Shitty Movie Sundays: Down ’n Dirty

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Down ’n Dirty”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror

Like the previous Children of the Corn flick, this fifth entry in the series, subtitled Fields of Terror, features a future star in the cast, in Eva Mendes. But, that’s not all. There’s also a lesser Arquette and a Zappa progeny. The best part is, all this is wrapped up in a package more in tune with the ley lines of shitty cinema — more aware that bad movies survive on spectacle, and less on good intentions.

From 1998, Fields of Terror, like its previous two predecessors, was released direct-to-video. Ethan Wiley handled both screenwriting and directing duties for this one. The film sees the return of the He Who Walks Behind the Rows child cult, which was jettisoned for the fourth film. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The New Gladiators, aka Warriors of the Year 2072

Warriors of the Year 2072Television is a tough racket. Just ask the employees of WBS TV. In the future, the year 2072, to be precise, WBS has a hit show on their hands. It’s called The Danger Game, where contestants are hooked up to a machine that pumps visions of bloody torture directly into their brains. If they endure the torture without panicking, they win. It’s a successful show for the discerning TV consumer of the dystopian future, but it’s still getting beaten in the ratings by Kill Bike — a show featuring riders on motorbikes engaging in some poorly filmed jousting.

The mysterious head of WBS, Sam (Giovanni Di Benedetto), has a new idea for a show that should get WBS back on top of the ratings. Essentially, WBS is going to steal the idea of Kill Bike, but WBS will increase the stakes. The contestants will all be convicted murderers, and they will battle to the death in the famed Coliseum of Rome.

The New Gladiators was released in 1984, and is part of the wave of cheap Italian sci-fi that found inspiration following the successes of the Mad Max films and Escape from New York, among many others. This particular film, from famed b-movie auteur Lucio Fulci, borrows from those two films, while still finding enough room to cram in heaping amounts of Rollerball, Blade Runner, and A Clockwork Orange. Most impressively, Fulci was able to reach forward through time and steal ideas from The Running Man (all joking aside, the similarities are enough that I have to think the people behind The Running Man were Fulci fans). Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The New Gladiators, aka Warriors of the Year 2072″

Shitty Movie Sundays: The New Barbarians

What an incredible piece of shit. Enzo G. Castellari is my new favorite shitty filmmaker. He elevated the art of shitty filmmaking to sublime proportions. His films are cheap, derivative to the point of intellectual theft, completely shameless yet self-aware, and entertaining as all hell to the true shitty movie connoisseur. They are also films that play to the basest appetites of an audience. For example, this is the third film I’ve seen that was helmed by Signore Castellari, and in every one a character is roasted alive by a flamethrower. That’s dedication to craft. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The New Barbarians”

Shitty Movie Sundays: 1990: The Bronx Warriors

What a gloriously stupid movie. Looking back through the history of Shitty Movie Sundays, some real gems jump out at me. The Incredible Melting Man. The Keep. Anaconda. Kingdom of the Spiders. Reign of Fire. Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. These films are Shitty Movie Sundays royalty. Paparazzi follow them and take pictures when they leave nightclubs. One of them is dating a Lesser Kardashian. Another is appearing on Dancing with the Stars. And now a new member joins their ranks. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: 1990: The Bronx Warriors”

October Horrorshow: From Dusk Till Dawn, or, a Tale of Two Movies

From Dusk Till DawnOctober has come again. It being the month of Halloween, we at Missile Test choose to celebrate by watching and reviewing horror films. Ah, blood. There just can’t be enough in October. Today’s selection has plenty of it, even though it’s mostly green. But what the hell, it’s all in fun.

Quentin Tarantino was riding high after the success of Pulp Fiction, a film that had a strong case for winning Best Picture at the Oscars the year it came out. Was it Tarantino’s youth which kept his opus from taking home the top prize? Who knows? Some of the competition were no slouches in their own right, but none broke any new ground, nor did they spawn a whole genre of imitations that crop up in cinema to this day (just like Alien and all its clones). And the winner that year, Forrest Gump, felt like little more than the Baby Boomers trying to justify their actions in retrospect by infusing their youths with blandness and innocence, when naiveté (with a sharp edge, at least) would have been a more apt description. This trivializes the profound role they played in turning public opinion against the war in Vietnam, but their role was not nearly as important as that played by the news media who brought home the images of war to the American public. The youth had always been suspicious, and were never onboard with the war policy from the beginning, but every other demographic in America couldn’t have given two shits if we had been winning the war instead of losing it. Anyway, I honestly can’t tell if that film was an apology to their parents or an apology to the directionless void of malaise left behind by their sudden thrust into real adulthood that was then passed on to their slacker Gen X children. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: From Dusk Till Dawn, or, a Tale of Two Movies”