lesbian spies, a mad scientist make for 60's Euro-sleaze
When one of the first scene of a film contains the line, "Well, let me tell you the story about what happened," you know that you're in for a classic. This is that kind of classic. KISS ME MONSTER is a short, sometimes dull, and always sleazy film that makes you wish there were still drive-ins. How else could this have made it into theaters, except for maybe a few grindhouses.
KISS ME MONSTER is a hodge-podge of cliches, lots of red herrings, and a plot that is practically indescribable. In fact, I'm not sure if there really is a plot, just a series of scenes that are excuses to show the two female leads in different stages of undress. The dialogue is ridiculous (to be fair, this may be the fault of the below-par dubbing), and the characters are mostly unlikable.
But, in its own cynical yet silly way, the film has its charms. The blonde lead is very attractive, and she gives karate-chops, too. Plus, Jesus Franco, as cheap a director as he is, usually accomplishes come good photography. Plus, some of the jazz on the soundtrack is pretty good.
I liked KISS ME MONSTER, but for all the wrong reasons. I laughed out-loud so many times, I kept wondering if it was supposed to be funny. Alas, I don't think so. If anyone can explain how the plot leads to the island with the mad scientist, please let me know. Because I was scratching my head the whole time...
DRIVE-IN MADNESS is two things: a documentary, and a collection of old trailers for exploitation films. There are ads for Independent International pictures (NURSE SHERRI, BLAZZING STEWARDESSESS), and other assorted odd-ball fare(THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, MASOULEUM). There are also interviews with scream queens (Bobbie Breesse and Linnea Quigley) and filmmakers(George Romero, Sam Sherman, Joh Russo). There is a fairly long piece on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and what the makers of that film have done since.
My favorite part of this docu-paste-up was when George Romero talks about the state of films today. Romero says he feels that films are much more disposable nowadays(because of video), and it makes it harder for people trying to make something unique. Tom Savini, next to him, agreed, and so do I. Alot of films are very genre-based currently, and you very rarely find a renegade director like Romero anymore. (Incidentally, I think DAWN OF THE DEAD is a classic.)
DRIVE-IN MADNESS is a cheaply made, shoddily edited affair, but it is well-worth seeing for film buffs. The narrator (POLTERGEIST star James Karen) has a perfectly pleasant voice, and he obviously has respect for his subject.
If anyone can grab a copy of BLAZZING STEWARDESSESS, let me know, because that one looks like a hoot.
In the future, the government has established colonies on the bottom of the ocean to contend with the threats of global warming. Priscilla Barnes plays a scientist who becomes dazzled by what discoveries she makes living underwater.
This is dull, dull, dull. There is no action, no violence or nudity, and Roger Corman has a cameo. The special effects are passable, but some of this stuff is lifted from past Corman flicks, which ads to the cheapness. Mostly, the characters just talk a lot, and argue.
This is no way to spend 79 minutes, unless you like looking in at fake aquariums.
Before Micheal Moriarty was on LAW AND ORDER, he was hitting the skids in cheap-jack action fare such as this. A supposed political thriller with renegade Cubans(or was it Panamanians, what the difference), toy subs in a bathtub masquerading as special effects, and a stiff script.
Moriarty must be thanking his lucky stars that he doesn't have to get his paychecks from flicks like this.
And Carl Franklin...What an auspicious beginning for a career that includes the solid ONE FALSE MOVE.
HOLLYWOOD BLVD. II is not all that special. There is the plot of the Hollywood starlet trying to make it in low-budget filmmaking. There is the psycho on the loose. There is Eddie Deezen, and Ginger Lynn Allen is a semi-legit roll. There's action scenes lifted from Filipino action flicks.
This is slow-moving time-filler, and I felt hungry afterwards. Not a fulfilling event, by any means.
IN THE HEAT OF PASSION is one rare erotic thriller that achieves what it sets out to do, with the help of a gracefully aged Sally Kirkland(imagine Shannon Tweed in five years). Kirkland plays a busty Kirkland plays your typical bored, rich housewife who has dangerous sex with many young men.
There are a few twists to the plot, so I won't give away much, except that there is plenty of sex and kinkiness to keep you entertained until the end. Some of the scenes are kind of limp, but the decent production values, and Kirkland's performance, elevate this direct-to-video sleaze to the top of the lot.
If you are a jaded erotic thriller fan, this is for you.
DUNE WARRIORS is low on many things. The plot is very sluggish, and hardly discernable, except that there is not much water kicking around, and everybody wants it. There are masked gunmen, dunebuggies(of course), bad dubbing, and silly-looking explosions. (It's quite obvious that its some flammable substance, and not the vehicles, that are shooting flame balls in the air.)
OK. So, its cheap. I like some of producer Corman's other, older films, but this is just a sample of some of the "programmer" material he puts out nowadays. It's not even worth further discussion.
the story is old, but the effects are shockingly grotesque
Every once in a while, Roger Corman produces something that, within its genre, is worth seeing. Enter THE TERROR WITHIN, one of the better ALIEN rip-offs that Corman has made(next ot GALAXY OF TERROR, of course).
The story is old, and to discuss it would just waste space, and not surprise anyone. What is surprising is the excessive amount of gore. There are neat creatures, buckets of blood, and tons of entrails. This is wholesale gore, and there is a little bit(very little) suspense as well.
For a post-apocalyptic slant on ALIEN, this one isn't bad.
VENUS FLYTRAP sure is one sorry excuse for a film.
The production values are awful, the lighing is harsh, or dim(variably), and the acting is on the porno-film level. In fact, VENUS FLYTRAP resembles an attempt by porno filmmakers to go legit, utilizing the same cheap equipment and sets that hardcore films use. However, these filmmakers should stay where they are; they have much to learn about real films: RULE #1 is not to start out in tedium, it detracts from all viewers interests. RULE #2 is you hire real actors. RULE #3 is that some old plot cliches are best left at the graveyard.
The plot is very reminiscent of the sleazy Italian flick THE HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF THE PARK. A couple of thugs crash a yuppie party, and the more predictable events occur. There are attempts at humor(poor), gore(poor), and dramatics(abysmal).
What else can SilentG tell you, other than that VENUS FLYTRAP is one painfully dull experience. If you like suspenseless thrillers, or just really bad acting, this film is for you. All others, beware, VENUS FLYTRAP IS RELENTLESSLY BAD.
This is the simple plotline to TITILLATION. It is a hard-X release that has more that just the expected(although admittedly effective)sex scenes. There is humor, a storyline(even though its kind of thin), and Kitten Natividad.
This is not the sort of thing that you let your granny watch. But,as far as hardcore films go, this is pretty tame. Which is par to the tone of the film. It is a light comedy, and the sex is joyful. The attitudes are right, and the acting is sturdy.
Perhaps a little too subtle, THE LONG SHADOW never really pays off
Vilmos Zsigmond was the cinematographer for several 60's exploitation films, as well as art films. He's worked with some great directors, and his skill with the reflected image is undeniable(who else could make BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR look so good?).
But, I'm afraid, THE LONG SHADOW is a wash-out. This is not entirely Vilmos' fault. The script is kind of predictable, in the sense that it goes nowhere.
Michael York (just a few years away from AUSTIN POWERS) stars as the son of an actor. The father has died, and York(a dead ringer for his father) takes over the role in his father's last, unfinished film. Liv Ullman plays York's father's old lover, and she falls for the transformed York.
Strange? Yes, a little. But, the film is so subtle that it hardly makes any points with these plotlines. I had to watch the film twice just to understand what it was all about. Perhaps that was the idea, although I didn't think it was really intentional.
Once again, I blame the script. York is good in his part, and Ullman(who I cannot say enough praises about)is solid in a role that seems difficult for anyone to grasp.
There are also some very slow-moving portions, which slow any plot progression down to a halt. What little plot there is never comes to a satisfying conclusion, anyhow. Some of the dialogue makes no sense(I'm sorry, maybe I'm numb).
So, I still wonder if I'll ever fully understand THE LONG SHADOW. But, the cinematography is great, and I can't wait to see Vilmos next film. Maybe something with more of a heartbeat to it.
Because THE LONG SHADOW is kind of a odd, cold fish.
Endless car chases, a hand-puppet mutant, and David Carradine Fred Olen Ray strikes again
I sure hope the actors working in Fred Olen Ray's films are having fun when they're making them. Because we, the viewer, sometimes have no fun at all.
Enter WARLORDS. Some sort of MAD MAX-inspired cheese that has really little point(except for blowing up a few cars, and displaying some of the cheapest effects since GHOULIES), WARLORDS is insulting to everyone's intelligence. Anyone who finds this entertaining should go back to the hospital, 'cause you've gotta be sick to like this.
Dawn Wildsmith, once married to Fred Olen Ray, is the damsel in distress, Sid Haig is the bad guy, there is bad chase music, a mutant sidekick, and caves. What Fred Olen Ray movie would be complete without some cave footage(perhaps he is homaging EEGAH?)
WARLORDS is probably no worse than all the other films that Fred Olen Ray directed that year, but this is hardly bragging rights. When the measuring stick is this short, what's the point in playing at all?
I think it was Dennis Miller who coined calling Richard Belzer ,"the Belz." Anyhow, FREEWAY was made somewhere in between stand-up dates by Belzer, long before Homicide hit television. Of course, Belzer had done other flicks before(THE GROOVE TUBE), so he was fairly comfortable in front of the camera.
And, in fact, Belzer is the only entertaining thing about FREEWAY. The plot itself concerns a road-rager (back in the late 80's, this was un-hip) who blows the heads off of people. This psycho(the ever-employed Billy Drago)gets caught up with the Belz, with one of the killings being heard by Belzer.
James Russo, as always, thinks he's tough. But, like Mickey Rourke(sometimes), acting tough and being tough are two separate things.
FREEWAY is not so hot, and the low-budget shows. But, if you are a Belzer fan(I know you're out there), then this may be worth a look.
Everyone else, beware, THIS FILM IS TEDIOUS AND OVERLONG.
Richard Farnsworth( recently nominated for an oscar for THE STRAIGHT STORY)plays a retired space ranger. An escaped prisoner(Michael Pare) goes on a rampage, and it's up to already-crotchety Farnsworth to stop him.
Yawn. This is some of the most dull filmmaking that is possible. The sets a cheap and resemble cardboard. The story is recycled from countless westerns. And, although the actors here have been good in other films, the acting is sub-par. If only someone could have figured a way out of making this 80 minutes so unbearably boring. There is hardly any action untli the end, and when it finally comes, you'll be sleeping.
SPACE RAGE is pretty poor. I see where everyone has cast very low votes. It makes me wonder how long it will take for this flick to reach the bottom 200.
Still, this is better than watching PIPPI LONGSTOCKING again. Now, there's a real painful experience!
Cheap and relentlessly stupid, PRISON SHIP is out of bucks, Rogers
OK. So the line above is kinda silly, but so is this film.
Fred Olen ray is a master at spending no money, and somehow always having a film to show for it. Granted, most of his films end up being very static due to lack of monies for alternate takes and complex editing.
OK. So Ray isn't what you'd call Speilberg. His films concentrate on borrowed sets and costumes(this one's got them), has-been actors( Sid Haig, John Carradine, Aldo Ray, ect.), and some of the most stiff and lifeless dialogue this side of Ray Dennis Steckler.
PRISON SHIP( I saw this as STAR SLAMMER) is a piece of junk, filled with borrowed effects from BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA and BUCK RODGERS. There is some skin, but not enough. Mostly, there is talk, and as many a reviewer likes to point out, Fred Olen Ray makes very chatty pictures. That's because he either doesn't have the creativity, or the perspective, to realize that you don't need a ton of money to make a good film. You just need talent.
Why should I continue? PRISON SHIP is cheesy, and painful. Don't watch this unless you must see every film that John Carradine is in (or you really like train wrecks).
Or, perhaps skids is more like it. How did John Agar get such wretched work as this in between films with John Wayne? (All right, I suppose most Wayne films are schlock, too.)
But, this is Dr. Jekyll's daughter. And he looks silly as her husband. This is a ridiculous Universal wanna-be, complete with a family estate and curse. The whole werewolf explaination for this curse is very contrary to Robert Louis Stevenson's original conception.
But, the werewolf ploy is not enough. DAUGHTER...is so boring, that I defy anyone to sit through it twice. I was in a coma by the time the end finally came.
Gloria Talbott rules, though. She is the quintessential mid-50's scream queen. She always played an able woman, but it always took a man by her side to work things out in the end(this time it is Agar). Talbott's appearances in this film and, THE CYCLOPS(the same year) cemented her image into many a Saturday-matinee patrons' mind.
Is this before or after Agar divorced Shirley Temple? This is certainly not the most pickled he looked(he looks more bleary-eyed in his later, Larry Buchanan period), but he looks just a little too cheery in some scenes. Maybe he was happy that the filming would soon be over.
I was glad when DAUGHTER OF DR. JEKYLL was over. Unless you're a Gloria Talbott fan, skip it.
A documentary about a film: mutants, nudity, cheesy FX
Well, this is the end of the line for splatter fanatics. This is the documentary to a film being made. A film which, if you asked me, looks like it was a sham. I have never seen this mutant flick anywhere, and it could be that it's so rare, I haven't seen it. But, judging from the FX in this "documentary", I probably could do without seeing this mutant flick.
The main point of this film is to show the audience how gross effects are sometimes engineered. The flesh-and-blood effects, however, seem off slightly. They just don't look real enough to be all that impressive. The filmmakers chose to throw some nudity in, as well, to keep the viewer from getting bored.
And, then there is the action scenes. That's when I said to myself,"This isn't a real film," The documentary refuses to give real plot points away, making me doubt.
But, hey, more people have seen the MAKING OF DEMON LOVER that they have seen DEMON LOVER. So, that's just my opinion, but if you take a look at SPLATTER, doesn't it seem just a bit too irreverent?
OK. So, my point is taken. There is nothing of the Tom Savini, or Stan Winston, variety here. It's strictly amateur hour. But, what a funny, entertaining hour it is.
WITCHES BREW was hyped in the early 80's by the same horror fanzines that hyped SATURDAY THE 14th. OK, so I can't help it. This is a pretty lame flick.
And Teri Garr is in it. Granted, she is all right in small doses. Overbearing, yes. Annoying, yes. But she was good in last year's DICK. I can't really pick on her too much (Dave Letterman takes care of that for me).
This film has a few effects around the silly housewife hijinks, and those said effects are of the Q variety. At least the gargoyle's supposed to be made of clay.
Still, I haven't seen this picture in years, mostly by choice. It is an unmemorable, and thoroughly draining, viewing experience.
This flick about a murderer of wealthy women is definitely not too suspenseful, or for that matter, notable. In fact, this strictly average production is only mentionable as a book-end of film noir.
This appears to be a British film, and it owes a lot to the British visionary Alfred Hitchcock. CAST A DARK SHADOW, however, also made me recall a hysterical Charlie Chaplin picture called MONSIER VERDOUX. That film was funny, however, and this one is dull.
Still, there are some worse films out there. It's just that with so much to choose from, why pick CAST A DARK SHADOW?
you got some good actors and 5 dollars? make LURKING FEAR
When said viewer took a gander at LURKING FEAR, I couldn't believe I was watching Jon Finch(from my favorite version of MACBETH) and Jeffery Combs(REANIMATOR). LURKING FEAR is dull, contrived, stupid, and ultimately very pointless. Furthermore, the plot hardly resembles Lovecraft, and the electronic score is annoying.
As a horror fan, I was repelled. All of its attempts at humor made my stomach growl, and the horror scenes and effects were lame. If LURKING FEAR were just a bit smarter and had a more satisfying plotline, I could overlook that it is cheap. But, noone seems to mind how bad the film is. All the actors(including Ashley Lawrence from Hellraiser films)don't seem to care. Maybe the producers spent all their money on this cast, because they didn't seem to put more than five bucks into the production budget. Avoid this one, everyone. Its a real bomb.
brain dead and sadistic, NEWLYDEADS is dead on arrival
I think that this film is about as bad as it gets. It is cruel, has despicable characters, and it concentrates on homo-phobia as if it were a good thing. NEWLYDEADS made me angry in many different ways.
First, there's the plot, which is so ludicrously played out that you wished that the transvestite would wipe everyone out pronto. Second, the actors are universally annoying. Why noone decided to hire professionals is probably a credit to the lecherous script. Thirdly, the direction is poor, poor, poor...fruit has rotted much more colorfully. And, the thing is, the director still gets work!
This is appalling work by any standards, and someone had to actually edit this thing.
How bad and offensively stupid can one movie get? I guarantee EVILS OF THE NIGHT will knock out the competition. Whoever made this had no taste or sense if humor. The story of the muderous moronic mechanics is like something from a Ray Dennis Steckler film, and the production values are nil. EVILS IS OF THE NIGHT is pretty bad, and not funny at all. Not even for fun.
EVILS OF THE NIGHT is a real threat to anyone's intelligence.