Shitty Movie Sundays: Caged Heat 3000, or, Nudity Is the New Black

Caged Heat 3000 VHS boxWho doesn’t want a little sleaze in their life? If the dearth of this kind of movie in the 21st century is any indication, the answer is: not many people.

Existing halfway between some R-rated titillation and outright smut, Caged Heat 3000 is of a type that has little place in popular culture these days. It’s too raunchy for regular release, but not explicit enough to live on those websites we all pretend we don’t visit. Erotic direct-to-video releases are a victim of forty years of increasing social conservatism here in the States, and the internet, which can offer straight porn on demand. What an interesting dichotomy. Movies are becoming more prudish, while smut is more readily available than ever before, leaving the middle ground a barren wasteland for new content. That’s an oversimplification, but there is a lively debate online about the subject of nudity in film.

There’s no debate here at Shitty Movie Sundays. Gratuitous nudity is an important facet of the shitty movie experience, just as much as nonsensical plots, cheap sets, poor effects, bad acting, and all the other things that give the shitty movie fan their fix. We can gaze upon the lazy eroticism and shameless misogyny of a flick like Caged Heat 3000 and laugh. It also brings to mind the days before we were flooded with content, when Caged Heat 3000 might have been the best, or only, option available for a viewer looking to see a little skin. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Caged Heat 3000, or, Nudity Is the New Black”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Colonials

Science fiction movies in the 21st century don’t get much more bargain basement than Colonials, from writer (with Cyrus Cheek), director (with Andrew Balek), and producer (with far too many people to name) Joe Bland. That’s Bland as in, I shit you not, Bland Productions. That’s the name of his company. Lean into it, Joe.

Using techniques pioneered by George Lucas, Bland didn’t need any fancy sets, or even a full complement of actors. Like the worst sequences in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Colonials uses CGI for just about everything. Spaceships and their interiors. Space stations and their interiors. Ground level in a destroyed megalopolis. A moon base. An earth base. Random hallways and rooms. Even the movie’s bad guy. It takes a full twenty-two minutes of running time before any member of the cast is shown in real surroundings, and that’s just a small location somewhere in the hills of Los Angeles. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Colonials”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Neon City

According to the internet, so it must be true, screenwriter Ann Lewis Hamilton, in penning Neon City, was crafting an updated telling of Stagecoach, set in a time and place similar to Mad Max. George Miller’s epic dystopian/post-apocalyptic films are big hits here at Missile Test, so much so that any Mad Max ripoff, from any source, will get a viewing. Truth be told, they’re all basically westerns with combustion engines instead of horses. Even Mad Max 2, the best of Miller’s bunch, and the one that gets ripped off the most, has more in common with a classic western than its own source material.

It’s the future! 2053! Environmental devastation has led to the collapse of civilization. The world has been rendered mostly desert, subject to random extreme events that kill those caught in them. There are something called Xander clouds, which are areas of noxious gas, and Brights, which is when particulates in the atmosphere focus, rather than scatter, the sun’s rays, cooking anything in sight. As if that’s not bad enough, roving bands of Skins, savages clad in animal hides, attack all travelers, and occasionally lay siege to humanity’s remaining outposts. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Neon City”

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”