Movie Review – The Car

1977 Universal Pictures

GP Alert

The CarStraight from Hell’s body shop comes The Car!

I have to admit to being a serious junky when it comes to certain cheesy 1970’s and 1980’s horror and science fiction movies. I know they’re bad but I can’t help but loving them. It’s an addiction I can live with and I will happily feed it as long as I live. The Car is one of those movies that I just love. I first saw this movie on HBO and I must have watched it about twenty times or more. Even as a child I knew it was goofy but I didn’t care. To this day no matter what anyone says I will defend the entertainment value of this movie to the bitter end!

The Car is set in a small town out in the middle of the desert that becomes the target of a mysterious car that has a nasty habit of running over people. After two bicyclist and a hitchhiker are ruthlessly mowed down the police lock down the area in an attempt to trap the perpetrator and stop the vehicular homicide. What they didn’t count on is the fact the car has no driver and ordinary laws of psychics don’t seem to apply this hellish creation.

The Car is an easy movie to describe, it’s Jaws with a car. The Car is structured very much like Jaws and feels like Jaws just without the quality writing, acting, directing, and all that other silly stuff. Basically it’s a lame ripoff that happens to be a lot of fun.

There is nothing too complex about this movie. There’s a killer car on the loose and the law must find a way to stop it before it kills again. The plot is simple, the characters are simple, and that’s about it. There is some attempt to give depth to a few of the characters with a couple of subplots but it doesn’t really work all that well. The dialogue is atrocious at times and some of the camera angles and use of sped up footage are bizarre to say the least. But it doesn’t matter the Car is the star and the rest is just a bunch of filler. The existence of this car is never explained. Why it attacks this small town is a mystery. It’s just a good excuse to drive a cool car around and destroy things. Can’t ask for more than that in this kind of movie except maybe for some gratuitous nudity.

The good:

The title character. The menacing monstrous beast of a car built specially for the movie is one of my favorite four wheeled creations of all time. A heavily modified 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III black coupe with no door handles, a lowered roof, one way windows, and a car horn straight from the depths of Hades.

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I love how the car just appears out of the desert and starts going crazy on this small town.

I love the music score by Leonard Rosenman.

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Kim Richards is so damn cute.

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Holy smokes! I never had any teachers like this.

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Or this!

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There are some cool locations in The Car.

dvd_snapshot_00.41.43_[2013.05.06_16.36.21] The not so good:

I can understand speeding up the footage of the car seeing as it has supernatural abilities but why speed up the footage of the police cars and motorcycle? There is a whole sequence where all the driving footage is sped up and it just looks goofy especially the footage of James Brolin on his motorcycle.

Random thoughts and observations:

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Not too many movies start off with a quote from the Satanic Bible.

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These two are equivalent to the first victim of the shark in Jaws.

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Filmed in CarVision!

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Uh oh, could be trouble. Quick duck and cover!

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Students practice marching at a fairground. This is the Jaws beach scene…

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…complete with a policeman keeping an eye out for the car.

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Not doing a very good job of it either. What’s the sun gleaming off from out in the desert? Hmmmmmm…

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The car even gets a shark fin sticking out of the water scene.

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The car is kept obscured by dust or only the front end is shown in the first half of the movie.

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The big reveal of the car forty six minutes into the movie. Too bad the nimrods who created the trailer showed the car in all its glory.

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Not something you want to see when you take a corner…

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…or when you turn around in your locked garage.

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“Wade I think I hear the car!”
That thing she’s holding is called a telephone kids!

During the end credits there is footage of the car riding through the deserted streets of a larger city. Was there a sequel planned at some point?

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The Car 2: Car in the City

Movie Review – Queen of Blood, Chiller Theater Part 1

1966 American International Pictures
GP Alert

Queen of Blood

I love this poster.

Back in the dark ages of the 1970’s when my young mind was aching to be filled my love for the fantastical was born. Helping to fuel this love was the wondrous thing that was Chiller Theater! Broadcast from WPIX in New York Chiller Theater played an awesome selection of mostly terrible movies that I grew to love and cherish. Most of these movies I will readily admit are bad but I still enjoy the hell out of them.

Here’s the intro to Chiller Theater:

Pure awesomness isn’t it! I know, I know.

My favorite of the movies featured on Chiller Theater is undoubtedly the 1966 ultra cheapo American International epic Queen of Blood. Starring B movie legend John Saxon and Basil Rathbone (who really must have needed the money). Queen of Blood takes place in the futuristic year of 1990 and tells the story of how Earth is about to receive a visit from extraterrestrial space travelers for the first time.  After the alien ship crashes on Mars while en route a crew of astronauts from The Space Institute answer the distress call from space and find death and terror are awaiting them. Doesn’t sound a bit like Alien does it? Nope not at all.

Like I said this is a very cheaply made movie. The special effects and the scenes taking place in the alien spacecraft and on the planet are actually taken from two movies made in the Soviet Union and integrated into an all new story.

This is from one of the Soviet movies:

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This is footage filmed for Queen of Blood. Yes that is Dennis Hopper.

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Bitchin helmets.

More Soviet footage:

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Queen of Blood footage:

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The footage filmed for Queen of Blood and cut to match the Soviet footage pretty much consists of someone standing in front of a blank wall or painted backdrop and looking at something. If the scene has any large sets or looks somewhat ambitious it was not filmed for Queen of Blood!

The good:

Despite the lack of funds the makers of Queen of Blood made good use of the Soviet footage. There is a bit of a style difference between the Soviet footage and the new footage but it still works for the most part.

The opening credits feature some really cool and bizarre paintings by John Cline.

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The recycled special effects footage is not bad for the era. Very atmospheric.

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The Space Institute. They probably could have fed all the worlds hungry with what it cost to build that statue. Good thinking you idiots.

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The alien spaceship. No wonder it crashed.

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The moonbase.

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Get your ass to Mars, get your ass to Mars…

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The queen herself. Damn creepy when you’re just a little kid. Still kinda creepy actually.

The not so good:

Well even though it’s a Guilty Pleasure it’s pretty cheap. It’s fun though.

Random thoughts and observations:

For more info on the Chiller Theater lineup check this out: Chiller Theater Link

The astounding ship set!

The astounding ship set!

Featuring a sign with a wooden frame...

Featuring a sign with a wooden frame.

Powered by a giant bong!

The ship is powered by a giant bong!

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Very strange, that man on the platform has a base attached to his feet. It’s almost like he was a small scale miniature?

Maybe it's just me but I think she looks cute as hell in the big bad helmet.

Maybe it’s just me but I think Judi Meredith looks cute as hell in the big bad helmet.

Holy crap! Traffic Safety Plan Outlined! It’s about time!

Holy crap! Traffic Safety Plan Outlined! It’s about time!

Movie Review – The Sword and the Sorcerer

1982 ?????????????

Two and Half Star

The Sword and the Sorcerer

Nice poster. Very lusty.

Ah nothing like a lusty epic of revenge and magic, dungeons and dragons (there are no dragons in this movie but that’s what the poster says), wizards and witches, damsels and desires, and a warrior caught between. Not to mention bad acting, cheap looking swords, bad acting, horrible dialogue, and did I mention bad acting?

The Sword and the Sorcerer tells the tale of a power hungry man who brings an ancient sorcerer back to life to help him win the throne of the city of Ehdan. After gaining the throne he betrays and supposedly kills the sorcerer by tossing him off a cliff (and unfortunately getting the stuntman killed for real). Now as anyone who has seen more than two fantasy movies can probably guess this story also features the father and mother of our intrepid hero getting murdered by the previously mentioned man who quests for power and wealth. Bet you never would have guessed that huh? That’s right young Talon, son of the deposed King and Queen, watches in horror as they are killed and we all know what that means. Revenge! Remember Wanda! Flash forward a number of years and a mysterious warrior enters the city taken over by the villainous slimy villain all those years ago. Looks like revenge time is near. Meanwhile the sorcerer who was betrayed survived and has healed his wounds and also seeks revenge! Remember Wanda! Looks like the shit’s about to hit the fan in Ehdan tonight.

Made on an obviously low budget and featuring some truly ill planned stunts there is still fun to be had. The Sword and the Sorcerer, for some odd reason and despite the fact this movie should totally suck, is strangely watchable. If you have a high tolerance for extreme cheese that is.

Released in the same year as the far superior Conan the Barbarian this movie managed to pull in about twenty times what it cost to make. Not too bad in a year filled with big budget genre competition.

The good:

It’s a fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously so I just enjoy it for what it is.

Its got oiled buns!

Oiled buns! Can’t hate a movie that has oiled buns!

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Some very effective makeup and optical effects.

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A cool set. This is the only cool set mind you, the rest aren’t that great.

The not so good:

You can do no wrong in a guilty pleasure! Actually you can but I just ignore it!

Random thoughts and observations:

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Early in the movie young Talon watches from a hill as Cromwell captures and kills his father. Talon races to save his mother who is on her way to a boat to take her to safety.

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Talon rides a horse to save his mother…

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…only to find Cromwell is already there and about to kill his mother? How the hell did Cromwell get there before Talon?

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Talon tries to avenge his parents using the dumbest sword in movie history, an awkward looking three bladed monstrosity.

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This sword can shoot two of its blades.

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Apparently by using compressed air? Whoosh!

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Despite the complete lack of an entry wound…

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…this dude has been shot in the head with the wonder sword. Ouch! Not quite sure how Talon managed to shoot him at this angle?

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This brave looking fellow shoots a crossbow bolt at Talon that immediately heads for the ground.

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Yet he still manages to pin Talon’s hand to a tree. He might have gone far if he didn’t die a few seconds later.

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No wonder this thing didn’t fly very far!

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Back to the oiled buns we go! This is supposedly Kathleen Beller getting all oiled up.

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But it really isn’t. Seconds after her buns are oiled this shot confirms that Miss Beller wasn’t the one showing her cheeks.

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There is more bad acting in this scene between Goldilocks…

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… Captain Bad Wig…

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…and this scrawny dude than in twenty other bad movies combined. Gives me chills just thinking about it.

Cromwell's sword is the second dumbest sword in all of movie history.

Cromwell’s sword is the second dumbest sword in all of movie history.

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This fake looking guy was kind enough to pre-score his face.

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Making it easier to rip half of it off. What a guy.

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In the climatic battle between Talon and Cromwell…

You can barely make out the wires running up Talon's leg, taped to his back, and running up his arm.

You can barely make out the electrical supply wires running up Talon’s leg, taped to his back, and running up his arm.

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If by coming soon you mean 28 years later in a pseudo sequel made for about $3.47.

Movie Review – Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

1980 New World Pictures

What do you get when you mix Rob Bottin monster and gore effects, naked well-endowed screaming women, yet another recycled music score from James Horner, and the backing of Roger Corman in his cheesy movie prime? You get this fun bit of Guilty Pleasure of course.
Humanoids from the Deep tells the ridiculous story of genetic mutants gone crazy and getting rowdy with any voluptuous piece of booty they can get their …err… mutant hand flipper thingys on. Clothes fly off along with body parts, blood splatters and ignorant racist yokels get what’s coming to them and it’s all good not so clean fun.
Set in a small fishing village where hot dog night at the grill is probably the highlight of the week Humanoids stars B-Movie all stars Doug Mclure, Ann Turkel, and Vic Morrow. With a cast like that you know it’s going to be good. The story is not important but involves genetic experiments gone very wrong resulting in the creation of the horny humanoids who then descend on the village to crush deir enemies and to hear da lamentation of da women.
To even begin to take this movie seriously would be a big mistake and if you are not a fan of over the top offensive horror movies then move along and don’t bother with this one, however if you have a good sense of humor and like this sort of thing like I do then dig right in and enjoy the insanity. There is absolutely nothing subtle about this movie and I think that’s what makes it so damn entertaining.
The good:

Lots of female nakedness. This movie is not for prudes.

…and turn towards the camera. That’s good, that’s good.

If there's an attractive woman chances are she will lose her clothes. What a shame.

If there’s an attractive woman chances are she will lose her clothes.  Except for the female lead of course but she gets to wear a nice Marty McFly outfit.

Good Rob Bottin creature and gore effects:

This is what too much sun will do! Remember to use sun screen!

Amazing movie sequences #1:
Stupid fisherman doing stupid things –

On no a monster caught in a fishing net!

Oh no the winch is out of gas!

This is bad.

This is even worse!

“It’s okay Pa I’m alright!”

Blub, blub, blub…

“I’ll get that dirty monster!”


The not so good:

It’s a guilty pleasure so they can do no wrong. Well they can and do but who cares?

Special Achievement Award: To James Horner for having the audacity to use the same score in a gazillion different movies. Go Horner!

Movie Review – Looker

1981 Warner Bros

Looker is a really fun techno thriller that has some goofy concepts tied up in an absurd plot filled with more holes than a speed limit sign in backwoods Vermont. I must have watched this a dozen times on HBO in my teens. This might have had something to do with the boobies but I’m not sure.
Looker stars Albert Finney as a world renowned plastic surgeon who suddenly has requests from a number of gorgeous women to fix what most people would not even consider minor flaws with their face and bodies. After the surgeries the women start dropping dead in strange “accidents” or suicides. Of course being a plastic surgeon Finney starts investigating these deaths and gets caught up in the previously mentioned absurd plot concerning mind control, guns that cause paralysis, computer generated actors, and more.
As you can tell from the Guilty Pleasure Alert I find this movie a lot of fun but not necessarily a great movie. Looker is filled with a lot of cool ideas that don’t necessarily make a lot of sense if you look too deeply. It’s silly as hell but I can’t help but like it.
The good:
Boobies! Can’t go wrong with a semi-naked Terri Welles, Playboy Playmate of the month in December of 1980.

No she’s not naked in this picture. Get over it…or just Google her.

Albert Finney! I just like the guy as an actor. He appears to be having great fun and it’s contagious.

Albert Finney gets his ass kicked.
It’s hard fighting a seemingly invisible opponent!

The L.O.O.K.E.R gun! A gun that emits a pulse of light that causes the target to be paralyzed and unaware of his or her surroundings for a minute or two. This little piece of technology is the key ingredient of a few very entertaining scenes.

The Looker Gun. Comes with case and extra rounds!

Early CGI! Well sort of, the movie proposes that in the future flesh and blood actors will be replaced with CG actors who are com-posited into real sets. It’s kind of the reverse of what happened but it’s funny to see.

Scan your actor/model of choice then dispose of them.
It’s that easy!

The cast! Besides Finney there’s James Coburn and Leigh Taylor-Young as the corporate villains and Tim Rossovich, who appeared all over the place in the 80’s playing bad guys, plays their evil henchman credited as Mustache Man. The incredibly cute Susan Dey plays the damsel in distress.

The Mustache Man sporting his Anti-Looker shades.

The music! A very cool electronic soundtrack by Barry DeVorzon gives this a great retro eighties feel. The music always gets stuck in my head for days after I watch this.

The not so good:

It’s a guilty pleasure so it’s obviously perfect!
Random thoughts and observations:
Looker is by no means a great movie but it is great entertainment for those who like a bit of 80’s fun and some Michael Crichton techno nonsense. Watch and enjoy.
My favorite scene:
The whole end scene is just so absurd and I love it. This mornings breakfast looks terrible though.

The whole end scene is just so absurd I love it. This mornings breakfast looks terrible though!