Shitty Movie Sundays: Equalizer 2000, or, Supergun!

One Mad Max ripoff wasn’t enough for Filipino filmmaker Cirio H. Santiago. After the sublime experience that was Wheels of Fire, Santiago went back to the well in 1987 for Equalizer 2000. It’s a movie about a man, his leather pants, and a bitchin’ gun.

From a story by Frederick Bailey and Joe Mari Avellana (who played the bad guy in Wheels of Fire), Equalizer 2000 follows Max Rockatansky analogue Slade (Richard Norton). Slade is a member of the Ownership, a militia group that is looking to control all of the gravel quarries in the post-apocalypse. They’re the typical baddies of a Mad Max ripoff. They wear black, drive tricked out muscle cars, and are very into pillaging settlements full of honest folk. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Equalizer 2000, or, Supergun!”

October Horrorshow: Slaughterhouse

All ideas in film grow weary after a while. Lack of new twists, market saturation, declining quality, and a general malaise from viewership are the death knells for once-innovative methods of storytelling. By the late 1980s, it was the slasher subgenre of horror that had grown old and dusty, after only a decade or so of prominence. The result was a film like Slaughterhouse, the 1987 flick from writer/director Rick Roessler.

Don Barnett and Joe B. Barton play deranged father and son Lester and Buddy Bacon, owners of a shuttered hog slaughterhouse in rural California. Market fluctuations and a failure to modernize facilities did in their business, but Lester blames shenanigans from prominent locals for his dire straits. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Slaughterhouse”

It Came from the Camcorder: Demon Queen

Before Vampire Cop, before Chainsaw Cheerleaders, and before Bigfoot Exorcist (incredible titles, all), shitty movie auteur Donald Farmer gave us Demon Queen, an SOV quickie that boiled down a simple horror story into its basest elements.

From 1987, Demon Queen tells the tale of Lucinda (Mary Fanaro), a demon, or vampire, or something, who stalks the streets of Fort Lauderdale picking up unsuspecting males and ripping their hearts out while they are in postcoital afterglow.

Her latest victim, whom she strings along for most of this movie’s short 54-minute running time, is Jesse (Dennis Stewart). Jesse is a street-level drug dealer who, in a fit of plot on the part of Farmer, owes money to local gangster Izzi (Rick Foster). Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Demon Queen”

It Came from the Camcorder: Video Violence

According to the internet, so it must be true, central New Jersey community theater fixture and video store operator Gary Cohen was dismayed that customers rented so much trashy horror when there was a wealth of film history available on the shelves. His response was not to refuse to rent horror flicks, but, with friend and writing partner Paul Kaye, to make his very own trashy horror movie. On video, of course.

If one is into SOV horror, Video Violence, from 1987, is essential viewing, as it’s a common entry on various SOV lists. It follows real-life couple Art and Jackie Neill (also longtime players in central New Jersey theater) as Steven and Rachel Emory, a pair of transplants from New York City who have settled in Frenchtown, New Jersey, looking for peace and quiet. Steven gave up his dream job of owning a movie theater to open a video rental store, while Rachel left a job at a law firm to take a position in Frenchtown’s administration. Their town is not as welcoming to the newcomers as they wished, nor is it as quiet. That’s because the residents of the town have become addicted to slasher flicks, and after being desensitized to the fake stuff, they have gotten into the habit of making their very own snuff videos. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Video Violence”

October Horrorshow: The Video Dead

Zombies have been portrayed in every which way from here to Timbuktu. It’s not necessary for a filmmaker to have a unique take on zombies in order to make a successful zombie film. When they do bring some new quality to the old trope, it instantly makes the film better. The Video Dead, the 1987 b-horror flick from writer, director, and producer Robert Scott, doesn’t have a lot of zombies, but they all have distinct personalities, and the way they are introduced is quite fun.

Famous writer Henry Jordan (Michael St. Michaels) is minding his business at home one morning when a delivery van arrives with a crate. Inside is a ratty television that, unbeknownst to Jordan, was supposed to be delivered to the Institute for the Studies of the Occult. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Video Dead”

It Came from the Camcorder: Blood Lake (1987)

Pro-tip for all you aspiring amateur filmmakers out there that are contemplating shooting an independent, low-budget horror flick on your phones: don’t short your viewers on the gore.

I’m not saying that one has to make an anatomically-correct splatter fountain like Violent Shit, but the hardest of these SOV horror flicks to watch for this year’s Horrorshow have been the movies devoid of spectacle. If there’s one thing that all these films have in common so far, its problems with their pacing. Whether it’s inexperienced storytelling or a thin screenplay, it takes an experienced shitty movie viewer to not be bored to death by these movies. That makes gore an essential element of their watchability, because it’s the most reliable way to get the audience to pay attention. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Blood Lake (1987)”

It Came from the Camcorder: Splatter Farm

One of the best things about these SOV horror flicks (best being a relative term) is that since these movies were never intended for theatrical release, they weren’t subject to censorship imposed by the prudes at the MPAA. Supporters of the ratings system would maintain that ratings exist merely as a guide, and it is the filmmakers themselves that alter their films in pursuit of a favorable rating. That’s the rub, though, isn’t it? The MPAA’s ratings can mean life or death for a film in theaters, as theater owners have proven reluctant to showcase films with an NC-17 rating or no rating at all, and even R-rated films are regularly cut to lower ratings in pursuit of teenaged dollars. Quite frankly, how dare any organization like the MPAA tell a filmmaker what they can and can’t have in a movie, on threat of making it financially unviable? Anyway… Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Splatter Farm”

October Horrorshow: Blood Rage

What a splatterific, nonsensical mess of a horror flick. I loved it.

Blood Rage, the 1987 slasher flick spearheaded by producer Marianne Kanter, is exactly the kind of cheap and sleazy film horror junkies have come to expect from the era. The horror genre has had many golden eras, and it’s little films like Blood Rage, rather than the big franchises, that cement the 1980s as amongst the goldiest of the goldy.

Written by Bruce Rubin and directed by John Grissmer, Blood Rage tells the story of a pair of twins, one murderous, and one not so murderous. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood Rage”

It Came from the Camcorder: Killing Spree

Welcome to the 14th Annual October Horrorshow here at Missile Test, when the site is dedicated to reviewing horror films for an entire month. This year features a mix of random horror films and themed reviews. The theme this year is It Came from the Camcorder, wherein we dive into the strange world of low-budget horror flicks shot on videotape. These movies were never released theatrically, and represent some of the worst moviemaking one is likely to see. But, these movies represent a true cinematic ideal of perseverance. These auteurs and the other people that worked on these movies let nothing, not Hollywood, not money, not expectations, stand in the way of making their movies. Every finished movie represents an heroic effort, and I’m glad to play a small part in helping to spread awareness that these movies exist, and have not simply gone quietly into that good night. The first camcorder flick is a real doozy. Enjoy.



Going into this year’s Horrorshow, Missile Test was aware of how much of a slog a month’s worth of shot-on-video horror would represent. Lucky us, then, that the first SOV horror flick of the month would be so outrageous, hilarious, and watchable, despite it being a mangy mutt of a movie.

From 1987 comes Killing Spree, the fourth feature from writer/director Tim Ritter. Coming right in the middle of the era of SOV horror, Killing Spree is a fantastic benchmark through which a viewer can judge whether or not they appreciate this wild subgenre of film. It has just about everything one could expect or want from the shittiest of horror films. It has the muddled look of being shot on magnetic tape, the muddled sound of a stock microphone attachment, a script that never would have been approved for a Hollywood shoot, a cast full of amateurs, a synthesized soundtrack that could have been made on a toy Casio keyboard, special effects that are outrageous but the opposite of convincing, and no regard for the way movies are supposed to be made. This is outsider art. It may not be good art, but it’s a gigantic middle finger to big time cinema, and we here at Missile Test love nonconformity. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Killing Spree”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Horror franchises have a lifespan. And all horror franchises exceed that lifespan, shuffling along like zombies, mere imitations of the life they once had. The third entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise still has life — a shitload, in fact — but the signs of franchise decline are also very apparent.

Wes Craven returns to write after sitting out the previous film, alongside Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont, and Chuck Russell. Russell also directed. Craven’s participation means the return of the murderous and sadistic Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) to the realm of dreams, rather than wandering around in the waking world — the expansion of Freddy’s supernatural abilities from the previous film retconned. In fact, this film makes no mention of the previous entry, instead serving as a sequel to the first film in the franchise. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”