"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Roger Corman’

Double feature: Piranha (1995) / Deadly Spawn (1983)

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022

I haven’t seen Joe Dante’s PIRANHA in many, many years, but here I am reviewing the remake. No, not Alexandre Aja’s Dimension Films version PIRANHA 3D (which I did review when it came out in 2010), but the 1995 Corman production directed by Scott P. Levy (MIDNIGHT TEASE, THE ALIEN WITHIN).

This thing was made for Showtime, and I never got Showtime, but the reason I remembered it existed was because I knew Punky Brewster herself, Soleil Moon Frye (KID 90) was in it. That was enough to lure me in. (Get it?) I guess she was in a couple horror movies (INVITATION TO HELL, PUMPKINHEAD II) but I’m actually kinda surprised they didn’t resurrect her in the post-SCREAM era! Maybe they tried but she was happy just doing cartoon voices.

I have to admit I didn’t remember the original enough to realize until reading the Wikipedia summary that this remake barely alters its script. Alex Simon (BLOODFIST VIII: TRAINED TO KILL) is credited as the writer, but it’s so close original writers Richard Robinson and John Sayles get both “based on the screenplay by” and “story by” credits. (read the rest of this shit…)

Dementia 13

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

I don’t know what DEMENTIA 13 means, but that’s the name of Francis Ford Coppola’s official on the record first feature directorial work, and it’s the rare Coppola horror outing, almost 30 years before BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA. It’s a tight little black-and-white Roger Corman production that seems to split the difference between gothic horror like the Poe movies (THE RAVEN, THE HAUNTED PALACE and THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH were released the same year, 1963) and the modern slasher like PSYCHO and PEEPING TOM (released three years earlier). It’s got a castle, a rich family and some possible ghostiness, but also a money scheme running afoul of an ax murderer. And there’s a mystery. And some brutality I wasn’t expecting in a movie of this era.

It’s got a great opening – John Haloran (Peter Read, THE BRAIN, TALONS OF THE EAGLE) is upset one night, wants to row out onto the lake to be by himself, but his wife Louise (Luana Anders, THE YOUNG RACERS, NOWHERE TO RUN) comes with him and bickers with him about money. His mother is sick and plans to will her fortune to charity – Louise wants him to talk to her about putting him in the will. All the rowing gets his heart worked up and he collapses. She goes for his heart pills (apparently this happens alot) but the container is empty, and he dies. (read the rest of this shit…)

Abduction (2019)

Monday, July 15th, 2019

As I might’ve mentioned once or twice before, Scott Adkins has really been on a roll in his recent movies with director Jesse V. Johnson. But let’s not get too comfortable. He’s got a new one coming to DVD tomorrow called ABDUCTION. It’s not of similar quality, but I had fun with it, and it’s something different for him. The cover just shows him with a big gun, so I assumed it was a COMMANDO deal with him rescuing his daughter from kidnappers. Yeah, pretty much, but the kidnappers are aliens! Or inter-dimensional beings? I think inter-dimensional beings. Forgive my ignorance.

So no, it’s not a remake of John Singleton’s 2011 movie starring Taylor Lautner. I also got it mixed up with another upcoming Adkins project called SEIZED, which I have confirmed is a different movie, an Isaac Florentine joint where a daughter and son are kidnapped, presumably by humans.

I don’t think I can say ABDUCTION is Adkins’ weirdest, because there’s always UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, a far more atmospheric, moody and hard-hitting movie, better on every level. This one is literally a Roger Corman production and has the bland glossiness and chintzy digital effects I associate with the SyFy Channel. But it’s definitely not generic. It has a hell of an opening that immediately dunks your head in the craziness and takes its time before letting you take a breath. I was into it. (read the rest of this shit…)

Slumber Party Massacre III

Monday, October 29th, 2018

SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE III is less crazy than part II, and has less going on thematically, but to me it was a little more fun to watch this time through. I don’t think this one is connected by any characters, though the killer has a backstory that I didn’t quite follow, so maybe there’s something there.

Like the other two SLUMBER PARTY MASSACREs, this is directed by a woman, Sally Mattison this time. This was her only time directing – she was a casting director and associate producer for Concorde, including for BLOODFIST and SILK 2. Screenwriter Catherine Cyran (credited as “Bruce Carson”) also wrote BLOODFIST II, FUTURE KICK and HONEY 3: DARE TO DANCE. As a director she’s responsible for three sequels in the THE PRINCE & ME franchise, among other things. (read the rest of this shit…)

Slumber Party Massacre II

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II is a kinda cool, kinda odd, but kinda boring variation on the simple part 1. It follows Courtney, one of the first film’s survivors, but recast with Crystal Bernard (Wings). Her older sister Valerie is said to be in a sanitarium somewhere, just now beginning to speak again (after five years, if it’s in real time). Courtney convinces her mom (Jennifer Rhodes, THE TOWERING INFERNO) to let her spend a weekend with her friends at one’s dad’s new condo. But don’t tell Mom that boys will be there.

Much has been made of the first one being written and directed by women, and what that means in a slasher movie centered around a dude with a phallic drill murdering teenage girls in nighties. This one is written and directed by a different woman, Deborah Brock, and has a rare slasher movie occurrence of the female gaze in an opening dream sequence where Courtney pictures her crush Matt (Patrick Lowe, PRIMAL RAGE) shirtless, smiling, throwing a football, while she’s in a non-revealing nightgown. (read the rest of this shit…)

Blackbelt II: Fatal Force

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

BLACKBELT II: FATAL FORCE is pretty different from part 1. It has the same producers (Roger Corman and Cirio H. Santiago), and continues the tradition of listing championship titles on the credits, but it doesn’t have the same characters or any story connection or seem like the same type of movie or same level of quality. Also, according to IMDb, it came out three years before part 1. Huh.

This one starts during the Vietnam War, with a very serious narrator telling us stats about the war and MIAs over generic jungle battle scenes. After a bunch of machine gun fire and explosions the American helicopters take off, leaving three soldiers behind.

Now in LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA some beat cops stumble across a night time warehouse arms deal and it turns into a big shootout. It took me almost 10 minutes into the movie to figure which one was gonna be the main character (because nobody seems like an obvious blackbelt) but it’s a cop with the enviable name Brad Spyder (“Blake Bahner – W.K.F. World Kickboxing Champion”) who chases one of the escaping criminals to the top of a building and has a long fight with him, but is horrified when he accidentally kicks him off the roof. He yells “NO!” and catches his hand, but then drops him. The guy’s dad is mad so he shoots Spyder’s partner Lee Stokes (Ronald William Lawrence. (read the rest of this shit…)

Blackbelt

Monday, March 13th, 2017

a.k.a. KICKBOXER COP

In my experience, a good Don “The Dragon” Wilson vehicle is one where he goes routinely through standard action formulas, provides his kicking expertise and likable personality, and the filmatists throw on just enough flair to make it stand out from the pack a little. In this one that flair comes in the form of the weirdo villain played by Matthias Hues, the 6′ 5″ German-born martial artist best known as the evil alien in Craig Baxley’s I COME IN PEACE.

Hues plays John Sweet, who when we first see him is about to have a romantic encounter with a woman (Mia Ruiz, WILD AT HEART) in a hotel. He seems like he’s leaving to get a bottle of champagne or something, and she hums to herself and strips while she waits. But he knocks on the door of a nearby room where some criminals are meeting, and he kills them all with his bare hands.

Then he goes back to the room like nothing happened. I thought he was a rival gangster or vigilante but then he murders this poor woman (who turns out to be a prostitute, despite her enthusiasm) and cuts off her ring finger.

We meet our hero Jack Dillon (Don “The Dragon” Wilson) as the opposite of a guy killing a prostitute: he’s a guy beating up a pimp. “The broken nose is for the girl. The vasectomy’s free.” And he brings one of the pimp’s stable back to her mother. Dillon is not for-hire, though. He refuses payment because “I don’t charge to take out the garbage.” Or, I assume, to unload the dishwasher. (read the rest of this shit…)

Battle Beyond the Stars

Monday, July 6th, 2015

tn_battlebeyondFuck a star war – what about a battle beyond the stars? I know a battle is smaller than a war, it is only one of the units that makes up a part of a war, but maybe that’s better. More intimate. More focused. And then it’s beyond the stars instead of within them, as a mere star war is. Beyond is better. This battle has transcended the fucking stars.

Admittedly, it doesn’t seem like BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS takes place further away from here than any of the STAR WARSes. In fact, it is for sure closer, because people have heard of the planet Earth, and one guy is from there. His name is Cowboy, but not the pioneering rapper from the Furious Five who coined the term “hip hop.” He’s actually George Peppard a couple years before The A-Team and he wears a cowboy hat, plaid shirt and insulated silver space pants. He always shows off that he likes westerns and exotic Earth liquor. Obviously he’s the Han Solo character, and he’s entertaining, but most of his scenes are alone in his ship, so there’s a Chewbacca-sized hole next to him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sorority House Massacre

Monday, October 14th, 2013

tn_shmslashersearch13Here’s a much dryer and less fun sorority-pledge-in-house-where-somebody-died-a-long-time-ago movie than KILLER PARTY. Actually, I’m not sure Beth (Angela O’Neill, ALIEN NATION) is technically a pledge. She’s a family friend of the house mother or something? Her aunt who raised her died recently, she’s staying with this lady who’s going out of town and leaving her with the sisters, who are very welcoming and keep saying she’ll like it and want to stay. Like they’re trying to sell her on their sorority instead of scare her away like in other movies.

In the KILLER PARTY review I talked about the fraternity/sorority movies, but this one is different. It might be trying for a more positive portrayal of sororities, but my guess is the rookie filmatists just didn’t put much thought into the story, or just wanted to have “sorority” in the title, because there’s no reason why these girls can’t just be friends or roommates. There is no hazing, no competition, no parties other than an upcoming “Pow Wow” with teepee that never happens, little drinking, less sex than HALLOWEEN. They’re not jerks, they look after each other, or at least after their guest. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Super-Kumite: Bloodfist

Monday, June 17th, 2013

tn_bloodfistRound 1, final competitor, Team Blanks vs. The Red Fist Club

“I didn’t come here to box. I gave that up a long time ago. I came here to find his killer.”

I’m not sure, but could BLOODFIST be the first movie to include sports achievements in the credits? Because it lists the star as DON WILSON – WORLD KICKBOXING ASSOCIATION LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION.”

(Rob Kaman, Billy Blanks and Kris Aguilar get similar credits.)

Of course, we call him Don “The Dragon” Wilson for short, and he stars as Jake Raye, a retired boxer who works pathetically giving faked fight demos for bullied kids at Hal & Jake’s Self Defense in the Valley. He coulda been a contender or whatever but he selflessly donated his kidney to his half brother Mike (Ned Hourani, BLOOD CHASE, BLOOD HANDS, BLOOD RING, FIST OF GLORY, ETERNAL FIST, LIVE BY THE FIST). With only one of those things he could die if he went back in the ring. (read the rest of this shit…)