Category Archives: Bad and weird movies

MARDI GRAS MASSACRE (1978)

After this seasonal post had last year off it’s the return of my review of Mardi Gras Massacre.

Mardi Gras MassacreMARDI GRAS MASSACRE (1978) – Category: A neglected Bad Movie classic, but its hard-core gore will prevent it from ever having a Plan 9-sized cult following

It takes a twisted sort of genius to make multiple disembowelment murders look boring, but that’s exactly what Jack Weis accomplishes in Mardi Gras Massacre! Today may be Fat Tuesday, but let’s rechristen it “Splat Tuesday” in honor of this late 70s splatterfest. 

The actual “massacre” part of this movie is an incredible disappointment. An insane, hate-filled man with a knife – no, not Jim Bowie (rimshot) – is roaming around New Orleans during Mardi Gras targeting prostitutes as sacrificial offerings to the Aztec deities he worships.

That sounds promising for a horror film but the disembowelment ritual is reenacted word for word and movement for movement for EACH VICTIM! There is no variation and also no suspense because after the first killing we know exactly how all the subsequent sacrifices will play out. The only chills come from listening to the awful disco music that plays during the ceremonial slayings. (“NOOOOOOOOOO!”) Continue reading

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ALIEN OUTLAW (1985): MOVIE REVIEW

Alien Outlaw bigALIEN OUTLAW (1985) – Starring Kari Anderson. Written and directed by Smoot … PHIL Smoot (Da dut da DAAA/ Da da-da). Phil was one Smoot operator and showed the imagination that low-budget filmmakers so often demonstrate but whose lack of financial resources prevents them from fully bringing that imagination to life.

Smoot got his start with the Dixie DeMille himself, Earl Owensby, often called “Roger Corman south of the Mason-Dixon Line.” And that wasn’t said as an insult. Like Corman, Owensby specialized in unpretentious B-movies that always made a profit due to budget-consciousness.

Before setting out on independent projects of his own, Phil Smoot worked in various capacities on Owensby’s North Carolina flicks like Challenge, The Brass Ring, Tales of the Third Dimension and many others.

Alien OutlawWith Alien Outlaw, Smoot showed the Owensby influence: North Carolina locations, meandering scenes that begged to be edited down and lots of annoying Southern-Fried humor that wouldn’t have made the cut on Hee Haw. On the plus side he also demonstrated a flair for fun B-movie premises that mixed genres.

Smoot’s other best-known work as writer-director was The Dark Power, a Toltec zombie horror film with Western elements (a work previously reviewed here at Balladeer’s Blog). Like The Dark Power, Alien Outlaw starred old, old, OLD Western actor Lash Larue, who was the middle man in the Whip-Wielding Action Star Trimurti, coming after Don Q: Son of Zorro and before Indiana Jones.

Alien Outlaw JesseAlien Outlaw mixed Western elements with science fiction in a way that made you root for the film, despite the way Phil Smoot defeated himself at every turn. The potential was here to craft a fun, slick, modest money-maker which played like a Western version of a Tom Baker-era episode of Doctor Who. And with a butt-kicking female lead.     

THE PREMISE: An alien spaceship lands in 1985 North Carolina and conceals itself by submerging in a body of water. That body of water is a stream the water level of which couldn’t even conceal a small car let alone a large space-craft.

THE POTENTIAL FIX: A lake or a make-believe cloaking device would have worked better.

THE STORY: A few aliens, wearing back-packs and masks to breathe our air, attack random people, take their guns and begin terrorizing the countryside. We are never told if their ship landed on Earth deliberately or made the best out of a crash landing. Nor are we told why aliens capable of interstellar flight have to confiscate primitive firearms. Continue reading

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HEMISPHERE HORRORS: FILIPINO HORROR FILM BOX SET

-“They Came From the Philippines” you could say. ORDER BELOW. It’s a Five-Movie “Hemisphere Box of Horrors” featuring:

Blood DrinkersTHE BLOOD DRINKERS (1964) Also released as The Vampire People and Kulay Dugo Ang Gabi, this was the very first COLOR horror film made in the Philippines.  

Special Features for The Blood Drinkers:

  • Manong of the Philippines: Interview With Script Supervisor and Gerry De Leon’s AD Dik Trofeo
  • Hemisphere Appreciation by Filmmaker David Decoteau
  • Audio Commentary With Film Historians Nathaniel Thompson and Howard S. Berger
  • Partial Audio Commentary With Hemisphere Marketing Consultant Samuel M. Sherman
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Blood Drinkers Trailer
  • Vampire People Trailer
  • Radio Spot Continue reading

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THE NEW MONKEES (1987): PETER TORK IS DEAD

Peter TorkMonkees member Peter Tork is dead. Not since the infamous Day The Music Died has the rock world suffered such a loss. I’m kidding! Still, though, here’s a Balladeer’s Blog goodbye to the one and only member of the Monkees whose name always puts me in mind of the measure of a force’s tendency to produce torsion equal to the product of the force vector and the radius vector from the axis of rotation to the point of application of the force.

I think you’ll agree.

Anyway, I considered reviewing the Monkees’ movie Head or maybe even the motorcycle flick Torque but instead I’m going with this look at the NEW Monkees show from 1987. 

New MonkeesThe New Monkees are remembered as the most pointless re-launch of a band in history AND as one of the worst television shows in history. I’ve never listened to their one and only album so I can’t say if they make it a Hat Trick with one of the worst albums in history, too. 

The premise sounds like a comedy sketch from the glory days of SCTV but unfortunately this thoroughly bizarre attempt to recapture the flukish charm of the original Monkees was 100% real.

Let’s look at the debut episode of The New Monkees‘ 13 episode run in 1987. Everything you’ve heard is true: We get Rocky Horror Picture Show lips voiced by a black lady, a weird sci-fi mansion home for the title foursome, a built-in diner and their annoying butler, Manford.

The laugh track does NOT go off during the few things that seemed funny, like a couple of apparently ad-libbed jokes by the New Monkees during their screen test footage, but instead goes off during lame, obvious jokes that not even small children would laugh at. Continue reading

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television, humor

MAN FROM ATLANTIS (1977) ON BLU-RAY

Man from AtlantisYes, in a not-so-subtle attempt to exploit Aquaman‘s suprising success it’s a Warner Archives Blu-ray of the telefilm Man From Atlantis. Patrick Duffy stars as Marcarus, the (seemingly) last survivor of Atlantis with Victor “King Tut” Buono as his evil archenemy Mr. Schubert.

Belinda Montgomery and Alan Fudge co-star as marine scientists who ally themselves with Duffy and name him “Mark Harris.” I’m just weird enough to love the fact that when Duffy’s son joined him in the cast of Dallas years later the son’s character was also named Mark Harris. Cute.

This is the telefilm that led to the series which featured “undersea time portals” and bad model sub work and midgets called Moxie and giants named Thark.     Continue reading

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TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT ANNIVERSARY AND A CALL TO FANS

1a randy and richard

Randy (right) and Richard way down on Level 31 hosting The Texas 27 Film Vault

Today is the 34th Anniversary of the very first episode of The Texas 27 Film Vault from Saturday, February 9th of 1985. My psychotically obsessive research on the show has yielded a lot of info over the years but I have now worn out every source I could find.

Even the show’s co-host and co-creator Randy Clower has been bled dry of information on the show by me. Over the years other fans of the show – and a special shout-out goes to “the Cap’n” – have provided info here and there that often led me to concrete source material.

Anyway, here are some movies that we have general, varied reason to believe were shown on The Texas 27 Film Vault but I need original broadcast dates, info on comedy sketches or movie ticket give-aways, etc. Episodes aired for 2 and a half hours Saturday nights from 10:30pm to 1:00am in Texas and Oklahoma.

Fiend without a faceFIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958)

The Film: “Thought Monsters” leech into atomic energy, then extract human brains and spinal columns to use as their corporeal forms. This is a Bad Movie Classic remembered largely because of the scenes where the flying brains, sporting antennae, attack their prey, with their spinal cord “tails” streaming along behind them.     

Serial Episode: No idea, for now.

Reason for believing it was shown: Some of the Flying Brain Creatures are on the 1987 Texas 27 Film Vault poster.

Earth vs the Flying saucersEARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS (1956)

The Film: The title says it all for this fun but weird black & white time-waster.

Serial Episode: Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe.

Reason for believing it was shown: Tex (Ken Miller) announced it was to be the movie “Next time on The Texas 27 Film Vault” on one of the surviving episodes that I have.  Continue reading

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

HORROR HOST HALL OF FAME: BALLOT FOR THE 2019 INDUCTEES

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for the old, old Movie Host shows. Here is the ballot for 2019 which lets you select your five nominees for the Horror Host Hall of Fame. VOTING ENDS FEBRUARY 15th SO JUST ONE WEEK LEFT!

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, humor, Movie Hosts