FRIDAY THE 13th: THE ORPHAN (1977) – H.H. Munro must have turned over in his grave at this adaptation of one of his short stories. This quasi-horror film was re-released in 1979 as just The Orphan and despite the original title it has no connection to the Friday the 13th series of slasher flicks. At least, no REAL connection. I’m surprised some unscrupulous distributor never tried sneaking this into theaters in the 1980s as a “prequel” to the slasher movies by presenting the insane young boy in the movie as the grandfather of Jason Voorhees.
Even so the title makes it hard not to think of our wealthy young protagonist “David” (Mark Owens) as an ancestor of the hockey- masked slice and dice man from Crystal Lake. In the 1920s David’s mother accidentally shoots his African Big Game Hunter father Kevin to death during an argument about his frequent overseas trips. David not only witnesses this but sees his mother put the gun in her mouth and kill herself immediately afterward.
Next David gets VERY disturbed when a presumed family member (an uncredited Christopher Lloyd in a “blink-and-you’ll- miss- him” appearance) forces him to kiss his dead father as he lies in his coffin.
The young man’s Aunt Martha arrives to take care of him (and yes, obscure movie buffs, she sometimes does dreadful things). Turns out Martha was dating David’s father before he callously dumped her to marry her sister. Martha takes her resentment of the father out on David and even chews him out about a cough he inherited from dear dead Dad. I’m sure you can tell where all this is headed. Continue reading
Before MST3K there was … The Texas 27 Film Vault!
Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the mid-1980s.
EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday April 19th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.
EXTRAS: This episode featured footage of our Film Vault Technicians First Class Randy and Richard’s promotional appearance at Six Flags Mall in nearby Arlington, TX.
HOST SEGMENTS: One particular Host Segment featured one of the show’s behind-the- scenes people portraying Commando Cody complete with helmet and rocket pack. He was portraying the character because the Commando Cody serial Radar Men from the Moon was the current serial being shown before the movie each week on The Texas 27 Film Vault.
Since Randy Clower still outranked his co-host Richard Malmos (at least until a few episodes later) in the fictional Film Vault Corps (“The few, the proud, the sarcastic”) their relationship often featured the type of abusive “Host and Second Banana” dynamic like that between Dr Morgus and his lab assistant Chopsley or Zacherle and his wife My Dear or Dr Forester and TV’s Frank.
At any rate this Host Segment featured “Commando Cody” befriending Randy and setting out with him for a night of partying on the town while the two leave Richard behind to do all the grub work in their barracks.
SERIAL: As noted above Radar Men from the Moon was the current serial being shown. This episode featured Chapter Ten titled Mass Execution.
THE MOVIE: Continue reading
CORPSE EATERS (1974) – No, not The Brain Eaters and not The Worm Eaters, both of which are real movies, but Corpse Eaters without any “the” in front. This 57 minute wonder actually manages to overstay its welcome, believe it or not, which is just as well because the similar low-budget film Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things did everything better than this film does.
The people behind Corpse Eaters know JUST what horror fans want to see … water-skiing and plenty of it! This baby takes the concept of padding to the next level with interminable footage of two couples having a great time boating and otherwise whooping it up at lakeside. I’m not old enough to have ever sat through a suburban family’s hellishly boring home-movies but thanks to this film I can experience it as if I was alive back then! Sweeeeet!
The aforementioned lakeside footage comes after the audience is treated to several loooong minutes of a mortician and his assistant talking about what a creepy job they have. Then it’s on to our “stars” if that isn’t too strong a word for them. The frolicing couples note that it’s Friday the 13th and decide to spend the night in a graveyard just for the heck of it. Continue reading
HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following
Okay, this movie is better known than many of the other joyously bad films I review, but it still hasn’t acquired the reputation or the following it deserves as Midnight Movie or Movie Host material. Vic Morrow IS the heavy and Doug McClure IS another bland and unmemorable hero in this film, one of the many horror flicks that tried to imitate Alien.
Roger Corman executive- produced and his gang alone would turn out a few other movies that were , shall we say – “reminiscent” – of Alien, namely Forbidden World and Galaxy of Terror (If you ever wanted to see Joannie from Joannie Loves Cha-Chi explode from within this is the movie for you!) Continue reading
It’s Balladeer’s Blog’s semi-annual Mother’s Day post!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! LOVE, GEORGE (1973) – Category: Bad movie elevated by kitsch value in the casting.
Directed by THE Darren McGavin and featuring his wife Kathie Browne in a small role, this hilariously bizarre film is also known as Run, Stranger, Run. “Run, Potential Viewer, Run” would be a more appropriate title.
Happy Mother’s Day Love, George (henceforth HMDLG) is often described as a psycho-sexual thriller but actually it is nothing more than a melodramatic soap opera with a few murders and VERY few scenes of blood and gore. Those blood and gore scenes are so over-the-top they are completely at odds with the low-key, almost made-for-tv mildness of the rest of the movie.
This was a theatrical release but is so subdued and slow-paced it seems like a telefilm. You and your friends can keep yourselves entertained making jokes about the recognizable cast members to kill time since the first murder doesn’t happen until we’re more than an hour into this flick.
Ron Howard IS Johnny, a teenager who has come to town to discover who his birth parents are but who mostly just stands around staring at people and ESPECIALLY at houses. He seems completely taken aback that the townspeople find this somewhat creepy. Johnny is intrigued by the rash of missing persons plaguing the small town and feels they are connected to the secret of his past.
Cloris Leachman IS Ronda (no “h”), Johnny’s real mother, as we learn very early in the film. Ronda is in such dire financial straits she had to hock the “h” in her name for rent money. (I’m kidding!) She never speaks to her sister, sleeps with a gigolo passing through town and serves up meals along with expository dialogue. Continue reading
Readers of Balladeer’s Blog asked for more May the Fourth material, so here’s an “encore presentation” as they used to call reruns, of my 2015 review of The Humanoid. In my view this is the worst of the Italian Star Wars ripoffs.
I know many people consider Star Crash to be the worst of the Italo-Ripoffs but I’ve always gotten more laughs out of The Humanoid.
The many, many ways this movie steals from Star Wars will become clear as we go along. Let’s deal with first things first:
Richard Kiel plays the title figure. His real name is Golob but the Darth Vaderish bad guy arranges for Golob to be the guinea pig for a treatment that transforms ordinary people into powerful “Humanoids”. As a Humanoid Golob loses his beard for some reason but – even more comically – the beard suddenly reappears when he is returned to normal late in the movie.
Golob in his amped-up Humanoid form has super-strength, is invulnerable to harm and can deflect energy blasts that the Rebel Alliance-style good guys shoot at him. The bad guys plan to use a warhead to expose every man, woman and child on Earth to the bio-treatment, thus creating an instant army of billions of super-powered Humanoids like Richard Kiel. (Good luck controlling them since the treatment will reduce them to mindless animals like Golob.)
Corinne Clery portrays Barbara Gibson, the spunky Princess Leia pastiche. Barbara is a prominent scientist of Metropolis, which is what the entire Earth has been renamed now that it is just one big planet-wide city in the far future setting of The Humanoid. Barbara studies a gifted Asian lad who controls
the Force uh, I mean some kind of psychic or magical energy field.
Ivan Rassimov plays the main villain Lord Graal, whose entire army dresses exactly like Darth Vader. He does, too, but to stand out from his underlings HIS black helmet and mask have cutouts that let his eyes, mouth and cheeks show. Lord Graal wants to create the aforementioned Humanoid army so he can conquer the entire Milky Way galaxy. He has magical powers like the Asian boy. Continue reading
Midnight Marquee, the renowned magazine devoted to horror, sci fi and cult films, returns after a long hiatus.
The 80th issue is now available. Below find the table of contents of this latest issue and the click for ordering. Continue reading