Shitty Movie Sundays: Drive Angry

Saint Nic returns to Shitty Movie Sundays! It’s been just over a year since a film featuring Missile Test’s favorite actor graced these pages. Today’s film is Drive Angry, which is the only over-the-top Nic Cage film I can think of in which Nic Cage is not the most absurd thing on screen.

From way back in 2011, Drive Angry comes to us via director Patrick Lussier, from a screenplay by Lussier and Todd Farmer. At first glance, Drive Angry looks like it’s going to be a car flick. The trailer gives audiences the full muscle car treatment. A Buick Riviera, a Dodge Charger, a Chevy Chevelle, and more, including a female lead in Daisy Dukes. It’s a car flick, right? Nope. There are not nearly enough decent car chases for this to be a car flick. This is a revenge flick. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Drive Angry”

It Came from the Camcorder: The Screaming

Cheap, irreverent, gory, and gloriously stupid. If there are four descriptors essential to a successful SOV horror flick, those are it. Prolific shitty movie writer/director/producer Jeff Leroy’s 2000 flick, The Screaming, has all of those, in decent proportion. Although, I don’t think it would have hurt matters any to have a bit more gratuitous nudity. But, that’s a personal preference.

The Screaming stars Vinnie Bilancio (who also has a producer and production design credit) as Bob Martin, a Marlboro enthusiast and graduate student in anthropology at an unnamed southern California university (the university was played by CSU, Long Beach). Like many graduate students, Bob is flat broke, and thus has to take the cheapest off-campus housing he can find. In this case, it’s a single room in the back of a house owned by blonde bombshell Crystal (Wendi Winburn). Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: The Screaming”

It Came from the Camcorder: Sledgehammer

David A. Prior had a dream. He wanted to be a Hollywood screenwriter. According to the internet, so it must be true, Prior decided to help that dream along by making a shot-on-video horror flick that he hoped would demonstrate his potential as an employable screenwriter. And, you know what? It didn’t work! Instead, his movie was a springboard to a career as a screenwriter, AND a director, AND a producer. This was the first, and only, movie that Prior shot on videotape. After this flick, he hit the b-movie big time, shooting on 35mm film and working with production budgets in the six figures. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Sledgehammer”

October Horrorshow: The Cellar (2022)

There’s nothing quite like a creepy old house for atmosphere. Even better when it’s a stately pile — a relic of the gilded age whose halls were once filled with scurrying servants and aloof aristocracy. They were the engines of their own destruction, but what pleasant ruins they have left behind.

The scene of The Cellar, from writer/director Brendan Muldowney, isn’t on the scale of a Victorian-era English country home from Henry James, or the mansion from The Changeling, but it is a house with ceilings high enough for a game of pickup basketball, and wood molding everywhere. At some time in the last century, a house like this — one built with care and craftsmanship — became a place that has a sense of unease about it. Perhaps we’ve gotten too used to the plain boxes that accompanied the post-WW2 population explosion. Or, perhaps, we see a once-grand residence on its downward slope and the weight of years and events that happened there is too much to consider. So much life passed through there, and so long ago, that an old house is a reminder of death. No matter. I’d live in a place like this film’s Fetherston House in a heartbeat (interiors and exteriors were shot at a house in Roscommon, Ireland). Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Cellar (2022)”

October Horrorshow: Night’s End

It’s tough watching a movie lose it in the final act. Whereas a film that shows little promise at the start, but then builds and builds to something special at the end, is always a pleasant surprise, a film that stumbles to the finish after a strong start can’t help but be a disappointment. Much hard work, good acting, and fine storytelling is, if not wasted by a poor ending, at least squandered somewhat. I can’t say that Jennifer Reeder and company should have just packed it all in if this was the best ending they could come up with, but I would like to see what they could have done given another chance, and maybe a couple extra bucks in the effects budget. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Night’s End”

It Came from the Camcorder: Vampires and Other Stereotypes

It was only a matter of time before The October Horrorshow XIV: It Came from the Camcorder, would feature a movie that is a struggle to get through. By design, this month of reviews features movies that never approach the minimum standards for theatrical release. SOV horror is about as outside the mainstream of film as one can get, without delving into some really dark places. There are no Citizen Kanes, here.

Up to this point, SOV horror has been a pleasant surprise. The filmmakers I have watched have been free to tell the stories they want, without the watchful eye of the censor. It is beneficial for SOV horror when these movies do things their better-financed brethren would never try. And that’s what makes Vampires and Other Stereotypes, from writer, director, producer, and editor Kevin J. Lindenmuth, something of a disappointment. There he was, unshackled from the constraints of acceptable content, and he didn’t seize that opportunity. They can’t all be shitty gold. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Vampires and Other Stereotypes”

It Came from the Camcorder: Hallucinations and Lethal Nightmare

Before there was Splatter Farm, there was Hallucinations, a movie the Polonia brothers and Todd Michael Smith shot on video in 1986. It wasn’t released until 2007, as an extra on another Polonia flick. It is very much the product of a trio of teenagers exploring their love of horror and trash cinema, and working out their nascent artistic chops. Offering a detailed critique of this movie makes little sense. It doesn’t exist in the same realm as art films or Hollywood. It’s a movie made by young adults who were too young to vote, yet it also displays a surprising grasp of editing and pace. That’s quite the feat considering the movie has an incomprehensible plot. Like Splatter Farm, it also has scenes many mainstream horror flicks would avoid. Continue readingIt Came from the Camcorder: Hallucinations and Lethal Nightmare”

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”

Attack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser: Judgement

Here we go again. Dimension Films, the neglectful owners of the cinematic rights to Hellraiser, waited until the last minute to renew the rights by making another Hellraiser flick. Unlike the last time, some folks involved knew it was coming, and decided to prepare.

From 2018, Hellraiser: Judgement is the latest film in the franchise. The good news is, this should be the last flick Dimension shits out just to secure rights, as the long-anticipated Hellraiser remake/reboot is in principal photography as of this writing. How about that? Continue readingAttack of the Franchise Sequels: Hellraiser: Judgement”

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”