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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Zone”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Force”
George Eastman, aka Luigi Montefiori, is one of the legends of Shitty Movie Sundays. His long career as an actor and writer spanned six decades before he hung them up in 2010. He’s worked with some of the giants of Italian cinema, including Mario Bava and Lina Wertmüller. He had a long professional collaboration with schlock director Joe D’Amato. He’s acted in, and written, spaghetti westerns, crime flicks, giallo, horror, post-apocalyptic sci-fi, and smut (although I don’t think he’s ever taken his pants off in one — I could be wrong). His face has been a constant presence in the types of movies featured in Shitty Movie Sundays, but he only has one solo directing credit in his oeuvre — Metamorphosis, from 1990. Continue reading “Lo spettacolo dell'orrore italiano: Metamorphosis (1990), aka Regenerator, aka DNA formula letale”
This is the third film from director Ruggero Deodato to be featured in the Italian Horrorshow, after the unforgettable pair of Cannibal Holocaust and Jungle Holocaust. Both of those films were impressive in their storytelling and shocking visuals. Deodato must have had enough of cannibals after that, and instead turned his talents to an American-style slasher/cabin in the woods flick.
Written by many people, including Italian cinema stalwarts Sheila Goldberg and Dardano Sacchetti, Body Count tells the story of two groups of youths that are brought together by chance, to be chased around a derelict campground by a masked killer. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with horror flicks will have seen this plot, or something damned close, once or twice. This being the fifteenth year of the Horrorshow, on top of a lifetime of watching horror flicks, I figured there would be nothing all that special about this flick. Continue reading “Lo spettacolo dell'orrore italiano: Body Count (1986), aka Camping del terrore”
According to the internet, so it must be true, after Dario Argento saw that Italian film auteur Lucio Fulci was in ill-health in the mid 1990s, he decided to throw him a project. Argento and Fulci didn’t get along that well, however, so pre-production stretched on longer than it should have. Then Fulci died, and the project was passed to first-time director Sergio Stivaletti, who had been an established special effects tech for over a decade. The result was The Wax Mask, which was different enough from 1953’s House of Wax to keep Argento and the other producers from being sued.
The film opens on a grisly murder scene in Paris in the year 1900. A man and his wife have been cut to ribbons, with their young daughter a survivor and witness to the brutal crime. Fast forward to Rome a dozen years later and the girl has grown into a woman. Sonia Lafont (Romina Mondello) has arrived in Rome to seek a career as a costume designer. She gets a job at a soon to be opened wax museum run by the mysterious Boris Volkoff (Robert Hossein), who becomes enamored with Sonia at first sight. Continue reading “Lo spettacolo dell'orrore italiano: The Wax Mask, aka M.D.C. – Maschera di cera”
From 1980, writer/director Umberto Lenzi’s initial foray into the cannibal subgenre of horror might be the most exploitative of the bunch. It has everything that I’ve become familiar with during this year’s Horrorshow. There is cannibalism, of course, Stone Age tribalism, an impenetrable jungle, caucasians getting more than they bargained for, nudity, brutal depictions of violence, real animal slaughter, and rape. This flick is a little lazier than the others, as it lifts footage from earlier cannibal flicks for extra punch during gore scenes. Shame on any movie that can’t do all its heavy lifting on its own. Continue reading “Lo spettacolo dell'orrore italiano: Eaten Alive! (1980), aka Mangiati vivi!, aka Doomed to Die”
This is the fourth evening in a row that the Horrorshow has featured a low-budget monster flick from the 1980s. I don’t know if this is a burden or a blessing upon you, dear readership. What I do know is that the combined budgets of these past four films, each adjusted for inflation, are less than the cost of a median home in the most prosperous counties of California. I’m not joking. Some quick calculating puts the total cost of these four films — Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake, Creepozoids, Inseminoid, and Scared to Death — at roughly $1.3 million. That means that, should one wish to make four b-movies, it would be cheaper to do so than purchase a single median-priced home in Marin, San Francisco, or San Mateo counties. Trust me, I got my data on the internet.Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Scared to Death (1980)”
Mario Bava was one of the greats of horror cinema. Not just Italian horror, but horror in general. Horror junkies the world over celebrate his more famous films as essential to the genre. Like with all artists, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. By the 1970s critics had begun to fall out of love with Bava, and that shows with the negative reaction to A Bay of Blood upon its release in 1971.
Sometimes, one can tell the objective quality of an Italian horror flick by looking at its title upon release in the old country. Night Killer, from 1990, is a case in point. It was released in Italy with the title Non aprite quella porta 3, which translates as Do Not Open That Door 3, implying that this is the third in a series. The first film to use Do Not Open That Door in Italian theaters was The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Night Killer is not related to Tobe Hooper’s classic in any way, but producer Franco Gaudenzi hitched his wagon to Hooper’s regardless. If there is one thing I’ve learned from watching all these Italian horror flicks for the Horrorshow, it’s that trademark law must be different in Rome.
Written by Claudio Fragasso with an uncredited assist by Rossella Drudi, Night Killer is one of the more scatterbrained, nonsensical, and poorly acted horror flicks many viewers will come across. The quality of the acting I can lay at the feet of Fragasso, who also directed. When every performance, from leads to those with single lines of dialogue, is either over-the-top or feels like a first take, that’s the director’s fault. The storytelling foibles of this flick I can blame on Gaudenzi, who took Fragasso’s psychological horror flick and had Bruno Mattei add a bunch of gory kills in reshoots. These kill scenes are scattered throughout the film like disruptive guerilla attacks on the film’s pacing, doing little more than making things confusing for the viewer. As gore shots, they aren’t that convincing, either. Continue reading “Lo spettacolo dell'orrore italiano: Night Killer, aka Non aprite quella porta 3″
David DeCoteau might be the most prolific b-movie director of all time. As of this posting, he has 161 non-porn directing credits on his IMDb page. During his career he has treated film production as a volume business. Art? What’s that? Budget? If you can make a movie for less, we’ll match it! TV movies? Direct-to-video movies? Horror? Sci-fi? Comedy? Hallmark movies? DeCoteau will direct it. He can’t direct every movie that’s released in a year, but he can sure as hell try.
The second feature of DeCoteau’s career, Creepozoids was commission work from Charles Band’s Empire Pictures, the predecessor of his long-running house of schlock, Full Moon Features. The film was written by DeCoteau and Dave Eisenstark. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Creepozoids”