October Horrorshow: Virus (1999)

Once upon a time, the moviegoing public wasn’t assaulted by an endless stream of comic book movies from Marvel and DC. Back in the dark days of 1999, the Batman cinematic franchise was on life support after Joel Schumacher finished with it, and Marvel’s properties had been farmed out to Sony. The only two movies of any significance based on comics that year was Mystery Men, which was a big budget flop, and Virus, which was an even bigger big budget flop. Both of these titles came from Dark Horse Entertainment, and may have a lot to do with the slow pace of further adaptations from the Dark Horse stable, when compared with what Marvel and DC are doing. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Virus (1999)”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 3

I’m willing to believe claims that screenwriter Dominic Muir wrote Critters before Gremlins was released in 1984, but as the franchise reached this third installment, all pretense is washed away. Critters 3 is a Gremlins ripoff — and also the launching point for one of Hollywood’s most successful actors.

No more theatrical releases for this franchise. By 1991, it was direct-to-video only. Written by David J. Schow and directed by Kristine Peterson, Critters 3 leaves the cozy confines of Grover’s Bend, Kansas, for the big city of Topeka. A family returning from a vacation — father Clifford (John Calvin), daughter Annie (Aimee Brooks), and young son Johnny (played by twins Christian and Joseph Cousins) — unknowingly pick up a critter infestation when they have to stop to change a tire. A couple of eggs are left in a wheel well, and they hatch just as the family returns to their rundown apartment building. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 3″

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 4: In Space

This is the shameless, absurd piece of shit movie that I have been waiting for this series to produce. With Leprechaun 4: In Space, the filmmakers finally said, “fuck it,” and jettisoned everything that hindered this substandard horror franchise. By that, I mean Earth. The first three flicks were somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but they never lived up, or down, to their potential. This film is the turning point.

Like its predecessor, Leprechaun 4 went straight to video. That was a wise decision. The opening shot — in SPACE! — has some of the worst CGI a viewer is likely to see anywhere, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film. Realism was not within the grasp of the budget, and the result would not have been acceptable for a theatrical release. That also means director Brian Trenchard-Smith was freed from the shackles of even middling expectations. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 4: In Space”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 3

Most horror franchises have a seminal first film, one that grabs the attention of horror fans, and then the franchise limps its way to irrelevancy. Sequels descend in quality to the point the filmmakers are clearly in it for the cash and nothing else. The Leprechaun franchise is different from, say, the Halloween franchise or the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, because it has been shit from day one. The first flick was bad, the second flick was worse, and Leprechaun 3 feels like a last gasp before everyone went home and pretended none of this ever happened. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 3″

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 2

I am baffled, flabbergasted, dumbfounded, astonished, nonplussed. I am deep into the thesaurus when it comes to how I regard Leprechaun 2, the 1994 sequel to filmmaker Mark Jones’ magnum opus. The first flick stank. It only made a little over eight and a half million bucks at the box office, yet it spawned a film franchise that has now spanned a quarter century. I admire the fact that everyone involved keeps making these shitty flicks despite an unending wave of negative criticism. It’s just that in a country known for such ruthless capitalism, I’m surprised these turds keep finding financial backing. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 2″

October Horrorshow: Leprechaun

There are some bad horror franchises out there. Some are intentionally bad (I’m looking at you, Sharknado). Some, like Amityville, are victim to the fact that trademarking the name of a town is tricky, so anyone with a camera and fifty bucks can make an entry. Some, like the Leprechaun franchise, were sprung from a substandard horror flick that somehow made enough money to justify sequels.

From way back in 1993, Leprechaun was sprung from the mind of writer/director Mark Jones, and follows the tale of a murderous leprechaun (Warwick Davis) who is on the trail of his stolen gold. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Leprechaun”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising

What a bottom-feeding pile of garbage. This reviewer has seen many bad movies — enough bad movies that I’ve ruined any arthouse bona fides I may have had — yet, sometimes, I’m still surprised that something so amateurish manages to get made. This is one of those shitty movies where no one involved, even the professionals, seemed able to capitalize on their work.

Alien Rising, from 2013, is a direct-to-video shitfest brought to viewers by screenwriters Michael Todd and Kenny Yakkel, and director Dana Schroeder. This was Schroeder’s second directing effort, and, if his IMDb page is any indication, it will be his last. Thank goodness. We shitty movie fans may be into flagellation, but everyone has limits. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Alien Rising, aka Gemini Rising”

It Came from the ’50s: From Hell It Came

What a gloriously stupid movie. I’ll be honest. Many of the 1950s flicks in this month’s Horrorshow have been a real slog to get through. That’s really something, considering how many of them are only around an hour or so in length. Today’s ’50s flick is a short one, too, clocking in at only 71 minutes. It didn’t have much of a budget, either, so a decent amount of that short running time is spent expositing. But, without any reservations at all, From Hell It Came is an incredible shitty movie. It’s essential viewing for the shitty movie fan. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: From Hell It Came”

It Came from the ’50s: Bride of the Gorilla

If one is going to make a shitty movie, don’t be a burden on the audience. Get in and get out before people start getting bored. Running time can often be the difference between an amusing jaunt through the world of substandard cinema and a hateful experience. In general: the shorter the better. Other filmmakers should take a lesson from writer/director Curt Siodmak. He went to the extreme with his 1951 flick, Bride of the Gorilla. It tests that general rule about running time, for Siodmak and company brought this sucker in at an astounding 66 minutes. That’s a long episode of Game of Thrones, not a feature film. Yet, I watched the damn thing, and it did indeed pass in little over an hour. And, believe it or not, that was all the time it needed. This is a shitty movie, without any doubt, but Siodmak did make a tidy little package. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: Bride of the Gorilla”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Pompeii

What a putrid mess. The trailer for Pompeii, Paul W.S. Anderson’s CGI shit-fest from earlier this year, promised viewers an exploding mountain. It never promised to be a faithful retelling of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 that destroyed the city of the title. But that’s all well and good. Paul W.S. Anderson does not do anything but spectacle. In the trailer, Vesuvius blows up and that’s what I paid to see. What I didn’t pay to see was a low-rent Titanic rip-off that made me wait 66 whole minutes for the good stuff. And that wait is a problem. Pompeii only runs about an hour and a half. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for the disaster portion of this disaster movie. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Pompeii”