October Horrorshow: Nightbeast

Blood, gore, low production values, a little gratuitous nudity, and charm out the wazoo. That’s Nightbeast, the 1982 sci-fi/horror flick from b-movie filmmaker Don Dohler. It’s a simple film with a simple idea: an alien passing by Earth runs into a stray asteroid and crashes in rural Maryland. It’s an angry beast, and it wastes no time slaughtering the locals with its laser gun.

Trying to stop the massacre are the cops and the good citizens of Perry Hall, led by Sheriff Cinder (Tom Griffith). That’s all the plot one really needs to know. There’s very little setup to this flick, and very little character development. That’s a good thing, as Dohler didn’t round up the best talent for his opus. Besides Griffith, there’s Karin Kardian as Deputy Lisa Kent, Jamie Zemarel as local Jamie Lambert, and Don Leifert as local tough guy and murderer Drago (it’s a subplot). None of these performers, or the others listed in the credits, had much work outside of Don Dohler films, and none of them seemed like professionals. But, their lack of acting chops only adds to the appeal. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Nightbeast”

October Horrorshow: Blood of Dracula’s Castle

Glen Cannon (Gene Otis Shane) is a lucky man. He has a decent career as a photographer, is about to marry and start a family with a model, Liz (Jennifer Bishop), and just inherited a castle in Arizona. That’s right. A castle. In Arizona.

There’s just one problem. The castle has been leased out to an aging couple for decades, and they don’t wish to leave. There’s actually another problem. The old couple are the Count and Countess Dracula (Alexander D’Arcy and Paula Raymond). They call themselves the Townsends now, but they are, indeed, the creature of legend and his wife. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Blood of Dracula’s Castle”

October Horrorshow: The Werewolf of Washington

Writer/director Milton Moses Ginsberg had something to say about the rot infecting Washington D.C. in the early 1970s. It was the time of Watergate, when the president, the attorney general, and all the rest of the president’s men were a pack of felons working to undermine the rule of law. How times have changed. Ginsberg’s response to the constitutional crisis posed by the ongoing criminal conspiracy that was the Nixon administration, was to make a movie satirizing the president. And he chose to make it a werewolf flick. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Werewolf of Washington”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Aftermath (1982)

Amazon Prime has a problem with dates on some movies. For films that have been re-released with a restored print or new cut, it’s not uncommon for them to use the date when the new print was released, rather than the year the film originally premiered. This caught me out with The Aftermath, which, according to Amazon, was released in 2018.

The print on Prime is close to pristine. Other than occasional pops and scratches, the picture is sharp and the colors are vibrant. Because of this, and the 2018 date attached to the film, I at first thought I was watching something fairly new. And it was a riot. From the cheap model work, the period costumes, the color reminiscent of a retro digital filter, the analog technology used in the sets, to the music and the cinematography, I thought I was watching a very clever recreation of a 1970s cheapie sci-fi flick or tv movie. Something inspired by Dark Star or any random Italian ripoff. Then I noticed Sid Haig, who plays the bad guy, and realized there was no way this movie was made in 2018. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Aftermath (1982)”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey

What a gloriously stupid movie. I loved just about every minute of it. Writer/director David A. Prior made a shitty movie, but in giving it a solid pace and an absurd amount of violence, he made something entertaining and watchable. I defy anyone who watches not to laugh during multiple parts of this film, usually when the star, David’s beefcake brother Ted, stabs someone with a Halloween store plastic knife, or spouts out one-liners that would have left Sylvester Stallone blushing.

From way back in 1987, Deadly Prey is a direct-to-video Rambo ripoff. Ted Prior stars as Mike Danton, a Vietnam vet whom David places into an arena and allows to go kill crazy. Danton’s antagonist is Colonel Hogan (David Campbell), his former commanding officer, who has set up a mercenary training camp outside of Los Angeles. Ted Prior may play the main character, but he doesn’t get top billing. That goes to Cameron ‘Discount Shatner’ Mitchell and Troy Donahue, who were slumming it for an easy paycheck. Their scenes in this film looked as if they were filmed in a day. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Deadly Prey”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Sadist

The Sadist movie posterThis film was up in the air. There was much debate upstairs about where this film should be categorized. It is clearly a b-movie, but it’s also shot very well, by a cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, who would go on to win an Oscar for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Writer/director John Landis doesn’t have anything in his filmography that would make potential viewers think he had a movie like this in him, yet this film is gripping from beginning to end, and, while being steeped in noir tropes and cliché of the era, has moments of true shock and unpredictability. But, despite how excellent is this movie, I have to slot it into Shitty Movie Sundays, for one reason, and one reason only: Arch Hall, Jr.

From 1963, The Sadist is a noir thriller that is one of many films inspired by the real-life crimes of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, who went on a killing spree in 1958. Their analogues in this film are Charles Tibbs (Hall), and Judy Bradshaw (Marilyn Manning). Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Sadist”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Deathsport, or, You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda

What a gloriously stupid movie. I mean that. Shitty movie fans know the struggle. We mine the depths of Netflix and Prime, the bargain bins at the big box, the lot purchases on eBay. Most of what we find is slag or chaff. But occasionally, one digs up something precious — a film of such mirthful incompetence that it can liven up a whole day. Such is Deathsport.

From way back in 1978, Deathsport comes to us from the Roger Corman stable. He produced this one, while directing duties were handled by Nicholas Niciphor, and later Allan Arkush (although, if the internet is to be believed, Corman did some uncredited work in the director’s chair, as well). Apparently, the shoot was a bit of a nightmare, with the unexperienced Nicophor trying to wrangle of bunch of drugged out loons. Well, their chaos was our gain. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Deathsport, or, You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Devil’s Express, aka Subway to Hell, aka Gang Wars

What a strange movie. Usually, when a film tries to be too many genres at once, the result is a jumbled mess that takes too many shortcuts, and is difficult to follow. That’s a good description of Devil’s Express (released under a number of other titles), the 1976 blaxploitation/martial arts/street gang/monster flick from director Barry Rosen, and screenwriters Rosen and Niki Patton. But, we like jumbled messes here at Shitty Movie Sundays. The closer a film comes to flying apart at the seams, the better. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Devil’s Express, aka Subway to Hell, aka Gang Wars”

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: Piranha (1978)

What a classic drive-in schlockfest. From the Roger Corman stable, Piranha could have been just another cheap Jaws ripoff, à la The Last Shark. But Corman hired filmmakers with some genuine talent to write and direct. He was way too tight to give them a budget, but their skills allowed them to weave some shitty gold.

John Sayles wrote the screenplay and Joe Dante directed. This was very early in both their careers, and they have since gone on to greater things. But I wouldn’t call this a humble beginning. By 1978, when this flick was released, Corman had been in business for decades. The flicks he produces are not humble — they are just cheap. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Piranha (1978)”