Monday, June 26, 2017

Alien Clone Part II

Mutant (1982)
Dir- Allan Holzman
When the universe is in need of troubleshooting, they call Commander Colby who's motto is "if it moves and it ain't one of us kill it." Along with his robot sidekick SAM-104, Cdr Colby is summoned to planet Xarbia where a genetic experiment has decided to go rogue threating the safety of the small team of researchers. If it sounds like a ripoff of Alien, it pretty much is but with lots of nudity, sex and nude women showering. This Roger Corman produced offering shared special effects and props from Galaxy of Terror along with footage taken directly from Corman's Battle Beyond the Stars. Among the numerous Alien clones, Mutant aka Forbidden Planet aka Subject 20 was a standout favorite of mine along with Creature and Galaxy of Terror for the sheer cheesiness and nudity. Not as bad as you would think considering most of these films were churned out on slim budgets and depended on late night cable showings.

Alien Clone Part 1

Creature (1985)
Dir- William Malone
Also known as Titan Find, this Alien knockoff focused on the crew of an American ship sent to find some mysterious containers located during a failed geological survey. The team is surprised to learn that a security officer is among them when it is revealed they are competing with a rival German company for the claim. Their ship is damaged after impulsively landing requiring them to seek help from the rival party. On the German ship, they find dead crewmembers instead along with a mysterious creature that uses mind control to attack them. Joining forces with a German survivor the crew along with the bad ass security officer seek to destroy the creature and return to Earth. What made Creature different from the many other Alien knockoffs was that it has a better script and decent special effects. Special praise goes out to Diane Salinger who plays the security officer Melanie Bryce who in her black leather outfit surely kicked ass a year before Sigourney Weaver did in Aliens. Klaus Kinski also appears as a feisty German scientist who takes a liking to Ms. Bryce. Two versions of this movie exist, the version known as Titan Find is uncut and in widescreen.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

What a Wacko film

Wacko (1982)

Dir- Greydon Clark
Unlike the very similar Student Bodies, Wacko boasts a cast of some well-known stars including George Kennedy, Julia Duffy, a pre-Dice Andrew Clay and Joe Don Baker. All appear in this silly parody of Psycho, Prom Night and Halloween that just fails as a comedy and as a parody. The movie starts with a girl getting murdered by a killer wielding a lawnmower on Halloween night. Years later the students wanting to attend Hitchcock High’s Halloween Pumpkin Prom are in danger as the infamous Lawn Mower Killer stalks the doomed students who are obviously not in their teens. Duffy portrays the poor teenager who is haunted by the image and sounds of the lawnmower that killed her sister 13 years prior. A weird movie that goes into some bizarre areas and incorporates homage’s from some famous horror films. Wacko is a genuinely bad movie that unlike Students Bodies never attained cult status. It was simply not funny and was just awful. Joe Don Baker does a decent job parodying the roles he was known for, but that is not enough to save this film. Good luck trying to find it as most of the people who appeared in it would do anything to forget this mess.
Pandemonium (1982)

Dir- Alfred Sole
Tom Smothers stars as the brave Mountie Cooper, who along with his bitter Deputy Johnson played by Paul Reubens must track down a killer who is stalking overage coeds at a nearby cheerleader camp. Another silly slasher spoof that is quite funny and pokes fun at some contemporary horror films like Carrie, Halloween, Friday the 13th and Dressed To Kill. Along with Student Bodies and Wacko, Pandemonium parodied the many teen slasher movies of the era focusing on cheerleaders instead of the prom. The film also features a cast of then-unknown stars including Carol Kane as a Carrie-like psychic teen, Judge Reinhold, Eve Arden, Eileen Brennan, Marc McClure and even the late Phil Hartman. Surprisingly Pandemonium is quite amusing for a parody, and Carol Kane shines in her role showing her potential as a comedy actress.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Childhood fright revisited

Beyond the Door (1974)

I recall as a young child this movie poster and its preview scared the hell out of me, it is an Italian knockoff of The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby and starred Hayley Mills sister Juliet. The film's producers were sued by Warner Brothers due to the scripts obvious similarity to The Exorcist. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Galaxy of Terror (1981)

Galaxy of Terror (1981)
Dir- Bruce Clark

On a distant planet, the crew of the starship Quest sets out on a rescue mission after its sister ship the Remus has met with disaster. The mission has been put together by the mysterious Planet Master who may be playing a game with the lives of the crew. Once on the planet, each team member is confronted by their greatest fear, only the strongest among them will survive in a world that seems to be made for death. One of many Alien ripoffs, Galaxy of Terror, stood out for a cast that would include early roles for Robert Englund, Zalman King, Sid Haig, and Grace Zabriskie. Producer Roger Corman's influence is very much evident with the simple but uniquely crafted sets and models. This was due to Production Designer James Cameron's creative input and his ability to create innovative visual effects while working on a strict budget. The movie has garnered quite a cult following since its release for some truly creative death scenes as well as the performance of Taafe O'Connell who appeared in the film's most memorable scene. Strangely this movie shares some plot elements of Event Horizon as the Sci-Fi classic Solaris inspired both films. One of my favorite cult films despite the low budget B movie look.
2.5 Stars out of 5