Shitty Movie Sundays: Teenage Cave Man, or, Teenage Caveman, Whatever

According to the internet, so it must be true, star of Teenage Cave Man, Robert Vaughn, called it the worst film ever made. The internet is an infinite repository of apocrypha and bullshit, so who knows if this is an actual quote. This level of disavowal seems harsh. Teenage Cave Man is no Vertigo (released the same year), but it’s also no Ed Wood joint. It’s a b-movie that had a low budget, a silly script, and kitsch value out the wazoo.

One of four movies directed by Roger Corman in 1958, and one of seven he produced in that year, Teenage Cave Man follows the trials and tribulations of The Symbol Maker’s Teenage Son (Vaughn), as he comes of age and begins to question the laws of his clan of cave dwellers. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Teenage Cave Man, or, Teenage Caveman, Whatever”

Shitty Movie Sundays: War of the Satellites

Missile Test will always appreciate Roger Corman, no matter how much crap we give him for being one of the most miserly filmmakers to ever grace the business. If one absolutely, positively, had to get a movie made quickly and as cheaply as possible, Corman was the guy to call. Case in point is War of the Satellites, conceived, shot, and released in only a couple of months, in order to capitalize on the launch of Sputnik, which was dominating the news at the time, and which fed a lot of Cold War paranoia and consternation amongst the American people.

Corman directed and produced, from a story by co-producers and visual effects techs Irving Block and Jack Rabin, with TV writer Lawrence L. Goldman penning the screenplay. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: War of the Satellites”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Zone

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Future Zone”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Force

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Future Force”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Space-Fighter

There is some mythmaking surrounding today’s film, so a little internet detective work was called for.

The Space-Fighter, according to its credits, is a production of The Stryker Brothers, Michael and Matthew. They wrote, directed, produced, starred, and handled the digital effects. On the IMDb page for the film, though, the credited director is Matthew Arnashus, who also stars as Vic Rider. Vic’s brother in the film, Ken, is credited to Michael Jean. However, Vic and Ken are clearly twins. But, are they?

Some more digging in the tubes has turned up info that Matthew Arnashus is a freelance editor and voiceover actor working out of the Chicago area. He has a brother named Michael, but I couldn’t find out if they had the same birthdate, because I’m not going to pay some sketchy white pages site for that information. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Space-Fighter”

October Horrorshow: The Alligator People

If one ever wanted to know what would happen if a cheesy 1950’s monster flick had a respectable budget, this is it. The Alligator People is an obscure film that, if one were to judge by its well-worn theatrical trailers, was shot in 4:3 aspect ratio with cheap film stock and lenses. Nope, it’s right there at the end of the trailer in the title card. This sucker was shot in glorious 2.35:1 CinemaScope. Academy award-winning director of photography Karl Struss, who was getting set to wrap up his long career in Hollywood, made sure everything looked great. It was way more than this movie deserved.

Directed by Roy Del Ruth from a screenplay by Orville H. Hampton, The Alligator People tells the desperate story of Joyce Webster (Beverly Garland). Told in flashback in a totally unnecessary framing story (but useful to get this flick to 74 minutes in length), Joyce relates how, while traveling on honeymoon, her husband receives a mysterious wire while their train passes through the bayous of Louisiana. Her husband, Paul (Richard Crane), hops off the train at a lonely station in the middle of nowhere, leaving Joyce frantic as the train leaves the station. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Alligator People”

October Horrorshow: Inseminoid, aka Horrorplanet

A common theme one will find on the internet about Inseminoid is that it rips off Alien. Sure, it does. Lots of movies have. And Alien ripped off It! The Terror from Beyond Space. That shouldn’t stop one from considering the film on its own merits. It succeeds and fails all on its own, with no credit or responsibility laid at the feet of Ridley Scott or Dan O’Bannon. The similarities to Alien are many, but with a budget of £1 million versus Alien’s $11 million, there were going to be some cuts made.

Inseminoid was directed by Norman J. Warren, from a script by Nick and Gloria Maley. On a far away planet, scientists studying ruins of an alien civilization are attacked by a monster. One of them, Sandy (Judy Geeson), is inseminated by the alien, and will soon give birth to twin monstrosities. In this, Inseminoid tracks closest to Alien. The much lower budget meant that much of the atmosphere that defined Alien was not possible in this flick. The budget also affected the alien costume, which is very subpar. Warren and company made the right decision to not feature the monster that much. As a result, most of the terrorizing in this flick is done by Sandy and not the monster. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Inseminoid, aka Horrorplanet”

October Horrorshow: Creepozoids

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 readingOctober Horrorshow: Creepozoids”

October Horrorshow: Slime City Massacre

I couldn’t let October go by and let Zombie Island Massacre be the final film from the Troma stable featured in this year’s Horrorshow. Their catalogue, both the films they produce and the ones they distribute, are hit or miss for fans of b-movies. Zombie Island Massacre is well-liked enough that Joe Bob Briggs hosted it on his show way back in the 1990s, but I didn’t see the appeal. Consider this a makeup post.

Slime City Massacre, from 2010, is a project from low-budget auteur Gregory Lamberson, and is a sequel to his debut feature from 1988, Slime City.

An introduction, and a couple of flashbacks here and there, take place in 1959. There, a cult leader named Zachary (Craig Sabin) has gathered a flock. In anticipation of the end of the world or something, Zachary uses black magic to transfer the souls of he and his believers into jars of fluorescent goo. He also whips up a batch of cursed hooch that, when combined with eating the slime, will transfer the stored souls into the poor victim who imbibed. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Slime City Massacre”

October Horrorshow: Forbidden World

Roger Corman has caught a lot of heat in these pages for being a cheapskate. The man was, and still is, ruthless in his pursuit of efficiency in his productions. This has often been a detriment to his films. As a filmmaker, Corman could make better movies if he loosened the purse strings ever so slightly, but he always seems to err on the side of budget over art. That said, the man’s contributions to cinema, and shitty movies, cannot be overstated. Forbidden World, a Corman production from 1982, encapsulates just about everything that makes a movie shitty, and is an excellent example of the Corman style. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Forbidden World”