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Fright Night (1985)
From director Tom Holland ("Child's Play") comes this tale of bisexual vampire Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon of "The Princess Bride") who butts heads with his neighbor Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale of "Herman's Head" fame). "Married With Children" star Amanda Bearse has the tough task of pretending to find Charlie attractive (a job that would be tough enough for a straight woman) and Roddy "Laserblast" McDowall is Cushing Price, I mean, Peter Vincent, a late-night horror host who Charlie enlists in his battle against Jerry. Too bad the movie doesn't take place in Cleaveland, or else the Ghoul could have been the fearless vampire killer.
It starts out like a lame "Goosebumps" episode, but gets progressively cooler, climaxing with some great gore effects. I love movies where people are really, really scared, like Don Knotts, and McDowall is great in that capacity.
Stephen Geoffreys is pretty good as Evil Ed, and he went on to star in Robert Englund's "976-Evil" as well as "Gay Men In Uniform", "Cock Pit", "Transsexual Prostitues 1 AND 2", "Latin Crotch Rockets", and "Mechanics Bi Day, Lube Job Bi Night". Despite his gay porn career, he's still more respectible than William Ragsdale, who went on to do "Mannequin 2: On the Move".
What to Do on a Date (1951)
I don't know, tractor pull?
After shocking the world with the ground-breaking "Appreciating our Parents", director Ted Peshak returned with his most controversial work, "What to do on a Date". This film stunned audiences with it's brazen sexuality and the use of the word "Weenie". Impotent man-child Nick ignores social mores and takes nebbishy girl-toy Kate on a white-hot date organizing the local rummage sale. Dusty lamps, Cokes, and streamers lead to hot, hot lovin'.
Peshak was ostrasized from the directing community for this brave, electrifying work which dared to combine fantasy and reality and pubescent yearning. He tried to curry the public's favor with more pedestrian efforts like "Improve your Personality" and "Good Table Manners", but nothing doing. "What to do on a Date" branded him a nonconformist, and Peshak died, alone and penniless, in a Hollywood dumpster (reviewer's speculation).
OK Connery (1967)
Depressing and boring
This really poor James Bond rip-off stars Sean Connery's talentless, charismaless, weird-faced brother Neal, my candidate for the Lowest Self Esteem award (beating even Clint Howard!). Neal plays "Dr. Neal Connery", a plastic surgeon, hypnotist, lip reader, and kung-fu fighter (what, is he Buckaroo Banzai?). Constant references are made to Neal's brother (although not by name, as that might cost money) as Neal takes part in a stunningly uninteresting, slightly diabolical plot to do... something, I think. Action includes a bow-and-arrow fight and a "Every Which Way But Loose"-style brawl at one of Connery's live surgery demonstrations.
Adding to the shame are Bond regulars Bernard Lee (more attractive than Judi Dench as M) and Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny), as well as Daniela Bianchi ("From Russia With Love") and Adolfo Celi (of "Thunderball"- and "Diabolik"!).
Not to be watched by people with functioning eyes, although the music's pretty good.
Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Battered Beyond the Scars
This space-set sci-fi fantasy that bares no resemblance to STAR WARS is probably the most watchable movie Roger Corman ever made (not to diss "The Terror" or "Night of the Blood Beast"). It's about John-Boy Walton, who has seven days to find mercenaries to save his disgustingly peaceful planet (named Akira, not to be confused with planets Tetsuo or Kei) from evil TENEBRE star John Saxon (who hails from the planet Comb-Over). John-Boy's planet only has two dozen citizens and all they do is mill around all day, so they're not really worth saving, but what the hell, if he doesn't there'll be no movie.
So John-Boy sets out in his sassy, back-talking spaceship (which has a great pair of breasts) and recruits seven saviors (like SEVEN SAMERAI, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, or A BUG'S LIFE). George "Lieutenant-Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith" Peppard plays a stoned space trucker (BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S was a loooong time ago). TEENAGE CAVEMAN's Robert Vaugn is bad-ass Gelt, and well-endowed Sybill Danning is Saint X-Men. There's also a bland computer expert, a Lizard pimp and his sidekicks who communicate in heat, and Observer-like aliens called Nestor. The first half of the movie is watching John-Boy recruit them, and the second half is **SPOILER AHEAD** watching them all die. John-Boy finally crashes his bitchy spaceship into John Saxon and Akira is free to mill around in peace. The end.
It's a fun movie with lots of special effects (which range from awful to passable) and some nice characters. There are no monsters or cute robots, though, so beware. It's written by John Sayles, who went on to make LONE STAR, LIMBO, and SUNSHINE STATE (none of which feature a Lizard pimp).
In conclusion, it's better than THE PHANTOM MENACE but not as good as SPACEBALLS.
Minority Report (2002)
I've never been a huge fan of Speilburg, I find his movies have great moments or sequences I enjoy but overall leave me feeling kind of cold. This feels like Speilburg was trying to make a movie just for me- he loaded it with actors I like (Max Von Sydow, Jessica Harper, Peter Stormare, Tim Blake Nelson, Samantha Morton), put in a little gore (the whole groovy "eyeball" sequence), even served up a scene where one person vomits on another (always a favorite). But no matter how Sir Stevie panders to me, I cannot like this movie.
There is a festering pile of boogers in this movie, and it's named "Colin Ferrell's Acting". Hasn't anyone noticed how terrible this guy is? Why do they keep putting him in movies? He's awful! One needs only to look at the chase through the car factory: After performing a perilous climb onto a piece of machinery, Farrell pulls out a cross and kisses it. Later, when Tom Cruise is escaping, Farrell slams his fist into his palm ala a bully in a Nickelodian series. And it doesn't help matters that most of the dialog in this movie is god-awful.
And why does this movie end and then go on for another twenty minutes? There's a point where the conspiracy is reveiled via a character giving a big long monologue (like Velma on the Scooby Doo show), then there's a nice, grim, downbeat ending that satisfied me. But no, it keeps going, and going, and has another character give a long monologue explaining stuff that's ALREADY BEEN EXPLAINED. Did the writers think the audience was so stupid they couldn't get it? Or couldn't handle a downbeat ending? There's a point where this movie becomes excrutiating.
I did like how criminals are punished in the future by being dressed like Slim Goodbody, though.
Time Walker (1982)
Boring From Another Planet
This not-very-good mummy-alien flick does feature a cornucopia of your favorite movie stars like BEN MURPHY ("Riding With Death"!), Bob Random ("Village of the Giants"!), Darwin Joston (Napolean in "Assault on Precinct 13"!), Austin Stoker (Bishop in "Assault on Precinct 13"!) as Dr. Ken Melrose, Nina Axelrod ("Motel Hell"), Shari Belafonte-Harper (who was a voice on "Rick Moranis in Gravedale High"!!!), Clint Young ("Rape Squad", "Switchblade Sisters"), and best of all, Pathmark pitchman JAMES KAREN ("Poltergiest", "Return of the Living Dead")!
The plot is this: A priceless sarcophagus has been recovered in King Tut's tomb. Of course, it's taken to a small college in California where bumbling students can manhandle it and screw up X-raying it, instead of, oh, say, a museum. One loathsome, video-game loving student steals some diamond-type-thingees from the sarcophagus, sending the mummy on a poorly planned killing spree to get them back. For some reason, no one can catch a glimpse of the slow-moving, glowing mummy as it lumbers from killing to killing on the college campus.
This movie isn't very good. Not much happenens, except for some funny scenes where teens touch some radioactive goo on the mummy and start to get fungus growing all over them. The party scene with a bunch of obnoxious students dressed as mummys is also grating, and all James Karen does is mope and yell at Ben Murphy.
Pathmark means savings!
Junior Rodeo Daredevils (1949)
Junior Rodeo DaredEVILs
In this disturbing cautionary tale, a demented old man (Old Timer Billy Slater) catches two youngsters molesting his horse and sentences them to the worse punishment of all- a junior rodeo. Old Timer Billy Slater laughs in hideous glee as children are repeatedly thrown to the cold, cold ground from the backs of bucking broncos. What kind of Hell is this, where children suffer the sins of man? What kind of grinning gargoyle is this Old Timer Billy Slater? Why has he forsaken us? Why, why, why??!??!
This pukey short also features a horrid, repetitive banjo score which will compel you to rip your own head clean off.
Devil Doll (1964)
"Devil Doll"- Not to be confused with "Magic" or that one "Tales From the Crypt" episode with Don Rickles and Bobcat Goldthwait
"The Projected Man" star Bryant Haliday plays The Great Vorelli, a ventriloquist who loathes his horrible, stupid, smelly, ugly dummy Hugo. Their act consists of Vorelli denying Hugo luncheon meats and Hugo threatening Vorelli with a knife. Vorelli (or "Bud" to his friends) is also a budding hypnotist who can make people sweat a lot or dance like idiots with his amazing powers. Everyone is charmed by him, from old dowagers to... well, old dowagers. Everyone but American Mark English (William Sylvester of "Gorgo"/"Riding With Death" fame), an ace reporter who must, must, MUST learn the secret of Hugo!
This is a very depressing movie. Vorelli is an immensley unappealing character, yet we spend the bulk of the movie watching him. He's bewitched American Mark English's girlfriend and we get to watch her laying in bed sweating and moaning a lot, if that's your kind of thing. Every character in this seems on the verge of suicide.
Not a very good movie.
Uchu Kaisoku-sen (1961)
There is no joy anymore
Remember "Prince of Space"? MST3K # 816? Okay. This is basically a remake of that. Instead of Prince of Space, though, we get Space Chief, another effeminent, hopping hero. Instead of the chicken-men of Krankor, we get mute, bullet-headed robots who have trouble walking and fall down at the tiniest hint of danger. And instead of two annoying, gravely voiced, tiny-shorts-wearing kids we get SIX annoying, gravely voiced, tiny-shorts-wearing kids. Slow the whole thing down, add lots of scenes of Japanese people talking in poorly lit rooms, and actual war footage instead of special effects, and you've got one of the worse movies ever made. I know that phrase is over-used and has little or no impact anymore, but this movie really is almost unbearable. It's amazing! It's joyless, depressing, AND technically inept!
Enjoy the Hitler building.
Ring of Terror (1962)
Ring of Error
This murky film with terrible sound looks like it was filmed around 1939. It's about a bunch of geriatric medical students eagerly awaiting their first autopsy. One unshakable elderly boy's creeped-out girlfriend wishes he was studying anything but medicine. So why is she dating guys from med school? Is she going to medical school too? Or is this a college where you can major in being a doctor, with a minor in communications? It's hard to tell, and the women in in this movie don't seem to ever have to go to class.
Anyway, some middle-aged fraternity pranksters make the elderly boy steal a ring off a corpse, an urban legend that should take five minutes to tell and doesn't bode well stretched out to feature length. I'm not going to give away the ending, suffice to say the old man's weak ticker factors into the plot.
To pad out the running time, lots of time is spent dwelling on the two fat characters, exploring the theme that fat people love to eat and should be mocked for trying to do anything other than that. There's also a lengthy intro (and outro) by Bob Dobson, a creepy, cemetery-dwelling loser who stomps on his cat Puma's tale and mocks the dead. He must be the Crypt Keeper before the Crypt Keeper died and rotted and gained a penchant for bad puns.