Slipstream, the 1989 movie from producer Gary Kurtz, is a rare film. It must be, since this is one of the few times I mention the producer of a film before I mention a director, screenwriter, or star. So, why the top billing for Mr. Kurtz?
It’s because this movie ruined him as a big time Hollywood producer. Kurtz produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. He produced two of the most important films in blockbuster history, having an effect on studio films that still reverberates to this day. Then, creative conflicts with George Lucas led to a split, and Kurtz went his own way. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Slipstream”
Assignment: Outer Space, the 1960 sci-fi flick from director Antonio Margheriti, is a textbook example of why cheap practical effects are better than bad CGI. I’m no Luddite. CGI will continue to improve and become more affordable right up to the point AI takes over film production and just thinks shit up on the spot. I’m thinking more of the bargain basement CGI of this still-young century versus what Margheriti’s crew was able to accomplish sixty years ago. Both are unconvincing, but cheap model work has a charm that bad CGI does not — almost an innocence. That’s illusory, of course. Cheap effects are all about saving cash, no matter which method is used. Yet, there’s something slimy about bad CGI, as if it’s more an enabler of poor filmmaking rather than a result of tight budgets. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men”
It sure is. As always, I maintain it is pointless to try and impose today’s morals on the past. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from them and become better people…by pointing and laughing at those freaking idiots.
From 1965, Indian Paint is the rare western flick that takes place in the days before the arrival of Europeans. There isn’t a single Caucasian character in the film. What there are, though, are a bunch of white people slathered in makeup so red it looks like they were rolled around in the mud in Utah. Even the actual Native Americans in the cast, of which there were two, by my count, were covered in it. This flick represents the type of deep, ingrained, and completely clueless racism which used to be okay not just in the film industry, but in society at large. It’s a useful reminder that progress has been made, despite the re-emerging bravado of white nationalism. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Indian Paint, or, Oh Jeez, This Flick is Racist, Isn’t It?”
This is a bad movie. A bad, bad, very bad, awful, barely coherent waste of 70 minutes. The good news is, for we gluttons of substandard cinema, this flick is in the public domain, so it won’t cost anything to rent. Just head over to archive.org, and there it is, ready to ruin one’s evening for free.
From screenwriter John W. Steiner, and directed by shitty movie auteur Jerry Warren, The Incredible Petrified World tells the story of four intrepid explorers walking around in a cave. That’s about it. Oh, important plot point: the cave is at the bottom of the ocean. And that is it. Oh, wait, there’s also a guy in the cave, wearing, perhaps, the most hilarious wig and fake beard ever seen in film. And that, really, is it.
John Carradine plays Millard Wyman, an inventor who has convinced four souls to descend to the ocean floor in his experimental diving bell. Wyman won’t be joining them, because by 1959, when this flick was released, Carradine was already finished with roles that took effort. The four suckers he tricks into risking their lives for his glory are Craig Randall (Robert Clarke), Dale Marshall (Phyllis Coates), Paul Whitmore (Allen Windsor), and Lauri Talbott (Sheila Noonan). Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Incredible Petrified World”
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 reading “October Horrorshow: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid”
We’re still burning through reviews that were intended for Tom Cruise month. This film is where I began to realize I might not want to watch 31 Tom Cruise movies:
I knew there were going to be some tough watches this month. It’s impossible to run through 31 of a star’s films and not find at least one film made for a completely different type of viewer than myself. In Legend, the 1985 fantasy film from writer William Hjortsberg and director Ridley Scott, that audience was one that likes a fairy tale. That’s what Legend is. It draws stark lines between good and evil, takes place in an enchanted forest, features a damsel in distress, and shares its overall creature aesthetic with Halloween displays at a big box store. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Legend (1985)”
Beware a promising title, especially when it comes to shitty movies. There’s a good chance that a shitty movie won’t live up to its title, and could even be a bait-and-switch. Monster from Green Hell, from 1957, isn’t that most egregious of shitty filmmaking sins, but it is not nearly as good as the title.
The Green Hell of the title is a stretch of African jungle surrounding a volcano. The Monster which emerges from the Green Hell is a gigantic wasp, mutated by space radiation. It all began back in the states, in an isolated rocket science lab in the west. Dr. Quent Brady (Jim Davis, of Dallas fame), and Dan Morgan (Robert Griffin) are conducting experiments to determine the effects that exposure to space will have on future human space travelers. They do this by sending just about every animal they can find into space aboard rockets, then studying the animals after the rocket returns to Earth. There is a concern that all that radiation shooting around up in space will mutate those who are exposed to it. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Monster from Green Hell, or, Deus Ex Mons Igneus”
This isn’t W. Lee Wilder’s first film in this year’s Horrorshow, but I am getting sick of him in a way I never did with Bert I. Gordon during last year’s Horrorshow. Wilder’s films are no less tedious than Gordon’s, but unlike Gordon, Wilder showed no progress as a filmmaker. His films, in fact, seemed to grow more resistant to artistic growth with every one he made, and he still had eight more feature films to go before he called it quits.
The Snow Creature is an abominable snowman flick from 1954. Paul Langton plays botanist Dr. Frank Parrish, and Leslie Denison plays photographer and adventurer Peter Wells. The two of them lead a small expedition to the Himalayas to gather and study unknown plant species. With them are a Sherpa guide, Subra (Teru Shimada), and a group of porters.
One may notice that ‘Teru Shimada’ is not a Nepalese or Chinese name. It’s Japanese. In fact, all the Sherpas in this film were played by Japanese actors. They even speak their lines in Japanese. I wouldn’t categorize this as shitty filmmaking, but it’s definitely cheap, and perhaps lazy. I don’t imagine there were a whole lot of Sherpas available for a Hollywood casting call in the 1950s, but there has to be a better solution than just subbing one group of Asians for another and not caring if anyone notices. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: The Snow Creature”
This one is a classic. From 1954 comes Creature from the Black Lagoon. It’s the story of a newly-discovered species of humanoid fish and man’s efforts to hunt it down and kill it.
Directed by Jack Arnold from a screenplay by Harry Essex and Arthur A. Ross, Creature follows a small scientific expedition that sets off up the Amazon River in search of fossils.
The exhibition began at the behest of Dr. Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno), a geologist who discovered the fossilized remains of a hybrid fish/humanlike appendage. It’s a revolutionary scientific discovery. Maia needs support, however, to search for any further remains. He finds that support in Dr. Mark Williams (Richard Denning) and Dr. David Reed (Richard Carlson), a pair of ichthyologists. Joining them on the expedition are another scientist, Dr. Edwin Thompson (Whit Bissell); Reeds’ assistant/fiancé Kay Lawrence (Julie Adams); boat skipper Captain Lucas (Nestor Paiva); and a gaggle of fodder for the monster. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Creature from the Black Lagoon”
Robert L. Lippert, shitty film producer extraordinaire, once said of himself (in the third person, no less), “Lippert makes a lot of cheap pictures but he’s never made a stinker.” That is a bunch of bullshit. For proof, one need look no further than 1951’s Lost Continent. It stinks.
Directed by Sam Newfield, brother of another one of the film’s producers (career shitty movie producer Sigmund Neufeld), Lost Continent tells the story of a military expedition that discovers an island of prehistoric flora and fauna in the Pacific while searching for a lost rocket. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Lost Continent (1951)”