Way back during the Giant Monstershow in 2018, I wrote of Bill Rebane’s Giant Spider Invasion, “Great films have been made with bad film stock, cheap lenses, and muddled sound. This ain’t one of them.” Not too long afterwards, I saw a restored print of the movie, and was reminded that often there is a big difference between a VHS transfer formatted for CRT televisions, and what was new when it actually hit theaters. The difference between the restored print and what Mike and the bots screened on MST3K is night and day. Still, restoring it was only polishing a turd.
I bring this up because this evening’s film is Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake, also from Wisconsin-based auteur Bill Rebane. Like The Giant Spider Invasion print that I watched in 2018, this print looks and sounds like garbage. The picture is mud and the sound is AM radio-quality. Specs for the film are sparse on the internet, but I suspect this film has been treated with the same lack of archival care as Rebane’s earlier film. At some point, someone is going to make the bad decision to restore this film, as well. Until then, the poor quality print only adds to this film’s shitty bona fides. That, and because it was distributed by Troma. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake, aka Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell”
Horror flicks from Italy are some of the most beloved films the genre has to offer. They have a style that is instantly recognizable. Names of auteurs — Argento, Bava, et al — are known and discussed with reverence by fans. But, like film industries all over the planet, there is a fair amount of chaff among the wheat. Case in point: Panic, a bottom-feeding horror flick released under a number of titles, including as an entry in the confusing Zombi series of films.
From screenwriters Victor Andrés Catena and Jaime Comas Gil, and directed by Tonino Ricci, Panic is quite a departure from other films featured in this year’s Horrorshow. It’s not gothic, nor is it a descendant of giallo. There are no supernatural elements and no lip service to the Catholic Church. If anything, this film, in tone and style, is reminiscent of 1950s and early 1960s British science fiction, along the lines of the Quatermass films. In other words, it’s talky. Continue reading “Lo spettacolo dell'orrore italiano: Panic, aka Bakterion, aka Monster of Blood”
Pound for pound, Coleman Francis might be the worst filmmaker in the history of cinema. He wrote and directed only three movies, but all three are so bad, so devoid of quality, that they stand shoulder to shoulder with any of the giants of shitty movies. And not the watchable ones, either.
What can one say about a movie that made £25,000 at the box office? That it was a blockbuster, that’s what!
Deadman Apocalypse, the first feature from writer, director, and producer Charlie Steeds, was made on the stringiest of shoestring budgets, only putting a £1,500 dent in Steeds’ bank account. That means Deadman Apocalypse made almost seventeen times its budget. Big Hollywood studios would kill, and have, for that kind of return on investment.
Once upon a time, Roger Corman held the title of most shameless filmmaker in Hollywood. It seemed there wasn’t any low to which he would stoop in order to make a buck, often at the expense of his movies. But, there was still liveliness in his productions. Corman could make a good movie, and he had an eye for talent. The young, hungry filmmakers he had in his stable could be relied upon to repair much of the damage caused by Corman’s ruthless frugality.
The Asylum is the current champion of shamelessness. Their business model of piggybacking off of the success of better films is nothing new in Hollywood. Ripoffs are just part of the economy of film. It’s the efficiency with which they capitalize on trends that makes them unique. Their mockbusters are often released before the big studio material they are ripping off, and they have titles designed to rope in unsuspecting, or undiscerning, viewers. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Triassic Hunt”
Missile Test has been doing the Horrorshow since 2009, and this year’s theme, It Came from the Camcorder, has been the most difficult, both to watch and to write about. The me that came up with this idea many months ago has placed a burden on current me that I didn’t expect. Even today’s movie, from a pair of moviemakers that I respect, is a low-down dirty dog that probably never should have seen the light of day. Strike that. No movie is too bad to be made or watched (for at least fifteen minutes, anyway), but there is no obligation from any critic, hobbyist or professional, to blow smoke and pretend that it’s an artistic accomplishment. Congratulations, Polonia Bros., you made another movie, and it sucks.
How obscure is Night Ripper!, the 1986 SOV slasher flick from writer, director, and producer Jeff Hathcock? Well, it doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, which is a start. More impressive, however, is the Wikipedia page of featured player Larry Thomas, famous for playing the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. The filmography section on his Wikipedia page lists every movie he’s been in with the exception of Night Ripper! Here at Missile Test, we consider that a glaring omission. Someone out there is trying to make the internet forget that he was in this dirty dog of a movie. It wasn’t Larry, as his account doesn’t list edits to his filmography. I’d add it to his page myself, but the only unpaid work I do online anymore is for this lovely website. Anyway…
Night Ripper! is not one of those SOV horror flicks that sprung from the mind of some horror fans out in flyover country. No, this is a Hollywood production, with many different departments and many different crew members. What it doesn’t have is a list of cast members in the credits alongside their corresponding character names, and only three have photos on IMDb, so I’ll be making my best guesses as to who played which role.
James Hansen (I think) plays Dave, who, along with Mitch (definitely Larry Thomas), owns a photography lab and studio. Older readers will remember this type of store, where folks could go and have their film developed, or get some glamour shots taken for their significant other. Continue reading “It Came from the Camcorder: Night Ripper!”
At first glance, a viewer might be hard-pressed to find anything worthwhile about Attack of the Unknown, the 2020 alien invasion flick from writer/director Brandon Slagle. It really is bottom of the barrel filmmaking. Everything about this film screams cheapness, while Slagle’s direction showed a somnambulistic lack of urgency in every scene. It’s like the entire film was on valium. But, one must consider the star, Richard Grieco, as SWAT team member Vernon. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Attack of the Unknown”
What a pair of movies this turned out to be. Day the World Ended is an early Roger Corman flick from 1955, while In the Year 2889 is a made-for-TV remake from 1969 that used an almost identical script. Only the names were changed to protect the innocent.
Written by Lou Rusoff, that script tells the story of a small group that survives a nuclear apocalypse. World War Three has ravaged the world, silencing the cities of Earth and bathing the planet in radioactive fallout. But not in an isolated patch of rugged Southwestern landscape. Former Navy officer Jim Maddison (Paul Birch) has spent the last decade preparing for nuclear war. He has built his house nestled in between hills containing lead ore, which helps block radiation. Winds sweep through nearby canyons, creating a cushion of air that fallout can’t penetrate. I don’t know if any of this holds up to scientific scrutiny, but considering this is a 1950s sci-fi b-movie, I doubt it. It doesn’t matter, anyway. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Day the World Ended & In the Year 2889″
One day back in 2010, someone at Dimension Films, the onetime craphouse subsidiary of Miramax, noticed that the rights they owned to the Hellraiser franchise would expire unless they made and released a new film very soon. In a feat of filmmaking swiftness to rival that of Stewart Raffill, once production began, the film was in the can in three weeks. This speed also meant the screenplay, from Gary J. Tunnicliffe, was reportedly in its first, and final, draft when shooting commenced. This was enough for series icon Doug Bradley to turn down reprising the role of Pinhead. Considering how awful the previous few films in the series were, Bradley must have thought this screenplay was a real dog. And he was right.
The budget was miniscule, meaning not much could go into things like sets or locations, with the majority of the film taking place in the main character’s house. The performances felt unrehearsed and rushed, as if director Victor Garcia was prodding everyone to movie it along. But, the blood and gore effects were pretty decent for such a low-rent production. That’s all the praise I have to offer. Continue reading “Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser: Revelations”