Archive for the 'Bad movie' Category

Jul

Captain America
1979 – TV Movie – 90 Minutes – Shout! Factory
Starring Reb Brown, Len Birman, Steve Forrest – Directed by Rod Holcomb

Captain America is the prime example of a superhero movie. He has a neat uniform that represents what he stands for, his weapon is cool, he has super strength and speed and to top it off, he’s chock full of American pride. His origins come from the heart, a weakling who wants to go to war to stand up against the Nazis and after a successful superhero experiment, he’s socking Hitler right in the kisser. All the ingredients for a top notch superhero flick. To play the star spangled hero, let’s get Reb Brown; the guy who would later star in the MST3K riffed Space Mutiny and a couple of Bruno Mattei ripoff-sploitation films, like Strike Commando and Robowar. And who else fits the bill better? He’s the blonde hair, blue eyed beefcake best known for shrieking at the top of his lungs while waving a machine gun around and beating the snot out of terrorists, so who else would be a better candidate for the USA’s all American superhero?

In 1979, Marvel would unleash upon the world the made for TV Captain America movie. With everything I talked about above, this movie is going to blow people away!

Nah, just toss all of that out the window.

Well then, how else would you open a Captain America movie, but with him leisurely cruising in a panel van, kicking it back while a mellow tune toots over the footage. What, you think an opening at a heated battle during WWII is action heavy? And this is how we introduce the patriotic Steve Rogers, who in this case is a former marine who is living in his van, traveling the states and finding out who he really is. In other words, Captain America is a hippie. We learn all of this as he talks to his surfer friend about meeting up with his friend Jeff who is in need of help and receiving a letter from a man named Simon Mills who wants to speak with him about his late father’s work. So much action happening in the first several minutes, it’s impossible to take it all in! Slow down, movie!

ca_2But Steve encounters some trouble on the way to his friend’s. Turns out, some thugs are after Steve, as they spray down a curvy road alongside a cliff with oil and do you think Steve spots this obvious trap? Of course not, because that would make the villains look incompetent, which surely they aren’t. Ahem. Since black oil in the bright California sun camouflages in so well with grey pavement, Steve falls prey to their trap and rolls his sweet set of wheels down the cliff, but emerges from the wreckage unharmed… except for a slight tear in his polo! Curse these evil-doers! Just who are they and what do they want with Steve? My guess would be to rid the world of horrific panel vans.

Steve literally walks it off and chalks it up to being an accident and meets up with Dr. Mills who tells Steve all about his father’s last project; FLAG. Full Latent Ability Gain. Yup, cause Super-Soldier Serum was too obvious and this movie needed something that was a little more vague. Although all the test subjects who have been injected with FLAG do gain powers, they don’t live too much longer afterwards. And you thought irritable bowels was an unfortunate side effect. It turns out that Steve’s father created the serum from his own DNA, so they believe Steve would be able to harness the abilities without, you know, the side effect of death. Does our patriotic marine step up to his calling? No. Instead, he whines and tells them he doesn’t want to report in to anyone and wants to lay low, kick back and discover who he really is. Our hero. The few, the proud… the puss.

Moving on with his life, Steve finally goes off to see his friend Jeff, who has just been murdered. Steve seems to be having a rough day. Meanwhile elsewhere, a black limo pulls up to an oil company and a man in a black suit gets out before looking around and walks into the building with a brisk, but relaxed pace. Why did I just describe that to you? Because they show every second of it, so it must be important! Inside, we learn that this man is named Brackett, an evil oil business tycoon (Seriously, is there ever a good one?) who is looking for some microfilm in order to complete building a neutron bomb that Jeff was working on with Brackett’s evil scientist in order to hold the city ransom so he can steal gold… ? I don’t know, it’s kind of a stupid plan. His henchman accidentally killed Jeff while interrogating him about the microfilm, but saw Steve at the scene. Perhaps he knows something? So wait, then why did we try to kill him? Before we even knew that he knew Jeff?

Well good thing Steve managed to survive, so now the villains can find out what he knows. Brackett calls him up, telling him he’s a friend and wants to meet up to tell him about what really happened to Jeff. Steve, of course, walks into this trap head first and what’s the first thing these thugs that are supposed to interrogate Steve do? Shoot at him, driving Steve off a cliff on his motorbike. I guess their policy is shoot first, ask questions later. And what is it about cliffs that attract Steve? It’s becoming a Looney Tunes cartoon at this point, except instead of turning into a xylophone, Steve is gravely injured and there is only one way to save him; inject him with the FLAG serum.

So now there are cool scenes of Steve saving people or accidentally and hysterically breaking things, realizing his full potential and newfound powers, right? Nope. He lays in bed and whines about how they took away his right and he doesn’t want these powers, denying Dr. Mills any testing. The visions of Cap standing triumphantly over Red Skull at dawn with the sun to his back as the American flag flaps in the wind comes to mind.

ca_3Whatever, at least the movie is going to force something to happen at this point. Even the filmmakers realized nothing has actually happened. Steve is kidnapped from the hospital by Brackett’s henchmen and taken to a meat packing plant, because… who cares. At least the movie seems to be setting up an action piece! The henchman outright start demanding for Steve to hand over the microfilm… which he still has no idea about… and if he doesn’t, well one of them reminds him what happened to Jeff.

“He got cute and hid the pictures. Then he got DEAD.”

Threatening words that anger Steve, so he breaks free and heroically defeats his captors by hurling large hunks of meat on them and then calling the proper authorities! Man, does this action ever let up!? There is no way they can top it, so let this mark the film’s only fight scene (or at least what passes for one here)! Steve decides that he should talk to Simon about his new powers, which they discuss along with his father’s secret identity as Captain America; a nickname given to him by those ridiculing him for standing up to for the little guy and fighting crime. Holy crap, Steve’s dad sounds awesome. He was a scientist that created a serum that gave him super powers and so he used it to fight crime… why the hell isn’t the movie about this guy?

Just in case Steve changed his mind about the whole “hero” thing, Simon prepared him a new panel van equipped with all kinds of gadgets that are never explained and a secret rocket bike hidden inside. But that’s not all! Made from the sturdiest materials on Earth, he gives Steve the trademark Captain America shield, representing the colors of the country; red, transparent and blue! Wait, is that right? Oh and cherish this moment where they test out the shield by tossing the flimsy thing into the air as it boomerangs back, because he never throws it again.

But Brackett has had enough. Kidnapping some of their female friends, one being Jeff’s daughter, which he should have done this long ago, who hands over the microfilm (oh yeah, there are a couple females in this movie, but they don’t do anything), he finally completes his neutron bomb and makes his demands known to Steve and Simon or else he will detonate it.

“But why? Bracket is no mad dog killer, he is after something.” – Actual words spoken by Simon.

Using his super hearing, Steve overhears some clues to Brackett’s location and decides to FINALLY do something with his powers and take action. Simon thinks Steve should use a disguise and presents to him what looks like a rejected Evil Knievel (even complete with a silly motorcycle helmet) costume based off one of his sketches. So finally at the 74 MINUTE mark, Captain America arrives! I know a lot of super hero movies wait until about 45 minutes or so to show their heroes, but those are 2 hour movies. This film barely makes 90 minutes. So, we don’t even see the titular hero until the final 15 minutes, which he’s not even in costume for the entire duration of.

So he rescues the girls after spraying down some security guards with oil (yeah not henchmen, but some minimum wage security guards just doing their jobs) and unravels the whole plot, which I kinda forgot at this point, because the stupid soaked deep into my brain. However, they still need to deal with Brackett, who has now rigged a device up to his heart so that if he dies, the neutron bomb explodes. Your move, Cap!

ca_4Transporting the bomb on a semi, Brackett has no idea Steve is hot on his tail, so now we get to see them duke it out or Cap stops the truck in a real heroic and tough way! Oh, why am I getting all of our hopes up. Of course he doesn’t. He bends the exhaust pipe of the truck into the trailer in order to knock out Brackett, but what Steve’s thick skull doesn’t know is that this causes humans to asphyxiate and die. Brackett passes out unconscious and the bomb will go off if he dies, so how does Steve resolve it? Does he punch his heart so hard, it beats faster? Don’t we all wish. So, get this… he calls Simon to come administer first aid to Brackett since Steve is untrained in that area. This scene actually goes on for a few minutes. This is… what the… I can’t. I can’t.

They keep him from dying, disarm the bomb and save the day… off camera, of course. We just see the exposition in a dialogue scene and Steve rocking duds that look identical (minus the motorcycle helmet) to the actual comic book version of Captain America, thus accepting his powers and taking on his father’s legacy.

So to reiterate, your source material consists of a man with great powers, who is brave and courageous, fighting Nazi’s during the second the World War, but for whatever reason that isn’t good enough?! No instead, we get a Captain America, in a much stupider looking outfit mind you, who whines and complains and doesn’t want to use his powers?! In fact, he never throws a single punch, his signature shield or really anything that Captain America is known for! Come to think of it, a majority of scenes are filler where nothing is happening or Steve is just cruising in his van. I’m sorry, but HOW do you f*#@ this up? I understand the 70’s were a different time and budgets were lower and special effects were much more difficult to pull off (especially for a superhero movie), but the Hulk series was fairly close to its source material, so why not Cap?

And Reb, what did they do to you, man? Sure this was before his action movie star days, but when you cast a guy like Reb Brown, you should just let him do his thing. His acting range goes from falling asleep to getting sleepy. Not the most versatile range of acting. They would have been better off actually choreographing fight scenes and letting the dude throw people around and toss the shield, kinda like CAPTAIN AMERICA! THE MOVIE YOUR FILM IS ABOUT! Maybe they thought a guy beating up evildoers was too violent. I mean, they couldn’t get the costume right until the end, threatening us with a sequel.

Captain AmericaWith the lack of faithful character adaptation, boring score, sleepwalking performances and lack of any action makes this a bad, cheesy flick to even sit through. Even for the 70’s this film is too mellow. If you’re trying to fall asleep, I highly recommend it. I suppose we should Thank Shout! Factory for bringing this to DVD, but why should we. Otherwise, do your country a fair service and skip Captain America. But that sequel… you don’t think… they wouldn’t… did they?

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Reb Brown. Sigh, I know. I should be more excited.
  • Rip roaring panel van.
  • Captain Whiny-baby.
  • An evil plan! Stupid, but evil!
  • Cliff-diving.
  • Beat by meat.
  • Cap’s durable, light weight recyclable plastic shield!
  • Um, isn’t there a superhero in this movie?
  • Oil change.
  • Semi-serious heart attack.
totals

1

blood

BLOOD

With no fight scenes, I’m giving a point for the ripped polo.

1

blood

BREASTS

There was some cleavage, I think, but who cares.

4

beast

BEASTS

Brackett’s no mad dog killer and Reb is unfortunately underplayed as Cap due to a terrible script.

2 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the TV Spot!

trailers

dripper
Jun

posted by Barry Goodall | June 9, 2014 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Guest Review

After seeing how many bad movies, remakes, reboots, and SCIFY Channel movies were coming down creating Anarchy, I realized you couldn’t beat them, so I watched them, and now hunt them down and watch what others won’t or can’t. Its my own way of either spreading the Anarchy or keeping a lid on it. Take your pick, its Madness…and as a large number of them consist of horror that is the name I choose, Horror Movie Madness or just HMMadness.

Holy Crap, this movie is stupid. I get B movies should be goofy and this one is even trying to spoof other movies like it and itself even, but it just does not work, as the acting and style is awful.

It had three directors and maybe that’s why it is as bad as it. We have Kevin Greene who gave us just this as a director, he was an actor/producer/writer on a movie called The Sorority.

Adam Johnson who who was also a director on a documentary called Train Days. Finally we have Tripp Norton who only has a director credit for this but was in the art department of movies like X-Men First Class, Anchorman 2, Zombieland, and many others…weird.

We open up with Allen Anderson(played by Allelon Ruggiero) dreaming, or is he. Then maybe another dream…Who knows. This leads into some of the lamest credits ever, the names are spaced between shots from the movie, like a bad sitcom or Soap.

We get some poor dialogue between Allen and his girlfriend Mary Katherine(played by Allison Kulp) about how he is just an assistant greenskeeper and doesn’t even have car, as he sold it to visit Morrison’s grave for inspiration in his screen writing? It tries to explain his dreams using Close Encounters mashed potato scene but his dumb pot smoking friends don’t get it.

We met some of his Allen’s friends, Rain Drop, Muffy, and Helmet Boy? They don’t really matter so we are not going to focus on them. At the country club we meet spoiled rich girls and some guys named Chaz, Chad, and Champ. We also met the head greenskeeper, Otis. The kids were to have a party at one girls house but her parents could not go on vacation but they have booze and crack already…what to do. They decide to sneak into the country club after hours to have the party, we get the back story of a greens keeper who was badly burned and seeks revenge on the club, he lives in a old shack in the woods and had maybe killed a man named Old Man Rivers…

We get some shots of what greens keepers do, planting flags, cutting grass, boring and not needed. We see that some of the guys of the club are both stupid and homophobic. One of them talks about how public television is full of “gay seeds” Look at Bert and Ernie and how Ernie eats cookies in Bert’s bed? Then the fact they wear saddle oxfords and turtlenecks. Plus look at Snuffleupagus? Thats all they say…

Some country club young, arrogant jerk is out golfing, talking on his cell phone and steps in a huge thing of water. He gets killed with a 4 iron by a greens keeper. We go back to the storage area where we see Otis taking off a greens keeper helmet and see what looks like red stuff on his shirt…

Then we see the rich kids again, this time in a car, out in public, with the windows rolled down, snorting coke….Wow….

Lets speed this up. I am not going to do every lame joke and tired thing. There is a sort of ongoing joke as different groups at times are watching a horror movie on tv that I think is called The Milkman, Allen comments on how yes you can make a few bucks on a original killer in a Milkman, with T&A, some weird kills and c list actors making 10 minute cameos but where is the ART! Sigh…

We meet the rest of Allen’s family at his birthday dinner, his mom who is a nagging know it all and his stepfather who runs the country club since Allen’s father died. Even marrying his mother but Allen can’t stand him. We learn next to nothing about him.

So the party happens and lot of people show up. Some of the guys are sitting around and the homophobic one says that of course Hendrix was guy, “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” That is gay”. The tennis pro also sneaks in while the gate is open with a young girl but head to the tennis court?

Allen tries to break up with Mary K but she says that would be dumb as their are guys who would walk across deserts just to eat the corn out of her waste(she uses a much stronger word) . Seriously?? Really?

Finally the Greens Keeper starts to make their move, killing the tennis pro by putting nails in the automatic ball shooter, driving a nail into his head. Drags the girl out out a bathroom stall and kills her. Other guy was drowned in the pool while blindfolded, another couple have sex on a golf cart even though her bathing suit is on the whole time.

Guy gets killed taking a leak, using a golf ball washer, girl killed by a thrown weapon of some kind and then maybe run over with golf cart, not really sure. Then we get more sexual stuff, out on a green, he swears to pull out and asks who is your daddy, they are offed by a post hole digger.

We see a guy climbing down off a lifeguard tower, with the Elena girl waving. Then we see shots of the pool and then the guy is just sitting on the tower again. Turns out to be a dead guy…so how he started to climb down is curious. We find Mary K tied to a tree with golf tees in her head, guess that killed her. Then we get the only non cliche, a girl escapes and hides while the killer runs past her, losing her. That,s unusual…

This leads to Allen, Elena, and a dude in a greens keeper outfit in the maintanice building, when the real killer shows up and gives their reason for doing it all. Its contrived and stupid, and we see what happens to everyone and why…

Avoid this movie, it really has nothing redeeming about it, it is not clever. It thinks it is but really it’s stupid and the jokes fall flat pretty much every time, I didn’t crack a smile even once. Some of the deaths were different or unique but they took forever to get there and the reasons behind everything was pointless. They tried to lead you one way and swerve you but if you pay attention you know that is not what is going on.

I hope they had fun making this movie as I had zero fun watching it. The hour and 20 minutes felt like forever.

May

posted by Die-Anne Takillya | May 29, 2014 | 90's movies, B-movies, Bad movie, Review by Die-Anne Takillya

witchboard 2
Its been so long since you’ve heard from me, I decided to start over again by going back to the first time I was allowed to spew my warped opinions on crazy movies on this amazing site. I started out reviewing Witchboard, so what better way to triumphantly return than by watching the incomparable Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway.
witchboard 2
Look at that cover. LOOK AT IT. It grabs you right on in: a buxom blonde getting strangled by a Ouija board. What could be greater? Oh, let’s find out. Where the first movie left off with the crybaby marrying the unpossessed Tawny Kitaen, and her landlady finding the Ouija board in the rubble, Witchboard 2 opens with cutie-pie Paige looking at a loft apartment while her skeezy landlord-to-be ogles her gluteal region.
Despite his creepy behavior and warnings about his crazy wife, Paige decides to lease the apartment. Of course, the fabled Ouija board is in the only closet in the place, so the stage is set for the impending terror. Of course, she gets settled in and decides to engage the dark side all on her lonesome, and meets a spirit named Susan, who starts to talk about a promotion that Paige is up for. She gets all excited until her ex Mitch shows up and starts yelling at her. There’s a lot of dramatic back-and-forth that boils down to him not understanding her artistic spirit, and then the landlady’s nephew, Russell shows up and tries to be gallant, threatening to call the cops to get him out of there, but Mitch informs us he is an officer of the law. Russell points out that he showed him his badge, and therefore has his badge number, so he can report his ungentlemanly behavior if he doesn’t vamoose.
witchboard 2Next, we get to see Paige at work, and let me tell you, this chica needs a power suit and some cojones if she’s going to get anywhere in the wild world of accountancy; especially when up against horse-face. No, not Sarah Jessica Parker, but another unfortunate looking actress in shoulderpads who is trying to best Paige out of the CPA position. I hate weak and stuttery characters, and that’s what Paige is shaping out to be: weak, unsure of herself, and afraid to stand up for herself. Something tells me that some demon is going to help her out with that.
Let’s talk about the landlady, Elaine, for a second. She’s wearing too much makeup to be a hippie, and the dopey voice is super annoying. Like, a total drag. Ugh. At least we get a teeny bit of exposition out of her; the possible identity of our Ouija ghost: Susan Sydney. The landlord, Jonas, interrupts us; and my gawd, is he the worst kind of stereotypical sleeze-bag prevert. “I’m the handyman around here, and if you ever need anything… I mean, AN-Y-THING…” Gag me with a spoon, already! If she wanted to get with a hedgehog, she can call Ron Jeremy. Yuck city. Alright, back to the film.
Who came up with the creepy tenement laundry room idea? I swear, if I lived in a place where the only area I could do my laundry in was in itself a horror movie set, I’d just go down the street to the Washeteria and be done with it. Too many horrible things have happened in basement laundry rooms, even in private residences. No thanks! Here we get our first taste of creepy activity; bangs and clanks, then she gets startled by Russell and uses self-defense techniques to nail him in the mommy-daddy button. He also tells us that Susan Sydney was the bee’s knees, and that he’s a photographer.
We get a lot of really awesome demon POV shots while Paige prepares for a bubble bath. She just gets to luxuriating, when she hears footsteps. Of course, she hauls her soapy wet tushie out of the tub and investigates, then has another tiny Ouija session. Susan is a ghost of very few words, and it is a little infuriating, especially when she spells out nonsense like A-R-T-I-S-T H-E-L-P and then makes the planchette freak out. But, this paranormal gibberish takes us to the first active violence we’ve seen: Something throws an axe at Jonas, then chases him around with a sawblade. He weasels away from that end by locking himself in the boiler room, but the dark forces are smarter than that, and they make the boiler cook him like a pot roast on your grandmama’s stove.
Now we start to see a little transformation in Paige; she puts ol’ horse-face in her place- Even uses the eff-word!- and tells Mitch off, then decides she wants to sit and let Russell shoot some snaps of her. He tries to bring out her inner sex-kitten, which doesn’t really work so well. When they return to the apartment, the cops are there, investigating Jonas’ death by pressure cooker.
Paige is in the grips of the dark side now; having nightmares (the Ouija board strangle! Ha!), and inspired to do mediocre sketches of creepy lady eyes and roses. Soon, her apartment is covered in sketches, and she’s starting to paint again. Mitch drops by to check on her, and apologizes for doubting her talent (I wouldn’t have gone that far, but he’s trying to make things up to her), and she asks him to look into the mysterious Susan Sydney.
At Jonas’ funeral, Russell reveals that Susan Sydney isn’t dead, and Paige tries to confront the Ouija board about it. After some more gibberish about a rifle cape (?), Mitch calls and says that there isn’t any record of Susan’s death. Paige gets mightily hacked off, and tells that devil board she’s going to throw it away, then it goes nuts, locking the door on her and witchboard 2slamming down all the shutters. Russell and Elaine come to the rescue, and they have a session on the Ouija, and more craziness comes out; it gives an address, but won’t cough up any personal details about Susan, then makes a mirror explode.
The address turns out to be bogus, there’s not a Parkwood street, but there is a ‘park’ in the ‘woods,’ and the scooby doo brigade heads out to find her final resting place. Paige is wearing some spectacularly short-shorts, which is way out of character and not functional for digging up shallow graves at all, and she’s making Russell take part in these shenanigans. I am getting bored, bored, bored. There’s only been one kill, and it was offscreen. Oh, wait,make that two; Mitch showed up in the woods and killed an opossum. There is more blood and guts in an episode of Lassie than there has been in this movie. Was this thing made for TV? Jiminy christmas, can I get some scares here? She has another sexy nightmare; the apartment looks like the set of a Stevie Nicks video, all candles and dry ice fog. We finally get a glimpse of Susan in the mirror…or is it?
Can I tell you how much I love the occult shop owner? I like this guy. Replace Paige with him, and this flick will pick up. He gives them an automatic writer and a book on the history of Ouija. She becomes some kind of scantily-clad cryptogramatical genius and deciphers Susan’s gibberish, and finds some earrings in the fireplace. She whips out the automatic writer and pisses off the ghost again, and makes it exact some demon justice by flipping Mitch’s car all over the San Fernando valley while Paige dreams about Susan getting murdalized by a gigantic chef’s knife.
She comes to, and Russell tries to talk some reason into her, telling her that the reason she’s wearing the clothes of a streetwalker is that she’s slowly being possessed, and convinces her to let Elaine throw the board and the automatic writer thingie away. Paige predictably fishes them out, and as soon as she fires up the board, Elaine gets taken out by a wrecking ball. Please, no Miley jokes. If I avoided them, so can you. The pace moves from neutral into first gear around the last eighteen minutes of this thing.  We finally figure out what Susan’s problem is, she slept with Jonas and Elaine butchered her, so yeah, she’s out for revenge but wants a body. So, she possesses Paige totally. We get a final fight scene, and Paige shakes off the possession, and she lays into the board with the pickaxe, destroying it and killing Susan, the evil stripper-ghost.
This movie is basically a rehash of the first one. Dead spirit wants to live again, and systematically destroys everyone around it to make it happen,, folks learn about the history of spirit boards, and you gotta pierce it with something sharp to make whatever’s in it die. Best part of the whole movie: Jim, the crybaby from the first movie, makes an appearance that leaves the ending open for yet another sequel.
All in all, its a very ‘meh’ kind of sequel. No real spooky stuff going on like in the first one; no gruesome death scenes, nothing really to write home about. They do call back to the first Witchboard a lot; the board changes just like it did, becoming more sinister as the movie goes on until it’s full-on evil board, the poor chick becoming sexier and angrier as the film progresses; like I said, a pale imitation of the original. It’s like comparing Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: same basic story, but told in a different way, only this sequel was much less entertaining. If you cut out the 4 f-bombs and blurred out some photographed ta-tas, you could air this puppy on Lifetime.

roadside attractions

  • Ouija-fu
  • paint-fu
  • accountancy-fu
  • bad boyfriend-a-go-go
  • excessively tight jeans and jean shorts
  • bare midriffs at every turn
  • a few black eyes
  • bad photography
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

About a shot-glass full. Disappointing.

4

blood

BREASTS

but on paper, so they really don’t count.

2

beast

BEASTS

the evil stripper-ghost and Jonas the creepy landlord.

2 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer to “Witchboard 2″

trailers

dripper
May

Graduation Day
1981 – R – Troma
Starring Christopher George, Vanna White, Linnea Quigley – Directed by Herb Freed

School kids are going to be graduating and soon, the streets are going to be littered with over privileged kids who think they know it all because they maintained a C average in Psych, drinking and driving during the day, being loud and rude in public places and throwing their trash on the sidewalks. Ah yes, the bright, young future leaders of our businesses and country. In honor of this most joyous celebration (or second most dreaded time of the year, the first being Christmas), we’re gonna sit back with a Troma flick and watch these dunces get hacked and slashed in the appropriately titled Graduation Day. This of course was in the wake of the slasher boom since, hey, Friday the 13th was successful, so let’s just do that.

But does copying its neighbors test make it a passing grade?

It’s the end of the school year and track star Laura collapses and dies after crossing the finish line at the 100 meter race. A metaphor for racing to the finish line in life perhaps? Most likely not, it’s just something that happens in the movie. Coach George Michaels (played by genre favorite Christopher George) is blamed for causing her death from pushing her limits too far and also from being one letter away from having the same name as the guy who was in Wham. Plus, he’s kind of a tool, so that doesn’t help. Laura’s sister Anne comes home after hitching a ride from a sleazy truck driver, which I feel is a one sided representation of a truck driver. Until Big Trouble in Little China, truck drivers were always portrayed as fat, lazy and stupid sleaze balls. Anyway, as another member of the track team jogs through the shady woods near the school, someone with a stop watch and a pair of black leather gloves approaches from behind and slits her throat in under thirty seconds! That’s gotta be some kind of slasher movie record.

gd_2So where does Anne fit into all this? Well, she is here to honor her during graduation and accept her diploma and to thank Laura’s boyfriend, Kevin, for all his support. The two meet up later on (no, it’s not what you think, perv) at Kevin’s grandmother’s house, who spends her last few dragging minutes of life sitting in a rocking chair and staring into space while shouting for people to leave or get out. So, basically every old person ever. Anyway, Anne wanted to meet up with Kevin to give him Laura’s track medal, which I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to pawn it for cigarette money.

Since this is a slasher in the early 80’s, we enter autopilot where no characters are really developed and only serve the purpose to add to the body count one at a time, as we watch the same set of gloved hands time his kills in under 30 seconds. Quick thought, Dead in 30 Seconds would make a great sequel to Gone in 60 Seconds, so someone get on that. What on Earth is he timing all these deaths for? Is there some sort of forum where he posts his time and competes? Actually, it does tie in with how Laura died and if you made that connection (as I’m sure most of you did during the first kill), you can already make a safe assumption about who the murderer is.

However, this doesn’t stop the film from trying to throw you off. For example, the principal of the school opens his desk to remove a switchblade to peel an apple (cause you know, just eating it regular would be weird…). We also see a stop watch in his desk, so if you didn’t have a brain, something along the lines of, “Duhhh, whaaa? Is he the killer?” may have popped into your skull, but anyone with the intelligence of more than a tangerine knows better.

gd_3*Editor’s note: I mean no offense to tangerines. I like tangerines. They are delicious.

So if you’ve been keep track of everything I told you, pretty much the remainder of the film is like a tame stag reel of random character deaths, which ordinarily isn’t exactly a bad thing. But believe it or not, this is where the movie really starts to feel like it’s dragging. Of all the scenes in a horror film, you should be excited to see characters get offed, but this is where Graduation Day really fails; none of these characters are truly developed. I’m not saying they have to have really emotional and in depth back stories, but ANY kind of character development would have helped to make their murders feel entertaining instead of random shots of people dying, which is truly surprising given that this movie has a fairly decent cast, which ultimately makes it feel like such a waste! Christopher George, Vanna freakin’ White and Linnea Quigley! Even when poor Linnea gets decapitated (surprisingly almost no blood for a decapitation, by the way) the only thing you know about her is that she is a promiscuous stoner. Which I’m sure may sound great to some of you after just reading that, but once you see the execution (both in character development and demise of), you’ll see what I mean.

By now you may have just realized that Anne hasn’t been in the film in quite some time and isn’t she the heroine of the story? Well just when you think that, Anne pays a visit to Coach Michaels and accuses him of murdering her sister to which he denies (I guess he gots to faith… ahem). We already knew this, but the film really wants to drill it into your head that he’s the killer, but since you’re smarter than that, you know it’s hogwash. So more scenes of randoms dying, mostly through virtually bloodless impalements, and the principal yelling at poor Vanna White for the flood of incoming calls about the school kids missing, which understandably brings in the local police. Not shockingly, the film really doesn’t do anything with this either. A detective shows up, states that they are all probably just out partying or running away with their ladies for the weekend. Really driving home the tired cliche of the uninterested local police force that doesn’t really do any police work. Normally this would be frustrating, but thankfully do to the film’s lack of character development, it’s easy not to care.

gd_4A few students find one of the victims stuffed inside a locker, which Coach Michaels (after having been fired) sees since he is nearby. Boy, they really want you to believe he is the killer. Gee, I guess he is and not who it obviously is… speaking of, Kevin is now locked in fistacuffs with Coach, blaming him for all the murders, but… yeah do I need to keep repeating myself? We know who the killer is, but regardless, the movie wants to drag out this false sense suspense for several more minutes as a chase ensues, resulting in Coach Michael’s being gunned down by the cops, leaving Anne to enter the movie once again just as you are thinking, “where the hell is she?”

So the murderer is dead and everyone can move on, right? Well in such a shocking twist, Anne pays a visit once again to Kevin to see how he is holding up, discovering Laura’s corpse in his room, which could only mean… he is the killer!? Duh, whaaaa?!?! Yeah you saw it coming since he stepped foot into frame. So once again, we partake in another chase scene, leaving you feeling like some exhausted dog; Go fetch the ball, bring it back… but to save us some time, Anne gets the upperhand after a struggle, kicking Kevin onto a giant board of huge nails. You know, even if someone wasn’t killing all the students, I’m sure they would have died anyway, since this school has walls of nails sticking out. And parents think their kids will get hurt playing touch football.

At the end of the day and as much as I hate saying things like this, Graduation Day is nothing more than a Friday the 13th clone and a boring one at that. It feels like something of a cash-in, riding on the coattails of more successful slasher flicks during the boom, than it feels like it actually tried to be something. All of the characters are very one dimensional, the film doesn’t exactly try to play it like the straight man horror film (like Halloween) or even take a chance to let the audience know it’s self aware and spoof the genre. This makes Graduation Day void of (almost) any humor or genuine tense or scary moments. You would think that something following a pretty simple formula would have been successful and make an moderately enjoyable film, but it seems to fall flat in those examples. It’s not that the film itself is confused in which direction it should take the tone or appears to be confused on what it wants to be. It will leave you, for lack of a better word, bored.

Graduation Day
Given the material presented in the movie and being an 80’s slasher, it’s not fun… not even cheesy fun, like something such as Blood Hook or Unhinged. Between the darkness of the film and the headache inducing score makes this one ugly film. It’s hard to believe Troma would later stamp their name on it, seeing as it lacks any elements they are known for. Still, it’s not entirely dreadful, nor is it the worst example of a slasher film. It’s just there, it exists and nothing it presented can save it or make it enjoyable. Not even when Linnea Quigley bears her top. And it takes some sort of bizarro talent to make that not worth the time invested in this film. You’re better of skipping school to avoid this.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • If the glove fits, you must murder.
  • Murder in 30 Seconds!
  • Track and Field… of Death!
  • Corpse kissing.
  • Relaxing bed of nails.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Surprisingly interesting kills with almost no blood.

7

blood

BREASTS

It’s always a pleasure to see Linnea’s pair, but unfortunately it’s in this movie.

1

beast

BEASTS

Blind grandma is far scarier than Kevin.

4 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie!

trailers

dripper
May

Creatures From the Abyss
1994 – Not Rated – Shriek Show
Starring Clay Rogers, Michael Bon, Sharon Twomey – Directed by Massimiliano Cerchi

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin? I honestly don’t know. I’m completely dumbfounded, like… my brain is trying to reboot. You know, I’ve been watching horror and all kinds of exploitation movies since I was a kid and it’s nice to know that a movie like Creatures From the Abyss can come along and make me say, “What the f**k is this?” Let’s be honest, Italy has made some of the goofiest movies mankind has to offer. Hundreds of years from now after humans have recolonized on a distant planet and are traveling to distant planets to study life from the past, they will stumble upon Earth, dig up this relic and think, “Wow, people in the past were dumb.” I could babble on in complete confusion, but I would only be going in circles, so let’s just start this rodeo.

Five friends frolic and play grab-arse on a Miami beach (because if Italians can’t film in New York, they film in Florida) in front of one of the worst blue-screen stop-motion effects ever. It’s nice that right out the gates the movie is setting the bar that low, as to crush all expectations that you would be seeing anything good. As if it’s saying, “Look pal, this is what you’re in for.” It’s a metaphor for “Abandon hope, ye who enter here.” While this crew of five mismatched dimwits go rafting in a lifeboat with no destination, somewhere else a crew of unknown old guys aboard a yacht are being killed by unknown creatures. So that’s your movie so far; a group of unknown kids are headed somewhere we don’t know to do something, meanwhile a group of unknown old guys somewhere else are being killed by something we don’t see for some unknown reason. That’s a good way to include your audience… by not including them in on anything at all. Well they can’t keep us in the dark forever, so let’s continue.

cfta_2It doesn’t take long for the uncontrollable forces of nature to want these teens dead. Caught in the middle of a storm, drifting in the middle of the ocean, they just so happen to bump into that same yacht and take refuge aboard. But this yacht must be owned by the mad scientists from Resident Evil, seeing as the first thing they walk into is a laboratory and in case you aren’t sure it’s a laboratory, the dweeb of the bunch, Mike (who is also unfortunately our hero), will point it out for you, “It’s a lab!” And don’t worry, he’ll point out many more things, since a rule of bad filmmaking is, ‘if your characters are stupid, your audience is stupider.’ Seriously, this guy makes Nick from Time Chasers look macho and bright. While they are piddling about, something with a wide angle lens is keeping a close eyes on them… very close. So close that it’s completely surprising nobody every sees it! Whatever it is.

They go about the ship, completely ransacking the place for new clothes without a second thought that it may belong to someone or they could intruding on someone’s ship… regardless if nobody is actually there (it’s not the point, dammit!). I may as well point this out now, but every time they walk in the main hallway, you’ll hear an ungodly, off pitched whale noise followed by a child like voice announcing the time from some stupid fish-clock. Oh, and it’s not just two or three times you hear this thing… oh no, they constantly walk by it. All. The. Time. Get used to hearing it ringing in the back of brain. It’s never going away.

But hey ladies, the men have been drifting in sea all day, so while we sit on these cozy sofas, how about you head into the kitchen and don’t come back until you’ve cooked something up, huh? I’m not saying that to be sexist, that’s kinda what happens. Two of the girls, one of which is Mike’s girlfriend, Margaret, go into the kitchen and cook up some fish, while Bobby the nitwit, lamebrain, dingbat, loudmouth or any other insulting way to call someone a neanderthal that I can think of, guzzles down brandy like it’s Capri Sun and sexually assaults Julie. Oh, sorry it’s not sexual assaulting when she finds his horrendous Elvis impersonation charming and giggles while saying, “no.” Meanwhile in the kitchen, the fish that’s being cooked catches ablaze and I don’t mean it catches fire… this thing sends flames shooting up in the air several feet and the fish oozes and gurgles green goo. Eh, Bobby will probably eat it.

cfta_3I hope these kids like their fish really well done. Bobby rams it into his face, belching while he chugs more liquor, clearly proving that men evolved from apes and Dorothy becomes ill, most likely in a combination of the ooze squirting fish and Bobby’s natural funk. She vomits up what looks like milk and egg yolk, followed by beetles to make it one of the most disgusting vomit scenes ever captured on celluloid. Suddenly a crash catches their attention, forcing the guys to investigate. Naturally, Bobby does that thing where he goes ahead, Mike calls his name, then Bobby jumps out and scares him. You know, that same shtick Ash and Scotty play in Evil Dead. Well much to their surprise, someone is alive (remember, Mike will remind you, so don’t worry) and it’s one of the scientists from the earlier cuts! Throughout the pretty much the remainder of the film, he’s in a catatonic like state, but I think that he’s in shock from being in this movie.

What were those scientists doing here? Mike finds his answers back at the lab, where he finds that these scientists found prehistoric fish and the fish broke loose, killed the scientists and blah, blah, blah, when suddenly they are attacked by said prehistoric fish! Good thing these fish can swim through air! Seriously, they do! Mike goes Margot Kidder level of crazy and grinds the fish in a meat grinder and smashes up the lab for good measure, while Bobby stands around with his jaw hanging open. Somewhere in this part of the movie, Margaret tells Mike she is pregnant and wants to get married. Subtle. Mike, with his new knowledge of the crew of this ship, questions the scientist, “How long have you been f***ing fish?” No disgust, no emotion, not even a follow up question. Just lays it out there.

But would you believe me if I told you the movie hasn’t even gotten ridiculous yet?

Upon reading some notes, Mike learns that it isn’t the fish being primordial that causes them to be violent, but from radioactive plankton. You see, earlier Bobby found bags and bags of what he thought was cocaine and was super excited about it. Turns out, it was the aforementioned radioactive plankton that turns people into horny mutant fish creatures…

cfta_4I’m gonna give you a second while that sinks in.

You good? Ok, anyway, Bobby finally talks Julie into sleeping with him, because it’s been awhile since we’ve seen boobs and since Bobby has done something to make you hate human beings. I guess several dozen ‘no’s’ mean ‘yes.’ During this, the armpit of sex scenes, Bobby begins to transform into a giant fish monster, to which Julie pretty much doesn’t notice until Bobby’s eyeballs pop out of his skull and into her mouth (you know, I was gonna make a balls in mouth joke, but this movie is crass enough, so I’m gonna take the high road). You have to know your career has hit a lower point than Courtney Love’s when you direct a giant fish monster thrusting and oozing all over a naked woman and in her mouth. I don’t think fans of tentacle porn would find this erotic. Margaret sees this and runs to get Mike, because if there is anyone that can handle that situation, it’s definitely Mike. However, Julie doesn’t remember anything that happened and Bobby opens the door, looking like his disgusting self (I prefer the mutated-monster-fish Bobby). What in tarnation is going on around here?

If the movie hasn’t repulsed you yet and killed your will to live, give it a few more moments. Soon, Julie begins having cramps and punches her self repeatedly in the stomach, because that’s what doctors recommend you should do for abdominal pain. Then Julie begins to “lay eggs,” which looks like caviar and egg white or melted icecream with crushed up Oreo’s pouring from her… you get the idea. Mike and Margaret finally realize that the ship isn’t so safe after all and that they should grab the scientist (that Mike has occasionally been nursing back to health by feeding him hard booze, because that’s what an unstable mind needs) and get out of dodge. However it won’t be that easy. At least not for people of this caliber of stupid.

The alarm is blaring and THAT STUPID, F***ING FISH CLOCK WON’T SHUTUP! Pouring gas all over the ship, Mike’s ready to blow that puppy sky high, when mutated-fish-monster-Bobby attacks him. Mike manages to wet his pants and flee, bumping into Margaret. While trying to escape from the ship with the doctor, Margaret begins to feel ill and feels something changing inside her. It’s a good thing she is pregnant and she and Mike are getting married, so there is no way anything bad could happen… But as she begins to change, she does the ballsiest things anyone has done in this movie; armed with a spear gun, she points it at her face and fires, freeing Mike from the horrible clutches of marriage. Maybe he and the doc can get a sweet bachelor’s pad.

cfta_5Suddenly the super-duper-monster-fish-destroyer-Bobby shows up for the final boss fight, but unfortunately for him, his weakness is crazy, male nourished, drunk scientists, as the scientist plunges a syringe (earlier he made some cocktail in the syringe) killing the creature as the boat explodes and Mike survives… or does he?! Do you really care? Do you really want a sequel?

That was truly… amazing. Wow, I mean, movies don’t get more entertaining than that. It’s a movie that makes Devil Fish look like Jaws. This plot is so, for lack of a better word, stupid, that they had to write even more stupid characters for their plot to seem intelligent. Which is a good segway into the dialogue of this movie. When Mike isn’t pointing out exactly what’s in front of you (again reinforcing that the plot is stupid, so the characters have to be more stupid, so therefor the audience must be incredibly stupid) and Bobby isn’t replusing you with every word farted out of his mouth hole, the screen is littered with revolting, yet incredibly cheap looking special effects that are dripping and oozing all kinds of goo. These are some of the silliest stop motion and animatronic creatures you will ever see. All of these stomach turning effects are filmed up close with wide angle lenses, as are the characters reactions. You thought Bobby was gross enough with food and offal smeared all over his face? Wait til you see it like it’s an inch from your face. Then watch as his face melts apart and he sweats as he heaves and thrusts while doing the nasty. Think about this jackhole procreating. Barf bags not included, but should be.

I don’t know why this exact thought is coming into my brain, but I want to see Andrew W.K. smash a brick into Bobby’s oily, stupid smirking face. Thankfully we do get a break from Bobby’s irritable self and the girls show off their gazongas, grabbing them and commenting that it’s time to get a new bra. At least the director was smart enough to realize he was going to lose the male audience if he didn’t throw in obligatory breast shots every so often. In between those money shots, the film could have gotten boring, but luckily an incompetent writer and director makes for some of the best and cheesiest dialogue. Someone, somewhere in this movie actually says, “They frighten me… they have an evil expression,” when commenting on the fish. It goes beyond over the top ridiculous, that you would swear whoever was atrociously dubbing them were just making stuff up. Like they just made the plot up as they went along, but if that’s the case, I would believe it more than someone was actually paid to write this. So even when nothing is happening, you’re still entranced by whatever they are talking about. It’s more than watching a collective group of numbskulls stammer and try to figure out a mystery that the Scooby Gang could’ve solved in their sleep, it’s… I don’t know how to describe it other than “magnificent.”

Creatures From the Abyss
This is one of those movies that should have become infamously “so bad, it’s good,” like The Room or Troll 2, but since it’s only been put out by Shriek Show in 2007 in the Mutant Monsters Triple Feature pack (along with The Being and The Dark), I don’t think it’s had much luck in the way of marketing, which is a shame, although that triple pack and the movie individually are widely available at a good price. With a little more push, this could have been seen by a wider audience and finally achieved that cult status it deserves or maybe it’s a good thing that it sunk to the bottom of the sea of bad movies, waiting to be discovered by cinephiles with love for the bad and the obscure. Time will tell.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Captain Obvious.
  • Radioactive plankton coke party!
  • Beetle regurgitation!
  • Bobby, the man who inspires contraceptives everywhere.
  • Mutated-melting-monster-fish sex scene!
  • Some caviar for the lady?
  • Face full ‘o’ spear!
  • Fish clock…
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Little but, but plenty of gooey, melty fish monsters.

7

blood

BREASTS

“I think it’s time to buy a new bra!”

3

beast

BEASTS

Laughable automatronic and stop motion fish are no match for Bobby.

5 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie… in Italian!

trailers

dripper
Scream Prints
join our mailing list
* indicates required

About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>