Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Miami Golem (1985)

aka Miami Horror, aka Cosmos Killer

How bad is it? Quite bad cheap action/horror film.
Should you see it? The plot's so weird that I'll say yes.

Criminals steal DNA a scientist cloned from a meteorite and was growing into a psychic mutant baby. The bad guy, played by John Ireland, wants to create a slave race and take over the world. Then there's something about Atlantis and good aliens in disguise and way too much plot before it devolves into boat chases in the Everglades and a helicopter being shot down with a pistol. Though the action scenes are pretty good, one shot appears to have been repeated twice due to poor editing. The dubbing from Italian isn't great and the synthesizer soundtrack borrows heavily from Harold Faltermeyer and Jan Hammer. There is no golem involved.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Metalstorm: Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983)

How bad is it? Messy "Road Warrior" clone with hit-and-miss effects.
Should you see it? Sure. Everyone should see one Charles Band film and this is a prime example.

This has a loyal cult following, as does every early film directed by Charles Band. There are roles for Tim Thomerson, Richard Moll (as a cyclops - makeup covers one eye), Kelly Preston and Michael Preston (who plays Jared-Syn and apparently is no relation to Kelly). Taking some ideas from "Star Wars," this is largely "Road Warrior" type car chases in the desert near Bryce Canyon, with some entertaining 3-D effects. There's a lot of padding, with characters just wandering around. The whole plot consists of trying to take down a bad guy who's collecting people's souls in a crystal. In the end, the evil Jared-Syn just goes away to leave room for a never-made sequel, so even the title is wrong.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mercenary 2: Thick and Thin (1999)

How bad is it? Very minor action film with comedy attempts.
Should you see it? No.

This may make bad film lists simply because it was directed by Philippe Mora and has Olivier Gruner in it. Robert Townsend is kidnapped in the jungles of... Central America maybe?... and Olivier Gruner and Nick Turturro are mercenaries who try to rescue him only to find out that they've been set up. Sound familiar? Claudia Christian plays the love interest. The film jackknifes between action and comedy uncomfortably and none of it is terribly interesting.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Maximum Security (1997)

aka Maximum Revenge

How bad is it? It's one of the worst prison films I've seen. And I've seen plenty.
Should you see it? No.

The supposed maximum security prison is obviously just an empty office building. Five prisoners are brought in, there's a little bit of a reporter getting a tour and then terrorists infiltrate and plant a bomb (nuclear, of course). So, it's 5 unarmed cons, the female reporter and the warden vs. the bad guys. The hero disappears for half of the film without explanation. Tense scenes are interrupted for extended sex scenes. The conclusion consists of snipping a wire. Fred Olen Ray directed and gave himself a role; also appearing are Michelle Bauer and John Lazar.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Loves of Hercules (1960)

aka Hercules vs the Hydra

How bad is it? Worse than average swords and sandals fare.
Should you see it? Don't go out of your way, but it's an okay watch.

Jayne Mansfield plays a good queen in a black wig and an evil Amazon in a red wig (there's a purple wig, too) and her real-life husband Mickey Hargitay drools over both as Hercules. The dubbing in this is atrocious and leads to most of the laughs not provided by a three-headed dragon that just stands still while being killed. There are also talking trees of the "Wizard of Oz" ilk and a cyclops.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Life of Lucky Cucumber (2009)

How bad is it? Troma wouldn't release it (and they filmed Lloyd Kaufman saying so).
Should you see it? No.

Alumni of "Jackass 2" and "Orgazmo" create this "mockumentary" that supposedly started as PR for "J-Town" and quickly became a search for a local legend. That search takes 5 minutes.  Bathtub races get disrupted by Molotov cocktails. Then they find Lucky with his grandfather in a cave and there's a lot of talk. There's meth-heads. There's white guy rapping. There's old guys (including one that's a young guy in a drugstore Halloween old man mask) with young women. There's a whiskey bong. There's an unbelievable number of title cards - more than you would find in an old silent film. What there isn't is plot, character or visuals. This may have been an attempt to make a cult film by making the worst film they could.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Legend of Awesomest Maximus (2011)

aka National Lampoon's The Legend of  Awesomest Maximus

How bad is it? It's not the worst film in the National Lampoon catalog, but it's not great.
Should you see it? If you love spoofs or gladiator films, maybe.

This is a spoof of "Gladiator," "300," "Troy" and, less consistently, "Braveheart" and is at least a decade late to the party, as there was already "Meet the Spartans" and "305" covering that territory. The star is Will Sasso [full disclosure: I used to know him a little] who plays a general who got the job because he married into the job. The characters have names like: Hottessa, King Erotic, Testiclees, King Looney, Minoritees, Milfia and Ginormous. Add a ton of dick jokes, some egregious gay bashing, a lot of breasts, a Trojan penis instead of a Trojan horse and torture by being sat on by fat women. The cast has some decent names: Rip Torn, Ian Ziering, Sophie Monk and Tony Cox. It's shot well, the jokes are lame at best and the plot not worth mentioning.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Last Slumber Party (1988)

How bad is it? It's down there. Pretty far down, too.
Should you see it? Reluctantly, I say yes. Others enjoyed it more than I did.

This Minnesotan approves the sweet Tarkenton jersey.
Released straight to video, this was shot partly on film and partly on videotape and the switch between them is the least of the continuity problems. A bunch of girls go to a house where they're stalked by a guy in a surgical mask. I've seen this at least 8 times and it's always a race between boredom and confusion; in the end, much of the film turns out to be a dream and some claim that the weird discontinuity - the killer seems to teleport - and the affectless reaction of the girls to each death is part of the dream (that's giving too much credit). People sleep through murders committed right next to them, to then awaken just in time to get killed themselves. One of the dream sequences completely negates the rest of the film. And then it turns out that there are TWO killers, the imaginary one with several kills and a real one with just one. I always start out enjoying this film, it's delightfully tacky and cheesy, but then my eyes glaze over at some point as each death is exactly the same as the previous one; in fact, I think you can time one kill scene, multiply by cast members and get the run time.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lust for Dracula (2004)

How bad is it? It's plotless porn masquerading as a horror film.
Should you see it? Only if you're a fan of Misty Mundae.

This is almost impossible to review - if you want a Dracula film, this ain't it, but if you want to watch a lot of graphic lesbian sex scenes, you couldn't do much better. I won't bother with the plot, because it's impossible to follow; even the actors can't explain the film in the DVD extras. One of the sex scenes involves real life sisters, which must make for awkward family reunions. It's well-shot and atmospheric and there's some interesting visuals. What sticks with me is a baby bottle full of blood.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds (1977)

How bad is it? Unusual kaiju with some very poor bits.
Should you see it? Sure! I liked it.

Japanese monster movies made by the smaller companies that didn't specialize in it tend to be weird; this one is gorier, but with much less action (the giant bird doesn't even appear until near the end). The dubbing is poor and the soundtrack is amazingly irrelevant - it actually distracts you from what's happening. Investigating the wilderness near Mt. Fuji, a woman falls into a hole and breaks a stone egg. Then cattle and horses start losing their heads. Soon there are reports of a sea monster and then it's the standard people vs. monsters stuff, except that this one rips off entire scenes of "Jaws."

Friday, January 20, 2017

Last Hour (2008)

How bad is it? It's almost a master class on how not to make a film.
Should you see it? No. It's largely unendurable.

DMX, Paul Sorvino, David Carradine, Michael Madsen and others are all wasted in this film. A man gets a letter from his deceased father inviting him to a house in the middle of nowhere in China. He goes. It turns out others, all notorious bad guys, have also received such a letter and are there. Once inside, they're locked inside, the police are outside, a killer is trying to pick them off and they start to suspect each other and yet nothing much happens until the last few minutes. The sound is not properly synched. There are scenes that are cut in mid-sentence. The shift between cameras is obvious because the film quality alters. The plot makes no sense. It appears that the film was unfinished, then cobbled together as well as could be done with what footage had been shot.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lap Dancing (1995)

How bad is it? It's a movie about lap dancing - what do you expect... Othello?
Should you see it? No. It wouldn't hurt much, but there's no reason to see it.

Released to capitalize on "Showgirls," this is about a girl who moves to Hollywood, can't get a role as an actress, gets convinced to become a stripper and starts thinking she might be bisexual. The lead male character is blind, one dancer has a violent boyfriend and one is a nympho. In the end, the girl gets a role in a film (go figure). There's a lot of silicone on display, but not much acting. The dialogue often is drowned by the music, which, if you've ever been to a strip club, makes that the one realistic thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lake Placid 2 (2007)

How bad is it? Unneeded sequel that squanders the original's value.
Should you see it? No. That also goes for the other sequels of Lake Placid.

I enjoyed "Lake Placid." This sequel returns John Schneider and substitutes Chloris Leachman for Betty White, but while the original had Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Oliver Platt and Mariska Hargitay, this one substitutes brief nudity for them. The CGI is poor, even for a film that premiered on the SciFi network and the plot is nothing other than people vs. crocodiles (which are weird for Maine, but I'll let that pass). This is actually worse than the (so far) 3 MORE sequels that followed: Lake Placid 3 (2010), Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012) and Lake Placid vs Anaconda (2015).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Legacy of Satan (1974)

How bad is it? Shambling unscary but very weird horror flick.
Should you see it? If you like cheap films that strive to be different, yes.

This is one of the least likely films to have had a Blu-Ray release, double-billed with Andy Milligan's "Blood." It's only 65 minutes long and appears to have been a story for a porn film that morphed into a stab at legitimate cinema (it's by the director of "Deep Throat"). A young woman is targeted by a devil cult to be their bride/queen. She's actually kind of into it! There's a very heavy Moog synthesizer score and hallucinatory saturated psychedelic color and lighting, making it very "arty" but the acting is feeble and the story goes nowhere. A painting cries blood. A sword glows (one of the worst effects imaginable). A monster inexplicably appears and disappears without comment. If you've ever said a film looked like porn with all the sex cut out, compare it to this.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lady Street Fighter (1981)

aka Deadly Games, aka Woman in Anger

How bad is it? Holy moly, this one reeks.
Should you see it? Read the review, decide for yourself (that's a "maybe").

Directed by the same guy who did The Executioner II, this was shot in the mid-1970's and released later, with what appears to be a Kraftwerk tribute/Ennio Morricone cover band soundtrack and dubbed voices. The lead actress, pushing 50, is almost unintelligible when she speaks and when she strips, is not exactly what you were hoping for. Liz Renay also strips, and she's not a whole lot better. Oh, right, plot: a woman seeks revenge for the killing of her twin. Said revenge ends up being poorly staged fight scenes after an orgy where people chant "Toga Toga Toga," our star sucks celery suggestively, our star licks her phone, some guy licks her foot and a "retarded" girl in a sex club hugs a stuffed dog named Bow-Wowie which may or may not contain evidence of a crime. Really, the plot makes no sense and is hard to follow.

As Stabford Deathrage would say: recommended for people who like things that suck.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Little Man (2006)

aka Littleman

How bad is it? It's not the worst Wayans brothers film, but that's faint praise indeed.
Should you see it? I can't see why you would.

Laurel and Hardy did the adult-as-baby thing in "Brats," so updating that could've been funny. Even Bugs Bunny had "Babyface Finster," a similar idea, and that worked. Here, an adult's face is placed by CGI onto a child's body and there's some funny bits (but not enough for a feature film). The film reportedly cost $60,000,000 to make, the preposterousness of which is exceeded only by the fact that the movie made money ($100,000,000 gross). The plot: a diminutive criminal tries to recover a stolen diamond stashed in the house of a couple that want a child, so he pretends to be one. Babies are inherently gross, so breastfeeding jokes and diaper jokes are expected, but guys get hit in the crotch at least a dozen times. The film derails when it becomes a "Home Alone" clone with toys as makeshift weapons. Besides the Wayans family and their usual cast (David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington) one finds Chazz Palminteri, Tracy Morgan, Molly Shannon, Fred Stoller, Alex Borstein and Rob Schneider (uncredited as Dinosaur Rex).

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Last of the American Hoboes (1967)

aka The Last American Hobo

How bad is it? Almost a home movie documentary. Very poor technically.
Should you see it? Fans of the cast should. It's been hard to find (whenever I say this, the film winds up on YouTube or gets a DVD release).

I saw this in the 1970's as part of a group of indie documentaries, so my memory of it is vague at best. Titus Moede (billed as Titus Moody), from Ray Dennis Steckler films, wrote and directed and has a role. Coleman Francis and Bruno Ve Sota also show up, so this was a rare weird meeting of several zero-budget filmmakers. The film shows stories of actual hoboes re-staged by actors and some footage of real hoboes (perhaps some interviews - as I said, my memory's not strong). It ends with the annual hobo convention in Iowa, complete with hobo stew and choosing a king/queen. It was made over many years and is very choppy in construction.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Love Thrill Murders (1971)

aka Sweet Savior

How bad is it? Pretty typical Manson-inspired film of its time.
Should you see it? Only if you want to see Troy Donahue play a sociopath.

I actually saw this when it came out - seriously dating myself - by sneaking into a drive-in. It got released on VHS by Troma but I haven't seen it on DVD; it's also on YouTube. Troy Donahue plays "Moon," a charismatic cult leader obviously based on Charles Manson who keeps people close with drugs, sex and politics. There's an orgy scene and a bunch of murders at the end, but Moon gets away just to ride his hog past American institutions so he can give them the finger. All the interiors look like the same one or two rooms. The film is cheap exploitation, but not terrible for that genre.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector (2006)

How bad is it? Even the title has flaws.
Should you see it? No. Fans of anyone in the cast should not be deceived.

First the obvious: a guy whose name includes his profession plays an unrelated profession. I don't hate redneck humor or bathroom humor, but this does both very poorly. Larry's sent to posh restaurants to find the source of food poisoning and manages to develop a love interest in a waitress. David Koechner, Tony Hale, Joanna Cassidy, Joe Pantaliano, Lisa Lampanelli, Kid Rock and Jerry Mathers all have roles (the last two mere cameos). The film is nothing but gross-out humor, but it's all completely expected and obvious and there's no interest in the characters or the plot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Last Airbender (2010)

How bad is it? Overblown, lethargic and uninvolving.
Should you see it? No (but you probably have already).

This has a cult following due to its being based on a cult children's TV show that I think one has to have watched for the film to be intelligible. The film is highly expository, trying to explain the rules of the world of the film and just who everyone is and it drags on forever. M. Night Shyamalan directed and shows that his early successes were flukes; the story begs to be done in animation, the special effects are good (but not the quality one expects given the budget) and they tacked on 3-D. The only actor one will recognize is Dev Patel and he's miscast. The plot involves trying to create harmony among tribes of people who can "bend" earth, air, water or fire.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bookkeeping Note

I deleted a post because of the traffic it produced. No more of that, then.

Friday, January 6, 2017

L.A. Slasher (2015)

How bad is it? Too-late satire that puts forth too little effort.
Should you see it? No.

This film has a killer stalking D-list celebrities of reality TV. None of the victims are likeable and the killer isn't interesting and the story sounds like it was written in 1990 (the film, too, is filled with music you would've heard in 1990). Andy Dick is the bad guy. Others of note are Mischa Barton, Eric Roberts, Danny Trejo, Brooke Hogan and Drake Bell, who don't make fun of themselves or even portray themselves very well. The film has excellent cinematography, but either the editing or direction leaves the film listless and dull.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Lion of Judah (2011)

How bad is it? Poorly animated Christian story for small children with some problems.
Should you see it? No. (If you're a conservative Christian with small children... maybe.)

First, this is NOT the 2012 documentary with the same title! Ernest Borgnine, Michael Madsen, Sandi Patty, Scott Eastwood and several others do the voices of barnyard animals in Israel during Passover at the time of Christ. Holy animated slapstick crucifixion, Batman! The animation is poor for a theatrical release - the animals all appear to be the same size - and the film seems slow, even with continuous pratfalls. A lamb that calls himself the Lion of Judah is saved from sacrifice by his friends and they eventually learn who the real "Lion of Judah" is. It's a bit weird to see a pig where none are raised and the Biblical meaning of Passover for the Jews is glossed over very broadly, but I suppose this has its audience and they won't care.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Lightning Bill (1934)

aka Lighting Bill

How bad is it? They couldn't even get the title right.
Should you see it? Bad film fans should, mostly for historical reasons.

This is the film infamous for having the on-screen title wrong; it's listed as "Lighting Bill," which probably ran to about $20 for this film. This is one of the few films of Victor Adamson that is easily found; he taught his son Al how to make cheap terrible westerns in the 1960's (Al went on to make cheap terrible action and horror films, several of which I've reviewed). It stars a bland hero billed as Buffalo Bill, Jr. and is about a guy getting killed, but not before he hides his money. The hero then rescues the guy's daughter from the bad guys and finds the money. Much of the cast looks like they had worked on stage or in silent films and they overact accordingly. The sets are minimal, the direction clumsy. There's the old pass-the-gun trick, some stolen eggs, seeing "spooks" and a final fistfight that would fool no one.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Low Blow (1986)

aka Last Fight to Win, aka Deadly Weapon, aka Savage Sunday

How bad is it? Pretty typical very low budget martial arts film. No, worse than that.
Should you see it? If you're a fan of bad martial arts films.

Okay, I'm pretty blase' about this. Leo Fong has been in a few low-rent actioners and has modest talent in both martial arts and acting; here he plays a private detective who rescues a rich girl from a religious cult run by Cameron Mitchell. Troy Donahue shows up. Look for Billy "Tae Bo Infomercial" Banks in a fight. There's a lot of hoeing of fields and a lot of bad parking. There's a power saw to a car, a skull crushed by a foot and a dove butchered in a restaurant. There's bad 1980's synthesizer music, a long stretch where you wonder why the police aren't involved and a buff girl. All of that sounds better than it is.