Monday, December 15, 2008


Here is another detailed run-through some of the great flicks in the HCC queue. Make an informed decision, people! I've added a feature this time. Where applicable, you can click on the title of the film to be taken to a page where you can pick the screengrabs that will be used for that film. The links will be obsolete once people get their grabbing ya-ya's out, but there you are.

If you want to check out the list so far, here are the links to those:

The Movies A-D

The Movies E-I

And now....

The Director Michael D. Moore (The Fastest Guitar Alive, Mister Deathman)
The Stars Jack Palance, Fernando Lamas (The Lost World, The Violent Ones, 100 Rifles), Aldo Ray (The Naked and the Dead, Miss Sadie Thompson, Riot On the Sunset Strip), Kam Tong (Have Gun Will Travel, Dimension 5), Don Knight (The Hell with Heroes), Hans William Lee, Aliza Gur, Judy Dan
The Plot From the IMDB - "An American effort to cash in on the then-nascent kung fu craze, Kill a Dragon (which I swear used to play on the Late Late Show as TO Kill a Dragon) features Jack Palance as Rick, an American adventurer hired by Hong Kong villagers to protect a salvaged junk full of deadly nitro-glycerin. Seems the junk originally belonged to villainous Patrai (Fernando Lamas wearing a Snidely Whiplash moustache), who is now threatening to destroy the village if his property isn't returned to him intact and unexploded. Tempted by gold and attractive local girl Tisa (stunningly gorgeous Alizia Gur), Rick takes up the cause with some assistance from tourist guide Vigo (Aldo Ray). A ridiculous but enjoyable action flick, Kill a Dragon does at least benefit from Hong Kong location footage." My guess is the IMDB is being too modest, it also benefits from one imagining Palance going on drunken rampages through Hong Kong and mistakenly trying to pick up young girls because he didn't realize it wasn't Bangkok.
Fun Fact Actor Don Knight used to be a Methodist minister before entering the world of acting.

KNIGHT RIDER 2010 (1994)
The Director Sam Pillsbury (Free Willy 3: the Rescue, Fifteen and Pregnant, Endless Bummer)
The Stars Richard Joseph Paul (Under the Boardwalk, Oblivion 1-2, Vampirella), Hudson Leick (Chill Factor, One Two Many, Xena: Warrior Princess), Michael Beach (Soul Food, Third Watch, ER), Don McManus, Nicky Katt (SubUrbia, Boiler Room, Boston Public), Brion James (Blade Runner, The Player, The Fifth Element)
The Plot Also known as "that Knight Rider thing even Hasselhoff wouldn't show up for," this TV movie took equal parts Christine, Johnny Mneumonic and My Mother the Car to create a new spin on the old TV series.... one everyone laughed off the air, if they bothered to watch at all. This one takes place in the then-distant future where the world is just a massive shithole. A smuggler tries to make ends meet in the Apocalypse, but his girlfriend is killed. Fortunately, she managed to store her spirit on a memory card that the smuggler inserts into a souped up Ford Mustang. Meaning this poor guy can't even drive away when things get too weird at the house - am I right, guys? Guys? Come on, don't leave me hanging here.
Fun Fact: Richard Joseph Paul has been doing a lot of Law & Order. Okay, not trying to pick but I'm just grasping for fun facts on this one.

The Director Michael Schultz (Krush Groove, Disorderlies)
The Stars Taimak, Vanity (Action Jackson, 52 Pick-Up), Julius Carry, (Doctor Doctor, Murphy Brown, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.), Christopher Murney (Maximum Overdrive, The Secret of My Success, Barton Fink), Faith Prince, Leo O'Brien (Rappin'), Mike Starr, Jim Moody (Personal Best, 1983's Bad Boys), Glen Eaton, Ernie Reyes Jr.
The Plot What do you get when you try to cross Wu Tang martial arts, special-effects laden dance moves and a blaxploitation movie? You get this, a kung fu movie produced by Berry Gordy of Motown Records. Martial arts student Leroy Green (Taimak) is on a quest to obtain the elusive all-powerful force know as "The Glow." Along the way he must battle the evil, self-proclaimed Shogun of Harlem - a kung fu warrior also known as Sho-nuff (Julius J. Carry III) - and rescue a beautiful singer (Prince protégée Vanity) from an obsessed record promoter. Basically, Berry Gordy was trying to figure out how to milk a few more bucks out of the Motown catalog when he turned on the TV and watched Black Belt Jones. He said, "This kung fu blaxploitation thing is fantastic, but you know what it could use? El Debarge." Thus, one of the most hilarious 1980s spectacles was born.
Fun Fact 1: During the introductory training sequence, Leroy karate-chops an arrow as it soars past him. This is for real; it took two hours to get the stunt right.
Fun Fact 2: Under pressure from the studio, in an effort to cut two million dollars out of the budget, director Michael Schultz and screenwriter Louis Venosta sat up in a hotel room all night rewriting the script. When Venosta fell asleep on the hotel bed, Schultz pressed a button on the computer which deleted forty pages of the script. When Venosta awoke that morning, the pair spent the day recreating that material.
Fun Fact 3: In 1997, Busta Rhymes parodied the character Sho Nuff in his music video for "Dangerous". In the video, the music cuts off, and Busta proclaims, "Yo Leroy! Am I not the baddest . . ." and replicates the first on-screen speech of Sho Nuff in this movie.
Personal Reflection Dept. I have had to stop recommending this film to people at the local video store. Anytime someone really takes to it, the movie never comes back - no doubt getting riffed on by amateur cappers and their drunken, sweaty, hedonistic parties. We've had to replace this DVD like four times in two years.

The Director Bill Corcoran (Atomic Twister, Vipers)
The Stars Kirk Cameron (Like Father Like Son, Growing Pains, Kirk), Brad Johnson (Always, Flight of the Intruder, The Philadelphia Experiment II), Chelsea Noble (Growing Pains), Clarence Gilyard Jr. (Die Hard, Matlock, Walker Texas Ranger), Janaya Stephens, Gordon Currie, Krista Bridges
The Plot In the first Left Behind, millions of people vanished off the face of the earth. All they left behind were their clothes (they're allowed to be naked in Heaven since they didn't do anything bad with their bodies in real life - like enjoy them) and their godless, idolatrous dogs. A new leader has come to the forefront and promises to bring the world into a new age of enlightenment. But hold on, this is Nicholai Carpathia (that name - really?) and he's the antichrist. Of course Satan is a commie, you silly pinko generation! Buck Williams (again - really?!?) has started a sleeper cell of terror- er, I mean a group of caring, Christian people to take down the Slavic Horned One. This Tribulation Force knows the seven year countdown to Armageddon (which in scripture is actually a place, not an event, but whatever) has started and they must stop Carpathia before it's too late. Fortunately, Buck is played by Kirk Cameron - who really doesn't look like a Buck - so you know that when he saves the world, he will do it only in the most sanctimonious and uninformed way possible.
Fun Fact 1: In one scene there's a sign in both English and Hebrew. The English says, "Do not cross! Violators will be shot" The Hebrew says exactly the same thing, but in English. The writers used Hebrew letters to create the same English words, and it is even read left to right, which is backwards in Hebrew.
Fun Fact 2: The movie was supposed to be released in theatres on 31 December 2002, but the film was never released (but only in church screens).
Fun Fact 3: Chelsea Noble is Kirk Cameron's wife. The two were also eventually married on the television show Growing Pains. He tries to get her in all his films, especially if any romantic subplots are involved. On the recent film, Fireproof, Cameron would not kiss co-star Erin Bethea. When time came for the kiss, Noble came in as a stand-in. He refused to kiss anyone but his wife. It's really taking things far sure, but admit it - some of you out there think that is awfully romantic.

The Director Craig R. Baxley (Action Jackson, Stone Cold, I Come In Peace)
The Stars Kirk Cameron (Like Father Like Son, Growing Pains, Kirk), Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman, Iron Eagle I-IV), Brad Johnson (Always, Flight of the Intruder, The Philadelphia Experiment II), Jessica Steen (Earth 2, Slap Shot 2, Trial and Error), Gordon Currie, Janaya Stephens, Chelsea Noble (Growing Pains), Laura Catalano, Arnold Pinnock, Charles Martin Smith (American Grafitti, Starman, The Untouchables)
The Plot Satan has brought about world peace. Wait, hold on- wow, really? Yes, the conveniently Slavic Great Adversary has united the world under a banner of peace. Only America could possibly stand in the way of such a sweeping event, But America is being run by idealistic President Gerald Fitzhugh (Louis Gossett Jr.). But wait, world peace is a smokescreen to allow Carpathia to start World War III! And by not putting your foot down and stopping Carpathia's actions, you've left America and the world open to annihilation. Oh, you foolish idealistic black president! Okay, so the film was made three years before the election, but let's face it - we all know where the Left Behind authors' loyalties lie. But all is not lost, Gossett might still stop the Antichrist and he'll do it with the help of... Kirk Cameron. Wow, we're screwed.
Fun Fact 1: Based on the final 50 pages of the second book (in a 12-volume series), Tribulation Force, which takes place 18 months after the signing of the Israel treaty, ushering in the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period.
Fun Fact 2: Instead of a limited number of movie screens that Hollywood opted for, the producers decided to open in 3,000+ church screens.
Fun Fact 3: Charles Martin Smith once played Satan on an episode of Northern Exposure.
Personal Reflection Dept. Left Behind ruined my sex life. Let me back up. I worked with a woman, a very nice and attractive woman. She was a Christian, as am I. Though it appears I'm considerably more liberal than she was. We went on a date or two, no hanky panky - Bickle's a gentleman, believe it or not. She said she would like to keep going out but not until I read this very important book and told her what I thought of it. The book was the first Left Behind book and I borrowed it from her. I started to read it in an Irish pub while ordering glasses of Guiness. The more I read, and the more Guiness I imbibed, I just couldn't wrap my head around what I saw as one of the most inanely written pulp novels that used shoddy fear tactics to force people into a certain line of thinking. From my point of view, there was no inspiration there, just fearmongering and sanctimonious preaching. I was really incredulous that anyone of any intelligence was falling for it. I put it down after about sixty pages, went home and watched some good old fashioned sex and violence on television. When she asked what I thought of the book, I was very honest, stating my point of view but not trashing hers. Never let it be said that honesty is always the best policy. Not only did we not go out after that, she seemed to avoid me unless it was absolutely necessary.

LEGEND (1986)
The Director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator)
The Stars Tom Cruise, Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Timecop, Birds of Prey), Tim Curry, David Bennent (The Tin Drum), Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert (Under the Rainbow, The Charmings), Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo
The Plot A few months before Tom Cruise donned his Maverick flight jacket, he donned a loincloth in Ridley Scott's eagerly anticipated but much-troubled fantasy epic. Jack is a "green man," which is their way of saying he's a spirit of the forest - not a sickly looking guy or the guy in the Chronic the Hemphog shirt who sells weed. He is in love with the fair maiden Lily (Ferris Bueller's gal Mia Sara). One day, he shows Lily something special - two totally non-Freudian unicorns, their erect horns glistening in the morning dew. But look out, Lily just couldn't resist touching one of those horns. And all because of her, one of the unicorns is killed by the minions of Lord Darkness (Tim Curry), the dude with the biggest horns around. Lily falls under Darkness' spell and is thus corrupted into a smokin' hot goth. Thus, Jack teams up with a group of elves (played by every major dwarf actor aside from David Rappaport) to defeat Darkness and restore beauty to the land. Ahh, but can anyone truly defeat Darkness? After all there is no love without hate, or light without darkness. I thought this was incredibly deep when I was eleven years old. And to be fair, compared to the other stuff we had in the 1980s, it was downright revolutionary.
Fun Fact 1: A huge set made to look like the sprawling forest was created. Unfortunately, the "007" stage burnt down and much of the film was made on reconstructed sets that never matched the scale of the previous sets. Upon hearing of the damage done by the fire, Ridley Scott figured there was nothing he could do. He went golfing for the day to get his mind off of it.
Fun Fact 2: Mia Sara was only 15 during the filming of Legend. Sara was actually born in 1967, so she was 15 in 1982, which is when production for the film began. But it took a further three years before Legend was finally completed by Ridley Scott because of the film's immensely troubled production history.
Fun Fact 3: The sound of the unicorns at play is actually a recording of humpback whales. The same sound effect was used in Mike Gray's Wavelength, Luigi Cozzi's Hercules and Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home.
Fun Fact 4: The script was originally much longer and more explicit as can be evidenced by someone speaking in a making-of documentry, relating the story of a producer who objected to the idea of Lord Darkness ravishing the princess.
Fun Fact 5: The U.S. and European versions differ greatly. The U.S. version is 89 minutes with a score by progressive band Tangerine Dream. The European cut is 114 minutes and features a more traditional orchestral score by Jerry Goldsmith. Additionally, the films feature different rhythms and certain sequences in a different order. Ridley Scott has said he enjoys both versions.

METEOR (1979)
The Director Ronald Nearme (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Odessa File, The Poseidon Adventure)
The Stars Sean Connery, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Brian Keith, Martin Landau, Trevor Howard, Richard Dysart, Henry Fonda
The Plot Hey, Bruce Willis! You're sloppy seconds! Almost twenty years before either Armageddon or it's super-depressing predesessor, Deep Impact, Hollywood came up with a movie about a giant meteor about to collide with Earth and the brave men and women who try to stop it. It was one of the later disaster movies, an attempt to give it the sci-fi push in the wake of Star Wars. A huge cast was gathered, an obscene amount of money was spent and publicity went into overdrive before anyone realized the film mainly consisted of a bunch of bigtime actors watching a rock. Regardless, as pieces of the rock demolish major cities, we discover that the only way to destroy the bigger rock is by launching nukes from our illegal satalite. Not strong enough, American is forced to work with the Soviet Union who has also launched an illegal nuclear satelite. It was the Cold War, kids. This crap happened all the time.
Fun Fact 1: Re-rated "PG" on appeal after originally being rated "R" by the MPAA. Wow, looks like the MPAA didn't always turn a blind eye to the deaths of millions being depicted on screen, just because it was done with snazzy special effects. Go figure.
Fun Fact 2: Premiered on the floor of Meteor Crater in Arizona. This is also the site where the astronauts practiced their moonwalk and where the mother ship picked up Jeff Bridges in Starman. Coincidentally, it was where Jeff Bridges also tried to do the moon walk and was greeted with polite applause by the teamsters on duty.

The Director Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Fantastic Voyage, Tora! Tora! Tora!)
The Stars Tom Bosley (Happy Days), Royce D. Applegate (Gods and Generals, The Rookie, SeaQuest DSV), Penny Baker (The Men's Club), Eddie Deezen, Douglas Emerson (Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood, Beverly Hills 90210), Rich Hall (Not Neccesarily the News), Daniel McDonald (Where the Boys Are '84), Rick Overton, Kevin Pollack, Jamie Alcroft, Mack Dryden, Tawny Fere (Angel III: the Final Chapter, Rockula, Convict 762), H.B. Haggerty (Paint Your Wagon, The Big Brawl, Rad)
The Plot It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Film. Tom Bosley stars (!) as a guy who rips off $4 million from the government. (Only $4 million? HA! When you can steal $700 billion and rape our dog at the same time, then we'll talk escalation) He stops in a diner where some world famous chili promptly kills him. Before he croaks, he tells the people in the diner where the first million is, and that from there, he can find the other millions at various locations. The people in the diner immediately run off and try to make it to the cash first. During the closing credits, one of the characters informs the audience that there is a million dollars somewhere in the USA and if they follow the clues in specially marked Glad-Lock bags, they have the chance to win $1,000,000. It's one of those films like Mad, Mad World where they gather a bunch of stars together to look for missing loot. They forgot the stars, but what the hell.
Fun Fact 1: Glad Bags and DeLaurentiis Entertainment co-sponsored a real-life million-dollar "treasure hunt" to coincide with this film's release. At the end of the movie, the cash is still missing, and moviegoers were invited to find the location of the hidden stash, using clues provided in the film (the sponsors also emphasized that the money wasn't PHYSICALLY hidden anywhere, lest anyone injure themselves or damage property while searching for the loot; the audience just had to GUESS where the money was hidden). Ticket buyers were even given game cards shaped like American currency--with a big photo of Dine Del Laurentis where the President should be. In the end, it was a big disaster for the studio. The film was one of the major flops of the 1980s, barely grossing a million dollars at the box office, which the studio wound up forking over to the contest winner, a woman in Bakersfield, California. (Incidentally, the money was hidden in the bridge of the Statue of Liberty's nose). It gave birth to the slogan, "Give me your tired, your poor, your - holy crap I'm about to have the most expensive sneeze ever."
Fun Fact 2: Veteran stuntman Dar Robinson was killed executing a motorcycle stunt for this movie. The film is dedicated to him (as was Lethal Weapon, which he completed prior to shooting this).
Fun Fact 3: The man who drops dead before sending the cast on a treasure hunt is played by Tom Bosley, who was widely recognized as the spokesman for Glad trash bags at the time. The poster (pictured) even featured a Glad trash bag as its main focal point. When this film bombed, Mr. Clean's Tolkien-esque fantasy trilogy was quickly scrapped.
Fun Fact 4: When both Jamie Alcroft and Mack Dryden were nominated for the 1988 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, it marked one of only three times that more than one person had shared an acting nomination with each other. The other two times were all five of the Spice Girls, (Victoria Beckham, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Halliwell) who were all nominated for, and subsequently "won" Worst Actress in the movie Spice World, and Ashley Olsen & Mary-Kate Olsen in New York Minute, also nominated for Worst Actress
Fun Fact 5: Penny Baker only has a few film and television credits. She was a notable Playboy Playmate in the 1980s.
Fun Fact 6: Rich Hall was a featured player on the HBO comedy show Not Neccesarily the News. He was the creator of the 80s meame "Sniglets," which were described as "words that should be in the dictionary but aren't."

THE MIST (2007)
The Director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Majestic)
The Stars Thomas Jane (2004's The Punisher, Deep Blue Sea, Original Sin), Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Pollack, Space Cowboys), Laurie Holden (The Majestic, Silent Hill, The Shield), Andre Braugher (Glory, City of Angels, Homicide: Life On the Street), Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, Frances Sternhagen
The Plot From legendary frightmaster Stephen King and Academy Award nominated director Frank Darabont comes this amazingly bleak horror film. After a mysterious mist envelops a small New England town, a group of locals trapped in a supermarket must battle a siege of otherworldly creatures... and the fears that threaten to tear them apart. Take away all sharp objects from the room while watching this film. Seriously.
Fun Fact 1: In the opening shot of the film, David is painting in his room. The picture he's drawing is a design from Stephen King's Dark Tower series of the gunslinger Roland. Another design in the room is that of the poster of John Carpenter's The Thing. John Carpenter also wrote and directed The Fog, which shares obvious themes with the Mist.
Fun Fact 2: In the pharmacy scene, when David Drayton is collecting a comic book for his son, Frank Darabont proposed to Thomas Jane that he should grab a copy The Punisher: War Journal since Jane played the Punisher three years earlier. Jane declined because he had a falling out with the producers of the Punisher franchise and decided not to return for the sequel. He instead grabs an issue of Hellboy as a shout out to friend Ron Perlman.
Fun Fact 3: Shot in the six-week hiatus of The Shield, with its cinematographer, two camera operators, their editor and the script supervisor, all of whom the director has worked with when he directed episodes of the show.
Fun Fact 4: This isn't William Sadler's first time with The Mist. He played David Drayton in an audio version of the story.

MOM (1990)
The Director Patrick Rand
The Stars Stella Stevens (1963's The Nutty Professor, The Ballad of Cable Hogue), Mark Thomas Miller (Misfits of Science, Ski School), Jeannie Bates (Eraserhead), Brion James (Blade Runner, The Player, The Fifth Element), Mary Beth McDonough (The Waltons, 1983's Mortuary, Snowballing the Movie)
The Plot A blind serial killer with a penchant for pregnant women bites a kindly old woman, turning her into a blood-hungry monster. Okay, did everybody get that - we've got a blind serial killer. How might that work, you might ask? I don't know, I'm technically legally blind myself and I can just see myself stabbing at air for hours before the victim gets tired and says "Oh, give me the damn knife," and commits suicide. But he's not just a blind serial killer, oh no. Apparantly, he's actually a monster who transmits his craziness to a granny, who then turns into a cannibalistic beast. So, we have Wait Until Dark meets Maniac meets I Drink Your Blood meets Rabid Grannies. Can't say producers weren't thorough.
Fun Fact: Video boxes proudly touted that film was "from the producer of Men At Work." That statement no doubt was a major hook to twos of fans everywhere.

The Director John Waters (Pink Flamingos, 1986's Hairspray, Polyester)
The Stars Divine (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Lust In the Dust), Vivian Pearce (Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Desperate Living), Mink Stole (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, But I'm a Cheerleader), David Lochary (Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble), Bob Skidmore, Margie Skidmore, Bernica Cipcus
The Plot A day in the lives of a hit-and-run driver and her victim, and the bizarre things that happen to them before and after they collide (sexual assault by a crazed foot-fetishist, visions of the Virgin Mary, strange chicken-foot grafting operations). Yeah, I could write something smarmy here, but what's the point? It's John Waters' first film, back when he didn't even care if anyone would turn his films into musicals. The guy is smarmy and crazy and wonderful and there it is.
Fun Fact 1: It seems that the bombshell is reading Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon" when she's on the bus.
Fun Fact 2: While filming a scene featuring a naked hitchhiker, John Waters was on the campus of Johns Hopkins University without permission. When someone was offended, campus police were notified and Waters and his crew lammed it. They eluded the police for a while but were caught when they went to pick up the car and were charged with "conspiracy to commit indecent exposure."
Fun Fact 3: The title is a takeoff on the so-called "mondo" films that popped up in the 1960s, starting with Mondo Cane. The films proported to show the dark underbelly of the far corners of the world, but were mostly ficticious. Many other films would follow in the mondo films wake, most notoriously Faces of Death, which is still controversial although its been widely documented as being mostly simulated.
Fun Fact 4: Estimated budget - $2100

The Director Enzo G. Castellari (Street Law, Keoma, Inglorious Bastards, 1990: the Bronx Warriors)
The Stars Giancarlo Prete (Black Belly of the Tarantula, Street Law, Messalina Messalina), Fred Williamson (Hammer, Inglorious Bastards, From Dusk Til Dawn), Anna Kanakis (2019: After the Fall of New York), George Eastman (Anthropophagus, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, Baba Yaga), Massimo Vanni (The Big Racket, Zombie 4: After Death), Venantino Venantini (Cannibal Ferox, Emmanuelle: Joys of a Woman, The Agony and the Ecstasy)
The Plot It's the year 2019. The world's been devastated by a nuclear war. It's a land where gangs of human predators travel in packs like wolves, where junkyards are filled with the dying remnants of society, and an army of carnivorous military prisoners threaten a fragile sliver of civilization. The only hope of the few remaining survivors is to reach a distant land where radio signals, indicate the possible presence of human life. One of the best Italian Mad Max knock-offs out there. The Italians could do these really well, since they noted the Mad Max films were basically Spaghetti westerns transported to a post-apocalyptic future. Hence, the climax of this one shares some similarities with A Fistful of Dollars. It does feature some things the westerns didn't - such as a car with a fruity-looking bubble top, an all-homosexual evil horde, a gal who acts with her hair and tinted goggles and yes Soozcat, extraneous armulets.
Personal Reflection Dept. I am a sucker for all these Italian Mad Max rip-offs (and Escape from New York rip-offs, and Conan rip-offs, and...). Hence, I begged and pleaded to rent this puppy when I was a kid. It was released in the U.S. as Warriors of the Wasteland and hit VHS on the old Thorn/EMI label in one of those big clamshell cases. It was one of the original "R-rated" films I was allowed to bring home. Nevertheless, I didn't get to see it all then as my father walked in when our hero has sex with the woman he saves on the very night they met - actually a non-explicit scene with some clever intercutting. I had to finally see it on Nite Owl Theatre a few years later, where of course it was cut for TV, though not by much. See kids - before the greedheads gave us infomercials, TV stations used to rerun bad sitcoms and movies no sane person would want to watch during prime time hours. It was a blast. I have seen it uncut many times since, and the film was released to a lovingly restored DVD as The New Barbarians by Shriek Show, an exploitation offshoot of Media Blasters.

The Director Thomas J. Wright
The Stars Hulk Hogan, Joan Severance (Black Scorpion I-II, Lake Consequence, Bird On a Wire), Kurt Fuller, Tommy "Tiny" Lister (Friday, The Fifth Element, Posse), Mark Pellegrino, Bill Henderson, Charles Levin, David Paymer, Patrick O'Bryan, Jesse Ventura
The Plot Rip is the World Wrestling Federation champion who is faithful to his fans and the network he wrestles for. Brell, the new head of the World Television Network, wants Rip to wrestle for his network. Rip refuses and goes back to his normal life. Still looking for a way to raise ratings, Brell initiates a show called "The Battle of the Tough Guys", a violent brawling competition. A mysterious man, Zeus, wins the competition. This gets Brell to use him as an angle to get at Rip. This is a film that features jokes about masturbation, penises and soiling oneself. It also proports that pro-wrestling is one hundred percent real, and non-WWF (Vince McMahon had yet to have his ass handed to him by the World Wildlife Federation - ha, ha!) groups had nothing against unleashing murderous fighters on national television, whether they attacked crippled people in the crowds or not. It is also not really a comedy. At least, I don't think so.
Fun Fact: To promote the movie Tiny Lister was brought in to the WWF as Zeus. Saying he was angry about losing in the movie and saying he could beat Hogan in real life. The problem was he was not a real wrestler. He wrestled only three matches, a tag match with Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake at Summerslam, an eight-man tag where he was eliminated by DQ. Finally since Vince knew the movie was a bust and wouldn't sell on PPV by it self he sold the PPV the match/the movie which included a steel cage match between Hogan & Beefcake vs. Savage & Zeus. Rumors say had No Holds Barred been a success, the main event for WrestleMania VI would have been Hulk Hogan vs. Zeus.
Personal Reflection Dept. Still the worst time I've ever had in a movie theatre, and that counts times I can't recount for legal reasons. Imagine a theatre full of loud, obnoxious twelve year-olds who are one hundred percent convinced that A. pro-wrestling is real and B. so is everything happening on the screen, and they have some say in the manner. It didn't resemble a filmgoing experience so much as a group of adolescents that all simulaneously heard their first fart joke... and stretched out to two hours. There is one scene in the movie, one I am only half-sure happened. I have a memory of seeing it on the screen and it was haunting to behold but I almost think it must have been some weird hallucination brought upon by the gaggle of pre-teen rioters in the crowd. I remember a scene where the Hulkster and his smart and prudish but sexy and obviously-oh-so-wanting-a-piece-of-the-Hulkamanic lawyer have to share a bed and so they dvide the thing with a sheet - something that had been going on ever since Jack Tripper shared an apartment with Joyce DeWitt and that skank who shills the Thighmaster. The lawyer wakes up in the middle of the night to the feeling of the bed shaking, looks over the sheet to see Hulk pleasuring himself. Please tell me I didn't hallucinate this or I fear I may have to commit myself and recommend that the white coats throw away the key. Oddly enough, I met Hulk a few weeks back. Very low-key, just waited on him at my business and sent him on his way. Didn't want to make a scene because hell, his son's a maniac behind the wheel, the daughter's a pop tart and his wife seems to be a real bitch. He's had a rough year and it's not his fault. Had I been more bold or had more senses on me, I probably would have said to him point blank, "Help me out here - I saw you beat off in 35 mm projection, yes?" How could that not have gone over well?

The Director Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall, The Return of Swamp Thing, Vampirella, The Bare Wench Project 1-4)
The Stars Traci Lords (Cry-Baby, New Wave Hookers, Adventures of Tracy Dick: the Case of the Missing Stiff, Tailhouse Rock), Arthur Roberts (Revenge of the Ninja, Hammerhead, Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood), Roger Lodge (Blind Date), Rebecca Perle (Tightrope), Lenny Juliano (The Bare Wench Project 1-3, Vampirella, Cheerleader Massacre), Ace Mask (The Return of Swamp Thing, Transylvania Twist)
The Plot When a mysterious stranger (Arthur Roberts) arrives in town, he immediately hires Nadine Story (Traci Lords) as his nurse. Although the pay is great, her suspicions are aroused when his blood transfusions become more and more frequent. After some creative detective work, our hero finds out her boss is really a space vampire...and the chase is on! The thirsty visitor even threatens to transport Nadine back to his own planet. But Nadine has a few surprises in store for this enterprising alien as she brings her talents to the forefront and fight back during the thrilling climax. Mr. Johnson is a real dick, and the pun is absolutely intended because I'm just that immature. He's a stoic guy in a business suit who seems to have a strange hold over Dr. Rochelle (Ace Mask). The good doctor assigns his nurse Nadine (Traci Lords) to move into Johnson's house and supply him with regular blood transfusions. Turns out Mr. Johnson is a space vampire from the planet Davannah. He's trying to save his people by doing some heavy research. The people of Davannah need our blood to survive and if that means Johnson has to murder the odd strip-o-gram or vaccum cleaner salesman then what the hell. Nadine uses her considerable assets to solve the mystery. She also teams up with a cop who is such a great detective that he doesn't ask why a jailbait pornstar is working as a live-in nurse.
Fun Fact 1: Traci Lords' first mainstream motion picture. She was the subject of the biggest controversy to ever rock the adult film world. She starred in dozens of adult films and was the industry's top star, until it was discovered that of her dozens of films, only one was made when she was over eighteen. Radio ads for the film featured an announcement, "Traci Lords is Not of This Earth!" followed by one of Traci's soundbites from the film, "And I don't screw around!" This is also to this date the only non-adult film Traci has appeared nude in.
Fun Fact 2: The opening credits feature a montage of clips from various other Roger Corman movies, including Battle Beyond the Stars, Galaxy of Terror, Forbidden World, Battle Beyond the Sun, Humanoids frm the Deep and Pirahna. Sample footage from each of these movies appears numerous times throughout the movie as filler footage, as well as two full-length scenes from Hollywood Boulevard and Humanoids from the Deep.
Fun Fact 3: The reason for the great amount of stock footage is the strange way the film came about. Roger Corman and Jim Wynorski had a bet concerning the films Corman had directed in the 1950s. It was wagered that Wynorski could not remake one of them in the same amount of time. Wynorski matched Not Of This Earth's original ten day shooting schedule.
Fun Fact 4: Traci isn't the only "what the hell are they doing here?" person in the cast. If you don't recognize Roger Lodge from his acting oveure, maybe you recognize him as the old fill-in host on E!'s Talk Soup or more likely as the host for the syndicated TV show, Blind Date. Be sure to check out the scene where Lodge is no doubt trying to occupy himself in the background while Ace Mask talks on the phone. Being a police officer, that means he has props to play with, right? So, marvel as Lodge starts playing with his handcuffs and gun.
Fun Fact 5: A lot of the people in the cast worked with Jim Wynorski before and after this production. Arthur Roberts, Lemmy Luciano and Ace Mask are all recurring players in Wynorski's films. You can also see a humorous cameo by Monique Gabrielle, who had previously appeared in a dual role in Wynorski's Deathstalker II (Still by far the best of the Deathstalker films - and yes, I've seen them all multiple times).
Personal Reflection Dept. No sane person would ever defend kiddieporn. That said, I also don't buy that Traci Lords was purely an innocent bystander absorbed by the nasty world of adult entertainment and that hundreds of people knew the truth all along. Look, in looking at this, I realize there is virtually no way to make this sound good. After all, it is more than plausable that an industry had built itself up into a false sense of legal immunity and opened the door for a scandal that conintues to haunt it to this day. On the other hand, certain facts of the case, the lack of any substantial criminal prosecution and the reputation of one future John Waters co-star makes the whole thing stink a little. I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

HCC MOVES TO NEW DIGS.... Site May Experience a Few Hiccups... Mass Suicides Inevitable

Oh, that wacky unexpected internet. Here, I had a brilliant, funny and (typical for me) very late piece all worked up over Jazz's brand new You Pick the Grabs feature at HCC. And what happens? Like Keyser Soze - poof, it's gone and taking do-nothing roles just to pickup a paycheck. Well, maybe not that second part.

Actually, there shouldn't be too much interruption. But just in case there is, Jazz has dropped in a note to say there may be a few "blips" over the next few days. Also as mentioned, some features, including the new You Pick the Grabs section have been temporarily disabled so no one's input is lost in the move. Everything will be back up and running in a few days' time.

To help cappers through this time of crisis, I have attached a picture of a scantly-clad, morbidly obese nightmare clown. You're welcome.

So much for sleep, huh kids?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


If you missed the first installment, Your Queue and You is my attempt to give a more detailed outlook on the many things we may be capping in the near future on Hipsoda's Caption Crack. All of the items are in the queue and will be made available for capping based on the votes of prospective cappers, i.e. you. We're covering the movies first. If you missed the first installment of Your Queue and You, you can check out the installment featuring the movies A-D here.

The Director George Marshall
The Stars Bob Hope, Phyllis Diller, Jonathan Winters, Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger, The Girl Hunters, The Girl from Rio), Jill St. John (Who's Minding the Store, Tony Rome, Diamonds Are Forever), Stacey Gregg
The Plot From the IMDB: This film stars a group of people were able to cheat death for far longer than anyone would have guessed. Bob Hope, not telling twenty year-old jokes to the troops, plays a bank teller who along with a widower with seven kids, discovers a large sum of money in his mailbox. When the bank discovers money is missing from their vaults, Hope and the family have to evade the police. Baby-sitter Phyllis Diller makes nice with dumb cop Jonathan Winters and tries to hide Hope's whereabouts from him. And just when you thought nothing could be more terrifying than having Phyllis Diller watch your kids, you should also know that Jonathan Winters has a dual role, in which he plays his own mother. It set drag queens back like thirty years.

The Director Wolfgang Petersen (In the Line of Fire, The Perfect Storm, Air Force One)
The Stars Dennis Quaid, Louis Gossett Jr., Brion James (Blade Runner, The Player, The Fifth Element), Richard Marcus, Carolyn McCormack (Law & Order), Bumper Robinson
The Plot From the IMDB - This big-budget allegory pleads for understanding amongst different peoples despite differences of race or ideology. Of course, it's not about say a Middle Eastern family and a bunch of Mormons. Nope, plea for racial harmony has the added benefit of lasers. In the future, there is a war between humans and the fish-lizard people called Dracs. Dennis Quaid is an especially powerful Drac-hater who gets shot down on an uncharted planet. Fortunately, he takes one of the little buggers with 'em. Unfortunately, they are the only two people on the dangerous planet and thus must learn to get along. Louis Gossett Jr. sports gills in this film and yet never once do we have to watch him drink his own urine. So, what's Costner's excuse now?
Fun Fact Original director Richard Loncraine (Richard III, Firewall) was fired after what sources called "creative differences." Most of the film was already finished however. When Wolfgang Petersen was brought on, he reshot the entire film, which delayed the film's release more than a year and drastically increased the budget.

The Director Russ Meyer (Vixen!, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls)
The Stars Eve Meyer, Anthony-James Ryan (Wild Gals of the Naked West), Frank Bolger (Mudhoney, Common Law Cabin, Lorna), Iris Bristol, Joseph Carroll, Rita Day, James A. Evanoff, Gigi Frost, Mildred Knezevich, Francesca Leslie, Lee Merrin
The Plot Eve loves a guy with a nice plumber's crack. It's the only reason I can think of that explains the obsessive way in which she follows this particular handyman around as he unclogs toilets, does windows, goes to the scrap yard and helping a topless hitchhiker. Wait, what was that last one? Yeah, did we mention this is a Russ Meyer film?
Fun Fact As you can probably figure out, Eve Meyer was indeed the wife of Russ Meyer. His company, Eve Productions was named after her. They were married from 1952 to 1969.

The Director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror, Spy Kids 1-3)
The Stars Jordana Brewster (Fast and the Furious, D.E.B.S., Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the Beginning), Clea DuVall (But I'm a Cheerleader, The Grudge, Carnivale), Laura Harris (Severence, 24, Dead Like Me), Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, 30 Days of Night), Shawn Hatosy (Outside Providence, The Cooler, Alpha Dog), Famke Janssen (GoldenEye, X-Men 1-3, Hide and Seek), Piper Laurie (Carrie, Children of a Lesser God, The Hustler), Bebe Neuwurth (Malice, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Cheers), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgement Day, X-Files, The Unit), Usher (In the Mix), Jon Stewart (The Daily Show), Elijah Wood (The Ice Storm, Lord of the Rings 1-3, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Salma Hayek (Desperado, Dogma, Frida), Christopher McDonald, Harry Knowles
The Plot Every single high school has cliques. No one works together and everyone sticks to their own group. All except for this high school which has found the perfect way to get around the clique system - have your school taken over by alien parasites that will turn the kids into the mindless drones school is training them to be in the first place. My guess is that filmmakers thought Barry Soddenfeld and Roland Emmerich would be as beloved as Speilberg and James Cameron and that's why they are name-checked. Ooopsie. At least you get to see Jon Stewart with a pencil in his eye.
Fun Fact 1: The screenplay is by Kevin Williamson, Flavor of the Minute in the mid-90s. Because he wrote both Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, Williamson was responsible for the "slasher-lite" craze. The clout allowed him to make his dream project, Dawson's Creek. What has he done lately? Two failed TV shows and Cursed. Payback's a bitch, 'aint it?
Fun Fact 2: At one point, the principal suggests saving money by reusing the set from "Our Town". The joke in this is that Our Town has no set.
Fun Fact 3: In one of the more gratuitous acts of art falling prey to whorish consumerism, Tommy Hillfiger paid for numerous product placements in the film. In exchange, the cast had to appear in Hillfiger's ads in a massive campaign to pimp both the film and clothing line.

The Director Eddie Nicart
The Stars Weng Weng, Yehlen Catral, Carmi Martin, Anna Marie Gutierrez , Beth Sandoval
The Plot Weng Weng is Agent 00, the toughest, sexiest secret agent in the Phillipines. He fights evil, kills criminal masterminds, loves the ladies and can fit into tiny compartments. Oh yeah, did I mention Weng Weng is a dwarf? In what was no doubt intended as some serious forward-thinking filmmaking, Weng Weng was primed to be a major action star in his native land and the films are played mostly straight... which is not to say they aren't horrible and hilarious in all the wrong ways. In this film, Agent 00 goes up against the evil Mr. Giant (wow...), who has kidnapped a brilliant scientist and plan to use the scientist's N-Bomb (which remarkably does not mean he is taking over the world with a racial slur - I mean, it would have almost fit with the rest of the film, right?) to bring the world to it's knees. And you thought capping The Crippled Masters earned you a spot in Hell.
Fun Fact There were many films with Weng Weng, and many included the same cast and crew. The IMDB lists the sequel to this film being The Impossible Kid, however it looks like Agent 00 came first. Other films in his oveure include D'Wild Weng Weng, Da Best In Da West (the Phillipines were years ahead of us in hip hop lingo) and The Cute... the Sexy 'n the Tiny. Many of the Weng Weng films used much of the same cast and crew.

The Director Geoff Murphy (The Quiet Earth, Young Guns II, Under Siege 2)
The Stars Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo (Lethal Weapon 3-4, Get Shorty, The Thomas Crown Affair), Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Banks, David Johansen (Scrooged, Tales from the Darkside: the Movie, Car 54 Where Are You?), Amanda Plummer (The Fisher King, Pulp Fiction, The Prophesy), Grand L. Bush
The Plot You almost have to feel bad for Formula One drivers. The guys who would get strapped in to their specially designed cars and race around the track were usurped in the redneck pride department by guys would get into boxier-looking cars and race around a track. Because in NASCAR, we don't drive your Moon Patrol cars, hippie - we drive boxes, just like in America. Well, Alex Furlong (Estevez) is a pretty big deal in Formula One, but just like a Formula One driver dies in a fiery crash... Oh snap, just before he is to die, he is "freejacked," meaning his body is transported into the future. Of course, he was supposed to be brain dead by then (Gee, what else would you call the Mighty Ducks films? Oh Travis, you are such a card!), but before they can give him the R.P. McMurphy Special, he escapes a runs across the dystopian urban decay of the future. The guy following him is played by Mick Jagger, probably during one of the many times throughout history when Keith Richards wasn't speaking to him.
Fun Fact 1: There were reports that Anthony Hopkins wanted to be in the film, so he could meet Mick Jagger. While cool, this doesn't make a lot of sense. They don't share the screen together.
Fun Fact 2: David Johansen is better known (and rightfully so) as the lead singer of the classic glam/punk rock outfit, The New York Dolls. He also briefly had success in the 1980s as Buster Poindexter.
Personal Reflection Dept. I used a lot of footage from this film for some of my short-form music videos, back in the day. I believe I used some of the footage for a version of Nine Inch Nails' "Wish" which showed up in a compilation for cable access called Nothing Sacred. There was to be a sequel called Nothing Sacred II: the Ultimate Seduction, of which the centerpiece was a piece called "Industry and Seduction," again using some of its footage from this film. You will never see that. It was erased by some dickhead witout my knowledge, because he needed a blank VHS tape to record a football game. Oh yeah, I'm still bitter.

The Director Luca Bercovici (Rockula, The Granny)
The Stars Peter Liapis (Starhops), Lisa Pelikan (Julia, Jennifer, Lionheart), Keith Joe Dick, Michael Des Barres (Pink Cadillac, Waxwork II: Lost in Time), Jack Nance (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks), Mariska Hargitay (Jocks, Lake Placid, Law & Order: SVU), Peter Risch, Tamara De Treaux, Scott Thomson (Parasite, Police Academy 3-4), Bobbie Bresee (Mausoleum, Star Slammer, Evil Spawn)
The Plot Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis, who wins the Kyle McLachlan Lookalike Award I sometimes hold in my own little head) and his girl move into an old Hollywood mansion. The new house comes with a spacious garden, lots of room and the spirit of a Satanic warlock who soon puts Jonathan under his spell. As his friends gather for a party, he conjures the spirit of said warlock, along with two dwarves and the slimy little puppets of the title.
Fun Fact 1 Although mainly accused to being a Gremlins knock-off (which it may very well be), the film reportedly began life in 1983 as a project called Beasties. It was to be directed by Charles Band (whose Empire Pictures wound up distributing the film) with effects by Stan Winston. Winston went on to do other projects and the creature effects were ultimately handled by John Carl Buechler.
Fun Fact 2 Bercovici spends most of his time acting. He had previously run in with Charles Band when he starred in Band's 1980 3-D film Parasite.
Fun Fact 3 Originally rated "R", 12 seconds of gore were cut to secure a "PG-13" rating. Given how young the latter rating was, Ghoulies was one of the first horror films to cut itself to secure the less severe rating. Uh, thanks Charles.

GIGLI (2003)
The Director Martin Brest (Midnight Run, Meet Joe Black, Scent of a Woman)
The Stars Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha (National Treasure 1-2), Christopher Walken, Al Pacino, Louis Venito (Knights of Prosperity, Return to Sleepaway Camp)
The Plot Gigli (Ben Affleck) is a troubled hitman who is teamed up with Ricki (Jennifer Lopez), a lesbian hitwoman to kidnap the retarded brother of a Distrcit Attorney, so the mob can blackmail the DA into laying off their criminal enterprises. Along the way, Gigli and Ricki sort of fall in love and they have second thoughts about murdering their mentally challenged hostage. AWWWWW!
Fun Fact 1 A notorious bomb almost before it even opened. It has the largest second weekend drop of any film in history. By its third week of release, only 73 theatres were still showing it in the U.S., whereas it opened on more than 2,000. UK cinemas dropped the film after a week.
Fun Fact 2 The only film to ever sweep all the major awards at the Razzies.
Fun Fact 3 Many people say the reason Gigli bombed so huge was the very public relationship and subsequent breakup of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Other experts suggest the reason Gigli didn't do well is that its a steaming pile of shit.

The Director Jess Franco (The Awful Dr. Orloff, Vampyros Lesbos, Killer Barbys)
The Stars Shirley Eaton (Goldfinger, The Girl Hunters, Eight On the Lam), Richard Wyler, George Sanders (1960's Village of the Damned, All About Eve, The Saint Strikes Back), Maria Rohm (99 Women, Count Dracula, Eugenie: the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion), Herbert Flesichmann, Marta Reeves, Elsa Montes (99 Women, 1965's Erik the Viking), Walter Rilla (1962's The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, The Mask of Fu Manchu, Day of Anger)
The Plot Sumitra (Shirley Eaton) rules the kingdom of Femina, a land of scantly-clad Amazon women who want to take over the world. Enter Jack Sutton, an American who arrives in Rio having just stolen $10 million in cash. He is trying to evade the gangster Sir Masius (George Sanders) and his masked henchmen. But he also runs afoul of Sumitra's heavily-armed Amazon succubi who are plotting nothing less than world domination. A film that may have had people around the world rethinking this whole mod thing, it features lots of pastel fashions and Buck Rogers-like sets as our lumpy hero runs afoul of the scantly clad to unclad Amazon warriors. A trippy combination of James Bond, Barbarella and pulp adventure.
Fun Fact 1 Director Jess Franco (or Jesus Franco, as he is sometimes known), often characterized by his loose, arty but "jazz-like" approach to filmmaking, is perhaps the most prolific exploitation director of all-time. His filmography is estimated to stand somewhere between 180 and 200 films. Truth be told, even Franco isn't sure since he has shot footage for films that may or not have been completed, and each of his films exists in multiple different cuts in different territories of the world.
Fun Fact 2 Case in point, although the character in this print is Sumitra, she is Sumuru in most prints. This film is a spin-off of Sax Rohmer's Sumuru character, the daughter of Fu Manchu. This film has at least twelve alternate titles, the next most common being The Seven Secrets of Sumuru, which restores the original character's name.
Fun Fact 3 This is a pulp production, stressing espionage and mad super-criminals. Much of the cast were assembled based on their success in previous films of this type, making it a reunion of sorts. For example, George Sanders played both the Saint and the Falcon in a series of low-budget films in the 1930s and 1940s. Richard Wyler appeared on The Man from Interpol. Eaton also played Sumuru or an approximation therof in The Million Eyes of Sumuru and The Blood of Fu Manchu. Herbert Fleischmann played one of the most iconic supercriminals, Dr. Mabuse when that series was revived in the 1960s.
Personal Reflection Dept. Some love Jess Franco, others despise him. I think he's a genius. How to sum up his approach to directing? Imagine a Renaissance painter hired to do pulp-type work. Now imagine that painter has been possessed by the spirit of a crazed jazzman. That's Jess.

The Director Graeme Clifford (Frances, The Last Don I-II)
The Stars Christian Slater, Steven Bauer (Scarface, Raising Cain, Traffic), Richard Herd, Le Tuan, Min Luong (Big Trouble In Little China), Art Chudabala, Ed Lauter (The Longest Yard, The French Connection II, The Rocketeer), Micole Mercurio, Peter Kwong, Charles Cyphers (Halloween I-II, Major League), Max Perlich (Drugstore Cowboy, Rush, Homicide: Life On the Street), Tony Hawk
The Plot Be nice to those kids who use your local plaza's sidewalks as their daredevil courses. They may just trying to avenge their brother's death in the only way they know how. Brian Kelly (Christian Slater) is a disaffected youth who only cares about skateboarding with his friends. He grows up fast when his adopted brother Vinh (Art Chudabala) is discovered dead from an apparant suicide. Brian believes Vinh was murdered and works with a local cop in exposing a criminal enterprise. The cop is then assigned cases in which he plays second banana to a BMX racer trying to combat deforestation. Okay, I made that last bit up but it would have made a logical sequel.
Fun Fact 1 In addition to the cast featuring Tony Hawk, the film employed a few notable skateboarding celebs of the day. Mike McGill and Rodney Mullen served as Slater's stunt doubles. All skating sequences were filmed by pro-skater Stacy Peralta.
Fun Fact 2 From the IMDB - "Brian's friends see him on a bike instead of his skateboard, they joke about how he'll be riding around on a scooter next. In The Legend of Billie Jean, Christian Slater played a character whose most prized possession was a scooter.
Personal Reflection Dept. When this came out, some old friends of mine insisted it was the best film they'd seen in years. These same people made me see Ski Patrol on opening weekend but insisted John Carpenter's Dark Star was horrible because it looked cheap. We're not in touch anymore.

The Director Joe Dante (The Howling, Explorers, Matinee)
The Stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover (Smallville, Brimstone, Love! Valour! Compassion!), Robert Prosky, Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager, China Beach, The Howling), Christopher Lee, Haviland Morris, Dick Miller, Jackie Joseph, Gedde Wanatabe (Sixteen Candles, Volunteers, Gung Ho), Keye Luke, Tony Randall
The Plot Remember Gremlins? It was the charming story of an inventor who discovered a strange creature that defied evolutionary science and promptly claimed ownership of it, giving it to his teenage son. Well a few years later, furry little Gizmo is being experimented on in the mammoth Clamp Towers (owned by a hybrid of Donald Trump, Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch who in the most awe-inspiring portrayal ever, is not evil), where little Billy Peltzier now works. The Gremlins get out and now exist in many new forms, including a smart Gremlin voiced by Tony Randall.
Fun Fact 1 If Joe Dante, noted awesome superfan of cult cinema, had some references to his favorite films in the original Gremlins, he went batshit crazy this time around. Various references throughout include: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera (both silent and sound versions), Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Quatermass Xperiment, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, A Bucket of Blood, The Tingler, The Secret Cinema, Tarantula, War of the Worlds, Octaman and King Kong among others.
Fun Fact 2 Mr. Futterman (Dick Miller) vanquishes the bat-gremlin by pouring cement over it, which flies onto the roof of a cathedral and turns into a gargoyle when the cement sets. This is a homage to A Bucket of Blood, which stars Miller as a wannabe artist who creates a sensation in the art world with his "sculptures", created by the same method..
Fun Fact 3 The uplifting end of the world video scene was included by the filmmakers when they find out that one the news networks actually have such a video prepare to run in case of the end of the world. This video apparently still exists and still ready to run at the final hour. In some respects, this could be seen as a respectful call for togetherness. Or you could always say it's a callous way to look like the top of the heap in case they have A.C. Nielsen ratings in heaven.
Fun Fact 4 In a corridor of the Clamp Tower, one nameplate says "Vectorscope Labs". This is a reference to the movie Innerspace, also directed by Joe Dante
Fun Fact 5 Okay, on a personal note as a horror geek, I love this story. Quoting from the IMDB, "Christopher Lee has stated that upon being cast in the film, the first thing he did was apologize to Joe Dante for appearing in Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf, the notoriously horrible Dante-less sequel to his film, The Howling. Good for you, Chris. And much appreciated.
Fun Fact 6 Leonard Maltin appears in Gremlins 2 repeating his criticisms of Gremlins, while he holds a video version of the movie. However, his rant is cut short when gremlins pounce on him as a result. In his annual Movie Guide he gives Gremlins 2 three stars (out of a possible four) and refers to this scene as a "gratuitous cameo", though he doesn't say he's actually in the movie.

The Director Terry Marcel (Jane and the Lost City, The Last Seduction II)
The Stars Jack Palance, Jack Terry, Patrick Magee (The Masque of the Red Death, Marat/Sade, A Clockwork Orange), Annette Crosbie, Catriona MacColl (The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, The House By the Cemetery), Harry Andrews (The Hill, The Night They Raided Minsky's, Nicholas and Alexandra), Roy Kinnear, Graham Stark
The Plot Hawk the Slayer, after seeing both his father and bride die at the hands of his malevolent brother, Voltan, sets out for revenge and the chance to live up to his title. Tooling himself up with the "mind-sword" and recruiting a motley band of warriors: a giant, a dwarf, a one-armed man with a machine-crossbow and an elf with the fastest bow in the land; Hawk leads the battle against Voltan to free the land from the forces of evil and avenge his loved ones. It's a Dungeons and Dragons film starring Jack Palance, Patrick Magee, the gal from those kickass Lucio Fulci films and a sword with a glowing Superball at the hilt. What else do you want?
Fun Fact While filming The Return of the Musketeers, character actor Roy Kinnear fell from his horse and broke his pelvis. He soon bled to death. Okay, I guess it's not so much a "fun" fact...

The Director Allan Arkush (Hollywood Boulevard, Deathsport, Rock n Roll High School)
The Stars Andy Kaufman, Bernadette Peters, Randy Quaid, Kenneth McMillan, Melanie Mayron (Thirtysomething, My Blue Heaven), Christopher Guest (This Is Spinal Tap, Best In Show, A Mighty Wind)
The Plot In the future, robots have become a way of life. Two robots (Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters) meet at the assembly plant and defy their programmers' understanding by falling in love. The two run away and begin a cross country trek to find a stable home environment and a recharge for their electrical supply. They are joined by Catskill, a robot with the personality of a bad stand-up comic. Along the way, they also build a child in their bid to start a family. But as they make their way across the country, they are pursued by the overzealous law enforcement robot, Crimebuster. It's - it's just horrible.
Fun Fact 1 Like many of his projects, Kaufman was not happy with the final product. He apologized to people for the film on Late Night with David Letterman and offered anyone a refund of the money they paid to see it. Letterman asked Kaufman if he had change for a twenty.
Fun Fact 2 Unfortunately, plans for Kaufman's planned film The Tony Clifton Story were scrapped once this bombed at the box office.
Fun Fact 3 John Williams did the musical score. But unlike most of his scores which involve sweeping orchestration, this score was mostly electronic.

The Director Tony Randel (Children of the Night, Amityville 1992: It's About Time, Fist of the North Star)
The Stars Ashley Laurence (Lurking Fear, Gentle Ben 1-2, Lightning Bug), Clare Higgins (Small Faces, B. Monkey, Bigger Than the Sky), Kenneth Cranham, Imogen Boorman (Dreamchild), Sean Chapman, William Hope, Doug Bradley
The Plot At the concert documented in the film Big Time, Tom Waits noted that he once saw a porno shop with seven X's in front of it - not one, not three, seven. He wondered what could possibly constitute such a heavy rating, "Girls without skin is all I can think of," From this, Clive Barker created an empire. In this sequel to Hellraiser, Kristy (Ashley Laurence) is packed off to a nuthouse because nobody believes her when she says demons from hell led by her wicked stepmother killed her family. The doctor who runs the place has a vicious streak which extends to an obsession with unlocking the Lament Configuration (a.k.a. that puzzle box thing). Aided with a now skinless Julia, Channard brings the Cenobites back and Kristy will travel into the depths of hell itself in order to escape.
Fun Fact 1 Most of the principal players in the original Hellraiser return this time out. One exception is Andrew Robinson, who decided not to reprise his role. This reportedly led to some rewrites of the original script.
Fun Fact 2 The horn sound that is continually made by Leviathan is Morse code for "God".
Fun Fact 3 Doug Bradley is the only actor to appear in all Hellraiser films, eight films to date. Ashley Laurence has been in four - the first three, then the sixth installment Hellraiser: Hellseeker.
Personal Reflection Dept. When I was working in the TV news industry, one of my first and most thrilling interviews was Clive Barker. During the interview, I completely lost all dignity and composure and began telling him what a huge fan I was, how I believe he advanced horror and fantasy by leaps and bounds, how his paintings are incredibly haunting, how much I really hope he writes the third "Book of the Art," etc. I believe I also managed to ask four or five actual questions too.

The Director Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil: Extinction, The Shadow, Ricochet)
The Stars Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart (The Verdict, Oh God You Devil!, Chicago Hope), Clancy Brown, Sean Connery, Beatie Edney (Mister Johnson, Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day), Jon Polito, Sheila Gish, Hugh Quarshie, Alan North
The Plot Connor MacLeod is part of a race of immortal swordsmen who can only be killed by having his head severed from his body. Some immortals kills their own kind, with the knowledge that with each death, they grow closer to attaining "the prize." Now, the Gathering of the last few immortals is set to take place on the streets of present day New York City. This film had everything for young geeks (old geeks at least have Roxanne Hart's backside). Immortals having swordfights in parking garages is more than anyone should reasonably ask for in life. It is a standard Adrian Paul has tried to capture all his life. He has failed miserably.
Fun Fact Sean Connery filmed all of his scenes in a week. For one week's work, he still has fan boys running up to him in the street screaming, "There can be only one." We're assuming Connery is obliged to beat them senseless.

The Director Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
The Stars Orson Bean, John Huston, Richard Boone, Hans Conreid, Otto Preminger, Cyril Ritchard, Brother Theodore, Paul Frees, Don Messick
The Plot Based on the classic by J.R.R. Tolkein, this condenced animated feature follows Bilbo Baggins as he is plucked from his home and thrown into a massive adventure with Gandalf the wizard and a group of dwarves. Bilbo travels outside his homeland for the first time and meets strange new races of people he had never been exposed to before, all to complete the quest of destroying the evil dragon, Smaug. Because what better way to explain one of the most sprawling epics of modern literature than as a 90 minute cartoon complete with commercial breaks and folk music interludes?
Fun Fact 1 Originally aired as a television special and had a budget of $3 million, which was considered pretty large for animated television projects.
Fun Fact 2 Contrary to some sources, this was made entirely separately from the Ralph Bakshi's animated Lord of the Rings, which was released theatrically the following year. However, a television sequel to The Hobbit was made in 1980. It was The Return of the King, meaning the books The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers were not adapted. Interestingly enough, those are the two books Bakshi reportedly based his film on, hence the confusion and the reason why Bakshi's film is often used as a bridge between the two TV movies.

The Director James Issac (Jason X, Skinwalkers)
The Stars Lance Henriksen, Brion James (Blade Runner, The Player, The Fifth Element), Rita Taggart (Straight Time, Die Laughing, Weeds), Dede Pfeiffer (Vamp, The Allnighter, Up Close & Personal), Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge, Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Thom Bray (The Prowler, Prince of Darkness, Riptide), Matt Clark, David Oliver, Terry Alexander, Lewis Arquette, Lawrence Tierney
The Plot Lucas McCarthy (Lance Henriksen) finally tracks down the serial killer, Meat Cleaver Max (Brion James). Max seemingly dies in the electric chair, but his spirit comes back to haunt those close to Lucas, with a gory body count rising. Who will win, Lance Henriksen's weathered stoicism or Brion James' bug-eyed crazed agression?
Fun Fact 1 Outside the U.S., this film is known as House III, although it has no relation to any of the other House movies. Sean S. Cunningham changed the name for other territories to make it an easier sell. Hence, U.S. customers were confused when House IV was released, but without any explaination over what happened the third installment. Ironically, among horror fans, this has become the accepted favorite of the House movies.
Fun Fact 2 Brion James' favorite role.
Fun Fact 3 David Blyth (Death Warmed Up, Red Blooded American Girl) was the film's original director but was fired sometime during the production. The film also sports an Allen Smithee writing credit which according to the IMDB was actually writer Allyn Warner. The only other credits to be found for Warner are a few minor television gigs, including The Captain and Tennille Songbook.

The Director Russ Meyer (Vixen!, Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls)
The Stars Bill Teas, Ann Peters, Marilyn Wesley, Michelle Roberts, Dawn Danielle
The Plot Mr. Teas is a door to door salesman for dentists' appliances. Everywhere he goes he encounters beautiful "well-developed" nude women, which of course stir his interest. One of the first films to use the bare bones of a plot to disguise the fact that the director just really liked tits. Russ Meyer - the man should be on a stamp.
Fun Fact 1 This very simply plotted film broke new taboos in cinema, not to mention several box office records. Not only did it mark the beginning of Russ Meyer's career, it also spawned the rash of "nudie cuties" from other filmmakers over the next ten years or so.
Fun Fact 2 The lead actor, Bill Teas, was an old Army buddy of director Russ Meyer from World War II (and he presumably also really liked tits). Meyer let him use his own name as the character's name.
Fun Fact 3 Meyer shot the film in four days during the spring of 1958, with a budget of $24,000.
Fun Fact 4 Was shut down the day of its premiere at a San Diego movie theater. The film was later confiscated by local police. It wasn't shown again until a year later, in 1960, at a theater house in Seattle.

The Director Uwe Boll (House of the Dead, Alone In the Dark, BloodRayne)
The Stars Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Matthew Lillard (Scooby-Doo 1-2, Scream, SLC Punk), Leelee Sobieski (Eyes Wide Shut, The Glass House, Joy Ride), John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Beauty and the Beast), Claire Forlani (Mallrats, Meet Joe Black, Mystery Men), Kristanna Loken (BloodRayne, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Painkiller Jane), Brian J. White, Will Sanderson (Seed, Alone In the Dark, BloodRayne)
The Plot A famer named... er, Farmer (Jason Statham) has his life shattered when the mutant race of Krug (think Orcs without the after-effect of copyright lawsuits) devastate his village and kill his son. The Krug were dismatched by the evil sorcerer Gailan (Ray Liotta) who now holds Farmer's wife (Claire Forlani) and friends hostage. Farmer reluctantly joins the forces of King Konreid (Burt Reynolds) in order to defeat Gailan once and for all. But Gailan only put the kingdo min jeopardy because of the duplicious Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard in what is surely about the worst performance ever seen in a theatrical film), who wants to seize the throne for himself. Then again, Farmer is not all he seems either. This is Uwe Boll's answer to Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson's response? "Huh? Did you hear something?"
Fun Fact Uwe Boll intended this film to be one sprawling four hour epic that would be released in two parts. He was pressured to cut it down to one film.
Personal Reflections Dept. I fucking love Uwe Boll! Seriously, you can see some hastily written reviews for his early-ish films House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark, which as the then-editor of Horror Express, I was duty-bound to pay good money to see. Over the next year or so, I kept covering the immense hubris of this man and all his crazy stunts and like many out there, I couldn't get my head around it. Then, a few weeks before BloodRayne opened, I found myself sadistically looking forward to the chance of seeing another horrendous Uwe Boll movie. And remarkably, the film wasn't bad. It's not Citizen Kane, but it's entertaining. And I began re-evaluating Boll's other films. Yes, they are bad movies for the most part. But they seem to have this odd chemistry of 50% "Wow, that's pretty cool" and 50% "Dear God, I can't believe someone funded this crap." Making sense of his films is fruitless. And I now laugh at the people who rip their hair out because I don't know maybe they don't think he'll get the true nuance of say Far Cry (which he is working on right now). And I say, "Lighten up!" this guy is one of the great hucksters of our time. An endlessly entertaining personality along the lines of Herschell Gordon Lewis, Bert I. Gordon, William Castle and the like. And if he's upsetting you, that's the idea. He's messing with you! Some people get it, like Rue Morgue's Chris Alexander who is one of the fighters to get pummeled by Boll in the ring. Others just will never understand. Uwe Boll is part of my chemical makeup now. Long may his freak flag fly.

The Director Anthony M. Larza
The Stars Bruce Dern (Silent Running, Coming Home), Pat Priest (The Munsters), Casey Kasem, Albert Cole, John Bloom, Berry Kroeger, Larry Vincent, Jack Foster
The Plot Dr. Roger Girard is a rich scientist conducting experiments on head transplantation. His caretaker has a son, Danny, who, although fully grown, has the mind of child. One day an escaped psycho-killer invades Girard's home, killing Danny's father before being gunned down himself. With the maniac dying and Danny deeply unsettled by his father's death, Dr. Girard decides to take the final step and transplant the killer's head onto Danny's body. Of course, things go horribly wrong and the two-headed creature escapes to terrorize the countryside. Listen, if I've said it once I've said it a million times. If you're going to play Frankenstein, get the good meat! No crazed killers, no mentally disturbed people, just intellectuals and porn stars.
Fun Fact Was once featured on an Entertainment Tonight series of reports, spotlighting bad movies. Bruce Dern was happily interviewed about the film which looked upon with some embarassment but a lot of humor.

IRON MAN (2008)
The Director Jon Favreau (Elf, Zathura)
The Stars Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Terence Howard, Leslie Bibb (Wristcutters, The Midnight Meat Train, Trick 'r Treat, Popular), Shaun Toub (The Nativity Story, The Kite Runner)
The Plot A year ago, if you had asked me who the coolest billionaire in the world was, I would have probably said Richard Branson. The guy has tons of industries but also gives back to the community, goes on adventures, enjoys a little harmless hellraising every now and then and just rocks. Now, I have to say Tony Stark. He also has tons of industries, goes on adventures and I think we can agree Robert Downey Jr. did more than his share of hellraising. As far as giving back to the community, he has developed a conscience and instead of just giving to Greenpeace or something, he becomes a cybernetic warrior who kicks the crap out of terrorists and corporate greedheads alike. Awesome! Also, since this is the movie, we can focus on the cool Tony Stark not the one who turned into a douchebag for that whole Civil War arc.
Fun Fact 1 The script was not completely prepared when filming began, since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action, so the dialogue was mostly ad-libbed throughout filming; Jon Favreau acknowledged this made the film feel more natural. Some scenes were shot with two cameras to capture lines improvised on the spot; Robert Downey Jr. would ask for many takes of one scene since he wanted to try something new.
Fun Fact 2 Ghostface Killah, who has been a long-time fan of the Iron Man comics (he uses the aliases "Ironman" and "Tony Starks", titled his 1996 album "Ironman" and samples clips of the Iron Man cartoons from the 1960s, was given a cameo as a Dubai tycoon. However, his scene was cut from the final film. Favreau apologized to Ghostface and made it up to him by using his "We Celebrate" video in the film.
Fun Fact 3 Tired of people getting their properties wrong, Marvel Comics financed this film themselves and were involved in all facets of the production. This is a big change from the state of the company in the mid-1990s, when it looked like Marvel along with the rest of the major comic book companies would go under.
Fun Fact 4 Comic book writer Stan Lee, as always, has a cameo in the live-action film of his creation Iron Man. He plays the man with three blondes whom Tony Stark mistakes for Hugh Hefner. He later mentioned that it was his most fun cameo. This is possibly because it's the closest a comics geek has ever been to an orgy. Believe me, I know. Sigh.

The Director Alfonso Brescia (Cosmos: War of the Planets, The Beast In Space, War of the Robots)
The Stars Miles O'Keefe (Tarzan the Ape Man, Sword of the Valiant, Waxwork), Savina Gersak (Lone Runner, Amok Train), Elizabeth Kaza (The Beast), Iris Peynado (The New Barbarians, Devil Fish), Tim Lane, Franco Daddi
The Plot This is the third entry in the series of Ator films, which started with Ator the Fighting Eagle and continued with The Blade Master (notoriously riffed by MST3K as Cave Dwellers). In this installment, Ator does battles with an evil sorceress who has a seeminly unbeatable swordsman at her command. Ator and the swordsman fight repeatedly until it is revealed they share a past. The shocking twist will surprise everyone with an I.Q. under 60. Enjoy the cheese as Miles O'Keefe tries to be the answer to Conan and doesn't make it out of the gate.
Fun Fact This is the only film in the Ator series not directed by Joe D'Amato. He would return for the fourth and final installment Quest for the Mighty Sword. However, this is the last time Miles O'Keefe played the part of Ator.

ISHTAR (1986)
The Director Elaine May (The Heartbreak Kid)
The Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Adjani (Camille Claudel, The History of Adele H., Queen Margot), Charles Grodin, Jack Warden, Tess Harper (Crimes of the Heart, Tender Mercies), Carol Kane
The Plot Two horrible night club singers can't get a job anywhere. Their luck takes them to the Middle East, where they hope their fortunes will change with a new gig. Unfortunately, they are caught up between the government of the nation of Ishtar, the rebels seeking to overthrow them and the CIA who is of course getting their hands dirty. Warren Beatty has repeatedly defended this film in spite of its notorious bomb status. He insists it's a funny film that will be appreciated more over time. He is wrong.
Fun Fact One of the most notorious bombs in Hollywood history. Cost a reported $55 million (an almost unheard of sum in 1987) and earned only $14 million at the box office.

The Director John Frankenheimer (Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Seconds, Ronin)
The Stars Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, David Thewlis (Naked, Total Eclipse, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Fairuza Balk (Return to Oz, The Craft, American History X), Ron Perlman (Hellboy 1-2, Blade II, Beauty and the Beast), Marco Hofschneider (Europa Europa, Immortal Beloved), Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors, Barb Wire, Star Wars: Episode II-III), Marc Decastos (Crying Freeman, Brotherhood of the Wolf, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven)
The Plot In this third American version of the H.G. Welles novel, Edward (David Thewlis) is rescued from certain death by the inhabitants of a strange island. Run by the eccentric Dr. Moreau, who is allergic to the sun in a plot twist that has nothing to do with anything else. He meets the other inhabitants of the island, which include a beautiful girl (Fairuza Balk) and the odd gameskeeper (Val Kilmer). It quickly becomes evident that Moreau has blended animal and human DNA in order to create a race of animal-men who plot a massive coup. It's sort of like when everyone rose up and stopped watching Heroes after the first season. Yes, exactly like that.
Fun Fact 1 John Frankenheimer, one of my favorite directors, has said he wasn't happy with this film. This was the only film he did purely for the money. He was a last minute replacement for Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil), who was fired after refusing to bow to studio pressures. The lead actor, David Thewlis was also a last minute replacement. The part was originally written for Rob Morrow (Quiz Show, Northern Exposure, Numbers). It remains unclear why Morrow left the production, but the rumor was that he was holding out for more money at the time. Highly unlikely - if Marlon Brando and the then-hot Val Kilmer wouldn't bring in box office, why would the guy from Northern Exposure? Thewlis had such a lousy time making the film, he has refused to watch the finished film.
Fun Fact 2 Here's a fun legend that may or may not be true. Original director Richard Stanley was said to be made up as one of the animen so he could view the production from which he was fired from the background. He reportedly unmasked himself at the wrap party. Sounds pretty outlandish, but somewhat keeping with Stanley's character. Do not feel bad for Stanley, by the way. He has found new life and new love over the years as a talented and acclaimed documentry filmmaker, who flirts with fiction filmmaking every once in a while. He joined fellow cult filmmakers Nacho Cerda (Aftermath) and Karim Hussein (Subconscious Cruelty) - whom he met at the Fantasia Film Festival - in writing The Abandoned.
Fun Fact 3 There was originally a part written for Barbara Steele in which she would have played Dr. Moreau's ex-wife. Don't know who Barbara Steele is? Shame on you! Run out right now and rent/buy copies of Mario Bava's Black Sunday and Antonio Margheriti's Castle of Blood (a.k.a. Danza Macabra). Once you've done that, run out and find copies of Riccardo Freda's The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock and The Ghost, Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum, Mario Caiano's Nightmare Castle (a.k.a. The Faceless Monster - also you should get one of the restored versions and not the washed out public domain print), Jonathan Demme's Caged Heat, David Cronenberg's Shivers and Joe Dante's Pirahna. Oh yeah, she was also in a film called 8 1/2 by some guy named Felini.