Cult Radar: Part 10

The final one? 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 Kleijngeld

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.


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

©, october 2019

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Cult Radar: Part 9

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

Tormented (UK, 2009)

Directed by: Jon Wright
Written by: Stephen Prentice
Cast: Alex Pettyfer, April Pearson, Dimitri Leonidas

Fat schoolboy Darren got bullied to the point where he committed suicide. Tormented opens at his funeral. Not only do Darren’s tormentors don’t have any regrets whatsoever, they even throw a party to celebrate his demise. That’s just too much… Soon after, each member of the group of bullies starts receiving text messages from the dead Darren. They first think that someone is playing a prank on them, but as soon as the first body drops, they know they’re totally screwed. Tormented is a very effective horror flick that is both funny and inventively satisfying. Whether you thought high school was fun or not, this will keep you entertained for an hour and a half easily. Reviewer Kim Newman, who runs a Dungeon over at Empire Magazine gave it four stars also. It’s a recommendation.

Nude Nuns with Big Guns (USA, 2010)

Directed by: Joseph Guzman
Written by: Joseph Guzman, Robert James Hayes II
Cast: Asun Ortega, David Castro, Perry D’Marco

Violence, drugs, guns, boobs and off course lesbian sex. Nude Nuns With Big Guns is an immoral cocktail delivered by Freak Show Entertainment, the team behind the similar Run Bitch Run!. An abused nun has a vision from God. She is told to slay all sinners that are somehow connected to an elaborate heroin network, led by a money hungry padre who uses naked nuns as personnel. Sister Sarah is not supposed to show any mercy and she doesn’t! Is this entertaining? It kind of is in the sense that it is well shot and cut. Your eventual appreciation of Nude Nuns With Big Guns will depend mostly on your tolerance for graphic sex and violence featuring nuns. If this is low, you can easily deduct a star from this rating.

Hobo with a Shotgun (Canada, 2011)

Directed by: Jason Eisener
Written by: John Davies, Jason Eisener, Rob Cotterill
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth, Gregory Smith, Brian Downey

The awesome film poster promises an exploitation film pur sang and delivers. Hobo With a Shotgun was originally a fake trailer that won a Grindhouse competition organized by Robert Rodriguez. The story is about a homeless guy (Rutger Hauer) that takes on psychopathic scum in a city riddled with crime and depravity. Since it was made on a modest budget and has no Hollywood stars in its cast, it is more convincing than Tarantino’s and Rodriquez’ own Grindhouse pictures Death Proof and Planet Terror. The cheap violence gives you the real sense of watching a cult flick from the seventies. However, the sadistic violence is so excessive and beastly that it is hard to care about the characters at all, even the protagonists. The build-up is also not entirely effective; Hauer changes into a bloodthirsty vigilante in minutes, taking away some of the pleasure when he settles the score. Still, the underlying message about the human condition is well delivered and the exploitation feel is sublime; you can almost hear the exciting screams in the grindhouse theater. This hobo is certainly worth spending some loose change on.

Orcs! (USA, 2011)

Directed by: Andrew Black, James MacPherson
Written by: Anne K. Black, Jason Faller, Kynan Griffin and Justin Partridge
Cast: Adam Johnson, Renny Grames, Maclain Nelson

‘It’s an orc! No, it’s not. There is no such thing.’ A movie in which orcs show up in modern times sounds pretty horrendous. While certainly no masterpiece, Orcs! manages to entertain during its first half, which is basically a comedy about two idiot park rangers. Some jokes and The Lord of the Rings references are pretty funny. The second half is one long and tiresome battle against the orcs. This is the boring part. The costumes and special effects are laughable. All in all, don’t watch Orcs!. Just don’t!

Killer Klowns from Outer Space (USA, 1988)

Directed by: Stephen Chiodo
Written by: Charles Chiodo, Edward Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo
Cast: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson

From the special effects team behind Critters and Team America: World Police comes an original eighties classic. On a Friday night in Cove Crescent, a couple of youngsters witness a shooting star land nearby. At the place of impact, a circus tent appears, but what’s inside aint no funhouse… The acting in Killer Klowns From Outer Space may not be world class, but the production design is very well done and reason enough to check this out. It certainly beats cotton candy.

Cult Radar: Part 8

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

Roadgames (Australia, 1981)

Directed by: Richard Franklin
Written by: Richard Franklin, Everett De Roche
Cast: Stacy Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marion Edward, Grant Page

Pat Quid (Stacy Keach) is an American ‘truckie’ in Australia, assigned to drive a load of pork from Melbourne to Perth. Along the road in the outback, he gets suspicious of a fellow driver. He suspects the man might be a wanted serial killer and shares his suspicions with hitchhiker Pamela (Jamie Lee Curtis). Then she vanishes and the deadly cat and mouse game with the killer really takes off. Roadgames is an Ozploitation flick released in 2008 by Optimum Home Entertainment, who released many other Ozploitation classics around that time following the success of Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation (2008). It is clearly inspired by Hitchcock of whom director Richard Franklin (Patrick, Psycho II) is a major fan. Although the screenplay certainly has elements of engaging mystery, an adequate dosage of tension is missing in its direction. The musical score is composed by Mad Max’s Brian May (not to be confused by Queen’s Brian May). The killer is portrayed by famous Australian stunt performer Grant Page.

The Car (USA, 1977)

Directed by: Elliot Silverstein
Written by: Michael Butler Dennis Shryack, Lane Slate
Cast: James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley

A large, black two-door sedan is killing people randomly in a small desert town, blaring its horn rhythmically whenever it makes a kill. There doesn’t appear to be a driver in the car, as if Evil itself is behind the steering wheel. Sheriff Wade Parent (James Brolin) must find a way to stop the sedan, while also protecting his beloved ones. The Car is an unusual and entertaining thriller from the director of Cat Ballou. Although the dialogues and some of the acting sucks, the pretty awesome car action, the surroundings (Utah) and some eerie moments make it a decent movie in its kind.

Patrick (Australia, 1978)

Directed by: Richard Franklin
Written by: Everett De Roche
Cast: Susan Penhaligon, Robert Thompson, Robert Helpmann

A comatose killer named Patrick uses psychokinesis to infiltrate the life of his new nurse, the attractive Kathy (Penhaligon). Low budget ozzy flick does little to shock the viewer. It is, however, stylishly directed by director Franklin, who knows some tricks to create suspense. The cinematography and editing are also pretty well done. Thompson is at times effectively scary as Patrick, but because the film is overlong and outdated, he won’t get much shock out of the contemporary viewer.

Long Weekend (Australia, 1978)

Directed by: Colin Eggleston
Written by: Everett De Roche
Cast: John Hargreaves, Briony Behets, Mike McEwan

‘Their crime was against nature… Nature found them guilty.’ When this is your tagline, you know you got a potential cult classic on your hands. Long Weekend is about a loathsome couple who head into nature for a camping trip. They arrive at a beautiful, abandoned beach area and start treating nature like shit. Their irreverent behavior causes repugnance from the viewer. Luckily nature feels the same way and gives them what they got coming. Hilarious when you think about it and very satisfying as well. From the writer of Patrick and Roadgames and the director of Fantasm Comes Again comes a very awesome Australian cult flick. Besides funny, Long Weekend is also effectively chilling when it needs to be. Excellent work.

Election (Hong Kong, 2005)
OT: Hak se wui

Directed by: Johnnie To
Written by: Nai-Hoi Yau, Tin-Shing Yip
Cast: Simon Yam, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Louis Koo

Stylish crime film by Johnnie To about the election of a new Triad boss. Two rivals, Big D and Lok, both want the position which leads to a bloody internal battle. What is always good about Johnnie To’s gangster flicks is that there is a slight absurd touch about them. Election also has this in spades. The result is a violent, comical Hong Kong movie that offers some insight into the workings of a Triad family. Followed one year later by Election 2.


Cult Radar: Part 7

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

Hell Ride (USA, 2008)

Directed by: Larry Bishop
Written by: Larry Bishop
Cast: Larry Bishop, Michael Madsen, Eric Balfour

Larry Bishop, who played in trashy biker films in the sixties and seventies such as The Savage Seven, Angel Unchained and Chrome and Hot Leather writes, directs and stars in a Tarantinoesque homage to the biker film. In it, a decade long battle between two biker gangs takes place; the Victors, lead by Pistolero (Bishop) Vs. the 666ers, lead by Billy Wings (Vinnie Jones). The concept and promising cast (Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper, David Carradine) raises expectations, but the execution is far below par. Tarantino should have rewritten the script apart from producing. The dialogues appear to have been written by a 14 year old. There is some humor to be found, but it can hardly make up for the terrible script. Also Bishop is unfit to play the lead role. Interesting trivia: Madsen and Bishop share a scene in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004). Madsen plays Budd and Bishop plays his boss in the strip club scene.

The Host (South Korea, 2006)
OT: Gwoemul

Directed by: Bong Joon-ho
Written by: Baek Chul-hyun, Bong Joon-ho, Ha Jun-won
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Byeon Hie-bong, Ko Ah-sung

On orders of a US doctor, a toxic substance is dumped in the Han River. Four years later in Seoul, ordinary Korean folk are enjoying a leisurely day along the river when the final result reveals itself. In 2006, this entertaining monster movie made a successful journey along the important international film festivals and the tentacles of the host soon attained a large cult following. The Host effectively balances between comedy and campy horror. Only with nearly two hours running time and a main character who screams too much the fun is somewhat lessened. Also a monster that looks like sewer calamari can be hardly called scary. Still, a couple of really good jokes and scenes and its undeniable cult appeal make The Host a worthy contender for the Mega Monster Mash.

Bronson (UK, 2008)

Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written by: Brock Norman Brock, Nicolas Winding Refn
Cast: Tom Hardy, James Lance, Matt King, Amanda Burton

The wacky British indie flick Bronson gives you the life story of Charles Bronson. No not the movie star YOU CUNT! We’re talking about Britain’s most violent prisoner. Since it is directed by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn from the violent and brilliant Pusher trilogy, I was kind of expecting a gut-wrenching gorefest. It is not that bad, in fact this is more like a comedy. Crucial to the film is the central character who wants to become famous. He can’t sing and he can’t fucking act. So what does he do? This original idea is brought to the screen with Winding Refn’s usual sense of style. Tom Hardy delivers a knock-out performance as the protagonist. Don’t expect a cliché prison drama and you might find a place in your heart for Bronson. Special mention goes to the soundtrack which includes gems such as ‘It’s a sin’ by Pet Shop Boys.

Zombie Self-Defense Force (Japan, 2006)

Directed by: Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Written by: Chisato Oogawara, Naoyuki Tomomatsu
Cast: Kenji Arai, Norman England, Masayuki Hase, Yû Machimura

On the cover of Zombie Self-Defense Force, this movie is compared to Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste. Although the extreme gore is sometimes similar – though far less creative – this is nothing like Jackson’s first movie. It totally misses a master’s touch – this is amateur night and they know it. Poor acting, horrible no budget FX and very little to enjoy overall. During the first half hour, a few nice character touches promise some cult delight, but as soon as a zombie baby appears (a homage to another Jackson classic), things start to look really bad. Pretty much a disgrace anyway you look at it.

Black Devil Doll (USA, 2007)

Directed by: Jonathan Lewis
Written by: Shawn Lewis, Mitch Mayes
Cast: Heather Murphy, Natasha Talonz, Christine Svendsen

He’s a lover! He’s a killer! He’s a muthafu**in’ puppet! ‘A Lewis Brothers fiasco’, credits state after Mubia, a member of the black power movement, is executed. His last words: ‘I like to eat white butt’. We’re up for something special that is for sure. Mubia is brought back to life by big boob teenager Heather while she is messing around with a Ouija Board. Guess what? The dangerous rapist and murderer returns in puppet form! So, the sexploitation version of Child’s Play begins. Not subtle, but sleazy, nasty and offensive. Black Devil Doll does exactly what it promises to do on the cover. At times it is too dirty, but quite often it is pretty hilarious.

Tom Hardy as Charles Bronson in Bronson