Shitty Movie Sundays: Tuareg: The Desert Warrior, or, Let’s Cancel Mark Harmon!

Tuareg: The Desert Warrior movie posterAfter a 3-plus year absence, Shitty Movie Sundays hall of famer Enzo G. Castellari is back! Today’s film showcases Castellari’s most prominent skills. The film takes place in the desert, things blow up, and when they do, it’s filmed in glorious slow motion. Castellari knew what he was good at, and it wasn’t storytelling.

Mark Harmon (that’s right, Mark Harmon) plays a North African Tuareg, one of a nomadic people who span the Sahara. This is the type of role that Harmon couldn’t take, much less be offered, today. It would be considered an egregious case of whitewashing. And, if the project had managed to get made, all those involved would have to spend at least a week apologizing on Twitter before the mob moved on to the next outrage. But, in 1984, this type of casting decision could still be made, especially in Italy and Spain, which were free from Hollywood politics.

In my mind, having a white guy play a Berber tribesman only adds to this flick’s shitty movie creds. It’s icing on the cake that Harmon made only a token effort to disguise his SoCal accent, taking on an inflection reminiscent of stereotypical Native Americans. It’s possible this isn’t his fault. He may have been told his voice would be dubbed in post, or that the film wouldn’t be released in an English-language version at all. Or, he just gave a performance of stunning ineptitude. Or, it’s no different than any other Mark Harmon performance. It’s up to the viewer’s imagination. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Tuareg: The Desert Warrior, or, Let’s Cancel Mark Harmon!”

Shitty Movie Sundays: 2307: Winter’s Dream

I’m glad that filmmakers are still making flicks like this. It’s schlock from the ground up, and the only thing that harms its shitty movie cred is the fact it was filmed in digital HD. Pardon a short rant that is going to make me sound like the old man I am steadily becoming, but shitty movies in the age of celluloid had an extra sheen of cheapness that has been lost. In the past, shitty filmmakers had to rent cheap cameras and lenses, and buy substandard film stock and processing, to get their films made. The difference in visual quality was stark, compared to big time productions. These days, however, a movie can get made with a digital SLR that costs a few thousand bucks, or even a smartphone, and the visual quality is much closer to what one gets from proper, high-end digital cameras. Part of the joy of watching an old shitty movie is bad film stock, and that is gone forever. Too bad. Anyway… Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: 2307: Winter’s Dream”

October Horrorshow: Nightbeast

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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Nightbeast”

October Horrorshow: Overlord

If one is looking for a realistic World War Two movie, look elsewhere. Overlord takes all of its war visuals and scenarios from Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, to the point of thievery, but all that is just backdrop to the story. What this movie is really about are Nazi monster super-soldier experiments, and the small squad of American paratroopers who put a stop to it. It’s bloody, full of gore, and, somehow, works as a serious tale with no absurdity. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Overlord”

October Horrorshow: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

So, how does a production company follow up a financially successful creature feature that surprised audiences and critics alike with its absurd watchability? By doing it all over again, but with less than half the budget. It’s almost criminal.

Anaconda, the 1997 giant snake flick starring future superstar Jennifer Lopez, ranks very high in the Shitty Movie Sundays Watchability Index. It was shocking how so stupid a movie ended up being so entertaining. It was also something of a surprise that it took another seven years for there to be a sequel, as Hollywood is not known for passing up free money. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Empire of Ash III, aka Last of the Warriors

What a gloriously stupid movie. It has it all. Barely sensible plot, bad dialogue, bad acting, cheap filmstock, gratuitous nudity, and all the other accoutrements that make shitty cinema great. Every time the flick threatens to drag, directors Michael Mazo and Lloyd A. Simandi throw in a gunfight and some explosions, and all is well with the world once again. Empire of Ash III is no rare gem, but we shitty movie fans love it when filmmakers just throw shit at the wall to see what sticks. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Empire of Ash III, aka Last of the Warriors”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Hard Night Falling, or, Die Hard at a Villa

Let’s hear it for the Italian shitty movie industry. Decades-long and still going strong, when one has a yen for a ripoff of one’s favorite Hollywood action flicks, look no further than Italy.

Today’s shitty Italian ripoff is Hard Night Falling, from 2019. Dolph Lundgren plays Michael Anderson, an Interpol agent who is meeting his wife and daughter (Sinne Mutsaers and Chiara Arrigoni) at a villa owned by businessman Frank (Andrea Scarduzio), during a swanky dinner party. Things are a bit rocky in the Anderson household, and it has been many years since Michael has seen his daughter. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Hard Night Falling, or, Die Hard at a Villa”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors

Sylvester Stallone has been dipping into the China market, of late. This isn’t anything new, really. For years now, Hollywood has been tweaking their films to satisfy the demands of the Chinese government and gain access to their huge market, with mixed results. There’s no tweaking in the latest Escape Plan flick, however. This film looks made for the Chinese market, and if anything comes of it in other markets, that’s just gravy for this film’s 48 credited producers. Seriously, 48! I counted nine production company logos at the start, eating up 1:45 of this flick’s 96-minute running time. Major League Baseball has shorter commercial breaks between innings. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Policewomen, or, Misogyny: The Movie

Sondra Currie stars as Lacy Bond, and the last name is no coincidence. As much as Policewomen, the 1974 flick from writers Lee Frost and Wes Bishop, and also directed by Frost, is an exploitation buddy cop crime women in prison gangster martial arts LA story, it’s also a James Bond ripoff. And, unlike all the Bond films, the camera keeps rolling during the naughty bits in this shitty gem.

Policewomen opens with a jailbreak. Despite the ass-kicking efforts of Lacy Bond, two inmates, Pam and Janette (Jeannie Bell and Laurie Rose) stage a spectacular escape. They get naked while they’re doing it, too, staking this flick’s gratuitous nudity claims early (this film actually has much less skin than I expected). For her above and beyond efforts, Lacy is recruited to do some plainclothes work. The squad she joins is investigating a gang led by Maude (Elizabeth Stuart, in her only appearance), an aged, foul-mouthed, dried up, wrinkly old prune of a godfather. Before we get to Maude and her gang, though, I need to write about Lacy Bond’s new colleagues. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Policewomen, or, Misogyny: The Movie”

Shitty Movie Sundays: No Escape No Return, or, Three Riggses and No Murtaughs

The early 1990s were very much a weird time. It was an extended hangover from our experience of the ’80s, and movies reflected that. As important as music was in redefining style, and giving the younger Gen-X slackers senseless purposelessness, there was still a fair amount of big hair and mullets out there alongside the flannels and unkempt coiffures. In shitty cinema, sharp suits, tight skirts, and cocaine were still the rage, while out in the real world, alternative rock had rediscovered heroin. Movies were playing a game of catch-up when it came to popular culture, resulting in some films looking like anachronisms.

1993 saw the release of No Escape No Return, a cheap buddy cop flick that takes all the well-worn clichés of the last decade-plus and stirs them into a shitty mush. Charles T. Kanganis handled writing and directing. More importantly, Joseph Merhi, a Shitty Movie Sundays Hall of Fame inductee, was one of the producers, adding this film to an impressive list of subpar accomplishments. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: No Escape No Return, or, Three Riggses and No Murtaughs”