If one is going to do a Jaws ripoff, this is how it should be done — with tongue planted firmly in cheek, and none of the dour mood that pervades a film like Orca.
Directed by Lewis Teague from a screenplay by the immortal John Sayles, Alligator tells the tale of a mutated alligator that lives in the sewers of Chicago and likes to munch on any hapless person who wanders by.
Following a popular urban legend of the day, a young girl receives a baby alligator as a souvenir from a trip to an alligator farm in Florida and, after the family returns home to Chicago, it is unceremoniously flushed down the toilet, landing unharmed, and probably quite annoyed, in the city sewers. Fast-forward to many years later, and the baby gator is now all grown up, and then some. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Alligator”
Movies like Shakma are a dime a dozen. Cheap, throwaway horror flicks featuring vapid characters played by talent barely holding on to their careers in Hollywood, and maybe an aging star or two. The screenplay looks as if it was less than twenty pages long, sets are plain and repetitive, and what little gore there is must have been a strain on the miniscule budget. Everything about this movie screams cheapness and lack of effort. Everything, that is, except for one of the wildest creatures ever to appear in a horror flick.
In Shakma, from directors Hugh Parks and Tom Logan, filming a screenplay from Roger Engle, Typhoon the baboon plays the title character, a research monkey at some medical school, somewhere. Shakma has been injected with a serum that has turned him into a crazed killing machine, and that’s bad for a small group of med students and their professor, who have chosen that evening to lock up the medical school for a fun night of LARPing. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Shakma”
Missile Test has been doing the Horrorshow since 2009, and this year’s theme, It Came from the Camcorder, has been the most difficult, both to watch and to write about. The me that came up with this idea many months ago has placed a burden on current me that I didn’t expect. Even today’s movie, from a pair of moviemakers that I respect, is a low-down dirty dog that probably never should have seen the light of day. Strike that. No movie is too bad to be made or watched (for at least fifteen minutes, anyway), but there is no obligation from any critic, hobbyist or professional, to blow smoke and pretend that it’s an artistic accomplishment. Congratulations, Polonia Bros., you made another movie, and it sucks.
The Creeping Terror, the 1964 monster flick from producer, director, editor, and star Vic Savage, is a regular staple on ‘worst movies ever made’ lists, and it should be. Watching this flick is a mirthful, schadenfreude-filled experience. It will make a viewer shake one’s head, mystified that a movie so obviously bad could be made. It has the feel of a spoof, as if it were making fun of the low-budget monster flicks of the 1950s. But, no, this is very much a serious film.
The Creeping Terror may have been made in 1964, but, according to the internet, so it must be true, it never received a theatrical release. It lingered on a shelf somewhere until Crown International Pictures licensed it for television in the mid-1970s. Thank goodness for the clearing house for crap that was Crown International, otherwise this could have been a lost film, subject to mere rumor and speculation. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Creeping Terror, aka The Crawling Monster”
In doing research for this year’s Horrorshow, I’ve found that many flicks featured on SOV horror lists on the tubes are not, in fact, shot on videotape. Usually, they are movies that were made for the home video market, never intended for theatrical release, but were shot on cheap film stock. Such is the case with Things, the 1989 flick from producers and writers Barry J. Gillis and Andrew Jordan, with direction by Jordan. It was transferred to video for release, but was shot for the most part on super 8.
I can’t mince words. Things is a contender for worst movie ever made. Everything about the film is the lowest of low rent. Color, lighting, dialogue, plot, acting, special effects, music — it all lives in the darkest, deepest levels of incompetence. Yet, it is not a film hostile to viewers. It has a charm that’s lacking in something like Birdemic. This is an inept film made by earnest filmmakers. While it is bad, it is also worth appreciating the hard work from those involved. They gave us something to be laughed at and mocked, yes, but the enjoyment of a bad movie is not all schadenfreude.
The film follows three men, in what was probably Andrew Jordan’s apartment at the time of filming, as they drink lots of beer, wander around the house a bit, and occasionally fight off the be-teethed things of the title. Where did the things come from? Doug (Doug Bunston) and his wife, Susan (Patricia Sadler) have been trying for a baby, and enlist the services of Dr. Lucas (Jan W. Pachul). Rather than deliver a healthy baby, the things claw their way out of her abdomen and go on a tear through the home. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Things”
From our friends and neighbors in the Great White North comes Psycho Pike, the 1992 SOV eco-horror/ black comedy flick featuring a mutated fish capable of decapitating unwary anglers.
Brought to life by writer and director Chris Poschun, Psycho Pike follows four college students who travel to remote Lake Shippagew somewhere in the wilds north of Toronto for a weekend getaway. They are: couple Tim and Dara (Wayne McNamara and Sarah Campbell) and couple Reg and Rhonda (Douglas Kidd and Dawn Kelly). To add some personal drama, Tim and Reg are best friends, and Rhonda used to be Tim’s steady girlfriend, breaking up with him so she could hook up with Reg. That drama isn’t necessary to the plot, but something had to fill the spaces between the killer fish doing its thing, and infidelity is as good a device as any other. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Psycho Pike”
At some point around 1980, producer Ted A. Bohus and f/x man John Dods put their heads together and came up with an idea for an alien monster flick. Neither could direct or write a screenplay, so Dods brought in Douglas McKeown, a would-be filmmaker looking for his first break. Bohus somehow found a little bit of money, Dods and his crew built one of the wildest monsters ever to grace horror flicks, and McKeown worked his talents to deliver an amazing experience of low-budget cinema.
Released in 1983, The Deadly Spawn tells the story of a creature that rides a meteorite down to Earth and terrorizes a household in rural New Jersey. Tom DeFranco stars as Pete, and Charles George Hildebrandt stars as Pete’s middle school-aged younger brother, also named Charles. (Charles is the son of fantasy/sci-fi illustrator Tim Hildebrandt. Readers may not know him by name, but they will recognize some of the work he did with his brother, Greg. Tim has a small role in the film, on top of lending his house to the production for filming.) Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Deadly Spawn”
Behold! Another early 21st century bag of shit from producer T.J. Sakasegawa and actor Dean Cain. This isn’t to say they were a team, working together to conceive, execute, and then release these dogs on the public. There were many more people involved, but in the early 2000s, if one of these men was on a project, then, more than likely, so was the other.
Boa, a direct-to-video sci-fi/horror flick also released as New Alcatraz, comes to us via director Phillip J. Roth and screenwriter Terri Neish, with Roth also getting a story credit. It tells the tale of a gigantic snake terrorizing guards and prisoners at a secret prison in the Antarctic. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Boa, aka New Alcatraz”
Here’s a movie so nice I had to watch it twice; so uproarious it’s glorious; so shitty I had to go and be witty.
Hailing from the Great White North, The Brain, screenwriter Barry Pearson and director Ed Hunt’s 1988 horror flick, is shitty gold. Let’s get that out of the way, first. This is a quality shitty movie. It’s cheap schlock — outrageous, ridiculous, hilarious, and very, very watchable. It’s the rare horror flick where the creature is shown at the very beginning, but this movie suffers nothing for it. Building tension through the unseen? Nope. None of that. That takes a back seat to sharing such an absurd cinematic creation with audiences right away, and it works. It’s a gigantic brain, with a face and huge teeth, and it eats people. Let me emphasize this. The monster in this movie is a brain the size of a mastiff that eats people.
Tom Bresnahan stars as Jim Majelewski. He’s a typical rebellious Canadian teenager, in that while he may blow up toilets with pure sodium and glue teachers’ pants to chairs, he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, and gets straight A’s. But, the school has had enough of his shenanigans, and he is forced to undergo treatment at the Psychological Research Institute (exteriors were played by the Xerox Research Centre of Canada), run by the evil Dr. Blakely (David Gale) and his assistant, Verna (George Buza). Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Brain (1988)”
Critters might be the first horror franchise to take its action off planet. Hellraiser took to space in 1996, Leprechaun followed a year later, and Friday the 13th sent Jason Vorhees into the black in 2001. Incredible as it seems, Critters 4 might be a groundbreaking film.
From 1992, Critters 4 was shot at the same time as Critters 3, but this isn’t a case of breaking a single film into two parts when things began to sprawl. Critters 4 was always a separate film from the third, with a different director in Rupert Harvey. Much of the production crew, including the Chiodo Brothers, remained the same. Continue reading “Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 4″