Shitty Movie Sundays: Down ’n Dirty

Movie fans might be surprised that besides being a former pro football player, 1970s blaxploitation film icon, and all-around b-movie legend, Fred Williamson has 21 producing and directing credits to his name as of this writing (sometimes it’s the same movie, sometimes it’s not). The movies in his producing and directing lists aren’t all that good, but his presence alone raises the cachet.

Williamson directed, produced, and starred in Down ’n Dirty, from a screenplay by Aubrey K. Rattan. It’s a throwback movie. Despite being released in 2000, the script could easily have been used for a film in the 1970s. The only things that would be anachronistic are the cars, fashions, and the use of cellphones. Other than that, the film fits right in with a decades-old model. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Down ’n Dirty”

October Horrorshow: Hellraiser V: Inferno

After a four-year layoff, Bob and Harvey Weinstein wanted another Hellraiser flick. They also didn’t want to pay a lot of money for it, so they optioned a direct-to-video film. That meant no big stars, no big budget, and a script that was clearly written as a different film and reworked to insert iconic Hellraiser bad guy Pinhead (Doug Bradley) into some scenes.

From 2000, Hellraiser V: Inferno was directed by Scott Derrickson, from a screenplay by Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman. Craig Sheffer stars as police detective Joseph Thorne. He’s the protagonist of this film, but he’s not that good of a guy, which he admits in the film’s narration. He has a wife and kid at home, but rather than spend his off hours with them, he can be found trolling the streets of Denver, shaking down dealers for cocaine and paying for hookers with money stolen from the wallets of murder victims. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Hellraiser V: Inferno”

October Horrorshow: The Dead Hate the Living!

I haven’t seen a whole bunch of films from Full Moon Features, Charles Band’s production company, but they have had a couple great titles for their flicks. There’s Castle Freak, which is a more literal title than it appears at first glance; and Evil Bong, or, as it’s called in headshops all over America, Evil Water Pipe. Today’s horror flick has a title better than those two. In fact, it’s a title on par with Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. Like Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, getting the title right was the high point of the production, unfortunately. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Dead Hate the Living!”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Mach 2

I had thought that the movie business had had enough of Brian Bosworth after the spectacular mess that was Stone Cold. I was wrong. That film spawned a five-year pause in Bosworth’s acting career, but he’s been working somewhat regularly since 1996. Thank goodness. I love it when shitty action stars are able to maintain a tenuous grip in the entertainment business. It means we viewers get them in more flicks like Fred Olen Ray’s Mach 2, released in 2000. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Mach 2″

Empty Balcony: Battle Royale

Before The Hunger Games, there was Battle Royale. In fact, it’s not all that hard to go back through literary and film history to find stories about groups of people being hunted in a confined environment, commonly an island. Some pit characters against each other, while some feature characters whom are hunters, specifically. A quick trip through my memory (aided by the Google machine) brings up The Most Dangerous Game, The Running Man, and even Death Race 2000. This isn’t a hard idea to come up with, which is why Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games novels, can plausibly claim that she never heard of the book and film Battle Royale before the similarities were pointed out to her. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Battle Royale”

Schwarzenegger Month: The 6th Day

Time is not treating The 6th Day well. Released late in 2000, the movie opens with an XFL game. The XFL, for members of the Loyal Seven who do not remember, was a winter/spring professional football league founded by the WWE’s Vince McMahon, which began play in real life a couple months after this movie’s release. The league managed to limp through one season of play, but that was it. Hardly anyone was watching. Its appearance in this film was an inspired, and probably expensive, bit of product placement, but seeing it did nothing to make me think I was about to watch a good movie. Continue readingSchwarzenegger Month: The 6th Day”

October Horrorshow: Pitch Black

I’m a sucker for Alien ripoffs. Really, I am. Something about the shared stories (monsters whittling down hapless cast members) strikes something elemental in my brain. The formula for films like Alien seems so fundamentally sound to modern storytelling that I bet, had he been alive in the era of science fiction, the Bard himself would have come up with it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Pitch Black”