INVASION FROM INNER EARTH (1974) – This hilariously bad science fiction film was one of the early efforts from Bill Rebane, whose low budget movies were to Wisconsin what Larry Buchanan and his productions were to Texas. Invasion from Inner Earth is a perfect example of “so bad it’s good” filmmaking … for the first half hour or so. After that the story drags on agonizingly and the apparently improvised dialogue pushes your sanity to the breaking point.
A disease has been killing off human beings by the millions while the aliens who unleashed the disease further torment humanity with red smoke bombs and buzz attacks from their flying saucers. Scattered pockets of people have survived but most of those groups seem absurdly unfazed by the apocalyptic events that are unfolding.
Some news broadcasts take the events seriously but others present the victims of the chaos as bone-headed rubes deserving of ridicule. We are even shown viewers laughing at these victims but we never understand why, since the Earth is obviously under attack with millions of dead and missing. At no time are we shown the mockers getting their comeuppance for their smirking callousness despite how wrong they are. It’s that kind of movie. Continue reading
June 7th is National VCR Day! Balladeer’s Blog marks the occasion with some very brief takes on old VHS movies that I’ll probably never find the time to write full-length reviews about.
THE DEADLY SPAWN (1983) – This film is also known as The Alien’s Deadly Spawn. If you’re into less appreciated splatter flicks this is the movie for you! Diminutive creatures (ignore the poster) from outer space terrorize a neighborhood while literally chewing their way through anything in their way, including human bodies. The gore effects are graphic but not extreme, the acting ranges from awful to average and the creature designs may be cheap but the overall package makes this a cult classic. And watch out for that final stinger!
TRIUMPH OF THE CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE (1974) – Another movie in the Campeones Justicieros series from Mexico. Blue Demon, Superzan and the White Phantom are back in action, aided by Elsa Cardenas as Venus. In their usual way, these wrestlers/ pulp heroes/ superheroes are clashing with their foe Black Hand and a group of evil midgets from another planet (or dimension, it’s hard to tell sometimes). And did I mention that for most of the run time the midgets are INVISIBLE while kidnapping Earth women? Lucha Libre the way it was meant to be – hard-hitting, Dutch-angled and barely coherent! Continue reading
I’ve gotten e-mails asking that I review this movie but I already did in 2010. It’s been on my Bad Movie page here: https://glitternight.com/bad-movies/
IF FOOTMEN TIRE YOU, WHAT WILL HORSES DO? (1971) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following.
No, it’s not about Quentin Tarantino and pre-Castro Havana nightclubs (Thank you, I’m here all week!) it’s really a Cold War-era warning about what would happen if Communists took over the United States. It’s from Ron Ormond, best known for the bad movie classic Mesa Of Lost Women before he found religion and hooked up with the Reverend Estus W Pirkle for films like this one.
Pirkle serves as the narrator of this quirky little mess, ranting on and on in his over-the-top way about how the USA has turned away from the Bible and will suffer the consequences. He’s like a combination of Criswell in Plan 9 From Outer Space and the sermonizing narrator from Blood Freak (qv).
In one of his enjoyably bizarre tangents before he gets to the Soviet conquest of America he also speaks out on the “evils” of dancing, which he calls ”The front door to adultery! What starts on the dance floor is expected to be finished later.” He even says dancing is “as immoral as it has always been”. Continue reading
THE SECRET OF THE LOCH (1934) – So America gave the world King Kong in 1933, eh? Well, the Empire strikes back! Milton Rosmer directed this neglected British film that was co-written by THE Charles Bennett and edited by THE David Lean. The Loch Ness Monster is featured and is found to be responsible for multiple mysterious deaths around the Loch, though only one on-screen instance of the monster devouring a human occurs in the movie.
Seymour Hicks stars as Professor Heggie and seems to think he’s still performing in Silent Movies, given his hilarious overacting. Heggie believes in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster but seems even less credible than modern-day people who claim to have spotted the beastie.
Frederick Peisley costars as London newspaper reporter Jimmy Anderson, who tries to get a story about the Loch Ness Monster. Australia’s Nancy O’Neil portrays Angela Heggie, the professor’s granddaughter with whom Jimmy forges a romance.
Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that all – or at least most – roads lead to bad movies with me. Since 1976 the movie Track of the Moon Beast has been a cult hit for the Psychotronic-minded and for those people who were lucky enough to catch it at various drive-ins during their heyday.
Hidden away inside that piece of 1970s schlock was the song California Lady, a catchy and fun song written and performed by Frank Larrabee. In the way that the song Recipe for Romance is associated with the movie Bloody New Year (aka Time Trap) and the song More is associated with Mondo Cane, California Lady has been bound to Track of the Moon Beast.
Frustratingly, the song was not quite complete and had a few interruptions by dialogue from the film. For decades clearer versions of California Lady were incredibly rare. Mike Wolfer found and has uploaded two versions of the song at his YT Channel (subscribe HERE).
The first was the studio recording of the song (below) and the second was the entire EP from Frank Larrabee. California Lady is at the 10:03 mark and is a much smoother, less worn recording of the song and is MUCH MORE LIKE THE PERFORMANCE IN THE MOVIE. No interruptions in either case, so you can enjoy this cult item the way it was meant to be heard.
Click HERE for the EP with the song at 10:03 and HERE for the version below. FOR THE GClephMusique REMASTER, with California Lady as the first song click HERE.
THE BRAIN (1962) – Freddie Francis directed this black & white film, which was the third movie adaptation of Curt Siodmak’s science fiction novel Donovan’s Brain. The characters’ names were changed and the sci fi elements were mixed with detective story elements this time around.
Max Holt, a callous, bloated rich pig of the George Soros/ Koch Family type, is one of the passengers on an airplane which crashes near the laboratory of Dr Peter Corrie (Peter van Eyck). That reclusive doctor and his colleague Dr Frank Shears (played by Bernard Lee himself) have been conducting experiments to see how long they can keep monkey brains alive once removing them from their host body.
Corrie and Shears discover that Max Holt is the only one of the airplane passengers still clinging to life, but just barely, and has no hope of survival. Corrie browbeats Shears into helping him get Holt’s body back to their lab, where they remove his brain to see how long they can keep it alive in one of their fish aquarium containers filled with life-preserving fluids and equipment. Continue reading
DEATH GAME (1977) – Also released under the title The Seducers, this horror movie/ psychological thriller was filmed in 1974 but not released until 1977 due to assorted legal entanglements. Sondra Locke and cult queen Colleen Camp starred with Seymour Cassell in this thoroughly bizarre exploitation movie.
Death Game was remade decades later as Knock Knock starring Keanu Reeves. The 1970s original may have been a trippy exploitation flick which spotlighted titillation and violence but so was the Eli Roth remake. And the original actually feels more honest and less cringe because it lacks the corporate cinematic feel of the Keanu Reeves movie, despite Locke co-producing and Camp making a cameo appearance.
After the oft-invoked nonsense about the film being based on a true story Death Game begins.
Two predatory young women, Agatha Jackson (Sondra Locke) and Donna (Colleen Camp) insinuate themselves into the home of 40 year old George Manning (Seymour Cassell) on a rainy night when his wife and family are out of town. After seducing him they refuse to leave and behave in increasingly menacing and psychotic ways, subjecting him to physical and psychological abuse. Continue reading
CHROME AND HOT LEATHER (1971) THE Marvin Gaye made his big-screen debut in this relentlessly absurd example of the bad biker films of the 1960s and 1970s.
When a Green Beret’s fiancee (played by THE Cheryl Ladd) is killed he and some of his service buddies pose as bikers to track down the motorcycle gang responsible for her death.
Words cannot describe how enjoyably awful this movie is from start to finish. Continue reading
IT’S A BIRD … IT’S A PLANE … IT’S SUPERMAN! (1975) – It’s the bomb that asks the musical question “How many Lembecks can you handle?” Even the most die-hard Superman fans would have a hard time forcing themselves to watch all of this made for tv movie version of the 1966 stage musical.
The needlessly awkward title is a viewer’s first hint that this cringe-inducing production will fail to live up to its potential. The second hint comes in the form of the distractingly cheap illustrated backdrops in every scene. Even Donny and Marie would have nixed those sets.
Despite music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams and script by David Newman & Robert Benton this Superman musical was Broadway’s biggest flop in history as of the 1960s. It’s no great shakes in its televised form, either.
An early song, titled We Need Him, is actually pretty catchy and had me hoping for something halfway decent. Unfortunately most of the other songs are weak at best and annoying at worst. You’ve Got Possibilities and Ooh, Do You Love You are the only other standouts.
Some of the comedy bits are reminiscent of the intentional camp of the 1960s Batman tv series, except for very seldom being actually funny. Only a few of the jokes land, but the failings of the songs and comedy bits are not the fault of the cast members, who try very hard and who have proven themselves in many other productions. Continue reading
BIG ZAPPER (1973) – Linda Marlowe stars as Harriet Zapper, a two-fisted private investigator, in this first of two Zapper movies directed by Balladeer’s Blog’s old friend Lindsay Shonteff. If they ever build a Museum of Britsploitation Films, Shonteff will have an entire wing dedicated to him.
In the past I’ve covered Lindsay’s various pale imitations of the James Bond movies – Number One of the Secret Service, The Man From S.E.X., Number One Gun, The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World and others.
Often forgotten were the man’s pair of films about a virtual “Dirty Harriet” with sexy Linda Marlowe as the lead. I’ve read some reviews that bash Marlowe’s performance as Harriet Zapper but all I can say is those critics must never have seen Lindsay Shonteff’s other film projects. NO actor can come off looking talented under Shonteff’s direction.
Big Zapper finds millionaire Jeremiah Horn (Jack May) hiring Harriet Zapper to find his missing son and daughter. Harriet dives into the investigation and learns that both of the teens were murdered by the criminal organization of a psychotic gangster called Kono (perennial Shonteff villain Gary Hope). Continue reading