Shitty Movie Sundays: Castle Falls

Dolph Lundgren is amongst the most reliable action movie stars to grace the pages of Shitty Movie Sundays. Nary a year has gone by since the 1990s when he hasn’t starred in some low budget b-action fare. Sometimes, he even directs.

Castle Falls, from 2021, sees Lundgren helm a screenplay from Andrew Knauer, whose biggest splash in Hollywood was penning Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s comeback film, The Last Stand.

Lundgren takes the rare second billing in this flick, playing a prison guard named Richard Ericson. Top billing goes to Scott Adkins, playing an MMA fighter named Mike Wade, who has aged out of the sport, and is left dead broke and homeless in Alabama. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Castle Falls”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Hellcats (1968), or, The Heck Kittens

“You’ve seen the guys. Now here are the psycho mad mamas who ride with them. They’re The Hellcats!”

So says the trailer to The Hellcats, the 1968 film from writer (with Tony Huston) and director Robert F. Slatzer. The trailer promises a biker gang flick along the lines of The Wild Angels, only with ladies in the lead. Well, that’s a lie, invented to trick unsuspecting would-be viewers into seeing this dog. There are women bikers in this movie, sure, but it’s an equitable relationship with the men in the biker gang. That makes it unique in this subgenre, where women are usually relegated to the role of property, but a lie, nevertheless. It’s not the first misleading trailer for a film ever made, and it won’t be the last. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Hellcats (1968), or, The Heck Kittens”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Wrecker (2022)

Outsider filmmakers with a dream are the best kinds of filmmakers. These are the folks who get it into their heads to make a movie regardless of massive obstacles. All the things that make filmmaking difficult are mere challenges to overcome, annoyances to bypass. What requires a small army to get done in Hollywood, they do themselves. Of course, the final product betrays the humble nature of these movies, even when they are 127 minutes of bombastic insanity.

Bryan Brooks had a very limited career in film before 2022’s Wrecker, appearing in a handful of shorts and doing some work as a grip. If the internet is to be believed, Brooks had an epiphany while he was pinned beneath an 800-pound crab pot on a boat in the Bering Sea. After his shipmates lifted the cage and his lungs took in precious lifegiving air, Brooks took stock of his life and decided that filmmaking was his life’s calling. What followed was a decade of painstaking study of the craft of film before he unleashed his talents on the moviegoing public. It’s almost a superhero origin story. I don’t care if any of it is true. A little mythmaking in the b-movie movie industry never hurt anyone. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Wrecker (2022)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Money Plane

One would think that professional wrestlers are tailormade action stars. They are athletic, charismatic, decent at improv, and willing to do just about anything to put on a good show. Also, one of the most important weapons in a wrestler’s arsenal is the ability to play a character. These men and women spend months or years crafting characters to which roaring crowds respond, either favorably, in the case of faces, or with gleeful jeers, in the case of heels. These are people who know how to work crowds, but remove the crowds, leaving nothing but cameras and crew, and the vast majority of wrestlers turned actor seem a bit lost. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Money Plane”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Guy from Harlem

You know how in movies, sometimes, there will be another movie shown on a television in the background, or one of the characters will be watching it? It’s common for these prop movies to be old public domain flicks, or, if the director is feeling particularly ambitious, something cobbled together just for that movie. Think Angels with Filthy Souls from Home Alone. That wasn’t a real old noir flick that Kevin was watching on the TV. It was a fake, a part of the scenery, a piece of cinematic cliché meant to set the mood.

Today’s shitty movie, The Guy from Harlem, has that same kind of feel. It feels like a deliberate attempt to fake a bad 1970s blaxploitation flick. The print that’s available for streaming, as of this writing, is a transfer from a badly worn 35mm print. Pops and scratches abound, the color is as washed as I’ve ever seen in an old film, and there are many, many missing frames. It feels readymade as a movie within a movie, only it was a legitimate production. Barely. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Guy from Harlem”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Zone

John Tucker (David Carradine), the toughest and deadliest C.O.P. (Civilian Operated Police) is back in action, in Future Zone, the 1990 sequel to Future Force. This movie does away with explaining the lore, so some background from the first film is in order.

In the near future crime has become so rampant that government operated police forces have been disbanded, replaced by a civilian equivalent that has more in common with old west bounty hunters than proper law enforcement. These COPs (this movie drops the ‘S’ from the acronym) carry six shooters and dress like bikers. Tucker is the biggest badass of them all, blithely informing criminals that they have the right to die, just before he shoots them in the chest. He also has a power glove that shoots rays of lightning from its fingers. But, like the first film, it’s such a deus ex machina that writer/director David A. Prior keeps it mostly out of sight. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Future Zone”

Empty Balcony: The French Sex Murders, aka Casa d’appuntamento

The French Sex Murders, the giallo from director Ferdinando Merighi, opens with a foot chase up the steps of the Eiffel Tower. Plainclothes police are chasing a fleeing suspect, who then leaps to his death, his identity hidden from the viewer. A detective, Inspector Fontaine (Robert Sacchi), peers over the railing, and reminisces about how this case, now closed, began on the first night of Carnival.

Antoine Gottvalles (Peter Martell) is an unsavory sort. He’s shifty and nervous, and has sticky fingers, stealing jewels and gold from a church. He celebrates his ill-gotten gains by visiting a house of ill-repute, run by Madame Colette (Anita Ekberg). Gottvalles made the mistake of falling in love with one of the girls, Francine (Barbara Bouchet), who, in turn, made the mistake of returning, and then spurning, said love. Enraged, Gottvalles slaps Francine around, and the next audiences see of him, he is leaving the house in a hurry. Soon after, a writer, Randall (Renato Romano), discovers Francine’s body, bludgeoned to death with a table lamp. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: The French Sex Murders, aka Casa d’appuntamento”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Silencer (1992)

Here at Missile Test, we like a shitty movie that has ambitions. We appreciate when an auteur has a vision that far outstrips either resources or filmmaking ability. The result can be a film that flies off the rails, one that is a total head scratcher, or one that sits somewhere in between, sloshing back and forth between watchable absurdity, and unwatchable stupidity. Such is the case with The Silencer, the 1992 film from writer Scott Kraft, and writer/director Amy Goldstein.

Lynette Walden plays Angelica, a badass early ’90s chick who would have found a ready home in Twin Peaks. She dresses all in black, smokes cigarettes non-stop, rides motorcycles, and, oh yeah, is a contract assassin. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Silencer (1992)”

Empty Balcony: The Last Boy Scout

Some film historian could write a book about The Last Boy Scout, the outrageous action flick from 1991. It’s a film legendary for its troubled production, with no less than four Hollywood egos clashing while it was made.

There was screenwriter Shane Black, who had been paid almost two million bucks for the script; director Tony Scott, who was in the midst of his peak as a blockbuster filmmaker; star Bruce Willis, who was in need of a hit after Hudson Hawk underperformed and The Bonfire of the Vanities absolutely bombed; and producer Joel Silver, part of whose legend involves massive amounts of cocaine. Silver was such a pain in the neck that when Scott later directed True Romance, he based the character of Lee Donowitz on Silver. Reportedly, Silver was not pleased. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: The Last Boy Scout”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)

Cop 1988 movie posterNormally, if there were a trailer available on YouTube, it would be posted here, but not this time. The trailer for Cop spoils the ending. We can’t have that.

What a gloriously stupid movie. I knew heading in that any movie produced by, and starring, James Woods as a lone-wolf detective hunting a serial killer would be an adventure. Cop is more than that, however. It is an absolute howler. It is amongst the most over-indulgent Hollywood vanity projects I’ve ever seen, from an actor who doesn’t know the first thing about nuance.

The highlights:

  • Woods, playing Sgt. Lloyd Hopkins, stakes out a suspected armed robber with his supervisor, Lt. Dutch Peltz, played by Charles Durning. The suspect pulls up to the curb with his date, Hopkins and Dutch confront him, and Hopkins blows the suspect away after he pulls a pistol on Dutch. That’s fine. But then, Hopkins takes the date from the car, who is ambivalent about the whole thing, and leaves the scene to drive her home because she has a nice rack. It’s implied he sleeps with her. I guess that means it was a good shoot.
  • Hopkins tracks down a former actress turned call girl (Randi Brooks), following up a lead on the serial killings, and, wouldn’t you know it? They have sex in the kitchen while bacon is sizzling in a pan nearby. This happens the very scene after Hopkins’ wife leaves him and takes the kid.
  • Hopkins goes to the residence of feminist poet and bookstore owner Kathleen McCarthy (Lesley Ann Warren) to follow up another lead. He’s as gruff and pigheaded as one would expect any clichéd cop from an ’80s film to be, but McCarthy doesn’t seem to care all that much. You see, she’s a feminist only because the right man has never come along to sweep her off of her feet. Lo and behold, that could be Hopkins. He talks her into a date, and later a trip to the bedroom, because he’s the first man who’s been man enough to do so.
  • Hopkins follows another lead to the home of an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy (Charles Haid) who happens to be running male prostitutes. Hopkins then kills the deputy after the deputy goes for a shotgun, but he never faces any repercussions for this, despite having broken into the deputy’s home without a warrant, while also being under suspension from the LAPD.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)”