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Niki’s Crap DVD Clearout Review Extravaganza! part 18

Many moons ago I bought a DVD player from the Blockbuster in Finchley. It cost me £200. I could have got a much better one for that sort of money but you see this one came with 50 free movies! Bargain!

Well the DVD player is long gone but the movies remain for two reasons, firstly and ironically the cheap double sided discs would not play properly in the cheap DVD player they came free with and secondly, despite starring such luminaries as Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe they are uniformly awful. Seriously, the biggest film of the bunch is The Lawnmower Man!

As the years have rolled by they have sat on my shelf in the ‘I’ll get round to them some day’ pile and what better reason to get stuck into them than to inflict my reviews on you gentle people.

As well as a review I shall be giving them a mark out of five which will not only be an indication of quality but a prediction of their very immediate future:

*****  Might actually keep

**** Attempt to sell on Ebay

*** Straight to the nearest charity shop

** Straight to the nearest bin

* Will give away as a gift to anyone who makes me listen to Coldplay

So here goes…

Alien IAlien_Intruder_VideoCoverntruder

Ricardo Jacques Gale

 (1993)

 Rating **

Sounds a bit rude. Go on, admit you thought it too.

 

 

You just know you’re in for some top quality film making when the opening credits proudly announce that the special guest star is the guy who played Kenickie from Grease.

Although I’m starting to suspect that was just a polite way of saying ‘dies in the first eight minutes’. You see we open with Kenickie shooting up a storm on a spaceship (read: a boiler room). It seems he’s being controlled by a sexy lady although he blows his brains out before we can find out why (including a frankly disturbing shot of the inside of his mouth). I’ve been compelled to do a lot of stupid things in the name of sexy ladies but a gun toting rampage isn’t one of them. Maybe I just haven’t met the right girl yet. The plot thickens…

We cut to Billy Dee ‘Lando Calrissian’ Williams (to give him his full title) who is recruiting a bunch of rough, tough prisoners to go on a salvage mission to bring back the spaceship where Kenickie went loopy. This ragtag group consists of an ex-navigator, played by Maxwell Caulfield (Empire Records, Grease 2, er…Emmerdale), a creepy ex-alcoholic engineer, an incredibly infuriating explosives expert who enunciates every line like a coked up sex pest crossed with Yosemite Sam, and, er, an IT geek.

They are enticed on the mission with promise of the use of a virtual reality machine which can make all their fantasies come true (as long as these fantasies involve boobs and are within the budget). This sadly leads to incredibly awkward scenes of each guy’s fantasy, all of which involve rubbing up against a hot girl in differing time periods (Wild West, a 1950’s biker gang, a Casablanca rip off, and some generic beach house). No matter what the era, all the girls look like they just walked out of a Whitesnake video. But hey, boobs right?!

alien intruder 4

…and for the ladies, an oiled up Rex Manning!

Their fantasies keep getting hijacked by the same broad who sent Kenickie gaga in the opening scenes. This doesn’t seem to bother anybody much except for old Billy Dee who has been monitoring their fantasies, which is in no way creepy at all.

alien intruder 2

“Beats cable!”

It turns out Billy Dee has been searching for the mystery woman and has engineered this whole debacle so he can be with her. You see, this lady (if you hadn’t guessed about three minutes into the film) is some sort of alien siren who lures men to their deaths with her feminine wiles. Anyway, she plays them all off against each other (leading to one of the most ridiculous fist fights this side of They Live) and they all end up shooting, punching, or plain testosteroneing each other to death. Except for Maxwell who manages to escape, or does he? Trust me, you won’t care.

I can only surmise that this film was written by a couple of 11 year old boys. They wrote a list of all the things they loved and decided those things were spaceships, boobs, and punching, and if they could squeeze in some cowboys too then all the better.

The aforementioned fantasy scenes are cringe worthy. Oily convicts pawing at Playboy models in period clothing does not entertainment make. That these scenes are even in the movie at all is on such a flimsy pretense that doesn’t even really make much sense if you think about it too hard (I know, I know, why am I thinking about it too hard?).

But the main issue with Alien Intruder is that there is virtually zero threat throughout the entire movie. The alien herself doesn’t even become a real danger until the final minutes of the film and even then it’s really quite difficult to get that scared when the alien looks like this –

hqdefault

THE HORROR!!!

In all it really feels like an amalgam of several Red Dwarf episodes (Psirens, Better Than Life, and Gunmen Of The Apocalypse particularly) only without the laughs. Actually even Red Dwarf managed to be scarier than this on occasion. Alien this is not.

The film gains a star for some unintentionally funny moments. The fistfight being a highlight and the death of the nerd being way funnier than it was intended to be. It also earned some kudos for having a title that instantly reminded me of this joke from Top Secret.

top_secret_intruder_2

Although, once again, probably not their intention.

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Niki’s Crap DVD Clearout Review Extravaganza! part 15

About ten years ago I bought a DVD player from the Blockbuster in Finchley. It cost me £200. I could have got a much better one for that sort of money but you see this one came with 50 free movies! Bargain!

Well the DVD player is long gone but the movies remain for two reasons, firstly and ironically the cheap double sided discs would not play properly in the cheap DVD player they came free with and secondly, despite starring such luminaries as Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe they are uniformly awful. Seriously, the biggest film of the bunch is The Lawnmower Man!

As the years have rolled by they have sat on my shelf in the ‘I’ll get round to them some day’ pile and what better reason to get stuck into them than to inflict my reviews on you gentle people.

As well as a review I shall be giving them a mark out of five which will not only be an indication of quality but a prediction of their very immediate future:

*****  Might actually keep

**** Attempt to sell on Ebay

*** Straight to the nearest charity shop

** Straight to the nearest bin

* Will give away as a gift to anyone who makes me listen to Coldplay

So here goes…

 

Def By Temptation102612-celebs-movies-def-by-temptation

James Bond III

(1990)

Rating **

 

 

We open on a libidinous bar tender casually telling an unseen conquest at the other end of the phone that he will pay for her abortion. This bastion of chivalry then shifts his attentions to a seductive woman who has entered the bar and within minutes they are back at her place doing the nasty. Karma’s a bitch however as she turns out to be an evil, vampire succubus who eviscerates him and drinks his blood. Women huh? Right guys?

Focus shifts to a young man called Joel who is being haunted by dreams involving his preacher father and a mysterious figure in black. His father is played by Samuel L. Jackson! Yes! Maybe this film is going to be OK after all. It turns out he’s dead, and, aside from a very short scene at the end, this is the only time he appears. DAMN YOU MOVIE!

Def-by-Temptation-1

“And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and…ah forget it!”

Joel is training to follow in his father’s footsteps (to be a preacher, not dead) but is suffering a crisis of conscience so goes to spend some time with his black sheep brother ‘K’  in New York. K takes his brother to the bar from the beginning of the film and wouldn’t ya know it, they run afoul of miss bloodsucker, who slowly tempts Joel away from his brother and his beliefs. Apparently Joel is last in the line of something, I’m afraid this is as much as I can elucidate as it’s never properly explained. All we do know is that the sanguine queen needs him dead. As we’ve seen from her previous handy work, she’s not a gal to mess around when it comes to killing, which makes it all the more odd when she proceeds to take Joel on several coffee dates and even gets him alone on more than one occasion. Perhaps this is vampire foreplay.

K teams up with an undercover cop (Bill Nun of Spiderman fame) and attempts to save his brother from the clutches of this nocturnal harridan. They both do spectacularly badly however, as one is killed and the other turned into a vampire. In a weird, dreamlike ending that makes very little sense, Joel manages to kill the vampire and save his soul with a little help from his dead father and his mother who is about 600 miles away in a different state (I told you it made no sense).

defbytemptation

She was starting to lose her looks anyway.

It may look like I’ve been lazy with the old plot summary but for a 95 minute film there’s actually very little plot. If you remove the weird dream sequences and gratuitous vampire lovin’ then there’s barely a skeleton to hang a story on. Vampire seduces men to their deaths, one of them fights back. End.

It all comes across as an attempt to make a cool, African American version of Fright Night (or perhaps more appropriately Fright Night 2). However unlike those movies, the attempts at comedic moments just jar awkwardly with the horror. Also the clearly minuscule budget makes every scene look very much like it was shot in a studio (which they clearly were), mist and coloured lights are used to disguise the edges of the scene which makes it hard to feel like any of it is grounded in reality.

Dodgy editing also makes the film hard to follow at times. Scenes jar into each other, sometimes at random. The filmmakers must have been aware of this to some extent because on a couple of occasions a cue card would appear stating ‘The Next Day’ or ‘Later That Night’ to show the passing of time.

It is also so unbelievably ‘of its time’. Released in 1990, everything from the fashion, to the music, to the awful pun in the title screams ‘late 80’s’. I was half expecting to see a comedy cameo from The Fat Boys.

That said, the acting is fairly solid. Jackson puts in a good turn in his brief appearance, prefacing his bible spouting turn as Jules in Pulp Fiction, and Bill Nun provides some comedy as the undercover cop pretending to be a hopeless romeo while scoping out the bar.  Cynthia Bond has fun as they evil seductress even if her performance does come close to scenery chewing at times. The worst scenes sadly involve the brothers (one of whom is played by the director himself), not because of the acting but because each scene feels like it was improvised, badly. They mumble half conceived lines at each other in a directionless manner until the scene just peters out. This happens several times.

There are some effective scenes however. Some of the dream sequences are quite spooky and surreal and there’s at least one unique death where a guy is sucked into his own television which then spits out his guts and bones. However Cronenberg or Lynch this is not, and most of the time these scenes are either confusing or hilarious, or both (confarious?).

The director gets the last laugh though with his unintentionally hilarious dedication before the credits roll.

0V8eh

“Suck it forebears!”

 

Niki’s Top 5 Favourite Terrible Horror Movies!

I love horror movies, I really do. I’ve seen hundreds of them. Some of them are amazing movies like The Shining or Dawn of the Dead, some are just great fun like Braindead or Evil Dead and some are just fucking terrible (too many to mention). Then are those few that manage to transcend terrible and become something so wonderfully entertaining or so jaw droppingly bizarre that they’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.

For your Halloween delectation here are 5 of my favourite terrible horror movies. Oh yeah, some of the clips are NSFW or if you have an ill disposition to cheap gore FX.

Don’t Go Near The Park 

Lawrence D. Foldes

(1981)

If anyone ever claims that they love bad horror movies, this is the one I usually show them. It tells the tale of two cave dwelling siblings (I hesitate to call them neanderthals as I don’t think they spoke perfect American English) who are doomed to eternal life for incest. Jump forward to the modern day (well, the early 80’s) and the pair are surviving by eating the flesh of the young.  The man then has a child which he can apparently sacrifice to rid them of their curse, she runs away straight into the arms of the female so alongside two other plucky kids and an old guy she has to thwart the evil pair’s nefarious plans.

So, you’ve already got the ridiculous plot line. Then throw in some of the shoddiest special FX, camera work, acting, lighting and script you’ve ever witnessed and this makes for a truly exceptional movie. Nothing about it works, it looks like an episode of The Littlest Hobo if it had been made by Satan.

Here’s a trailer which focuses almost entirely on the five minutes near the end when zombies rise from the ground for no good reason at all.

Unbelievably the film made it onto the video nasties list in the 80’s and the first time I saw it was on a second rate pirate video copy from a mystery guy who used to send me dodgy horror movies through the post if I sent him a cheque. It’s now available on DVD, though that’s taken some of the mystery out of it for me.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2

Lucio Fulci / Bruno Mattei / Claudio Fragasso

(1988)

This one is also known as Zombie 3 depending on which country you’re in and is the first in a long line of sequels to Lucio Fulci’s infamous Zombie Flesh Eaters. Some say the first movie is a classic of the genre but for my money this little masterpiece is way more entertaining.

Lucio himself only shot about half of the film before he had to bow out due to ill health so instead the creative minds behind such movies as Troll 2 (a film that nearly made the list but was a little obvious) and Rats: Night of Terror were drafted in to complete it. This means that from the off the films has a very disjointed feel to it, Fulci was no Romero but he was certainly more talented than the hacks that replaced him and his footage can be spotted a mile off.

The plot, what there is of it, tells of a chemical leak which turns people into zombies on some tropical island. The movie soon focuses on a group of army guys and tourists who must band together to survive.

There are still zombie fans out there who seem to think every movie should be compared to Dawn of the Dead, DOTD is my favourite zombie movie of all time, it is a horror masterpiece, however it is niche in its genre and most zombie fans get their kicks from the over the top gore, atrocious acting, and hilarious scripts, and this one has it all in spades. It also has this scene, one of the greatest things ever committed to celluloid –

If you can’t love a film where a disembodied zombie head flies out of a fridge and bites someone in the neck then frankly you can’t enjoy life.

Skeeter

Clark Brandon

(1993)

When we were teenagers my friends and I would often have movie nights as most teenagers do. The prep for this usually involved sending me into the video shop (remember those?) to sniff out the worst looking horror movie on the shelves, I had a pretty good nose for it I must say (a dubious talent I admit). One such movie I sniffed out was this one, Skeeter. The front cover was a total rip off of Alien except instead of an alien egg there was giant, furious looking mosquito with the tag line ‘An Environmental Disaster With A Name’ (a tag line that was apparently too good to keep judging by the poster below). How could I possibly have passed that up? Ask any of us about the great films of our teen  years and this one will eventually come up.

A desert community is attacked by massive mosquitoes, and well, that’s pretty much it. The box proudly tells us that the special effects were by Jaremy Aiello who apparently worked on Star Trek VI and Batman Returns. Well he must have been the tea boy as the effects in Skeeter are beyond hilarious. In one scene a guy is attacked next to his car, giant plastic bugs are literally hurled at the poor guy and can be seen quite clearly bouncing off the vehicle and when the ‘heroes’ venture into the nest at the film’s finale, the swarm is created by a black, overlayed loop of animation over the top of the film. The actor’s blocking is never usually something I notice but in every scene actors move purposefully to their marks and have conversations with each other without even facing the right way.

The film stars some recognisable faces including Charles Napier, William Sanderson, and George ‘Buck’ Flower but the film is nothing but hilariously awful. Sadly I can’t find any traces of it on Youtube so you’ll all just have to come round to my place, I still have a VHS copy in the big video store box, it’s is a treasured possession despite not even owning a VCR any more.

Invitation To Hell

Michael J. Murphy

(1982)

Bit of a strange one this. A British film that’s only about an hour long, nobody famous worked on it, and up until recently did not even have a DVD release. To add to the mystery, having just checked on Amazon I see that someone recently released a limited 1,000 copy run on DVD alongside one of the director’s only other films, it is currently selling for £35, I’m tempted.

Anyway, the film is about a girl who is invited to a party in an old farmhouse, it turns out all of the inhabitants are under the control of a malevolent force and she is to be a virgin sacrifice. I could tell this one was going to be special, the front cover of the video box (of which I still own a copy) is a terrible cut and paste job of  a spooky house with a skull over looking it (an image I’m afraid even Google Image Search couldn’t source), then the screenshots on the back are wildly over exposed, as if the person who made it didn’t have the proper screen grab equipment so just took photos of the TV. Also part of the production info has been angrily scratched out with a black biro by the previous owner. What were they hiding? Spooky!

All of this leads to one bizarre movie, people become possessed seemingly at random, a mute labourer strangles a girl seemingly because she’s there, later on his room mate, mid-normal discussion suddenly puts on a silly voice to tell him “You’ve done well, I am pleased!” before returning to normal as if nothing had happened. If I didn’t own a copy I’d swear I dreamed the whole damn thing!

I very nearly didn’t even bother looking but would you bloody believe it? Here’s a trailer –

Body Melt

Philip Brophy

(1993)

Have you ever been watching Neighbours and thought “Can you imagine what it would be like if Harold Bishop went mad and cut his own ear off?”. Well imagine no more because here’s Body Melt, a deranged Australian film that features no less than three old Neighbours stars.

Harold, sorry Ian Smith plays a scientist whose company is developing new vitamin compounds that have the unfortunate effect of making you melt. These are being testing on unwitting participants in a suburban cul-de-sac.

Even though this is played for laughs a lot of the time this is still one crazy movie. Reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s early movies, the gore is bountiful, a man pours detergent down his neck to try to stem the melting, an aroused gentleman’s penis explodes. A lot of scenes have nothing to do with the plot, like when young Toby Mangle goes out onto the half pipe only to slip and die, not melt, just die. All of which leads to the aforementioned breakdown of Mr Bishop where he cuts off his own ear to prove he is invincible.

Body Melt isn’t nearly as terrible as the rest of the films on this list but it is so over the top entertaining that it had to be included.

Happy Halloween Everybody!!!