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Jan. 2nd, 2012 @ 01:57 pm #3 - Deep Space (1988)
Current Mood: amusedamused
Ah, the 80's, a time in which companies were so desperate for product to release to video stores that they would take multiple ripoffs of the same film. Here we have Fred Olen Ray's attempt to drop the Alien series into a cop movie by way of the government experiment gone awry film.

Charles Napier and Ron Glass are two rebellious cops who have to investigate a mysterious crash, which turns out to be the aforementioned government experiment. It's pretty much completely ripped out of Alien, with a small version gestating inside someone, a skittery chestburster, and a 10-foot tall slimy, multitoothed version that is only missing the acid blood, but which has tentacles that grab victims. People die, things explode, Charles Napier chews the scenery and uses bagpipes (really) to get Ann Turkel into bed with him. In the end, the alien is vanquished with a chainsaw and a spear, and they all live happily ever after.

This one's pretty terrible, and it's slow moving, and it's kind of dark and murky so you can't see the creature clearly (for obvious budget reasons). Bo Svenson and Julie Newmar are basically wasted in glorified cameos, and Ray even basically lifts Harry Dean Stanton's death scene in Alien for this one. Stay away if you know what's good for you.

(Not reviewed - #1 - Attack of the Clones and #2 - Revenge Of The Sith. Also, we'll see how far I can get before I get bored of this again.)
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Calvin and Tyler
Mar. 7th, 2011 @ 10:04 pm #43 - Galaxy Of Terror (1981)
Current Mood: amusedhighly entertained
A low-end Alien clone from Roger Corman, Galaxy Of Terror is an odd little duck. A space crew led by Zalman King (in his pre-Red Shoe Diaries days) lands on a planet to investigate the disappearance of another ship. Their ship crashes on the planet, and after they recover from the crash, they find the remnants of the other ship and their crew. They also discover a large pyramid which is apparently evil, or something. One by one, the crew members start disappearing, killed off by manifestations of their fears. Can the crew solve the mystery of the pyramid before they all get killed off?

The main attractions of Galaxy of Terror are the sets and effects, designed by James Cameron (with help from Bill Paxton) in his pre-Terminator days working for Corman, and the cast, which includes Ray Walston, Sid Haig, Robert Englund, and Erin Moran from Happy Days. Galaxy of Terror is surprisingly effective and looks pretty good for its poverty-row level budget. If you can get past the giant maggot rape scene, this is a pretty entertaining time waster, and very recommended.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 22nd, 2011 @ 10:41 pm #40 - 2010: Moby Dick (2010, obvs)
Current Mood: gigglygiggly
I like to think that I'm decently well-read, though my tastes do run towards sci-fi and police procedurals. However, I have never actually read Moby Dick. I am, of course, familiar with the story, thanks to the churning cesspool that is pop culture. Between the Animaniacs version and Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, I'd say I know about as much about Moby Dick as the guy who churned out The Asylum's version that I watched this evening. (Strangely, it's not a mockbuster version of something being released, but maybe they had some sets left over from Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus or something).

This is basically a modern dress version of Melville's classic tale. We open in 1969, as the USS Acushnet patrols the icy waters of the North Pole, with Seamen Ahab and Boomer at the sonar. One white whale attack later, Ahab's missing a leg and Boomer's missing an arm, and then we find ourselves in present-day San Diego. Gabrielle from Xena is a whale expert (and possible crazy person) who thinks she can communicate with whales. She and her assistant Pip are shanghaied on board the Pequod, a massively high tech (yet poorly lit) submarine captained by Ahab (now played in deadly serious fashion by Barry Bostwick). We then spend 90 minutes chasing the CGI Moby Dick, who can jump completely out of the water, crawl on land for at least a few seconds, and can eat helicopters. Oh, and he keeps changing sizes(a problem I also forgot to mention about Mega Shark). Meanwhile, the US Navy thinks that Ahab's gone rogue (because, of course, they don't think there's a Moby Dick) and Boomer's trying to find Ahab before the Navy does. Surprisingly, the movie more or less ends the way the book does, at least for the crew of the Pequod. Gabrielle from Xena survives a nuclear blast unharmed though, and Moby Dick swims off to terrorize another day. (Could they come up with a Moby Dick vs. some other legendary monster to make a sequel?)

Surprisingly for an Asylum film, Moby Dick is played as a serious thriller from the point when Gabrielle and her buddy are shanghaied onto the Pequod. The screenwriter does a good job of working the bare bones of Moby Dick's Wiki page into a Sci-Fi Channel level film. Most of the characters have the same names and roles as they did in the original novel, and all of the ships that get mentioned are ships that are referenced in the novel as well. Of course, this film still barely resembles Melville. But again, despite the non-existent budget and the bad CGI effects, most of this film is a genuinely entertaining piece of cinematic junk, mostly due to Bostwick's near-crazed Ahab. Dare I say it, 2010: Moby Dick may be one of the best things The Asylum's every cranked out.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 22nd, 2011 @ 07:47 pm #39 - Mega Shark Vs. Crocosaurus (2010)
Current Mood: gigglygiggly
I love The Asylum. Love, love, love. The mockbuster house responsible for such fine films as Snakes on A Train, I Am Omega, and a Sherlock Holmes film involving dinosaurs, robots, and holograms also makes gloriously bad monster movies. This film is no exception.

We start in the Congo, where a bunch of miners are menaced by an earthquake which turns out to be an enormous crocodile. Next, we find ourselves on a battleship, where Urkel is a shark expert who ends up the only survivor of an attack by the CGI-tastic MegaShark, who jumps over his battleship a few times before sinking it. Then we go to a British dude who is a low-rent version of Leonardo DiCaprio's character from Blood Diamond, who finds and captures the CGI croc. Then, in a series of improbable coincidences, Urkel and the British dude (who, of course, know each other) end up hunting for the prehistoric creatures along with a badass Secret Service chick. The Shark and the Croc hate each other, and chase each other around while the characters bicker and do ridiculous things (such as making a nuclear power plant do something called an arc flash, which appears to basically be overloading the plant and making a bunch of CGI lightning.) Also, the shark jumps out of the water a bunch of times.

The CGI is very bad, there appears to be about three sets (one of which is a helicopter cockpit that seems to be in half the movie), and the plot is ridiculous, but it's all very fun. More amusing to me is that the flick is directed by Christopher Ray, the son of schlock auteur Fred Olen Ray. He's obviously learned from his father well. Words fail to convey how insanely bad and fun this is, but if you're into this sort of thing, then, yeah.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 18th, 2011 @ 08:40 pm #37 - The Cremators (1972)
Current Mood: boredbored
Early 70's no-budget drudgery directed by Harry Essex, writer of the sci-fi classics Creature From The Black Lagoon and It Came From Outer Space. Basically, there's a big giant sun creature, who's rolling around the back country of California stalking people who have little rocks that are pieces of the the sun creature's kids. The characters are all dreadfully dull and stupid, and the whole thing is patently ridiculous.

One of the worst movies I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of bad ones.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 18th, 2011 @ 07:54 pm #36 - American Grindhouse (2010)
Current Mood: amusedamused
The mis-titled American Grindhouse is a decent, if unspectacular, documentary about exploitation films through the years, featuring John Landis and Joe Dante, among others. It more or less rehashes most of the other documentaries made about exploitation films in previous years, though some of the interview subjects are entertaining. The most interesting quote in the movie comes from John Landis (or Joe Dante, I forget which now and I watched it a few days ago). Discussing modern films, he suggests that the only true grindhouse film made in the last 30 years is The Passion of The Christ, to which I went, yeah, that makes sense.

Overall, it's not a bad documentary, but it should be called American Exploitation, and not Grindhouse. The problem is that they're suggesting that films like Reefer Madness or Mom and Dad are grindhouse movies, when they really aren't. Grindhouse (to an uneducated goober like me) refers to exploitation films made and shown in the 60's, 70's, and early 80's, before video took over, not to drive-in fare or the carny-style roadhouse flicks of the 30's and 40's. But for the uninitiated, it's a decent intro to exploitation, but it's no Mau Mau Sex Sex.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 12th, 2011 @ 12:14 am #35 - Massacre (1989)
Current Mood: boredbored
Italian horror films are very much a hit and miss situation. For every Suspiria or City Of The Living Dead, there's a Rats: Night of Terror or The Black Cat (the 1989 Cozzi, not the Fulci). Massacre, directed by Andrea Bianchi, definitely qualifies as a miss, and a pretty big one.

Basically, a bunch of idiots are making a horror movie, and they're getting knocked off one by one by the standard black-gloved giallo killer. The "characters" have a bunch of problems: lesbian who wants the lead actress; director's wife is having an affair with the makeup artist; the director of the film wants it to be more realistic, so he brings in a psychic to hold a seance, which apparently unleashes a killer spirit named "Jack" into one of the characters (it should be obvious by the end of the film who the possessed killer is if you paid attention, and if you've watched more than one of these films). Unfortunately, this thing also has about 45 minutes of not much happening, aside from the various stock idiots fighting and being boring.

There's one big red herring just before the hour mark, and there's a lot of gore and nudity, but it can't save this one from being pretty damn bad, particularly with the even stupider bonus twist at the end. As an added note, this movie was "presented" by Lucio Fulci, and Fulci took most of the kills in this and used them in his film Cat In The Brain. Do yourself a favor, and watch that instead.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 11th, 2011 @ 11:23 pm #34 - A Town Called Panic (2009)
Current Mood: gigglygiggly
A Town Called Panic is a riotously funny Belgian kids movie based on the TV show of the same name. It's made with toys, crudely stop-motion animated, and it's basically 75 minutes of non-stop ridiculousness.

Cowboy and Indian live in a house on a hill with their friend Horse. At the bottom of the hill is a Policeman, and on the opposite hill is a farm, with an angry farmer and his pleasant wife and a menagerie of animals. Cowboy and Indian are basically frenetic ten-year olds, and Horse seems to be the adult of the house. As the film starts, it's Horse's birthday, and Cowboy and Indian didn't buy him anything. So they go to order 50 bricks to build him a barbecue, but they end up buying 50 million. As a result, their house gets destroyed, and they end up on an odyssey involving the center of the earth, seamonsters, and an alternate version of their little village. Oh, and piano lessons. Can't forget those.

It's insane, and hyperactive, and the 75 minutes flies by like the blink of an eye. The film is very charming, and even despite the trouble they cause, you can tell that Cowboy and Indian really just want Horse to be happy. Despite the limitations of the stop motion animation, it's really fun and goofy, and definitely worth your time. It's a great film for both you and your kids, as there are some good jokes that the kids won't get, but you'll enjoy.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 8th, 2011 @ 10:01 pm #33 - Exit Through The Gift Shop (2010)
Current Mood: weirdvaguely unsure
I watched the whole thing, and I'm still not sure it wasn't an elaborate prank. What starts out as an interesting documentary about a slightly unhinged French guy obsessed with street artists turns into a sort of commentary about how easy it is to prank the art world and gullible people. Thierry Guetta is a French emigre and shop owner who befriends street artist Shepherd Fairey (the Obama "Hope" guy) with the intention of making a documentary about street artists. Eventually, though, Guetta becomes obsessed with the enigmatic English phenomenon known as Banksy. After gaining his trust, Guetta becomes Banksy's right hand man as he attempts to put on a huge show in Los Angeles. Eventually, though, Guetta has to attempt to do something with the tapes he's shot, and cuts them into what is shown to be a terrible documentary. So Banksy suggests that Guetta should "go make some art" while Banksy tries to make something better out of the tapes. Big mistake.

This is a very entertaining film, though I'm still not entirely sure that it's all a real documentary. The Oscar committee seemed to think so, though, as it's up for Best Documentary this year. Banksy is shot blurred and with a voice filter, so it very well may not be him, and the whole thing is just odd. The scenes of the artists doing their thing is interesting, and the sequence where Banksy and Guetta invade Disneyland for a Gitmo-related prank is very amusing. But the overall feeling you're left with is that you're somehow not in on the joke.
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Calvin and Tyler
Feb. 7th, 2011 @ 09:28 pm #32 - Dreamaniac (1986)
Current Mood: amusedamused
Yes, I know I skipped a couple. (They were: #29 - The Slayer (1982), #30 - Samurai Resurrection, and #31 - Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures.) I'll get back to them eventually. But I wanted to do a bit about this joyously ridiculous piece of straight to video trash.

Dreamaniac is the directorial debut of noted gay cult director David DeCoteau(I suspect he wrote it also, though the script is credited to one Helen Robinson, who has no other credits). It was issued by Wizard Video as part of their "Too Gory for The Silver Screen", not that it would ever have been released to a theater, and it's shot on video. While it is a late 80's DeCoteau, you can see some of the hallmarks of his films to come, mostly in the smooth-chested guys in their tighty whiteys and a general aversion to female nudity.

Adam is a heavy metal musician who wants to be famous. He spends most of his time sleeping late and performing Satanic rituals. His sister is throwing a party for some of her sorority girlfriends, with the help of Adam's girlfriend (played by the soon-to-be-famous-XXX star Ashlyn Gere). One of Adam's rituals works, and he summons a succubus who offers him fame and fortune in exchange for killing off the party guests (including girlfriend and sister). One by one, the succubus knocks off the party goers. To be sure, most of the kills are not in particularly "Too Gory For The Silver Screen" fashion, although a power drill comes into play at the end, more or less justifying the label. Can Adam's sister and girlfriend escape from the house?

Dreamaniac is very, very cheesy, but one thing that can be said about it is that it's never particularly boring. The dialogue varies from snappy to lame, and the acting is, well, it's what it is, but overall, it's a fun, if brief, straight to video 80's slasher.
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Calvin and Tyler