"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Low-Brow Hi-Jincks

A friend, seeing my reading list, called me too high-brow. So, I thought I'd give a short review of my favorite guilty pleasures of the celluloid kind. In making the list, I've left out well-known bad films (Brain From Planet Arous) and cult favorites (Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!). These are movies that are perfect for setting your brain to idle, which no one but me seems to have seen.

"The Big Bird Cage"

Jack Hill directed a number of classic trash films and this is the sequel to his women's prison film, "The Big Doll House." If you're not embarassed to say you've seen "Reform School Girls," "Caged Heat," and "99 Women," this is a treat. Sid Haig's gay stereotype was dated even then, but Pam Grier is in great form, wrestling in the mud.

"Deathstalker II"

Jim Wynorski's made a number of terrible films, but this is the fun one. "Deathstalker" and later sequels should be avoided at all costs.

"Gamera vs. Zigra"

The best of the Godzilla movies is "Destroy All Monsters!" but this may be the dumbest, which is saying something. Somehow, children seem to be enticing the giant turtle monster to save the Earth from the giant swordfish monster.

"Hard Ticket to Hawaii"

Andy and Arlene Sidaris make movies that involve Playboy playmates, exploding boats and inept, yet effective secret agents. This one also involves a desert island with a giant poisonous (and I think radioactive) snake. It's part of a series including "Picasso Trigger" and "Savage Beach;" they're all interchangeable, but this one, out of context, has some loopy charm.

"Night of the Creeps"

Fred Dekker knows and loves trash films. This one references (i.e. steals from) every cult horror film imaginable, including and especially "Plan 9 From Outer Space." It's fast-paced and imaginative and has some great lines: "Ladies, the good news is your dates are here. The bad news is they're dead."

"Robot Holocaust"

You just have to see how low-budget this film is to believe it. Tim Kincaid used sock puppets as monsters at one point! [I just googled the title. Apparently, it was once on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. So, apparently someone else HAS seen this]

"The Tomb"

Fred Olen Ray has made many low budget horror films, usually with stars in the genre, like Sybil Danning. This one has an appearance by John Carradine, whose arthritis was so bad, he never gets up from behind his desk. It also has a rare appearance by the stripper Kitten Natividad. Even without the actors, this one is fun to watch and never slow.

"The Wizard of Speed and Time"

I keep recommending this film, but no one seems to get it, because we live in a world of computer-generated special effects now. The whole film was done in stop-motion animation, where everything is done one frame at a time, motion being done by slowly changing positions of objects. He rides a bicycle on a wall at one point - I'm still trying to figure out how it was done! And then he adds a lip-synched musical number!


Runner Brewer said...

Not only have I seen "Reform School Girls", I had to return it for my brother who rented it.

I dropped it off on the counter at Blockbuster (this was 20 years ago), and the clerk picket it up, looked at it, and said loud enough for everybody in the store to hear..

I thanked my brother for that one when I got home.

I am surprised you left out "Deparate Teenage Lovedolls"


Unbelievable! I was sure I was the only person in the world that knew of and loved Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
It is high on my list of all-time favorites.
I have a newfound respect for you Steve.