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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Cult Radar: Part 2

FilmDungeon.com 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 Kleyngeld

Policewomen (USA, 1974)

Directed by: Lee Frost
Written by: Wes Bishop, Lee Frost
Cast: Sondra Currie, Tony Young, Phil Hoover

A foxy police woman called Lacy Bond takes on the dangerous task of infiltrating a criminal gang of females. Luckily she is good with weapons and martial arts, so ass-kicking the baddies forms little problem for Lacy. This film was released on a ‘Welcome to the Grindhouse’ double DVD with Las Vegas Lady. This is apparently the better half. Though no masterpiece it at least has a pleasant rhythm and some camp value. At moments the dialogues and karate scenes get a bit too silly, but most of the time these ‘problems’ are easily ignored. Sondra Currie is also a very charming presence.

Las Vegas Lady (USA, 1975)

 

Directed by: Noel Nosseck
Written by: Walter Dallenbach
Cast: Stella Stevens, Stuart Whitman, George DiCenzo

Las Vegas in the seventies must have been more fun than this boring TV-movie makes it look. The plot revolves around three ladies who want to steal half a million dollars from a criminal casino owner. Or something. The unfocused plot and stretched dialogues make it nearly impossible to get into this movie. Stella Stevens and the other dames are visual assets, but censorship robbed this film of any sex that might have been originally inserted. The action that could be expected during the climax is also missing. Jeppe says: not worth wasting your time on.

Cannibal ferox (Italy, 1981)

Directed by: Umberto Lenzi
Written by: Umberto Lenzi
Cast: Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Lorraine De Selle, Danilo Mattei

An anthropology student and two companions travel to Mañyoca, a small village located in the Amazon jungle of Paraguay. She is writing a thesis on the myth of cannibalism and is searching for evidence to support her cause. A maniacal New York drug dealer is also in the area committing cruelties to a local Indian tribe who in their turn want revenge on the intruders. Your ‘enjoyment’ of this film depends on your tolerance for graphic torture of both humans and animals. If you can stand it, this is a pretty well-paced and in a strange way ‘entertaining’ viewing. However many will justifiably wonder what the significance is of showing (and watching) such horrors and very few won’t feel slightly depressed afterwards. The most memorable gruesome act? Hard to say, but I’ll go for the hooks in Fiamma Maglione’s breasts.

The Magnificent Trio (Hong Kong, 1966)
OT: Bian cheng san xia

Directed by: Chang Cheh
Written by: Chang Cheh
Cast: Chin Ping, Margaret Tu Chuan, Fanny Fan

Farmers kidnap the daughter of a corrupt magistrate in order to make him lose his grip on them. They are protected by the mighty warrior Master Lu, who later teams up with the equally powerful Huang and Yan Ziquin, forming a magnificent trio against the army of the magistrate. In 1966, the martial art genre was still undeveloped at the Shaw Brother Studios. In it’s time The Magnificent Trio must have been an exciting feature. By today’s standards however, it barely contains enough action and spectacle to please the genre enthusiasts. On the other hand, those interested in the development of this movie niche will probably find some value here, as well as beautiful art-direction and a finale worthy of director Chang Cheh’s reputation.

Frogs (USA, 1972)

Directed by: George McCowan
Written by: Robert Hutchison, Robert Blees
Cast: Ray Milland, Sam Elliot, Joan Van Ark

A production by Samuel Z. Arkoff, who has produced over a hundred similar campy movies. Some are better than others. This dull film unfortunately belongs among his weaker productions. Millionaire Jason Crocket (Milland) hosts a family party at his Southern estate. Nature photographer Picket Smith (a young Sam Elliot) arrives and soon finds out that nature-hater Crocket has abused the area with pesticides and poisons. The many frogs and other creatures from the local ecosystem start taking revenge on Crocket and his family leading to a number of strange and painful deaths. The movie’s uneventful first hour could have been forgiven if the second half would have offered some satisfying pay-off. This never happens. The characters remain caricatures and their uncreative deaths therefore leave the viewer cold as ice. A shame, but what can you expect from a film that carries this title?


Policewomen

Cult Radar: Part 1

FilmDungeon.com 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 Kleyngeld

Stink of Flesh (USA, 2005)

Directed by: Scott Phillips
Written by: Scott Phillips
Cast: Kurly Tlapoyawa, Ross Kelly, Diva, Billy Garberina

Matool roams a zombie-infested America armed only with his fists, some large nails and a hammer. After he escapes some tight situations he gets abducted by the mysterious couple Nathan and Dexy. It turns out that Nathan likes to watch other men bang his wife while he watches. Matool takes on the job enthusiastically while zombies and other lusty survivors head towards their hide-out. Ultra low-budget sexploitation splatter film has the occasional outrageous moment, witty line and stylish kill. But too many flaws are still transparent. The acting sucks and so does the sound (despite some good use of music). And the story, though original in a way, goes ultimately nowhere. It’s a shame this flick’s great tagline: ‘how do you lead an alternative lifestyle…When everybody’s dead?’ is better than the flick itself.

Zombie Holocaust (Italy, 1980)

Directed by: Marino Girolami
Written by: Fabrizio De Angelis, Romano Scandariato
Cast: Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli, Sherry Buchanan

Body parts go missing in a New York hospital. It quickly turns out that Moluccan cannibals are terrorising the country. An expedition leaves for the Muluccan island Kito to investigate the case. Over there, they stumble upon a cannibalistic tribe and a bloodthirsty doctor that experiments with reviving the dead. So begins a terrible struggle for survival. Although the story isn’t really carried in a convincing way, one can see why this is a favourite among fantastic film lovers. It certainly contains enough gory action, suspense and beautiful locations to forgive it it’s clumsy mise-en-scène and not too great acting. If this is your thing, you should certainly check it out.

Santo Vs. the She-Wolves (Mexico, 1976)
OT: Santo vs. las lobas

Directed by: Rubén Galindo, Jaime Jiménez Pons
Written by: Jaime Jiménez Pons, Ramón Obón
Cast: Santo, Rodolfo de Anda, Gloria Mayo, Jorge Russek

The legendary Mexican wrestler Santo stars in his 48th feature film (out of 54!). Our silver masked hero takes on an army of werewolves that want to take possession of the earth and destroy all humans. To do this he has to annihilate their entire army before the night of the red moon ends. Weird and often ridiculous plot takes some fun away from this campy mix of supernatural mystery and action. Santo gets far too little chance to display his fantastic wrestling moves. Only during some matches in the beginning and a few brief action scenes towards the end he gets to show who’s the boss. Therefore, the viewer starts to wonder how tough Santo really is, a fatal flaw in a superhero movie. The acting, costumes and effects are pretty terrible, and the extremely disappointing ending deserves special mention. Reasonable DVD transfer available from Yuke Pictures, but maybe it’s better to wait for some other Santo movies to come along.

Detroit 9000 (USA, 1973)

Directed by: Arthur Marks
Written by: Orville H. Hampton
Cast: Hari Rhodes, Alex Rocco, Vonetta McGee

Quentin Tarantino is never shy to lend his name to exploitation film presentations. This flick was recently released under the Rolling Thunder Pictures label, just like The Mighty Peking Man and Switchblade Sisters. Tarantino’s name is all over the cover, so it can profit from the buzz around Grindhouse. One can easily see why he likes this. It’s a pretty gripping cop-drama that contains sex, a blaxploitation message, plenty of shootings, and a funky soundtrack. The characters are not really compelling, except Alex Rocco’s cynical detective Danny Bassett. There’s a little too much yakking about black and white issues, but it is still a pretty entertaining viewing. The twisty ending is also a nice touch.

War of the Monsters (Japan, 1966)
OT: Daikaijû kettô: Gamera tai Barugon

Directed by: Shigeo Tanaka
Written by: Nisan Takahashi
Cast: Kojiro Howgo, Kyoto Enami, Yuzo Hayakawa

This second instalment in the Gamera series sees three treasure hunters find an opal that turns out to be the egg of monster Baragon. I was hoping for some inventive special effects but ended up very bored and disappointed. First I had to sit through forty minutes of sleep-inducing build-up. Then the action arrived in the form of two men dressed in ludicrous monster-suits fight each other around terrible looking scale models. Gamera (a ‘huge’ turtle) gets defeated within five minutes, so we are forced to watch Baragon (a dinosaur of sorts) roam around, looking stupid for another forty-five minutes. I thought the movie was black and white, until I noticed a blue ray (no pun intended). That’s how great the DVD-release from Alpha Video is. No redeeming qualities at all which makes this a complete piece of garbage.

Zombie Holocaust