Shitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)

Cop 1988 movie posterNormally, if there were a trailer available on YouTube, it would be posted here, but not this time. The trailer for Cop spoils the ending. We can’t have that.

What a gloriously stupid movie. I knew heading in that any movie produced by, and starring, James Woods as a lone-wolf detective hunting a serial killer would be an adventure. Cop is more than that, however. It is an absolute howler. It is amongst the most over-indulgent Hollywood vanity projects I’ve ever seen, from an actor who doesn’t know the first thing about nuance.

The highlights:

  • Woods, playing Sgt. Lloyd Hopkins, stakes out a suspected armed robber with his supervisor, Lt. Dutch Peltz, played by Charles Durning. The suspect pulls up to the curb with his date, Hopkins and Dutch confront him, and Hopkins blows the suspect away after he pulls a pistol on Dutch. That’s fine. But then, Hopkins takes the date from the car, who is ambivalent about the whole thing, and leaves the scene to drive her home because she has a nice rack. It’s implied he sleeps with her. I guess that means it was a good shoot.
  • Hopkins tracks down a former actress turned call girl (Randi Brooks), following up a lead on the serial killings, and, wouldn’t you know it? They have sex in the kitchen while bacon is sizzling in a pan nearby. This happens the very scene after Hopkins’ wife leaves him and takes the kid.
  • Hopkins goes to the residence of feminist poet and bookstore owner Kathleen McCarthy (Lesley Ann Warren) to follow up another lead. He’s as gruff and pigheaded as one would expect any clichéd cop from an ’80s film to be, but McCarthy doesn’t seem to care all that much. You see, she’s a feminist only because the right man has never come along to sweep her off of her feet. Lo and behold, that could be Hopkins. He talks her into a date, and later a trip to the bedroom, because he’s the first man who’s been man enough to do so.
  • Hopkins follows another lead to the home of an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy (Charles Haid) who happens to be running male prostitutes. Hopkins then kills the deputy after the deputy goes for a shotgun, but he never faces any repercussions for this, despite having broken into the deputy’s home without a warrant, while also being under suspension from the LAPD.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)”

October Horrorshow: The Brain (1988)

The Brain 1988 movie posterHere’s a movie so nice I had to watch it twice; so uproarious it’s glorious; so shitty I had to go and be witty.

Hailing from the Great White North, The Brain, screenwriter Barry Pearson and director Ed Hunt’s 1988 horror flick, is shitty gold. Let’s get that out of the way, first. This is a quality shitty movie. It’s cheap schlock — outrageous, ridiculous, hilarious, and very, very watchable. It’s the rare horror flick where the creature is shown at the very beginning, but this movie suffers nothing for it. Building tension through the unseen? Nope. None of that. That takes a back seat to sharing such an absurd cinematic creation with audiences right away, and it works. It’s a gigantic brain, with a face and huge teeth, and it eats people. Let me emphasize this. The monster in this movie is a brain the size of a mastiff that eats people.

Tom Bresnahan stars as Jim Majelewski. He’s a typical rebellious Canadian teenager, in that while he may blow up toilets with pure sodium and glue teachers’ pants to chairs, he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, and gets straight A’s. But, the school has had enough of his shenanigans, and he is forced to undergo treatment at the Psychological Research Institute (exteriors were played by the Xerox Research Centre of Canada), run by the evil Dr. Blakely (David Gale) and his assistant, Verna (George Buza). Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Brain (1988)”

October Horrorshow: Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons, the 1988 film from writer/producer Joe Augustyn and director Kevin Tenney, is exactly the kind of sleazy, low-budget horror flick that I expect from the 1980s. It’s not a perfect shitty horror flick, but there are numerous reasons this not-very-good movie is regarded fondly by fans of horror.

The story follows a group of teens who attend a small Halloween costume party at an abandoned funeral home, rather than hit up the lame high school dance. The host of the party is Angela (Amelia Kinkade), a student at the school who is low on the totem pole, but promises a wild night. Her idea is to have a bunch of supernatural party games to titillate and frighten the invitees. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Night of the Demons (1988)”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 2

What month of horror franchise reviews would be complete without visiting the redheaded stepchild of 1980s horror franchises? The first Critters film was released to widespread yawns and accusations of thievery from Gremlins, but I maintain that this series of films is an indelible part of the experience of 1980s horror. All of these films are cheap, bloody, nicely tongue-in-cheek, shitty, and more entertaining than they should be.

Coming to audiences in 1988, Critters 2 picks up two years after the events of Critters, and assumes, quite fancifully, that one has seen the first film. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 2″

October Horrorshow: Child’s Play (1988)

We here at Missile Test love it when a movie with a ridiculous premise is made to work. The President of the United States must be rescued from Manhattan Island prison in a dystopian near future? Excellent movie. Dragons are awakened by subway construction in London and scorch the earth? Bring it. A grown man wears tights and a cape and beats the shit out of street level felons and/or crazed super criminals? Yeah, sure. We all seem to like that. But a murderous psychopath possessing a child’s doll and continuing to add to its death toll? That’s a big ask. Fortunately, the people behind Child’s Play, the 1988 supernatural slasher flick, knew what they were doing. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Child’s Play (1988)”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

The first Nightmare on Elm Street film was an original supernatural slasher flick. The second film had some crazy subtext going on (which, to my everlasting regret, I missed). And the third flick continued to shake things up, giving Freddy Krueger’s potential victims the ability to fight back. Every entry in the franchise through the third film had enough unique characteristics to stave off franchise fatigue, but then producers Robert Shaye and Sara Risher decided to play it safe, assembling a paint by numbers movie with a screenplay by committee, and hiring an early-career Renny Harlin to direct. This flick was doomed to mediocrity before the first frame was shot. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master”

October Horrorshow: Brain Damage

We horror movie fans, and we shitty movie fans, are blessed whenever a filmmaker like Frank Henenlotter comes along. A man who was practically raised by the grindhouse theaters of Times Square, Henenlotter brought that aesthetic, that sleaze, and, yes, that mystique, to the small number of films he made. His films breathe in the grit of New York City in a way only one of its true freak denizens could capture.

Henenlotter began his feature film career in 1982 with Basket Case, a tale of a parasitic relationship of incredible bizarreness. He followed that up in 1988 with Brain Damage, a tale of a parasitic relationship of incredible bizarreness. It’s almost as if Henelotter took a look at his earlier film one day and said to himself, “I can do weirder.” Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Brain Damage”

October Horrorshow: Waxwork

Not every horror film has to be deadly serious. Sometimes, it’s impossible to hide the absurdity of a horror story, so a filmmaker doesn’t bother to try. Such is the case with Waxwork, the 1988 film from writer/director Anthony Hickox.

The film tells the tale of a gaggle of pretty 20-somethings who find themselves in mortal danger inside a wax museum. Putting youth in danger is a formula as old as horror films, and a risky one for filmmakers to take. Young, pretty faces are a dime a dozen in Hollywood. What’s unique is finding the young talent who is pretty, can act, and is capable of lifting mediocre screenplays. So, choose the wrong cast, and one could end up with a stinker. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Waxwork”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cocktail

Here’s another entry from the aborted Tom Cruise month, written back when I still lived in NYC:

What a putrid mess. Cocktail, the 1988 film from director Roger Donaldson, is about a bartender in New York City with big dreams. That’s just about every bartender in this town, at least before reality sinks its teeth in and, all of a sudden, a bartender’s 30s are looming large. I have a feeling that a large number of those involved in this flick have spent time slinging drinks. How in the world they screwed up a movie about a bartender is beyond me. But, Cocktail is only about a bartender in that the main character tends bar. It’s also a romance, and, near the end, takes a very dark dramatic turn that didn’t fit the film at all. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cocktail”

October Horrorshow: Slugs

What a putrid mess of a movie. Slugs is one of those shitty movies New World Pictures banged out that had little to no regard for the intelligence or attention spans of its audience. It looks rushed, feels rushed, and even sounds rushed. But, it’s got a lot of blood, so it has that going for it.

From 1988, Slugs is an American/Spanish collaboration. At the time, shitty Spanish cinema was mimicking shitty Italian cinema, making this production feel like an amalgamation of bad American and Italian horror. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Slugs”