29 September 2008

Alice, Sweet Alice

United States - 1976
Director- Alfred Sole
Goodtimes Home Video, 1985, VHS
Run time - 1 hour, 48 min.

I’m pretty sure this movie is going to suck. It’s too old to be really graphic with such a big budget, and I’m sure I would have heard about it if it was actually good. The religio-horror thing is usually more borror and so I enter into this with great hesitancy. Though for a dollar, I can’t ask much.

Alice is the somewhat mean and mischievous older sister of Brooke Shields. She seems a bit evil or something but I’m guessing she’s just going through puberty. While Shields whines and shrieks her way onto my hit-list, the morbidly obese landlord shares a can of food with his cats.

At her first communion, Shields is choked to death, apparently by Alice, and her body set ablaze in one of the back rooms of the church. OK, that’s pretty fucked up; but hey at least there’s no more whining right?

Some cops get involved in trying to find the killer, as does the estranged re-married father (Niles McMaster of Bloodsucking Freaks). The only people who don’t think Alice is the killer are her parents who stubbornly refuse to let the police question her.

The giant fat landlord sexually assaults Alice who deters him by smashing one of his cats to the floor, escaping to her secret table of creepy stuff down in the basement. Ascending the stairs just as her harsh harpy of an aunt is leaving, she stabs the living shit out of her aunts leg and foot, later pretending to have been frightened and hiding in the basement during the event.

Quite a few minutes of screaming women follow, and Alice is made to take a polygraph which reveals that she is both lying and telling the truth in all the appropriately creepiest spots, and is checked into a psychiatric hospital where she whines. Meanwhile, the nosy dad is killed by what is revealed to be the church housekeeper who proceeds to bleed the film of interesting plot development as effectively as she has her theoretically implied previous victims.
The detectives chatter over their radios, and the housekeeper runs around and kills the witnesses to her crimes, but at this point I really only care enough to flush slightly at the brief paroxysms of onscreen violence that continue perplexingly to implicate an adolescent (told ya) Alice. This movie feels like it’s in its third hour of trying to convince me that a womans menstrual cycle is somehow evil, and all the initial pleasant gory surprise has faded into distraction.

28 September 2008


United States - 1980
Director- Frank Q. Dobbs
Paragon Video Productions, 1984, VHS
Run time - 1 hour, 35 min.

On the basis of the preview I saw on the Mongrel tape I found at goodwill, I picked up Hotwire, a movie about stealing cars and fallin’ in love, duh.

Rednecky right from the getgo, it remains to be seen if this is intended to pander, or to mock redneckery. Greasy hardass cop Harley, George Kennedy, raids a hotel room in which Billy Ed is humpin’ to arrest him on trumped up charges of car theft. While doing time in jail, Billy Ed is visited by Fair Deal Farley, Harley’s equally greasy used car salesman twin brother, also played by George Kennedy. Farley offers Billy Ed a pardon if he’ll come and work for him as a repo-man. With little to lose, Billy Ed agrees and is soon cruising the streets with a rough and grimy bespectacled old car thief who claims to have first hotwired a Model-A. George Hammersmith Forney, better known as The Weasel (Strother Martin) a wheedling dirtbag who guzzles Firebird by the bottle, curses, fights and would be wearing fingerless gloves if this wasn’t set in the Southish.

Together The Weasel and Billy Ed engage in various car thieving, or repossessing as it were, antics set to the same knee-slapping banjo music I’d expect to hear in Hazard County. Billy Ed soon gets sick of Farley’s slick-dealing and tells him to shove the job, but some awkward crosscut scenes of the twins discussing his incarceration and a homely but off-limits girl-next-door return him to the hotwire fold.

Deciding to play both fields with a newfound confident insolence, the idea here being that he is “hotwiring” someone else’s girl, Billy Ed finds himself courting the surrogate daughter of the town crime-boss-with-the-sheriff-in-his-pocket. Billy Ed is surely going to have a hell of a time of the rest of this movie, but if the comedy sticker someone rather generously applied to the box indicates, it will probably end with some kind of homely redemption and some hotrods.

15 September 2008

Ninja: Silent Assassin

1984 – Hong Kong
Director – Godfrey Ho
Imperial Entertainment Corp., 1988, VHS

There’s been a lot of the Godfrey Ho movies recently and for that I apologize, mostly to myself, but business is business and it has to get done. This one I picked up because of the promise of Richard “Dick” Harrison, and sure enough there he is in full ninja getup in the credit sequence.
Some multiracial goons hash out a drug deal with some bread that goes sour before being broken up by a gymnastic flipping black narcotics agent Alvin. One of the goons, Lenny is captured and after smoking over the problem agrees to turn in his boss Rudolph for the promise of cash and immunity.

On the other end of the line however is Rudolph an angry and ugly Australian ninja who quickly orders Alvin and Lenny executed ninja style when he catches wind of the deal.
Alvin returns home to suck face with his underage wife on their anniversary, but the ninjas show up and Alvin isn’t able to switch into his ninja outfit quick enough to save her. Dying in his arms choking on her own blood she exhorts him over the course of a long conversation not to seek revenge. When he is taken off the case at work he returns home gets drunk and hallucinates his wife. That’s enough to drive him insane and he packs his ninja gear for HK.

Rudolph is already there meeting with his ugly business partner who’s running the streets with his coarse menacing asian flunky Tiger across an invisible editing vortex.
Dick finally shows up again, a hard nosed cop on the HK vice-squad assigned to catch the Rudolph Mafia. Dangerously rupturing the fabric of time and space, Dicks boss actually holds up a photograph of one of the Asian characters in the film and a stuccato of random fighting pours from the breach.
In a progression of confusing unmaskings it’s hard to keep track of who is who, and who is who’s proxy Asian fighting against who’s proxy Asian in a fluttering morass of ugly white men in sparkly ninja outfits and Asian people dancing in goofy 80’s fashion.

Dick is dismissed from the Rudolph case by his smug tool of a boss, and he and Alvin; restless angry ninja with matching yellow outfits, finally team up to fight their way through Rudolphs henchmen. It takes the destruction of Rudolphs entire drug shipment, this time concealed in watermelons before he agrees over the phone to meet Dick and Alvin at the reservoir in full ninja regalia for some loud, face-to-face grappling.

Actually, this might be one of Godfrey Ho’s more watchable ninja-frankenfilms, Ninja: Silent Assassin manages to skim the fetid cream off the top off of some very spoiled milk.

New Notebook

After almost 8 years of writing these reviews of trash movies with occasional economically imposed breaks, I finally completely filled my old notebook with writing almost as bad as the movies. Out of several hundreds of reviews many of them have never been edited and typed up much less posted here or at Genrebusters.

The next review, Ninja Silent Assassin will be the first I write in the new notebook.

09 September 2008

Silent Rage

1982 – United States
Director – Michael Miller
Good TimesVideo, VHS, 1989

For some reason, at some point in his career Chuck Norris decided to grow a perma-beard and assume the role of rugged strawberry blonde teddy bear. Indeed, it seems so evident to me now, that with his new look he seems to have abandoned any attempt at truly serious dramatic acting. Silent Rage however is from the age of naïve innocence, one of his last “honest” movies extolling the virtues of halfassery.

A sweaty, twitching gaunt dude staggers around a boarding-house, talks to his doctor on the phone, and then chops up his landlady with a fire axe. Shortly thereafter, babyfaced Dan Stevens (Norris) Sheriff of this small Texas town (a role I think he later reprises) shows up in his truck to coolly administer some justice. That’s right. With awkward determination, Stevens flushes the psycho out into the front yard where he is messily shot to ribbons by the rest of the police department.

Clinging feebly to life (in order to build tension) the psycho, John Kirby, is whisked to the hospital where a crazed doctor armed with a total lack of morality waits to inject him with an experimental (plot)reanimating formula. In the lobby, another doctor who can’t remember, um, what the, uh, hospital does, uh, um gives Norris the bad news;
“Sorry dude, uh this can only get more ridiculous.”

Sheriff Stevens goes to talk to Kirby’s (former) shrink Dr. Halman, and runs into his ex-girlfriend Alison Halman, the doctors sister. Are you kidding me? No. Back at the hospital, Dr. Halman argues with his colleague about morality, bah! Morality my ass, lets inject this serial killer with some super regeneration potion! I want to see that whiny Halman pussy dead in 15 minutes or less! As soon as Norris takes a shower and turns on the electro-disco tape to towel off, Alison turns up at his house to throw herself at his lovemaking montage mercy.

Inexplicably weakening his resolve, Kirby uses the time honored neck-snapping-to-avoid-explicitness murder technique. Thankfully Norris doesn’t soften, he takes Alison like a stud, and retains all his rigidity, exerting total dominance over all things living and (hopefully, I’m begging!) dead in this film. Nevertheless it’s one of Chucks few movies featuring boobs, and a Chuck love scene. The completely pointless and unrelated lawless-biker-gang subplot on the other hand is strictly an excuse to slip in some of that real life karate power between predictable plot slivers since none of these people can actually take the guy singly.

I needed it, and I have little to hide at this point, anything I could get made me feel better. I’m not sorry if it made me seem shallow, cheap and disrespectful. Just like Chuck I started with the best of intentions and became a mass of twitching sweaty nerves. When he was in films for his ability to actually kick ass, it didn’t matter that the films were cheap, almost sci-fi-horror thrillers lacking follow through. It just didn’t matter.

Another VHS cover, a UK VHS cover with a way older Norris, and a UK DVD cover.

08 September 2008


1984 – United States
Director – Lawrence Bassoff
BCI Eclipse Company, 2007, DVD
School Dazed 8 movie set

I’m not particularly fond of the word “hunk” except perhaps when used in a particular context by Elvis, but even then…In this case the context is hot dudes, with lots of money and muscles. Treated to a montage of the waxy leading man Hunk Golden (John Allen Nelson of Deathstalker 3 and Killer Klowns from Outer Space) getting ready to face another day of being well a hot rich muscular dude, it looks like this film is going to be a confused hodgepodge of hetero-sexual frustration and quasi-homo fantasy. How appropriate.

Hunk speeds off into the city to visit a high priced shrink Sunny to whom he unravels an unbelievable tale about an alternate personality named Bradley Brinkman a loser computer nerd. Brinkman was in trouble of losing his job for not writing good computer programs until he casually offers to sell his soul for a good program at which point the computer springs to life and writes “The Yuppie Program” on Brinkman’s behalf. When the program is a hit, Brinkman’s boss gives him six months off and a huge cash bonus which he uses to rent a dilapidated house on the swankiest yuppie beach in California in order to live among the people who most scorn him and maybe slip through the cracks until the cash runs out.

All his endeavors are a total failure until his fantasy woman O’Brien turns up at his house and promises to give him the life he wants for his soul. Thinking it a joke, he laughingly signs in blood, but that night, she returns and magically (no really, she just waves her hand in the air) makes his inflatable rubber torso bulge muscularly and the next day he wakes up a total hunk, named Hunk!

He enjoys the lifestyle for a while but eventually feels the need to clarify a few clauses of the contract with O’Brien where he discovers that come labor day weekend and the end of the summer he will be wreaking global suffering in the service of the Devil, one Doctor D. who reappears throughout the film appropriately dressed and fresh from such evil exploits.

Not so bad if you want to stay Hunk, but Bradley’s conscience is still alive and shrieking in there somewhere, and to top it all off, O’Brien has fallen in love with him.
Awww, even Doctor D. turns out to not be such a bad guy after all, and like a brown banana we can get soft and mushy all over eachother.

Disproportionately vanilla and loaded with all the same dead-horse-floggingly stupid cliches that made the 80’s an intolerable cesspool, Hunk nevertheless turned out to have a decent mean sarcastic streak that made this unappealing and unredeeming simpleton watchable; barely.

Not that I'd recommend the investment, alternate DVD and VHS covers.

04 September 2008

Bionic Ninja

Bionic Ninja
1974 – Hong Kong
Director – Tim Ashby (Godfrey Ho)
Alpha Video Distributors, Inc., 1996, VHS

Purchased on the name alone, I found this title while looking for a cheap copy of Robo-Ninja, an as yet unfulfilled search. Produced by notorious Thomas Tang whoever the hell that happens to be at the moment, it was directed once again by Godfrey Ho and that, along with the inclusion of the word “ninja” in the title virtually guarantees racially segregated cut-and-paste nonsensical garbage.

Sure enough some white guys in crappy ninja outfits scramble around goofily alongside some Asian guys who never appear in the same shots. Thank god for all those convenient telephone conversations that make it so much easier to pass crucial plot threads between completely unacquainted overdubbed actors.

The asian guys have a fight on the road and some of them steal a “top technical secret film” from a lone overwhelmed courier. At this, the white guys send their top CIA agent Tommy to Hong Kong to recover the film from the thugs. But, on top of this the ninjas not only want, but don’t have the film, and they also hate the CIA.

Sorry Tommy, the ninjas hate you.

So in the course of this triangular duel are a series of disconnected fight and intimidation scenes with Asian cops, heavies and street punks, with the ninja rearing up once in a while to remind what this film is half called. The gangly courier though seems to be the primary suspect of all involved and is repeatedly harassed by the various parties.

CIA too, due to his natural enmity with all things clandestine, hence ninjas, is also harassed on his morning whistling-practice/stroll. After fighting them off, an Asian cop standing nearby(!) jumps in with the information that the ninja are KGB drones controlled by a master ninja.

More disconnected and ridiculous fighting and fist shaking menace occur with every other shot seeming to introduce new characters, it doesn’t help that they all have generic Anglo names and dress so similarly dumb. Nonetheless the stolen music is actually pretty cool but again so odd that it’s impossible to pretend I can really follow along with this.

CIA visits his own ninja master and is given an ancient montage training manual which he puts to use while the cops and heavies hack away at eachother with knives and hatchets and blunt dialogue until finally worn down, their section of the movie concludes.
That leaves only a little ninja fight to put those montage skills to the test and recover the top-technical-secret-film, which appears to be as close as we’re going to get to anything “bionic”.

Looks like French to me.