I’ve seen C.H.U.D., the 1984 mutant monster flick, a number of times since its release. Each time, its objective quality, in my estimation, continues to fall. Each time, whatever spark and flare the movie had when I was young fades even more, and it becomes a more disappointing watch. But that’s only because in that old memory of my first viewing from was when I young, this was a good movie. Oh, boy, was I wrong. It’s not a good movie, but, it sure is shitty. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: C.H.U.D.”
With a title like Rats: Night of Terror, I was expecting a horror flick. What I was not expecting was a horror flick combined with a 1980s Italian post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick, in the same milieu as 1990: The Bronx Warriors or The New Gladiators. But, shitty film auteurs Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso appeared to have no qualms in marrying two different genres, even if it added just about nothing to the plot.
In the near future, in the year 2015, civilization was consumed by atomic war. Survivors retreated underground, where they would attempt to rebuild society safely hidden from the irradiated wastes above. But, some people chose to reject a life in tunnels and caves, and returned to the surface to brave the danger. Now, 225 years after the bombs fell, descendants of the surface survivors are traveling the wasteland in search of food and water. They’re a fashionable bunch of post-apocalyptic bikers, clad in mismatched bits of military uniforms, accessorized with bandoliers and weapons of various calibers. Despite the trappings, they don’t look all that tough. Dressing like an extra in The Magnificent Seven seems to be de rigueur in this bleak future. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Rats: Night of Terror”
Tom Selleck at peak mustache, Gene Simmons, THAT Gene Simmons, playing a mad scientist who has an army of killer robots, in a science fiction film written and directed by Michael Crichton? Yes, I will watch that.
From 1984, Runaway is a look into the near future, where robots are a part of everyday life. They cook our food, wash our clothes, construct our buildings, and guard our businesses. But like all machines, they aren’t perfect. That is where the dedicated men and women of the police department’s runaway squad come in. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Runaway”
Television is a tough racket. Just ask the employees of WBS TV. In the future, the year 2072, to be precise, WBS has a hit show on their hands. It’s called The Danger Game, where contestants are hooked up to a machine that pumps visions of bloody torture directly into their brains. If they endure the torture without panicking, they win. It’s a successful show for the discerning TV consumer of the dystopian future, but it’s still getting beaten in the ratings by Kill Bike — a show featuring riders on motorbikes engaging in some poorly filmed jousting. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The New Gladiators, aka Warriors of the Year 2072″
Is The Terminator the best movie Arnold Schwarzenegger has ever been in? There’s a strong possibility that it is. Some viewers have an affinity for Terminator 2, others for Conan the Barbarian. As for me, I voted with my eyes a long time ago. Of all the films Arnold has made, The Terminator is the one I’ve watched the most. It is impossible for me to recall just how many times I’ve seen it, but I would not be surprised if it’s somewhere in the 20s, maybe even the 30s. So, pardon me while I gush. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: The Terminator”
Groo the Wanderer...oops, I mean Conan the Destroyer, is the sequel to Conan the Barbarian. Conan the Barbarian represented just about all that was good about the adventure story, even though at times it felt unmercifully cheap. But, my goodness, did it have style. Conan the Destroyer wasn’t a slack-jawed effort at making a sequel, but it was enough of a cash grab that most of what made its predecessor so good has been excised. And it’s a subtle difference. Conan the Destroyer has big guys with swords and axes, exotic people and locales from a mythological past, great shooting locations, and sets that look as if much time and effort were put into them, but it’s mere replica. Continue reading “Schwarzenegger Month: Conan the Destroyer”
Blade Runner was a successful film. It combined science fiction and noir in an unforgettable visual and atmospheric pastiche. It should follow, then, that it would influence later films and also spawn a fair share of cheap imitations. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Trancers, a b-movie extraordinaire from 1984. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Trancers”
The year 2010 has come and gone, and with it, a milestone in the calendar of science fiction. First, a quick explanation. The calendar of science fiction is an informal mental tabulation I keep of events in fiction that took place in the future when the material was originally released. I keep note of plots and dates of noteworthy films, television series, and novels to see just how far away from reality the storytellers drifted once the actual year is reached. For example, Escape from New York, John Carpenter’s dystopian vision of Manhattan Island as a maximum security prison, took place in 1997. That year came and went, and while New York City didn’t have the greatest reputation in the world at the time, it did feature a steadily falling crime rate and no landmines on its bridges. In short, not a prison. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: 2010″
The year 1984 was an unforgettable year in geopolitics, and not for the reasons George Orwell thought. Overseas, the Soviet Union was dealing with a wheat harvest from the previous year that matched lows not seen since the 1920s. Even the scorched earth of western Russia during the Nazi invasion saw more plenty. Things were worse in Poland, a situation the Soviets took advantage of after food riots began and the Soviets occupied the country as peacekeepers. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: Red Dawn (1984)”
Tom Savini, as with Martin Becker before you, I salute you. In a film that otherwise struggled at times to hold my attention, the exquisite onscreen deaths perpetrated by Jason Voorhees and engineered by Savini saved the day. From the morgue attendant attacked with a hacksaw and a vicious neck twist, to the harpoon crotch lift, to the young lover whose skull is crushed against a shower wall, to the most brutal machete attack put to film since Apocalypse Now, there wasn’t much that was mailed in, and I have a suspicion a good deal hit the cutting room floor to bring the film down to an ‘R’ rating. All that sweet, sweet blood, and the occasional chest shot, is really the only draw to the film. Juvenile? No doubt, yet Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is still a sight better than most films in the Friday the 13th franchise. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”