Shitty Movie Sundays: SST: Death Flight, aka Death Flight

SST: Death Flight newspaper adverstisementThis is exactly the kind of cheese I look for from a television movie in the days before prestige TV. Cheap production values, a bad script, and an ‘all-star’ cast slumming it for an easy paycheck. Also, it helps to rip off a popular cinematic film series — in this case, the Airport franchise.

It was something of a minor industrial embarrassment for the United States that the only supersonic transport (SST) planes ever in passenger service were run by France and the UK. In this film’s fictional universe, that oversight has been rectified, in the form of the Cutlass Aircraft Maiden 1, an SST whose special effects miniature looks to have been cobbled together from two or three different Revell model kits (the effects in this flick are bad, bad, bad).

After a final shakedown flight, it is time to take passengers onboard, for a trip from New York to Paris that will only take a little over two hours. It’s a big day for Cutlass, as future purchase orders for the plane hinge on its performance during this flight. As such, Cutlass has entrusted the plane to a very serious pilot, in Captain Jim Walsh (a post-Brady Bunch Robert Reed, still rocking the perm). Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: SST: Death Flight, aka Death Flight”

Shitty Movie Sundays: End of the World (1977)

According to the internet (so it must be true), Christopher Lee was tricked, bamboozled, conned, into being in End of the World, the 1977 sci-fi dog from legendary shitty movie producer Charles Band. But, the actor doth protest too much, methinks. It’s not like Lee was known for being in the best films Hollywood or England had to offer, and I’m sure his wounded pride was salved once the check cleared.

But, what about we viewers? Is this just another flick that’s all title and nothing else? Does it deliver on the promise of a world that is ending? Indeed, it does! It also delivers a lot of walking and talking, and hardly any action. Oh, well. That’s the hazard of being a shitty movie fan. Often, the movies are just shit. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: End of the World (1977)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Damnation Alley, or, RVing the Apocalypse

Jan-Michael Vincent is dead. He passed mostly unnoticed on February 10th, his death remaining unknown to the media for almost a month. He was, once upon a time, a middling star. His looks were better than his talent, but that’s just what Hollywood wants. His career was derailed by age and substance abuse, as happens to so many in the entertainment industry. He had many roles in mainstream films, but I will always remember him for his contributions to shitty cinema and television. In remembrance of Jan-Michael Vincent, here’s a review for a Vincent star vehicle, that also happened to be a pretty good shitty movie. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Damnation Alley, or, RVing the Apocalypse”

Giant Monstershow: Empire of the Ants

It’s a melancholy day for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow, for this is the last film of the month from giant monster auteur Bert I. Gordon. His peak days as a filmmaker were in the 1950s, but while Gordon’s pace of work slowed, he never went more than a few years without directing something. In 1977, that something was Empire of the Ants, also written by Gordon, loosely adapting the H.G. Wells story of the same name. Something of a follow-up to Gordon’s Food of the Gods, Empire of the Ants tells the story of a Florida real estate pitch gone wrong. Continue readingGiant Monstershow: Empire of the Ants”

October Horrorshow: Shock, aka Beyond the Door II

Mario Bava was a giant of horror. His Black Sunday is an atmospheric horror classic that should be on any horror fan’s list of films to see. Shock, released in the United States as Beyond the Door II (it bears no relation to Beyond the Door — the title was strictly promotional), was Bava’s last film before his death. It’s not a bad way to go out, but it’s also a workaday horror film, missing the weirdness that made Bava’s other works, and Italian horror films in general, so special. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Shock, aka Beyond the Door II”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek

Should one not wish to be burdened by a sensible, interconnected plot, or by special effects that pass a minimum standard of acceptability, then has Missile Test got the movie for you. Cosmos: War of the Planets, also known by many other names, is one of the shittiest films to grace this site in a litany of shitty films. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Summer City

Summer CityThis flick is a bad one. This is one of those zero-budget plodding messes that would have found a ready home on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s one of those flicks that lacks most endearing characteristics, and only survives because it featured a future Hollywood star.

Summer City, from way back in 1977, is the first feature film on Mel Gibson’s IMDb page. He’s one of four main characters, all friends, who head out from 1950s Sydney for some fun and sun at an Australian beach.

How do I know the movie takes place in the 1950s? Director Christopher Fraser and producer/writer Phil Avalon helped us viewers with that, by providing an opening credits stock footage montage of scenes from the 1950s. This extensive sequence is amazing, because so much of the footage seems to have been chosen at random — the only prerequisite being that it looks like it was shot in the ’50s. How else to explain the repeated use of footage of a long-distance runner in training? It has nothing to do with the plot. This movie is about surfing blokes. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Summer City”

October Horrorshow: Suspiria

A viewer would hard-pressed to find a more beautifully shot, atmospheric horror film than Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Argento’s, and cinematographer Luciano Tovoli’s, vivid production has become legend among horror fans, and for good reason. The film exists within a reality all its own, shifting back and forth between dreamlike and nightmarish, soft and menacing, as the situation requires. No study of horror films, and film in general, is complete without seeing this classic. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Suspiria”

October Horrorshow: Eaten Alive, or, Avant-Garde Horror à la Texas

Tobe Hooper established his bona fides, and his place in film history, with his 1974 film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That film is such an icon of the genre that sequels and remakes are sometimes produced concurrently. People just can’t seem to get enough Leatherface. But, Hooper did find time to take part in other projects. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Eaten Alive, or, Avant-Garde Horror à la Texas”