Often, it can seem as if the only b-movies that get made are throwaway attempts at a quick payday, à la something produced by George Weiss or Roger Corman. Occasionally, a shitty movie will have artistic pretensions. It will a be a filmmaker’s magnum opus or a collaborative stab at something meaningful — an earnest attempt at telling a story or making a statement. Earnestness is no sure sign of success, as today’s film would attest, but it’s also not something that can be dismissed out of hand. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Pick-up”
Tag: Americana Flick
Empty Balcony: The Color of Money
Still burning off those reviews for the aborted Cruise month. Here’s criticism of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time:
Good things come to those who wait. Many times in the film and television business these days, it seems as if a film sequel or further seasons of a television series are greenlit as soon as a project has a whiff of success. Reasonably enough, the people in charge of feeding us content see success as evidence that we viewers would like more of the same. But sometimes it takes a long time for a success to have a follow-up. Such was the case with The Hustler, the 1961 film directed by Robert Rossen, from the novel by Walter Tevis. A full 25 years went by before Tevis penned a sequel. When he finally did, the film adaptation, The Color of Money, bore little resemblance in plot, but it was helmed by Martin Scorcese. That’s a pretty good tradeoff. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: The Color of Money”
Empty Balcony: All the Right Moves
All Stef Djordevic (Tom Cruise) wants is to get out of town, and I don’t blame him. All the Right Moves, the 1983 film from director Michael Chapman and screenwriter Michael Kane, opens on a rather depressing moment. It’s morning at the steel mill, and Stef’s older brother and father are shown wrapping up their graveyard shift. They leave the mill in silence, their fellow workers just as spent as they are. The message for viewers is clear, if not all that accurate for some (my grandfathers used to hit the bar across the street from their mill immediately after work — end of shift was a time for jollity, not introspection). The mill takes all your hopes and dreams, and crushes them. But at least it keeps food on the table and a roof over one’s head…until the layoffs start. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: All the Right Moves”
It Came from the ’50s: The Tingler
Gimmicks present unique problems when it comes to film, or art, or anything. Gimmicks may be useful for an initial draw, but people tire of them. Gimmicks are also used to disguise, or make up for, a lack of funds or competence. That is why William Castle, despite throwing some interesting gimmicks into his films, is remembered for being a shitty movie director as much as an innovator.
The Tingler, from 1959, was Castle’s most ambitious foray into gimmickry. Besides producing, Castle directed, from a screenplay by Robb White. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: The Tingler”
It Came from the ’50s: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Regular readers know that we here at Missile Test love us some schlock. Especially the ’50s kind, with its cheap sets, hammy actors, ridiculous monsters, and short ties. At first glance, 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers would fit right in. But, this flick ain’t schlock. Oh, no.
Directed by Don Siegel (who directed some excellent movies — including Dirty Harry), from a screenplay by Daniel Mainwaring, adapting Jack Finney’s novel, Body Snatchers tells the tale of a small town in California whose residents are being replaced by impostors. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)”
October Horrorshow: The Legend of Boggy Creek
Joe Bob Briggs, drive-in movie reviewer and movie host extraordinaire, once referred to this strange film as a ‘horror documentary musical reality show’, and that pretty well sums things up. But, in the interest of being thorough, and to stretch out this review to over 600 words, a little more detail is in order.
The Legend of Boggy Creek comes to us from way back in 1972. The brainchild of local Arkansas TV personality Charles B. Pierce, Boggy Creek, to add to Joe Bob’s flowing description, is a docudrama. It consists of dramatic recreations of encounters the people of Fouke, Arkansas had with a bigfoot-like creature in 1971. These stories were taken seriously enough to be featured in newspapers and on television. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Legend of Boggy Creek”
October Horrorshow: The Prowler, aka Rosemary’s Killer
Tom Savini is a horror legend. He’s every bit as important to the history of the genre as some of its greatest auteurs. Without Savini, George Romero’s 1970s and ’80s horror work wouldn’t have the same punch. It was Savini’s expertise that allowed Joe Pilato’s torso to be pulled to pieces in Day of the Dead, and Don Keefer to be dragged into a crate and mutilated by a Tasmanian devil in Creepshow. Savini is an artist in the medium of fake blood. And while his work elevated good horror movies, it also made obscure horror flicks, like Maniac, worth watching for the effects alone. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Prowler, aka Rosemary’s Killer”
Giant Monstershow: The Giant Gila Monster
Of all the shitty monster movies that I’ve watched so far for the October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow, The Giant Gila Monster might be my favorite, just for how bumbling the whole thing is. It wallows in everything clichéd and bad about the giant monster subgenre of horror flicks from the 1950s. It does away with the expository scientist, sure, but replaces that tired trope with a hip teenager and his girl, following the lead of The Blob. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: The Giant Gila Monster”
Giant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider
The October Horrorshow Giant Monstershow carries on! Today’s film is the sixth this month featuring b-cinema auteur extraordinaire Bert I. Gordon. The man made giant monster flicks his own cottage industry. That’s not too far off of the mark, considering Gordon would shoot effects in his own garage.
Today’s film is Earth vs. The Spider, also released as just The Spider. Released just a few months after War of the Colossal Beast, Earth vs. The Spider switches up the formula for giant monster flicks. Most of the films featured this past month have featured scientists and doctors as the main protagonists, or maybe a military man or two. This film does have those characters, but they’ve been relegated to supporting roles. In this flick, the heroes are teenagers. That’s right. By 1958, shitty filmmakers recognized that it was teenagers that were pumping large amounts of dollars into their coffers, and someone came up with the bright idea to make movies featuring teenagers in the leads. Continue reading “Giant Monstershow: Earth vs. the Spider, aka The Spider”
Shitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends
I knew nothing about this film when I began watching it. I found it on a YouTube channel that collects old grindhouse and drive-in movies that have fallen into the public domain. That copy was crap, but being in the public domain meant that the film could be found elsewhere. Amazon Prime has a much better quality copy, so should one actually want to seek out and watch this turd, I recommend doing so on Amazon. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends”