October Horrorshow: The Creeping Terror, aka The Crawling Monster

The Creeping Terror, the 1964 monster flick from producer, director, editor, and star Vic Savage, is a regular staple on ‘worst movies ever made’ lists, and it should be. Watching this flick is a mirthful, schadenfreude-filled experience. It will make a viewer shake one’s head, mystified that a movie so obviously bad could be made. It has the feel of a spoof, as if it were making fun of the low-budget monster flicks of the 1950s. But, no, this is very much a serious film.

The Creeping Terror may have been made in 1964, but, according to the internet, so it must be true, it never received a theatrical release. It lingered on a shelf somewhere until Crown International Pictures licensed it for television in the mid-1970s. Thank goodness for the clearing house for crap that was Crown International, otherwise this could have been a lost film, subject to mere rumor and speculation. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Creeping Terror, aka The Crawling Monster”

October Horrorshow: The Deadly Spawn

At some point around 1980, producer Ted A. Bohus and f/x man John Dods put their heads together and came up with an idea for an alien monster flick. Neither could direct or write a screenplay, so Dods brought in Douglas McKeown, a would-be filmmaker looking for his first break. Bohus somehow found a little bit of money, Dods and his crew built one of the wildest monsters ever to grace horror flicks, and McKeown worked his talents to deliver an amazing experience of low-budget cinema.

Released in 1983, The Deadly Spawn tells the story of a creature that rides a meteorite down to Earth and terrorizes a household in rural New Jersey. Tom DeFranco stars as Pete, and Charles George Hildebrandt stars as Pete’s middle school-aged younger brother, also named Charles. (Charles is the son of fantasy/sci-fi illustrator Tim Hildebrandt. Readers may not know him by name, but they will recognize some of the work he did with his brother, Greg. Tim has a small role in the film, on top of lending his house to the production for filming.) Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Deadly Spawn”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith

The Wraith, the 1986 flick from writer/director Mike Marvin, is in stiff competition with Road House for the most relentlessly ’80s movie in the Watchability Index. The music, the fashion, the bright colors, the bitchin’ cars, the way the film is shot, and the raspy-voiced presence of Charlie Sheen will all transport the viewer back to the heady days of mid-1980s Tucson, Arizona.

This film is also a throwback to the teen dramas of the 1950s. The local youths are consumed by their dramas, and, like all good teen flicks, the only adult with significant presence in the film is the local sheriff. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Wraith”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)

Cop 1988 movie posterNormally, if there were a trailer available on YouTube, it would be posted here, but not this time. The trailer for Cop spoils the ending. We can’t have that.

What a gloriously stupid movie. I knew heading in that any movie produced by, and starring, James Woods as a lone-wolf detective hunting a serial killer would be an adventure. Cop is more than that, however. It is an absolute howler. It is amongst the most over-indulgent Hollywood vanity projects I’ve ever seen, from an actor who doesn’t know the first thing about nuance.

The highlights:

  • Woods, playing Sgt. Lloyd Hopkins, stakes out a suspected armed robber with his supervisor, Lt. Dutch Peltz, played by Charles Durning. The suspect pulls up to the curb with his date, Hopkins and Dutch confront him, and Hopkins blows the suspect away after he pulls a pistol on Dutch. That’s fine. But then, Hopkins takes the date from the car, who is ambivalent about the whole thing, and leaves the scene to drive her home because she has a nice rack. It’s implied he sleeps with her. I guess that means it was a good shoot.
  • Hopkins tracks down a former actress turned call girl (Randi Brooks), following up a lead on the serial killings, and, wouldn’t you know it? They have sex in the kitchen while bacon is sizzling in a pan nearby. This happens the very scene after Hopkins’ wife leaves him and takes the kid.
  • Hopkins goes to the residence of feminist poet and bookstore owner Kathleen McCarthy (Lesley Ann Warren) to follow up another lead. He’s as gruff and pigheaded as one would expect any clichéd cop from an ’80s film to be, but McCarthy doesn’t seem to care all that much. You see, she’s a feminist only because the right man has never come along to sweep her off of her feet. Lo and behold, that could be Hopkins. He talks her into a date, and later a trip to the bedroom, because he’s the first man who’s been man enough to do so.
  • Hopkins follows another lead to the home of an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy (Charles Haid) who happens to be running male prostitutes. Hopkins then kills the deputy after the deputy goes for a shotgun, but he never faces any repercussions for this, despite having broken into the deputy’s home without a warrant, while also being under suspension from the LAPD.

Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cop (1988)”

October Horrorshow: The Brain (1988)

The Brain 1988 movie posterHere’s a movie so nice I had to watch it twice; so uproarious it’s glorious; so shitty I had to go and be witty.

Hailing from the Great White North, The Brain, screenwriter Barry Pearson and director Ed Hunt’s 1988 horror flick, is shitty gold. Let’s get that out of the way, first. This is a quality shitty movie. It’s cheap schlock — outrageous, ridiculous, hilarious, and very, very watchable. It’s the rare horror flick where the creature is shown at the very beginning, but this movie suffers nothing for it. Building tension through the unseen? Nope. None of that. That takes a back seat to sharing such an absurd cinematic creation with audiences right away, and it works. It’s a gigantic brain, with a face and huge teeth, and it eats people. Let me emphasize this. The monster in this movie is a brain the size of a mastiff that eats people.

Tom Bresnahan stars as Jim Majelewski. He’s a typical rebellious Canadian teenager, in that while he may blow up toilets with pure sodium and glue teachers’ pants to chairs, he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, and gets straight A’s. But, the school has had enough of his shenanigans, and he is forced to undergo treatment at the Psychological Research Institute (exteriors were played by the Xerox Research Centre of Canada), run by the evil Dr. Blakely (David Gale) and his assistant, Verna (George Buza). Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Brain (1988)”

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”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Horror franchises have a lifespan. And all horror franchises exceed that lifespan, shuffling along like zombies, mere imitations of the life they once had. The third entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise still has life — a shitload, in fact — but the signs of franchise decline are also very apparent.

Wes Craven returns to write after sitting out the previous film, alongside Bruce Wagner, Frank Darabont, and Chuck Russell. Russell also directed. Craven’s participation means the return of the murderous and sadistic Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) to the realm of dreams, rather than wandering around in the waking world — the expansion of Freddy’s supernatural abilities from the previous film retconned. In fact, this film makes no mention of the previous entry, instead serving as a sequel to the first film in the franchise. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Executioner, Part II

“I wish this were coke! Oh, heavenly coke!”

So says Kitty (Marisi Courtwright) to Laura (Bianca Phillipi), as the two share a joint in the kitchen and discuss turning tricks for drugs. That level of dialogue is par for the course in The Executioner, Part II, from producer/writer/star Renee Harmon. This flick is a wonderful, incredible, amazing, and fascinating example of bottom feeding cinema of the 1980s. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Executioner, Part II”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Death Race 2000

I’ve been cheated! The last, and only, time I saw Death Race 2000 before this latest viewing was in the far distant days of my youth, before the World Wide Web, when all snark had to be shared with those close to us. Friends, family, enemies, casual acquaintances — all near at hand to listen to our bullshit. Now, we are in the merciless grip of the Information Age, and I can share with the world the crime to which many, not just I, were subjected. For, the print I saw on television sometime during the Reagan administration had been ruthlessly cut for television. Gone was all the gratuitous nudity (understandable), but in its place, whoever prepared the film for TV had decided to just repeat footage. A viewer would watch David Carradine or Sly Stallone plow his car through a line of extras only to see the same footage again soon after. This happened many, many times. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Death Race 2000″

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”