Category Archives: Bad and weird movies

DIAL: HELP (1988)

 DIAL: HELP (1988) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9- sized cult following. 

This 1988 horror film from Italy (but dubbed into English) deals with a young model, played by Charlotte Lewis, who finds her life turning hellish when she begins being tormented by living phones … yes, living phones. As always with me, I love to laugh at bad horor movies like this that are NOT trying to be funny, but are so disastrously bad and have such ludicrous premises that they are unintentional comedy classics.

Remember my reviews of movies like Death Bed, about a killer bed; Deafula, about a deaf vampire and The Lift, about a killer elevator? Lump this flick in with those. 

Hardcore horror fans will be stunned to learn that the man behind this laughable mess is none other than Continue reading


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Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

“What an eccentric performance” as they said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Forget William Shatner singing Rocket Man, hell, you can even forget Tim Robbins singing Rocket Man. And say goodbye to those twisted nightmares you had about Elton John playing Captain Kirk with Tim Robbins as Spock. 

 No, this is more like if Morgan Freeman sang Like A Virgin or Linda Hunt performed One Night in Bangkok. It’s the thoroughly bizarre – yet oddly arousing – music video of Kirsten Dunst singing the Vapors’ hit song Turning Japanese … while wearing a blue wig. 


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tetsuo-bDirector Shinya Tsukamoto hails from Japan and is noted for his surreal, nightmarish excursions into the darker side of transformative  industrial technology … especially any technology that impacts the human anatomy.

Tsukamoto’s noteworthy films include:

tetsuoTetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) – From the early shots of a man removing one of his own bones and replacing it with a piece of metal viewers knew this was a work of true genius. Tetsuo becomes more and more relevant by the year, especially with the advent of nanotechnology and its potentially invasive effect on the human mind and body.

The anatomies of the film’s characters become distorted and mutate into metal figures that challenge preconceived notions of beauty, ugliness, gender and even what constitutes life. Continue reading

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horror-house-on-highway-5HORROR HOUSE ON HIGHWAY 5 (1985) –  And rest assured it’s the BEST little Horror House On Highway 5. This film was made during the 80s slasher craze when masked killers like Mike Myers and Jason Voorhees were all the rage.

Bartholomew, the killer in this film, honest-to-God wears a Richard Nixon mask while slicing and dicing his victims. I have no idea why his human prey don’t just slap on a Peter Rodino mask and kick this guy’s butt all over Highway 5.

There are three different types of bad scenes in this movie: Continue reading

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Balladeer's Blog

Balladeer’s Blog

 HELLROLLER (1992) – Category: Enyoyably bad movie but not fun-bad enough to earn my highest rating                 

 Hellroller is the infamous bad movie about a slasher who is confined to a wheelchair and uses it to get around as he slices and dices his victims. Ron Litman stars, if “stars” isn’t too strong a word, as Eugene, our twitchy, slobbering paraplegic. Eugene is the product of a Continue reading


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Happy Anniversary to The Texas Twenty-Seven Film Vault, one of the pre-MST3K Movie Host shows. Yes it was Saturday night February 9th, 1985 that this program debuted in Dallas, Texas, in the same studio that would later be used for Joe Bob’s Drive-In. Here is an encore presentation of my EXCLUSIVE 2011 interview with Randy Clower, one of The Texas Twenty-Seven Film Vault‘s co-creators and co-hosts. 

Clower (right) with co-host Richard Malmos as “Film Vault Technicians First Class” on The Texas 27 Film Vault

Before MST3K there was THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT! Before Joel and Mike lovers of bad movies had Randy and Richard! Before Pearl there was Laurie Savino! Before Devil Dogs, Observers and Deep 13 there came Cellumites, giant rats and Level 31.

In the mid 1980s The Texas 27 Film Vault was the show to watch on Saturday nights for wry mockery of Golden Turkeys preceded by episodes of vintage Republic Serials like Radar Men From The Moon and Canadian Mounties vs Atomic Invaders.    

The Texas 27 Film Vault is one of the great unsung Movie Host shows of the 1980s and I was thrilled to get this exclusive interview with Randy Clower, co-star and co-creator of this legendary cult show from the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. “The Film Vault Guys” as they were often called by us fans, or “Vaulties”,  established the pattern that a few other Movie Hosts have since followed. Continue reading


Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television, humor, Movie Hosts


Girls on Probation

Girls on Probation

In the middle 1980s/ Way down on Level 31 …

Before MST3K there was The Texas 27 Film Vault! Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the 1980s with another review of an episode where an original air date can be determined. My interview with some of the original cast, my research through VERY old newspapers and emailed memories from my fellow Vaulties are helping in this attempt to reconstruct elements of the show’s history.

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday March 2nd, 1985 from 10:30pm to 1:00 am.

FILM VAULT LORE: This is the 2nd oldest episode I’ve reviewed. The oldest episode was the February 9th, 1985 airing of Trunk to Cairo with Audie Murphy. Special thanks to my fellow T27FV fan Jessica for the serial episode and a comedy sketch from the episode.

One of the comedy sketches in the show was a mock commercial for Blue Arrow Bus Lines, the fictional bus line in the movie. The phony ad hyped the bus line as the Official Bus Line of female fugitives on the run.

Lost CitySERIAL: Before showing and mocking the movie machine-gun toting Randy and Richard of the fictional Film Vault Corps (“The few, the proud, the sarcastic”) showed and mocked a chapter of the notoriously campy sci-fi serial The Lost City (1935).

That serial featured a super-scientific city lost in the middle of the African jungle plus zombified “giant” African tribesmen, ray-guns, a slinky femme fatale and a tribe of pygmies. There’s also a Great White Hunter as the hero and a mad scientist whose inventions include a machine that turns black people into white people! And the “colorization” is considered a REWARD for tribesmen who serve the mad scientist well! All this plus BOTH William Boyds in one serial! 

THE MOVIE: GIRLS ON PROBATION (1938) was one of the countless Warner Brothers B-movies that future president Ronald Reagan starred in before his career in politics. Reagan had just been inaugurated  for his second term less than two months earlier so the Reagan jokes from our Film Vault Technicans First Class no doubt flew hard and fast. The Texas 27 Film Vault also showed Bedtime for Bonzo, another infamous Reagan pic, but I have yet to narrow down the exact date of that episode.  

Reagan is the Continue reading

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