Cult Radar: Part 6

FilmDungeon is glad to explore the video trenches to find that oddball treasure between the piles of crap out there. Of Course, a treasure in this context can also be a film that’s so shockingly bad it’s worth a look, or something so bizarre that cult fans just have to see it. Join us on our quest and learn what we learn. Hopefully we’ll uncover some well-hidden cult gems.

Researched by: Jeppe Kleijngeld

Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (USA, 1993 TV)

Directed by: Christopher Guest
Written by: Mark Hanna, Joseph Dougherty
Cast: Daryl Hannah, Daniel Baldwin, William Windom

‘She is a female colossus, her mountainous torso, skyscraper limbs, giant desires.’ Daryl Hannah plays Nancy in this remake of the original Attack of the 50 Foot Woman from 1953. Nancy is the girl who always eats shit from everybody. During a lonely drive in the desert, she is laser beamed by an alien spaceship. Initially there are no effects, but after her cheating husband (Daniel Baldwin) and her bastard father piss her off for the millionth time, she grows 50 feet tall and goes apeshit. This is a movie with obviously a lot of cult potential, but the story takes too long to take off. The revenge mayhem does not start until the final 20 minutes! When it does take off it is pretty cool. Not in the least bit because of the amusing special effects.

The Big Bird Cage (Philippines / USA, 1972)

Directed by: Jack Hill
Written by: Jack Hill
Cast: Pam Grier, Anitra Ford, Candice Roman, Teda Bracci

Terry Rich (Anitra Ford) is sent to a women’s prison camp, because she slept around with too many men (?). The camp is a nightmare. Hundreds of woman are forced to work a sugar cane mill under supervision of gay guards. Off course there are loads of catfights, scenes of torture and some sexual content. It ends in a cliché: a massive escape. This exploitation film is an addition to the ‘woman in prison’ subgenre. Writer/director Jack Hill has certainly done better, for example on this film’s predecessor The Big Doll House. This is boring and the atmosphere is just plain unpleasant. Pam Grier brings two great features into the mix though, so let’s not write it off as complete failure.

Awakening of the Beast (Brazil, 1970)
OT: O Despertar da Besta

Directed by: José Mojica Marins
Written by: Rubens F. Lucchetti. José Mojica Marins
Cast: José Mojica Marins, ngelo Assunção, Ronaldo Beibe

Weird and incomprehensible exploitation film by the Brazilian Argento Coffin Joe. It’s an attempt at social commentary, but completely fails to deliver a message of any significance. All we see is a bunch of people degrading themselves, resulting in a very unpleasant viewing. What makes it worse is that it attempts to be artsy, while it’s plain trash of the worst kind. It will be a while before I watch another Coffin Joe flick, because this one sucks monkey balls.

Gonin 2 (Japan, 1996)

Directed by: Takashi Ishii
Written by: Takashi Ishii
Cast: Ken Ogata, Shinobu Ootake, Kimiko Yo, Maj Kitajima

Also known as Five Woman, this is the sequel to Takashi’s Ishii’s extremely violent Gonin. The plot is kind of similar. The wife of an old man is raped by the Yakuza because he is late paying of his debt. After she has committed harakiri because of the shame, he forges a sword and starts slaying the responsible Yakuza men. At the same time five women, who have never met before, take off with the proceeds of a Yakuza heist. These developments lead to gore, lot’s of gore in this stylish and surrealistic gangster film.

Alien Nation (USA, 1988)

Directed by: Graham Baker
Written by: Rockne S. O’Bannon
Cast: James Caan, Mandy Patinkin, Terence Stamp

A police movie with a sci-fi twist. It’s about an alien race, similar to humans, who have landed on earth. Like immigrants, they have to fit in with the rest of the population. This creates racial tension, as some humans are prejudiced against the newcomers. James Caan plays one of these prejudiced people. He is a cop, who teams up with one of the aliens after his partner is killed. Initially they are trying to solve this case, but they soon stumble upon a bigger threat to society. This is about as entertaining as it sounds. The aliens look like they have come right out of Star Trek, the deeper layer of the film is very subtle (not) and the jokes are pretty lame. Altogether, it is still a reasonably entertaining cop movie. But unfortunately nothing more.


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