October Horrorshow: The Lost Boys

To some movie fans, filmmaker Joel Schumacher is still paying penance for Batman and Robin. This page reconsidered that film a few years back, and concluded the problem lay more with viewers’ expectations than Schumacher’s final product. Still, no matter how people feel about that film, Joel Schumacher will be forever associated with putting nipples on the batsuit, when his greatest contribution to film was this operatic gem from the 1980s. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Lost Boys”

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Best Friends”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Summer City

Summer CityThis flick is a bad one. This is one of those zero-budget plodding messes that would have found a ready home on Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s one of those flicks that lacks most endearing characteristics, and only survives because it featured a future Hollywood star.

Summer City, from way back in 1977, is the first feature film on Mel Gibson’s IMDb page. He’s one of four main characters, all friends, who head out from 1950s Sydney for some fun and sun at an Australian beach.

How do I know the movie takes place in the 1950s? Director Christopher Fraser and producer/writer Phil Avalon helped us viewers with that, by providing an opening credits stock footage montage of scenes from the 1950s. This extensive sequence is amazing, because so much of the footage seems to have been chosen at random — the only prerequisite being that it looks like it was shot in the ’50s. How else to explain the repeated use of footage of a long-distance runner in training? It has nothing to do with the plot. This movie is about surfing blokes. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Summer City”

Stallone Month: Paradise Alley

Before there was Rocky, there was Paradise Alley. That might not make any sense, since Paradise Alley was made two years after Rocky. But back in the mid-1970s, when Sylvester Stallone made his pitch to Rocky producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, this was the screenplay Sly wanted to make. They passed, but according to Sly, they said they would look at any other ideas he had. He went home that night and began to write Rocky. But there was still this screenplay out there, and after the success of Rocky, Sly was able to make this film. Not only did he write the screenplay, he also directed, starred, and, God help us, sang the opening theme song, Too Close to Paradise. All of this is very Orson Wellesian, in that it’s an overindulgent exercise in filmmaking, storytelling, and acting, but it doesn’t have the benefit of being any good. Continue readingStallone Month: Paradise Alley”

October Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

I love it when a sequel plays around with its original idea...with caveats, of course. Tweaks are good. Wholesale re-imaginings can be taking things too far. Take The Highlander, for instance. That film lays out some neat ground rules for both protagonist and antagonist. For some supernatural reason, seemingly random people throughout history have been rendered immortal, their purpose in life to track each other down and cut each other’s heads off, all to earn a mysterious prize which will be given to the last man standing. The film spent a substantial amount of time on its hero’s origin story in the Scottish Highlands. The film wrapped up the story so completely that the filmmakers may as well have put a bow on it. But, when it was time to make a sequel, all that backstory was retconned, and the immortals turned into fricking aliens. ALIENS. Audiences hated it. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge”

October Horrorshow: Christine

A general rule: films that are adaptations of books are not as good as the book. Why should they be? A film removes all the grace of prose, and by necessity compresses the story. Sometimes, though, films are better than their source material, and the rule is reversed. Jaws, Wolfen, Die Hard (aka Nothing Lasts Forever), Full Metal Jacket (aka The Short-Timers)...a list like this could go on and on. It’s strangely satisfying to watch a film that’s better than the book. But also confusing. All those films I cited above come from mediocre books. Yet the mind of a filmmaker was able to read them and think, “Yeah, this would make a good movie.” Okay. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Christine”

October Horrorshow: Carrie

How times have changed. Within two minutes of Brian De Palma’s Carrie, an adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel, there’s a scene in a girls’ high school locker room after gym class with no less than half a dozen full frontal nude shots. High school girls (all played by adults) are bouncing around and giggling after showering, showing off their gloriously naked bodies. I can’t imagine there would ever be a film made today that featured nude teenagers so prominently, much less with such sappy eloquence and, yes, sexuality. It’s not long before the camera pans and settles on the film’s main character, Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), as she showers and caresses her body, culminating in a horrific display of bullying after the onset of her first menstrual cycle. That’s how viewers are introduced to the confused, introverted, oppressed, overgrown adolescent of the title: as she is brutalized by her peers. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Carrie”

October Horrorshow: Dance of the Dead

It’s October, which means it’s time for the October Horrorshow, when Missile Test devotes the entire month to watching and reviewing horror films. All are welcome: the good, the bad, and the putrid. Today’s review is of the zombie comedy Dance of the Dead, written by Joe Ballarini and directed by Gregg Bishop, a pair of relative unknowns in the movie world. The only people even more anonymous than those who made Dance of the Dead are the actors and actresses who starred in it. But if there were such a thing as a little movie that could, Dance of the Dead up and did. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Dance of the Dead”