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. Continue reading
We all know today’s date, so let’s examine the notoriously bad Italian ripoff of Star Wars. 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
THE WIZARD OF MARS – (1965) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following
This 1965 film from David L Hewitt is my all-time favorite kitschy movie about space travel.
This one has all the little extras that separate a true bad movie classic from the mere pretenders. One of those extras would be incredibly cheap special effects, some of them cadged right from the old Soviet sci-fi flick Planet of Storms, which is a lot of fun for people like me who’ve seen those same bits of footage show up in countless other bad movies. (Especially the spaceship’s “viewscreen” complete with markings for North, South, East and West, which would, of course, be meaningless in space)
Another extra that this film has is the man I consider to be the Patron Saint of Bad Movies, John Carradine himself, as the titular wizard. I don’t recommend trying to see all the movies John Carradine has appeared in unless you plan on making a career out of it and I don’t recommend that either. (Somewhere around his Continue reading
TOOMORROW (1970) – What is one part Monkees episode, one part Frankie & Annette Beach Movie, one part Help!, one part Donny & Marie in Goin’ Coconuts, one part KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park and one part Beyond the Valley of the Dolls? The answer is Toomorrow, the infamous Don Kirshner/ Val Guest cult movie with a then-unknown Olivia Newton-John in a starring role.
The aim was to launch a new pre-fab pop band like the Monkees, but this time consisting of an Aussie (Newton-John of course), a Brit (Vic Cooper), an African-American (Karl Chambers) and a white American (Benny Thomas).
Olivia sings and also dances around the guys while they play, Benny plays the guitar, Karl is the drummer and Vic plays the keyboard AND his special invention called a Tonalizer. The band is called Toomorrow because, as Karl observes, they are “Too much! Too-Morrow!”
We’re told that Vic’s Tonalizer is what gives Toomorrow its special “sound.” How special is that sound? So special that its unique vibrations can revive the stagnant culture of an alien race that’s facing decay and collapse. It seems the aliens’ own musical output has grown stale because they have long since progressed beyond the troublesome “emotions” and “heart” that Toomorrow’s members pour into their songs.
Buy this movie for the Sandbaggers or Dalgleish fan in your life, because Roy “Neil Burnside” Marsden co-stars as Alpha, the captain of the aliens’ spaceship. His forever-terse voice is unmistakable despite the – admittedly competent – makeup and prosthetic effects for the ET’s (above right). Continue reading
MARS MEN aka HUO XING REN (1976) – What do you get when Taiwanese filmmakers take a co-produced Thai/ Japanese kaiju movie, alter the monsters and the character names then edit in their own actors Mighty Morphin Power Rangers-style?
You get this deliriously weird sci-fi/ monster flick which combines the appeal of Godzilla, Gamera, Jet Jaguar and Ultraman with The Golden Bat and Infra-Man plus a wig or two from Fugitive Alien! Not to mention pirated Pink Floyd music! Who could resist?
Taiwan’s elusive monsterpiece Mars Men has long been the Holy Grail for all fans of kaiju and of overdubbed & re-edited movie mashups from around the world. Huo Xing Ren, as it was called during its Taiwanese run, started out in 1974 as Giant and Jumbo A, a co-production of studios from Thailand and Japan.
The “heroic” monster and giant were Yak Wat Jaeng (right) & Jumborg Ace, respectively. Yak Wat Jaeng was a fanged, green-colored stone statue from the Thai movie Tah Tien (1971).
Jumborg Ace was a Jet Jaguar/ Ultraman-ish kaiju superhero from a Japanese tv show (all 50 episodes are available for purchase). Continue reading
2020 TEXAS GLADIATORS (1982) – HAPPY NEW YEAR! Balladeer’s Blog’s Weirdness at the End of the World welcomes in the year 2020 with a look at what Texas will be like in a few months. There are changes coming your way, Texans!
Actually, it’s not really Texas and there are NO gladiators in this film but at least it is now officially 2020!
When reviewing other post-apocalypse movies I’ve often made references to 2020 Texas Gladiators. The fact that I call it my favorite bad post-apocalypse movie has often prompted readers of Balladeer’s Blog to ask why I hadn’t reviewed it yet. The answer was always that I was saving it up for New Year’s Day of 2020.
Just because this is my favorite bad post-apocalypse film does NOT mean I consider it to be the worst one. That designation would be reserved for unwatchable trash like Empire of Ash III and the like.
2020 Texas Gladiators is my favorite bad entry in the genre because of how it defeats itself at every turn, because of its lame attempts to pretend it’s being filmed in America instead of Italy and because of how joyously tasteless it is. Tell the Hekawi tribe from F-Troop to move over! They’ve been replaced as the fakest-looking Native Americans in entertainment history by the post-apocalypse Indians in this flick, portrayed by obvious Italian extras!
Their black wigs with built-in headbands are one thing, their less than authentic vests are another thing, their Tonto way of speaking still another, but the POST-APOCALYPSE TEEPEES they live in will bring a smile to the lips of any true fan of really bad exploitation movies.
Taking things from the top, Al D’Amato directed 2020 Texas Gladiators under one of his countless aliases. For all I know he may have even directed a film using MY name. The following year Warrior of the Lost World, another Italian ripoff of Mad Max, would reuse this movie’s Nazi-esque uniforms and riot shields for the bad guys and many of this flick’s supporting cast. Hell, the largest vehicle in 2020TG even shows up as Mega-Weapon in that same movie. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog takes another look at some very strange movies from the cinematic hinterlands. Enjoy these four to help get over any post-Christmas blues.
INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS (1973) – William “Big Bill” Smith from biker films and the old western series Laredo stars as a government agent investigating the mysterious deaths of scientists working on Top Secret projects.
Turns out a female mad scientist is creating a race of human/queen bee hybrids out of female subjects. These Bee Girls then go forth and slay their male targets by literally “loving” them to death. Continue reading
Terminator: Dark Fate is – as of this writing – on course to lose 120 million dollars due to its lackluster performance. (UPDATE: The projected loss has now been increased to 130 million dollars)
That lackluster performance is due to its many failings – chief among those the killing-off of John Connor in the first few minutes of the movie.
Reviewer Viv of Hey Viv fame passionately and brilliantly dismembered this pathetic excuse for filmmaking. Enjoy her review below and be sure to subscribe to her HERE
NO SURVIVORS PLEASE (1964) – This obscure black & white wonder from West Germany is one of the most memorably weird movies of its time. It’s not easy to describe what makes it so appealing. The fundamental story – aliens plan to wipe out all life on Earth – has been done too many times to count. Not even their method is all that unique – the ET’s project their consciousness into the bodies of freshly-dead human beings – which has been done in other movies.
No Survivors Please is certainly not cheap, either. The action takes place in various international locations, the actors were all reasonably big in Europe at the time and the production values are impressive. There are no laughable spaceships, no goofy-looking aliens and no lame monsters on the loose.
There’s just something about this film, though. While not colossally bad it still keeps you laughing the entire running time. A large part of the reason is the fact that the people who get possessed by the aliens often behave LESS weirdly than the supposedly “normal” people do.
We join the story with the aliens’ plot already pretty far along. They’ve been engineering the deaths of assorted scientists, politicians and military figures from around the world and then possessing their bodies. From there they manipulated global events to the degree that they are on the verge of secretly provoking a nuclear war that will annihilate all life on Earth. Continue reading
It’s Friday the Thirteenth! In previous years Balladeer’s Blog has examined the 1907 novel Friday the Thirteenth, the odd horror/ arthouse film Friday the Thirteenth: The Orphan and the Texas 27 Film Vault presentation of Friday the Thirteenth Part 3D. This year I’ll take a look at some of the worst Jason Voorhees imitators and forerunners.
Movie: Horror House on Highway Five (1985)
Lore: Bartholomew wore a Richard Nixon mask while slicing and dicing his victims. He was a simple-minded man transformed into an unstoppable killer by a Nazi mad scientist … A Nazi mad scientist who, strangely enough, wore a yarmulke. With a swastika on it. (?)
FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW CLICK HERE
Movie: The Psychopath (1975)
Lore: Mister Rabbey was a child-minded nutcase who hosted a Mister Rogers-type kiddie show. When he discovers that some of the children he visits at the local hospital have been abused by their parents he sets out to kill those abusers. He kills by strangling one victim with his security blanket but also uses weapons like a baseball bat, garden shears and a lawnmower in his deadly crusade.
FOR MY FULL-LENGTH REVIEW CLICK HERE Continue reading