Tag Archives: movie reviews

WAVELENGTH (1983)

WavelengthWAVELENGTH (1983) – This is an unjustly neglected science fiction film that stars Robert Carradine, Cherie Currie and Keenan Wynn in a very unconventional love triangle: both Carradine and Currie are fighting over Wynn. (I’m kidding!)

Robert Carradine plays a moody musician suffering a career lull, Cherie Currie portrays a groupie who becomes a bona fide romantic partner for him and Keenan Wynn barks and snarls in his usual “grouch with a heart of gold” manner. Cherie’s sensitive mind is open to alien brain-waves calling to her from a nearby (seemingly) abandoned government installation. Carradine and his neighbor Wynn help her try to find out what’s going on. Continue reading

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ROOSTER: SPURS OF DEATH (1977 & 1983)

rooster spurs of deathROOSTER: SPURS OF DEATH – This cosmically bad and tasteless movie was completed in 1977 but not released until 1983, presumably because there’s never been much demand for films from the ugly subgenre of cockfighting flicks. (Cocksploitation?)

Previously, Balladeer’s Blog reviewed the horrific movie Cockfighter, in which star Warren Oates portrayed a man who trains roosters for cockfights and at one point takes a vow of silence until one of his roosters wins a fight. (Hey, it’s not exactly the Dothraki custom of cutting a man’s hair if he loses a fight, but what can you do?)

Some of my remarks regarding Cockfighter can also be applied to Rooster: Spurs of Death, a Quinn Martin Production. Okay, I’m kidding about the Quinn Martin part, but anyway, R:SOD makes you understand exactly why the cruel activity of cockfighting became so despised. Continue reading

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365 DAYS AND ITS SEQUELS: WORSE THAN BOTH TWILIGHT AND 50 SHADES OF GREY

Blanka Lipinska

Author Blanka Lipinska

365 DAYS (2020) – My fellow fans of bad movies have long been leaving comments and sending emails encouraging me to review Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m glad I delayed, because now I can review this even worse book and film series.

You may be wondering why, if I could resist reviewing the tale of a hundred-year-old vampire and a shirt-challenged werewolf fighting over a hopelessly bland teen girl, why have I decided to go ahead and review 365 Days and its sequels? And you may be wondering why, if I could resist reviewing the tale of a deranged billionaire stalker and the hopelessly bland object of his fixation, why have I decided to go ahead and review 365 Days and its sequels?

I can answer with one word … pierogie!

As my last name indicates, I am of Polish-American descent and with the scene where the abducted woman in the 365 Days franchise demands that her gangster captor provide her with “Normal food … pierogie!” I knew I had found my muse! Even though I never got the hoped-for line “Leave the gun. Take the kielbasa.”  Continue reading

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BRIDE OF WILLIAM SHATNER

marcy laffertyAudiences thrilled to Son of William Shatner. They were chilled by Revenge of William Shatner. And they were both charmed AND slightly turned-on by Bride of William Shatner.

All of which is Balladeer’s Blog’s roundabout way of introducing this quick look at some of the screen appearances of Marcy Lafferty-Shatner, who was married to the legend from 1973-1996.   

paper manPAPER MAN (1971) – Marcy’s appearance in this telefilm was B.S. (Before Shatner). Paper Man starred Dean Stockwell, Stefanie Powers, Tina Chen and Ross Elliott. Marcy played an unnamed secretary.

The plot involved college friends abusing early computer technology to create a non-existent “paper man” just so they could get a credit card in that name and go on a quick spending spree with no accountability.

Things get eerie when the non-existent person they created seems to be tracking them down and killing them one by one.     Continue reading

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OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN IN TOOMORROW (1970)

Olivia Newton-John has passed away. In memoriam here is my 2020 review of her 1970 film Toomorrow, which went unreleased for several years due to legal battles. 

ToomorrowTOOMORROW (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!”

Toomorrow 2We’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

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POSSE (1993)

 Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 5th!

POSSE is a terrific western about a gang of African American  gunfighters (plus the goofiest  Baldwin brother) involved in an action-packed epic journey across the American west. The Frontierado holiday is the perfect time of year to hunker down with this film while drinking a Cactus Jack or a Deuces Wild or two. I’ll review the recipes for those mixed drinks in a few days, but for now we’ll focus on this movie on our countdown.

Posse stars Mario Van Peebles, who also directed, as Jesse Lee, the brooding, revenge-driven hero of the saga. He and all but one member of his gang, our titular posse, are soldiers fighting in Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. A dangerous assault they carry out turns out to be Continue reading

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MURDERCYCLE (1999)

murdercycle posMURDERCYCLE (1999) – Okay, I want a Ghost Rider vs Murdercycle film! ESPECIALLY with Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider. Anyway, despite the title, this movie is a nice throwback to the days before so many low-budget filmmakers were trying to be intentionally over-the-top and campy with their productions and titles in hopes of garnering sales from a reputation for being so-bad-it’s-good.

Flicks like Suburban Sasquatch, Rubber, Lycan Colony and the Birdemic sequels take some of the joy out of bad movies in my opinion with their calculated awfulness. I prefer to soak in films that were trying to be straightforward but whose creative teams lacked the budget or the talent to fulfill the production’s potential.

Murdercycle was at least played straight without those constant winks and nods from the cast like we get in so many would-be Psychotronic movies today. The only cutesy in-joke comes from the names of several characters and it’s never acknowledged by the dialogue (see below).

the murdercycleLet’s take this from the top – an object from space lands near a Top Secret government facility concealed within a seeming shack in the middle of nowhere. It’s not a meteor but an alien weapon and when a man on a dirt bike draws near the fallen object he falls victim to its jack-in-the-box/ face-hugger tech.

In a bit of business that put me in mind of the 1980s Bruce Campbell movie Moon Trap, the alien device fuses with the nameless biker AND his motorcycle. The result is a deadly biomechanical entity that is part humanoid, part motorcycle and part alien Terminator. We have our Murdercycle!         Continue reading

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EIGHT JAMES GARNER WESTERNS

With the Frontierado Holiday coming up on August 5th, here is another seasonal post.  

sledgeA MAN CALLED SLEDGE (1970) – Garner’s lone Spaghetti Western was a fascinating departure from his usual depictions of a roguish but not ruthless rascal. This time around he plays Luther Sledge, a grim, pitiless bandit leader who becomes obsessed with robbing a fortune in gold from its temporary storage place in a combination fortress and prison for hardened criminals.

Dennis Weaver, Claude Akins and others are along for the ride in this rare type of Italo-Western that incorporates all of the sub-genre’s strengths while omitting nearly all of its weaknesses. Almost every minute of A Man Called Sledge is riveting to look at with only a slight letdown toward the end. Continue reading

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1776: FOURTH OF JULY MUSICAL

1776-musical-movieIt may be my fondness for mythology that makes me love to watch particular movies around particular holidays.  I say that because many of the well- known myths were recited on ancient holidays when their subject matter was relevant to those festivities. The stories helped accentuate the meaning of the special events and that’s the reason I love holiday-themed movies.

At Christmas I watch countless variations of A Christmas Carol, for New Year’s Eve it’s Bloodhounds of Broadway, around Labor Day I watch Matewan and Eight Men Out, at Halloween, naturally, horror films like the original  Nightmare On Elm Street, Thanksgiving Eve I do Oliver! and for Frontierado (which is just a month away now) I do Silverado.

Since the actual 4th of July is loaded with activity I always show 1776 on the night before. It’s a great way to get in the mood for Independence Day. It’s a musical but with brilliant dialogue portions and the story involves the political maneuvering surrounding the Original Thirteen Colonies at last announcing their independence from Great Britain, more than a year after  the shots fired at Lexington and Concord started the war.

The story is excellently conveyed and is moving, comical, invigorating and poignant all at once. As long as you know which parts of the tale are depicted accurately and which are complete b.s. it’s a terrific way to spend each 3rd of July evening. Continue reading

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RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS (1983) – GUILTY PLEASURE

raiders of atlantisRAIDERS OF ATLANTIS (aka ATLANTIS INTERCEPTORS) – This 1983 Italian film is my guiltiest of guilty pleasures. Even though it’s directed by horror legend Ruggero Deodato, Raiders of Atlantis combines science fiction and horror with testosterone-fueled action in a Pulp Magazine premise that makes for fun, mindless escapism.

There’s just something about this flick that almost feels like it’s an early adventure of the characters from the later film Predator. In fact, it’s basically a smorgasbord of elements from Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Road Warrior, Tom Baker-era Doctor Who and the siege scenes from any number of Italian zombie movies. And needless to say, the fate of the world is at stake.

chris and tonyChristopher Connelly stars as mercenary Mike Ross, a Vietnam War veteran who does any dangerous and dirty job for the right amount of money. Tony King is his black fellow mercenary who used to go by Washington but has recently converted to Islam and now calls himself Mohammed.

Believe it or not, Connelly and King have definite chemistry and their Butch & Sundance camaraderie carries the entire movie. In the sort of teaser opening that James Bond and Indiana Jones films feature, our two leads pull off the abduction of a reclusive crime lord in Miami amid a lot of bullets and punches. Continue reading

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