Cult Radar: Part 10

The final one?

FilmDungeon.com is glad to explore the video trenches to find that oddball treasure between the piles of crap out there. Off 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 Kleyngeld

Westworld (USA, 1973)

Directed by: Michael Crichton
Written by: Michael Crichton
Cast: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin

Before the big budget HBO-series, there was the cult movie Westworld. And it’s a blast also! Delos Vacation is the vacation of the future today. Go to Roman World, Medieval World or Westworld to fuck and kill. But, as usually happens in movies about AI, robots get tired of being humanity’s servants and go rogue. The decadent will pay for their behaviour! Much like the vacation advertised by Delos, Westworld is Big Fun.

Enemy Territory (USA, 1987)

Directed by: Peter Manoogian
Written by: Stuart Kaminsky, Bobby Liddell
Cast: Gary Frank, Ray Parker Jr., Jan-Michael Vincent

An insurance agent and phone repairman get trapped at night in a massive tower building. This is the territory of the Vampires, a deadly gang. What follows is the typical ‘stalk and kill’ scenario. Unfortunately, the movie did not age well and is thus not very tense by today’s standards. The acting is also poor, so unfortunately there is not much to recommend this for.

Starship Troopers: Invasion (Japan / USA, 2012)

Directed by: Shinji Aramaki
Written by: Flint Dille (screenplay), Robert A. Heinlein (novel)
Cast (voices): Leraldo Anzaldua, Shelley Calene-Black, Luci Christian

Third sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s original sci-fi classic Starship Troopers from 1997 and this time it is animated. Want to know more? The first sequel was horrible and the second was not all that great. This one is a pretty decent made-for-DVD flick, much like Clone Wars is for the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The first part is mostly marine macho bullshit, but the animated girls make it all worthwhile (all the animation is pretty well done). In the second part, the makers actually manage to add a story worth adding to this bug-infested universe. Could have done with a little more suspense and over the top gore, but it is certainly worth a look.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 2 (Italy, 1988)

Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Written by: Claudio Fragasso (story), Claudio Fragasso (screenplay)
Cast: Deran Sarafian, Beatrice Ring, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua

This masterpiece (originally called Zombi 3 in Italy) is a cash-in on Zombie Flesh Eaters/Zombi 2 which was made to profit from the zombie-rage caused by Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which was released as Zombi in Italy. Still with me? This one is about an infection on a small island caused by the military working on bacterial weapons (again). The virus causes people to eat each other. The zombies in this film are the first fast & furious zombies(*1) I’ve seen, that would later appear in films such as 28 Days Later that resurrected the genre. And some of them even talk. Not that surprising though, this was three years after Bub(*2) after all. They are killed pretty easily though. No brain impalement required. Though not as atmospheric as the original Zombie Flesh Eaters, Fulci still delivers in terms of shocks and bad taste. To be concluded by Zombie Flesh Eaters 3/Zombi 4.

*1 At least some of them are. Others are as slow and dumb as ever.
*2 Of Day of the Dead fame

Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (Italy, 1989)

Directed by: Claudio Fragasso
Written by: Rossella Drudi, Rossella Drudi
Cast: Jeff Stryker, Candice Daly, Massimo Vanni

Whoever green-lit this dog? Exploiting the extremely capable zombie master Romero is one thing, but at least come up with a rip-off that delivers some of the goodies. The acting in this Italian piece of trash is HORRIBLE and so are the dialogues. The direction is a complete joke now that Fulci left. This distracts so much that watching it is a complete waste of time. Only for the braindead, others avoid at all costs.

Westworld

Enemy Territory

Starship Troopers: Invasion

House on the Edge of the Park (Italy, 1980)

Directed by: Ruggero Deodato
Written by: Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino
Cast: David Hess, Annie Belle, Christian Borromeo

From the director of Cannibal Holocaust comes an early home invasion flick, very much like Funny Games. A psycho and his simpleton buddy crash a party of young folks and as the night progresses, they use (sexual) violence on them. Often quite unpleasant to watch, but the acting is pretty decent. With a nice little twist at the end.

The Cars That Ate Paris (Australia, 1974)

Directed by: Peter Weir
Written by: Peter Weir, Keith Gow, Piers Davies
Cast: John Meillon, Terry Camilleri, Kevin Miles

Ozploitation flick about the small town of Paris, where the inhabitants cause fatal car crashes to plunder the vehicles. Strange early creation of Australian director Peter Weir, who went on to make great films like The Truman Show, Fearless and Dead Poet Society. This one provides in mood and production design (low budget, but cool), but misses the finer touches that Weir displayed in his later work. A must see? No. But interesting and entertaining enough.

Space Shift (USA / UK, 1992)

Directed by: Anthony Hickox
Written by: Anthony Hickox
Cast: Zach Galligan, Monika Schnarre, Martin Kemp

This masterpiece, also known as Waxwork II: Lost in Time, is a sequel to the 1988 film, Waxwork. After dealing with evil waxwork, this time the heroes travel through time in what appears to be a horror reenactment game. They become part of stories like Frankenstein, Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The writing of this homage is not very well done. But is does feature legend Bruce Campbell in an amusing role.

Mega Force (Hong Kong / USA, 1982)

Directed by: Hal Needham
Written by: Bob Kachler, James Whittaker, Albert S. Ruddy, Hal Needham, Andre Morgan
Cast: Barry Bostwick, Michael Beck, Persis Khambatta

From the director of Smokey and the Bandit comes another hilarious eighties classic. About a phantom force, armed with the latest technology, that is called into action whenever geopolitical problems arise. The leader of the team: Ace Hunter! And the action, stunts and gadgets can compare with James Bond… almost. Worth watching if only for the soundtrack and images of the ‘MegaForce’ on their special motorcycles.

Assault on Precinct 13 (USA, 1976)

Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: John Carpenter
Cast: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer

Suspenseful early flick from great horror maestro John Carpenter. About L.A. gangs who team up to assault a nearly abandoned police station kamikaze-style. Very tense atmosphere and excellent character building. Remade in 2005 with Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne and Gabriel Byrne, but the original is better.

House on the Edge of the Park

Space Shift

Mega Force

© FilmDungeon.com, october 2019

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Wat vinden we toch zo fascinerend aan zombies?

Wanneer de zombierage precies begonnen is weet ik niet meer. Was het met de film 28 Days Later in 2002? Daarvoor hoorde je nooit wat over zombies. Inmiddels wordt je doodgeslagen met de levende lijken. Talloze films, televisieseries, iPhone spelletjes. Games zoals Dead Rising en Left 4 Dead. Zombies duiken zelfs op in spellen waar ze eigenlijk niks in te zoeken hebben zoals Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 en Red Dead Redemption. Waarom is en blijft het zo’n interessant fenomeen?

Ik heb geen idee, maar ik kan wel vertellen wat ik boeiend vind aan de levende doden. Mijn fascinatie is begonnen met de horrorfilm Dawn of the Dead (let wel, het origineel uit 1978). Wat ik daar zo geweldig aan vind is het apocalyptische gevoel dat die film weet te creëren. Je bent echt op reis met die groep overlevenden en de plek waar ze schuil houden – een groot winkelcentrum overspoeld met stinkende lopende lijken – is een geniale vondst.

Daarnaast wordt het zombiethema in Dawn of the Dead gebruikt als metafoor voor consumerisme, een thema dat mij persoonlijk erg ligt. Mensen maken alles kapot met hun gedrag. De uitwerking hiervan is soms komisch, maar net zo goed angstaanjagend. Tot slot is de rampenfilm an sich een heerlijk genre omdat het in hersens van de mens zulk bekend materiaal is. Onze voorouders hebben al miljoenen jaren met allerlei rampen moeten dealen, dus het zien van een ramp op televisie maakt meteen de nodige adrenaline los in de hersenen en daar voel je je uiteraard lekker door.

The Walking Dead

Maar goed, Dawn of the Dead is alweer 35 jaar geleden, dus wat heeft de hedendaagse markt ons te bieden? Dan kom ik toch uit op de serie The Walking Dead. Ik moet zeggen dat ik het eerste seizoen waardeloos vond ondanks de erg sterke make-up en gore effecten. Het script was gewoon bij vlagen totaal ongeloofwaardig (even uitgaande van het gegeven dat je zombies zelf wel kunt accepteren als enigszins geloofwaardig scenario). In één aflevering was een groep L.A. bendeleden vrijwillig in een bejaardentehuis aan het werk. Meen je dat nou? Ja, echt.

Maar seizoen 2 heeft me toch wel gegrepen. Het mooie vind ik hoe menselijk gedrag wordt beïnvloed door een ramp zoals een zombie-uitbraak. Beschaving is maar een dun laagje vernis en mensen keren snel terug naar hun werkelijke aard. De feminisering van de samenleving komt abrupt ten einde en wreedheid tegenover zombies en andere mensen neemt al snel gruwelijke vormen aan. Betekent dat, dat iedereen opeens een moordenaar is en een verkrachter? Nee, dat niet, maar sommigen zeker wel. En zo is het goed mogelijk dat je beste vriend je opeens wilt vermoorden om er met je vrouw en kind vandoor te gaan. En dat vind ik wel een geloofwaardig scenario.