Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Kick

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Future Kick”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Nemesis (1992)

A true mark of quality in a shitty sci-fi flick from Hollywood in the 1980s and ’90s was use of the Kaiser Steel Mill in Fontana, California, as a shooting location. Just check out this list on IMDb. The more ruinous parts of the mill were a perfect location for a post-apocalyptic or dystopian landscape. Those portions have since been paved over for the Auto Club Speedway, but they live on in films like Robocop, The Running Man, and Nemesis, a 1992 cyberpunk, neo-noir action flick that, somehow, spawned a direct-to-video franchise.

Directed by Albert Pyun from a screenplay by Rebecca Charles, Nemesis stars Olivier Gruner as Alex Rain, a gritty detective in the LAPD. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Nemesis (1992)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Last Sentinel (2007)

Here’s some bottom of the barrel sci-fi, folks — slow-cooked to perfection and braised in poor CGI, limited locations, convoluted backstory, wooden performances, and lots of ridiculous gunfights.

From writer/director Jesse V. Johnson comes post-apocalyptic extravaganza The Last Sentinel. It’s the future! Who knows when? After crime and general nonconformity swept the United States, police officers were replaced with genetically engineered drone soldiers — living men stripped of reason and emotion, useful only as black-clad hammers in search of criminal nails. The drones eventually decided that taking over from the humans would be the best way forward, and destroyed most of human civilization. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Last Sentinel (2007)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Wheels of Fire

Who doesn’t love a shitty Mad Max ripoff? Well, probably all those people out there who, for some reason or another, don’t like substandard cinema. They will never understand the joy to be had in seeing an entire cast costumed in black leather and random bits of spray painted athletic gear. They will never appreciate the sublime rumble of vehicle chases through the desert featuring junk heap muscle cars with all sorts of doodads welded to them. Maybe, just maybe, they will find the inevitable anti-hero of the films a sympathetic character, but only because it’s a conceit that was part of film long before Max Rockatansky ever peeled away in the Pursuit Special. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Wheels of Fire”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Battle for the Lost Planet

What a gloriously stupid movie. From an objective standpoint, this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. But, it’s one of those films that is so inept, and so self-aware, that the entire package is endearing. I spent 91 minutes of a precious Friday night with this dog, and I regret none of it.

From writer/director Brett Piper, who would carve out a fine career in b-cinema, Battle for the Lost Planet tells the tale of Harry Trent (Matt Mitler), a thief in the future who is discovered while engaging in some light corporate espionage. He makes his escape to space in a shuttle he found laying around, just in time to witness an invasion by a race of pig-faced aliens. These invaders don’t waste any time. In a low-budget special effects extravaganza they lay Earth to waste, devastating all of human civilization. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Battle for the Lost Planet”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmic Sin

Bruce Willis is having an interesting stretch in this, the latter part of his career. It’s also a familiar one. Like many stars of the past, he is either unwilling, or unable, to take on parts in big budget Hollywood flicks or prestige films. Rather, he has spent the last half-decade or so in b-movie schlock. Sure, he turned up in Glass, and Eli Roth’s underrated remake of Death Wish, but this is overshadowed by his roles in films like Hard Kill, Breach, and today’s subject, Cosmic Sin.

The thing I find most amusing about this turn is that Willis always seems to play the same character in every film — a roguish antihero who joins the cause reluctantly. Watching the first act of these films, one can imagine that it mirrors the process that filmmakers had to go through to convince Willis to be in their movies. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cosmic Sin”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men

Assignment: Outer Space, the 1960 sci-fi flick from director Antonio Margheriti, is a textbook example of why cheap practical effects are better than bad CGI. I’m no Luddite. CGI will continue to improve and become more affordable right up to the point AI takes over film production and just thinks shit up on the spot. I’m thinking more of the bargain basement CGI of this still-young century versus what Margheriti’s crew was able to accomplish sixty years ago. Both are unconvincing, but cheap model work has a charm that bad CGI does not — almost an innocence. That’s illusory, of course. Cheap effects are all about saving cash, no matter which method is used. Yet, there’s something slimy about bad CGI, as if it’s more an enabler of poor filmmaking rather than a result of tight budgets. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Demolitionist

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Demolitionist”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

It’s Hellraiser…in SPAAAAACE!. Sort of. Unlike the other franchises that have sent their killer antagonists into the future, Hellraiser IV: Bloodline, the 1996 entry in the Hellraiser series, only takes place partially out in the black. Most of the film takes place either in 18th century France, or contemporary New York City. It would be disappointing, as I was looking forward to watching Hellraiser turn into an Alien ripoff, but this is one ambitious shitty movie, so not all was lost.

Bloodline had a checkered path to the silver screen. There were many creative disputes, crew dismissals, and general miserableness. To add to the troubles, after the film was delivered to Miramax, reshoots were demanded, and the film’s director, Kevin Yagher, quit. When the film was finally released, Yagher didn’t want his name on it, so the film’s credited director is Alan Smithee, that wonderful DGA pseudonym for directors who went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came home. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 4

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 readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 4″