Tag Archives: movie reviews

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980)

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 Continue reading

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RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) ON THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT

*** FEATURING A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE SHOW’S HISTORY ***

Morning Breath

Morning Breath

BEFORE MST3K THERE WAS … THE TEXAS 27 FILM VAULT!

In the mid-1980s The Texas 27 Film Vault was the show to watch on Saturday nights to see “Film Vault Technicians First Class” Randy Clower and Richard Malmos show and mock bad and campy movies preceded by episodes of old Republic serials. Machine-gun toting Randy and Richard would also have comedic sci-fi adventures before and after commercial breaks. 

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this neglected cult series via my research into really old newspapers, my interview with Randy Clower and recollections from my fellow fans of this show. Keep those emails and comments coming “Vaulties”. Here’s another review of a movie shown when a date can be verified.  

EPISODE ORIGINALLY BROADCAST: Saturday August 9th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 1am.  * Special thanks to my fellow T27FV fan Spearman for the date.

Atom Man vs SupermanSERIAL: Before the movie an episode of the 1950 Columbia serial Atom Man vs Superman was shown. Kirk Alyn starred as Superman with Lyle Talbot as his archenemy Lex Luthor. Lex has his own secret identity in this serial – each episode he dons a lead mask and oversees the villainy as “Atom Man”.

This was one of the liveliest and most campily watchable serials of the 50s. Especially laughable are the bits when Superman “flies” – an effect achieved by switching from live footage of Kirk Alyn to INSERTED CARTOON FOOTAGE of Superman flying. Think of the ‘Toons in Roger Rabbit interacting with the live backgrounds and you have the idea.   

FILM VAULT LORE: The previous week our boys of the Film Vault Corps (“the few … the proud … the sarcastic”) had shown The Story of Mankind, another film with this episode’s interview subject: THE Vincent Price. Like this week’s showing of Return of the Fly it was used to promote Randy and Richard’s upcoming public appearance at the Dallas debut of David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. (More on that public appearance after the movie review) Spearman also tells me this August 9th episode also featured R&R’s interview with Vincent Price.

THE MOVIE: Return of the Fly is a black and white sequel to the Continue reading

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GHOULIES (1985)

Ghoulies toilet

Ghoulies

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.

Ghoulies

Ghoulies poster

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

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DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976)

drive-in-massacreDRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976) – Category: Gimmick movie worth watching once, but never again.   

This movie has that certain charm to it that most low-budget 70s horror films possess. When watching Drive-In Massacre you can’t help but reflect on the fact that the talent of John Carpenter is the only thing separating his milestone film Halloween from the many other 1970s slice and dice films like this one. 

The plot of Drive-In Massacre involves a serial killer who strikes only at drive-ins and, in the tried and true custom that countless subsequent slasher films would follow, he thrives on killing couples who are making out. At least at first. The killer’s motive varies throughout the movie, but the murder weapon remains a sword.  Continue reading

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HEX (1973)

Cristina Raines

Cristina Raines

HEX (1973) Category – Enjoyably bad movie but not fun-bad enough to earn my highest rating        Hex, which was also released under the title The Screaming, belongs to that joyously bizarre subgenre of motorcycle horror films.  

That  peculiar cinematic niche also plays home to flicks like Werewolves On Wheels, about a biker gang that hassles Satanists who transform them into werewolves, to Psychomania, about a biker gang that forms a pact with Satan  which permits them to commit suicide and then return from the grave as invincible, soulless marauders and to Blood Freak, about a biker who turns into a turkey monster (no, really).   

Hex trumps all of those other films for sheer weirdness, partly because it is set in the early 1920s and partly because its western locale makes it a candidate for my Weird Western series during the Frontierado Holiday season during the summer.

The underrated beauty Cristina Raines stars in this incoherent mishmash as Oriole, a half-breed witch who uses the Native American magic taught to her by her father to defend herself and her sister Acacia from a roaming biker gang.  Continue reading

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THE LOSERS (1970)

Losers biggerTHE LOSERS (1970) – Two of the gods of biker cinema, William “Big Bill” Smith and Adam Roarke, star in a film which takes a minor footnote in history and RUNS with it, using it as its premise! In real life the Hell’s Angels were for a time clashing with Vietnam War protestors whom the Angels considered cowards for not wanting to fight in the conflict.

Peace was negotiated between the two parties by Ken Keasey and Hunter S Thompson if you believe  Thompson’s book on the Hell’s Angels and Thompson’s biography.

LosersTo make it clear that the Hell’s Angels still disagreed with the protestors’ position on the war even though they had ceased beating them up, Sonny Barger, the Angels’ “Maximum Leader” at the time, released a public statement offering the services of the Hell’s Angels as “a gorilla (sic) force” (LMAO) in the war.

LBJ and Nixon strangely declined to take Barger up on the offer but director Jack Starrett made it the center of this classic bomb. Continue reading

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WAYNE ROGERS R.I.P – DR SEX AND ASTRO-ZOMBIES

Wayne RogersThe one and only Wayne Rogers passed away recently and since everyone else will be covering his time on M*A*S*H, House Calls, Stagecoach West, City of Angels and more, Balladeer’s Blog will do its usual oddball salute. Here’s a look at Doctor Sex (1964) and The Astro-Zombies (1968), two of the films Rogers co-wrote and co-produced with bad movie legend Ted V Mikels. Wayne even has a tiny role in Doctor Sex!   

Doctor SexDOCTOR SEX (1964) – Like Doris Wishman, Russ Meyer, Herschel Gordon Lewis and so many others, Ted V Mikels got his start as a director doing Nudie Cuties. For newbies to the realm of Psychotronic Psynema, Nudie Cuties were big in the 1950s and 1960s and despite their name NEVER featured nudity.

Toplessness and some butt-shots were all you got, with strategically and/or improbably placed branches, shrubs or rail fences covering pubic regions. Fans of Peter Sellers will remember the classic sendup of those nudie cuties that he worked into one of his Inspector Clouseau films.   

The appeal of these movies is barely understood today, when you can find any visual stimulation you want with just a few clicks on your keyboard but decades ago Nudie Cuties really packed ’em in. Enter Doctor Sex.

The titular doctor is holding a brainstorming session with his fellow psychiatrists Dr Schmutz and the gorgeous Dr Lovejoy. They plan on co-authoring a book to put the recently released Kinsey Report to shame.

To that end they share stories about some patients of theirs who suffered exceptionally peculiar sexual fixations. The tales are told through flashbacks and feature:

Dr Sex drawinga) A patient who fixates on having a dog’s-eye view to watching the sexy female owner of a pooch take her bath and other activities.

b) A patient whose work at a department store includes dressing and undressing mannequins and holding make-believe tea parties with them and otherwise treating them like they’re real women. In a horror film they would come to life and tear the man limb from limb or something but in this movie the patient just imagines that the mannequins come to life as incredibly beautiful women who want to hang around with him.

c) A female patient who loves taking her clothes off and, in a rags to even fewer rags story she becomes first a nude model and then a stripper.

And d) A patient who – in another idea torn straight from a horror anthology instead of a Nudie Cutie – lives in a house haunted by beautiful nude female ghosts. The ghosts do housework for the guy. No, I’m not kidding.  

To wrap up their presumably successful venture Dr Sex and his colleagues cut loose with some lascivious behavior of their own. In the wildest moment Dr Schmutz turns into a dog and plans to use this canine form to land a sexy female owner so he can watch her bathing and in various stages of undress. Continue reading

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