Bad Channels (1992) review

Bad Channels posterDirector – Ted Nicolau

Starring – Paul Hipp, Martha Quinn, Michael Huddleston

“This son of a bitch is crazier than a tree full of owls!” (Peanut, Bad Channels)

There have been countless retellings of The Boy Who Cried Wolf over the years, but very few have featured extraterrestrials invading a radio station. The DJ Who Called Alien, if you will.

If you’ve long craved this needlessly specific type of tale then Bad Channels is your low-budget fix.

Paul Hipp stars as Dan O’Dare, a radio shock-jock who’s trying to rebuild his career after a previous stunt got him suspended by the radio authorities.

Starting again at the bottom, Dan finds himself working in the middle of nowhere at fledgling radio station Super Station 66. Continue reading “Bad Channels (1992) review”

Arcade (1993) review

Arcade posterDirector: Albert Pyun

Starring: Megan Ward, Peter Billingsley, John De Lancie, Seth Green, AJ Langer, Sharon Farrell

KID – “Who gives a fuck about Arcade anyway?”

ARCADE  – “Try saying that to my FACE.”

In 1992, the movie version of The Lawnmower Man showed the potential dangers of virtual reality, and how it could be used to give someone enough power to take over cyberspace. Even though it couldn’t.

One year later, Arcade gave its own spin on the story, instead showing how virtual reality video games had the ability to come alive and trap children inside their circuit boards. Even though they didn’t.

Yes folks, we’re dealing with another brilliant cheesefest from the “fuck it, let’s go with that” minds of Full Moon, my favourite B-movie studio.

Continue reading “Arcade (1993) review”

Doctor Mordrid (1992) review

Doctor Mordrid posterDirectors: Albert Band, Charles Band

Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Yvette Nipar, Brian Thompson, Jay Acovone

“Before this is over, I will drink your blood and feed on your flesh, and it will taste sweet.” (Kabal, Doctor Mordrid)

The story goes that indie studio Full Moon had originally done a deal with Marvel Comics to make a film adaptation of its Dr Strange comics. However, negotiations fell apart at the last minute and so an extensive rewrite was needed.

The result was Doctor Mordrid, a film that doesn’t share an awful lot with Marvel’s hero other than his titular medical qualifications. That’s not to say it doesn’t still have a degree of charm, though.

Doctor Anton Mordrid has been living in New York for 150 years, waiting for the promised return of the evil Kabal (Brian Thompson, best known for playing an alien bounty hunter in The X-Files), who a prophecy dictates will eventually break out of his dimensional space castle prison cell and come to Earth. Seriously. Continue reading “Doctor Mordrid (1992) review”

Robot Wars (1993) review

Robot Wars posterDirector: Albert Band

Starring: Don Michael Paul, Barbara Crampton, James Staley, Lisa Rinna, Danny Kamekona

DRAKE – “It’s getting ugly out here chief, request surface troops on the double.”

LT PLUNKETT – “Request denied. Stop acting like a weak sister.”

As you may have guessed, this review isn’t about the 1998 BBC TV show in which Craig Charles commentated while a bunch of pale recluses battled their own custom-made robots, before fidgeting nervously as the producers cruelly get a beautiful woman to try and get an excruciating interview out of them.

No, this is yet another low-budget offering by beloved B-movie studio Full Moon, this time pitting two massive mechanical monstrosities against each other while the filmmakers cruelly get a beautiful woman to try and solve a mystery in the process.

So you see, it’s very different. Except for the big robots and the beautiful woman. And the cruelty. Continue reading “Robot Wars (1993) review”

Hideous! (1997) review

Hideous posterDirector: Charles Band

Starring: Mel Johnson Jr, Michael Citriniti, Jacqueline Lovell, Rhonda Griffin, Tracie May

“You’re fired! You’re fired from everywhere! You’re fired from the fucking universe!” (Belinda, Hideous!)

What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever found in a sewer? What’s that? You don’t do raking around in sewers? Oh. Right. Um, me neither.

But if I did, chances are I probably wouldn’t come across odd little mutant baby things. That’s what one sewage treatment worker finds at the start of Hideous!, another low-budget grotfest from indie horror studio Full Moon.

The man hands over said mutation to Belinda Yost, a woman who specialises in selling mutations to collectors. Which is one hell of a niche market, but let’s go with it for the sake of the film. Continue reading “Hideous! (1997) review”

Alien: Resurrection (1997) review

Alien Resurrection posterDirector: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dominique Pinon, Ron Perlman, Brad Dourif

RIPLEY – “There’s a monster in your chest. These guys hijacked your ship, and they sold your cryo tube to this human. And he put an alien inside of you. It’s a really nasty one. And in a few hours it’s gonna burst through your ribcage, and you’re gonna die. Any questions?

PURVIS – “Who are you?”

RIPLEY – “I’m the monster’s mother.”

There are some people who feel writer Joss Whedon can do no wrong. To those people I remove my cap, stare soberly at them and nod my head in the direction of Alien Resurrection, at which point blood streams freely from their eyes as they collapse in a heap, screaming indecipherable slogans of bile and malice.

To be fair, that would maybe be a bit of an overreaction on their behalf, because Alien Resurrection isn’t exactly the worst film ever made. It’s just the worst Alien film ever made. Continue reading “Alien: Resurrection (1997) review”

The Creeps (1997) review

The Creeps posterDirector: Charles Band

Starring: Rhonda Griffin, Justin Lauer, Bill Moynihan, Jon Simanton

“You’re history, you little pervert! No, you’re archaeology, as in old garbage!” (Anna, The Creeps)

Full Moon Pictures is one of my favourite B-movie horror studios. Established in the 1980s, it was well-known among horror fans for its cheesy low-budget efforts.

Some, like Puppet Master and Subspecies, were so popular they went on to spawn their own multi-sequel franchises. Others, like Dollman – in which an intergalactic bounty hunter crashlands on space only to realise he’s ten inches tall – weren’t.

Full Moon continues to this day, and while most of its recent output retains all of the cheese, it leaves out most of the charm. Titles like The Gingerdead Man and Dangerous Worry Dolls sound like they should be superb slices of low-budget larks (well, they do to me at least) but ultimately they end up in the TWABM Hall Of Shame.

A great example of how it used to be is The Creeps, a Full Moon pishfest that was given a DVD re-release this week. Continue reading “The Creeps (1997) review”

Alien 3 (1992) review

Alien 3 posterDirector: David Fincher

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Charles Dutton, Charles Dance, Paul McGann, Lance Henriksen, an Alien

“You’re all gonna die, the only question is how you check out. Do you want it on your feet, or on your fuckin’ knees, begging? I ain’t much for begging. Nobody ever gave me nothing. So I say fuck that thing, let’s fight it.” (Dillon, Alien 3)

WARNING: This article has ending spoilers, so you have been warned. It’s more than two decades old, to be fair.

Imagine you had a decent job. Let’s say you were the manager of something… a plumbing firm, for example. You make good money, and you’re happy with the knowledge that when it comes to managing plumbing firms, you know your onions.

Now imagine you’ve also got two older brothers. One brother is a leading politician – be that the Prime Minister, President, whatever it is in your country. The other brother is one of the greatest footballers in the world and has two World Cup Winner’s medals in his large trophy display room.

If you can’t tell where I’m going with this analogy you might as well close this window and go back to fumbling over Candy Crush Saga. Yes, friends, what I’m saying is that Alien 3 is the plumbing firm manager of the Alien series. Look, just go with it. Continue reading “Alien 3 (1992) review”

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) review

Halloween H20 posterDirector: Steve Miner

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, Adam Arkin, LL Cool J, Janet Leigh, Chris Durand

JOHN – It just occurred to me today that I’ve never celebrated Halloween before.

MOLLY – And why’s that?

JOHN – Oh, we’ve got a psychotic serial killer in the family who loves to butcher people on Halloween, and I just thought it in bad taste to celebrate.

After the train wreck that was Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers I’m surprised Dimension Films and Miramax had the gall to bring ol’ paleface back yet again.

Still, bring him back they did, in a film made to mark the 20th anniversary of the original Halloween. And you know something? They actually did a decent job this time.

Perhaps realising the previous film had become a confusing mess with a plot consisting of evil cults, a convoluted bloodline, adopted children and Paul Rudd, Halloween H20 scraps it all and instead provides an alternative timeline in which the events of Halloween 4, Halloween 5 and Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers never happened. Continue reading “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) review”

Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995) review

Halloween The Curse Of Michael Myers posterDirector: Joe Chappelle

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan

“Enough of this Michael Myers bullshit!” (John Strode, Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers)

It says a lot about a film when the stories of its behind-the-scenes turmoil and tantrums are more interesting than the story that ended up on the screen.

This was the curious condition inflicted on Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers, the sixth film in the Halloween series. Plagued by in-fighting and studio politics before a single frame was even shot, the conflict continued to escalate throughout production.

It’s said that the original script for the film was so powerful a Dimension exec couldn’t sleep the night after reading it, and Halloween regular Donald Pleasence (who had starred as Dr Sam Loomis in four of the previous five films) loved it too. Continue reading “Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995) review”