Slipstream, the 1989 movie from producer Gary Kurtz, is a rare film. It must be, since this is one of the few times I mention the producer of a film before I mention a director, screenwriter, or star. So, why the top billing for Mr. Kurtz?
It’s because this movie ruined him as a big time Hollywood producer. Kurtz produced Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. He produced two of the most important films in blockbuster history, having an effect on studio films that still reverberates to this day. Then, creative conflicts with George Lucas led to a split, and Kurtz went his own way. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Slipstream”
Short of watching a mockbuster from The Asylum or its ilk, one would be hard-pressed to find a film that is more of a ripoff of a big time Hollywood production than Robowar, from Italian auteur Bruno Mattei. The victim in this case is Predator. From characters, to plot, to location, to certain scenes, all the way down to individual lines of dialogue, Mattei squeezed everything he could out of Predator short of being sued into oblivion. The only major change was substituting a rogue bionic soldier for the alien hunter. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Robowar”
Well, I saw two leading men in an action film that had no business trying either to emote, or speak lines of dialogue. One was stiffer than a two-by-four, and the other had spent so long cutting promos in the WWF that any emotion other than anger came out sounding like a first read.
Sprung from the mind of writer, director, and producer Damian Lee, Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe stars Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura as the titular Abraxas. He’s a humanoid alien police officer who is part of an elite force of Finders who keep the peace in the universe. The Finders have been around for a long time, too, with Abraxas claiming to be over 11,000 years old. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe”
I’ve seen a lot of Mad Max ripoffs. American ones, Italian ones, Filipino ones…but never one from Australia. Hmm.
This particular Mad Max ripoff is of the Italian variety, and it might be the most barebones of the bunch. It has the most desolate wasteland, the smallest cast, and the least amount of tricked out hoopties. That last note is something of a sticking point. The cars are a big draw for me when watching these movies. I want to see rust buckets with all sorts of doodads welded to them to make them look tough. Crucially, they need to have been decent muscle cars at one point in their lives. In this flick, the auto de résistance is a sixth generation Ford Thunderbird, which was the heaviest coupe Ford ever made. That thing couldn’t outrun a squirrel, and belongs nowhere near a film like this. This was the best the filmmakers could do? Anyway… Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Exterminators of the Year 3000, aka Il giustiziere della strada”
This flick is for the chest men, the boob guys, the fellas that love nothing more than doing a little motorboating or some light mountain climbing. In short, this movie has breasts. Many, many, female breasts, of the bolted-on variety that is so integral to the economy of southern California. It’s not the most breasts one will see in a b-movie, and the majority of them keep nipples hidden away like some rare commodity, but there is a theme to this flick, and it is breasts. And taxes, as it turns out. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Lost Empire”
One Mad Max ripoff wasn’t enough for Filipino filmmaker Cirio H. Santiago. After the sublime experience that was Wheels of Fire, Santiago went back to the well in 1987 for Equalizer 2000. It’s a movie about a man, his leather pants, and a bitchin’ gun.
From a story by Frederick Bailey and Joe Mari Avellana (who played the bad guy in Wheels of Fire), Equalizer 2000 follows Max Rockatansky analogue Slade (Richard Norton). Slade is a member of the Ownership, a militia group that is looking to control all of the gravel quarries in the post-apocalypse. They’re the typical baddies of a Mad Max ripoff. They wear black, drive tricked out muscle cars, and are very into pillaging settlements full of honest folk. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Equalizer 2000, or, Supergun!”
What a gloriously stupid movie. Future Kick is a textbook example of a shitty movie of the era. Everything about it is cheap, from its discount action star in Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson, its discount Kirstie Alley in Meg Foster as the female lead, its bargain-basement special effects and sets, and its grainy film stock. There was even producer Roger Corman’s favorite method of saving money on a production: reusing footage from earlier films.
Once upon a time Corman addressed this oft-used technique. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, that back when he started reusing footage and/or sets, there was no such thing as a home video market. He was making films that would show for a week or two at a drive-in, and that was the last anyone would ever see of them. No one would remember when a few months later a different flick would appear reusing footage from the earlier film. Sure, that’s a fine excuse for his Poe films, to which he was referring, but Future Kick was released in 1991, well after the home video market became a thing. Reused footage in this film comes from a duo of space flicks, Galaxy of Terror and Forbidden World, and erotic slasher Stripped to Kill 2, which gives viewers a healthy dose of gratuitous nudity. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Future Kick”
A true mark of quality in a shitty sci-fi flick from Hollywood in the 1980s and ’90s was use of the Kaiser Steel Mill in Fontana, California, as a shooting location. Just check out this list on IMDb. The more ruinous parts of the mill were a perfect location for a post-apocalyptic or dystopian landscape. Those portions have since been paved over for the Auto Club Speedway, but they live on in films like Robocop, The Running Man, and Nemesis, a 1992 cyberpunk, neo-noir action flick that, somehow, spawned a direct-to-video franchise.
Here’s some bottom of the barrel sci-fi, folks — slow-cooked to perfection and braised in poor CGI, limited locations, convoluted backstory, wooden performances, and lots of ridiculous gunfights.
From writer/director Jesse V. Johnson comes post-apocalyptic extravaganza The Last Sentinel. It’s the future! Who knows when? After crime and general nonconformity swept the United States, police officers were replaced with genetically engineered drone soldiers — living men stripped of reason and emotion, useful only as black-clad hammers in search of criminal nails. The drones eventually decided that taking over from the humans would be the best way forward, and destroyed most of human civilization. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Last Sentinel (2007)”
Who doesn’t love a shitty Mad Max ripoff? Well, probably all those people out there who, for some reason or another, don’t like substandard cinema. They will never understand the joy to be had in seeing an entire cast costumed in black leather and random bits of spray painted athletic gear. They will never appreciate the sublime rumble of vehicle chases through the desert featuring junk heap muscle cars with all sorts of doodads welded to them. Maybe, just maybe, they will find the inevitable anti-hero of the films a sympathetic character, but only because it’s a conceit that was part of film long before Max Rockatansky ever peeled away in the Pursuit Special. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Wheels of Fire”