In the middle 1980s/ Way down on Level 31 …
Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult show from the 1980s by way of my research through VERY old newspapers, my interviews with series co-star and co-creator Randy Clower and emails from my fellow fans of this program.
EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday February 22nd, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1:00am.
*** NOTE: I’ve now received a different account saying that this episode really aired earlier in February and was accompanied by the final chapter of the serial Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe. Any clarification would help us.
SERIAL: Before showing and mocking the movie machine-gun toting Randy Clower and Richard Malmos, as members of the fictional Film Vault Corps (“the few, the proud, the sarcastic”) showed and mocked Chapter Two of the Republic Serial Radar Men from the Moon (1952).
FILM VAULT LORE: Our Film Vault Technicians First Class would pull the usual Movie Host duties like providing background info on the films and serials, and would also do comedy sketches centered around their fictional Film Vault Corps before and after commercials. They protected their duty station from menaces like giant rats, cellumites and other threats.
That duty station – Level 31 Core 27 of the Film Vault System was accessed via an industrial park behind KDFI Channel 27’s headquarters off Highway 183 near Dallas. The show was directed by Karl Newman, who often good-naturedly bemoaned Randy and Richard’s tendency to ad-lib. Sometimes in print interviews Newman would joke that if they used a script they would need far too many takes for Clower and Malmos to read their lines right, hence the ad-libbing.
THE MOVIE: Blood Beach (1980) was one of the least effective horror films of the 1980s. It had a half-decent premise – a monster beneath the sand at a California beach sucking victims down into its hellish maw – but squandered that premise with incredibly slow pacing. The inane dialogue spouted by the annoying characters didn’t help matters. Continue reading
I got a reader request to review the horror film Death Bed, but I already did in 2011. Here it is again and remember, to see if I already reviewed a movie click here: https://glitternight.com/bad-movies/
DEATH BED – (1977) – Category: A neglected bad movie classic that deserves a Plan 9-sized cult following.
A bed that eats everyone who lies on it is the hilarious premise of this actual straight-faced attempt at a horror film. You know how water-beds have water in them? This living bed has digestive juices in it. Its victims are somehow sucked through the membraneous material of the mattress and are broken down and digested by those juices.
The viewer is treated to countless shots of human bodies (plus for variety an apple, a fly and a bucket o’ chicken) dissolving in the acid, looking like they’re being torn apart by millions of tiny piranha fish.
If you’re wondering how a four-poster bed in an abandoned mansion became a living being with a taste for human flesh, we’re told a tree-demon (no relation to the tree-monster in From Hell It Came) temporarily incarnated as a human being to seduce a woman on the bed. At one point in the tale the blood-colored tears of the demon fell on the bed, thus creating our hungry, hungry hero. Continue reading
FATHER’S DAY (2011) – Brace yourself for a gory time in this enjoyably outrageous cult classic.
Ahab, the eye-patch sporting hero of the Astron 6 horror film Father’s Day is in my opinion the one true successor to Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams. And considering how unfair the ending of this movie is for Ahab and his two sidekicks a case could even be made for them replacing Ash as the most royally screwed character in the history of gore-soaked horror comedies.
It’s difficult to review this dark, grotesque gem without resorting to a series of catch phrases like “Goes where Dead Alive and similar movies failed to go” or “What Grindhouse hath wrought” or even “Twink and Walnut: They’re NOT Muppets!” Let me start with a more practical line: Do not watch this movie if you can not handle the most offensive violence, concepts, gore and deranged sexuality imaginable. Continue reading
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
PSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010) – Also available under the title Gothic & Lolita Psycho, this ultra-violent and blood-soaked movie was Japanese filmmaker Go Ohara’s follow-up to Geisha Assassin from 2008.
Rina Akiyama stars as Yuki, the black-clad title character whose fashion sense combines two Japanese fetish looks in one. The film begins with Yuki already enacting her revenge quest against a bizarre quintet of villainous supernatural figures. Disjointed flashbacks provide background details as the story unfolds, with the most crucial secret being withheld for last.
In fact, I’ll give you my personal guarantee: if you aren’t as blown away as I was by this movie’s climactic revelation … I don’t know what you can do about it. (Just a little something for my fellow Marx Brothers fans out there.)
At any rate lovers of J-Horror know the type of surreal, over-the-top bloodletting and gory violence that awaits in Psycho Gothic Lolita. Yuki’s weapons of choice are umbrellas that are souped-up like the guitars in Once Upon A Time In Mexico and in many Spaghetti Westerns. If you don’t see the logic of her using modified umbrellas just remember it goes with her “look.”
Umbrellas are essential to Goth women to block out the sun and keep their skin pale, so Yuki makes a virtue out of fashion necessity by wielding high-tech bumbershoots that have razor-sharp points, shoot bullets like a machine-gun, are bullet-proof themselves and are stronger than steel. Burgess Meredith, eat your heart out!
Our main character expertly employs these weapons to impale, disembowel and shred her opponents to bloody, fleshy ribbons. Yuki’s most blood-spattered move is to run a foe through with a closed umbrella, then open it while the victim is still clinging to life so they can feel their torso being torn apart by the opening of the umbrella. Look, you’re either committed to movies like this or you just aren’t. Continue reading
BEGOTTEN (1990) – Written and directed by E. E. Merhige, this black and white art film runs 72 minutes. Merhige later directed Shadow of the Vampire, a surreal horror movie about the making of the silent film Nosferatu.
Begotten was grandly described by its creator as a depiction of “the death and rebirth of gods.” If that didn’t make critics and viewers of the time want to belt Merhige in his pretentious face then the movie itself did. Okay, I’m largely just joking with that remark, but I’m sincere when I say that Begotten IS one of those experimental films that practically dares viewers to dismiss it as nonsense masquerading as art.
I like Begotten but if I was doing a promo blurb for it I would avoid its director’s lofty tagline and instead use something like “It begins with God committing suicide … Then it gets weird.”
The opening several minutes of this movie – the portion where God does indeed kill itself – have been all over YouTube for well over a decade. The footage seems to have inspired many of the creepy, black and white, nonsensically macabre videos that uploaders post when trying to start an Alternate Reality Game or just to get easy hits from sheer weirdness. (Think of Plague Doctor masks and such.) Continue reading
GHOULIES (1985) – This was a product from Charles Band, so lovers of bad 1980s horror films know what they’re in for. Ghoulies also had the distinction of being the last movie ever shown on the Pre-MST3K cult show The Texas 27 Film Vault (Covered extensively here at Balladeer’s Blog).
Jack Nance from Eraserhead and Mariska Hargitay from Law and Order: SVU can both point to this flick as their most embarrassing moment on screen.
A Satanist played by rock singer Michael Des Barres leaves his mansion – which was the site of his Black Masses and human sacrifices – to a young couple played by Lisa Pelikan and Peter Liapis. They move into the creepy old place and the man starts to become possessed by the dark forces that linger in the mansion.
Eventually his dabbling in Satanic rituals causes his zombified father Malcolm (Des Barres) to climb out of his grave,which is conveniently located in the mansion’s backyard. Continue reading