Archive for September, 2010

Crystals! Woo!

As with too many of Charles Band’s flicks from any era of his career, the impression that one gets from Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983) is one of impoverishment. Here, working as the director under his producer father, he tries to realize an epic yet incomprehensible script with leaden dialogue via a handful of bad actors, a score of extras, some shoddy special effects, and an acre of scrubland, all tied together with a gimmick: the theatrical 3-D process which boomed and busted in 1983.

Even Stallone has made unknown movies

Thanks to movies like Rocky Balboa, Rambo, and The Expendables, it’s pretty safe to say that Sylvester Stallone has made a comeback in recent years. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Stallone’s movies were being barely released to movie theaters (at least in North America) or going straight to video. Avenging Angleo is one of those movies, going straight to video despite also having Anthony Quinn and Madeleine Stowe in the cast. It was dumped on the video market with absolutely no fanfare and just about everyone ignoring it, which got me intrigued. Did it deserve its fate? Read on and find out.

Finally!

I told the other B-Masters my roundtable update was probably going to be late this time, but even I never guessed that it would be this late!  And as fate and closing-down video rental shops would have it, I didn’t even end up reviewing the movie I wanted to do.  Instead, we’ll all have to make do with:

The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971), in which the kids of the 1690’s give their elders just as much trouble as those of the 1960’s…

The Comedy of Terrors (1963), in which the world’s worst undertakers reveal themselves to be no better at the murder-for-profit business…

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), in which he really, really must…

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), in which the monster is actually from someplace else altogether…

The Horror at 37,000 Feet (1973), in which William Shatner is once again on the case to deal with supernatural disruptions to routine airline service…

The Magician (1926), which you’d swear was a rip-off of Frankenstein and Svengali, had it not come out five years before those movies…

and…

The Witchmaker (1969), in which the villain really does busy himself making witches!
 
 
 

Not so much "hoopla" as "chutzpah"

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So, um, I have a blog. It’s kind of where the other side of my brain hangs out. The snob.

A Course Of Steady Reading

And guess what? I’ve found something even more obscure to write about than pre-Airport disaster movies and made-for-TV killer animal films.

After several false starts, it’s just beginning to look something like what it should be. However, as I said over at the BMMB, while I’ll be very happy if anyone feels like stopping by for a visit, please don’t feel obliged. I certainly appreciate that this stuff is far from most people’s cup of, uh, coffee.

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Of course he's not alone. He's got a dog.

I’m sure you’ve all been wondering, “Just where does Nathan draw the line delineating what can be considered a ‘zombie’ for purposes of the annual Month of the Living Dead?” That question has now been answered: it’s right between the 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later movies and this one. Yes, both concepts have technically non-undead persons infected with a virus which has caused them to regress from sapience and individuality into murderous, animalistic rage… but the infected in I Am Legend (2007) can climb walls like Spider-Man. That is not in the zombie repertoire, no matter which canon you’re consulting.

Indian Spies, Chun Li's Thighs

David heads back to the subcontinent for…

Hum se Badhkar Kaun

The film starts off with a family of six; that is Mum – Radha, Dad – Mohan and four children — Chandan, Raju, Bablu and Pappu, paying a visit to their bedridden Grandpa. Gramps is old and frail, and as the family present him with a gift, which happens to be a sculptured bust of his long since passed wife, he almost has a heart attack. This spurs Gramps into action. He has some family business to attend to before he dies.

And I have nice things to say about Raul Julia…

Street Fighter

I can’t say for sure whether or not this was the first movie based on a video game whose primary plot was “two characters fight each other,” but I think it might be. If not, it’s pretty close. Street Fighter is best known for being the final film of well respected, Academy Award winning actor Raul Julia, whose final gift to society was himself in a red leather fascist get-up, cackling and flying around and shooting lightning out of his hands. Some people lament the unfortunate timing of this movie and Julia’s death conspiring to turn Street Fighter into his memorial movie. I don’t really see things the same way, though.

Terrifying Pinecone With Chipmunk Voice

That’s how we feel about Jet Li in…

WARLORDS

If you ever wondered what Jet Li would look like as a giant armored pine cone, this is the movie for you. Warlords doesn’t do anything particularly ground-breaking, but what it does do, it does very well. The three leads are at the top of their game, and it’s nice to see Jet Li finally allowed to act again. Li has often been impressive, but rarely scary. This movie changes that, even as it clads him in a suit of armor I don’t doubt is historically accurate but looks ridiculous never the less.

We also just started posting new, shorter reviews on Facebook. Those of you who have no interest in such sites can still check out the reviews, though…

BAD BLOOD

Director Denis Law seems committed to returning the Hong Kong martial arts movie to the glory days of when they had awesome stunt and fight choreography and were terrible in just every other way, but we forgave them because of the action scenes (or did you watch Iron Angels for the writing?). Bad Blood is the perfect example of Law’s approach to film making. The story is the sort of ridiculous, convoluted, half-assed sort of affair you’d expect from an early 90s actioner. It also stars Simon Yam as a guy named Funky, and that counts for a lot. Unfortunately, his wardrobe is subdued. My feeling is that if you are going to cast Simon Yam as a guy named Funky, then he should be sporting the insane sort of crap that he was wearing in Looking for Mr. Perfect.

TEKKEN

Years ago, Hong Kong made a Tekken movie, but they forgot to secure the rights to actually make a Tekken movie, so it eventually became Avenging Fist, and no one really cared. About the only thing anyone remembers is that Ekin Cheng eventually turns into Sammo Hung. So anyway, fast forward to today, and now someone who bothered to secure the rights to the Tekken name, years after I think the world stopped giving a crap about Tekken, has finally made a Tekken movie called Tekken.

THE GREEN SLIME are coming!!!!!!!!

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Yes! Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!Yes!

More when I can think a little more coherently (and I’m not about to walk out the front door).

Okay, where was I? Ah, yes: it has just been announced that Warners will FINALLY be releasing The Green Slime. The good news—hell, great news is that it will be anamorphic widescreen; the bad news is, it’s through the Archive Collection.

Given how long many of us having been hanging out for this, it may seem ungrateful to pick this moment to complain, but – I am finding myself increasingly annoyed with the implication that while fans of other sorts of films need proper releases, it’s okay to make horror and science fiction fans put up with overpriced DVD-Rs. And they know how badly we want this: it’s priced five dollars higher than its fellow releases, Antonio Margheriti’s The Wild, Wild Planet and War Of The Planets, which will also be anamorphic widescreen. All three will be “out in time for Halloween”.

And yes, of course I’ll be buying them all. Sigh.

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The cook did it, in the cargo bay, with a sonic spatula

GALAXY OF TERROR

After crash landing on an alien planet, the crew of a spaceship is stalked and killed by their greatest fears. Of course one of the crew is a buxom blonde female, and of course her biggest fear is that a giant worm will suck off her clothes before it slimes her to death.

Review Snippet:
Faced with unseen bogeymen and an unknown force that is keeping the ship from blasting off, the crew decides to explore their surroundings. “Why don’t we all go for a stroll on the Haunted Planet in the Galaxy of Terror?” Great idea, guys. I cannot fathom what you might find besides your own grisly deaths, but have fun.

Something to watch for:
3 mins – It looks like a muffler, but it shoots laser beams. I think it’s a gun.

 
 
 

Devil's Island escapee (with a blue dress on)

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THE DEVIL-DOLL (1936)  (revised)

In which Paul Lavond, a French banker framed for murder and theft, escapes from Devil’s Island with revenge on his mind, in company with a man who just happens to have developed the perfect weapon: miniaturised human beings with no minds of their own, capable of being controlled from a distance by the will of another. But even as Lavond’s plans begin to come together, the police begin to close in, forcing Lavond to some desperate measures – and giving us, in the middle of what is essentially science fiction, the most horrifying of sights: Lionel Barrymore in drag.

Tod Browning’s second-last film, The Devil-Doll shoots itself in the foot by dwelling on the angst of the Lavond family instead of on any of its fun stuff, but finally gets a pass mark thanks to a couple – literally a couple – of supporting characters who remind us that nothing says “Mad Science” like pulling some really ridiculous faces.

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