The Lost Highway's B-movie Reviews and Cult Films
Apr

posted by Doktor | April 15, 2016 | 70's b-movies, foreign, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

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Canoodling

Have you ever been hit in the face with a brick? Cosmos: War of the Planets is exactly like that, but different.

How are they the same? First, it’s spaghetti sci fi, heavy on the cheese. That would be the brick. It was written and directed by Alfonso Brescia (Al Bradley). Brescia went on to make such classics as Battle of the Stars (1978), War of the Robots (1978), Star Odyssey (1979), and Beast in Space (1980), among others. Many of the aforementioned films reused footage, costumes, actors, and props from Cosmos: War of the Planets. Honestly, I would not be surprised to learn all five movies are the same film just recut and re-titled. Brescia would be the getting hit in the face.

Etor looking scaredThe difference? Getting hit in the face with a brick will eventually heal. Cosmos: War of the Planets will haunt you the rest of your days.

The movie opens in space, a vast blanket of darkness spotted with twinkling lights. It reminds us of how small we are, the sublimity… is interrupted by an annoying video game blip sound as one star blinks brighter and brighter.

Ho-kay.

Cut to a different shot of space. A spaceship, the MK31, floats by. Again the huge expanse dwarfs the insignificant craft. In such spanning possibilities how could these intrepid explorers make any difference? Who are these brave… Devo rejects? Inside the ship, the Devo Crewmen say vaguely science sounding words in some kind of futuristic space spell in order to pilot the ship. Or something.

Uhg.

Just as sleep was about to take me there’s a “stellar explosion.” Well, that’s what one of the Devo Crewmen calls it. What actually happens is a flash of light followed by a meteor hurtling towards them. Devo Crew jump into their seats and strap on their seat belts. They ask the computer for new coordinates in order to escape the “rays” of the explosion (i.e. the meteor). Funny thing, the computer does not register the explosion.

Wait, what?

Now Devo Crew is worried. There are lots of anxious looks. Each of the fifteen crew members gets their turn to look distressed. That is, all except for Rent-a-Center Tommy Chong, Marseille, who is more concerned with biting his nails. At this point I too was more concerned with his hangnail than the plot. Sadly, though, we never find out if he got it.

Marseille chewing his fingernailWhy stress? Just steer away, right?

Problem is the MK31 does not have a steering wheel. There are plenty of random buttons and blinky lights, but no controls. The MK31 is piloted by the computer, with no way to manually take control. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your spacecraft.) So, with nothing else to do, there are more shots of Devo Crewmen looking on helplessly. The meteor is upon them and…

Never mind, it was nothing.

Seriously. In a move that makes M. Night Shymalan wet, the whole thing is unceremoniously dropped.

“That was a refraction of a cosmic explosion occurring 10 million years ago,” says the computer. Wait a minute. A second ago there was nothing there. Now the computer not only registers the event, but registers an event that happened 10 million years ago?

Whap! Brick right to the kisser!

Amazingly it is only three minutes into the film but it feels like several hours. There is still an hour and twenty-something minutes to go. (This is why you don’t let the Italians make your sci fi movie.) I felt like Ash in the laughing room scene of Evil Dead 2.

The credits roll as space granola floats around in the background, a kind of high colonic cleansing party for our mental palate.

Next we see Captain Devo, Hamilton—Captain Ham from here on—walking into command center Orion. He strolls up and punches some guy named Miller. Having completed his mission, Captain Ham leaves.

Captain Ham is supposed to be a no-nonsense, bucks authority kinda guy that movies like this call for. He’s more of a douche but, eh, close enough. Commander Bossman gives Captain Ham a talking to as punishment, then gives him command of a ship leaving for the Vega System. Or was it Space Vegas? Whatever. Commander Bossman is harsh, but fair.

Next we get some random scenes showcasing life aboard the MK31. In other words, a bunch of idiots barely able to handle mundane tasks without killing themselves. There’s a space walk to fix a space circuit. For some reason mishandled space circuits spit acid and, conveniently, this space circuit is mishandled. Captain Ham has to go out and rescue the Devo Crewman, thus showing how awesome Captain Ham is. Then we watch a couple of the female crew talk about how dreamy Captain Ham is. There’s some space hootchie-cootchie-lick-‘em-yum-yums in the Cosmic Love room. (Cosmic Love is two single beds with a model Death Star between them. Flip a few switches, watch the groovy light show, and you are getting your freak on.)

WIZJust as I was reaching for the remote to turn off Cosmos: War of the Planets a transmission comes in. By transmission I mean the grinding sound of an old Studebaker with a bad starter filtered through a Pac Man effects pedal. The message is never translated, but I’m pretty sure it went something like, “Get on with it already!”

Somehow the signal is interfering with Earth’s radio transmissions which has put Commander Boss Man’s butt is in the fire. WIZ, Earth’s most smartest super computer ever, recognizes that the signal is being broadcast by an intelligence that “knows all.” Being way smart and stuff, WIZ advises Commander Boss Man to seek  out the intelligence and destroy it. What a great idea. Launch an attack on some being that knows all. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your super computers.)

As an unnecessary counter point, Captain Ham gives his theory about the mysterious signal, “radioactivity meeting a cosmic belt.” Take that you stupid blipping robot box. Who’s the damned fool now? Alien intelligence? Feh. In fact, Captain Ham goes so far as to say that the computer “must be drunk.”

Regardless, Earth is going to send a ship and the closest is…

The MK31!

Though Captain Ham is a terrible person, his deficiencies make him the perfect person to lead this mission. That is, if he fails no one is going to miss him or Devo Crew. Finally! The movie does something believable.

Being a jerk that bucks authority, Captain Ham refuses the mission. He’s already on his way home and he’s got a haircut appointment he just cannot miss. He’s rescheduled it twice now and if he backs out again he will loose his deposit. Because the script says otherwise, some random spaceships materialize and attack the MK31, crippling it and the oh-so-capable Captain Ham.

Somehow, despite being on their way home, this attack causes them to spin out of control and into orbit around the planet broadcasting the mysterious signals. A planet that is galaxies away. Though seemingly untenable, I have a theory. The MK31 is powered by Expositive Plot Drive. That is, in order for the MK31 to escape from the spin, Captain Ham tells the closest Devo Crewman to press the “auxiliary ignition button pump”, which makes no sense. This red herring, being another brick to the face, disorients the viewer. Some slow motion acting is mixed in to further befuddle the audience and viola, anything goes. Unicorn sphincters spitting skittles would have made as much sense as them abruptly being at the renegade planet.

The spinning gives way to another scene of no-stakes drama. The MK31 is going to crash, or blow up, or run out of Snickers bars in the cafeteria vending machine. There are looks of concern. And more looks of concern. And nothing happens. Brescia just needed stuff to happen in order to fill runtime. Captain Ham orders the separation of the command module from the body of the MK31. After which they land on the planet.

Cut to a rock quarry. You know, the planet surface. The Space Science Team (that’s actually what the call themselves) generally mill about, investigating the hell out of the first ten square feet of ground outside the ship’s door. That is, all but ONE guy.

Space StonehengeJack, the inquisitive one on Space Science Team, wanders off and discovers Space Stonehenge. It’s totally sweet because it is a teleporter to a random cavern. Well, not completely random. This particular cavern is home of Cavern Robot. Cavern Robot wobbles slowly towards anyone in its area. Jack calls for help on his wrist calcom (calculator/communicator of the HP35 variety). No one on Space Science Team pays it any mind. Yet, when he cries out, as Cavern Robot treads on his space bunion, Space Science Team hears his cry. From deep within the cavern at some remote location somewhere far away.

Pow! Another brick right in the mush!

Always on the ball, one of Space Science Team remarks, “I think I saw him go towards those rocks.” In a rock quarry. Sigh. Good job narrowing that down, Lt. Dipstick. Captain Ham must be so very proud of Space Science Team. As hard as it is to believe, they actually follow Jack’s voice, and Lt. Dipstick’s vague directions, straight to Space Stonehenge.

Once inside the cavern, instead of setting off Cavern Robot’s proximity detector, Space Science Team are jumped by a clan of Troglovulcans, bald guys in linen diapers, painted blue-black with pointy ears. Old Man Troglovucan tells the story of how his people used to be a great race. Unfortunately they used their great advances in science to make robots so they could laze about. The machines revolted, as oppressed automata are wont to do. Why the “advanced” Troglovulcans did not remove the emotion chip that allowed the robots to feel oppressed is a question the film leaves unanswered. My guess is they were jerks. Whatever the case, there was an atomic war and the Troglovulcans devolved.

There is some exposition by Etor, the only named Trogulvucan (hmm, wonder if there is any significance to that?), which boils down to the enemy of my enemy is my friend resulting in an alliance between the Troglovulcans and humans. The Space Science Team is allowed to return to MK31, but they have to leave Mila behind. The Troglovulcans may be cave-dwelling morons, but they are not chumps. Captain Ham agrees to Mila being used as collateral. Keep in mind Mila is Captain Ham’s girlfriend. Also keep in mind that Space Science Team are armed with disintegrator rays and the Troglovulcans are armed with snug fitted adult diapers. I might be reading too much into it, but I think this is Captain Ham’s ham-fisted way of saying things “just aren’t working out.”

Back on MK31 there is another scene of Cosmic Love. Normally in a 70s Italian film these scenes would have incorporated nudity. In a ballsy artistic move, Brescia makes Cosmic Love more akin to a visit to one’s therapist, except less erotic. Meanwhile, Captain Ham consults MK31’s computer—yes, Captain Ham, the one who hates computers—and it reports the enemy is a computer. To destroy it they will need to press a button. A red button. A big red button. (The computer has to break it down for them in simple terms that even a village idiot could understand, because, that’s what the Devo Crew are.) Captain Ham gets worked up into a tissy because the report is only 70% possible. What? He hates computers, even when they are 100% accurate. Why does he constantly consult them?

Ugh. Why am I even asking these questions?

While Captain Ham cleans the sand out of his crevices, outside MK31 Random Devo Crewman #89 is singing while he patrols the parameter. There are some thumps which Random Devo Crewman #89 completely ignores. Jump cut inside to more Cosmic Love. Cut back to thumping outside. At this point Random Devo Crewman #89 has noticed and is worried. There are long shots of him looking anxious. Cut back to Cosmic Love, which is interrupted by some unconvincing roaring. Back outside, Random Devo Crewman #89 is attacked by Cavern Robot, i.e. Cavern Robot wobbles at him. When the backup Devo Crewmen come out to investigate, Cavern Robot uses its Super Breath Attack to blow dust at them. Mildly irritated, the Devo Crewmen retreat to get their protective space suits.

And…

BLFNAR The Evil RobotJump to Space Science Team back in the cavern. Okay. I guess that was enough of that last scene.

There is much rejoicing to be back with Mila. Yippee. Hurray. Random Devo Crewman #193’s wristmotron goes off, reminding them that the plot needs to keep moving forward. Captain Ham and Holden head off. Somehow they know to walk over to a particular corner which houses another transporter. This one teleports them before Master Brain Machine.

Master Brain Machine delivers his villain’a monologue, the tale of  how Troglovulcans are bad and by extension so is all organic life in the universe. (Kill all humans!) Also, how he is all powerful. (Kill all humans!) And finally he commands Captain Ham and Holden to switch out a few circuits so he can initiate his final solution. (Kill all humans!)

One circuit fixes Master Brain Machine, which came as a relief, i.e. no extended looks or exposition for filler. With all his power restored, Master Brain Machine is strangely impotent when it comes to killing Captain Ham and Holden who are standing right in front of him. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your evil Master Brain Machines.) Captain Ham MacGyver’s a sling shot out of his belt, which he uses to destroy Master Brain Machine David and Goliath style. Master Brain Machine’s roots are so intricately intertwined with the planet that as it explodes the planet starts to erupt.

Back at MK31, Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 are guarding the ship. Everything is quiet and chill. Suddenly Max’s body is there. So is Gretta’s. Who are Max and Gretta? Who cares? We will just call them victims of Cavern Robot. Whatever. Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 bring the bodies into the ship and deposit them in the infirmary. It turns out Gretta isn’t dead. As Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 leave, she opens her eyes. Then a couple Random Devo Crewmen are found dead.

Yeah, it would have been cool to see how they died, but at this point the movie is ready to be done. All continuity is thrown out the window in favor of ending this farce as quickly as possible. So again, whatever.

The planet remembers it was blowing up in a previous scene. There are stock footage shots of lava and volcanic eruptions. Captain Ham and Space Science Team make it back to the ship just in time. There’s some shaky camera shots of Devo Crewmen battening down the hatches, more volcano burbling, and intense talking about full power and the generators not having power and blah, blah, blah.

Big surprise, they make it out okay.

Only one Troglovulcan is saved, Etor. Heh, who would have guessed? No mention of the others left behind. No sadness. Just jokes about Etor being an instant officer because of the uniform he borrowed. (Thankfully once they got him on board they had him put on something more than the nappy.)

The End.

Wait. It isn’t?

Alka-Seltzer foaming at the mouth.The Master Brain Machine somehow possessed Random Devo Crewman #381, and in doing so made him impervious to disintegrator rays. While that is cool, it also made Random Devo Crewman #381 foam at the mouth and break out in a nasty rosacea. As Devo Crew looks around stupidly, Etor steps up like a champ to fight Master Brain Machine Guy #381. On the other hand, Captain Ham shows his true colors by grabbing his crew mate, leaving Etor to get beat down. Once safely in another room, Captain Ham ejects both Master Brain Machine Guy #381 and Etor into space.

All of everything is promptly forgotten when a happy message comes in from Earth. It’s a FaceTime call from Peter’s wife. His baby was just born. Ah! Who is Peter? Whatever. Shut up! It is almost over.

The end.

Nope. Brescia, channelling his inner J.R.R. Tolkien and the never ending ending, has another twist of supreme stupidity. The Master Brain Machine possessed the ship’s computer before Master Brain Machine Guy #381’s body was ejected into space. We discover the switcheroo when the computer’s voice changes to that of Master Brain Machine’s. Then there are some flashback scenes of the Cavern Robot and the stock volcanic eruptions (they paid for it and they are going to use, it by God) juxtaposed with the happy crew FaceTiming with Peter’s wife and baby.

Captain Ham looks around confused.

Indeed.

Now, FINALLY, the end.


Cosmos: War of the Planets

Tagline: Robot Terror from Space!

Year: 1977          Runtime: 89 min

DirectorAlfonso Brescia

Writer: Alfonso Brescia & Aldo Crudo

StarringJohn Richardson, Yanti Somer, West Buchanan


roadside attractions

  • WATCH! people look at the camera for long periods of time with vague emotions!
  • HEAR! special sound effects sampled from a Casio wrist watch!
  • WITNESS!  first contact with an alien race and then its utter  decimation, all without the slightest bit of concern!
  • FEEL! Cosmic Love, or what counts as intercourse in the space future!
  • BE AMAZED! by logic defying space science!
totals

4 blood  

BLOOD

No blood, but did have some nasty rosacea and mouth foam.

0 blood  

BREASTS

This is a classy Italian sci fi. None of that cheap stuff here.

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Cave Robots. Super Master Robot, & Troglovulcans.

 

OVERALL 4.666
dripper

Watch the entire film “Cosmos: War of the Planets”

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Apr

posted by admin | April 4, 2016 | Action, B-movie Reviews, Cult Film

Comments Off on Top 10 Cult Action Movies

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 4.04.57 PM

For a night around the house with your friends, you can’t do much better than a movie marathon. And what type of movie marathon could be more fun for a group of friends than a look back through some of the best cult classic action flicks of recent years? These are always some of the most entertaining and amusing movies out there, and they’re great to enjoy with good company.

Defining a “cult classic” is always an imprecise exercise, so some of the movies I’m suggesting may seem more or less appropriate than others. Nevertheless, here’s my top-10 list of cult action movies since 1990, in case a movie marathon is in your near future.

Army Of Darkness (1992)

Though it’s actually the third movie in a trilogy, this Sam Raimi directed action flick also stands on its own. Bruce Campbell stars as Ash, a time-traveling badass with a chainsaw in place of one arm who gets mixed up in a 14th century conflict with, well, an army of darkness. It’s completely bonkers, and yet its 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes beats most films of a similar type. And here’s another fun tip if you happen to load this one up for a movie night: there’s actually a game by Backflip Studios that reimagined this story for mobile gamers. Try loading it up on the big screen for a tournament of some kind after you watch the movie.

Passenger 57 (1992)

Okay, at the end of the day Passenger 57 is basically just another action movie on a plane. But this one has Wesley Snipes in it, and that alone makes it more interesting than 90 percent of action movies.

Dead Man (1995)

I’m always amazed how often Dead Man is left out when people recap Johnny Depp’s best movies. It’s more of an old western gunslinger flick than a traditional ’90s action movie, but it’s a pretty wild ride nonetheless, and it’s Depp in his element (before Tim Burton and others exploited that element and turned him into a caricature of himself).

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

If you haven’t seen From Dusk Till Dawn I’m not sure you can consider yourself a legitimate action film junkie. Directed by the great Robert Rodriguez and starring George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino (who also wrote the script), it’s still one of the best and most action-packed vampire flicks out there. And given today’s entertainment where the likes of Twilight and True Blood are massive sensations, and there are countless popular vampire games out there, this one still holds up.

Bloodsport (1998)

It’s called “Bloodsport”. It has Van Damme. And it’s about a Chinese kickboxing deathmatch tournament. If that’s not enough, I’m not sure what is.

Battle Royale (2000)

Battle Royale might be one of the most under appreciated action/dystopian movies of all time, at least by American movie fans. That’s pretty much because it’s a Japanese film, directed by Kinji Fukasaku. But if you haven’t seen it yet, I have a secret for you: in a way, you probably kind of have. I say this because a certain massively popular worldwide hit is a shameless ripoff of this Japanese movie. Indeed, The Hunger Games made a list at Cracked of seven classic movies that are shameless ripoffs, and while I might dispute the notion that we can call The Hunger Games a “classic,” the accusation is justified. But Battle Royale is more brutal, and probably more satisfying to real action fans.

Ghost Rider (2007)

Some people think this Nic Cage joyride is one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Fair enough, but if you love action movies specifically for their goofier qualities, you’ll probably enjoy the hell out of this one. Also, like Army Of Darkness, it has produced a game that can make for a nice, fun intermission between action movies during a marathon. Gala Bingo’s casino games actually include a few different titles based on popular comic books and films, but the Ghost Rider-based game is among the best. It’s a slot reel, but one armed with the high-energy metal and hellish imagery of the movie to keep even the most jaded players entertained.

Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Like Ghost Rider, Punisher: War Zone is often listed among the ranks of the worst, or at least the least well-known superhero movies. Produced by a failed branch of Marvel Studios called Marvel Knights (meant to showcase the darker side of their comic content), Punisher: War Zone was a brutally violent ride that’s pretty drastically underrated. Though Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of the same character in the second season of Daredevil that was uploaded to Netflix this year gives most any brutal action hero a run for his money.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

It has the feel of an indie darling more than a traditional cult classic, but one way or another Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has become shockingly overlooked. This inventive, insane, hilarious movie turns life into a video game in a way you can only really understand by watching it. It may not be as violent as a fan raised on ’80s or ’90s action wants to see, but at least it’s about as original as a movie can be.

Dredd (2012)

This is a strange distinction, but I’m going to make it anyway: Dredd is the most ’90s action movie to be made since the ’90s. Violent, darkly atmospheric, and packed with insane stunts and amusing dialogue, it’s a wild ride from start to finish. And luckily, there may soon be a sequel to add to this list in the form of a streaming series!

Feb

posted by Doktor | February 28, 2016 | 30's b-movies, 50's b-movies, 80's b-movies, Review by Doktor

Comments Off on How to Make Love Like a Mad Scientist: 30s, 50s, & 80s Style

The Brides of Science

“Science, like love, has myriad little surprises, as you shall see.” Dr. Pretorius, The Bride of Frankenstein

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and despite my best efforts to thwart the temporary hormonal imbalance it brings, I found Love tugging at my cholesterol caked heart strings . Love was everywhere, down the aisles at the grocery store, in the eyes of the couples holding hands in the park, I think I even caught hints of it in the air, like walking into the bathroom the morning after Oma had her stewed prune casserole. Fie! No matter how much Lysol I sprayed I could not seem to kill it. Love is a pesky bug that even the staunchest of us mad scientists cannot seem to eradicate.

They* say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” (*Whomever “they” are.). If it were only so easy. We mad scientists, while being the most virile of men, do not attract the women the way the square-jawed, muscle boys do. So how was I to get my love?

Chemicals and hypnosis? Feh. Yeah, they work, but I did not want to be that guy.

Tinder, AshleyMadison, and QualityRussianWives.com? Feh. I’m not creepy enough to be that guy.

Science! That was how. I would MAKE love. That is, literally create my special lady love.

I decided to investigate how my forefathers did it: Uropa (great grandfather) Doktor in the 30s, Opa (grandfather) Doktor in the 50s, and Vati (father) Doktor in the 80s. Since they’ve all passed on the the great laboratory in the sky, my research consisted of watching The Bride of Frankenstein, Bride of the Monster, and Bride of Re-Animator. Here is the chronicle of what I learned.

Never Happened Before

How Uropa Doktor Did It: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

This movie was a disappointment. The bride is beautiful, with the most wonderful head of hair, but as perfect a woman as she is she does not show until the last five minutes of the movie. Actually, I am not sure why it is titled Bride of Frankenstein. Frist, as I wrote, she does not show up until the very end. There is precious little bride and way too much of the pointless continuing adventures of the monster. Heck, The Pointless Continuing Adventures of Frankenstien’s Monster would have been a better title. Second, she does not marry anyone. So, she is not even a bride. She is a just a woman creature who was set up on a blind marriage with the monster. In fact, when she sees the “man” she has been set up with she freaks out. I cannot say I blame her. He is a monster—literally. True to the monster boyfriend stereotype, as soon as she shuns him he decides that if he cannot have her no one will. So Love, the laboratory, and some hired help all go up in flames. The End.

Sigh.

While the castle was quite nice, and the lab was to die for, the science: dead wrong. The one thing the movie got right, and spot on at that, was the portrayal of the monster boyfriend. See, ladies, tall, dark, and strong are not all they are cracked up to be.

Arthritic

How Opa Doktor Did It: Bride of the Monster (1955)

I do not know why I thought I could get anything out of an Ed Wood, Jr. movie, but I watched it anyway. I know, shame on me. I did get a good chuckle though.

There’s no bride in this movie. There is one woman. As she is barely a plot device I cannot recall her name, so let us call her Ms. Woman (Loretta King). Naturally she wrecks her car. No good reason other than she was a woman. She proceeds to pass out when she sees a quite random boa constrictor wound around the tree she crashed into. All of this allows her to be captured by Dr. Vornoff’s (Bela Lugosi) man thug, Lobo (Tor Johnson). This is quite fortuitous because Varnoff is always looking for fresh subjects to test his Atomic Super Mutant Radiation Therapy, or ASMRT, on.

For unfathomable reasons, Varnoff dresses Ms. Woman in a wedding gown to prepare her for the procedure. Perhaps the silky materials facilitates radiation particles. Maybe that was the only dress Ed Wood, Jr. had that was clean. So, Ms. Woman is strapped to the table in a flowing wedding gown.

Oh, wait a moment. I forgot to explain what Varnoff is hoping to accomplish with ASMRT. You see, this is the time when we mad scientists were convinced that huge doses of radiation would cause fantastic mutations, transforming the recipients with incredible powers or abilities, rather than cause horribly devastating cancers. In the case of Ms. Woman specifically the ASMRT was going to make her “super strong and super beautiful” as opposed to a steamy puddle of human-goo.

Or perhaps it would do that. Up to this point he was only able to successfully atomic super mutant Nessie (some exposition had him in Loch Ness before he came to America) and a swamp octopus he keeps as a pet to guard his swamp-locked laboratory.

And then, like so many prom night dreams, everything goes horribly wrong. Lobo is in Lurv with Ms. Woman, and while he is enamored of the whippings he receives from his master, he cannot abide by the destruction of his lady love. Despite the fact that she screams and wets herself every time she Lobo, his unrequited love for her drives him to knock out Varnoff, switch Ms. Woman’s place on the table with Varnoff, and, though he can only just manage to put on his slip on shoes, he sets the controls and turns on the machine.

Mostly the ASMRT works. Mostly. Varnoff becomes Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff—with poo-smeared face. He breaks free of the puny restraints and knocks some sense into Lobo. By “knocks some sense” I mean couple super punches puts Lobo down fast as Travis Coates boom stick put down Old Yeller.

Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff takes off with Ms. Woman to do something in the swamp. Lt. Dick, Ms. Woman’s fiancé, pushes a swamp bolder at Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff knocking him into the waiting arms of his pet swamp octopus. A well placed lightning strike hits the struggling mutants setting off an atomic blast.

As the heroes look at the blast, which incidentally is only feet from where they are standing, Capt. Robbins sums up the moral morass of the story with, “He tampered in God’s domain.”

Bride of the Monster is another one that gets the science wrong. Actually, the only “science” in the movie is the wall of test tubes, Bunsen burners, and BLFNAR (blinking lights for no apparent reason). Additionally, there was nothing about brides, not how to make one or win one or even how to use one’s power of hypnosis to force one to your will (see the image for Varnoff’s sweet technique that’s totally wasted). All Bride of the Monster gave us was one test subject made up in wedding dress. That, Mr. Wood, is quite a stretch to add bride to the title.

Bride of the Monster does one thing, which is, warn us mad scientists against trusting our minions to have your back when a lady is involved. So much for mad scientist’s best friend.

Ubterwyf

How Vati Doktor Did It: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

Now here is a movie with some substance. Firstly, there is not one, but two mad scientists, Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) and Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). I was sure this movie would have some answers for me. And lo, it did! Plus there is plenty of glowing reagent, freak abominations of living body pieces, and hubris that only Jeffrey Combs can embody: “I will not be shackled by the failures of your God.”

Hmmm! Now there’s a mad scientist, mad scientist!

If you love him so much why don’t you marry him?

Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a glass stirring rod.

Anyway…

Like Bride of Frankenstein, in Bride of Re-Animator the two doctors are attempting to construct a woman. Dr. Cain and Dr. West’s creation is more than just random parts, though there are plenty of those, too. What makes her so special is that she starts with the heart of Dr. Cain’s beloved Megan Halsey. Moreover, as a kind of icing on the bridal cake, Dr. West secures the head of Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont), a patient Dr. Cain had recently become emotionally attached to but lost.

What a guy!

Also like in Bride of Frankenstein, bride of re-animator (the woman creature lacks a name) does not show up until later in the movie. Unlike Bride of Frankenstein, she is the actually part of the  plot, so Dr. Cain and Dr. West are working on her throughout the movie. Once she is re-animated she has more than 5 minutes of screen time, too.

Sadly, it turns out that as perfect as bride of re-animator may have been, exposed muscles and metal braces holding her skeleton together notwithstanding, Dr. Cain finds something far more attractive in regular old Francesca (Fabiana Udenio), a woman made the old fashioned way, the temporary hormonal imbalance culminating in the sharing of DNA fluids.

Sigh. All that work wasted. Well, there is the cat fight between bride of re-animator and Francesca for Cain’s love. It ends with bride of re-animator tearing out her heart, shrieking, “Is this what you want?” (See the middle picture in the main image.) That was sweet.

Interestingly, just like monster boyfriends, monster girlfriends suffer from homicidal jealously, or in other words, if bride of re-animator cannot have Cain, no one will.

Maybe Capt. Robbins was onto something with the not tampering in Gods blah, blah, blah stuff.

 


 

So what is the take away? One, monster boyfriends are hateful creatures. Two, never trust your minion when a woman is involved, no matter how much he says he enjoys being chained to the water heater in the basement. Three, even if one does manage to build the perfect woman, starting with the most tender part of one’s most beloved, as it turns out a good old fashioned girl will win out in the end.

What if you don’t have a good old fashioned girl to win? Well, you can do like I did. Netflix and chill, with yourself.

Jan

Comments Off on Evil Dead (2013)

weapons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to another review, folks. Since I did the original series of Evil Dead, it only seems appropriate that I finish off the quadrology. So, like the time elapsed between movies, it’s now time to get to the last of the films that helped define my love for horror. Let’s get to Evil Dead, the reboot.

So we start this film up on a far different note than the other three. A girl is being chased through the woods. Okay, kind of like the other three, but not really, as her pursuers are people of a…red necked nature. And with no shocker, she’s captured. The next time we see the poor girl she’s tied up, doused in gasoline, and her father is pouring out niceties while leveling a double barreled shotgun at her head. Either this is an extreme form of family counseling, or something is seriously amiss. Oh, look, a voodoo witch. Always good when there’s one of those around. Suddenly the sweet little girl is spewing obscenities that’d make a sailor blush. So with an apology, a lit match, and a shotgun blast we begin our movie.doom

After shaking off that little bit of ‘What in the hell was that about?’ we finally begin to meet the appetizers, I mean cast…..I totally meant cast. This time around, however, instead of the usual two or three teens at a haunted cabin in the woods, we have five, count ’em, five warm bodies to put through the meat grinder; Evil Dead style. The five are gathered there to help Mia kick her drug habit, once and for all. Of course, horror movie tropes aside, it has to be pointed out: Best place to kick a drug habit? Rehab Clinic with medical staff? Nope. Hospital with trained doctors? Absurd. Abandoned cabin in the woods, cut off from all modern technology, emergency services, and any help? Perfect!

Now, that we’ve set the stage…wait. Wait a minute, there, nerd guy! What are you doing? Don’t read from that! Don’t say-And it’s too late. We have our demon, folks. Yes, thanks to an overtly curious nerd, our movie can now become a full-on gorefest! Maya steals a car in a withdrawal fueled rage, crashes it, and meets up with the summoned thing from the book. Like all horror films before, she panics, and makes the classic mistake of GOING IN THE WOODS! A bad situation turns much worse and the movie gives us a hi-def re-imagining of a scene that nearly got the first film banned in a lot of countries. Old alumni of the series cringe, new comers to the series cringe, as well. It’s just cringe worthy. Don’t worry, folks, nobody blames you.

gothAfter being rescued by her brother Mia is returned to the house, gets checked out by their nurse friend, and thus the rest of the freaky truly begins. Possessions, dismemberment, and that basement. Oh, that basement. Now. THIS is where I’d usually detail all the gruesome death scenes, the ooey-gooeys, and even the spewtastic moments of this well-loved film. But, I must not go further, because it’s all just too good to describe via text, it must be seen. Even my most shining string of words would not be able to capture just how amazing the experience truly is. However, I must put my highest seal of approval on this movie, recommend it with no issue, and above all else, beg for more! Wonderful practical effects combined with minimalist CGI give us great scares, wonderful gore, and a really fresh take on a classic piece of horror cinema.

This film takes me back to another time in movie history: When people cared about their work. And that care howmondays through every frame, second, and squish that we experience while watching Evil Dead. While Sam Raimi and The Chin were not behind the camera, they were definitely on the sidelines coaching the new players. Evil Dead is a fantastic remake filled with respect and love for the original material, as well as updating a lot of different aspects, such as making the gore and the characters a little more realistic. It gets scary because the hokey-ness of the tried and true horror characters are gone, instead replaced with more grit and grime. Watch this movie, folks. And as always, Stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • I know that car.
  • Why would you open that?
  • Don’t go in the woods!
  • That’s why you don’t go in the woods.
  • There’s a health violation!
  • Wait until after the credits.
totals

10

blood  

BLOOD

50,000 gallons in just the final scene.

1

blood  

BREASTS

Those…uh…I don’t…They’re there. 

 

10

beast  

BEASTS

While not Deadites, you won’t miss them.

10.00 OVERALL
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Jan

posted by Doktor | January 25, 2016 | 90's movies, B-movie Reviews, Horror movies, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Project: Metalbeast

Project Metalbeast Main

Tagline: DNA Overload

Year: 1995                 Runtime: 93 min

Director: Alessandro De Gaetano

Writer: Alessandro De Gaetano, Timothy E. Sabo

Starring: Kim Delaney, Barry Bostwick, Kane Hodder

Is This Normal 01Kane Hodder. Metal Werewolf. Barry “Commander Ace Hunter” Bostwick. Yes, please!

Ah, but like so many b-movies in the 90s, the cover promised more than the movie delivered. Don’t get me wrong, Project: Metalbeast has its moments, when the credit roll ends. Problem is, it doesn’t thrill so much as it talks at you.

Take the opening scene. Stormy sky. Night. Teletype titles:

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) 1974

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) U.S. Military Intelligence

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Operation Lycanthropus

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Carpathian Mountains, Hungary

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Objective: Sample werewolf blood.

(tacka-tacka-tacka-tacka) Purpose: To make an awesome 90s horror flick create a superior combat agent.

Zzzzzzzz

Master Sergeant “Way Too Serious” Butler and his idiot sidekick Private “Lackey Bait” Greg break into a random castle. As all Hungarian castles are infested with werewolves, any old castle will do. Butler’s armed to the teeth, i.e. a single 45. No wonder he’s so somber. Lackey is secured with a bulging pack of gear, a bulky metal case, and a camera. Whomever packed his gear completely misunderstood what he was going to be shooting.

Still, Lackey performs his role perfectly, blindly blundering around, always out front, until attacked and killed. Butler, the consummate commander, watches idly as Lackey’s throat is ripped out. He’s more concerned with the dirt under his fingernails. It’s ruined his manicure. Lacky’s camera, not wanting to miss it’s big shot in the “movies,” decides to take a burst of pictures. What’s surprising is, despite being pointed at the ceiling, it manages to capture several in focus and nicely composed pictures of Lackey’s death. Each shot is from a slightly different perspective to boot.

Can your fancy DSLR do that? Don’t think so.

Though still deeply pained by his dirty nails, Butler pulls himself together enough to shot the hulking werewolf a couple times. “Hmm, what do you know, it works,” his look says. I admit I was surprised. I had no idea that a 45 has werewolf stopping power. He extracts some of the werewolf blood with an unnecessary suction device in one of Lackey’s cases. I’m sure a syringe would have worked just fine, but this is 1974. All secret government agents had excessively high tech gear. It’s a thing. Look it up.

With the blood collected, Butler grabs the camera and does Lackey a favor and shoots him in the face. Good job, boy. You’ll go far in this world.

Cut to: U.S. Secret Operations Center.

It looks like a mid-sized high school building, and from what we’ve seen so far this is where the writer spends his weekdays. Nah, I’m just kiddin’. Really the location is all about being broke. They spent all $13.68 of budget on the special effects makeup.

Butler, man of action, is getting antsy. The science tests on the blood are taking too long. Time to introduce some class, some level headed leadership. Enter Miller, Barry “Cool as a Cucumber” Bostwick, to put Butler in his place. Miller’s got this under control and Butler is not going to screw this one up. Sit, Butler, sit! Good dog.

Come to find out, while the tests are not complete, the doctor does know that if they were to use the blood on someone, said someone’s immune system would reject it. Their blood would turn into puss. Their body would swell. They’d suffer an intense fever. Eventually they’d die. Butler and Miller have one track minds, so they ask “That is all fine and good but is the blood diseased?”

Oh, it’s going to be so much fun watching the pair of them die.

Being the MENSA candidate he is, Butler isn’t going to wait for another week. He’s just going to take the blood. So, he sneaks into the lab after hours, because nothing is locked down in a Secret U.S. Operations Center, steals a half syringe, and sneaks off to the bathroom to shoot up.

Hmmm. Maybe this really is a high school after all.

Before he shoots up, Butler taste tests a couple drops. Not bad. A bit gamey. That’s all the science test needed so, yippee ki-yay. After a few moments of twitching like he shot molten iron, he goes all Emo. He returns to his office to reminisce by looking through the slides of Lackey’s final moments.

As he contemplates black, Butler’s sense of hearing starts improving. He hears some of the other doctors making fun of him and his werewolf blood. Why can’t the world just leave him alone!

With all the swirling passions and the icky hair sprouting in unusual places, this would be a terrible time for Miller to bust in and—

PewCue the exposition/Mexican stand off.

Butler, his sack having descended, sneers about smelling fear, living forever, and the $20 Miller still owes him from a couple weeks back. Not ready to become Butler’s victim just yet, Miller slips off to… uhm… turn off his stove. He forgot to turn it off when he left home that morning.

Fun Fact: when you shoot up werewolf infection, as opposed to getting it by being bitten, you can change by will, or as it’s known in show biz, through the “power of plot.”

In one of the labs, a lady doctor cuts her hand. Butler smells the blood. It brings out the beast in him. The Lurvwolf. He doesn’t always hump a lady’s leg on the first date, but when he does he returns to his office to lick his… pride. Or something.

One of the man doctors busts in, ready to save lady doctor’s virtue. Ooooo, bad timing there, chief. Butler has gone full werewolf. Mr. Doctor gets his throat ripped out. So much for chivalry. As WereBulter is chomping on his jugular, the slide projector decides to click through the slideshow of Lackey’s death.

I’d like an order of killing, with a side order of killing, and supersize that for me.

Miller, having thought of a snappy comeback finally, returns to find WereButler still chowing down on Mr. Doctor. That dog will not hunt, sir. Miller shoots WereButler and they put him, as well as the project, on ice. Literally.

Cut to: 1994. NEW U.S. Secret Operations Center.

Now the operations are housed in a mid-sized warehouse. How did this happen you ask? Well, they injected some Hungarian warehouse blood into the high school building and voila, new operations warehouse!

Inside we’re shown Dr. Anna de Carlo’s office. We see her Dermatology degree from the University of Michigan, her humanitarian of the year diploma (That’s right, diploma. It reads diploma in big bold letters at the bottom.), a cute Kangaroo doll on her desk, and her name plate which reads, “Synthetic Tissues Project.” Then a cross fade to her busy at work. Meanwhile all her co-workers are playing pool, poker, and drinking beers.

Cut to next day. Dr. Anna sleeping on her desk. Lt. “Don’t Touch the Hair, Man” Ferraro, one of her co-workers who took the evening off, comes in. He gives her the loving look which says, “Poor kid. Here all night. Again.” He wakes her gently.

This is a perfect time for exposition about what she does.

She’s growing new skin from a mixture of synthetic tissue and metal. Well, kinda. So far all she’s made is stuff that’s hardened to steel. But, poke gooey stuff with an electric prod enough and surely you’ll get synthetic skin that can be transplanted onto humans, right? So, night after night after night, she spends her time poking gooey stuff with an electric prod rather than have a life.

Having enough exposition to explain things for the moment, the movie returns to the plot. Ferraro tells Dr. Anna that some big-shot named Miller is coming on board. There’s a meeting to introduce him at eleventy-hundred hours. Oh, and there’s a little crust in the corner of her mouth.

At the meeting, Miller gives them the old “stink eye” and some “what for” to establish himself as the new head honcho. This doesn’t go over well, but what can they do? Quit and let someone else take all the glory. Well, yeah, but… Anyway, Miller tells the scientists they’ll be moving on to testing their synthetic skin on a cadaver he’ll deliver sometime next week.

Why he’s taking a week to deliver is a mystery? WereBulter is in the basement. Remember in the old U.S. Secret Operations Center and the New U.S. Secret Operations Center are one and the same.

Here we get a touching moment between Miller and WereButler. Miller’s bragging about giving him steel skin. He’ll be indestructible. No worries though, because this time everything is under control.

Behind MeHow? Because.

In spite of their moral reservations and the questionable legality, Dr. Anna and team start grafting synthetic skin onto WereButler. Part way through the operation the notice the three bullets in his chest. Dr. Anna removes them. When she does he comes back to life.

Second Fun Fact: silver bullets don’t kill injection infected werewolves, it just puts them in a coma.

At first WereButler has no brain activity. Granted, that’s because they forgot to plug in the EEG machine. I think his thrashing about, moaning and groaning in pain, and that his eyes were wide open should have indicated conscious, which in itself suggests LOTS of brain activity, but what do I know? I’m no dermatologist.

Dr. Anna confronts Miller, but he’s all, “Feh, it’s not a person anymore. Get back to work.” Who can argue with logic like that. So they return to work. They do call Miller Mr. Poo-Poo Head behind his back from there on out.

You might be wondering why no one, even the base commander, General Hammond, calls someone higher up about all this tom foolery?

Because.

All the while WereButler is in pain on the operating table. In her office, Dr. Anna is having a bout with her conscience. You know what that means. Perfect time for exposition about what kind of person Dr. Anna is.

Early in her career as a trauma dermatologist, there was this little girl who came into her ER. Ninety percent of her body was scorched away. Ninety percent of her body was gone and she was still alive? Amazining. Surprisingly, all Dr. Anna could do was watch her die. If there were only some synthetic skin with which to replace 90% of her body!

When the little girl died Dr. Anna believed there was something that left her body. Now though, after what she experienced with WereButler, she’s not sure. All she does know is that something momentous happened, but she’s not sure what.

Well, I’m no philosopher, but a person who was dead for 20 years came back to life. And he is writing in agony as you wallow in your exposition. There’s that.

Being all alone and in pain, Miller takes a moment to evil gloat over WereButler. Miller shows him pictures of Lackey’s death, blurts out that WereButler has been frozen for 20 years, and delights in the fact that he will NEVER pay the $20 he owes.

Tender moment over, Dr. Anna returns to work. Dr. Anna finally moves past her blasé attitude and gives WereButler a shot some Demerol. For some reason this causes him to have an accident. Exhausted by all the work, it’s time for a break, during which time Larry “the black guy” is sent to get surgical tubing to make a catheter.

Dr. Anna uses her break to get a code key from Hacker Chick, the operations center’s IT department, to Miller’s office. Miller uses his break to call his mommy. WereButler uses his to transform and kill Larry.

Looks like he wanted a catheter even less than Larry wanted to put it in.

Finally, time for some well deserved killing.

Is This Normal 02Sadly, now that he’s finally free, the first thing WereButler takes his rage out on is a dipping bird novelty toy. Really? He couldn’t punch a wall? Maybe kick through a door? I suppose not. Those things cost money and there just wasn’t enough in the budget. Thankfully a hapless guard wanders across his path, and feeling silly at wasting all his AWE-some, WereButler dispatches him, but good.

Unluckily for WereButler the other guards that show up are armed with fire extinguishers.

Third Fun Fact: fire extinguisher spray causes injection infected werewolves to partially transform back and go into nap mode.

Back in the lab, Dr. Anna’s idiot assistant, Weenie Intern Guy, keeps trying to pierce WereButler’s steel skin with a syringe of sedative. There is plenty of his body that’s not covered, but why go there? That’d be too easy. Defeated, they give up. Instead, they hook him up to electrodes and fry him. Why?

Because. And science.

While he’s getting juiced, Dr. Anna has to go see how Larry died.

Seriously. I’m not making this up. She has to see how Larry died. The stupidity boggles the mind.

I normally don’t talk to my television, but it helped me fight back the urge to get violent, “WereButler, you know, the steel skinned werewolf you only moments ago hooked up to electrodes? Yeah, him. He attacked Larry. Hulking metal werewolf attacks ‘Kan be pretti nasti.’ In this case it killed him. Also, remember how everyone just finished telling you how he, WereButler, you know, the steel skinned werewolf, attacked Larry? Remember that? Well, that’s how he died.”

Just as I was about to pop a brain infarction the answer hit me. The reason she had to see what killed Larry was the filmmaker spent money on some special effects makeup. That’s why he didn’t have WereButler smashing up the place. Some nasti cuts and a severed arm have more production value than a smashed door.

My bad for ever doubting.

When she returns to the lab she unilaterally decides the best thing to do is put WereButler out of their misery. Finally. She would do the deed herself but first she, ehrm… has some stuff to do. Ferraro, too. In the meantime, they instruct Weenie Intern Guy to inject sedative in WereButler’s eye. Really. In his eye. First they fry him because they can’t sedate him. Now they’re going to inject him in his eye. Poor bastard.

Thing is, this whole time WereButler’s been awake, with enhanced werewolf hearing. He heard the whole conversation.

Goodbye, Weenie Intern Guy.

Dr. Anna goes to get the gun and silver bullets she saw in Miller’s desk drawer earlier. Too bad, Dr. Anna. Miller has already grabbed them. Miller is 99 things, but a sucker isn’t one of them.

Ferraro steals all of General Hammond’s silver coin collection, which oddly enough, he keeps lying out on his desk, only half in protective cases. Ferraro takes them to his lab to make some special silver bullets. Special silver bazooka bullets.

While they are running their errands, WereButler kills Weenie Intern Guy and sets out on the killing spree we’ve been waiting for.

Sort of.

For an emergency situation this base is incredibly laissez-faire. No alarm. No guards sweeping the parameter. Miller and General Hammond are casually walking through the building. That’s when they come upon the dead body, i.e. WereButler’s rampage. Miller is not impressed with the kill count so he shoots General Hammond’s knees to leave him as bait. No sooner does Miller leave the room than WereButler is creeping up on Hammond. WereButler picks Hammond up and…

We get to watch Hammond’s feet twitch as his neck snaps, or his head is crushed, or something happens up higher where we can’t see.

Miller happens into Ferraro, Dr. Anna, and Hacker Chick. Ferraro runs interference for the ladies so they can get away and takes a bullet for his trouble. Considering he only has 6 bullets, Miller is being incredibly generous shooting people.

Cute ShoesDr. Anna and Hacker Chick end up in the freezer room in the basement, i.e. the cryo-lab where Miller was storing WereButler all these years. Leaving the door wide open behind them, Miller easily deduces where to go.

Just when I thought the movie was out of exposition, there is some villain monologuing. Thankfully it is cut short by WereButler.

In the “fight” that ensues, WereButler stomps a mud hole in Miller. Yet Miller takes it with style. With each blow he gets up and puts things right—fixing his tie or straightening his hair. He couldn’t quite fix the disemboweling, because he was dead, but he did what he could. Now that’s class.

At last, final boss fight. Dr. Anna and Hacker Chick versus WereButler. Dr. Anna has the bazooka and a couple of Ferraro’s Special Silver Shells. With the first shot, Dr. Anna misses WereButler all together. The missile hits the wall behind him, sending debris down on all three. Hacker Chick is out. Dr. Anna gets rebar through the ankle. WereButler is, of course, just knocked out until Dr. Anna walks close enough to grab at her.

This cures her ankle and leads to some exciting basement hallway hobbling/chasing. There are lots of metal stairways, steaming pipes, locked fire doors, and concrete walls.  Just when Dr. Anna is cornered Hacker Chick is back. She hands Dr. Anna the last Special Silver Shell. This time the rocket hits, but only penetrates WereButler’s leg. No explosion.

Fail.

The ladies run but there’s nowhere to hide. They look around but there’s no where to escape. WereBulter slowly closes in for the kill. Dr. Anna goes for the bazooka but it’s empty. This is it.

But wait, it isn’t!

Ferraro isn’t dead, he’s just been waiting for the last possible moment. He’s got the last Special Silver Shell. For reals last. He hands it to Dr. Anna. She loads. She fires.

His everything a splode!

The End.

Or is it? There is a bit of burbling metal skin stuff.

No. It’s the end. That’s quite enough of that.

roadside attractions

  • Hear! the “pop” as WereButler pulls the silver bazooka burlet from his leg!
  • Witness! the majesty of The Bostwick fixing his hair before being run through!
  • Listen! in horror as Chef Ramon goes full Ricky Richardo as only a white boy can!
  • Be Amazed! by the laser-precision level to Butler’s flat top!
  • Observe! as Miller completely blows his chance at a punny one-liner as he monologues WereButler into cryogenic freeze!
totals

3 blood  

BLOOD

On par with what you get when you nick yourself shaving.

0 blood  

BREASTS

None. Dermatologists don’t show off skin!

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Steel-skinned Werewolf!

 

OVERALL 4.3
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