Shitty Movie Sundays: In Hell

If this movie had been made in the 1980s, it could have been a real banger. Action films in the ’80s had a reckless, cartoonish quality that was no longer chic by 2003, when In Hell was released. Things had to be gritty and miserable for the characters (thank you very much, David Fincher), and that, in turn, made things less fun for us, the moviegoing public. But, lest I heap all the blame on producers and studios, it was the moviegoing public that steered action in this direction, by sending streams of disposable income towards dark and desperate movies, and forcing Arnold Scwarzenegger into the theme restaurant business. Forgive us, Arnold! Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: In Hell”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Helga, She-Wolf of Stilberg, aka Helga, la louve de Stilberg

There’s been a fascist takeover in some country, somewhere. The revolutionary government, led by the evil President Steiner (Jean-Charles Maratier) is sending the wives and daughters of political opponents to Stilberg prison, a repurposed 19th century pile of architecture in the rural countryside. To watch over the prisoners and punish them as she sees fit, Steiner sends the titular beauty Helga (Malisa Longo), a true zealot and sadist. For the remainder of the film, viewers get to see Helga and her guards whip prisoners, pull their hair, tie them up in a dungeon, subject them to unnecessary gynecological examinations, sell them for a roll in the hay for the price of two bottles of booze apiece, and force them to receive Helga’s sexual ministrations. And that’s it. There is some insurgency stuff in the final act, but no one is watching this flick for its story. If one is looking for some vintage sleaze from the 1970s, here it is. Just make sure the drapes are closed. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Helga, She-Wolf of Stilberg, aka Helga, la louve de Stilberg”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Alcatraz (2018)

Alcatraz (2018) movie posterMy favorite bad movies are ones from outsider filmmakers who pour their hearts and souls into making their films. They may not know what they’re doing, and they usually have resources to match, yet they persevere, often through years of adversity, to get their projects to audiences.

My least favorite bad movies are treated as little more than commodities — something produced to get to market as quickly as possible, with little use for the skills and talents of those involved. In fact, talent is a burden, as it would cost the production more money.

Today’s film is from one of the most prolific shitty movie filmmakers working today, and it falls very much into the category of commodity filmmaking.

From writer/director/producer Andrew Jones comes Alcatraz, a fictional retelling of the so-called Battle of Alcatraz, wherein a small group of inmates attempted to escape the legendary prison in 1946 by taking guards hostage. There’s no reason to go further into the real-life details, as the movie didn’t use them. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Alcatraz (2018)”

October Horrorshow: Inmate Zero, aka Patients of a Saint

Inmate Zero is a pretty generic title for a zombie flick. But, it does have the benefit of not only fitting the story, but letting any potential viewers know what they’re in for. It’s a much more honest approach than giving a movie an evocative title and then failing to deliver, à la The Thirsty Dead. That’s just a con. Either way, Inmate Zero, as basic a title as that may be, is still much better than Patients of a Saint, the title under which this film was originally released. That is just awful. This is a zombie flick, not some agonizing Jane Austen romance. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Inmate Zero, aka Patients of a Saint”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Chain Gang Women

We have been hornswoggled. We have been bamboozled. Hoodwinked. Swindled. Tricked, and defrauded. A movie with a title such as Chain Gang Women has obligations to be met. There needs to be women. On a chain gang. And there should be, at minimum, two nude shower scenes. A film with a title like this owes its audience genuine exploitative sleaze. This flick is that, to be sure, but to an inadequate extent. Nor does that change the fact that viewers are the victims of shameless misdirection in the pursuit of drive-in dollars. I shall explain. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Chain Gang Women”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Caged Heat

Caged Heat movie posterWhat a piece of trash. I’ve written before that it’s folly to impose present morality on the past, and that includes living memory. But in this day and age, should someone try and make a film like Caged Heat, they might end up having to register as a sex offender. At the very least, Twitter would be apoplectic…for perhaps a week, before moving on to the next outrage.

From 1974, Caged Heat was future Oscar winner Jonathan Demme’s first foray in the director’s chair. Before this, he had written and produced a pair of exploitation flicks for Roger Corman and New World Pictures. This flick is also part of the Corman stable, although one won’t find his name in the credits. His fingerprints are all over it, though. From the gratuitous nudity that crosses over into crudity, to the pervading cheapness in fealty to ruthless cost-cutting, this is as much a Corman as a Demme flick.

Also written by Demme, Caged Heat follows the trials and tribulations of the inmates of the Connerville Correctional Institute for Women. Demme may have ‘written’ a ‘screenplay,’ but putting any effort into following the plot is a waste of time for the viewer. The story is just about the least important and engaging aspect of this flick. The purpose of this film was to make a quick buck by satisfying the more animalistic desires of its viewers. There is plenty of full-frontal nudity to satisfy all the young, teenaged boy’s desire for the female figure, should they not have had an older brother with a Penthouse stashed behind his headboard. I counted four(!) shower scenes. Of course, I’m writing of the past. The internet has made pseudo-smut like this unnecessary, and somewhat quaint. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Caged Heat”

Empty Balcony: Undisputed

Monroe Hutchens (Wesley Snipes) is a hell of a boxer. In fact, he has never lost a fight. The big problem for Hutchens, though, is that all the boxing he’s done for the past ten years has been care of the California Department of Corrections. Once the California state champ for his weight class, Hutchens was poised to enter into a lucrative professional boxing career when he came home to find his woman in bed with another man. Hutchens beat the paramour to death and was sentenced to life without parole for the murder. While in prison, he continues to ply his trade, doing his time and beating up on the boxing champions from other prisons around the state. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Undisputed”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Women’s Prison Massacre, aka Emanuelle Escapes From Hell, aka Blade Violent – I violenti

In the annals of shitty cinema, the 1980s saw the Italians holding the world championship crown. Between Enzo G. Castellari, Joe D’Amato, and Lucio Fulci, American b-flicks just didn’t stand a chance. Bruno Mattei is another filmmaker who can be added to this list of sublime cinematic futility. His 1983 film, Women’s Prison Massacre, also released as Emanuelle Escapes From Hell, among a couple of other titles, is an unbelievable piece of shit. Not only is it bottom feeding trash, it’s sexually exploitative. Being a film about a women’s prison, that’s to be expected. But there is also a cut floating around out there with hardcore porn, using body doubles of the cast, stitched into the R-rated sex scenes. I didn’t see that cut because, believe it or not, I wanted to watch this dog for the plot. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Women’s Prison Massacre, aka Emanuelle Escapes From Hell, aka Blade Violent – I violenti”

Empty Balcony: Shot Caller

Jacob (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) was having a good day. He and a co-worker, Tom (Max Greenfield), were about to close a big deal, and took their wives out for a double-date to celebrate. Too bad for Jacob, then, that he had one or two too many drinks. Otherwise, the red light he ran, and the accident he caused that killed Tom, probably would not have resulted in jail time. As it is, vehicular homicide and all the DUI stuff has left Jacob with a two and a half year stretch in a maximum security prison. His lawyer advises his upper middle class client not to show weakness while serving his time, and Jacob decides to run with that advice. Continue readingEmpty Balcony: Shot Caller”

Stallone Month: Tango & Cash

Tango & Cash is somewhat of a watershed moment for the excessive 1980s style of action flick. It’s so ridiculous and over-the-top that a viewer could be forgiven if they thought this film was a spoof. It is not. However, it is an excellent example of what can go right and wrong in an action film, and in film productions in general. Continue readingStallone Month: Tango & Cash”