Shitty Movie Sundays: Beyond the Trek, aka Teleios

This is something of a nothingburger movie. Originally titled Teleios, at some point after a few film festival showings and before it was released to DVD, the title was changed to Beyond the Trek to take advantage of the release of Star Trek Beyond. This flick even uses a title font similar to Star Trek’s, all to chase that sweet mockbuster cash. But, this isn’t a mockbuster. Rather, Beyond the Trek is a magnum opus from writer/director Ian Truitner. It’s a film with profound depth in its ideas, and about a nickel’s worth of budget to bring those ideas to fruition. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Beyond the Trek, aka Teleios”

It Came from the ’50s: It! The Terror from Beyond Space

When is a shitty movie not a shitty movie? When it’s super cheap, but also good. Such is the case with It! The Terror from Beyond Space, released in 1958.

We wrap up It Came from the ’50s with the movie that was the supposed inspiration for Alien. The story is similar. A spaceship from Earth sets down on another planet and picks up a stowaway alien with a thirst for blood. How the human spacefarers rid themselves of the alien is also similar. How the two films differ is in the small details. Continue readingIt Came from the ’50s: It! The Terror from Beyond Space”

Shitty Movie Sundays: The Shape of Things to Come

The Shape of Things to ComeA lot of filmmakers in the late 1970s wanted to get some of that sweet, sweet Star Wars money. That resulted in shitty cinema being overrun with Star Wars ripoffs — some much better than others. At the bottom of the scale is something like Cosmos: War of the Planets, while today’s film, The Shape of Things to Come, is about as compelling a ripoff as shitty cinema managed to produce.

From 1979, The Shape of Things to Come is a loose adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel of the same name. It’s the future. After Earth was devasted by The Robot Wars, mankind settled on the moon and elsewhere. A drug called Radic-Q2 is vital to humanity’s continued survival, but the supply comes from a single planet called Delta 3. After a cargo ship from Delta 3 crashes into the capital city on the moon, New Washington, it is revealed that Delta 3, and all Radic-Q2 production, has been seized by the evil Omus (Jack Palance). We know that Omus is evil, not just because he was responsible for slamming a spaceship into a populated city, or that afterwards he holds an entire civilization hostage, but because he wears a cape. Everyone in this movie wears super-shiny futuristic space clothes, but only Omus accessorizes with a cape. It’s purple, too. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: The Shape of Things to Come”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek

Should one not wish to be burdened by a sensible, interconnected plot, or by special effects that pass a minimum standard of acceptability, then has Missile Test got the movie for you. Cosmos: War of the Planets, also known by many other names, is one of the shittiest films to grace this site in a litany of shitty films. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek”

October Horrorshow: Alien: Covenant, or, An Endless String of Stupid Decisions: The Movie

Every artist reaches, and then passes, their creative peak. It happens to everyone involved in creative endeavors should they survive long enough. Bands grow stale, the words of authors lose their ferocity, and auteurs show their viewers passable films where once there were epics. Declaring an artist as being past their prime is a bit like writing an obituary while a person is still alive, but those are the feelings that are evoked by watching a film like Alien: Covenant. It’s gorgeous to look at, and is still obviously the construction of a master filmmaker, but the deft touch and tight focus that made Alien a classic is all gone. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Alien: Covenant, or, An Endless String of Stupid Decisions: The Movie”

October Horrorshow: Jason X

Jason XIt’s Friday the 13th! In October! Missile Test couldn’t possibly let the day go by without watching a Friday the 13th flick, and this one is a doozy. By 2001, the original Friday the 13th franchise was on its last legs. The producers, recognizing that the old formula had been ground into dust by overuse, decided to shake things up. And by shake things up, I mean they all contracted serious cases of the awfuckits and sent their franchise property into space. That’s right, no more summer camp and no more Crystal Lake. This film takes place in outer space…in the future. Hell yeah.

Jason X, from writer Todd Farmer and director James Isaac, is the tenth film in the Friday the 13th franchise. It’s the second to ditch the Friday the 13th moniker, after 1993’s Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. When a film franchise forgoes using its title — the most significant brand that it has — a viewer can tell that things haven’t been going so well lately. The Friday the 13th flicks were always moneymakers, but the return on investment had been going down with every film, and the franchise had earned an unsavory reputation for being cheap, exploitative schlock. Clearly the only thing to do was to double down. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Jason X”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Battle Beyond the Stars

Roger Corman was absolutely shameless. There wasn’t an idea he wouldn’t steal, nor a corner he wouldn’t cut to save a buck, in any of the dozens of films in which he had a part. He is hailed as a pioneering and legendary filmmaker. He launched the careers of numerous, better filmmakers and is showered with credit for their talents. And he did all this, and more, while cranking out a relentless stream of awful films. Terrible, unwatchable, dreadful sins against the art of cinema. And sometimes, he managed to make a shitty movie that was worth a damn. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Battle Beyond the Stars”

October Horrorshow: Creature

This piece of shit is going to be on the internet forever. Why? Because it’s in the public domain. That means it belongs to each and every one of us. We are the stewards of this film’s preservation. Oh, lordy. It also means that if any potential viewers out there see it for rent or purchase, stop before hitting the ‘buy’ button and hit the Google machine. A free viewing is just a click away. As for myself, I saw this dog on Netflix, the streaming service proving, yet again, that its profit model dictates that a large percentage of its film content is bottom-dwelling sludge. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Creature”

The Empty Balcony: Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the GalaxyI think I may have seen too many movies. That’s the only reason I can think of to explain why I did not like Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios’ 2014 money machine. It hit all the right notes when it comes to action, pacing, and story. It kept things simple, avoiding all pretension, and at no point did it strive to be something greater than it was. But...

I think the movie showed a profound disrespect for its audience. Big action movies aren’t just simple anymore. Rather, they have been simplified, stripped of any sort of nuance or individuality in the pursuit of massive box office receipts. There is nothing inherently wrong in trying to maximize profit. But what it does mean is that, in seeing a movie like this, no viewer can expect anything beyond superficial uniqueness. There are new stories out there. But new stories require an entrepreneurial spirit that Hollywood is currently anathema to. It’s hard to explain how much the studio system has changed in a generation, so I’ll just give this example: Taxi Driver was a Hollywood studio film. That’s right. Taxi Driver. A film featuring a violent psychopath, who develops a crush on an underage hooker, as a protagonist. These days, the talents of that film’s young director, Martin Scorcese, would be steered into projects that are designed from the very beginning to be sanitized versions of past successes. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Guardians of the Galaxy”