Shitty Movie Sundays: Attack of the Unknown

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Attack of the Unknown”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Day the World Ended & In the Year 2889

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 readingShitty Movie Sundays: Day the World Ended & In the Year 2889″

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser: Revelations

Hellraiser: Revelations movie posterOne 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 readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser: Revelations”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VII: Deader

Hellraiser VII: Deader began life as a spec script called Deader, from screenwriter Neal Marshall Stevens, purchased by Miramax when every production company in Hollywood was still looking for the next Seven. Like with the two previous films in the Hellraiser series, the script was reworked into a Hellraiser movie, by adding the iconic puzzle box and Pinhead (Doug Bradley, as always) to scenes here and there. It’s rarely a good sign when it is obvious to viewers that a movie is a rework. Miramax, the company that owns Hellraiser, has been a poor steward for the property, shunting it off to direct-to-video releases utilizing reworked red-headed stepchild screenplays and miniscule budgets. All atmosphere and nuance from the first film have been totally excised, leaving the series anonymous and dull. What a shame. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser VII: Deader”

October Horrorshow: Army of the Dead

I liked Zack Snyder’s 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake. I thought it was a fine modern entry in the zombie subgenre of horror, helping make the creatures scary again. The heavy lifting may have been done by 28 Days Later a few years earlier, but it can’t be denied that Snyder’s film is one of the reasons zombie films and television shows remain popular today. Dawn of the Dead was also the last Zack Snyder film I’ve enjoyed. Every subsequent film he’s made since then, from 300 to this year’s Army of the Dead, has been a joyless slog — the knock from critics, and even fans, being that Snyder makes visually interesting, even gorgeous, films, but they suffer from too much length. The consensus is that Snyder’s lack of storytelling discipline is an issue, but not one that is fatal to his vision. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Army of the Dead”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare

I may have been slightly concussed while writing the review for A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. But, there is no confusion or fogginess in regards to this travesty of a movie. Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare is a terrible film. It’s quite possibly the worst movie I’ve seen this year, and that’s saying something, considering I seek out bad movies. Billed as having “Saved the Best for Last,” this was the film meant to send the character of Freddy Krueger out with a bang — a grand finale that audiences would remember for all time. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare”

October Horrorshow: It Happened at Nightmare Inn, aka A Candle for the Devil

A Candle for the Devil movie posterIt Happened at Nightmare Inn is something of a travesty. It’s a victimization of what looked to be a fairly decent Spanish horror flick from 1973 called A Candle for the Devil. That film is an 83-minute-long flick about a pair of murderous sisters who run a B&B in a rural village in Spain. It Happened One Night is a 67-minute-long cut of that film with all the juicy bits removed for American television. The cuts are so ruthless that it’s obvious to the viewer that key scenes are missing. So much has been excised that it ruins much of the storytelling, as important plot points are passed over. If at all possible, I recommend potential viewers stay away from the TV cut, unless they are curious to see what happens when a toddler with a pair of scissors is allowed to edit an already finished film.

From screenwriters Antonio Fos and Eugenio Martin, and directed by Martin, Nightmare Inn follows Marta and Veronica (Aurora Bautista and Esperanza Roy), two very Catholic sisters who spend their time judging the lifestyles of their guests. Should a female guest dress scandalously, or stay out late into the evening, there follows a severe scolding and a murder. The two are so holier-than-thou it’s infuriating, and also makes for a compelling premise. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: It Happened at Nightmare Inn, aka A Candle for the Devil”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: The Amityville Curse

We’ve seen a lot of franchise horror flicks here at Missile Test. We’ve seen horror franchises go from good to bad, as they are wont to do. We’ve seen creativity turn to shameless cash-grabbery, but we’ve never seen a horror franchise treated as poorly by its stewards as the Amityville franchise. Perhaps that’s because it has been through so many different hands. From George Lutz, to Samuel Z. Arkoff, to Dino De Laurentiis, to NBC, Image Organization and Vidmark, Amityville has always been in the hands of people who were just looking to make a quick buck. No thought has ever been given to continuity, and ongoing disputes with Lutz meant the word ‘Horror’ has only been in the original film’s title, and its 2005 remake. With this fifth movie the producers decided to go direct-to-video, acknowledging that there isn’t much else to offer viewers other than crap. Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: The Amityville Curse”

October Horrorshow: The Rizen: Possession, aka The Facility

An older, rarely-used maxim here at Missile Test is that we have never met a movie we wouldn’t watch…for at least fifteen minutes. It’s a test. Sometimes a movie is so bad early on, so clear that it’s an unwatchable mess, that fifteen minutes is all it takes for one to know it’s not worth spending any more time with. I managed to make it through an hour of this piece of shit before abandoning it, but that was only because of my own stubbornness. This awful movie failed the fifteen-minute test.

From writer/director Matt Mitchell, The Rizen: Possession is the sequel to his 2017 film, The Rizen. I haven’t seen that flick, so the fact that Possession is an incomprehensible mess might be due to missing some important backstory. However, no sequel should be so opaque that viewers who haven’t seen what came before would be hopelessly lost. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Rizen: Possession, aka The Facility”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes

Oh, woe is this horror franchise. First in the hands of Samuel Z. Arkoff and American International Pictures, then picked up, with a trademark dispute, by Dino De Laurentiis and his company, and now, for this fourth film, into the grasp of American network television. Has any other iconic horror franchise been treated so poorly? I can’t think of one.

Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes, from 1989, is, believe it or not, not the worst horror film I’ve ever seen. But, it’s from the time before the internet age, when network television movies were a special kind of anti-art, purposefully devoid of most sharp edges. Yes, this was the era of television movies that brought us Roots, but there was a definite ceiling to the quality of a TV movie. Film critic Leonard Maltin, in his gigantic movie guide books, would not award stars to television movies, instead rating them as ‘below average,’ ‘average,’ or ‘above average.’ That makes sense. The difference in quality between television and film in the heyday of Maltin’s books was a vast gulf compared to today. This particular television movie I would rate as average. Had it been intended for cinema, I would rate it a ‘bomb.’ Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes”