Actium Maximus: War Of The Alien Dinosaurs (2005) review

Actium Maximus posterDirector: Mark Hicks

Writer / Composer / Cinematographer / Casting Agent / Sound Effects Editor / Special Effects: Mark Hicks

Starring: Mark Hicks, John McCuin, Jennifer Hamill

“Qava! I want you to start rounding up all of the Laffrodites off the Boulevards en masse! They will become infamous in the Maximus.” (Polpox, Actium Maximus)

Many amateur filmmakers dream of making the next underground smash, the next low-budget gem that does a Night Of The Living Dead or Clerks and emerges from obscurity to take over the world.

Mark Hicks, who is seemingly some sort of real life Garth Merenghi figure, clearly had this goal in mind when he wrote, directed and acted in Actium Maximus. Unfortunately, during this process he failed to notice his complete lack of writing, directing and acting ability. Continue reading “Actium Maximus: War Of The Alien Dinosaurs (2005) review”

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Voyage Of The Rock Aliens (1984) review

Voyage Of The Rock Aliens posterDirector: James Fargo

Starring: Pia Zadora, Tom Nolan, Craig Sheffer, Michael Berryman, Ruth Gordon, Alison La Placa

“I still can’t believe you’re an alien. What a novelty act!” (Dee Dee, Voyage Of The Rock Aliens)

One day in the future, when I have children, there will come a day when I’m asked “dad, what were the ’80s like?”

I already know how I’ll respond. Without saying a single word I’ll gesture to the couch, insist they sit down, turn the telly on and make them watch Voyage Of The Rock Aliens. Just to fuck with them. Continue reading “Voyage Of The Rock Aliens (1984) review”

Contamination (1980) (Video Nasty review #11)

It is my intention to eventually watch and review all 72 movies on the ‘video nasties’ list released by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK in 1983. In a time before videos were classified by the BBFC, each of these films were considered so shocking by the DPP that any video shop owner found to be selling or renting it could have faced prosecution. To see my other video nasty reviews so far, click here.

Contamination posterDirector: Luigi Cozzi

Starring: Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Marino Masé, Siegfried Rauch

“Help! Let me out! There’s an egg!” (Stella, Contamination)

I’ve got a lot of time for Italian horror from the late ’70s and early ’80s. This was a fruitful period for low-budget horror, mostly thanks to the countless Italian rip-offs that were churned out in next to no time.

No film was safe from the Italian ‘homage’: when Jaws came out, a bunch of killer shark (and piranha and whale) films were released within a matter of months. Following Dawn Of The Dead, you couldn’t move in Italy for cheapo zombie flicks.

Meanwhile, Contamination – in case you couldn’t tell from the poster – was inspired by Ridley Scott’s Alien.

Continue reading “Contamination (1980) (Video Nasty review #11)”

Alien Abduction (2014) review

Alien Abduction posterDirector: Matty Beckerman

Starring: Corey Eid, Jillian Clare, Katherine Sigismund, Jeff Bowser, Riley Polanski, Peter Holden

JILLIAN – “Are those stars?”

RILEY – “Stars don’t move like that.”

By this point in my life I must have seen more ‘found footage’ movies than I’ve had lamb vindaloos, and let’s just say Indian Express in Wandsworth greatly appreciates my custom.

After all, a quick gander at the ‘handheld footage’ tag on this site will reveal that I’ve reviewed no fewer than 15 of the bastards  on this site already.

Alien Abduction at least tries something slightly different by going with a subject matter you don’t often get in these first-person frightfests. See if you can guess what it is by the title. Continue reading “Alien Abduction (2014) review”

Critters (1986) review

critters_posterDirector: Stephen Herek

Starring: Dee Wallace Stone, M Emmet Walsh, Billy Green Bush, Scott Grimes, Billy Zane

CRITTER 1 – “They have weapons.”
CRITTER 2 – “So what?”
<Critter 2 is blown up>
CRITTER 2 – “Fuck!”

As I’ve explored in numerous reviews in the past, such as Bride Of Chucky and Puppet Master III, there comes a point in some horror films where it becomes clear that the killer isn’t very intimidating.

There are ways to deal with this. The Puppet Master solution was to turn its killers – the titular puppets – into the heroes and make the audience root for them.

The Bride Of Chucky solution, meanwhile, was to acknowledge that the concept of a killer doll was a daft one and therefore the best thing to do was not only make Chucky the hero but also play the film entirely for laughs.

Critters instead takes the Gremlins approach (the first one, not its sequel), which also aims for comedy but at the same time steadfastly refuses to accept that its killer creatures are anything other than nasty little bastards. And it works. Continue reading “Critters (1986) review”

Phantasm (1979) review

Phantasm posterDirector: Don Coscarelli

Starring: Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm

“You think when you die, you go to heaven? You come to us.” (The Tall Man, Phantasm)

When most people think of iconic horror movie villains they tend to reel off the usual suspects: Jason, Freddy, Michael Myers, Chucky and the like.

However, one particular evildoer was doing his nefarious deeds long before most other slasher baddies got their blades wet. His name is the Tall Man, and he’s the villain in cult ’70s horror Phantasm.

The film takes place in a small Californian town which, when we join it, is mourning the apparent suicide of one of its residents. We’ve already seen in the opening scene that it was actually a murder, though, so it’s clear hijinks are due. Continue reading “Phantasm (1979) review”

AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004) review

AVP Alien vs Predator posterDirector: Paul W S Anderson

Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, Raoul Bova, Ewen Bremner

They’re not hunting us. We’re in the middle of a war. It’s time to pick a side.” (Alexa, AVP: Alien vs Predator)

How do you bring two of the most iconic sci-fi monsters together so they can meet and fight each other?

Hmmm. What if there was some sort of common ground they shared, something that could be used to force a meeting?

Let’s think. On one hand you’ve got the Alien, the penis-headed xenomorph that made life hell for Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies. Which lives in space.

Then there’s the Predator, the alien hunter that made life hell for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the first Predator movie. Which lives in space.

Right then, with that in mind it seems pretty obvious how a storyline for Alien vs Predator could come about. Yup, you guessed it, a fight to the death in an ancient underground pyramid 2000 feet below the ground. In Antarctica. Continue reading “AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004) review”

Killers From Space (1954) review

Killers From Space posterDirector: W. Lee Wilder

Starring: Peter Graves, James Seay, Steve Pendleton, Frank Gerstle

DOUG – Where do you come from?
DENEB TALA – From a planet yet unknown to you.
DOUG – You know my name. You speak English.
DENEB TALA – We speak every language.

If the title has you curious as to what this one’s about let me end your suspense – it’s about killers from space. And it’s shite.

A young Peter Graves (decades before his role as the white-haired Captain Oveur in Airplane!) plays Doctor Doug Martin, a scientist working for the US military. Continue reading “Killers From Space (1954) review”

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”

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”