Category Archives: Bad and weird movies

DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976)

drive-in-massacreDRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976) – Category: Gimmick movie worth watching once, but never again.   

This movie has that certain charm to it that most low-budget 70s horror films possess. When watching Drive-In Massacre you can’t help but reflect on the fact that the talent of John Carpenter is the only thing separating his milestone film Halloween from the many other 1970s slice and dice films like this one. 

The plot of Drive-In Massacre involves a serial killer who strikes only at drive-ins and, in the tried and true custom that countless subsequent slasher films would follow, he thrives on killing couples who are making out. At least at first. The killer’s motive varies throughout the movie, but the murder weapon remains a sword.  Continue reading

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HEX (1973)

Cristina Raines

Cristina Raines

HEX (1973) Category – Enjoyably bad movie but not fun-bad enough to earn my highest rating        Hex, which was also released under the title The Screaming, belongs to that joyously bizarre subgenre of motorcycle horror films.  

That  peculiar cinematic niche also plays home to flicks like Werewolves On Wheels, about a biker gang that hassles Satanists who transform them into werewolves, to Psychomania, about a biker gang that forms a pact with Satan  which permits them to commit suicide and then return from the grave as invincible, soulless marauders and to Blood Freak, about a biker who turns into a turkey monster (no, really).   

Hex trumps all of those other films for sheer weirdness, partly because it is set in the early 1920s and partly because its western locale makes it a candidate for my Weird Western series during the Frontierado Holiday season during the summer.

The underrated beauty Cristina Raines stars in this incoherent mishmash as Oriole, a half-breed witch who uses the Native American magic taught to her by her father to defend herself and her sister Acacia from a roaming biker gang.  Continue reading

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THE LOSERS (1970)

Losers biggerTHE LOSERS (1970) – Two of the gods of biker cinema, William “Big Bill” Smith and Adam Roarke, star in a film which takes a minor footnote in history and RUNS with it, using it as its premise! In real life the Hell’s Angels were for a time clashing with Vietnam War protestors whom the Angels considered cowards for not wanting to fight in the conflict.

Peace was negotiated between the two parties by Ken Keasey and Hunter S Thompson if you believe  Thompson’s book on the Hell’s Angels and Thompson’s biography.

LosersTo make it clear that the Hell’s Angels still disagreed with the protestors’ position on the war even though they had ceased beating them up, Sonny Barger, the Angels’ “Maximum Leader” at the time, released a public statement offering the services of the Hell’s Angels as “a gorilla (sic) force” (LMAO) in the war.

LBJ and Nixon strangely declined to take Barger up on the offer but director Jack Starrett made it the center of this classic bomb. Continue reading

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WAYNE ROGERS R.I.P – DR SEX AND ASTRO-ZOMBIES

Wayne RogersThe one and only Wayne Rogers passed away recently and since everyone else will be covering his time on M*A*S*H, House Calls, Stagecoach West, City of Angels and more, Balladeer’s Blog will do its usual oddball salute. Here’s a look at Doctor Sex (1964) and The Astro-Zombies (1968), two of the films Rogers co-wrote and co-produced with bad movie legend Ted V Mikels. Wayne even has a tiny role in Doctor Sex!   

Doctor SexDOCTOR SEX (1964) – Like Doris Wishman, Russ Meyer, Herschel Gordon Lewis and so many others, Ted V Mikels got his start as a director doing Nudie Cuties. For newbies to the realm of Psychotronic Psynema, Nudie Cuties were big in the 1950s and 1960s and despite their name NEVER featured nudity.

Toplessness and some butt-shots were all you got, with strategically and/or improbably placed branches, shrubs or rail fences covering pubic regions. Fans of Peter Sellers will remember the classic sendup of those nudie cuties that he worked into one of his Inspector Clouseau films.   

The appeal of these movies is barely understood today, when you can find any visual stimulation you want with just a few clicks on your keyboard but decades ago Nudie Cuties really packed ’em in. Enter Doctor Sex.

The titular doctor is holding a brainstorming session with his fellow psychiatrists Dr Schmutz and the gorgeous Dr Lovejoy. They plan on co-authoring a book to put the recently released Kinsey Report to shame.

To that end they share stories about some patients of theirs who suffered exceptionally peculiar sexual fixations. The tales are told through flashbacks and feature:

Dr Sex drawinga) A patient who fixates on having a dog’s-eye view to watching the sexy female owner of a pooch take her bath and other activities.

b) A patient whose work at a department store includes dressing and undressing mannequins and holding make-believe tea parties with them and otherwise treating them like they’re real women. In a horror film they would come to life and tear the man limb from limb or something but in this movie the patient just imagines that the mannequins come to life as incredibly beautiful women who want to hang around with him.

c) A female patient who loves taking her clothes off and, in a rags to even fewer rags story she becomes first a nude model and then a stripper.

And d) A patient who – in another idea torn straight from a horror anthology instead of a Nudie Cutie – lives in a house haunted by beautiful nude female ghosts. The ghosts do housework for the guy. No, I’m not kidding.  

To wrap up their presumably successful venture Dr Sex and his colleagues cut loose with some lascivious behavior of their own. In the wildest moment Dr Schmutz turns into a dog and plans to use this canine form to land a sexy female owner so he can watch her bathing and in various stages of undress. Continue reading

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THE PSYCHOPATH (1975)

The_Psychopath_RMCjpgTHE PSYCHOPATH (1975) – Category: The 70s version of camp, with a premise and plot elements that would have been banned in previous decades  

If you’ve ever wanted to see Mr Rogers and/or Pee Wee Herman and/or Barney The Purple Dinosaur go on a killing spree this is the movie for you! Tom Basham plays Mr Rabbey, the host of a popular kiddie show. The key to Mr Rabbey’s success – his knack for knowing what children want to see – is no accident, since Rabbey himself is soon revealed to be a crazed, child-minded nutcase. Picture how much creepier Paul Reubens’ Pee Wee Herman character would be if it was no act and he really, honestly behaved that way 24/7. That’s Mr Rabbey.

The victims of Rabbey’s murder spree are people who beat and otherwise abuse their children, so it’s not all that hard to take the death scenes. You see, it turns out Mr Rabbey himself was the victim of an abusive parent, and when he realizes some of the children he visits on a charitable trip to the hospital have been beaten by their parents he sets out to kill those parents. (The original title of this movie was Eye For An Eye, which is why the film opens up with an extreme closeup of one of Mr Rabbey’s eyeballs) Continue reading

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FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER (1965)

Frankenstein Meets the Space MonsterFRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE SPACE MONSTER (1965) –Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following      

The original title of this incredibly fun bad movie was Mars Invades Puerto Rico. You see, there is no Frankenstein Monster in this flick, just a NASA robot called Frank who gets damaged and then looks like Freddy Krueger with a Mohawk from one angle.

The actual premise of this movie is that Frank battles Martians intent on replenishing their nuclear war-ravaged planet by kidnapping beachgoers in Puerto Rico to use as breeding stock. Sounds like a comedy … stings like a bee! Continue reading

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BILL PAXTON: GAME OVER FOR THE STAR OF TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN

taking-tiger-mountainTAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN (1983) – The very memorable actor Bill Paxton passed away recently. I’ve been trying to decide which Paxton film appearance would fit in most with Balladeer’s Blog’s world of weirdness.

I considered the horror movie Mortuary (1983) in which Paxton portrayed a bizarre young mortician and slasher. The scene where he hops and skips among the graves is weird, but not quite WTF enough. I considered Brain Dead (1990) but Bill doesn’t have a big enough role. I almost went with The Dark Backward (1991), but that has (rightfully) become too well known over the years.  

Finally, I decided on Taking Tiger Mountain. Not just because of how flat-out deranged that movie is but because of the novelty factor: Bill Paxton’s BODY stars in the film, but his dialogue was all overdubbed by a British man. That odd circumstance always made me want to see Paxton’s infamous “Game over, man … we’re dead, man” whine from Aliens overdubbed by that same British guy saying “I say, something of a sticky wicket we’re in now, eh, lads?”

bill-paxtonPutting all that aside, Taking Tiger Mountain is an artsy black & white post-apocalypse movie which is more Born of Fire or A Boy and His Dog than Mad Max. In the aftermath of a nuclear war the world is in chaos with diseases running rampant, food riots breaking out regularly and the poles knocked off-kilter.   

Mutant rats are on the loose, as are the expected roving gangs of marauders. The makeshift governmental forces are playing a “spinning plates” game of maintaining order through distribution of pleasure-inducing drugs and an “anything goes” prostitution-based economy. Men can be women and women can be men. It’s a mixed-up world, it’s a shook-up world except for Paxton. Will-eye-am “Bill” Paaxxx-ton. Continue reading

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