The Asylum is shameless. When they’re not churning out giant monster flicks starring washed-up TV stars for SyFy, they’re taking advantage of blockbuster movies, attaching themselves like remora and feeding off scraps. They have taken the idea of the mockbuster, cinema’s short con, and elevated it. Not to art, but it’s definitely something they’ve honed.
I like that The Asylum has no shame. It’s different than what a filmmaker like Roger Corman has done throughout his career. Corman was a filmmaker with talent, and he threw it all away to chase the cheap buck. The Asylum, by contrast, has always been a house of shit.
Road Wars was in the can and ready to release direct-to-video early in May of 2015, timed to match the upcoming release of Mad Max: Fury Road. That’s the film Road Wars is ripping off. From the mishmash black leather outfits and shoulder pads (my favorite accoutrement was a bicycle reflector attached to an epaulette), to old muscle cars with all sorts of metal shit welded on to them, to the desert setting (California City, take a bow), to the derivative title, this is almost enough of a ripoff for the rights holders of Mad Max to sue. That makes this shitty flick a proper mockbuster. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Road Wars”
What an absolute pile of trash. I loved every minute of this film. Well, almost every minute of it. I loved the exploding heads and zombies munching on guts. I loved how director Bruno Mattei slipped in some nudity and pretended it wasn’t gratuitous. I loved how wild and unrealistic were the main characters. And I loved how no one in the movie seemed to absorb, for more than a second at a time, that zombies have to be shot in the head to stop them. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Hell of the Living Dead”
There’s not a lot of plot to Death Warmed Up, the 1984 horror flick from writer Michael Heath and director David Blyth. There are hints of plot here and there, but any cohesion or sense is tossed away in service of spectacle. That’s not inherently a bad thing. Story, while necessary for most films, would just have gotten in the way of this flick’s many, many, blood-spurting wounds.
A New Zealand production, Death Warmed Up follows Michael Tucker (Michael Hurst). In the film’s intro, we see Michael come under the influence of the evil Dr. Archer Howell (Gary Day), who is conducting experiments into human resurrection and mind control. After injecting Michael with his serum, Howell sends Michael to kill Michael’s parents. Michael’s father is a professional rival who threatens Howell’s experiments. After the deed is done, Michael spends the next seven years in a psychiatric hospital. The main part of the film picks up after his release. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Death Warmed Up”
Inmate Zero is a pretty generic title for a zombie flick. But, it does have the benefit of not only fitting the story, but letting any potential viewers know what they’re in for. It’s a much more honest approach than giving a movie an evocative title and then failing to deliver, à la The Thirsty Dead. That’s just a con. Either way, Inmate Zero, as basic a title as that may be, is still much better than Patients of a Saint, the title under which this film was originally released. That is just awful. This is a zombie flick, not some agonizing Jane Austen romance. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Inmate Zero, aka Patients of a Saint”
I played a game of movie roulette with #Alive, the Korean zombie flick from writer/director Il Cho. The poster I saw shows the film’s main character, Oh Joon-woo (Ah-In Yoo), leaning off of his apartment’s balcony with his phone on a selfie stick taking a sweet pic for his Insta. That, combined with the hashtag in the title, led me to some erroneous conclusions about that plot. But, that’s okay. That happens when one goes into a flick blind.
The poster (shown below) and the title led me to believe this was a black comedy about a teen in Seoul who finds himself amidst a zombie outbreak, and becomes a worldwide phenomenon due to his posts from the infected area. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: #Alive”
This flick has quite the reputation. Search the internet for lists of the worst movies of all time, and this film will most likely be on it, and could very well be at the top. Its writer, director, and producer, Ed Wood, is a legend among shitty film fans. Not many people get a biopic made where the focus is on their ineptitude, but it happened to Ed Wood. And he earned it. But, I have disappointing news for any Ed Wood fan that happens upon this site. Plan 9 from Outer Space is not the worst movie I have ever seen. It doesn’t even crack the bottom 10.
From 1959, Plan 9 tells the story of an alien invasion of Earth. That’s the broad view, and the only part of the plot that makes sense. The details of the story are a nonsensical jumble of graveyard scenes and whatever footage Ed Wood managed to shoot of Bela Lugosi before the latter’s death in 1956. Continue reading “It Came from the ’50s: Plan 9 from Outer Space”
What a putrid mess. Dead Trigger, from 2017 but resting on a shelf until this year, is an adaptation of a video game. It’s not the worst video game adaptation I’ve ever seen (that title belt is, and very well always could be, held by House of the Dead), but, it is a properly awful movie. It’s a good thing for the shitty movie fan that this film stars Dolph Lundgren, who has been gracing productions like this for over 30 years. The man is a shitty movie legend — the Tom Brady of bottom feeding dreck.
Directing duties were split for this flick, between Mike Cuff and Scott Windhauser. According to the internet, so it must be true, this was due to creative conflicts. If Cuff left in a huff (heh-heh) because of creative conflicts, I have to wonder why he was so emotionally invested in this flick. He had to have known when he saw his budget, his sets, and his cast, that he wasn’t making the next Anaconda. Yet he chose to abandon this project out of artistic integrity? Come on, Mike. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Dead Trigger”
I haven’t seen a whole bunch of films from Full Moon Features, Charles Band’s production company, but they have had a couple great titles for their flicks. There’s Castle Freak, which is a more literal title than it appears at first glance; and Evil Bong, or, as it’s called in headshops all over America, Evil Water Pipe. Today’s horror flick has a title better than those two. In fact, it’s a title on par with Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things. Like Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, getting the title right was the high point of the production, unfortunately. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Dead Hate the Living!”
Should a filmmaker decide to make a zombie flick these days, they will have to contend with oversaturation and viewer weariness. The 21st century has been awash with zombie flicks. And should film not sate one’s desires to see the undead tear apart human flesh, there is the media juggernaut that is The Walking Dead, still lumbering along after fifteen years. That franchise has done more to make people tired of zombies than anything else. The degree of difficulty for a filmmaker to make something interesting in the zombie subgenre of horror, then, is very high. There are basically two options. One: come up with a new idea that shakes up the unwritten rules of zombies. Two: go conventional, but do it well. Both of those are easier said than done. The Cured, the 2017 zombie flick from writer/director David Freyne, tries to do a combination of both. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Cured”
Back in 2011, The Vicious Brothers (Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz), wrote and directed Grave Encounters, which has become something of a yardstick by which all found footage ghost flicks have been judged the last few years. That film, while being largely unknown outside of horror’s Cul-de-sac, has been very influential, even more so than The Blair Witch Project — a film regarded by many as the definitive found footage horror flick (I disagree). All one has to do is load up the horror category on Prime or Netflix. There one will find dozens of found footage ghost flicks that use the same techniques and plot elements as Grave Encounters.Continue reading “October Horrorshow: It Stains the Sands Red”