In this episode of the BFG, Chris recaps the 2nd half of series 2.
In 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the big screen in a pec-flexing way with the incredibly silly Conan the Barbarian. A year later, his Pumping Iron counterpart, Lou Ferrigno, made it to cinemas as another legendary strongman; in fact, it was perhaps the most famous strongman in historical fiction: Hercules. And while Ferrigno certainly had the physique – the veiny, lumpy physique – to play the Greek god, he didn’t have much else, certainly not from the production around him. Produced by Cannon Films honchos, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, and written and directed by Lewis Coates (nee Luigi Cozzi), the man behind our favorite piece of garbage, Starcrash, Hercules combined two of the filmmakers favorite genres: sword-and-sandal adventures and science fiction. Put ‘em both together and you get a huge pile of insanity in a bowlful of weirdness. Put it this way: it makes Conan look realistic and logical.
For years, Troll 2 has been the high (or low) watermark for terrible, awful, inept, and overall shittiness in movies. Being who I am, I sought it out and watched with a mix of awe and revulsion. It’s putrid for sure, but I became increasingly interested to see the film that caused this unrelated sequel to get its name. I finally hunkered down to watch the original Troll from 1986 to see how it compared to what many consider the worst movie ever made… You guys. I didn’t think it was possible, but Troll might actually, somehow, be WORSE than Troll 2. The latter at least has the excuse of having a cast of nobodies ranging from talentless and inexperienced to certifiably insane; there are actual known people in Troll and it has at least a passably large budget. It is both terrifying and insipid. Boy howdy. Read More »
Fantasist H.P. Lovecraft is widely considered one of the forefathers of modern horror fiction and has inspired such luminaries as Stephen King, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi with his Cthulu Mythos and invention of the ancient grimoire, the Necronomicon. This is all well and good, but, despite how great the ideas and general story are, I find most of his writings to be utterly boring. He thought of these horrible monsters but then never described them in any real detail. Still, he is important to the genre and his works have been adapted to screen over a hundred times in the last 50 years. One of the earliest and least interesting is the 1970 snoozer, The Dunwich Horror.
French director Jean Rollin made a name for himself doing super-low budget, nudity-filled, “erotic” vampire movies. They were usually light on gore, story, sense-making and really everything except mood and boobs. It can never be said, though, that Rollin didn’t at least try to make his films interesting, despite the perpetual theme of young nubile women and vampiric activity, and with his third vamp feature, he made something akin to an art film. 1971’s Requiem for a Vampire is as close to a French New Wave film as Rollin ever made, and he even puts some pathos and symbolism in as well. Read More »
There have now been five aired episodes of the show Revolution on NBC (“We Kill Comedy”) and while I’m enjoying the series, I’ve noticed some inherent problems that may, in fact, prevent it from lasting as long as network executives tend to want things to last; i.e. forever. That’s sort of the issue with having a high-concept show with lots of characters: the story outruns the world it inhabits. The show was created by Supernatural’s Eric Kripke and Super Producer J.J. Abrams, so there’s enough talent behind the scenes to hopefully right any of the shaking seas the series has as it makes its way from the docks, but there’s certainly rough waters ahead if they aren’t careful.
It really is staggering just how many Alien rip-offs there were in the early 80s. It’s possible there were more of this type of movie than there were rip-offs of Star Wars, if such a thing can be measured. The vast majority of them concern a crew of space-goers who come across a big, ugly, and usually crappily-made extraterrestrial and have to not die because of it. The monster is always a terrible, menacing force, but what if the monster could, say, manifest itself into the victim’s darkest fear? That’d be pretty scary, right? Provided, of course, that your darkest fear is some kind of tentacle-having or insectoid monster. This interesting yet ultimately misguided spin on the Alien formula belongs to 1981’s Galaxy of Terror.
Evil little kids are certainly nothing new to horror films. Pre-pubescent terror goes all the way back to things like The Bad Seed and Village of the Damned. With Roman Polanski’s masterpiece, Rosemary’s Baby, a new and even younger breed of murderous children movie was ushered into the public consciousness: the evil BABY movie. All make, model, and serial number of these movies where a woman carries and gives birth to (literally) the spawn of Satan were produced in the early-70s to capitalize on the worldwide phenomenon of demon newborns and pretty much all of them are stupid. It’s a baby! How could babies be scary? While most of these films dealt with it in terms of the baby having psychic powers, one movie, 1975’s The Devil Within Her, actually has a super strong, violent baby who punches people. I…I really wish it was fake. Read More »
The name Michael Mann is synonymous with gritty urban sprawl, fast-paced action, and films about the criminal underbelly; so of course that’s who you want for your supernatural horror flick set in WWII Romania. Right? That makes sense. In the early 80s, though, the director hadn’t quite cemented himself in any particular genre, so going completely in another direction seemed not so far-fetched. So, he followed his debut film, the impressive 1981 crime film Thief, with his most atypical film, trading in his car chases and jewel heists for Nazis and demons for 1983’s The Keep. It’s an odd little movie that tried to be (and probably should have been) a lot bigger. As pretty as the cinematography and design is, it suffers from that most allusive of film maladies, not making a lick of sense. Read More »
In Britain in the 1980s, horror movies got taken to court. Films that needed to be cut down for theatrical release could be put out on video totally unedited, but still emblazoned with the rating issued for the edited version. This led to a huge public debate on whether these films were obscene and could cause harm to the minds of children and as a result, 72 films were labeled “Video Nasties,” and 39 were successfully prosecuted in criminal court and banned. I don’t think any film should be censored or banned outright, and certainly things like The Evil Dead don’t belong on any such list, however when it comes to today’s Awesomely Bad Movie, the 1980 Italian film Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper, I feel like a decent case could be made, and was.