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”

Shitty Movie Sundays: 2307: Winter’s Dream

I’m glad that filmmakers are still making flicks like this. It’s schlock from the ground up, and the only thing that harms its shitty movie cred is the fact it was filmed in digital HD. Pardon a short rant that is going to make me sound like the old man I am steadily becoming, but shitty movies in the age of celluloid had an extra sheen of cheapness that has been lost. In the past, shitty filmmakers had to rent cheap cameras and lenses, and buy substandard film stock and processing, to get their films made. The difference in visual quality was stark, compared to big time productions. These days, however, a movie can get made with a digital SLR that costs a few thousand bucks, or even a smartphone, and the visual quality is much closer to what one gets from proper, high-end digital cameras. Part of the joy of watching an old shitty movie is bad film stock, and that is gone forever. Too bad. Anyway… Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: 2307: Winter’s Dream”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Aftermath (1982)

Amazon Prime has a problem with dates on some movies. For films that have been re-released with a restored print or new cut, it’s not uncommon for them to use the date when the new print was released, rather than the year the film originally premiered. This caught me out with The Aftermath, which, according to Amazon, was released in 2018.

The print on Prime is close to pristine. Other than occasional pops and scratches, the picture is sharp and the colors are vibrant. Because of this, and the 2018 date attached to the film, I at first thought I was watching something fairly new. And it was a riot. From the cheap model work, the period costumes, the color reminiscent of a retro digital filter, the analog technology used in the sets, to the music and the cinematography, I thought I was watching a very clever recreation of a 1970s cheapie sci-fi flick or tv movie. Something inspired by Dark Star or any random Italian ripoff. Then I noticed Sid Haig, who plays the bad guy, and realized there was no way this movie was made in 2018. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Aftermath (1982)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Hands of Steel

The importance of the Italian contribution to Shitty Movie Sundays cannot be overstated. Many of the most outrageous and joyfully incompetent films featured in the Watchability Index hail from that land of ancient art and culture. I’m sure that way back in the day, before the miracle that is recorded media, there were countless shitty penny operas and circuses for the masses to enjoy. For all we know Verdi had a secret passion for sleaze. My point is, shitty Italian cinema didn’t just come from nowhere. The DNA had to be there already. For every master filmmaker such as Federico Fellini, there has been an Enzo G. Castellari. For every Lina Wertmuller, a Bruno Mattei. And for every Bernardo Bertolucci, there has been a Sergio Martino. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Hands of Steel”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Shanghai Fortress

How do I know China is a superpower? Besides the massive economy, the massive military, the massive population, and China’s massive effect on world politics? It’s because the Chinese are now making alien invasion movies where they save the day. That is when a nation truly arrives at the forefront — when they can make jingoistic popcorn cinema of the world-saving variety. And, like most American forays into such material, it stinks.

Shanghai Fortress is an adaptation of the sci-fi novel by Jiang Nan, wherein, in the near future, a new energy source called Xianteng has been brought back to Earth by astronauts. It’s a self-replicating energy source, and clean. A new day has dawned for humanity. Except, some aliens get wind of us having Xianteng, and a gigantic spaceship arrives, Independence Day-style, to rain hell on the earth. After five years of conflict, only one major city remains: Shanghai. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Shanghai Fortress”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Deathsport, or, You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda

What a gloriously stupid movie. I mean that. Shitty movie fans know the struggle. We mine the depths of Netflix and Prime, the bargain bins at the big box, the lot purchases on eBay. Most of what we find is slag or chaff. But occasionally, one digs up something precious — a film of such mirthful incompetence that it can liven up a whole day. Such is Deathsport.

From way back in 1978, Deathsport comes to us from the Roger Corman stable. He produced this one, while directing duties were handled by Nicholas Niciphor, and later Allan Arkush (although, if the internet is to be believed, Corman did some uncredited work in the director’s chair, as well). Apparently, the shoot was a bit of a nightmare, with the unexperienced Nicophor trying to wrangle of bunch of drugged out loons. Well, their chaos was our gain. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Deathsport, or, You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda”

It Came from the ’50s: It! The Terror from Beyond Space

When is a shitty movie not a shitty movie? When it’s super cheap, but also good. Such is the case with It! The Terror from Beyond Space, released in 1958.

We wrap up It Came from the ’50s with the movie that was the supposed inspiration for Alien. The story is similar. A spaceship from Earth sets down on another planet and picks up a stowaway alien with a thirst for blood. How the human spacefarers rid themselves of the alien is also similar. How the two films differ is in the small details. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: It! The Terror from Beyond Space”

October Horrorshow: Split Second

Split Second, the 1992 flick from director Tony Maylam and screenwriter Gary Scott Thompson, has all the look and feel one would expect from low-budget Hollywood sci-fi schlock of the era. Everything is lit with colored gels, the film stock stinks, sets look cobbled together from whatever was piled out back behind the lumberyard, most location shots are dirty alleys, the original score is synthesized crap, and, in star Rutger Hauer, there is a fading Hollywood action flick veteran looking to pay some bills. In more ways than just this abbreviated list, Split Second is kin to the products of the Roger Corman gristmill, only this movie comes from England. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Split Second”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Droid Gunner, aka Cyberzone

His name isn’t in the credits, but Roger Corman was an executive producer on this piece of shit, which means a viewer can expect a masterful showcase of parsimonious filmmaking. Director Fred Olen Ray wasn’t given two pennies to rub together to make this flick, and it shows. Just about anything of consequence in the entire film was shot in the same three locations: an industrial basement, a dive bar, and an alley. That’s it. And, despite this being made in the mid-1990s, Corman and company didn’t spring for anything remotely resembling contemporary special effects, instead relying on work that belonged in cheap sci-fi from twenty years earlier. Hell, it could even be cribbed from a different Corman movie. He did that all the time. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Droid Gunner, aka Cyberzone”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Turkey Shoot, aka Escape 2000

At first glance, a viewer could be forgiven if they thought Turkey Shoot, also released as Escape 2000 in the US, comes to us via an Italian master of shitty cinema such as Enzo G. Castellari or Alfonso Brescia. Turkey Shoot has the same look and feel, but it hails from Australia.

Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith, from a screenplay by Jon George and Neill D. Hicks, Turkey Shoot takes place in a near future where an unnamed fascist regime has control over vast swathes of humanity. Like in all good totalitarian states, citizens who insist on holding onto their personal freedoms are sent to reeducation camps. Turkey Shoot follows the tribulations of the three newest detainees at Camp 47. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Turkey Shoot, aka Escape 2000″