Monday, June 30, 2014

Psycho Cop Returns (1993)

aka Psycho Cop 2

How bad is it? It's slightly better than the original Psycho Cop, but it's still awful.
Should you see it? No.

Upping the gore quotient and adding some nudity, our psycho cop returns (so at least the title's correct). This time, the whole movie is located in one building, keeping costs low, as a sort of "Die Hard" could've been made of this - but wasn't. The major difference this time out is that the bad guy gets caught, pummeled and kicked into submission; then there's the hospital scene (room 666, of course) where he gets away, apparently unharmed. The best thing about this is that there was no part 3.

Psycho Cop (1989)

How bad is it? It's wretched.
Should you see it? No.

The similar "Maniac Cop" was okay and "Maniac Cop 2" actually was a little better, but this film and its sequel are terrible. A psychopathic killer in a cop uniform kills young people for no reason. There's one sentence of exposition very late in the film that says whether he's really a cop and gives (slight) motivation. The acting is abysmal, even for this kind of film. After the first few minutes of menacing, when the cop finally speaks, all the mystery and suspense is gone. His few lines aren't even the one-liners one expects in the genre. Then it's just hatchets to foreheads. The victims aren't interesting either. And there's nothing else to recommend it. It is well filmed, however; the cinematographer was obviously a pro.

Prettykill (1987)

aka Tomorrow's a Killer

How bad is it? It tries to be stylish, but is a mess. The production values aren't bad.
Should you see it? Nah.

This is a sleazy soap opera thriller with a crazy hooker who carries a Raggedy Ann doll and takes on her father's persona as she kills other whores. David Birney plays a narcotics cop in a relationship with high class call-girl Season Hubley. This looks like several unrelated dull stories until the end, when incredible coincidences collide to provide an unbelievably stupid ending. There's also a terrible theme song.

Prison Girls (1972)

How bad is it? It may be the sleaziest movie Ive ever seen.
Should you see it? If you really want to see the ultimate women-in-prison exploitation film.

Director Tom DeSimone started with women in prison films, went on to direct gay porn and then ended up directing broadcast television. This was shot in 3-D (watch out for the soap in the shower scene), which is unique for the genre. It also features the huge breasted Uschi Digard and the even bigger Candy Samples. After the required shower scene in the first minutes, this film takes place entirely outside of prison walls, as it follows six women given a weekend furlough; prison films are made to save money on locations, but this didn't even have the funds to shoot in a prison. One of the girls gets gang-raped and it's shown not as something brutal, but as entertainment. The last part has Digard visiting (and having sex with) her boyfriend while the cops are out to get him and, of course, it does not go well for anyone.

Pleasure Unlimited (1972)

aka Drop-Out Wife

How bad is it? It's very typical 1970's porn.
Should you see it? No.

When Ed Wood (see previous post) became popular in the 1980's, several people investigated clues that he may have been involved in the making of dozens of movies, mostly pornographic, that had not been catalogued. This has not proven very fruitful, but some films of his sometime collaborator A.C. Stephen have been added to "the canon," including this one, which has some talky moralizing and suggests Wood wrote a first draft (I'd say "Sun Bunnies" was outlined by Wood and "Snow Bunnies" a one-sentence idea for a sequel). The plot is of a housewife who decides to become sexually adventurous and quickly finds herself in over her head, with tragic consequences. It is nothing remarkable.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)

How bad is it? It's been hailed as the worst film ever made (it isn't).
Should you see it? Absolutely.

What can I say about this film that hasn't been said before? Wnever I've seen it with a crowd, I hear people laughing at things I'm missing and, afterward, I find myself asking things like "Did the car tires squeal on the gravel road? What were the pilots using for controls - bicycle handlebars? nothing? - Just how many aliens were there?" And then I know I'll watch it yet again.

Director, producer, writer and editor Edward Davis Wood, Jr. decided to use silent home movie footage of Bela Lugosi so he could have a recognizable star in his movie, despite the fact that Lugosi died before filming began. He then had another actor (his wife's chiropractor) play the character in other scenes; the fact that the new actor was much taller and younger he tried to disguise by having him hold a cape over his face throughout the movie. It didn't work.

To fund the movie and perhaps to provide locations, Wood got money from his church, which required the entire cast and crew being baptized. He got actors who worked for next to nothing just to be in a film, such as TV movie hostess Vampira (Maila Nurmi - niece of Olympic champion runner Paavo Nurmi, if any of my running friends read this), psychic Criswell, former wrestler Tor Johnson and radio announcer Dudley Manlove. He furhter cut costs by using paper plates and hubcaps on visible strings as spaceships, using flimsy props - in the graveyard, tombstones wobble as people walk past and the floor can be seen when the fake grass moves - and decorating very very sparsely (the cockpit of an airplane is just two chairs in front of a blank wall with a shower curtain door).

The plot: a few aliens invade the San Fernando Valley and start their latest plan to take over the world (the first eight being so ineffectual that we apparently never noticed them!) by reviving the dead and they need to do this before humans discover how to explode sunlight. One of them gets easily provoked and shouts things like "See? See? People of Earth, you're stupid! Stupid!" A family gets knocked to the ground as spaceship flies too close, police investigate and finally the army gets involved, as shown by an officer looking skyward in front of a blank screen (repeatedly).

When you combine continuity errors as glaring as scenes changing from day to night an back again with Wood's patented circular dialogue and with actors portraying zombies that have trouble getting out of their graves, you have a true contender for most entertainingly bad movie ever made.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Out (1982)

aka Deadly Drifter

How bad is it? It's plotless.
Should you see it? No.

Peter Coyote stars as a drifter, who was a member of an underground organization, who meanders across America from the 1960's to 1980's, doing the bidding of a mystery man who telephones him. It's meant to be surreal and artistic, it's meant to be an action comedy, it's meant to be entertainment; it is none of these. At the end, when a girl walks into the ocean inexplicably, I wished she and the rest of the cast had done so earlier. Danny Glover has a small role, but high billing.

The Omega Code (1999)

How bad is it? It's the worst end-of-the-world movie I can think of.
Should you see it? Not unless you're a follower of the financial backers of the film.

This has Michael York and Catherine Oxenberg, so there's better actors than usual for films on this blog. It's about a numerical code in the Bible and good guys battling bad guys in deciphering it before the end of the world. The Second Coming is completely underwhelming, by the way. Based very very loosely on the Book of Revelation, this was made to capitalize on the end of the millennium interest in religious fanaticism. It was financed by some religious leaders and shown on a religious cable TV network. This has its fans, though I don't know why.

Operation Kid Brother (1967)

aka OK Connery

How bad is it? It's among the worst knock-offs of a popular film series as I can recall.
Should you see it? Unfortunately, no.

This stars non-actor Neil Connery, Sean Connery's little brother, playing a character called "Neil Connery." I'm guessing he was so bad at acting, they had to call him by his real name to get him to respond. The casting is brilliant: Bernard Lee ("M"), Lois Maxwell ("Moneypenny") and Daniela Bianchi  and Anthony Dawson (both in "From Russia With Love"). The bad guys have a magnetic wave generator that will make all machinery useless, so they call in 007's brother (007 being unavailable, and no, they never state outright that it is 007), who is a hypnotist, an archer, a lip reader and a plastic surgeon. The case just happens to need a hypnotist, an archer, a lip reader and a plastic surgeon! How convenient!

Orgy of the Dead (1965)

How bad is it? Imagine Plan 9 From Outer Space with strippers.
Should you see it? Yes (expect to fast forward, though).

Written by Ed Wood, this was directed by Stephen Apostoloff (A.C. Stephen) and stars many of Wood's regulars (some reviews list Tor Johnson, Vampira and even Lon Chaney, Jr. - but none of them are in the cast). A reporter couple has car trouble, wander into a cemetery, get tied up and are forced to watch topless dancers. Really - though, it's described as the torments of the dead by  Criswell, the Master of the Dead. There's a mummy and a werewolf for comic relief, but almost all of the movie consists of 10 strippers dancing - badly - there's a lot of interpretive dance arm flailing - as their life stories are recounted. There's one dancer of the ten I thought attractive, Pat Barrington (billed as Barringer), who gets turned into gold for her avarice. There's one partly entertaining dance, by Texas Starr, who gets turned into a cat, wearing a catsuit with the breasts exposed [don't cats have more nipples?!] - this is reportedly the same woman who appeared in the Naked Gun films as "Melon Girl," though that seems unlikely. The dancers include a prostitute, a murderess, a slave owner... a bride, an Indian... Let's face it, there's 10 (count 'em, 10) completely interchangeable dancers. There's also inane dialogue, lurid color, cheesy sets and costumes and slow, slow, slow pacing.

The Oily Maniac (1976)

How bad is it? It's technically crude (pun intended).
Should you see it? Certainly.

The Shaw Brothers made a ton of martial arts films and this supernatural thriller was usually only seen by those expecting it to be a chop-socky affair, making it almost a lost classic. A man develops the power to melt into a puddle of oil (which allows him to move faster, with fun special effects) and he uses this power to go on a killing spree. He's now impervious to bullets, but no one considers setting him on fire. There's one of the most awkward romances ever filmed as a subplot and I'm not sure how much of that was intentional. It's fast-paced, it's ludicrous, it's fun and it's about $4 a gallon.

Oasis of the Zombies (1982)

aka Treasure of the Living Dead, aka Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies, aka Abyss of the Living Dead, aka Le Tresor des Morts Vivants

How bad is it? It's among Jesus Franco's worst (and he's made almost 200 duds).
Should you see it? No.

There are at least three underwater Nazi zombie movies - none of them are good (I may review "Zombie Lake" eventually). Dubbed (from French) actors seek gold in northern Africa, only to find that it's protected by Rommel's soldiers, who are now zombies. It's full of typical Franco direction; zooms abound and static long shots fill time. It's dull. The makeup is poor. There's one decent scene with a flashback to World War II, but I noticed that the soldiers had very modern haircuts for 1940's soldiers.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nick Fury: Agent of Shield (1998)

How bad is it? It's the worst TV movie pilot for a comic book series, which is a low standard.
Should you see it? Yes, it can be enjoyed straight or as camp. It's easier to enjoy as camp.

This is NOT the similarly titled film starring Samuel L. Jackson, but an earlier TV movie starring David Hasselhoff. It also has Lisa Rinna, who keeps the Hoff from being the worst actor in the film. Terrorists threaten to release a pathogen in Manhattan unless they're paid a one billion dollar ransom, so Nick Fury is called in to save the day. If you aren't looking for the flaws, it's a passable timewaster, but if you look, there's continuity errors galore, plus models that children could make. This has a cult following, but I don't know if they're also fans of the comic book, which I've never read. It looks like they tried for an "Escape from New York" vibe, but it looks like it was hard for some of the cast to take it seriously.

Nazis at the Center of the Earth (2012)

How bad is it? It's cheesy and trashy and there's some true horribleness in places.
Should you see it? Yes, but only if you're not easily offended.
This shot on video flick stars Gary Busey's son and is about researchers in Antarctica being dragged underground (not really the center of the earth) by half-rotted zombie Nazis planning a comeback. It's not unlike "Outpost," "Dead Snow" and "Iron Sky," but it also borrows from "They Saved Hitler's Brain!" Behold Robo-Hitler! There's also a Luftwaffe UFO that carries missiles containing flesh-eating viruses. There's a little nudity and there's a lot of gore, including at least one scene that is memorably gruesome (and comic in a dark way).

A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell (1990)

How bad is it? There's no nymphoid barbarian and no dinosaur, for one thing. Not good.
Should you see it? If you can find the DVD with the director's commentary.

I've watched more than a hundred cavewoman movies (really!) so a title like this was like catnip to me. The story takes place on another planet, so there's monsters that are more mutant than dinosaur.  The lead actress is not "nymphoid" and plays things fairly seriously; she's among barbarians, though she isn't one. That title is the cause of most of the hatred for this film - it's just a middling fantasy story done on the cheap. You can see matte paintings in the background and the director uses double exposures and stop-motion animation, so this is very much a 1930's film made half a century later (including a budget not adjusted for inflation). The DVD has the director's commentary, which is far more interesting than the film itself, detailing the difficulty of making cheap flicks.

Nudist Colony of the Dead (1991)

How bad is it? It's intentionally very silly, but it's also not very good.
Should you see it? If the title sounds like something you'd watch.

Mark Pirro is a director with very strange sensibilities. I've skipped over a couple of his films already, but think I'll add them later. He makes films with odd titles (probably chosen before the script is begun) and odd premises, then adds quirky touches for a silly campy feel. In this one, a church closes down a nudist colony, so the nudists commit mass suicide and, when the church opens a religious camp on the site, the dead return for revenge. And songs. Did I mention this is a musical? There's a bunch of very stupid - but endearingly catchy - songs. The acting is sub-par, the special effects apparently intentionally bad and the dialogue could've been made up on the spot.

Night Hunter (1996)

How bad is it? It's a sub-par martial arts meets monster film.
Should you see it? It keeps moving and has some cheesy fun, so yes, but don't go out of your way to see it.

Don "The Dragon" Wilson has starred in a ton of cheap martial arts films (I stopped counting after the 6th Bloodfist movie), but this one differs in that it adds a supernatural element. Borrowing plot from "Blade" and style from "The Crow," this has Wilson as the latest in a long line of vampire hunters, with a book that lists all the vampires to hunt and he also uses a gun that shoots silver bullets. Much of the standard vampire lore is altered, not meaningfully. The main reason to see this is the fight scenes, which are not well choreographed and which have bad special effects - the blood is the wrong color and consistency and a body dropped from a roof bounces like the doll it is.

Netherworld (1992)

How bad is it? It's nothing special.
Should you see it? Not really.

Unlike most cheap films, this one tries for a sense of place and a sense of mystery and intrigue, mostly from being set in Louisiana. A man inherits a mansion, next to a brothel, discovers that his dead father (who he never met) wanted to be re-incarnated, finds a voodoo priestess in the brothel, and sets to work. There's spirits of people trapped in caged birds. There's a flying stone hand. There's some attractive whores who are trying to portray (dead) celebrities. There's a truly terrible climactic scene that leaves you asking, "And....?" This was released by Full Moon pictures, which have had a number of interesting low budget films. This could've had a cult following with a bigger budget and a little work.

Naked Souls (1996)

How bad is it? It's almost-porn covered with a bad science fiction gloss.
Should you see it? No.

One of the worst Pamela Anderson (Lee) films, this one has some decent actors: Brian Krause, David Warner and Dean Stockwell, but it has little else. A crippled evil millionaire causes researcher who works in memory transfer to cause their souls to be switched, but a psycho killer's is also included by accident. Anderson is naked a lot and there's a lot of simulated sex scenes, but there's nothing to see here that you haven't seen better somewhere else.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Nukie (1988)

How bad is it? It may be the worst children's film ever made.
Should you see it? Good Lord, NO!

Sometimes, when people who enjoy bad movies get together, they give each other lists of films they should see and they sneak in at least one absolutely horrendous abomination. That's how I saw this.

Two alien brothers, Nukie and Meeko, who are supposed to be cute, but aren't, land on Earth, get separated and search for each other. Nukie runs from stock footage giraffes in Africa, then goes over waterfalls (yes, plural) in America, while Meeko gets bitten by a snake. And there's a monkey involved - I really don't recall why - but, at the end, all three take off to space together, but not before the monkey sucks snot off Nukie's face! Or maybe it was Meeko's face. Really, who gives a @#$%?

This really is one of the worst films ever made, with no redeeming values.

A Night to Dismember (1983)

How bad is it? It's the film that finally stopped Doris Wishman from directing again.
Should you see it? Yes. It's probably the most entertainingly bad Wishman film.

First a word about titles. This title is a take-off of the unrelated 1958 Titanic disaster film "A Night to Remember" (or possibly the unrelated 1943 film of the same title). It's a clever enough title, but not unique; I wonder how many people who saw "I Dismember Mama" even knew of the existence of the classic family film "I Remember Mama?"

Doris Wishman, after decades of making softcore porn, decided to try to make a horror film (with softcore nudity). It was obviously filmed in bits and pieces over a period of years - even the film stock changes - and the editing causes people's clothes and hairstyles to change in the middle of scenes. To tie the pieces together, voice-over narration was added... and it had me in hysterics. It's the only film I can think of that I recommend for the narration. Though the gore effects are outdated by decades (and not good at that), the budget looks higher than in most Wishman films and she had a recognizable star in Samantha Fox (not the pop star), who was at the end of her porn career. Though dated 1983 and looking very much of 1983, I can find no record of this before the 1990's, so it must've sat on a shelf for a long time before being released.

Nightbeast (1982)

How bad is it? It's extremely cheap science fiction/horror.
Should you see it? Yes. I think it's Don Dohler's best film.

Don Dohler's a semi-professional regional film director who uses his production crew as his cast and has made several films that range from absolutely terrible to mediocre. This one has just enough action to be watchable. An alien with a ray gun lands in Maryland and either lasers people (with poor special effects) or eats them (with very poor special effects). The alien is obviously a rubber suit, but it's not bad, given the budget. It looks like a remake of Dohler's earlier "Alien Factor," but with only one alien. There's no explanations for what anyone does, especially in some "romantic" scenes, and the dialogue seems to be an afterthought.

Nightforce (1987)

How bad is it? It might be Linda Blair's worst film, which is saying something.
Should you see it? It plays like a parody, so there's enough laughs to sustain it.

A politician's daughter is kidnapped and held by anarchists in a Central American jungle. Cameron Mitchell has a cameo as the girl's father. Five Beverly Hills college kids, including Linda Blair, go to rescue her. They bring a U-Haul trailer! Blair keeps changing outfits somehow. The kidnapped girl spends most of the movie naked in a cage. There's a flute-playing mercenary with a trained monkey. Pointless, ludicrous, miscast and badly acted, this just keeps getting sillier as it goes.

Nightmare Weekend (1986)

How bad is it? It went straight to video, released by Troma and is a mess.
Should you see it? I kept nodding off, but it might be worth seeing if you can follow the plot.
Let's see if I can describe this without looking up the plot somewhere... A scientist tries to create slaves through a computer that includes a clown hand puppet. His assistant performs experiments on teenage girls and their dates, turning them into zombies. There's at least three completely gratuitous nude scenes. Then the mother of one of the three girls saves them. I think this got released only because one of the girls was on "NYPD Blue," so they tried to capitalize on that. The film has some minor variations on the standard theme - it's nice that the villain is a woman for once - and has its weird points (that puppet!), but you still can't help but feel you've seen this before.

Night Train to Terror (1985)

How bad is it? It's an anthology of stories that couldn't get released separately.
Should you see it? Yeah, it's passable. If you're desperate.

Five directors are credited in this anthology of three stories with a wrap-around that has God and "Lu Sifer" battling for souls on board a train where a rock band plays for the last time. In the first story, a hospital cuts people up for their parts. In the second, there's a "Death Club" with an electrocution, a wrecking ball and a stop-motion winged beetle. In the third, a female surgeon needs to cut out the heart of the son of Satan and put it in a box for God (this one contains some very bad stop-motion). Look for Richard Moll (billed as Charles Moll) in two of the stories; unlike his character on "Night Court," he has hair.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nightmare in Wax (1969)

aka Crimes in the Wax Museum

How bad is it? Overacting and terrible effects abound.
Should you see it? Yes.

Cameron Mitchell chews the scenery as a man who seeks revenge upon a former employer (movie studio exec who stole his girlfriend) by injecting people with a serum that turns them into statues, which he then puts in his wax museum (shot on location at LA's Movieland). Part remake of Terror in the Wax Museum and of House of Wax, this has endless chuckles as Mitchell overacts among people who can't stand still as statues, who visibly breathe in close-up and who sometimes appear as heads poked through tables. Scott Brady, who's been in more than his share of bad films, has a role. The ending is senseless and undermines the rest of the film, though plot's not why anyone would watch this.

Nude on the Moon (1961)

How bad is it? It's remarkably awful.
Should you see it? Only if you wonder what nudist colonies looked like in the '60's.

I saw this more than 25 years ago, when it was released on video as part of Joe Bob Brigg's "Sleaziest Movies Ever Made" compilation. It was made by Doris Wishman (who gets my vote as worst director of all time) in that brief period when films made in nudist colonies could be considered "educational" and therefore had relaxed standards for nudity. My main memory of it is of one actor whose silver hair has a white patch and is all slicked back, making it distractingly look like he has bird droppings on his head. The plot has astronauts in the cheapest possible costumes and conveyances landing on the moon, which they discover has breathable air - by just removing their helmets (excepting convenience, why does this always happen?) and then they discover a civilization that involves a lot of topless women (enough that finding a suitable photo to include here was hard). It's dreary and dull as only Wishman can make exploitation.

Night of the Lepus (1972)

How bad is it? It's one of the sillier giant animal movies.
Should you see it? Oh, yeah.

This takes place in the American Southwest, so it's not surprising to see a cast of former western actors: Stuart Whitman, Rory Calhoun and DeForest Kelley, but this film also has a slumming Janet Leigh. Genetic experiments are done on rabbits to decrease their reproduction rate but make them larger. The bunnies also become carnivorous. And they roar like lions. Sometimes there are men in rabbit suits, but mostly there's miniature sets with bunnies running amok. I kept thinking that they could've made a scary movie out of this (perhaps in Australia), but the rabbits are just too cute to be scary.

Night of the Ghouls (1959)

aka Revenge of the Dead

How bad is it? It's an Ed Wood film that wasn't released.
Should you see it? It's minor Wood, but yes.

Semi-sequel to "Bride of the Monster," this film starts with psychic Criswell rising from a coffin in a cemetery and announcing what's to come. A fake swami pretends to resurrect the dead, but unknowingly actually does it; he gets buried alive for his trouble. Wrestler Tor Johnson, in very bad scar makeup, menaces and Vampira lookalike Jeannie Stevens plays the Black Ghost. A detective investigates a series of murders at the house where seances are being held. There are trumpets on very visible strings, a spirit guide that's a head in a pith helmet and ghosts in sheets that manage to make the floorboards creak. Ed Wood himself makes a cameo as a corpse. This film supposedly sat on a shelf for decades, unreleased.

Night of the Blood Beast (1958)

How bad is it? It's a cheap 1950's monster movie.
Should you see it? It's worth catching.

A dead astronaut is infected with spores from a crusty alien that likes to tear off heads, becoming an incubator for a new monster, that also likes to attack humans. Scientists stuck on a remote space center than have to fight it, with nowhere to run. The plot seems to borrow heavily from "The Thing (from Another Planet.)" The monster is a typical poor rubber suit and the acting is typically sub-par. There are some laughs to be had.

Nazi Love Camp 27 (1977)

aka La Svestre nel Ventre

How bad is it? It's yet another women in a nazi prison flick.
Should you see it? No.

I decided, when I started this blog, to not list all 200 women-in-prison films, but to try to include the sub-genre of women-in-nazi-prison films. I'm starting to regret that (there are yet 5 to be reviewed here).

A German couple is separated by world war II, because he's sent off to fight in the war and she, being Jewish, is sent to work as a prostitute for the troops or be killed. She gets raped the first night - and the acting is better than usual for this type of thing, so it's hard to watch - and she's being asked to choose between her religion and death. She gets asked to do a series of degrading things, including whipping a masochistic officer. The one thing that distinguishes this film in the genre is that it becomes a revenge flick. Unfortunately, that starts late and is not handled well.

The Navy vs. the Night Monsters (1966)

How bad is it? It's ludicrous and poorly paced.
Should you see it? yes, if only for the cast.

An expedition finds a tropical island in the Antarctic, where there are mobile, acid-spewing, intelligent plants. It's up to Mamie Van Doren, Bill Gray (of Father Knows Best fame) and song and dance man Bobby Van to save the world! Most of the male cast seems more interested in Mamie than the monsters, but she isn't shown to her best advantage (though there are a lot of profile shots...) and the movie seems to run out of steam; walking plants just aren't that terrifying.

Nabonga (1944)

How bad is it? It's actually one of the better gorilla movies of the 1940's - which isn't saying much.
Should you see it? Yeah.

Ray "Crash" Corrigan, besides being in a ton of westerns, played a gorilla in more than 20 films. This was (I believe) the first. Julie London, in her first film (age 18), plays a girl raised by gorillas in the jungle, who somehow learned how to accessorize, and is revered by the locals. Buster Crabbe is a great white hunter type that she introduces to her gorilla friend and, together, they fight two villains among stock footage and backlot fake jungle. The female villain for some reason looks like a German barmaid, though she's supposed to be local. It's hard to separate this from director Sam Newfield's "White Pongo," released soon after this - to be reviewed here later - except for the presence of London.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mosquitoman (2005)

aka Mansquito

How bad is it? It's a SyFy original, which means it's pretty bad.
Should you see it? Yes, but don't pay to see it.

This is one of the first films that the television network SyFy made, rather than bought. Bulgaria substitutes for Baltimore. The plot has a convict causing the release of a toxin that turns two people into half-person/half-mosquito. Rather than straight horror, however, it plays like a detective story, which is an interesting change from the usual splatter films. The effects are crude, but pretty good for the budget, so what sinks this is the acting and direction. The soundtrack is surprisingly good, but it's not good that I noticed it. I've debated whether to include SyFy films, as they've made hundreds of bad films, but a few like this are interesting (and there's Sharknado to come here soon enough).

Mosquito (1995)

How bad is it? It's a very self-aware giant insect movie.
Should you see it? If you like big bug movies, which you should.

Two years after "Skeeter," this very similar film got released, directed by Gary Jones, who seems to be the 1990's answer to Bert I. Gordon and his giant bug movies (he also directed "Ticks"). The script was written by star Gunnar Hansen, who references his work in Texas Chainsaw Massacre when he picks up a chainsaw to use against the bugs. Besides the intentional humor, I think there are unintentional laughs, including at least one that appears improvised and causes an actor to break character and laugh. It's worth a watch.

Mutant Man (1996)

How bad is it? It's all cliche monster/slasher horror. It's one of IMDB's lowest rated films.
Should you see it? NO!

A woman gives birth to a monster that decades later goes on a killing spree. There are no saving graces to this one. I've heard that this was a student film, but there are no excuses for it. It's a total waste of time.

Murdercycle (1999)

How bad is it? Ridiculous premise, poor execution.
Should you see it? I'm finding it hard to come up with new ways to say "No."

The people behind this have made other films, so it's hard to explain why this looks like it was made by people who didn't know what they were doing. A meteor crashes into a motorcycle and fuses it to its rider, creating an alien that searches for a lost artifact which is held in an underground government bunker. It's the worst-protected bunker imaginable. Soldiers and a doctor with ESP fight it, but they also have to deal with being kept in the dark by the CIA. It's shoddy, but I didn't find enough in it to make me laugh; watching a motorcycle covered in plastic drive slowly around people firing fake weapons just didn't work for me.

Murder Weapon (1984)

How bad is it? It's a late-to-the-party 1980's slasher film.
Should you see it? Do you want to see Linnea Quigley naked yet again?

Apparently made by some of the people who made the delightful "Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama," this is a misfire. Two daughters of mobsters (Linnea Quigley, Karen Russell) kill a guy in a shower, get put in an asylum, and when released, throw a party for their old boyfriends, who begin dying off in gory ways. Lyle Waggoner plays their shrink! There's a gunshot to a head, which explodes. There's a sledgehammer to a face. There's a broken bottle to a throat. There's a guy who has a hand reach through his chest?! This is Quigley's film, with her trademark nude scenes (including one very dull one of her oiling herself) and comic relief lines, but it's probably the least interesting of her films.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)

How bad is it? It's a sequel to a movie about a video game and isn't even true to either of those.
Should you see it? No.

Uwe Boll has made a name for himself for directing flashy but terrible films based on video games, but this is worse than any of his (in my humble opinion). It's merely continuous fight set pieces with guys doing flips and somersaults with CGI effects layered over them. There is no plot. There is no characterization. There is no connection to the game Mortal Kombat, except for some names. I chuckled exactly once, as a bad guy is turned into a box - I didn't see that coming.

Miami Connection (1987)

How bad is it? Its theatrical run was two weeks, only in Florida.
Should you see it? Yes. It's become an underground hit.

A 1980's synth-pop band made up of tae kwon do masters fights coke-dealing bikers who just happen to be ninjas. This has terrible acting and direction, editing that cuts off words or just pauses for long periods, irritating music, and one role played by two different men hoping you won't notice (this, at least, is not as obvious as in Plan 9 From Outer Space). The fight choreography isn't bad, though people with swords stand in place, waiting to get kicked. One 35mm print survives and has been put on NetFlix.

Meat Weed America (2007)

How bad is it? It tries for John Waters-type offensiveness, but fails.
Should you see it? Hell no.

A sequel of sorts to Meatweed Manor (the space in the title of this seems an error), this is about a terrorist, Bin Smokin, who, circumcised against his will, seeks revenge against a Rasta and his followers, including a nun with breast implants. There's a lot of nudity - none interesting - and a lot of marijuana humor - none funny - as the meatweed blend seems to cause women to become nymphomaniacs and men to become idiots.

I hate this movie.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders (1996)

How bad is it? It's a patchwork of stories, none of which is interesting.
Should you see it? Only if you live for continuity errors.

This starts with a story that ends in five minutes, when it's revealed to be just a story on television. Then Ernest Borgnine tells kids stories about Merlin the Magician, which have nothing to do with the original sources. The second story is just a "Monkey's Paw" retread and the first one has Merlin opening a magic shop and getting revenge on a guy who's trying to shut him down. Sometimes you can see boom mikes and sometimes you can see set decoration (rocks move and show that they're made of foam, turf rolls, etc.), and there's endless continuity errors in editing. This made it onto MST3K and is probably best seen with their commentary, as it's not very entertaining on its own.

Metamorphosis (1990)

aka Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor

How bad is it? Except for special effects, it's a complete waste.
Should you see it? It does work as a monster movie and as camp, so a very mild "yes."

Supposedly a sequel to "The Deadly Spawn," to which it bears no recognizable connection, this film has a researcher infected by alien DNA and becoming a bloodthirsty monster. The budget was very low, but the special effects per dollar may be about as good as can be done. Unfortunately, it still means that you see people helping themselves into the monster's mouth, spewing stupid lines of dialogue and acting like the stereotypes they're supposed to be. It's a 1950's monster-on-the-loose movie, updated to 1990.

The Meateater (1979)

How bad is it? It's incredibly bad.
Should you see it? Yes. It's truly so bad it's good.

This went unnoticed until Elvira's Mystery Macabre showed it and it's still hard to find. A family buys a movie theater that has a Jean Harlow-obsessed killer hiding inside it. Of course, the family has a daughter that looks like Harlow (though only in the mind of the killer, named Milford). The guy eats a rat at the beginning of the film, but doesn't eat any meat later; everyone else does though - there's hilarious pointless references to Oscar Mayer hot dogs (including the jingle) and Jimmy Dean sausages. The police investigate and they're amazingly bad. One cop is named Wombat (!), typical of the laughable nature of the whole film. The film looks like it was written and shot in a few days, all in one location, with amateur actors.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Manborg (2011)

How bad is it? It was reportedly (and improbably so) made for $1000 (Canadian).
Should you see it? Yes.

This is from Aston-6, a group making a new generation of B movies. It's intentionally cheesy and succeeds despite the forced humor. Count Draculon and his nazi vampires try to take over Mega-Death City during the Hell Wars. A soldier gets killed, then fitted with robotics, then joins a coalition with a gunfighter named Justice (imagine a 10 year-old Canadian's idea of "Road Warrior"), Justice's sister and a martial artist named #1. Most of the film was shot with chroma-key back projection. I generally hate intentionally bad movies, but this is watchable.

Milo (1998)

How bad is it? It's a poorly done version of a tired genre.
Should you see it? I actually found it interesting; I'm betting you won't.

This is a slasher film with a twist - the killer is a cherubic 10 year-old wearing a yellow rain slicker and riding a bike. It has a slight "Bad Seed" feel to it and I think it could've been made into a good film. Unfortunately, it drags and is completely predictable. It has a small cult following (to which I may belong).

Mommie Dearest (1981)

How bad is it? It manages to be both quite good and quite bad at the same time.
Should you see it? Everyone should see it once (Mother's Day, perhaps).

Filmed version of Christina Crawford's book about her childhood, this is supposedly all true, which makes it harrowing, but Faye Dunaway's performance is so hysterical (in every sense of the word), it becomes a camp classic. Some quotes:

(The famous one): No wire hangers! EVER!

I'm mad at the dirt.

I'd rather you go bald to school than look like a tramp.

I'm not acting.

Bring me the axe!

(and describing the movie itself):
I have been BEGGING YOU... begging you for a good script. Now you've always given me my share of bad movies because you knew I'd make them work.

Moment by Moment (1978)

How bad is it? It was never put on video and any DVD appears to be bootleg.
Should you see it? Only if you're having a Travolta bad movie festival.

John Travolta and Lily Tomlin star as lovers, as poor casting for a couple as I can imagine, with absolutely no chemistry. Travolta's character is named "Strip," which causes giggles every time someone says it. Even worse, he gives her nicknames like "Miss Fabu-Lash." There are supposedly heartbreaking phone calls about things like pool filters. There's a foot fetish scene in an art gallery. There's some illogical dialogue, e.g. "Pretty soon you'll be old enough to be my grandmother." The movie ends with a tour of trailer parks, which suggests the filmmakers at least knew their audience.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Mesa of Lost Women (1953)

How bad is it? It's almost universally included in worst-movie lists.
Should you see it? Absolutely.

It's hard to give the plot of this movie, because it seems to be a different film with each reel. Jackie Coogan, in a fake beard and bushy eyebrows, portrays a mad doctor giving women the emotions and powers of insects and spiders. He creates a giant spider. He has the requisite dwarf assistant. He has pretty girls made into half-tarantulas. The music is all flamenco (and later used by Ed Wood in one of his films) and ill-suited. The sets, the acting,the writing and especially the direction (by Ron Ormond) are all awful - and rather entertaining.

The Million Eyes of Su-Muru (1967)

How bad is it? It's like an Austin Powers film played straight.
Should you see it? Maybe for the style and cast.

This was based on a Sax Rohmer novel. Shirley Earton plays the villain who plans to take over the world with her all female crew, by seducing heads of state and then influencing them - or killing them. There's a ray gun that turns men to stone; Klaus Kinski in a dual role is a victim of it, playing an Asian (even when speaking English). A man gets killed by having his neck broken between a woman's thighs. The film has a great look, there's plenty of action and the casting is interesting, but the film just doesn't go anywhere and never picks up speed. Still, it's far more interesting than the sequel, "Seven Secrets of Su-Muru" (aka Girl From Rio, aka Rio 70), directed by Jess Franco.