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 reading “Empty Balcony: The French Sex Murders, aka Casa d’appuntamento”
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.
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 reading “Empty Balcony: The Last Boy Scout”
Normally, 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.
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.
Chad McQueen is Sean ‘Martial Law’ Thompson, and Cynthia Rothrock is vice squad officer Billie Blake. They kick ass, take names, and cohabitate in Martial Law, the 1990 direct-to-video action flick from screenwriter Richard Brandes and director Steve Cohen.
Viewers may remember McQueen as the Kobra Kai with the dyed blond hair in the original Karate Kid. It turns out, the man wasn’t faking it. He has some karate skill, and turned it towards a fairly decent career in shitty movies. And, if one doesn’t know who Cynthia Rothrock is, one is still in the fledgling stage of shitty movie fandom. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Martial Law (1990)”
Dakota Smith (Fred Williamson) is back in yet another sequel to b-thriller Night Vision. This flick was intriguing to the shitty movie fan in me because it’s a step forward when it comes to casting, compared to other films in the series. Besides Williamson, who also produced and directed, On the Edge features blaxploitation and/or football legends Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, and Ron O’Neal. Gary Busey returns to play a different bad guy than the one he played in the second Dakota Smith flick, Down ’n Dirty, while Ice-T appears as a slimy nightclub owner and smalltime hood. What a cast. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: On the Edge (2002)”
Movie fans might be surprised that besides being a former pro football player, 1970s blaxploitation film icon, and all-around b-movie legend, Fred Williamson has 21 producing and directing credits to his name as of this writing (sometimes it’s the same movie, sometimes it’s not). The movies in his producing and directing lists aren’t all that good, but his presence alone raises the cachet.
Williamson directed, produced, and starred in Down ’n Dirty, from a screenplay by Aubrey K. Rattan. It’s a throwback movie. Despite being released in 2000, the script could easily have been used for a film in the 1970s. The only things that would be anachronistic are the cars, fashions, and the use of cellphones. Other than that, the film fits right in with a decades-old model. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Down ’n Dirty”
When I set out on this crusade to raise awareness of the merits of shitty movies, I never expected to write about two films in a row featuring Richard Grieco, but here we are. He’s not the star of today’s film. Rather, he is the most electric member of the cast. So sorry, Nicole Eggert.
From 1995 comes The Demolitionist, the directorial debut from longtime special effects makeup artist Robert Kurtzman. It’s a Robocop ripoff. There’s not much more to it than that. It is also an ambitious flick, with a decent title, some outrageous performances, and a hot lead who tries her best. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Demolitionist”
So says Kitty (Marisi Courtwright) to Laura (Bianca Phillipi), as the two share a joint in the kitchen and discuss turning tricks for drugs. That level of dialogue is par for the course in The Executioner, Part II, from producer/writer/star Renee Harmon. This flick is a wonderful, incredible, amazing, and fascinating example of bottom feeding cinema of the 1980s. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Executioner, Part II”
Just about every A-list Hollywood star sees their career fade, and the quality if projects they are involved in decrease. Just ask Bruce Willis. But, there is slumming it, and then there is SLUMMING IT.
The Job, the 2003 direct-to-video magnum opus from writer/director Kenny Golde, is a very dark, character-driven crime story starring Daryl Hannah as freelance mob assassin CJ March.
CJ is a damaged character. Her mother was a prostitute who seemed unable to hire a babysitter when CJ was a child, and who was then killed in front of CJ. In her adult life, when she’s not whacking people for mobster Vernon Cray (Alex Rocco), she’s downing shots of warm well vodka and banging strangers. She’s a self-destructive alcoholic who is in a deep funk, and she looks it. Hannah is done up in a ragged, disheveled manner that fits the character well, and her hangdog face looks as if it’s never smiled once in her life. I was skeptical at the casting at first. There is no believability when it comes to CJ being a hired killer, but the even more fucked up side of CJ is near-perfect. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Job (2003)”