What a gloriously stupid movie. Future Kick is a textbook example of a shitty movie of the era. Everything about it is cheap, from its discount action star in Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, its discount Kirstie Alley in Meg Foster as the female lead, its bargain-basement special effects and sets, and its grainy film stock. There was even producer Roger Corman’s favorite method of saving money on a production: reusing footage from earlier films.
Once upon a time Corman addressed this oft-used technique. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that back when he started reusing footage and/or sets, there was no such thing as a home video market. He was making films that would show for a week or two at a drive-in, and that was the last anyone would ever see of them. No one would remember when a few months later a different flick would appear reusing footage from the earlier film. Sure, that’s a fine excuse for his Poe films, to which he was referring, but Future Kick was released in 1991, well after the home video market became a thing. Reused footage in this film comes from a duo of space flicks, Galaxy of Terror and Forbidden World, and erotic slasher Stripped to Kill 2, which gives viewers a healthy dose of gratuitous nudity. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Kick”
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”
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″
Dr. Phillip Rothman (Terry Londeree) has a problem. The electronics company backing his neurological research isn’t happy with its pace, so they’re pulling his funding. The research involves showing flashing images to people to stimulate certain areas of the brain. The idea is that the company will incorporate the fruits of this research into its videogames, to give players a mental kick while playing, or possibly to get them hooked on it. The whys of the research are less important than the fact the experiments are turning Rothman’s student test subjects into murderous lunatics.
From way back in 1991, Brain Twisters is a horror/sci-fi cheapie from writer/director Jerry Sangiuliano. Potential viewers won’t find much in his IMDb page, and that’s common for just about everyone involved in this dog. This was Londeree’s first credit, and he wasn’t in another feature film until 2004. The only member of the cast who went on to have a career is Farrah Forke, who plays Laurie Stevens, one of Rothman’s students and work-study assistants. But, just because most of the people involved in a flick are rookies, doesn’t mean it will be bad. A general lack of talent and competence is enough. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Brain Twisters”
I can’t recall seeing a film that had as many moments when I said to myself, “Oh, look. It’s that guy.” The Belko Experiment is chock full of that guys, and they all feature prominently. There’s that guy from Ghost, (Hollywood aristocrat Tony Goldwyn), that guy from Scrubs (John C. McGinley), that guy from The Killing (Brent Sexton), that guy from The Walking Dead (Michael Rooker), that guy from ER (Abraham Benrubi), budding that guy from The Newsroom (John Gallagher, Jr.), and plenty of other that guys and gals that have been featured in Hollywood films for a generation. Why has such an ensemble been assembled? To kill each other in bloody fashion. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Belko Experiment, or, That Guy Battle Royale”
What a putrid mess. Dead Trigger, from 2017 but resting on a shelf until this year, is an adaptation of a video game. It’s not the worst video game adaptation I’ve ever seen (that title belt is, and very well always could be, held by House of the Dead), but, it is a properly awful movie. It’s a good thing for the shitty movie fan that this film stars Dolph Lundgren, who has been gracing productions like this for over 30 years. The man is a shitty movie legend — the Tom Brady of bottom feeding dreck.
Directing duties were split for this flick, between Mike Cuff and Scott Windhauser. According to the internet, so it must be true, this was due to creative conflicts. If Cuff left in a huff (heh-heh) because of creative conflicts, I have to wonder why he was so emotionally invested in this flick. He had to have known when he saw his budget, his sets, and his cast, that he wasn’t making the next Anaconda. Yet he chose to abandon this project out of artistic integrity? Come on, Mike. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Dead Trigger”
Freejack is one of those movies that potential viewers might remember. They will vaguely remember a time when Emilio Estevez was a leading man, and they might recall that he was in a movie once called Freejack. They probably won’t remember what the movie was about, but they could remember that Mick Jagger, yes, that Mick Jagger, had a role. But, us shitty movie fans, we happy not-so-few, remember this as an ambitious and silly sci-fi action flick. We also remember that not only did Mick Jagger have a prominent part — his gloriously shitty performance stole the film. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Freejack”
Outland, the 1981 film written and directed by Peter Hyams, is two movies in one. Most of it is a crime story, heavy on the grit and with a fair amount of menace (helped along by Jerry Goldsmith’s grim score). Then in the final act audiences are given a western, evocative of the film High Noon. And all of it is wrapped in a sci-fi setting. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Outland”
Alongside post-apocalyptic films, there exists another popular nihilistic genre of film — the dystopian tale. Civilization doesn’t have to have collapsed into a dense ball of suffering for the dystopian film to work. Rather, current mores and politics just need a little bit of tweaking and society becomes unrecognizable. Indeed, in some dystopian futures, it could be argued that humans are thriving. What is common in dystopian films is that some eroding of freedoms has occurred, brought on usually by technology, capitalism, communism, post-industrialism, or a conglomeration of every fear we have about the role of individuality in the future. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Rollerball (1975) & Rollerball (2002)”