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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:28 pm

As some of you already know, I have a disease. I am addicted to the crappy DVDs at my local dollar store. I must have collected two or three dozen of the damn things over the past two or three years. Almost all of the movies I've watched have been terrible, yet every time I take my kid over to that dollar store to piss away his allowance on candy or cheap ass toys, I'm inevitably drawn to the DVD rack even though I know I'm just gonna hate myself afterward.. "Must....watch... poorly reproduced... shitty movies...."

I've posted a shitload of reviews/comments on my Dollar Store DVDs over at IMDB so what I'm gonna do in this thread is pick a movie at random every once in a while, post details about it, plus some commentary. Think of it as an extension of the "Fat Freddy's Schlock-Tober Craptacular" entries that I was posting at the Heart of Metal during the Halloween season. Hell, there have actually been a couple of semi-decent movies in the mix amongst the dreck. So watch this space for buttloads of Z-Grade movie fun!!

It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it, so it might as well be me.

Fat Freddy -- he watches Dollar Store DVDs so you don't have to.
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:36 pm

A connoisseur of trash cinema is always welcome! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:45 pm

Awright then!! We'll start our extravaganza of crap with this 1980 Italian/Spanish co-production...

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CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD, a.k.a. INCUBO SULLA CITTA CONTAMINATA, a.k.a. NIGHTMARE CITY, a.k.a. NIGHTMARE IN THE CONTAMINATED CITY, a.k.a. ZOMBI 3, and who the hell knows, probably a few other titles depending on where you are in the world...

This flick was on a double feature DVD with Dario Argento's "Creepers" (which I'll get to at a later date) and I wasn't exactly stoked to see it at first because I've never been a huge fan of Zombie movies outside of the Romero canon. Turns out that's OK, because "City of the Living Dead" (directed by trash movie legend Umberto Lenzi of "Cannibal Ferox" fame) technically isn't a "zombie movie" anyway, despite its more than passing resemblance to Romero's "Dawn of the Dead." The creatures in this film are never referred to as "zombies." They may have the rotten, scarred look of the Dead Who Walk and they do attack and kill humans, but these "walking dead" have more in common with vampires, as they drink their victims' blood, rather than eating their flesh. Whatever you wanna call these critters, the movie in which they star is a complete and total Z-Grade hoot and a half. It's been a long time since I've seen a film with such cheap effects, terrible acting, and nonsensical script and dialogue, yet I still had a crap load of fun watching it!!

The film opens with a news report of a nuclear accident near an unnamed metropolitan area. A TV reporter (played by the incredibly wooden Hugo Stiglitz, a Mexican actor who apparently continues to have a long career in Spanish language TV and film, despite this flick being on his resume) is sent to the airport to interview a scientist who is going to update the authorities on the situation. When the airplane lands, a horde of irradiated and irritable zombie-like creatures (with "makeup" that appears to be burnt oatmeal smeared all over their faces) bursts out of the plane, massacres everyone within reach with knives and axes and sucks the blood from them. Before you stop to ask "Wait a minute...since when do zombies use weapons? And since when are zombies intelligent enough to fly a plane?", the movie is off and running and you never have a chance to think about it again. Stiglitz and his cameraman haul ass back to the TV station to broadcast a news flash, but are told that an information blackout has been ordered by the military in order to avoid panic. Shortly thereafter the horde of undead attack the TV station (in the midst of a live "Solid Gold" style disco-dance program) and make short work of the dancers on live television. This scene features some nice gratuitous boob shots and a laughably fake looking scene of a dancer's nipple being carved right out of her chest by an attacker. Stiglitz battles the undead killers for a while then races to the hospital where his wife (Laura Trotter) works in hopes of getting them both out of the city alive.

The rest of the movie follows Stiglitz and Trotter as they try to find a safe haven from the creatures, mixed with random scenes of Undead attacking various background characters, and a group of military generals who stand around a tiny model of the city while spouting a lot of goofball pseudo-scientific dialogue about stopping the "contamination." Especially funny is when they advise police and soldiers that the only way to kill the creatures is to "destroy the brain," yet anytime you see a soldier open fire on one of'em, they shoot them everywhere except in the head, which of course then ends badly for the shooter. Way to follow orders there, guys. The dialogue is absolutely, howlingly ridiculous throughout (you can tell it was written by people whose native language is not English), and the special effects waver from being occasionally competent to out-and-out cheap. We see lots of stabbings and throat slashings, a few head explosions, the aforementioned nipple chop, and an eyeball gouging (every Italian horror movie has to have at least one, I suppose) before the finale in an amusement park, where Stiglitz and Trotter battle hordes of the undead while trapped atop a roller coaster (!). I won't even go into the absolutely ludicrous ending except to say it's the most massive cop-out I've ever seen.

So okay, "City of the Walking Dead" was a bizarre, ridiculous piece of micro-budget Eurotrash grind house cinema. Fortunately it was also fast paced and had enough over-the-top action that it distracted me from the fact that the movie made little to no sense for much of its length. I gotta give Lenzi a little bit of credit for taking what could've been a total "Dawn of the Dead" bite and trying to inject something new into the formula, even if the end result is pretty half-assed. This is the kind of film that you watch with a couple of good friends who love bad movies and some cheap beer. Considering that I only paid a buck for the DVD, I got more than my money's worth! Out of all of the Dollar DVD's I've picked up in the past couple of months, CITY OF THE WALKING DEAD is the only one I'm ever likely to watch a second time.

Watch this compilation of clips (NOTE: it contains boobies, an eyeball gouging and lotsa other gory mayhem, therefore it is not SFW) and I betcha you'll be heading to YOUR local Just-A-Buck store saying "I HAVE to see this movie!"

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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:55 pm

I'VE SEEN THAT ONE! It's bad...but I like it anyway!

Mel Ferrer in a horrible Z grade Zombie flick. FUCKING-A!

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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:58 pm

Detuned wrote:
I'VE SEEN THAT ONE! It's bad...but I like it anyway!

Mel Ferrer in a horrible Z grade Zombie flick. FUCKING-A!

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It's hard to see but if you look close @ the picture of the movie poster, it even sez on it "Starring MEL FERRER, star of TV's FALCON CREST!" -- hahaha. Betcha he wishes they hadn't bothered to mention that. (Though I doubt too many Falcon Crest viewers went to see this flick just cuz Mel was in it.)

That boy did a lot of Euro Z-Movies in the 70s and early 80s. He must've had gambling debts to pay off. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:32 pm

Best scene in that compilation of YouTube clips (and in fact, one of the best scenes in the whole movie) is when the blonde starts losing her shit and panicking, so her boyfriend/husband bitch-slaps her across the face and sez "GET AHOLD OF YOURSELF!"
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:30 pm

Time for our next installment...Andy Milligan's CARNAGE (1984). This flick currently owns the title of "Absolute Worst Piece of Shit I've Ever Seen." Seriously. "Carnage" unseated "Sleepaway Camp" from its nearly 20-year reign at that position!! This is as BAD as it gets, folks!!!

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Dig the price tag on the above vintage VHS box...they actually expected people to pay $49.95 for this thing back in the day? Good lord. I only paid a buck for it (half a buck if you wanna get technical, as there was another movie on the DVD with it) and I was still homicidal with rage afterwards. If I'd spent $49.95 on it I probably would've went out and shot up a Burger King.

Anyway, on to the review (slightly modified version of the comment I left on IMDB for this flick)!!

...I used to consider myself a bad horror movie enthusiast. Out of some sort of masochistic urge, I have voluntarily exposed myself to (and liked) such famed pieces of cinematic terror trash as "Night of the Lepus," "The Giant Gila Monster," "The Killer Shrews," and "Sleepaway Camp," to name just a few, over the past 20-something years. After all this time I thought I had seen the absolute worst that the world's film studios could throw at me...

...then I discovered Andy Milligan.

I had never heard of Andy till I picked up "Carnage" on DVD at the dollar store (on a double feature disc paired with "Class Reunion Massacre," which wasn't great either but it's Oscar-worthy compared to this flick!) a while ago. I did some reading on IMDb about the man before watching the movie and learned that in many ways he was New York's answer to Ed Wood, i.e. a director of sleazy, so-bad-they're-almost-good-but-not-quite exploitation films for the grindhouse circuit. "Carnage" is one of his later works (he died in 1991) and is basically a micro-budgeted ripoff of haunted house films like "The Amityville Horror" or "Poltergeist." The film was shot in the early 80s, but looks like a relic from the late '60s/early '70s (with an annoying soundtrack that sounds like it came from the 1940s). Two of the male cast members have the same gay-porn mustache and the female cast members are plain looking. None of them have any acting talent whatsoever, but that's OK, because Mr. Milligan doesn't have much directing talent either. (Check out the cast list of this movie on IMDb. Ever heard of any of these people? Me neither. Did any of them ever make another film? Nope. Apparently working on a Milligan production was a career suicide mission.) The main set is a rundown old mansion (supposedly Milligan's own home on Staten Island) which is filled with garish antique furniture, candelabra and horrendously ugly curtains and linens, all of which look like they came from Liberace's estate sale. The film begins with a couple in wedding attire sharing an embrace in the mansion's living room before the groom puts a gun to the bride's head, pulls the trigger, then shoots himself. We then flash forward three years; a newlywed couple moves into the house, and strange things begin to happen. The ancient Victrola record player bursts into "Here Comes the Bride" spontaneously in the middle of the night, objects move by themselves, things go missing, odd screaming sounds emanate from nowhere. The wife thinks something strange is going on but hubby is nonchalant. When a cleaning lady is hired to go through the leftover junk in the basement she is attacked by the ghost of the murdered bride, who tells her "Get out of my house!" -- the woman is so frightened that she goes home and slashes her own throat with a straight razor. (!!) Um... yeah, OK. That makes sense.

The rest of the movie alternates between long, boring passages of dialogue (much of it barely audible due to a bad sound mix) and quick shots of gore/violence (all of which are hilariously fake looking). A pair of unlucky burglars sneak into the basement of the house only to meet disembowelment at the hands of the Ghost Bride, then when the couple has a housewarming party, one of their friends is killed when the ghosts throw a radio into the bathtub with him. Eventually the newlyweds realize that All Is Not Right with their new dream home, but is it too late for them to escape the horror? Will you even care? I sure didn't, though I did come up with a great idea for a drinking game based around this movie: every time an outside shot of the house is shown and you hear the same annoying dog barking in the background, take a drink. This shot is repeated so often that you will be totally schnockered by the half hour mark.

"Carnage's" run time is just around 90 minutes but thanks to the relentlessly awful acting, lead footed pacing and atrocious dialogue, it feels like twice that long. The ending is so random that it comes across as "We have no idea how to end this movie so we'll just throw some shit at the screen and see if it sticks." All I can say is when the end credits finally came up I breathed a sigh of relief and murmured, "Thank God, this steaming pile is over." If Andy Milligan were not already dead, I swear I would look him up in person and ask for my dollar back.

If "Carnage" had been a student film made by a teenage amateur, I might have said "This guy has potential, though there is a lot of room for improvement." However, the knowledge that "Carnage" was made by someone who'd already had experience in making low budget films (for TWO FUCKING DECADES no less) and that it was actually released as a commercial prospect absolutely boggles my mind. I can only roll my eyes at how totally inept "Carnage" was on every level. As the self-proclaimed Dollar DVD Guy I hereby warn you all to avoid "Carnage" -- and anything else with Andy Milligan's name on it -- like you would avoid an explosive device.

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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:31 pm

...if you ever run across a movie called "The Boogens"...let me know.
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Mon Nov 23, 2009 11:48 pm

Detuned wrote:
...if you ever run across a movie called "The Boogens"...let me know.

Heard of it, dont' believe I've ever seen it though. if I ever come across it in my travels, I'll give you a holla.
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:29 pm

Laughing I remember Carnage, I saw it back to back with Bloody Birthday way back when on the movie channel. It seems like there was a new slasher for each day of the week in the 80's. On the other hand, you really thought Sleepaway Camp was that terrible eh?
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:52 pm

DeathCult wrote:
On the other hand, you really thought Sleepaway Camp was that terrible eh?

Oh yea, I freakin' HATED Sleepaway Camp. I know it's got this cult following for some reason, and that it's considered a classic in some circles, but I have never understood why. Back in the '80s it was one of those "notorious" slashers that I felt I HAD to see, but I thought it blew goats. The so-called "horrifying twist" ending was always more laughable than disturbing to me.

Mind you by the time I saw "Sleepaway Camp" I had seen literally hundreds of other, better slashers over the years, so maybe I was just bummed that it didn't live up to its legendary rep. Either way, "Carnage" makes it look like "Citizen Kane."
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Sun Nov 29, 2009 12:00 am

It's ACTION MOVIE TIME in the Dollar Store!! Tonight's installment... "Cobra Nero," (aka "The Black Cobra"), which may sound like an African American themed porn film but it's actually a cheaply made Italian action series starring former NFL star, malt liquor pitchman, and '70s Blaxploitation bad-ass Fred "The Hammer" Williamson.

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Anyway...you gotta love those wacky Italian B-movie makers! During the 70s and 80s there was a thriving low budget film industry in Italy that cranked out hundreds of horror, sci-fi and action movies, and they never saw an idea they wouldn't steal. In the case of 1987's "Cobra Nero" (a.k.a "Black Cobra"), the filmmakers obviously saw Sylvester Stallone's "Cobra" and thought "We can do that...way cheaper!" For those of you who may not remember Sly's "Cobra," Stallone played a rogue cop who played by his own set of rules, protecting a fashion model from a savage cult of murderous bikers. In "Black Cobra," Fred Williamson plays a rogue cop named Bob Malone (Malone = Stallone. Coincidence? I think not!) who plays by his own set of rules, protecting a fashion photographer from a savage gang of murderous bikers. You can just imagine the pitch meeting for this one. "See? She's a photographer, not a model. Totally different movie! And oh yeah, OUR guy is black!" "Black Cobra" is supposedly set in New York City (the film opens with stock footage of what appears to be Times Square, New York traffic, and the Brooklyn Bridge) but obviously the filmmakers are hoping that none of the audience has actually BEEN to America because after the opening all of the locations were quite obviously filmed in an Italian suburb. When we first meet our hero, Williamson goes "Dirty Harry" on a trio of bank robbers who are holding a group of hostages at a swimming pool. (?) When he's reprimanded by his superior officer for his lethal methods, Williamson snarls, "They were SCUM!" Anyway...oh hell, there's no point in describing this thing in depth. Fred Williamson sleepwalks through his part with a perpetual tough-guy snarl on his face (which I guess is supposed to suggest bad-assery, though it makes him look more like he's badly constipated), cigar clutched in his teeth, spouting off god-awful dialogue that was obviously written by an Italian who learned English from dime store crime novels and reruns of "Hunter." When Fashion Photographer Lady witnesses a gang of bikers murdering her next door neighbor for no apparent reason, she snaps a picture of their ringleader, a pretty boy with a gold tooth who looks about as threatening as Vanilla Ice.

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YO, PLAY DAT FUNKY MUSIC, ITALIAN VANILLA ICE BOYEEEEEE!

This of course makes her next on the gang's hit list. Williamson is assigned to protect her and they then spend the rest of the movie escaping constant attempts on their lives (via some of the cheesiest stunt work I've ever seen) before a final showdown in what appears to be a junk yard. During this scene Williamson delivers a gun-point speech to one of the bad guys that's such a blatant steal from Dirty Harry's famed "Do you feel lucky, punk?" that Clint would probably have sued the filmmakers into oblivion if anybody had bothered to bring it to his attention! As you might expect from an Italian production, character development is next to nothing in "Black Cobra." They try to give Williamson's character some kind of background when his partner fills Fashion Photographer Lady in on Malone's unhappy childhood and his tour in Vietnam, but the bad guys in this movie are total cartoon characters. I don't remember exactly what the motivation was for the villains in Stallone's "Cobra" but I vaguely remember that they had some sort of evil master plan in mind. In "Black Cobra" the bikers just drive around seemingly at random, apparently killing people whenever they get bored. I mean, they're not even TRYING to give them any motivation. The filmmakers obviously don't care why the bikers are bad, so why should we? Seriously, "Cobra" may not have been one of Sly's finest films, but compared to this Z-grade "homage" it might as well be "Citizen Kane." Amazingly enough, enough Italian action junkies must've paid to see "Black Cobra" because Williamson reprised the Malone character in two sequels! (I have "Black Cobra I and II" together on a double feature DVD that I picked up at the dollar store... watch for my review of "II" sometime before the universe implodes.) Though I love schlock as much as the next guy, by the middle of this one I was starting to nod off, so I would only recommend this film to people with perpetual insomnia.

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Sheeeeeeit Hammer. Not only is Fred a bad ass but he rocks some STYLIN' threads.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the malt liquor that Fred Williamson pitched on TV for a while back in the 80s was ... King Kobra. Again, coincidence? I think not.

Since the film is apparently in the public domain, you can watch the whole damn thing for free here if you so desire:

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PLEASE HAMMER -- DON'T HURT'EM!!


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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:51 pm

Time for a new entry in Schlock Central: Dario Argento's CREEPERS (1985), a.k.a. "Phenomena"

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I'll be the first to admit that I'm not particularly well versed in Italian horror cinema. I've seen "Suspiria" and maybe one or two of Dario Argento's other films over the years but I wouldn't say I'm a die-hard fan. However, "Creepers" is a film that always intrigued me, going all the way back to its original theatrical run in '85 ... I remember seeing the striking poster art in newspaper ads and being mildly unnerved by it (as I am seriously insect-o-phobic). Despite my interest in it, I never got to see "Creepers" (or as it's also known, "Phenomena") until recently when I found it on a sweet double feature DVD (with the aforementioned "City of the Walking Dead") at the dollar store. Needless to say I snapped it up and sat down to watch...

So anyway...wow, "Creepers" was weird. From my limited experience with Italian/Euro horror films, I knew not to expect much in the way of decent acting, realistic dialogue, or overall coherency, but "Creepers" was way out there. There's enough plot here for at least three different movies, but in a nutshell, Jennifer Connelly (in one of her earliest film roles; she was about 14 or 15 at this time and already looked frickin gorgeous) is the daughter of an American movie star and she's enrolling in an exclusive girls' school in Switzerland. There's a crazed maniac running through the countryside beheading girls who attend this particular school but oddly enough, the students don't seem all that disturbed by it and would rather spend their time picking on "the strange new girl." Jennifer also happens to be a sleepwalker, and on one of her nocturnal strolls she witnesses the murder of a student, then gets hit by a car. When she wakes up she encounters a chimpanzee in the woods, who turns out to be the "helper animal" for a wheelchair-bound entomologist (the always-welcome Donald Pleasance) who lives nearby. He's been working with the local police to try and stop the string of murders, using his expertise with insects (by studying the insect growth on various victims' body parts he is able to set up a timeline of events). Coincidentally enough, Jennifer also has a psychic connection with insects that allows her to "speak" to and control them, so she and the Professor hatch a plan to find the killer themselves using her powers. Rather than violate the Spoiler Warning rules, I will leave it up to you to view the film and find out how it all turns out. If this plot sounds awfully random, well, it is. And I'm probably forgetting stuff. I'm told that Jennifer Connelly has more or less disowned this film over the years, which seems rather ungrateful because not only was this her first big break, but she's the best thing in it. The supporting cast (other than Pleasence) is made up of Europeans who may be familiar to fans of Euro cinema but didn't mean a thing to me, and most of them couldn't act their way out of a wet paper bag anyway. The dialogue (written in English by people whose native language obviously is not English) is often howlingly bad as well. "Creepers" is famous for having been edited to hell and back (supposedly the European "Phenomena" release is 20+ minutes longer than "Creepers") before its U.S. release so maybe the stuff they cut out would've helped to make the film more linear, but as it is, "Creepers" sometimes comes off as a collection of random scenes put together in no particular order. By the end you may find yourself scratching your head and saying "What the hell?" On the other hand, despite its flaws "Creepers" was actually kinda fun in a surreal way. The film is beautifully shot (like most Argento works), with plenty of beautiful scenery (and I'm not just talking about Miss Connelly!), it has a couple of cool gross-out moments (as when Jennifer falls into a pool in the killer's lair filled with severed body parts, maggots and other chum), and an Iron Maiden song plays during one of the most pivotal scenes. (Adding Iron Maiden to anything automatically ups its cool factor for me.) Plus you get to see a chimpanzee go buck wild on someone's face with a straight razor, which is something I can honestly say I've never seen in a film before. My advice would be to fast forward through all but the last fifteen or twenty minutes, which is where the action truly kicks into gear and "Creepers" finally gets good. Maybe one of these days I'll pick up a "Phenomena" DVD so I can get to watch this movie as Argento originally intended it to be seen. For now, "Creepers" was a fairly decent night's entertainment but I dbout I'll ever watch it again unless I get my hands on the uncut "Phenomena" version. Obsessive fans of Jennifer Connelly will find it well worth the buck, though.

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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:09 pm

Check it out, yo: I found someone who has the same dollar-store DVD fetish that I have:

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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:16 pm

Phenomena is far superior to Creepers in every way. It's still not one of Argento's best films, but I've always liked it. Getting the original Italian prints of Argento films is ALWAYS the way to go.
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:34 pm

Detuned wrote:
Getting the original Italian prints of Argento films is ALWAYS the way to go.

This is probably true, but until fairly recently, at least, uncut prints of a lotta foreign horror movies were damn near impossible to come by on this side of the ocean.

Besides, I'm a cheap bastard so even now that they are widely available, I don't wanna pay $20 for a DVD that I'm gonna watch once or twice at most. What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:36 pm

I gotcha man, you're all about the CHEAP. Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:40 pm

Detuned wrote:
I gotcha man, you're all about the CHEAP. Twisted Evil

I'm married with children! I can't be anything BUT cheap!!

Nah, but seriously I've never been one to "collect" movies, cuz I'm not in the habit of watching the same things over and over again, so when it comes to DVDs I usually don't spend more than $7 or $8 on 'em (unless it's a favorite that I know I'm going to want to keep forever and ever, amen). Between the dollar store, the $5 DVD bin at Walmart, and the bargain bin at the supermarket, I don't think I've paid more than that for a DVD in years now. Then I just trade'em, or sell'em off when my wife and I have our semi-annual yard sale.
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:47 pm

Damn, haven't done one of these entries in awhile. Tonight's feature presentation... THE VINDICATOR (1986) a.k.a. "Frankenstein '88" or "Frankenstein 2000" in some parts of the world...

*NOTE* the following film was not actually purchased as a "Dollar Store DVD" -- instead, I recorded it off of Fox Movie Channel a while back -- but it is certainly not worth much more than a buck if you ever do come across it on video, hence it qualifies for this thread. Besides, it's my Craptacular Cinema Showcase, my rules. Laughing

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"The Vindicator" is a weird little Canadian-made B-Movie. At first glance it would appear to be just another cheap (extremely cheap!) "Terminator" knockoff, but strangely enough it also shares some qualities with the original "RoboCop," which hadn't even been released yet when "Vindicator" appeared (1986). Coincidence? Who knows? Anyway, the story is thus: scientist Carl Lehman seems to be a pretty nice guy who works for a super duper secret government high-tech research lab, reporting to a sleazy boss named Whyte, whom he butts heads with about project funding early in the movie. Carl's got a loving wife at home and a baby on the way, which makes it all the more tragic when he is suddenly killed in a "lab accident." But wait! Carl's not really dead after all! Whyte manufactured the "accident" so he could extract Carl's brain and insert it into his own pet project, some sort of experimental bio-mechanical space suit. When Carl wakes up inside his new body, he understandably goes a little nuts, trashes the lab, and escapes. This is a problem because Whyte (for reasons known only to himself) has programmed the mechanical suit with a "Rage Reaction" program, which will cause Carl to kill anybody who touches him for any reason. In hindsight, that little addition to Carl's psyche was probably not the best idea.

So Robo-Carl wanders aimlessly through the movie for a while, killing a couple of random muggers and other assorted background characters, till he returns to his home and contacts his wife. This scene is supposed to be heart-breakingly touching, I guess, but turns out comical because Carl's robot voice is so heavily synthesized that you can barely understand a word he says. He of course tells her to leave the city and never come back because she's in danger, but she wants to stay and help him, yadda yadda yadda. Eventually Whyte hires a gang of commando thugs led by "Hunter," an apparent ninja assassin played by Pam Grier (!) to hunt down and destroy his runaway creation, using Carl's wife as bait, and predictable (but laughably cheap looking) mayhem ensues. (By the way, don't rent this movie on the strength of Pam Grier's involvement -- she doesn't even look as hot as she usually does, and even though she's supposed to be this totally bad-ass hired killer/commando, her character eventually goes out like a total BITCH.)

I'm a B-Movie kind of guy but "The Vindicator" was so half-assed that it turned into high comedy pretty quickly. I'm assuming that a good hunk of the budget went into Stan Winston's robo-Carl suit design, because that actually looks pretty cool, but the rest of the movie suffers from that cheap, made-for-TV kind of look. The script could've used a LOT more work, but then maybe the filmmakers had gotten wind of "RoboCop" going into production and rushed to get "Vindicator" out so they couldn't be accused of ripping them off. Either way, judging by the other comments about this movie I've read while trolling around teh internetz, I'm not the only one who's noticed the parallels between "Vindicator" and "RoboCop," and obviously "Robo" is the superior film, so there's no need to waste your time sitting through this piece of nonsense unless you want to see a film that can best be described, at best, as a rough draft of "RoboCop" if it were made by an 8th grader.

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Last edited by Fat Freddy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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DeathCult
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:12 pm

Man, that looks, mildly entertaining
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:24 am

DeathCult wrote:
Man, that looks, mildly entertaining

Do you get Fox Movie Channel? They show this one fairly regularly for some odd reason. Usually in the middle of the night.

That channel puzzles me. 20th Century Fox must have thousands upon thousands of films in their library....enough that they could probably show each movie once and never have to show it again for months or even years, yet they keep repeating pieces of shit like this one Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:01 am

Back to the Dollar Store DVD bin...tonight's feature... THE GALAXY INVADER (1985)

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I never heard of "Galaxy Invader" till I picked up a double feature DVD at the dollar store which paired it with the mighty fine Japanese sci-fi/disaster flick "Virus" (aka "Fukkatsu No Hi") a while ago. ("Virus" will probably be my next post in this thread.) I enjoyed "Virus" quite a bit but I knew from the first few frames of "The Galaxy Invader" that I was in trouble. This is Z-Grade, "local theatre" no-budget film-making at its absolute worst.

"Galaxy Invader" (my DVD copy omits the "The" on the box cover, though the main titles proclaim this as "The Galaxy Invader") was written and directed by the late Don Dohler, a Baltimore-based hack who was Maryland's answer to Ed Wood Jr. (or Andy Milligan) - when he got a bug up his ass to produce a low budget flick, he'd bash out a quickie script, scrape together enough $$ for some camera equipment and round up a bunch of local yokels and family members to "act" in his film, and release it upon an unsuspecting world. A post on IMDb about Dohler says that the dozen or so flicks he produced in his career can be divided into two groups: "watchable crap" or "unwatchable crap." Since this is the first (and hopefully last) Dohler film I've ever seen, I am not sure which side of the fence "Galaxy Invader" falls on. I guess since I made it all the way thru the movie (though just barely), it qualifies as "Watchable crap."

The back of the DVD pretty much tells you everything you need to know: "An alien is hunted by a gang of drunken hillbilles who saw him crash his spaceship." When a meteorite-like object hits the Earth near a small Southern town, the phenomena is investigated by a college kid and one of his professors. While they're stumbling around in the woods, a family of local rednecks led by a tyrannical, alcoholic father encounters the spaceship's pilot, a hulking green alien who looks like the love child of Swamp Thing and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The rednecks decide to capture the creature alive (because as one of'em says repeatedly, it'll be worth BIG BUCKS!") so they start stumbling around the woods as well. We see endless shots of people running, shooting shotguns off into the dark while yelling at each other, yadda yadda yadda. They catch the alien and lock it in a garage, College Boy and Professor Guy help it escape, the hillbillies try to catch it again, round and round they go, while I reached for a few extra beers to make this film more tolerable. This film is so cheap it's not even funny. It may not quite be the worst movie I've ever seen (because Andy Milligan's "Carnage" still exists) but it's definitely in the Top 5. The script is laughable, the acting is beyond amateur, and the "special effects" amount to some blinking lights and firecrackers. The Alien creature's costume appears to be made of a mix of papier mache and foam from couch cushions. Seriously, it's hard to believe that this film was made in 1985. In the '50s or '60s when cheap fare such as this were drive-in staples, "Galaxy Invader" would've made more sense. But in the age of home video, I think even the most undiscriminating Z-Movie renters expect better than this. With the "guys with guns and an alien running around the woods" plot, "Galaxy Invader" could almost be seen as a rough draft of Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Predator" (which "Galaxy Invader" preceded by two years)... if it were made by retards. I'm gonna hang onto this DVD because I enjoyed "Virus" and will probably watch that one again somewhere down the road. Too bad that it's got this piece of shit movie attached to it like a tumor.

Since Dohler kicked the bucket some time ago this movie has apparently passed on to the Public Domain, so you can watch the whole dang thing for free on a number of Internet sites. I am not at all suggesting that you do, but if you just can't resist taking a quick look, try here: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I am not responsible for any loss of brain cells caused by viewing of this movie.


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Akeldama
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:18 am

FF, this Galaxy Invader looks like a real snoozer. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:22 am

Akeldama wrote:
FF, this Galaxy Invader looks like a real snoozer. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

You're not actually watching it, are you? Good Lord! I tried to warn you!!
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PostSubject: Re: Fat Freddy's Dollar Store Cinema Spectaculars   Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:52 am

Fat Freddy wrote:

I am not responsible for any loss of brain cells caused by viewing of this movie.




Damn, I didn't see this disclaimer the last time I read your review of it. I was gonna sue you for the rights to my mind back!! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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