Shitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith

The Wraith, the 1986 flick from writer/director Mike Marvin, is in stiff competition with Road House for the most relentlessly ’80s movie in the Watchability Index. The music, the fashion, the bright colors, the bitchin’ cars, the way the film is shot, and the raspy-voiced presence of Charlie Sheen will all transport the viewer back to the heady days of mid-1980s Tucson, Arizona.

This film is also a throwback to the teen dramas of the 1950s. The local youths are consumed by their dramas, and, like all good teen flicks, the only adult with significant presence in the film is the local sheriff. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith”

October Horrorshow: Tammy and the T-Rex

Pop quiz, hotshot. You have access to an animatronic dinosaur for three weeks, and a million bucks burning a hole in your pocket. What do you do?!

If you’re Etka Sarlui, you call up b-movie auteur Stewart Raffill and ask him if he would like to make a movie. And if you are Stewart Raffill, you then say ‘yes,’ because one should never turn down work. A week later, Raffill, along with Gary Brockette, have a screenplay, and two weeks after that, Tammy and the T-Rex is in the can, the dinosaur is off to a theme park in Texas, amazingly undamaged, and the world has its next insane shitty movie. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Tammy and the T-Rex”

October Horrorshow: Scared to Death (1947)

Scared to Death 1947 movie posterWhat could 135,000 bucks buy one in 1947? It could buy 79 Ford Super Deluxe automobiles at base sticker price; 11 houses at the median home value; yearly tuition for 257 students at Harvard University; or one shitty movie, filmed in glorious Cinecolor.

Scared to Death, from screenwriter Walter Abbott and director Christy Cabanne, is a poverty row flick that got picked up by Screen Guild Productions for distribution. If that name is unfamiliar to you, dear shitty movie fan and loyal reader, just know that a year after this film was released, Screen Guild changed its name to Lippert Pictures, after its founder, Robert L. Lippert. And, if that name is unfamiliar to you, then you need to watch more shitty movies.

Scared to Death is more notable as being the only starring role from Bela Lugosi filmed in color. If one could call it color.

Technicolor’s much cheaper (and also more practical) competitor, Cinecolor is like looking at the world through a pair of barely effective sunglasses. In a film as old and poorly cared for as Scared to Death, it looks as if the world is in the middle of a solar eclipse. But, bad prints of old films can add much charm to a dog of a movie. And this flick is a mangy mutt. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Scared to Death (1947)”

October Horrorshow: Mandy

Mandy, the 2018 magnum opus from director Panos Cosmatos, written with Aaron Stewart-Ahn, is a film that will be polarizing to an audience. Its execution is very stylized, and that, combined with its oppressive mood, will be a huge turnoff for many, while many others will find themselves carried away by it all. It’s not completely a love it or hate it kind of film, but the world is rarely so black and white. What most viewers should be able to agree on is that Cosmatos’s film is ambitious, especially in the way it is photographed. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Mandy”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors

Sylvester Stallone has been dipping into the China market, of late. This isn’t anything new, really. For years now, Hollywood has been tweaking their films to satisfy the demands of the Chinese government and gain access to their huge market, with mixed results. There’s no tweaking in the latest Escape Plan flick, however. This film looks made for the Chinese market, and if anything comes of it in other markets, that’s just gravy for this film’s 48 credited producers. Seriously, 48! I counted nine production company logos at the start, eating up 1:45 of this flick’s 96-minute running time. Major League Baseball has shorter commercial breaks between innings. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Escape Plan: The Extractors”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Stanley

Stanley movie posterI love it when a film’s main character is an eccentric nutjob. I don’t mean a character remembered for an over the top performance by an actor, like a Captain Jack Sparrow or even the Joker. I’m referring to characters who have quirks so wild they defy typical Hollywood tropes. Take the main character in 1972’s Stanley, Tim Ochopee (veteran soap opera actor Chris Robinson).

Tim is a Seminole who was drafted to go off and fight in Vietnam. He harbors massive amounts of resentment, all justified, towards the government of the white man. His response to this, and PTSD, has been to pull back from society, moving to a lonely cabin in the Everglades. But, isolation was not enough for Tim. He has a fascination with snakes. He loves them and considers himself their protector. His two favorites are the titular Stanley and Hazel, a pair of rattlesnakes that he is breeding. He croons to them. He pets them lovingly. He takes Stanley with him everywhere, and gives Stanley orders like he’s a dog and not a reptile. He thinks of Stanley and Hazel as husband and wife. All meaning Tim gets from his life, he derives from his snakes. And, he will kill for them. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Stanley”

It Came from the ’50s: From Hell It Came

What a gloriously stupid movie. I’ll be honest. Many of the 1950s flicks in this month’s Horrorshow have been a real slog to get through. That’s really something, considering how many of them are only around an hour or so in length. Today’s ’50s flick is a short one, too, clocking in at only 71 minutes. It didn’t have much of a budget, either, so a decent amount of that short running time is spent expositing. But, without any reservations at all, From Hell It Came is an incredible shitty movie. It’s essential viewing for the shitty movie fan. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: From Hell It Came”

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: Death Wish II

Forget for a moment that Death Wish II is one of the defining films for The Cannon Group and its producing pair of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Forget that it was this film, along with Enter the Ninja, that would come to define a style of shamelessness that has brought endless amounts of joy to both the shitty movie fan and the wider action flick audience. Forget that a film like this scratches a primal itch that high culture would like to pretend doesn’t exist. Instead, revel in the fact that Jimmy Page did the music for this flick. That’s right. Jimmy Page. From Led Zeppelin. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Death Wish II”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Chrome and Hot Leather

Chrome and Hot Leather walks and talks like drive-in outlaw biker gang flick, but it’s missing the two most important elements of true exploitation cinema: blood and nudity. It starts out promisingly enough, and, overall, it’s a quite enjoyable shitty movie watch, but it’s like a cake with no icing. It’s still good, but it wouldn’t be all that hard to make it better.

From way back in 1971, Chrome and Hot Leather was directed by Lee Frost, from a screenplay by Michael Haynes, David Neibel, and Don Tait. Whomever came up with the title isn’t listed in the credits, but that mysterious person certainly did more for this film’s longevity than anything that was captured on film. Perhaps it was producer Wes Bishop. No matter who is responsible, they did a nice job. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Chrome and Hot Leather”