Tag Archives: Bad Movies

MR NO LEGS (1978)

mr no legsMR NO LEGS (1978) – Ted Vollrath, a Korean War veteran who lost his legs due to injuries he suffered during the conflict, became a multiple black belt in martial arts disciplines and established Martial Arts for the Handicapable Incorporated in 1971. In addition to appearing in a documentary titled Let Me Live In Your World he starred as a scene-stealing badass in Mr No Legs, which was also released under titles like Killers Die Hard, Pushers Die Hard, Dope Runners Die Hard and the much less descriptive Gun Fighter.   

Mr No Legs is nowhere near as outrageous as the Hong Kong kung fu movies Crippled Masters, Crippled Heroes and Crippled Avengers, nor is it as exploitative as those flicks. Vollrath plays Lou, the title character, whose wheelchair is equipped with built-in shotguns in the arm rests and Ninja stars connected to the wheels.

mr no legs titleLou himself is deadly in or out of his chair, as he is highly skilled with knives and handguns, but his most dangerous trait is the way he can use his muscular, toned body to kick the butts of all comers in unarmed combat. Lou’s status as the enforcer and hit man for a Tampa drug lord has earned him big money and a buxom blonde lady who sees to his various needs.

A real-life multiple amputee with a James Bond-gimmicked wheelchair and mastery of karate would be enough to ensure Mr No Legs a spot in Psychotronic movie Valhalla, but the film offers so much more.

Consider the following: Continue reading

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DEATH MACHINES (1976)

death machines

This poster bears absolutely NO resemblance to anything that’s actually in the movie.

DEATH MACHINES (1976) – Balladeer’s Blog’s old friend Ron Marchini is back! Just two years after sharing the screen with the Wizard of Odd Leo Fong in Murder in the Orient, Marchini produced this film in which he, Michael Chong and Joshua Johnson portrayed lobotomized living thralls who kill on command.

Paul Kyriazi directed and co-wrote Death Machines, a movie which has decent production values and always looks as if it’s a professional project, but is hilariously let down by the acting, writing, fight choreography and special effects.

Madame LeeOur story begins with the villainous Madame Lee (Mari Honjo), the Asian field boss of a criminal empire, observing a demonstration of her outfit’s new martial arts assassins in action. Ron Marchini IS White Death Machine, Michael Chong brings to life Asian Death Machine and Joshua Johnson wows as Black Death Machine. That’s exactly how our title trio are listed in the credits, by the way. Continue reading

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LEONARD NIMOY’S BOXING MOVIE: KID MONK BARONI (1952)

kid monk baroniKID MONK BARONI (1952) – It’s not Rocky, it’s Spocky! Leonard Nimoy made his film debut in this half-assed, cliche-filled and trope-ridden mess of a movie. Nimoy plays Paul Baroni aka Kid Monk Baroni, a street-fighting tough guy whose belligerence stems from his mild deformity and the scorn that it brings him.

nimoy fake noseIn lieu of prosthetic ears, Kid Monk Baroni finds Leonard sporting a prosthetic nose for a large part of the film, thus depicting the “ugliness” which drives his hostile urges. Paul Baroni has become a leader of sorts for his pack of juvenile delinquents called the Billy Goat Gang, an inferior imitation of Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall’s Bowery Boys/ Dead End Kids/ Little Tough Guys and all the other names they used over the years. Continue reading

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JAMES BATMAN (1966): A THANKSGIVING TURKEY

james batmanJAMES BATMAN (1966) – HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Balladeer’s Blog takes a Turkey Day look at a film from the Philippines. This movie teams up Batman, Robin and James Bond as they battle an evil organization called C.L.A.W. It’s another of the many unauthorized Batman movies from around the world. 

James Batman is in Tagalog with English subtitles and stars Filipino actor Dolphy as both Batman and James Bond, who is sometimes called James Wong in the subtitles and sometimes called James Hika. Dolphy also plays millionaire Dolpho, Batman’s secret identity (?). Robin, played by Boy Alano, is Batman’s brother. It’s that kind of movie.

Filipino Batman and RobinDolpho is in love with Shirley (Shirley Moreno), but she considers Dolpho boring and has the hots for Batman. Just as Shirley is oblivious to the fact that Dolpho really IS Batman, she has no idea that her sister (Bella Flores) is secretly the sultry costumed villainess called Black Rose.

Shirley and Bella’s father is the Chairman of the Free Nations, a quasi-United Nations outfit which is given five days to surrender to C.L.A.W. – a communist organization that desires world domination. Continue reading

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GLEN OR GLENDA (1953): ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

Glen or GlendaBefore MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault! In the middle 1980s, way down on Level 31 Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, machine-gun toting Film Vault Technicians First Class hosted this neglected cult show. Balladeer’s Blog continues its celebration of this overlooked Movie Host program. 

ORIGINAL BROADCAST DATE: Unknown but definitely before May of 1986. One of the old newspaper articles from early May of that year refers to Glen or Glenda as one of the movies having already been shown on The Texas 27 Film Vault. Anyone with more specific info feel free to contact me.

SERIAL: Unknown. Again, if you have info contact me.  

COMEDY SKETCHES: Unknown. We’ve exhausted the episodes where I DO know the date, serial and sketches. 

THE MOVIE: Continue reading

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THE HOOKED GENERATION (1968): BAD MOVIE

hooked generationTHE HOOKED GENERATION (1968) – Directed and co-written by the one and only William Grefe. William is known to me and my fellow fans of bad movies for Florida-filmed cult turkeys like Sting of Death, Death Curse of Tartu, The Wild Rebels and Impulse, with William Shatner.

The Hooked Generation is horribly mistitled. That title makes it sound like one of the many over-the-top, heavy handed anti-drug movies of the past. Instead, the film is really about a sleazy, violent gang of small-time drug dealers who bite off more than they can chew when they try to move up in the crime world.

Mascot and guitar

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For a glib description, think of it as a “gangsters headed for a bad end” flick like Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Edward G Robinson used to appear in, but with a low-rent cast that is more like the type of overdone hippie/ counter-culture felons you’d see on 60s and 70s episodes of Hawaii Five-O. There’s plenty of violence, drug use and lurid appeal, though.   

The small-timers whose abilities don’t match their ambitions use their boat to make a clandestine pickup from their Cuban connections out at sea. Those connections are sailors from Castro’s navy who make side money dealing drugs in between the coasts of Florida and Cuba. Continue reading

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HORROR FILM: THE NEST OF THE CUCKOO BIRDS (1965)

nest of the cuckoo birdsTHE NEST OF THE CUCKOO BIRDS (1965) – Halloween Month continues here at Balladeer’s Blog with a review of this low-budget, black & white bomb which played a few theaters in 1965 then was considered lost until 2017. Florida’s Bert Williams produced, wrote, directed and starred in this very strange film which strives for “Psycho Meets Tennessee Williams” levels but falls more into territory occupied by the likes of Spider Baby and Manos, The Hands of Fate.

Williams’ wife Peggy sang the title song, which inspired a later version by the Cramps, believe it or not. Peggy also sang the closing song Lisa.

Our auteur Bert Williams plays Johnson, a Liquor Control Department Agent aka “Revenuer” in the slang of deep south moonshiners. He is sent on an assignment into the Everglades to infiltrate and bring down a violent gang of moonshiners who make their own bootleg whiskey via their still on one of the scattered pieces of solid land found in the swamps of the Florida Everglades.

After an absurdly irrelevant recollection to his chief about a lost love of his from long ago, Agent Johnson departs on his mission. 

masked killer from cuckoosJohnson’s cover is blown, and he flees into the swamplands to escape the bootleggers, who are led by their murderous boss called Doc. Half wading and half swimming, our exhausted protagonist arrives after dark at another isolated and uncharted little “island” amid the Everglades. He is nearly stabbed to death by a naked woman wearing a wig and a bizarre mask, a woman he at first mistakes for a statue.

The Revenue Agent manages to outfight and escape the woman in an utterly ridiculous fast-motion scene which could use the Benny Hill Theme as accompaniment. Johnson stumbles upon the tiny island’s lone structure – a dilapidated hotel called the Cuckoo Bird Inn, run by some of the strangest people this side of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Eaten Alive. Needless to say, the hilarity horror is just beginning. Continue reading

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LARAINE NEWMAN’S CANNED FILM FESTIVAL (1986)

ritzTHE CANNED FILM FESTIVAL STARRING LARAINE NEWMAN (1986) – Halloween Month continues at Balladeer’s Blog with this look at a neglected Movie Host show, since Movie Hosts/ Horror Hosts are as associated with Halloween as are monsters and cosplay.

In this post I won’t be covering the entire history of movie hosting and the “So Bad They’re Good” film subculture. For that, there are my many other blog posts covering movie hosting from Vampira and her contemporaries, through Moona Lisa, then Son of Svengoolie, Elvira, and programs like Saturday Night Dead, The Texas 27 Film Vault and MST3K

canned film festival castTHE SHOW: The Canned Film Festival Starring Laraine Newman. From June 21st to September 13th of 1986 this 90 minute syndicated program sponsored largely by Dr Pepper aired on Saturday nights in various time slots around the United States. Elvira’s show Movie Macabre had run from 1981 to 1986 and was winding down. The Texas 27 Film Vault, which had debuted on February 9th, 1985 was still on the air and would run for roughly two and a half years in Texas and Oklahoma.

Along came The Canned Film Festival, which, with a nationally known name like Laraine Newman attached to it, may well have been the reason that one of the attempted syndication deals for T27FV fell through. Be that as it may, Laraine Newman’s show would – like The Texas 27 Film Vault – show more than just lame horror and sci-fi films and would cover the whole spectrum of bad and/ or campy cinema of the past.

laraine as the usheretteTHE HOSTESS: Laraine Newman may be best known for Saturday Night Live and for her character actress work, but she had been a member of The Groundlings improvisational comedy troupe … As had Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira. Newman was also known as an aficionado of horror and fringe cinema. Continue reading

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ROLLER BLADE (1986): POST-APOCALYPSE PAP

roller bladeROLLER BLADE (1986) – They’re the Cosmic Order of the Roller Blade and they’re female Jedi Knights on roller skates. Well, sort of. Where does one begin when reviewing this film that is so beloved by all of us fans of bad movies? Let’s start with the setting and then tackle the characters as well as Roller Blade’s legendary director Donald G Jackson (R.I.P.). 

This film is set in the future during The Second Dark Age, years after humanity’s “energy weapons” have unleashed an apocalypse which has left the world a ravaged mess of ruined cities yet immaculately maintained roads and highways. Go figure.

Amid the usual tableau of feral gangs and predatory mutants there stands a force for good dedicated to rebuilding the world: a religious order of warrior nuns called the Cosmic Order of the Roller Blade … Even though none of them wear actual roller blades, just regular roller skates. 

skate or die“Skate or Die” is the ugly motto of the survivors in this kill or be killed future. That’s because the filmmakers absurdly pretend that traveling via roller skates or skateboards is the only way to move swiftly enough to have a chance of evading the dangerous gangs and mutants.

If you have any goods or supplies that you are taking with you the only way to transport them is in metal grocery carts that can roll along with you as you skate through the post-apocalyptic landscape. I’m not joking. This grocery cart nonsense is another idiotic element that the movie takes 100% seriously despite how inane it looks. 

Our characters:

Mother SpeedMOTHER SPEED (Katina Garner) – The Mother Superior of the Order of the Roller Blade. She is in a wheelchair yet still wears roller skates on her feet since such skates are part of the Order’s sacred garments. Mother Speed, like all the good guys in Roller Blade, speaks in grandiose faux-Shakespearean littered with “thees” and “thous” and “yea, verilies.” ESPECIALLY “yea, verilies.” 

Making Mother Speed even more fun is the way she speaks with a weird accent that makes her sound like popular 1980s sex therapist Dr Ruth Westheimer. Continue reading

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IDAHO TRANSFER (1973): MOVIE REVIEW

IDAHO TRANSFER (1973) – This film, directed by Peter Fonda and starring mostly unknowns, deals with time travel and post-apocalypse themes. It was retitled Deranged for its DVD release. I have no idea why.

Not so long ago Idaho Transfer was regarded among us fans of bad movies as a So-Bad-It’s Good example of the way so many 1970s sci-fi films were presented as if they were being deep and innovative when in truth they were just reworking ideas from old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episodes but dragging them out to unbearable length.

Here in 2021 Idaho Transfer has fallen so far off the schlock charts that it’s unknown to many viewers. However, it is STILL one of the best So-Bad-It’s-Good examples of pretentious yet shallow 1970s sci-fi films. While this story might have made a decent episode of a half-hour anthology series it is excruciatingly stretched out to 86 minutes.

THE PREMISE: In the movie’s present-day (1973) a group of scientists in Idaho have been using their federal grant money to try developing a teleportation/ matter transfer device for the government. Along the way, however, they realized that they had accidentally invented a machine that transports people and objects through time instead of space.  Continue reading

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