Shitty Movie Sundays: The Kidnapping of the President

I’m thankful for William Shatner. Among the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of shitty movies ever made, he stands out. When a production hired William Shatner to play a role, they could be sure that no matter the budget, no matter the subject matter, they were going to get Shatner’s best effort. Not once did he ever take a scene off. And, much to the consternation of many involved, he did it his way every time. There is a lot less Shatner ahead of us in this world than there is behind us, and I’m telling you, we will miss him when he’s gone. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Kidnapping of the President”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Pick-up

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Pick-up”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Las Vegas Lady

Crown International Pictures is a repository of crap. For some, that’s a bad thing. For shitty movie fans, we misguided many, that makes Crown something heroic. It’s too bad they went belly up in 1992.

Many, many years before that happened, however, in 1975, they graced us with a cheap Ocean’s 11 ripoff, wherein a hooker, a waitress, and a trapeze artist plan and execute a casino heist. There are even shades of Charlie’s Angels, as the trio are given their marching orders by a mysterious man who lurks in the shadows. Although, this flick came out a year before Charlie’s Angels premiered. Does that make this film groundbreaking? Hell, no. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Las Vegas Lady”

October Horrorshow: Brain Twisters

Brain Twisters movie posterDr. Phillip Rothman (Terry Londeree) has a problem. The electronics company backing his neurological research isn’t happy with its pace, so they’re pulling his funding. The research involves showing flashing images to people to stimulate certain areas of the brain. The idea is that the company will incorporate the fruits of this research into its videogames, to give players a mental kick while playing, or possibly to get them hooked on it. The whys of the research are less important than the fact the experiments are turning Rothman’s student test subjects into murderous lunatics.

From way back in 1991, Brain Twisters is a horror/sci-fi cheapie from writer/director Jerry Sangiuliano. Potential viewers won’t find much in his IMDb page, and that’s common for just about everyone involved in this dog. This was Londeree’s first credit, and he wasn’t in another feature film until 2004. The only member of the cast who went on to have a career is Farrah Forke, who plays Laurie Stevens, one of Rothman’s students and work-study assistants. But, just because most of the people involved in a flick are rookies, doesn’t mean it will be bad. A general lack of talent and competence is enough. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Brain Twisters”

October Horrorshow: Terror (1978)

Sometimes when watching a film, a viewer can tell that the whole project barely held together. We viewers tend to hold that film is an artistic struggle carried out by a single individual. The director has a vision and a story they want to share. This is called the auteur theory of film, and is the main reason we heap praise on directors, at the expense of everyone else involved in a production. Less acknowledged is the reality that film is a business. As anyone who ever worked in an office can tell you, folks are just hanging on by their fingernails, hoping against hope that no one notices how much of the job is just faking it until it gets done. Here is director Norman J. Warren on his 1978 film, Terror:

 

[A] search for a story [in Terror] is in vain…There is no real storyline and very little, if any, logic. We had the money for a low-budget film, but no script and no idea of what film we wanted to make…we made a list of all the scenes we’d like to see in a horror film. We handed the list to writer David McGillivray, who incorporated the ideas into a ‘sort of story.’

That’s an excellent description of this film. There is a plot, involving an ancient curse set upon the Garrick family by a witch, but the plot is just a means to get from one death scene to another. It’s those scenes, fleshed out and very atmospheric, where this film truly lives. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Terror (1978)”

October Horrorshow: The Devil’s Hand

Rick Turner (Robert Alda), is, by all appearances, in a happy relationship with Donna Trent (Ariadne Welter). The two of them are clean-cut, 1950s wholesome, and engaged to be married. But, a mysterious, beautiful woman has been appearing to Rick in his dreams. One day, as he and Donna are walking about, Rick sees a doll in the display window of a dollmaker’s shop that has an uncanny resemblance to the woman in his dreams. He goes inside, and sets in motion a tale of evil and death.

Such is the setup to The Devil’s Hand, a kitschy 1961 horror flick from writer Jo Heims and director William J. Hole, Jr. By kitschy, I mean that this film has the look and feel of Ed Wood. I don’t mean a film directed by Ed Wood. I mean the Tim Burton biopic. I have no idea what exact sources Burton found for inspiration. Perhaps this flick was on the list. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Devil’s Hand”

October Horrorshow: Terrified

I love finding an old movie that, as of seeing it, doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. Any movie that can’t be bothered with by Wikipedia’s legion of unpaid of workers has to be shit. Terrified, the last feature from longtime director Lew Landers, is a shitty movie. It’s also quite violent for its day, and, were it not for epic cheapness and laziness with the production, might have been a halfway decent flick.

From 1963, Terrified comes from the pen of Richard Bernstein, who began his screenwriting career with From Hell It Came. That movie was spectacular cheese about a killer tree. Nothing so original in this flick. There doesn’t seem to have been a budget for a foam rubber monster, so in this film, the baddie is just a guy in an ill-fitting suit and homemade stocking mask. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Terrified”

October Horrorshow: Blood of Dracula’s Castle

Glen Cannon (Gene Otis Shane) is a lucky man. He has a decent career as a photographer, is about to marry and start a family with a model, Liz (Jennifer Bishop), and just inherited a castle in Arizona. That’s right. A castle. In Arizona.

There’s just one problem. The castle has been leased out to an aging couple for decades, and they don’t wish to leave. There’s actually another problem. The old couple are the Count and Countess Dracula (Alexander D’Arcy and Paula Raymond). They call themselves the Townsends now, but they are, indeed, the creature of legend and his wife. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood of Dracula’s Castle”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Chain Gang Women

We have been hornswoggled. We have been bamboozled. Hoodwinked. Swindled. Tricked, and defrauded. A movie with a title such as Chain Gang Women has obligations to be met. There needs to be women. On a chain gang. And there should be, at minimum, two nude shower scenes. A film with a title like this owes its audience genuine exploitative sleaze. This flick is that, to be sure, but to an inadequate extent. Nor does that change the fact that viewers are the victims of shameless misdirection in the pursuit of drive-in dollars. I shall explain. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Chain Gang Women”

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”