Shitty Movie Sundays: Road Wars

Road Wars movie posterThe Asylum is shameless. When they’re not churning out giant monster flicks starring washed-up TV stars for SyFy, they’re taking advantage of blockbuster movies, attaching themselves like remora and feeding off scraps. They have taken the idea of the mockbuster, cinema’s short con, and elevated it. Not to art, but it’s definitely something they’ve honed.

I like that The Asylum has no shame. It’s different than what a filmmaker like Roger Corman has done throughout his career. Corman was a filmmaker with talent, and he threw it all away to chase the cheap buck. The Asylum, by contrast, has always been a house of shit.

Road Wars was in the can and ready to release direct-to-video early in May of 2015, timed to match the upcoming release of Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s the film Road Wars is ripping off. From the mishmash black leather outfits and shoulder pads (my favorite accoutrement was a bicycle reflector attached to an epaulette), to old muscle cars with all sorts of metal shit welded on to them, to the desert setting (California City, take a bow), to the derivative title, this is almost enough of a ripoff for the rights holders of Mad Max to sue. That makes this shitty flick a proper mockbuster. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Road Wars”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Beyond the Trek, aka Teleios

This is something of a nothingburger movie. Originally titled Teleios, at some point after a few film festival showings and before it was released to DVD, the title was changed to Beyond the Trek to take advantage of the release of Star Trek Beyond. This flick even uses a title font similar to Star Trek’s, all to chase that sweet mockbuster cash. But, this isn’t a mockbuster. Rather, Beyond the Trek is a magnum opus from writer/director Ian Truitner. It’s a film with profound depth in its ideas, and about a nickel’s worth of budget to bring those ideas to fruition. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Beyond the Trek, aka Teleios”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Sci-Fighter, aka X-Treme Fighter

This flick is a dog. A lowdown, dirty, mangy, half-starved, living under an old sheet of plywood out back in the alley dog. It’s a flick that was made for the souvenir table at the All-Valley Championships and the dollar DVD bins at the gas station. Selling five copies probably recouped the entire production budget. It’s also something of an in-house production for martial arts pros — a way to get their faces outside of the dojos and exhibitions, and maybe make a couple bucks doing it. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Sci-Fighter, aka X-Treme Fighter”

Shitty Movie Sundays: 2036 Origin Unknown

2036 Origin Unknown movie posterShitty movie fans are a tolerant bunch. We put up with bad scripts, bad direction, bad acting, and all-around incompetence, all in the search for the one shitty film out of a dozen that scratches our peculiar itch. For every Road House, there is a pile of films like Driven; for every Anaconda, a passel of Ghosts of War; and, for every expansive adventure like Spacehunter, there are an abundance of one-location bore-fests like 2036 Origin Unknown.

It’s the future! 2036! And space scientist Mack Wilson (Katee Sackhoff) is alone in a room talking to an AI called ARTI (voiced by Steven Cree). The two of them are mission control for a Mars rover expedition, sent to the red planet to find out what happened to a manned mission that crashed there some years earlier. The rover reaches the crash site and discovers a giant cube, origin unknown. Before they realize what is happening, the cube is gone, having teleported itself to Antarctica. What follows is some nonsensical claptrap, inane conversation between Mack and ARTI, and an ending that is supposed to make one think, I think. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: 2036 Origin Unknown”

October Horrorshow: Deadtectives

Horror films don’t have to be all doom and gloom. In fact, a contender for the goriest film ever made, Braindead, also happens to be hilarious. There is plenty of room for black comedy in the genre. Yes, laughing at the blood and guts and death in a comedy horror is morbid, but no less so than watching a serious take on horror. All horror fans are a little bit diseased in that way. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Deadtectives”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Empire of Ash III, aka Last of the Warriors

What a gloriously stupid movie. It has it all. Barely sensible plot, bad dialogue, bad acting, cheap filmstock, gratuitous nudity, and all the other accoutrements that make shitty cinema great. Every time the flick threatens to drag, directors Michael Mazo and Lloyd A. Simandi throw in a gunfight and some explosions, and all is well with the world once again. Empire of Ash III is no rare gem, but we shitty movie fans love it when filmmakers just throw shit at the wall to see what sticks. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Empire of Ash III, aka Last of the Warriors”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Hard Night Falling, or, Die Hard at a Villa

Let’s hear it for the Italian shitty movie industry. Decades-long and still going strong, when one has a yen for a ripoff of one’s favorite Hollywood action flicks, look no further than Italy.

Today’s shitty Italian ripoff is Hard Night Falling, from 2019. Dolph Lundgren plays Michael Anderson, an Interpol agent who is meeting his wife and daughter (Sinne Mutsaers and Chiara Arrigoni) at a villa owned by businessman Frank (Andrea Scarduzio), during a swanky dinner party. Things are a bit rocky in the Anderson household, and it has been many years since Michael has seen his daughter. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Hard Night Falling, or, Die Hard at a Villa”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors

Sylvester Stallone has been dipping into the China market, of late. This isn’t anything new, really. For years now, Hollywood has been tweaking their films to satisfy the demands of the Chinese government and gain access to their huge market, with mixed results. There’s no tweaking in the latest Escape Plan flick, however. This film looks made for the Chinese market, and if anything comes of it in other markets, that’s just gravy for this film’s 48 credited producers. Seriously, 48! I counted nine production company logos at the start, eating up 1:45 of this flick’s 96-minute running time. Major League Baseball has shorter commercial breaks between innings. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors”

Shitty Movie Sundays: No Escape No Return, or, Three Riggses and No Murtaughs

The early 1990s were very much a weird time. It was an extended hangover from our experience of the ’80s, and movies reflected that. As important as music was in redefining style, and giving the younger Gen-X slackers senseless purposelessness, there was still a fair amount of big hair and mullets out there alongside the flannels and unkempt coiffures. In shitty cinema, sharp suits, tight skirts, and cocaine were still the rage, while out in the real world, alternative rock had rediscovered heroin. Movies were playing a game of catch-up when it came to popular culture, resulting in some films looking like anachronisms.

1993 saw the release of No Escape No Return, a cheap buddy cop flick that takes all the well-worn clichés of the last decade-plus and stirs them into a shitty mush. Charles T. Kanganis handled writing and directing. More importantly, Joseph Merhi, a Shitty Movie Sundays Hall of Fame inductee, was one of the producers, adding this film to an impressive list of subpar accomplishments. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: No Escape No Return, or, Three Riggses and No Murtaughs”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey

What a gloriously stupid movie. I loved just about every minute of it. Writer/director David A. Prior made a shitty movie, but in giving it a solid pace and an absurd amount of violence, he made something entertaining and watchable. I defy anyone who watches not to laugh during multiple parts of this film, usually when the star, David’s beefcake brother Ted, stabs someone with a Halloween store plastic knife, or spouts out one-liners that would have left Sylvester Stallone blushing.

From way back in 1987, Deadly Prey is a direct-to-video Rambo ripoff. Ted Prior stars as Mike Danton, a Vietnam vet whom David places into an arena and allows to go kill crazy. Danton’s antagonist is Colonel Hogan (David Campbell), his former commanding officer, who has set up a mercenary training camp outside of Los Angeles. Ted Prior may play the main character, but he doesn’t get top billing. That goes to Cameron ‘Discount Shatner’ Mitchell and Troy Donahue, who were slumming it for an easy paycheck. Their scenes in this film looked as if they were filmed in a day. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey”