Archive for the 'Sci-Fi' Category

Aug

posted by The Goon | August 17, 2013 | 80's movies, Horror movies, Reviews by the Goon, Sci-Fi, Slasher, Slasher films

the fog

It’s midnight and for you that may mean you’re half in the bag, working up the courage to talk to that girl you think has been checking you out all night at the bar or maybe you’re sitting on your couch in stained under-roos demolishing a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos flipping through Netflix, but not settling on anything to watch. For the folks in Antonio Bay, it means something ghostly. Something deadly.

As the small coastal Californian city gets ready to celebrate their centennial, odd and almost poltergeist like things begin to happen. Car alarms blare, payphones ring for no reason, dogs go crazy with barking (so basically, normal California now)… all with the sudden appearance of a fog. This ominous presence also very slightly upsets the mortar at the church, knocking lose a stone and uncovering a 100 year old diary of a teen girl. No, it’s from early settlers, but in their defense, it was cool for everyone to have diaries back then. Father Malone reads the journal, discovering that his grandfather along with five others purposely sank the ship the Elizabeth Dane and its crew of lepers, who only wished to develop a colony… but who would want to live near a bunch of icky lepers?

the fogThat evening, Nick (Tom Atkins who is MUSTACHLESS!) picks up a hitchhiking Jamie Lee Curtis, who must still be on the run from Michael Myers. On their way to nowhere, I guess, all of the car windows explode. Meanwhile, three fisherman drink beer on their boat as that fog rolls in. Ghastly, shadowed figures slaughter them and then vanish. The next morning, DJ Stevie Wayne (played by Adrienne Barbeau) is given a broken piece of drift wood from her son that only reads “Dane.” Later at the radio station (which she rocks in a lighthouse) her tapes play backwards, the wood bursts into flames and the words “6 MUST DIE” appear on the drift wood. Stevie just continues on about her day, which I assume is all you really can do.

Father Malone unveils the secret of the town’s founders to the mayor before the big ceremony: That they celebration would really be honoring murderers. Not to rain on his parade or anything, but didn’t English people murder a bunch of Native Americans to get the land we live on today? That’s beside the point.

The celebration goes on as planned as the fog rolls in, cutting power and phone lines. Bet you didn’t know fogs were were like the SWAT team of weather, did you? The specters in the fog claim a few more victims, including the weatherman Dan (Charles Cyphers) and Stevie’s son’s babysitter, who is some random old lady. Stevie gets on the radio and pleads for help for someone to help her son. Nick snaps into action and scoops the boy up before he becomes the sixth victim. You know, if all they want is six, that kid shouldn’t have been so selfish and let them kill him and the ghosts would have stopped terrorizing random, hard working people and causing a lot of money in property damage. Just saying.

the fogStevie then gives the worst advice, telling everyone to go to the church because it’s the safest place. She gives this information with absolutely no proof (guess her radio station is owned by FOX News. Zing). Father Malone is the only one to brave up and offer himself as a sacrifice, taking with him a gold cross. As he is being attacked by Blake, one of the ghosts that was murdered by his grandfather, it begins to glow because… it’s neat? No idea, but Nick manages to scoop up Father Malone and save him. The fog and the ghosts disappear, since they most likely have better things to do. The movie concludes with Father Malone pondering why he wasn’t killed, just as the fog rolls back in and the ghosts reappear.

In all honesty, The Fog isn’t John Carpenter’s best work, but it’s certainly not his worst. This film was after the success of Halloween, but right before the gory, special effects heavy The Thing, so it seems like good middle ground. It certainly showed how well director John Carpenter was developing as a filmmaker and storyteller. With roles from actors in previous John Carpenter’s, it’s interesting to see them all play different characters instead of being typecast. Also, the characters are all named after his friends, so it’s good if you like trivia. You could look at this as an experimental piece. What it lacks in violence and blood, like the previous mentioned films, it makes up in moody atmosphere, chilling darkness and a spooky story.

So tune in listeners, check out The Fog (now in a stunning restoration on Blu-ray from Scream! Factory) and keep them windows locked and doors bolted.

roadside attractions

  • Ghost Pirates!
  • Carpenter Cast Roll Call.
  • Somehow this movie feels like it should have Tom Waits singing sea shanties.
  • When Father Malone first opens the diary, pause it and see what it says on the page…
  • Take a shot every time Annie is a total B.
  • Janet Leigh, still foxy.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Not too much blood, but plenty of hooking and some eye gouging.

4

blood

BREASTS

Jamie Lee, covered by bed sheets. Bummer.

7

beast

BEASTS

Better hope you’re the seventh person in line of the ghosts of the Elizabeth Dane slaughter.

5.7 OVERALL
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Watch the official trailer!”

trailers

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Jul

ABCs of Death

Not too long ago, I won a copy of The ABC’s of Death on Bluray from Magnet as part of a V/H/S/2 fan art contest and I finally got around to watching it. It had quite a bit of buzz surrounding it and the concept is quite interesting. Basically, each letter is a short film from a different director. Despite mixed reviews, I was still excited nonetheless (after all, isn’t the idea to see what I think about the film?). Rather than do a typical review, I thought I would try something a little different. Maybe something of a pun, if you will. So much like the film, I’m going to go through the alphabet, A-Z (in case you couldn’t figure that out) and give a word or two review on that particular letter, using the same letter. Afterwards, I’ll go back though and give more of an insight on the film experience. Alright, let’s start this mother!

A is for Alright, pretty rad!
B is for Boring.
C is for Condensed crap.
D is for Damn, downright dirty!
E is for Ehh…
F is for Frickin’ stupid.
G is for God, what a waste.
H is for Hella cool hound dog.
I is for Insomnia cure.
J is for Japan.
K is for Klassic Krap.
L is for Ludacris!
M is for Moronic.
N is for No thank you.
O is for Oh… kay…
P is for Pretty Lame.
Q is for Quack-tastic!
R is for Righteous and rowdy!
S is for Sadistically supercharged!
T is for Terrifying toilet trouble!
U is for Unseen killer.
V is for Visually mediocre.
W is for Whacky!
X is for X-tremely stupid.
Y is for Yeah, don’t lick little boy’s arse sweat.
Z is for Zoinks! Giant Nazi dong!

The ABC’s of Death goes beyond an anthology. The filmmakers are given even a shorter amount of time to tell their story and for the most part, lots of them are done pretty well. For some of them, like L and S, you can’t help but think how those segments would be if they were full length features, combining stylistic shots with unique stories. The ideas they had, even for a short, are incredible. At times, some of them felt a little too ambitious and it only felt like they were using blood and gore to grab your attention. Like C, it was if they didn’t trust their own storytelling ability and it shows. Other times, give O for example, was a very beautiful story to look at, but it didn’t feel like there was much of a story being told. Instead it’s just slow motion shots of very artistic images. It would be like if you gave a photographer a video camera. Of course, there were some really hilarious ones, H, T and Z especially. I don’t know if those segments would have worked as full length features, but they were entertaining and made me laugh.

ABCs of DeathFor all of its flaws (hey, it’s not going to be perfect), The ABC’s of Death feels like an interesting experimental piece and I’d have to say the experiment was a success! You get a mixture of action, horror, drama, science fiction, claymation, animation and comedy all rolled in to one. Unlike most anthologies, there is no underlining narrative to link all the stories together, so there is no connection between stories. Each one has its own beginning and end.

Although it has a handful of uninteresting (and some even downright lazy with their ideas or execution), overall it was very entertaining, sickening and even shocking at moments. You could say it’s a mixed bag, which it is, but the good outweighs the bad. Giving the restrictions each film maker had, most of them did a bang up job and with the recent announcement of a sequel; I say B is for Bring it on!

roadside attractions

  • Educational and gory!
  • Dog gone!
  • Japan.
  • Masterba-tory-overdose.
  • Toilet troubles.
  • Heroine fueled race with the Devil!
  • Vampire-cam.
  • Robots blowing up babies.
  • Nazis!
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

The root of every segment.

7

blood

BREASTS

The more poor segments tend to throw this more to keep your attention.

8

beast

BEASTS

Monsters, Devils, Furries, claymation toilets that eat people, spiders, serial killers, boogeymen, hookers and Nazis… there is something here for everyone!

8 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for The ABCs of Death.

trailers

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Jul

suspiria

Ready for a far out science fiction adventure? Well, here’s something groovy you may want to check out, dig it? Ok, I promise I’ll lighten up on the all the hepcat slang. In the spirit of the 1950’s, The Ghastly Love of Johnny X is homage to the black and white beatnik flicks, absurdly silly sci-fi films like Plan 9 from Outer Space and even musicals, like Rocky Horror Picture Show. Normally mixing this many genres can make a film incoherent or confusing, but here it seems to all blends together… like nice, old fashioned milkshake.

Beginning in the science fiction element, our title character Johnny X, full name Jonathan Xavier, is banished from his home world for being too wild and reckless, like his role model, the reckless rock star (possibly in the vein of Elvis) Mickey O’Flynn, played by, in the oddest casting choice, Creed Bratton from The Office. So as a punishment from the head councilman (played by Kevin McCarthy in his final role), Johnny is sent to Earth, until he can do a selfless act. But with an attitude like Johnny’s, what do think is going to happen next?

One year later, a drop dead gorgeous woman named Bliss abruptly enters a diner in literally the middle of nowhere and seduces the young man behind the counter, Chip and the two are about to take off… that is, until Johnny and his gang, The Ghastly Ones, crash the party. This is where the film jumps genres from beatnik to musical, but does it casually. You go along with the musical number, snapping along, as the singing provides exposition, as Johnny uses what he calls the ‘Resurrection Suit’. This suit gives him the ability to control others, but Chip manages to pull off some heroics and saves Bliss as they flee into the desert.

HBTMOverhearing what is going on, a patron at the diner by the name of King Clayton (played by the always favorable Reggie Bannister) who just so happens to be the manager of Mickey O’Flynn, offers a deal with Johnny: Help him with his ‘situation’ with Mickey and in return, he will bring back the soda jerk Chip and Bliss. And what situation would that be? Well, it’s not that he didn’t show up for rehearsal as the news previously had reported… turns out, King Clayton is in deep with loan sharks to keep his theater open and Mickey was gonna pack the house and pay the debt, except that he croaked the night before the rehearsal. So the idea is to get the Resurrection Suit back to reanimate the recently departed Mickey to put on the show. Could this be that selfless act that gives Johnny the ticket to go home?

Well as luck would have it, King Clayton is Chip’s uncle and along with Bliss, they walk right into the lion’s den, so to speak. Putting all grudges aside, leaving Bliss for his new girl (and gang member) Bobbi Socks, Johnny gets ready for the show. However, the sluggishly oaf and appropriately named Sluggo, in an act of independence, sabotages the suit and flees with the now reanimated Mickey and kidnapping Bliss along the way. Recruiting Chip into the gang, baptizing him as ‘Soda’, the two put their differences aside and head off to save Bliss, who Sluggo is demanding in exchange for the Resurrection Suit. And so begins the final battle. Will Johnny defeat Sluggo and save the girl? Will he get home? Don’t worry. All of these questions are answered in the final act.

Overall, the movie is an entertaining romp that those with love of retro cinema and serials will love. It also has some silliness that brings the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra to mind. It not only has a sense of humor, but you a splash of love for everything that is the 50’s. Director Paul Bunnell brings all together fantastically to bring you something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The Ghastly Love of Johnny X is a throwback to those beatnik romps with greasers, gangs, dames, slime balls, dweebs, thugs, Martians and weirdoes… all in the name of love. It’s an adventure, it’s a musical, and it’s groovy. Check this one out. Dig, Daddy-O (Oh come on, I had to end on some cool slang)?

You can purchase The Ghastly Love of Johnny X here!

roadside attractions

  • Devo hat.
  • Soda shake romp.
  • Hepcats and dames.
  • Rock-a-billy zombie Creed.
  • World domination… with science!
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Nothing to really see hear, but that’s not what it’s about.

7

blood

BREASTS

Plenty of busty dames to oogle at.

8

beast

BEASTS

Sluggo and a zombie Mickey O’Flynn. Even the girls are deadly.

6.3 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer here!

trailers

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Mar

posted by Barry Goodall | March 18, 2013 | 50's b-movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Guest Review, Sci-Fi

Killers from Space

Like many of my favorite B-films, Killers from Space is vintage sci-fi. Directed by W. Lee Wilder (aka “The Other Wilder,” legendary director Billy Wilder’s older and less talented brother), written by his son Myles Wilder, and starring a young Peter Graves and the babely Barbara Bestar, the film is a classic “alien invader’s evil plan” flick.
Killers is straight out of the Ed Wood school of film-making: bad modeling, cheesy sets, and over 10 mins. total of stock footage, mostly from early 50s US military sources. It has its charms though, not the least of which is faithfully reflecting its era: cigarette vending machines in the hallways of a hospital; period language (the observation planes during the A-bomb test are designated “Tarbaby 1,” “Tarbaby 2,” etc.); frequent visual references to then-President Eisenhower and the American flag, and even the presence of one of Mr. Hoover’s steely-eyed “G-men.” No atheistic, closet Hollywood Commies made this picture, by God!

Killers from SpaceDuring an atomic bomb test (cleverly code-named “Operation A-Bomb Test”), the observation plane carrying Dr. Douglas Martin (Peter Graves) is pulled down by a mysterious light on the desert floor. Everyone assumes he died in the crash until he shows up a few days later, wandering weak and disoriented around base with a new (but completely healed) scar on his chest. He is subsequently released from the hospital after his identity is confirmed by G-Man Briggs (Steve Pendleton), but he is put on medical leave for the time being, all the while having disturbing visions of eyes. After incidents of odd behavior noticed by friends and his wife, Ellen (Barbara Bestar), and then some treasonous but very amateurish espionage (he left the Classified Information vault door open when he left—really), he flees but is captured and fed sodium amytal (“truth serum”) and it is revealed that he has been hypnotized by aliens residing in caverns under the desert floor not far from the test site. According to the aliens, he died in the crash and they recovered his body, installing a new heart (hence the unexplained scar). He is the only one who believes this, of course, the others suspecting insanity on his part.

Killers from SpaceThe aliens (I call them “Feldmanites”) came to Earth via a “electron bridge” to annihilate its current biosphere and start from scratch. Their own sun is dying, and although they waged genocidal invasions against their own neighboring planets to escape the doom of their home world—Astron Delta— it is not enough. They need Earth for their 1 billion population, and they need to clear its biosphere before taking over (the fact that they are creating a dead planet in order to escape their own dead planet is not explored in the film). They have been collecting and storing electrons from the US government’s A-bomb tests, holding “several billion electron volts” in “nucleo-storage units” to achieve this goal, but their power grid is dangerously overloaded as they have been siphoning electricity from the local power station. The Feldmanites have also been breeding giant mutated insects and reptiles for their “ethnic cleansing” campaign, as we know because the film spends almost 4 minutes of filler time showing us over and over again accompanied by bad audio effects.

Fortunately for our species, Martin figures out that he can foil the Feldmanites’ evil scheme by simply shutting down the power grid at the generating plant for a few seconds, thus releasing all of their stored “electrons” in an unscheduled A-bomb test of his own—death by circuit-breaker. His plan succeeds after some sleepy action scenes at a power plant, and the film closes (appropriately) with stock footage of an atomic bomb exploding as the “nucleo-storage” batteries go.
While this film is low on the 3-B scale and has a plot with some astonishing inconsistencies, it’s very entertaining with its obvious eye fetish and a great period piece if you enjoy early-50s schlock.

roadside attractions

  • Historical stock footage
  • We Like Ike
  • Eye fetishists
totals

-2

blood

BLOOD

I’ve seen more gore in a Disney film; there’s not even a shooting.

0

blood

BREASTS

We don’t get to see the bestar of Barbara, alas; this was the early 50’s when decent, red-blooded Americans didn’t have sex or even drop a button or two

3

beast

BEASTS

Giant mutated insects and lizards; aliens with Marty Feldman’s DNA pattern

1.0 OVERALL
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Check out this trailer for “Killers From Space”

trailers

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Jan

posted by Barry Goodall | January 28, 2013 | 90's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Horror movies, Review by Barry Goodall, Sci-Fi

arcade

A possessed video games starts stealing kids souls in 1993’s “Arcade” and only Peter Billingsley and his trusty red rider rifle can stop it. Peter plays Nick, a self proclaimed gaming wizard who thinks he can beat any game ever made. He and his slacker buddies head down to the Dante’s Inferno Arcade to check out a new videogame and listen to some Pearl Jam. The game is called Arcade and supposedly so high-tech you have to look through a submarine scope and use joysticks while wearing racing gloves. That’s 90’s marketing genius.

Nick is the first to give it a try but once inside the virtual gaming arena, he gets stuck in a spike maze and is killed by a flaming skull bat. Stunned by his defeat, Nick claims it’s the most amazing game he’s ever seen. Really Nick?…even more amazing than Kirby Superstar? All the kids are given a free console version by the promoter but sadly Ebay hasn’t been invented so they can’t sell it back. Alex (Megan Ward) resident newbie isn’t as impressed but her boyfriend Greg ditches her to stay behind and play it anyways. The game microwaves him like day old pizza and he disappears in a puff of smoke. Nobody really notices or cares, but I blame Nirvana.

arcadeDays later people finally start asking what happened to Greg and Alex’s console game starts taunting her about her now teen spirit boyfriend is trapped inside and she’s next. She rushes over to Nick’s to be “consoled” who doesn’t believe her until witnessing a friend getting nuked while playing it in her living room.

Alex and Nick decide to go to the game’s sleazy promotor Mr. Dillford, played by John De “Q” Lance who tells them they are on “trial for crimes against humanity!” OK not really. He actually has no clue what they’re talking about so he takes them to game’s programmer, Albert for some valuable gamer tips. His best advice is “don’t die” and then shows them a picture of a game map for bonus points. Albert must have missed the beta testing.

Alex and Nick plug back into the game now turbo-charged with kids souls but Nick gets wiped out on the first level and Alex gets zapped into a bonus round where her mom commit suicide. Wow, so remember kids don’t play video games or your parents will die. Glad she didn’t make it to the “kicking puppies” level.

ArcadeAlex fortunately had earned a extra bonus life so she’s able to return back to the playfield to defeat the possessed game, free her friends and getting back her loser boyfriend Greg all before dinner. Sadly Nick didn’t even get to first base with Alex. He must have too busy being the “gaming master” or maybe it was the pink bunny suit he kept wearing?

“Arcade” is not one of Full Moon’s better films that didn’t involve killer puppets or star Tim Thomerson but the 20 minutes of psychedelic credits were interesting enough. Barry Goodall says check it out but only if you’re running low on gaming tokens. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to playing a much better game of Angry Birds.

roadside attractions

  • Flaming skull bats
  • CGI by a 5th grader
  • Seth Green’s Hair
  • The spiked cave Level from the game Doom
  • Emo pod racing
  • Slacker power gloves
totals

2

blood

BLOOD

A  few ketchup drops on a sucidial housewife’s blonde wig.

0

blood

BREASTS

The only boobs are the ones that paid money to see this in the theater.

5

beast

BEASTS

The arcade machine itself and a few CGI rendered flaming skull bats left over from a Def Leopard video.

2.5 OVERALL
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Check out this trailer from “Arcade”

trailers

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Meat Spider
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