Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline

It’s Hellraiser…in SPAAAAACE!. Sort of. Unlike the other franchises that have sent their killer antagonists into the future, Hellraiser IV: Bloodline, the 1996 entry in the Hellraiser series, only takes place partially out in the black. Most of the film takes place either in 18th century France, or contemporary New York City. It would be disappointing, as I was looking forward to watching Hellraiser turn into an Alien ripoff, but this is one ambitious shitty movie, so not all was lost.

Bloodline had a checkered path to the silver screen. There were many creative disputes, crew dismissals, and general miserableness. To add to the troubles, after the film was delivered to Miramax, reshoots were demanded, and the film’s director, Kevin Yagher, quit. When the film was finally released, Yagher didn’t want his name on it, so the film’s credited director is Alan Smithee, that wonderful DGA pseudonym for directors who went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came home. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser IV: Bloodline”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 4

Critters might be the first horror franchise to take its action off planet. Hellraiser took to space in 1996, Leprechaun followed a year later, and Friday the 13th sent Jason Vorhees into the black in 2001. Incredible as it seems, Critters 4 might be a groundbreaking film.

From 1992, Critters 4 was shot at the same time as Critters 3, but this isn’t a case of breaking a single film into two parts when things began to sprawl. Critters 4 was always a separate film from the third, with a different director in Rupert Harvey. Much of the production crew, including the Chiodo Brothers, remained the same. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 4″

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 3

I’m willing to believe claims that screenwriter Dominic Muir wrote Critters before Gremlins was released in 1984, but as the franchise reached this third installment, all pretense is washed away. Critters 3 is a Gremlins ripoff — and also the launching point for one of Hollywood’s most successful actors.

No more theatrical releases for this franchise. By 1991, it was direct-to-video only. Written by David J. Schow and directed by Kristine Peterson, Critters 3 leaves the cozy confines of Grover’s Bend, Kansas, for the big city of Topeka. A family returning from a vacation — father Clifford (John Calvin), daughter Annie (Aimee Brooks), and young son Johnny (played by twins Christian and Joseph Cousins) — unknowingly pick up a critter infestation when they have to stop to change a tire. A couple of eggs are left in a wheel well, and they hatch just as the family returns to their rundown apartment building. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 3″

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 2

What month of horror franchise reviews would be complete without visiting the redheaded stepchild of 1980s horror franchises? The first Critters film was released to widespread yawns and accusations of thievery from Gremlins, but I maintain that this series of films is an indelible part of the experience of 1980s horror. All of these films are cheap, bloody, nicely tongue-in-cheek, shitty, and more entertaining than they should be.

Coming to audiences in 1988, Critters 2 picks up two years after the events of Critters, and assumes, quite fancifully, that one has seen the first film. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Critters 2″

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 4: In Space

This is the shameless, absurd piece of shit movie that I have been waiting for this series to produce. With Leprechaun 4: In Space, the filmmakers finally said, “fuck it,” and jettisoned everything that hindered this substandard horror franchise. By that, I mean Earth. The first three flicks were somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but they never lived up, or down, to their potential. This film is the turning point.

Like its predecessor, Leprechaun 4 went straight to video. That was a wise decision. The opening shot — in SPACE! — has some of the worst CGI a viewer is likely to see anywhere, and it sets the tone for the rest of the film. Realism was not within the grasp of the budget, and the result would not have been acceptable for a theatrical release. That also means director Brian Trenchard-Smith was freed from the shackles of even middling expectations. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Leprechaun 4: In Space”

October Horrorshow: The Similars, aka Los Parecidos

It was a dark and stormy night in early October, 1968. Like, really stormy. So stormy that, according to radio broadcasts, the entirety of North America, and possibly the world, was enveloped in cloud and heavy rain. At a bus station a few hours drive from Mexico City, a man, Ulises (Gustavo Sánchez Parra), is frantic as he awaits the delayed bus into the city. He’s anxious because his wife has gone into a difficult labor, and he wants to be by her side. But, the rain has made travel impossible.

Ulises harangues the station agent, Martin (Fernando Becerril), who is set to retire and is uninterested in any of Ulises’s nonsense. Ulises calls the hospital in Mexico City, and the garbled call he has with his father-in-law does nothing to allay his fears. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Similars, aka Los Parecidos”

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: The Rizen: Possession, aka The Facility

An older, rarely-used maxim here at Missile Test is that we have never met a movie we wouldn’t watch…for at least fifteen minutes. It’s a test. Sometimes a movie is so bad early on, so clear that it’s an unwatchable mess, that fifteen minutes is all it takes for one to know it’s not worth spending any more time with. I managed to make it through an hour of this piece of shit before abandoning it, but that was only because of my own stubbornness. This awful movie failed the fifteen-minute test.

From writer/director Matt Mitchell, The Rizen: Possession is the sequel to his 2017 film, The Rizen. I haven’t seen that flick, so the fact that Possession is an incomprehensible mess might be due to missing some important backstory. However, no sequel should be so opaque that viewers who haven’t seen what came before would be hopelessly lost. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Rizen: Possession, aka The Facility”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Doom: Annihilation

The first Doom flick has the distinction of being the first film to ever carry the Shitty Movie Sundays moniker here at Missile Test. That movie was cheap as all get out, despite starring Dwayne Johnson during his first run at movie stardom, and an up-and-comer named Karl Urban. 2019’s Doom: Annihilation establishes a tradition of cheapness for the franchise. Despite that, this is a far more entertaining film than any direct-to-video sci-fi/action flick has any business being.

The first Doom film paid homage to its video game source material here and there, but it was never a faithful adaptation. That’s understandable, as that source material is kind of thin. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Doom: Annihilation”

Shitty Movie Sundays: End of the World (1977)

According to the internet (so it must be true), Christopher Lee was tricked, bamboozled, conned, into being in End of the World, the 1977 sci-fi dog from legendary shitty movie producer Charles Band. But, the actor doth protest too much, methinks. It’s not like Lee was known for being in the best films Hollywood or England had to offer, and I’m sure his wounded pride was salved once the check cleared.

But, what about we viewers? Is this just another flick that’s all title and nothing else? Does it deliver on the promise of a world that is ending? Indeed, it does! It also delivers a lot of walking and talking, and hardly any action. Oh, well. That’s the hazard of being a shitty movie fan. Often, the movies are just shit. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: End of the World (1977)”