Monday, December 29, 2014

Deafula (1975)

How bad is it? In parts it's rather good, but most (especially 2nd half) is not.
Should you see it? If you can find it, yes.

Even if this weren't the only film ever done entirely in American Sign Language, it would be a weird movie. There's a teenage kid who goes from blond to dark hair, painted eyebrows, giant fake nose and taped-on widow's peak whenever he becomes a vampire, which he doesn't seem to remember, except in a flashback to when he was a child and ripped out the throat of a puppy (shown). Now he forces hippies who stab priests to crash their motorcycle with mind control, in between attacking women and getting transfusions from his father, a minister - who may or may not be his father, as his mother had an affair with Dracula. There's bumbling intentionally comedic policemen, a hunchback with tin cans for hands [I swear I'm not making this up] and, because of the sign language, a policeman who flaps his arms like a bird to explain away the vampire. For the hearing, there's an added audio track with three narrators, one for the vampire, one for female characters and one for everyone else. It's done very seriously, then has broad intentional comedy, then tries to return to seriousness, then goes all artsy and weird and 1970's. The black and white photography appears to have been a choice, rather than a budgetary necessity.

Deadly Prey (1987)

How bad is it? It's considered by some to be a classic among bad films.
Should you see it? Yep.

David A. Prior has directed a bunch of terrible films, many, like this one, starring his brother Ted, whose been in terrible films without his brother's help as well (for the record,  even Ted's wife gets mentioned in one review on this blog - go ahead, try to find it). This is a remake of 1932's "Most Dangerous Game," which has been done countless times, with some "Rambo" thrown in. A team of mercenaries is being trained by hunting kidnapped civilians. Then they capture the wrong guy - he impales people on twigs (?!), never picks up a weapon (cut-off jeans and a mullet will serve), throws Styrofoam boulders and beats a man to death with his own arm (this, unbelievably, is the third film in which I've seen this done! See "Monster and the Stripper," for example). There are plot holes a mile wide; no one calls the police, or gets back up, or uses weapons at hand. The acting and direction are strikingly bad. Fortunately, it moves along briskly and has plenty of ludicrous moments, my favorite being the hiding in plain sight one.

Added: The very belated sequel "Deadliest Prey" (2013) is, surprisingly, very much the same. After a quarter century of experience, little was learned and the film was not a self-aware self-parody, but an actual sequel that is worth seeing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Deadly Daphne's Revenge (1987)

How bad is it? It's dull and formulaic.
Should you see it? No.
This is the only screen capture I could find!

This is a film that Troma bought and stuck their name on (though a couple of Troma regulars do show up on screen) and gave a catchy title. A woman is attacked and raped in a cabin by four men and, after one man commits suicide, she debates calling the authorities. The rest of the film is a standard television drama of people arguing on telephones or across desks in poorly furnished offices. Then, just before the end credits, Daphne, who got mentioned in a radio report early in the film as a deranged escapee from an asylum, shows up and dispatches everyone. Too little, too late, and not particularly well done.

Deadfall (1993)

How bad is it? It's a textbook for overacting.
Should you see it? Yes. Just for the cast.
That fake baldness is the most realistic thing in the film (you're bald, Nic!)

You know how Nic Cage has become famous for eye-rolling, screaming, over-the-top scenery chewing? This is Nic at his Nic'iest. He accidentally kills his father, James Coburn, then carries out his dying wish to recover stuff stolen by Coburn's twin brother (also Coburn), but the brother is a con-man and Nic ends up increasingly involved in schemes and escapades. This film also has Peter Fonda, Charlie Sheen and Talia Shire (related to the writer/director Chris Coppola, as is Cage). And Micky Dolenz appears! Keep this film in mind if you ever play 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

The Dead Hate the Living (2000)

How bad is it? Most abhor this as full of cliches, but I think it's an homage of sorts.
Should you see it? You could do worse, especially among Full Moon films. So... yes.

Full Moon pictures, under Charles Band, has released a ton of terrible films, many of which are making it onto this blog. This may be among the best of them. It follows every standard idea of horror films, starting with the horror movie within a horror movie and the idea of using a real dead body in making a zombie film. In this case, a body on a mortuary slab reanimates and there's a portal to a netherworld of zombies. Everything follows exactly as one would expect, but it's not badly done; if you don't habitually watch these kinds of films, you could enjoy it and, if you do habitually watch these, you can have fun spotting the influences and guessing the next thing to happen. The film is a continuous stream of in-jokes, but the humor is dicey... and the gore is not! There's only a couple of monsters, only a couple of death scenes (poorly done) and not much atmosphere, except for what was stolen from Italian gore directors. It's hit and miss. I thought it was okay.

The Day the Earth Stopped (2008)

How bad is it? It's not the worst mock-buster from Asylum, but that's faint praise.
Should you see it? No.

This was quickly made to capitalize on the recent release of the remake of the 1951 classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still." This manages to steal the plot as well as title, by having the aliens say they'll destroy Earth unless we prove our worth; a lawsuit by Fox, however, did not pass the "satire is not theft" test. The aliens are so poorly done that they do not move and are actually called megaliths. The main attraction of the film is Sinead McCafferty nude; when she tries to act, the film slows. C. Thomas Howell stars and directs, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Judd Nelson (who gets second billing) and Bug Hall, who had an interesting career as a child actor, shows that adulthood did him no favors. Christianity fails to sway the alien, but a woman dying in childbirth - who then gets healed by alien magic - does.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Danik, el Viajero del Tiempo (1996)

How bad is it? It has some particularly bad effects and acting.
Should you see it? Sure, if you can find a copy with subtitles.

Danik is an extraterrestrial that decides to help a couple in the suburbs of Mexico City by first impersonating an Earth child, and then doing things like keeping cigarettes and booze away for the dad. Two "Boris and Natasha"-ish secret agents are after Danik and, in the climactic scene, demonstrate that they can shoot lightning from their fingertips (done by scratching the film with a pin). Just then, Danik's mother arrives and shoots a green beam at the bad guys - a line drawn on the film in post - and they go away. The alien kid is creepy, the acting is abysmal, the plot is nonsensical and the effects are unbelievably shoddy. And it's not dubbed or subtitled.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Daniel - Der Zauberer (2004)

How bad is it? It's near the bottom of IMDB's bottom 100 films.
Should you see it? No way.

Lommel with horn, top hat and one arm.

This bad film by Ulli Lommel is bad in a different way than his other bad films reviewed on this blog, but that's of so little interest it's mentioned only to avoid actually discussing this tripe. Lommel himself has a major role as star Daniel Küblböck's dead grandfather, whose missing arm mysteriously reappears from time to time. Rather than re-filming or scrapping that footage, it appears that Lommel decided to make it the plot, turning this biopic of an annoying minor musical talent (from a German television contest show that I suspect had a "vote for the worst" contingent) into a film about a boy with magical talents. People try to kill Daniel on stage and this allows for a lot of concert footage to be added, plus some additional backstage footage where nothing happens and which must've been added to pad the film to feature length. Lommel claims that the half-finished slap-dash nature of the film is intentional, but that doesn't help.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Daddy-O (1958)

How bad is it? It's a pretty typical 1950s juvenile delinquency film.
Should you see it? Not really.

A truck driver encounters a beautiful blonde on the highway, and then runs into her again at the local teen hang-out, where he happens to moonlight as a singer. She challenges him to a race - which she wins - and he gets arrested, because someone got killed near where they raced. He then decides to track down the real killer, a drug-runner, and things get tense. There's a few minor laughs, particularly in the acting of the gym owner, but this film is nothing special.

Added: Just saw the MST3K version. It adds nothing.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Da Hip Hop Witch (2000)

How bad is it? It's probably the worst parody of the Blair Witch Project (IMDB rating 1.6)
Should you see it? If you love rap and have a low threshold for humor, maybe. Maybe.

Footage is found of five white guys who entered the hood, looking for the legendary Hip Hop Witch. More than half of the film is extemporaneous shots of rappers making up stories of the witch and the two most memorable rappers turn out to be the two white ones, Eminem - who apparently fought hard to get his part of the film edited out, but which was actually enlarged - and Vanilla Ice. One of the stories is about how the witch put her finger up a guy's ass; that's about the level of humor and taste the film goes for. There's also a secondary plot of a woman who believes that the witch is a hoax made up by industry insiders to boost sales and she goes undercover to expose it [nothing comes of this]. The parody aspects are few, mostly bookend the film and are throwaway, but provide two of the maybe five small laughs the film creates.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas leftovers

28 More bad Christmas movies, to show that I covered only a third of what I could have.
Update: make that 30 - I forgot "Nativity 3: Dude Where's My Donkey? (2014)" and "Alone for Christmas" (2013) aka "Bone Alone"
Hercules Saves Christmas (2012)
Herc is a dog, not Lou Ferrigno.
Happy Ero Christmas (2003)
Ero as in erotic. But not very.
Elf-Man (2012)
"Wee Man" stars as elf who discovers he's a superhero.
Elf Bowling - The Movie (2007)
Santa's brother, a pirate, has kidnapped the elves.
The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation (2010)
Voices of Mario Lopez and Paris Hilton, with Dean Cain. Nuff said.
Christmas with a Capital C (2011)
Based on a song, about a town's fight over decorations.
Christmas in Compton (2000)
Nothing says inner city black culture and Christmas like Eric Roberts.
Natale a Rio (2008)
Italian comedy directed by DeSica (no, not that one). See Christmas in Love
Christmas in Paris (2002)
Sadly, not a sequel to "One Night in Paris" sex tape.
The Perfect Holiday (2007)
Girl asks department store Santa for help with parents' love life. Gabrielle Union, Morris Howard, Queen Latifah.
Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July (1974)
Never gets rebroadcast, for good reason.
The Boy Who Saved Christmas (1998)
Santa's evil twin kidnaps him (see Elf Bowling)
Christmas in Love (2004)
Another Chris DeSica film, with Danny DeVito.
Home Alone: The Holiday Heist (2012)
More people were in this than saw it. No Culkins were involved.
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Absolutely wretched... but not actually a movie.
Jingle All the Way 2 (2014)
Stars Larry the Cable Guy. Check out how many times he's listed on this page!
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)
Half the film is re-cap of first film, reusing footage.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 4 (1990)
No connection to other films in series. Clint Howard and Maud Adams. Meh.
Larry the Cable Guy's Hula-Palooza Christmas Luau (2009)
Someone figured out how to get a paid vacation.
Saving Christmas (2014)
Currently lowest rated film on IMDB. Not quite that bad.
Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas (2013)
This has some people I like (sorry!) and also has... Larry the Cable Guy.
Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular (2007)
The other Larry the Cable Guy Xmas video.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Eddie's Island Adventure (2003)
Another case of someone finagling a paid trip.
Feeders 2: Slay Bells (1998)
No one has anything nice to say about this one.
Blood Beat (1982)
Included because the title gets missed in most Christmas horror compilation lists.
An American Carol  (2008)
Parody of Michael Moore films is almost good.
Christmas Nightmare (2001)
Presidential candidate, cabin in the woods, killers on loose.
Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014)
Not as bad as the same year's kitten themed Santa Claws!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gingerdead Man (2005)

How bad is it? It's way too slow-going.
Should you see it? If you're already a fan of Charles Band, or you don't expect much.

This is yet another Charles Band film, directed by him as well as produced, so you know there's going to be a silly premise and very cheap budget and a few yuks. Unfortunately, this just never gets going - though it's spawned two sequels so far, which are almost exactly the same. Here, Gary Busey plays a deranged killer (typecasting?) sentenced to the electric chair, whose cremated remains get mixed with gingerbread by his mother, who happens to be a witch. A little accidentally added blood and a power surge cause the monster to become animated. From there on, it's just an unstoppable killing machine that happens to be oddly cute and you've seen it all before. At the climax, the Gingerdead Man's head gets eaten, but that only causes the eater to become possessed and he has to be thrown into an oven. Admittedly, this just barely could be considered a Christmas movie.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2004)

How bad is it? Bad enough I won't even check to see if it's "Return," not "Revenge."
Should you see it? No.

This is a sequel not to the Michael Keaton film "Jack Frost," but to one released the prior year about a psychopath that runs afoul of a genetics experiment. That film had originality going for it, plus just enough plot to carry the film and a couple of intentional laughs - this sequel has none of that. The snowman is now in the tropics, a problem barely addressed and Jack seems to freeze and thaw at will. The killings are cartoonish and the only interest is to see how they'll relate to ice; one woman has a bartender's ice tongs pushed into her eyes and apparently into her brain, killing her instantly and almost bloodlessly. The cast are there just for fodder and the killer spends the entire film doing a monologue about how much he hates and what he's going to do.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Santa Claws (1996)

aka Tis the Season

How bad is it? It's bottom-of-the-barrel exploitation.
Should you see it? No.

Plot: women get naked and then get killed. What, you want more? A man sees his mother having sex with someone dressed as Santa and murders him. Later, he stalks an actress and jealousy causes him to kill her co-stars while dressed as Santa. They're making a film called "Scream Queens Naked Christmas," which was actually filmed and released simultaneously with this stinker. There's no gore, not much violence, but lots and lots of nudity.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Interview: Gordon Maples

I found Gordon Maples through Twitter @Misantropey where we share thoughts on bad films. He reviews films on the blog "Misan(trope)y" and from there you can find a link to his podcasts, where he dissects just how celluloid atrocities get made. He's the fourth person I've found whose tried to watch all of the films in the Internet Database's Bottom 100 Films, and may be the first person to actually do it. That deserves some recognition and a few questions. This interview was done via e-mail with all questions sent at once (which is why there's a little awkwardness).

1) Others have tried to watch all the IMDB Bottom 100 films but found it a depressingly poor use of time. How have you persevered where others have not?

I've had this discussion with some people before, and I think it comes down to the way I approach bad movies. For instance, I love the guys over at the Bad Movie Fiends podcast, but we have very different philosophies: they are, like many, searching for the elusive "so bad it is good" movies. If someone goes into the IMDb Bottom 100 expecting to find those movies, they will either quit due to frustration or boredom. When I watch bad movies, I try to do it with more of an analytic eye. I usually liken the experience to performing an autopsy: I dig around in the guts of the film to figure out how it functions, and ultimately make some sort of judgment on why it failed. I find that kind of thing really interesting. I still love those "so bad its good" flicks, but that isn't what I expected to find in the IMDb Bottom 100. As it turns out, I was right in that assumption.

I think others are similarly turned off by the ranking because they don't agree with it. That comes from a misunderstanding of what the IMDb Bottom 100 is, and is something that I talk about at length in a review on "Saving Christmas": the IMDb Bottom 100 is a living democratic list, which means it is not objective in any sense. It is a popularity contest, which I don't see as an insult in this case. It is, like the Rotten Tomatoes audience score, a barometer of public opinion and perception: that's why "Saving Christmas" tanked so fast. If you appreciate it for what it is, it is pretty fascinating from a sociological perspective. You can't get hung up on the fact that "Monster A Go Go" is clearly objectively worse than "Pledge This!" or "From Justin to Kelly". The ranking just doesn't work that way.

The last thing that I am sure has discouraged many is the fact that not all of the IMDb Bottom 100 films are readily available. Because of the recent surge of international movies in the list, many of them didn't get a Region 1 release, and English-speaking watchers have to rely on non-traditional acquisition methods and fan-made subtitles to see them. That's more effort than most are willing to put into such a trivial task. Unfortunately, some of the films like "A Fox's Tale" and "Tony Blair Witch Project" barely exist at all. I had to come up with a way to make up for this, so I dug up some archives of the IMDb Bottom 100 list from 2004, and covered alumni features that have since fallen out of the ranks. It also helps that the list is constantly rotating in new movies as more new votes come in, so patience ultimately paid off in some respects. I'm still giddy that "ROTOR" made it in this year.

2) Fans of MST3K have systematically given 10's to all bad films rated lower than what they've aired. Do you think the ratings are truly democratic?

It doesn't matter what the motivation behind a vote is, the vote is still a vote. Again, the ranking is a reflection of public opinion, so it needs to be open to every Joe Anonymous out there to vote with all of their (potentially corrupt or dumb) hearts. A lot of people were furious over the "Gunday" fiasco, where a social media campaign against the movie tanked it to the bottom of the list. Again I say, a vote is a vote, and with this list no vote matters more than another, regardless of the motivations behind it. If a bunch of people feel that a few MST3K movies deserve lower scores, all they have to do is vote for their voice to be heard.

3) Do you yourself rate movies on IMDB? If so, which of the bottom 100 did you rate highest? If not, why not - you're more than qualified.

I haven't been, strangely enough. I will definitely try to come up with a personal reorder ranking of the IMDb Bottom 100 movies I have watched, and I may go back and vote on them all once I have looked at them all comparatively in that setting. I should be wrapped up with the list next week, so that'll be coming soon.

As far as quality of the movie, I think "Monster A Go Go" and "The Starfighters" have to be towards the top. However, there were plenty that were more offensive and creatively bankrupt. I think it depends on which sensibilities you rely on more to judge a movie's overall quality. I, for instance, have a personal dislike for Bollywood movies on the whole, just because I hate unnecessary musical numbers and excessive run times. So, I might be more likely to rate them lower than others would. Also, anything with blatant sexism/misogyny or racism is going to draw a little extra ire from me. It is not only lazy, but that sort of thing reinforces negative aspects of our society.

There are at least two movies that I don't think have any business being in the Bottom 100, and I personally think that they got as low as they are due to thinly veiled racism in the voting masses. They are still bad movies, but nowhere near as bad as their cohorts in the list. I'm going to talk about those at length when I wrap up the list in the next week or so.

4) Straight-to-video titles and TV movies aren't in the IMDB rankings. Should they be?

I think that requiring a theatrical release is a reasonable enough hurdle. Again, it makes more sense when you think of the IMDb Bottom 100 as a barometer of public opinion: it isn't unreasonable to say that theatrical movies are going to cast a wider net than your typical direct to video schlock.

5) There are 1000 films rated 1.0 - 1.9 that don't have 1500 votes, so they didn't make the bottom 100. I'd love to see that list, wouldn't you? Would you watch them?

I'm curious how many of them got theatrical releases. In any case, I know I have seen a few of them at least. The infamous Casper Van Dien / Tiny Lister / Coolio direct to video flick "Dracula 3000" has a 1.9 (quite deservedly), and I actually reviewed "The Legend of the Titanic", which has a 1.3. It is up to debate as to whether that is better or worse than its doppelganger "Titanic: The Legend Continues", which is in the Bottom 100 with a 2.3. Believe it or not, those Titanic animated movies have no relation whatsoever, despite the huge similarities.

I certainly would be interested to see more of these movies, but I am also a big fan of that quota for the list.  is a ranking that functions as a barometer of public opinion, so having movies with only a couple hundred votes in there wouldn't accurately reflect the zeitgeist.

6) Adam Sandler or Larry the Cable Guy?

No thanks, I'd rather watch a Tor Johnson marathon. I did cover Adam Sandler's first movie "Going Overboard" in the Bottom 100, which is a baffling little film. 

7) I learn technique from bad films (for example, blocking from "The Giant Gila Monster"). What can one learn from yet another "Date/Disaster/Epic Movie" spoof?

I think there is a lot to learn about how to write evergreen comedy when you compare something like "Epic Movie" to the old stalwart parody movies like "Airplane!". The majority of your jokes and references can't be current-event sensitive, or your film will age worse than shrimp in the back of the fridge. There is also an interesting thing to learn about staying competitive with budgetary limitations when looking at parody movies from recent years: despite the vast difference in the budgets, there isn't a huge difference between "Vampire's Suck" and "Breaking Wind". When both movies are rolling around in a comedy sewer, it doesn't much matter which one is wearing the expensive suit.

8) Name as many prolific directors worse than Ed Wood Jr. as you can in 5 minutes.

To Ed Wood's credit, his legacy is not just making bad movies, but making cost-effective bad movies. In that way, I think Uwe Boll deserves a begrudging tip of the hat, along with some of the Corman-spawn like David DeCoteau and Jim Wynorski. As far as quality of directing goes, Coleman Francis and Ulli Lommel are pretty much no-brainers. Ted V Mikels probably deserves in on that conversation as well. There are a bunch of more recent folks like Wiseau and Nguyen who have become infamous, but I hesitate to call them prolific. Despite his successes, George Lucas is not a good director, particularly when it comes to any kind of personnel management. "A New Hope" was good in spite of his directing skills, not because of them. But worse than Ed Wood? Probably not.

9) What was the best year for bad films?

I can certainly say that 2014 is going to go down as one of the best years for bad Christmas films, at least. Grumpy Cat, Larry the Cable Guy, and Kirk Cameron. Blech.

10) If someone's new to bad films, where do you suggest they start?

If possible, I would recommend trying to catch something like "The Room" or "Troll 2" in theaters. The cult atmosphere around these movies is what makes them contagious. Other than that, a couple of my personal favorites are "The Stuff" by Larry Cohen, and "The Dentist" written by Stuart Gordon. I also have a mild obsession with 1986's "Space Camp", but that is more of a hometown bias.

11) In a bad movie based on your life, what's your signature move in hip-hop kung fu?

The Stammering Fumble Maneuver. It is different every time, but always disappoints. I still come out on top somehow though.

For the record, I'm counting 6 worse directors than Wood.

Santa Claws (2014)

How bad is it? In a year of bad Xmas films, it's the worst.
Should you see it? Only if you watch cat videos daily. Those people rate this highly.

Tommy and his mother have been caring for newborn kittens, but can't afford to keep them. Hoping that Santa will give them good homes, he leaves them in a box for him, but Santa's allergic to cats! He falls from the sleigh and three kittens must now deliver all the presents themselves. Guess what - Tommy was so good that Santa had planned to give him a kitten as a present (just ignore the "can't afford it" point) and had one in the sleigh, despite his allergy. This was made by the director of "The Coed and the Zombie Stoner," so you know he has a way with children's films.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Santa Claus vs. the Zombies (2010)

How bad is it? Absolutely wretched acting in a bloodless zombie film.
Should you see it? A soft no. there's a couple of laughs, but it's a long wait to get there.

Zombies created by a diet pill force a family to barricade themselves indoors with visiting relatives that are so obnoxious you'll scream: bring on the zombies! Also at the party is a Santa and some elves, who just might be the real deal. There's a sudden jump to the President and his cabinet in a bunker (or more likely the basement of the house in which the film was shot) who plan a rescue mission - preferably not involving nukes - and they've discovered that light will stop the zombies, but they'll learn to adapt; this could've led to an interesting plot, but gets abandoned. Instead, Santa takes on the zombies by shooting Beanie Babies (given another name, due to copyright) at them and, when he runs out, to stall for time, the zombies are invited to sit on Santa's lap and tell them what they want!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Magic Christmas Tree (1967)

How bad is it? It's in the bottom 3 all-time worst Xmas films for kids.
Should you see it? Yes - it's entertainingly bad.

A boy saves a cat from a tree and falls, perhaps being knocked unconscious, but certainly being knocked from black and white to color film with poor post-synched sound. His reward from the cat's owner, who is now a witch, is a ring with a seed in it that, when planted, will grow into a tree by Christmas (it's currently Halloween) that will grant three wishes to whoever wears the ring. His first wish is power, which he uses to move fire trucks and force a pie fight. His next is to have Santa to himself, which turns out to be a terrible mistake, involving the National Guard. There's a scene with a giant woodsman in fur that's extremely creepy - unintentionally. There's a scene of the boy's dad starting a lawnmower with "comic" sound effects that takes FOREVER and a race with a turtle. The boy's third wish is to undo his others and he learns a valuable sappy lesson. With an appearance by Terry Bradshaw (alas, not the bald quarterback).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)

How bad is it? For Xmas slasher films, I think it borders being average.
Should you see it? Yes, perhaps in a seasonal slasher flick festival.

A maniac mutilates bell-ringing Santa Clauses (actually, Father Christmases, as it's in England), because of seeing a Santa push his mother down stairs as a child. There's a spear in the mouth, a cleaver in the face, a castration, several knives in stomach, burning, shooting in the face - I think 14 killings in all. There's decent suspense, especially in the London dungeon scene, but otherwise clunky direction; the director also plays the impossibly stupid police inspector. Caroline Munro makes an appearance and Pat Astley gets topless repeatedly. The killer's identity is never revealed, which is a bit of a let-down.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Elves (1989)

How bad is it? Well, for one thing, there's only one elf. It's pretty bad.
Should you see it? Yes. It has more than enough cheap laughs to be watchable.

Nazis need to breed elves to a virgin descended from the Master race at midnight on Christmas Eve in order to recreate an army of supermen. The requisite girl lives with her incestuous wheelchair-bound Nazi grandfather/father, an abusive mother and a brother who watches her in the shower. The girl's friend accidentally, doing witchcraft in the woods, brings forth an elf by bleeding on the ground. These two girls, plus another, get locked in a department store after hours - there's also a guy, who just disappears into the parking lot early on and gets forgotten - and can only be saved by the replacement department store Santa, played by Dan Haggerty, whose chain-smoking is less offensive than the previous Santa's cocaine-fueled perversions (which get him castrated early in the film).

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Santa with Muscles (1996)

How bad is it? It's probably the low point of Hulk Hogan's questionable career.
Should you see it? No.

Hulk Hogan plays a cage fighter and health products mogul who, avoiding police in a chase, dons a Santa suit, jumps down a garbage chute (where several copies of this film no doubt were lurking), bangs his head, gets amnesia and believes that he is indeed Santa Claus. An evil scientist tries to take over an orphanage that has exactly three children, access to catacombs and enough real estate to fund a real Hollywood film; this is because of magic crystals - always a nice touch - that just happen to be beneath it. Clint Howard makes an appearance (oh, and so do Ed Begley Jr. and Mila Kunis and others that should know better).

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

BloodRayne (2005)

How bad is it? It's one of the worst of Uwe Boll's video game adaptations (that's bad).
Should you see it? No.

If you aren't familiar with the video game from which this film came, you can't follow the plot - and I can't help. Rayne is the child of a vampire and a human and she needs to acquire artifacts before a villain uses them and the film jumps back and forth between people trying to get these unexplained objects, with little narrative sense. There's some excellent actors - Ben Kingsley (!), Michael Madsen, Billy Zane, Michelle Rodriguez - among the poor - Meat Loaf, Udo Kier - but all are woefully miscast. The special effects, mostly beheadings, are pathetic, particularly given the relatively high budget.

Curse of the Zodiac (2007)

How bad is it? It has a score of 1.2 on IMDB. I think that's the record low.
Should you see it? No way.

Ulli Lommel's made three films about real serial killers, none of which pay attention to the facts. This one is the one that's shot with the camera held at 90 degrees - really, the floor is on the right side - I eventually turned my screen to watch this. This is very gory (but not interestingly so) and one expletive is used as half the dialogue. It's hard to tell that this was supposed to take place 30 years before it was filmed. There are random cutaways to shots of the Golden Gate bridge, just to remind you where it's supposed to be (it was apparently filmed on location, but you can't tell). I understand that Lommel once was a student of Fassbender and has taken to heart the less-is-more ethic, but there has to be SOMETHING.

Curse of the Wolf (2006)

How bad is it? It's an amateur film in every respect.
Should you see it? Not really.

After making "Swamp Zombies," which I hope I don't ever get around to reviewing, director Kabasinski decided to make a werewolf movie. In this, a girl injects herself with tranquilizers to stop her transformation and tries to blend in with society. Her werewolf pack literally sniffs her out and tries to get her back, ending up in a martial arts kickfest with a rival gang. The werewolf are essentially halloween masks and gloves, the dialogue may be all ad-libbed as there doesn't seem to be much of a script, the sound and visual quality are below inadequate. The best of the film are the fight scenes, a few intentionally funny jokes (though fart jokes are common) and the loopy song "Cat Lady." This might've been okay with a bigger budget.

Curse of the Queerwolf (1988)

How bad is it? It's not offensive enough to be terrible, not terrible enough to offend.
Should you see it? Only if you liked "A Polish Vampire in Burbank."

Mark Pirro has made a few cheap funny films (his best joke is that his production company is called Pirromount) and, when a character from "A Polish Vampire in Burbank" got a big audience reaction, he decided to give it it's own film. In this film, a guy gets bitten - on the butt, of course - by a transvestite werewolf, which turns him into one as well. The film has a real problem with transvestitism vs homosexuality (didn't they watch "Glen or Glenda?") as the hero finds himself struggling with his new desires. Two dogs get killed and that's actually pretty funny in a sick way when it happens. Also, being kept straight by looking at a picture of John Wayne is amusing. This is really low budget, almost all of the money having gone into costuming, which might actually have come out of the actors' own closets - hey, a "coming out of the closet" joke!

The Curse of the Aztec Mummy (1957)

How bad is it? It's fairly typical Mexican horror, a bit worse than most.
Should you see it? If you're seeing all 4 films in the series.

Third of the four Aztec Mummy films, this one isn't the best, nor the most entertaining, nor the worst. The heroic mummy Papoca fights the superhero Angel and they both fight the evil Dr. Krupp. There's less plot, characterization and action than in the other films, which technically makes it pretty bad.

The Curse of Bigfoot (1976)

How bad is it? It's among the very worst films; certainly the worst Bigfoot film!
Should you see it? Yes. But not sober.

In the early 1960's, a film was made titled something like "Teenagers vs. the Thing" but it never got released (because it was awful and too short). Later, a wrap-around was filmed, lengthening to 59 minutes, with credits, but making it somehow worse. The film starts with a guy lecturing high school students and reluctantly telling the story of his meeting with Bigfoot, which then goes to a 40 minute flashback. Kids investigating an Indian burial mound dig up what looks like the missing link, until it revives and starts attacking. It's not even Bigfoot, but a sort of mummy.