim Ochopee (veteran soap opera actor Chris Robinson).

Tim is a Seminole who was drafted to go off and fight in Vietnam. He harbors massive amounts of resentment, all justified, towards the government of the white man. His response to this, and PTSD, has been to pull back from society, moving to a lonely cabin in the Everglades. But, isolation was not enough for Tim. He has a fascination with snakes. He loves them and considers himself their protector. His two favorites are the titular Stanley and Hazel, a pair of rattlesnakes that he is breeding. He croons to them. He pets them lovingly. He takes Stanley with him everywhere, and gives Stanley orders like he’s a dog and not a reptile. He thinks of Stanley and Hazel as husband and wife. All meaning Tim gets from his life, he derives from his snakes. And, he will kill for them. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Stanley”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Amazing Transparent Man

The Amazing Transparent Man movie poster58 minutes! Are you kidding me? We here at Missile Test enjoy filmmakers who show brevity in their storytelling, but a 58-minute running time is a little bit extreme. Perhaps director Edgar G. Ulmer should be praised. After all, most shitty movie directors of the era would have just thrown in stock footage or long establishing shots to pad the running time. But not Ulmer. His film is so Spartan that viewers will even notice some scenes with dialogue were trimmed. I applaud Mr. Ulmer for trying not to waste anyone’s time, but still…58 minutes!

Released in 1960, The Amazing Transparent Man is a bizarre combination of film noir and science fiction. The film follows Joey Faust (Douglas Kennedy), a career bank robber who is serving a long stretch in a penitentiary. As the film opens, we see Faust escape from prison, aided in his escape by Laura Matson (Marguerite Chapman). Faust doesn’t know why the escape was arranged, only that he’s being taken to a home in the countryside. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Amazing Transparent Man”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Thirsty Dead

The Thirsty Dead movie posterWhat The Thirsty Dead is not: a film about zombies, or vampires, or other undead creatures preying on the innocent and spilling buckets of fake blood. There is no gore, and no more than a few dollops of blood. Despite this being from 1974, the wheelhouse for drive-in movie exploitation, there is no nudity, gratuitous or otherwise, despite four main cast members being young(-ish), buxom(-ish) ladies.

What The Thirsty Dead is: a film with a misleading title. That happens often with shitty movies. It’s a crime compounded by the fact that not only is this movie not about thirsty dead things, it’s not even a horror flick. There are horror elements to the plot, but there just isn’t enough for this film to cross over into that hallowed genre. This is just exploitation schlock, done poorly. Exploitation films are supposed to be downright sleazy — a guilty pleasure that will get one strange looks from the ideological purity police. This film flirts with sleaze, but never commits. Seriously, what kind of exploitation film needs zero edits to be suitable for commercial television? Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Thirsty Dead”

Shitty Movie Sundays: They Saved Hitler’s Brain, aka Madmen of Mandoras

Madmen of MandorasThey Saved Hitler’s Brain, the 1968 sci-fi dog from director David Bradley, has one of the more unique stories in shitty movie history. It was originally released in 1963 as Madmen of Mandoras. A few years later, the owners of the film wanted to sell it for television distribution, but the original running time of 74 minutes was too short. Their solution? Hire some UCLA film students to shoot a new first act, featuring none of the cast from the original, with only a tangential connection to the main plot. These new scenes are an anachronism, looking completely out of place, because they are. The two main characters in these scenes, one of which isn’t even listed in the cast, are both killed off before the movie switches to its original content. These new scenes are a disaster in every way, from plot, dialogue, to acting. Just this part of the film is enough to make this among the worst films I’ve ever seen, and there’s still a whole hour of movie to get through. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: They Saved Hitler’s Brain, aka Madmen of Mandoras”