Shitty Movie Sundays: Neon City

According to the internet, so it must be true, screenwriter Ann Lewis Hamilton, in penning Neon City, was crafting an updated telling of Stagecoach, set in a time and place similar to Mad Max. George Miller’s epic dystopian/post-apocalyptic films are big hits here at Missile Test, so much so that any Mad Max ripoff, from any source, will get a viewing. Truth be told, they’re all basically westerns with combustion engines instead of horses. Even Mad Max 2, the best of Miller’s bunch, and the one that gets ripped off the most, has more in common with a classic western than its own source material.

It’s the future! 2053! Environmental devastation has led to the collapse of civilization. The world has been rendered mostly desert, subject to random extreme events that kill those caught in them. There are something called Xander clouds, which are areas of noxious gas, and Brights, which is when particulates in the atmosphere focus, rather than scatter, the sun’s rays, cooking anything in sight. As if that’s not bad enough, roving bands of Skins, savages clad in animal hides, attack all travelers, and occasionally lay siege to humanity’s remaining outposts. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Neon City”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Reactor

Action International Pictures and producer David Winters have done it again. Of late, whenever I’ve been in the mood for a truly shitty action flick from the 1980s or early ’90s, Action International has been there. It’s not all flicks directed by David A. Prior, or starring William Zipp, either. Today’s movie is 1989’s Deadly Reactor, written, starring, and directed by David Heavener, who has an unimpeachable CV as a b-filmmaker.

It’s the near future. Earth has been rendered a post-apocalyptic wasteland by nuclear war. Society consists of roving gangs of thugs, and small outposts of regular folk who are just trying to get by. Heavener plays Cody, a preacher in the Agopy religious sect, which are portrayed as something akin to the Amish or Mennonites, only without the bonnets or the chin straps. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Reactor”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Rapid Fire (1989)

Rapid Fire 1989 movie posterProlific b-action auteur David A. Prior graces the pages of Shitty Movie Sundays once again, with 1989’s Rapid Fire, a direct-to-video shoot-em-up that barely makes sense. But, that’s okay. That’s just how we like them.

A daring jailbreak has occurred. The most dangerous terrorist in the world, Mustapha (Del Zamora), has been captured and is being held aboard a battleship (played by the USS Alabama, moored as a museum ship in Mobile). A very bad man, Eddy Williams (Michael Wayne), has boarded the ship disguised as a naval officer. He is toting a rather large and slapdash supergun in a case, which he breaks out and uses to free Mustapha. Check out the poster. That’s a weapon to rival that found in Equalizer 2000.

Agent Hansen (Joe Spinell, in his last film role), from some…agency…has to find Mustapha before he commits another unspeakable atrocity. Since Hansen is not the hero of the movie, he calls in Mike Thompson (Ron Waldron) to track down Mustapha, because Mike has an old beef with Williams.

The two were soldiers together during the Vietnam War, and they did not get along. So much so that Williams left Mike wounded for dead after a battle, and, to add insult to injury, stole the supergun. Mike has been dreaming of revenge ever since. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Rapid Fire (1989)”

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 Defender (2004)

At first glance, this flick doesn’t look like much. It’s just another direct-to-video action flick with a miniscule budget, a small cast led by a Hollywood b-lister, and just a single location where all the fun stuff happens. It’s about as anonymous as these types of flicks get. Then, one looks a little deeper. It stars Dolph Lundgren. No surprise there. He’s starred in dozens of these types of films. This is also the first one he directed. Shitty movie fans rejoice! But, that’s not all.

This is also a very topical film, in a way most b-movies never bother with. It was released in 2004, at the height of The Global War on Terror, as it was dubbed in the political wonkiverse. The United States was engaged in two very bloody wars, and looking with paranoiac diligence for enemies wherever they may be. No one could be trusted, and this film, believe it or not, captures a lot of the prevailing mood of the time. But, there’s still more! Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Defender (2004)”

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”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Force

In the near future, by the year 1991, crime has become so rampant in the United States that all local police forces have been disbanded and replaced by private companies. These companies are collectively known as C.O.P.S., or Civilian Operated Police Incorporated. Wait, that’s not right. But that’s what the opening voiceover calls them. By the second scene in Future Force, from writer/director and b-movie auteur extraordinaire David A. Prior, viewers know that the last word in the COPS acronym is Systems, not Incorporated. We love a lack of attention to details like that here at Shitty Movie Sundays.

These new COPS aren’t like the old cops. For one thing, the American system of justice has been turned on its head. The accused are now presumed guilty, and are convicted before they are ever arrested, often without knowledge of their offenses. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Future Force”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Space-Fighter

There is some mythmaking surrounding today’s film, so a little internet detective work was called for.

The Space-Fighter, according to its credits, is a production of The Stryker Brothers, Michael and Matthew. They wrote, directed, produced, starred, and handled the digital effects. On the IMDb page for the film, though, the credited director is Matthew Arnashus, who also stars as Vic Rider. Vic’s brother in the film, Ken, is credited to Michael Jean. However, Vic and Ken are clearly twins. But, are they?

Some more digging in the tubes has turned up info that Matthew Arnashus is a freelance editor and voiceover actor working out of the Chicago area. He has a brother named Michael, but I couldn’t find out if they had the same birthdate, because I’m not going to pay some sketchy white pages site for that information. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Space-Fighter”

October Horrorshow: Mindkiller

Before Michael Krueger horrified viewers by writing the execrable Amityville Curse, he wrote (with Dave Sipos and Curtis Hannum) and directed a shitty shot-on-video horror flick called Mindkiller. In the vein of a David Cronenberg film, Mindkiller follows a protagonist whose forays into psychoscience lead to a strange lovelife, followed by horrific consequences.

Warren (Joe McDonald) has a problem. He can’t get laid. He’s a thirty something with a dead end job in the basement of a library, doomed to spending his days filing meaningless reports, and his nights watching in envy as his roommate, Brad (Kevin Hart, not that one), hooks up with every hottie in sight. It’s all a personality problem. Warren is deathly shy and when he does work up the courage to talk to a woman, nothing but gibberish comes out. It’s a tale as old as flirting. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Mindkiller”