Short of watching a mockbuster from The Asylum or its ilk, one would be hard-pressed to find a film that is more of a ripoff of a big time Hollywood production than Robowar, from Italian auteur Bruno Mattei. The victim in this case is Predator. From characters, to plot, to location, to certain scenes, all the way down to individual lines of dialogue, Mattei squeezed everything he could out of Predator short of being sued into oblivion. The only major change was substituting a rogue bionic soldier for the alien hunter. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Robowar”
Tag: Italian Flick
Shitty Movie Sundays: The Exterminators of the Year 3000, aka Il giustiziere della strada
I’ve seen a lot of Mad Max ripoffs. American ones, Italian ones, Filipino ones…but never one from Australia. Hmm.
This particular Mad Max ripoff is of the Italian variety, and it might be the most barebones of the bunch. It has the most desolate wasteland, the smallest cast, and the least amount of tricked out hoopties. That last note is something of a sticking point. The cars are a big draw for me when watching these movies. I want to see rust buckets with all sorts of doodads welded to them to make them look tough. Crucially, they need to have been decent muscle cars at one point in their lives. In this flick, the auto de résistance is a sixth generation Ford Thunderbird, which was the heaviest coupe Ford ever made. That thing couldn’t outrun a squirrel, and belongs nowhere near a film like this. This was the best the filmmakers could do? Anyway… Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Exterminators of the Year 3000, aka Il giustiziere della strada”
October Horrorshow: Zombi 3
What’s great about a zombie flick is that it doesn’t need much of a plot to be a success. It can just lurch from set piece to set piece until the main cast is winnowed down enough to call it a day. That makes zombies a perfect subject matter for Italian director Lucio Fulci.
Zombi 3 is the 1988 entry in a film series that requires its own Wikipedia page to make sense of. According to the internet, so it must be true, the screenplay was developed by Rossella Drudi, but it was her husband, Claudio Fragasso, who got the credit. Lucio Fulci is the only credited director, but, again according to the internet, he delivered a 70-minute cut that producer Franco Gaudenzi was not happy with. So, Gaudenzi enlisted Fragasso and Bruno Mattei to carry out reshoots, with Fragasso handling most of the work. The result is an 84-minute long film that makes up for its lack of cohesion with a boatload of blood and guts. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Zombi 3″
October Horrorshow: The Beyond, aka 7 Doors of Death, aka E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà
This one’s for the gore hounds. This flick is for those who like melting faces, popped eyeballs, severed tongues, crucifixion, putrefaction, red blood, yellow ooze, brown goo, and don’t mind one bit that the plot has all the narrative consistency of getting blackout drunk. But, that’s okay. If an Italian horror flick had a plot one could follow, would it still be an Italian horror flick?
From legendary director Lucio Fulci, who also has a screenwriting credit, comes The Beyond, originally released in the States, slightly butchered, as 7 Doors of Death. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Beyond, aka 7 Doors of Death, aka E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Assignment: Outer Space, aka Space Men”
October Horrorshow: Bloody Pit of Horror, aka Il boia scarlatto
What a wonderful pile of cheese. And what a wonderful title. Bloody Pit of Horror. It just rolls off the tongue. Of course, there have been countless bad horror flicks with great titles. What makes this less disappointing than so many others is a certain lightheartedness — a feeling that one is watching a funhouse flick. At no point is any of this film meant to be taken seriously. It’s not a black comedy, but neither is it a downer. Rather, it’s as if everyone’s favorite gang of youths in the neighborhood got together to make a backyard play for all the parents to see, maybe to raise some money for Billy’s operation. Aw, gee whiz, it sure is neat. It’s also Italian, which means it is shameless schlock.
From way back in 1965, Bloody Pit of Horror stars legendary sword-and-sandal actor Mickey Hargitay as Travis Anderson, a former sword-and-sandal actor who has taken up residence in an abandoned castle and surrounded himself with some of the Joker’s henchmen. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Bloody Pit of Horror, aka Il boia scarlatto”
October Horrorshow: Fangs of the Living Dead, aka Malenka
The first line in Anita Ekberg’s obituary lauds her as the star of Felinni’s La Dolce Vita. One would be hard-pressed, however, to find an obit that mentions her star turn nine years later, in 1969, in the anonymous faux-gothic vampire flick Fangs of the Living Dead (originally released with the less descriptive, and less fun, title, Malenka).
A Spanish/Italian co-production, Fangs is a cheapie horror flick from writer/director Amando de Ossorio. I refer to it as faux-gothic because, while it has all the trappings of a gothic horror flick – a remote village, a castle, a suave vampire, etc. – the story takes place in contemporary times. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Fangs of the Living Dead, aka Malenka”
Shitty Movie Sundays: Tuareg: The Desert Warrior, or, Let’s Cancel Mark Harmon!
After a 3-plus year absence, Shitty Movie Sundays hall of famer Enzo G. Castellari is back! Today’s film showcases Castellari’s most prominent skills. The film takes place in the desert, things blow up, and when they do, it’s filmed in glorious slow motion. Castellari knew what he was good at, and it wasn’t storytelling.
Mark Harmon (that’s right, Mark Harmon) plays a North African Tuareg, one of a nomadic people who span the Sahara. This is the type of role that Harmon couldn’t take, much less be offered, today. It would be considered an egregious case of whitewashing. And, if the project had managed to get made, all those involved would have to spend at least a week apologizing on Twitter before the mob moved on to the next outrage. But, in 1984, this type of casting decision could still be made, especially in Italy and Spain, which were free from Hollywood politics.
In my mind, having a white guy play a Berber tribesman only adds to this flick’s shitty movie creds. It’s icing on the cake that Harmon made only a token effort to disguise his SoCal accent, taking on an inflection reminiscent of stereotypical Native Americans. It’s possible this isn’t his fault. He may have been told his voice would be dubbed in post, or that the film wouldn’t be released in an English-language version at all. Or, he just gave a performance of stunning ineptitude. Or, it’s no different than any other Mark Harmon performance. It’s up to the viewer’s imagination. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Tuareg: The Desert Warrior, or, Let’s Cancel Mark Harmon!”
October Horrorshow: Terror-Creatures from the Grave, aka 5 tombe per un medium
Pacemaker Pictures, the English-language distributors of Terror-Creatures from the Grave, the 1965 Italian gothic horror flick, sure went all in on the title. Perhaps they had a shortlist and couldn’t decide between Terror from the Grave and Creatures from the Grave so, like some parents, decided to burden their charge with a hyphenated name. It’s a mouthful, but has loads of kitsch to it.
Directed by Massimo Pupillo, from a screenplay by Romano Migliorini and Roberto Natale, Terror-Creatures is plays like a pageant in honor of horror cinema. Shot in stark black and white by Carlo Di Palma, the film relies heavily on early horror film styles and storytelling, while combining it with contemporary trends in Italian cinema. There’s the dark and stormy night, overlayered with endless theremin music, combined with dramatic closeups and the multinational cast mouthing their lines in different languages. It’s like watching an old Universal horror film, and everyone is poorly dubbed. Unfortunately, that dubbing can be somewhat distracting, but Pupillo and company nevertheless made a decent horror film. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Terror-Creatures from the Grave, aka 5 tombe per un medium”
Shitty Movie Sundays: Hard Night Falling, or, Die Hard at a Villa
Let’s hear it for the Italian shitty movie industry. Decades-long and still going strong, when one has a yen for a ripoff of one’s favorite Hollywood action flicks, look no further than Italy.
Today’s shitty Italian ripoff is Hard Night Falling, from 2019. Dolph Lundgren plays Michael Anderson, an Interpol agent who is meeting his wife and daughter (Sinne Mutsaers and Chiara Arrigoni) at a villa owned by businessman Frank (Andrea Scarduzio), during a swanky dinner party. Things are a bit rocky in the Anderson household, and it has been many years since Michael has seen his daughter. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Hard Night Falling, or, Die Hard at a Villa”