The Amityville Horror was a surprisingly competent horror flick from American International Pictures and Samuel Z. Arkoff, names not often covered in glory, except in the land of shitty movies. It made a pile of money, recouping about twenty times its budget at the box office. With a hot property like that, it’s no surprise there was a sequel. This time, however, it wasn’t Arkoff and company that were set to reap some of that sweet Amityville cash. Like a hyena scavenging a kill after the lions have had their fill, it was Dino De Laurentiis and his people who crept up to make Amityville II: The Possession. Things didn’t work out quite as well for Dino, as the production began with a rights dispute. That’s why this film is called Amityville II and not The Amityville Horror II. It also wasn’t the cash cow that De Laurentiis wanted. It’s still an Amityville flick, though. It was even filmed at the same house in New Jersey as the first film. Continue reading “Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Amityville II: The Possession”
Blood, gore, low production values, a little gratuitous nudity, and charm out the wazoo. That’s Nightbeast, the 1982 sci-fi/horror flick from b-movie filmmaker Don Dohler. It’s a simple film with a simple idea: an alien passing by Earth runs into a stray asteroid and crashes in rural Maryland. It’s an angry beast, and it wastes no time slaughtering the locals with its laser gun.
Trying to stop the massacre are the cops and the good citizens of Perry Hall, led by Sheriff Cinder (Tom Griffith). That’s all the plot one really needs to know. There’s very little setup to this flick, and very little character development. That’s a good thing, as Dohler didn’t round up the best talent for his opus. Besides Griffith, there’s Karin Kardian as Deputy Lisa Kent, Jamie Zemarel as local Jamie Lambert, and Don Leifert as local tough guy and murderer Drago (it’s a subplot). None of these performers, or the others listed in the credits, had much work outside of Don Dohler films, and none of them seemed like professionals. But, their lack of acting chops only adds to the appeal. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Nightbeast”
Amazon Prime has a problem with dates on some movies. For films that have been re-released with a restored print or new cut, it’s not uncommon for them to use the date when the new print was released, rather than the year the film originally premiered. This caught me out with The Aftermath, which, according to Amazon, was released in 2018.
The print on Prime is close to pristine. Other than occasional pops and scratches, the picture is sharp and the colors are vibrant. Because of this, and the 2018 date attached to the film, I at first thought I was watching something fairly new. And it was a riot. From the cheap model work, the period costumes, the color reminiscent of a retro digital filter, the analog technology used in the sets, to the music and the cinematography, I thought I was watching a very clever recreation of a 1970s cheapie sci-fi flick or tv movie. Something inspired by Dark Star or any random Italian ripoff. Then I noticed Sid Haig, who plays the bad guy, and realized there was no way this movie was made in 2018. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Aftermath (1982)”
When is a shitty Italian Mad Max ripoff not a shitty Italian Mad Max ripoff? When it’s a shitty American/New Zealand Mad Max ripoff!
Battletruck, also released under a number of different titles, comes to viewers from Roger Corman’s New World Pictures stable, although his name is nowhere in the credits. From 1982, it was written by Irving Austin, John Beech, and Harley Cokeliss, with Cokeliss also sitting in the director’s chair. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Battletruck, aka Warlords of the Twenty-First Century”
From the murky realms of Hollywood anonymity comes Double Exposure, the 1982 film by writer/director William Byron Hillman. Basically a remake of an earlier Hillman film called The Photographer, Double Exposure is a psychological thriller wherein a fashion photographer, Adrian Wilde (Michael Callan), is plagued by dreams of bloody murder. Not his murder, mind. Rather, the brutal slayings of young models in his employ.
Are these dreams buried memories of his actions? Adrian doesn’t know, and neither does his shrink (Seymour Cassel). But, as bodies continue to pile up, Adrian can no longer deny that he might be a murderer. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Double Exposure”
At first glance, Pieces, the 1982 slasher flick from shitty auteur Juan Piquer Simón, is just like every other bottom-feeding Italian film that flooded the American market in the 1980s. Except for one thing. Pieces is not an Italian flick. It’s from Spain. All the hallmarks of a Lucio Fulci or Enzo G. Castellari film are present. The cast is from all over the map. Many read their lines in their native tongue, everyone was dubbed in post, and there was a cavalier attitude towards making sure if any of it synced. The production is low rent, but there’s lots of blood, and it’s so bright one could use it to see by night. And, while it takes place in the United States, it was very clearly filmed in Europe. So, just why does this film have the appearance of cheap Italian cinema of the day? Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Pieces”
One part sleaze and one part slasher flick (which probably makes it all sleaze, now that I think about it), The Slumber Party Massacre works hard to tick every box when it comes to 1980s horror. Teenagers, an enraged killer, blood, etc. Instead of filling empty spots with plot, director Amy Holden Jones went with gratuitous nudity. The teenaged boy still lurking in me was thrilled. The mature, objective reviewer in me was also thrilled. When in Rome…
Released in 1982, The Slumber Party Massacre tells everything a viewer needs to know about the plot in its title. There is a slumber party, and a killer looking to massacre everyone at it. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Slumber Party Massacre”
At first glance, a viewer could be forgiven if they thought Turkey Shoot, also released as Escape 2000 in the US, comes to us via an Italian master of shitty cinema such as Enzo G. Castellari or Alfonso Brescia. Turkey Shoot has the same look and feel, but it hails from Australia.
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, from a screenplay by Jon George and Neill D. Hicks, Turkey Shoot takes place in a near future where an unnamed fascist regime has control over vast swathes of humanity. Like in all good totalitarian states, citizens who insist on holding onto their personal freedoms are sent to reeducation camps. Turkey Shoot follows the tribulations of the three newest detainees at Camp 47. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Turkey Shoot, aka Escape 2000″
Forget for a moment that Death Wish II is one of the defining films for The Cannon Group and its producing pair of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Forget that it was this film, along with Enter the Ninja, that would come to define a style of shamelessness that has brought endless amounts of joy to both the shitty movie fan and the wider action flick audience. Forget that a film like this scratches a primal itch that high culture would like to pretend doesn’t exist. Instead, revel in the fact that Jimmy Page did the music for this flick. That’s right. Jimmy Page. From Led Zeppelin. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Death Wish II”
Larry Cohen has had prolific involvement in cheap horror throughout his career. His credits include the screenplay for Maniac Cop and writing and directing credits for both The Stuff and It’s Alive. He was one of the directors featured in the anthology television series Masters of Horror. He also flew by the seat of his pants when it came to making movies. According to the internet, so it must be true, Cohen was fired from his job directing the Mike Hammer flick, I, the Jury, after one week of shooting because of cost overruns. Instead of sulking about losing the gig, Cohen put together a shooting script and a production for a new movie in six days. That movie, lord help us, was Q — The Winged Serpent. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Q — The Winged Serpent”