Sunday, 27 January 2013

CRASH AND BURN (1990)

A Charles Band b-movie about robot warfare in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? I'm in. Or, I would be if the film was anything like what the packaging would have you believe. The cover makes CRASH AND BURN look like a pseudo-sequel to ROBOT JOX, thanks to the prominence of a giant robot on the cover art. In fact, it was actually released in some territories as ROBOT JOX 2: CRASH AND BURN, despite being nothing to do with Robot Jox at all!

Well, there's a robot in it, but for 99% of the running time it lies inert in the dust, then wakes up for one solitary scene. The rest of the film is essentially a bleak, depressing story of humanity's struggle to continue once everything goes wrong.

Computer and robot use by civilians has been outlawed, and the world is run by the Unicom corporation after a global economic collapse, and when a remote TV station is infiltrated by a humanoid robot intent on tracking down insurgents against the corporation, a lowly delivery man must help the employees of the station stay alive.

And then there's a robot for a bit.

Crash and Burn is a film where all the big stuff happens elsewhere and is included in the script as a backdrop rather than much to do with the plot. This is basically a siege movie with a mad cyborg character picking off humans one by one in a variety of ways.

It's cheap and takes a long time to really pick up any pace, but when it does it's entertaining enough, just not as great as the artwork makes it out to be. Starring a young Megan Ward, it's an interesting flick for fans of the era of cheapie post-apocalyptic actioners, but don't be fooled by the cover art's robot action.

Friday, 18 January 2013

BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER (Trailer)

Sticking this 2002 film on my Tivo list now. I know it's awful, but I kinda enjoyed it when I first saw it. Lucy Liu makes for a badass assassin.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

SALUTE OF THE JUGGER (1989)

One of the many cheap sci-fi movies Rutger Hauer starred in after the genre-defining success of Blade Runner, Salute Of The Jugger (aka The Blood of Heroes) carries fond memories with it; Memories of video rental shops, the awesome cover art and the buzz around the film when it came out. Well, three years or so after it came out anyway, as I was only ten when it arrived.

When I was becoming aware of movies with 19 Certificate stickers on them, this was one that people talked about a lot (Like Dark Angel or Robot Jox), due to the weird status thing that went along with having seen a film you were too young for.

It took me until my twenties to actually see the film, and now in my thirties I'm re-watching it thanks to a cheap movies channel and a Tivo spree I went on the other night. So what do we have here? Salute of the Jugger is up there with Split Second and Wedlock as entertaining Hauer fare from roundabout the same era, but this time we're in a proper sci-fi b-movie setting: The archetypal post-apocalyptic wasteland (shot this time in Australia).

Brutal sportsmen called Juggers basically roam the wastes of the old world and beat each other to death with big sticks, chains and anything else they have scavenged from wrecks and assorted junk. Think Mad Max meets Gladiators and you pretty much have the whole film.

It has the feel of earlier films, 1970s/early 1980s fare which exploded in the wake of the Mad Max films (post-apocalyptic stuff was cheap to do – all you need is desert and some junk!), and to me it makes it feel kinda timeless.

The fact there's so little in the way of futuristic technology works in its favour, making it feel both classic and distant, like a Star Wars Fight Club. Also starring Joan Chen as a fellow Jugger, the film follows Hauer and Chen as they battle their way through round after round, working towards the ultimate showdown in the underground cities where the affluent survivors of humanity live and are entertained by brutal bloodsports.

A good sight more bleak than a lot of similar sci-fi movies of the era, Salute of the Jugger holds up well thanks to the limited budget being used wisely onscreen and due to the hard-edged plight of the characters. Not perfect by a long way, Salute of the Jugger is still worth a watch when you're in the mood for some dust, dirt, Rutger Hauer and lengthy fight sequences with plenty of impact.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

W.A.S.P. - "Scream Until You Like It" from GHOULIES 2

Yup, eighties metal and horror b-movies were made or each other. This song is amazing, and Ghoulies 2 was a ton of fun. I kinda miss films and music being so easy to enjoy.

Friday, 4 January 2013

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (1970)

I've been looking forward to this. I saw the trailer on a volume of the GRINDHOUSE TRAILER CLASSICS series of DVDs and was instantly hooked on getting hold of a copy. After losing out on several gorgeous vintage VHS copies (look at that artwork - how the hell could I not want it?), I finally found it as a superb Region 1 import DVD under our Christmas tree courtesy of my brother in law.

A gang of devil-worshipping, LSD-hooked Hippies cause havoc in a small town, and as an act of revenge a local boy drains blood from a rabid dog and injects it into meat pies, which the hippies then eat. Yeah, how brilliant is that set-up? I love it! The cult, of course, turn into rabid, marauding zombies and go mental, rampaging through the town on an insane killing spree.

It takes a while for the film to pickup momentum, but once it hits its stride around 40 minutes in, the payoff is superb. The set-up for the gory shenanigans of the second half of the flick do help you feel some pathos towards the town's inhabitants, but not much, as the characters which get the most development (if you can call it development in a bloodthirsty 1970s sleazetastic exploitation movie) are the trippy Satanic cult themselves.

That said, my favourite character has to be the young boy who gives them rabies - he's cool, despite the hopelessly wooden performance. In fact, there isn't a decent actor in the film really, but this is Grindhouse stuff and thus nobody really cares. I know I don't. I'm into this film for entertainment value, in which it's rich.

When the symphony of chaos begins, bathed in weird synthesizer effects and lashings of fake blood, it's hard not to get caught up in the grime and filth of the era which spawned it. The plot is ridiculous, but there are enough scenes of bloodshed and weird hippy crap that it holds the attention, well, it does if you can stand films like this, and I'd hope so if you're reading this.

The version I have is totally uncut, including some material even I find unpleasant, like the giant kebab of butchered rats, but the gore has that fake quality which makes it hard to take seriously. The final act of the film is total, wonderful mayhem, splattered with blood and severed limbs and screams which distort the lo-fi mono audio.

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD certainly lived up to my expectations. David Durston's direction is snappy and professional, despite the rumours of carnal mayhem and substance abuse on set. It's cheap and very nasty, but you can't go wrong with a film in which someone is chased with the wet end of a severed leg.


New find: CRACKER JACK

I've wanted this flick on and off for years, but never enough to actively track it down. I found it today for small change in a nice VHS edition in great condition. I always thought it looked like a fun little Die Hard knock-off, and I'm all for cheap action movies. I'll give it a watch and get back to you, but do check out the trailer:

THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS: TROLL BRIDGE

I was a massive Ghostbusters fan as a kid. I mean MASSIVE (as you'll discover if you find my GB1 review on here). I knew the lines to the film at the age of ten, inside out, including all of the cut scenes both filmed an unfilmed. I loved the cartoon too, but my introduction to it was a weird one.

The first episode I saw was "Troll Bridge", which wasn't one of the best by far (IMHO that was definitely episodes like "Knock Knock", which felt like little movies rathe than cartoon episodes), but it was fun and a bit whimsical.

Even though it's a different beast (no pun intended) to what I wanted from Ghostbusters stuff, I loved it and watched the hell out of it until the next episode came on the following week. This was 1988. I was hooked as soon as I saw this. here it is, and despite its faults, I think it's lovely. I must talk about GB again soon.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, ADDICTS!

Right. Let's get this show back on the road properly. Stuff to watch. Stuff to geek out about. Let's rock.