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”
Many creative people hail from the rusted industrial corpse of Akron, Ohio. Some of them even get famous. Musicians, mostly. But, when it comes to filmmakers, there is one name, and one name, only, associated with Akron. And it’s not Jim Jarmusch, despite what the list of people from Akron on Wikipedia would suggest. This filmmaker has not only made more movies than Jarmusch (who I like as a filmmaker, by the way), but made many of them in his good ole hometown. His name is J.R. Bookwalter.
His first feature, released in 1989, is the classic low-budget, ultra-gory Dead Next Door. Produced, written, and directed by Bookwalter, production began in the summer of 1985 when Bookwalter pitched Sam Raimi on the film. Raimi, gaining an executive producer credit, agreed to pony up the cash, and shooting began in spring of 1986 after some fits and starts. More problems cropped up, as often happens in productions like this, but the majority of the film was in the can by that autumn. 1987 and 1988 were for reshoots, more tinkering, and editing. Finally, sweet release on video in November of 1989. That’s a labor of love, folks. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Dead Next Door”
What can one say about a movie that made £25,000 at the box office? That it was a blockbuster, that’s what!
Deadman Apocalypse, the first feature from writer, director, and producer Charlie Steeds, was made on the stringiest of shoestring budgets, only putting a £1,500 dent in Steeds’ bank account. That means Deadman Apocalypse made almost seventeen times its budget. Big Hollywood studios would kill, and have, for that kind of return on investment.
According to the internet, so it must be true, Endgame, from writer (alongside Aldo Florio), director, and producer Joe D’Amato, was the favorite of all the films he made. Endgame was just one of seven productions in 1983 in which he received a director credit, and his IMDb page lists 199, most of those smut. The man was prolific. And when he looked back upon his extensive oeuvre, Endgame, a mashup of post-apocalyptic sci-fi tropes, was the movie that made him smile the widest. Well, okay then.
It’s the future! 2025! Sometime in the ’80s or ’90s, nuclear war devastated the planet. Now, civilization is being rebuilt. A new fascist regime has arisen, ruling the rubble with an iron fist, and exterminating mutants that have been born due to all the radioactive fallout from the nukes. These aren’t ghastly creatures with extra limbs or Marvel-type superpowers. These are just regular folks, whose mutation makes them psychic. They are the next step of human evolution. There is also an unfortunate class of mutants who are devolving into lower forms of life, but the hell with them. The good guys dislike them as much as the fascists do. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Endgame (1983)”
Slipstream, the 1989 movie from producer Gary Kurtz, is a rare film. It must be, since this is one of the few times I mention the producer of a film before I mention a director, screenwriter, or star. So, why the top billing for Mr. Kurtz?
It’s because this movie ruined him as a big time Hollywood producer. Kurtz produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. He produced two of the most important films in blockbuster history, having an effect on studio films that still reverberates to this day. Then, creative conflicts with George Lucas led to a split, and Kurtz went his own way. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Slipstream”
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”
One Mad Max ripoff wasn’t enough for Filipino filmmaker Cirio H. Santiago. After the sublime experience that was Wheels of Fire, Santiago went back to the well in 1987 for Equalizer 2000. It’s a movie about a man, his leather pants, and a bitchin’ gun.
From a story by Frederick Bailey and Joe Mari Avellana (who played the bad guy in Wheels of Fire), Equalizer 2000 follows Max Rockatansky analogue Slade (Richard Norton). Slade is a member of the Ownership, a militia group that is looking to control all of the gravel quarries in the post-apocalypse. They’re the typical baddies of a Mad Max ripoff. They wear black, drive tricked out muscle cars, and are very into pillaging settlements full of honest folk.
This isn’t the best origin for the hero of the story, but he becomes a good guy right about the time the evil Colonel Lawton (William Steis) decides to make a play for control of the Ownership, leaving Slade out to dry during a battle with rebels, and killing Slade’s dear old dad in the process. Slade survives, and vows revenge against Lawton and the Ownership. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Equalizer 2000, or, Supergun!”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Last Sentinel (2007)”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Wheels of Fire”
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 reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Battle for the Lost Planet”