Do’s and don’ts from Scrooged

imagesSFKF1CMF ct ck

1988

It’s not nice to try and shoot ghosts, but it’s okay for them to drink your booze.

It’s not alright to glue fake antlers on a real mouse, but it’s okay to staple them on.

It’s wonderful for a TV executive to make a scary, misleading commercial, but it’s totally wrong for an assistant to question said executive.

It’s acceptable to go without a tree, but not acceptable to decorate your little brother as a tree.

Firing someone the day before Christmas is good, but when someone tries moving in on your job it’s bad.

Real ghosts of Christmas future that look like death are fine, but don’t make fake ones look like that because it’s too scary.

Ghosts beating the poop out of you is great, but questioning the ghost is a negative.

Trying to take over production of TV show while the executive is acting nuts is wrong, but holding TV staff at gunpoint is fine and dandy.

Interrupting a live TV show is not okay unless of course it’s too rant about being nicer to people.

 

There you go. This was my first time viewing this one. My wife recommended it and I thought it was slightly dated, but overall funny.

lmbmjf

 

 

 

 

’80’s arcade games-Bad dudes vs. Dragon Ninja

imagesJWYNTRAQbdimagesUXWZG0F0imagesAMG8X9LH

 

1988

This is a side scrolling fighting-action game that can be for one or two players. President Ronnie has been kidnapped! Oh, dear so muscle shirt wearing Blade and Striker are asked to go and rescue him using their fists, their kicks and any weapons they pick up along the way. You fight a lot of ninjas (duh) and each level has a boss at the end. On the final level you fight all the previous bosses again and the big boss who is trying to escape via helicopter. After each level you complete you get to hear the heroes proclaim “I’m bad!”. The levels include a woods, a cave, a moving  truck and more. There was a diner I’d go to on occasion in the late 80’s to get great milkshakes  and that’s where I first played this game. I never got too good at it then, but I certainly liked it due to the action, the villains and I thought the graphics were pretty good for the time. This game is in a scene in the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin and you see the cabinet of it briefly in Robocop 2. The ninjas kind of remind me of the Foot clan from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This game was probably influenced by Double Dragon, but I prefer Bad Dudes. In recent years I got the Data East collection for the Wii that had this game and a number of others. I played it every so often with my kids and we always enjoy it. I think the game is similar to what action movies were in that time and I am certainly a fan of corny 80’s action flicks so it follows that I would enjoy this game. If anyone knows of why that running flame guy pictured below is in this game from time to time please enlighten me because it makes no sense to me.

bdaimagesKPF83U3X

Critters 2-The main course

thYB3J3U7B

critters-2-bounty-hunters

The most 80’s looking intergalatic  bounty hunters ever!

1988

Here’s a turkey for you to feast on. This film does take place around a holiday, but it’s Easter rather than Thanksgiving. I know that if I found weird looking eggs that I would color them and try to pass them as Easter eggs. Actually no I wouldn’t, but some silly small town types do just that in this film. They might call it a plot device, but I would refer to it as stupid. Meanwhile out in space the bounty hunters from the first film along with former town drunk Charlie are told that there are more Crites (those nasty Critters) left on Earth. So they make a U-turn and head their space craft back to our little ole planet. The new Sheriff dresses as an Easter Bunny, but is attacked by the recently hatched Crites. He gets his man parts bitten and goes crashing through the window of the Church during Easter Sunday services. Yeah that won’t have a lasting impression on any small children in attendance. The kid that survived the first Crites attack tries to convince everyone else what is going on. They don’t believe him. The bounty hunters show up with one of them changing into a nudie woman and later a nerdy guy and eventually gets killed. That last part might have needed a spoiler alert, but most of you probably gave up watching the film and caring before that point. Eventually the town and the bounty hunters unite to fight these second rate Gremlins. Their plan to lure the Crites into the diner with burgers and blow them up fails as the Crites roll away from the flaming explosion as a big ball of chomping death, however it did likely make the air smell like a big cookout. Then Charlie devices a brilliant well though out solution – that’s right he crashes his ship into the Critter ball and kills them kablooie! Charlie however survives whether we like it or not. The other  alien is picked up by another ship or maybe it’s a space taxi and he’ll have a big bill when he gets back to his planet. The main characters talk some more yack, yack, yack and the main teens kiss-smoooooooooch. This film lost money so it’s a good thing as now they won’t make a sequel unless they discover the straight to video market-oh crap I think they went that route. Roll the credits.

Critters_2_39-1024x574

I paid money to see puppet eating salad?

The negatives-The first film was like an update of a 50’s alien invasion film and this one tries to capture that feel as well, but this one feels far more forced. Despite having more action the second half of the film is hard to make it through. It’s hard to root for characters when they are not all that likable.

The positives-It gives you a horror film to watch for at Easter. I think they’d tried to catch the feel of the previous film and at times they do, but at times it just feels like not enough is going on.

I saw this when it first came out in 1988 and I kind of liked it then, but now I just think it falls short.

Critters 2 1

There’s goes Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail..to meet his doom.

Space Mutiny

 

Spacemutiny

space-mutiny1

No, don’t make me do this film!

spacemutiny04

Look into the eyes of evil…at least until they cut to another scene…any second now.
1988

You may have seen this one get a royal shredding on MST3000 years ago.
You may know two people in this film. One is Reb Brown
(Yor:The hunter from the future, the made for TV Captain America films, Uncommon Valor and various other roles). Here he plays the hero of sorts. Jon Phillip Law (the bad guy here) you may know from Danger Diabolik (an absolute all time favorite of mine), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Barbarella and other films.

You will quickly spot the ships and battle sequences as they borrowed/stole/ripped/something these parts from Battlestar Gallactica. Battlestar was ten years old at the time yet those “borrowed” scenes look way better than anything else in the film. Eventually there is a half-hearted mutiny attempt by the greasy villain and a handful of likely underpaid extras show up to fight on both sides. There is a leader with a phony beard, some weird skinny dancing woman, golf carts fitted as futuristic travel and weapons plus 80% of this ship looks like a sewage plant with all the pipes everywhere. Oh and one of their main forms of entertainment involves dancing while wiggling a hula hoop over one’s body, the future looks bleak indeed. A member of the bridge crew gets killed and then appears back at her post like nothing was wrong, methinks the editor of this film wasn’t giving 100% on this film. Anyways the bad guy tries to look evil in an old cartoon sort of way, the good guy flexes his muscles and looks bored and the main female smiles a lot and doesn’t do a whole lot else. Eventually there are lasers flying about, some explosions and the film sort of ends or they just gave up, I’m not really sure which.

The film suffers all the way around to be honest. The biggest problems seem to be the poor script and the lack of budget. Yeah those two will kill your film every time if you decide to make a film with very little budget and a sloppy script. The badness of the entire film make it worth seeing at least once. Although I’d say the MST3000 version is funnier and easier to take.

bridge

Yes, Santa this is where I want you to build my new hair salon.

Memorial Valley Massacre

 

memorial_valley_massacre

7141e25680014a9567d8a3a064ace5a6

“Aaaaeee, a killer way scarier than Jason or Freddie..er maybe not so much.”

AKA – Valley of death
1988/1989-Both are listed.

So over Memorial Day weekend a bunch of clichéd characters including bikers, a couple of tacky city people with a spoiled son, three metal heads and a war veteran (yay for William Smith) want to come and camp out at Memorial Valley. Of course if they didn’t want to do that there would be no movie…hmm well that could go both ways. Anyways this college kid son of the developer signs on to be assistant camp helper or something. He’ll soon find this isn’t Yogi Bear snatching picnic baskets that he will have to deal no it’s something far less threatening because this is one of the worst slasher films ever. You see this guy who looks like a cross between Rambo and Mowgli is living in a cave. No, I didn’t make that up but I suspect the writers of this “film” made this up as they went along. So our killer gets slashed by the fat spoiled guy and he goes ballistic-arghh I’m a crazed, cave living savage with poofy hair and I’ll kill you all- that is he may have said that if he could have spoken. So then there’s a wet t-shirt dance by the metal girl, a no nudity sex scene and some of the worst soundtrack music ever. William Smith wants to stay in his camper and I don’t blame for not wanting to show his face in this film. Then George the head ranger and total sourpuss says hey lets go after this wild dude to pick up the pace of this train wreck of a movie. So every dummy there gets a gun and the wild dude promptly knocks them off one at a time with weapons, explosions, spiked pits, a lame bear hug and other unimpressive methods. Then a real shocker is laid out well not really but George the ranger is the daddy of wild child, but George gets killed the jungle Rambo flees and everything gets wrapped up or maybe they ran out of film. Anyways roll the credits.

Stats-
Number of unconvincing bikers-Six, yeah all of them.
Number of too clean wild dude slasher types-one or one too many.
Number of blindingly bad 80’s outfits worn by the city couple-two I think, but then again I was blinded after the first two.

This was a rather painful attempt in the slasher genre but it had some things that were worth laughing at. Plus this film also gives people desperate to watch a holiday related films something to watch for Memorial Day if indeed that desperate.

eea1c202cc469c4fa23b7ca2f6637e36

ddc1996db4460803aa7710657c8f79e7

Yeah this is what qualifies as “cool kids” in this film.

R.O.T.O.R

rotor

1988

Who’s in this?

I normally like to include the characters and cast, but really research showed the cast was made up mostly of people who mostly did this film and very little else. Three of the four star are dubbed by others as well. Really it’s not about the cast it’s about how poor it is on almost every level.

What’s this about?

This movie takes place in a city that starts with a D. A robot police officer is made, but he goes out of control. The robot here is from R.O.T.O.R which stands for Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research. I thought the title stood for Ripping Off The Outstanding Robocop. Rather than detail the plot I’ll just throw out some things this film includes.

rotor2

-a robot police officer with a Village People mustache.
-unmoving camera angles.
-bad 80’s perms.
-the sound of explosions, but we never see them.
-lots of dubbing.
-we hear people talking but only see closed vehicles or the back of someone’s head.
-a science nerd with thick glasses.
-a guy off the street rips his shirt off before fighting R.O.T.O.R.
-a fry cook wears fake plastic buck teeth.
-a robot that looks like it was put together in a garage by a middle schooler one afternoon.
-everyone from hold up victims to truckers seems to know martial arts.
-lots of people carry around big guns in their cars.
-everyone puts on sunglasses right before they have a shoot out.
-a female bodybuilder with a skunk stripe in her hair battles R.O.T.O.R in the big finale.

Here’s a sampling of some quotes from the movie.

“You want out.. there’s out!’
“Easy, greasy”
“I’m like a cemetary, I’ll take anybody”
“I’m R.O.T.O.R and you are guilty”
“Justice is served C.O.D.”
“What do you think this is some low budget sci-fi flick?”
“I’ve got more than a newspaper”
“Hey faggot city cop”
“In science there’s no room for human error”
“Well it ain’t Pee Wee Herman’s”
“Another pale face grinding his heel in the poor indian’s face”
“Pull that trigger and they’ll be picking up pieces of blue pigshit all over the parking lot”

The negatives-All, yes pretty much all of it.

The positives-So bad it’s worth a viewing. It’s like in the 50’s people with no skills saw sci-fi flicks and thought they could make an easy buck and set about making films like She-Demons and the Giant Leeches. This film was in the 80’s I imagine some people saw Robocop and the Terminator and thought they could do that on a smaller budget. They were wrong, but we can all laugh at their mistake.

rotor 3

976-Evil

220px-976-evil_cover

The case says 1988 and I have seen the UK release dated listed as late 1988, but several sources say the US theatrical release was March, 1989.

Directed by Robert Englund (yes, that Robert Englund)

I remember seeing ads for this when it came out, but I never saw it and didn’t know anyone who had seen it either. I picked it up at Wal-mart’s $5 bin around Halloween 2008, watched it once and then there it sat until I viewed it for this review.

Who’s in this?

Stephen Geoffreys was three years removed from played Evil Ed in Fright Night. This time around he’s the star of the film as Hoax who is socially awkward teen who is ruled over by his God fearing momma as well as being bullied at school.

Patrick O’Bryan as Spike cousin of Hoax and he lives above their garage. He has a motorcycle, a short ponytail and a girlfriend so he must be cool. On the downside he appears to be 26 and is still in high school.

Sandy Dennis plays Hoax’s mom. She loves God and cats plus she rules over her a son with an iron fist. She won an Oscar and a pair of Tony awards, but by this time she wasn’t getting the best of roles offered to her. She died from ovarian cancer just a few years after this film.

Jim Metzler as Marty a policeman who kind of wanders into the story and frequents cheap diners while doing very little else until the last ten minutes of the film. Metzler has been in a ton of stuff and is still acting regularly today.

Leslie Dean as Suzie. She’s Spike’s girlfriend and she loves pizza and hates spiders.

J.J. Cohen as Marcus. You may know him as Skinhead one of Biff’s gang members in all three Back to the future movies

Robert Picardo (ST Voyager, Stargate shows, The Howling and a crapload of other stuff) playing what else? A freak as Mark Dark who runs the company that controls the phone line for 976-Evil. A small role but this is Robert Picardo so of course he steals the scene he’s in.

The don’t blink or you’ll miss him role of this film is veteran comedy character actor Paul Wilson (Cheers, Macolm in the middle and like 100 other things) who briefly appears as a teacher.

Another small role, but not a small actor is Greg Collins as Mr. Selby. A former football player Collins began acting in the mid-80 and is still going strong with well over a hundred credits. He frequently has small roles as a policeman, someone in the military or a gym teacher. You have no doubt seen him in a bunch of stuff.

976-evil-image-1

Just don’t say some crap about opening with a pair of hearts.

What’s this thing about?

This would be the section where I describe the plot. However IN this film the plot is very loose maybe like a baseball with seams that are barely holding on as the movie goes on those seams began to rip and the plot begins to fall apart. Instead we get random skits and various time wasters tossed in to try to keep you going until they end. Ot maybe the writers only came up with a beginning and an end and figured that the oddball cast could carry the middle enough to keep it going. Anyways much like the writers (yes, I know that future Academy award winning writer Brian Helgeland co-wrote this script) of this film I am skipping to the end too soon. Okaylet’s see what’s going in this film- a guy catches on fire for grabbing a pay phone and oh we know that evil is coming because of the burning guy and EVIL is in the title wahahahaha. Hoax is a real mess who can’t get anywhere and his dominating overly religious mom makes matters even worse. Hoax idolizes his way cool cousin Spike (so no one is named Mike or Dave in this movie?). Spike needs money to get his bike back because he lost it Marcus in a card game. Poof Spike gets a card for a hotline called Horrorscope-get it H-O-R-R-O-R, whoa the writers must have been high fiving each other for an hour after thinking up that little ditty. Oh and the phone numer is 976-EVIL. So Spike calls and gets some hammy semi-rhyming response and some lead that he’ll get money. Wouldn’t you know it he does get some moolah. Wow but then again if the phone line didn’t work the movie could have ended here which may not have been a bad thing. Hoax gets bullied by Marcus and his gang and when Spike saves him once he thinks they are buddies but no freaking way because Spike is too cool for that. Since Spike has an A list nickname and Hoax is like a fake, fraud name and probably down around the D grade nickname level. Somewhere around here trenchcoat wearing Marty blows into town and begins poking around about odd stuff happening and this leads him to Spike. He finds out that Spike used the 976-Evil hotline and this lead to strange things a happening. Marty goes straight to the source and visits the business that runs this hotline and lots of others. Screwball owner Mark Dark says his company did run that line but they have since shut it off because it wasn’t make enough money. Oh, Lordy so now we must assume that a demon or spirit from beyond has taken over a hotline whoa that’s heavy, man. Next thing you know someone is going to break out a pentragram -oh, wooly bully there goes Hoax making a big old pentagram on the floor of his room. Then he takes his off shirt, sits right in the middle of that evil sign and conjurs up some spiders to scare Suzie. Hold on, this power is too much for just scaring so those spiders do her in, yikeees. Spike learns that Hoax is using the spooky hotline and eventually he tells Marty who figures on doing something in between meal stops at greasy spoons. Hoax is caught up in the power now. First he slashes one of the guys in Marcus’s gang with some big rippy claws he just grew. That night he gets all bushy like a  reject from that island with that Dr. Moreau feller and then he rips the heart of two of the gang members, cuts the hand off Marcus before finishing him after Marcus does such a tidy job trying to stop the bleeding by wrapping the stump in toilet paper. Then Hoax takes out the last gang member by shoving him into a neon sign brrrrrtzzzz. Hey, Evil E…excuse me Hoax is on a roll so you know that loud, pushy momma is next and rip she gets it. Then Hoax turns her house into this crystalized cave sort of a Fortress of Insanity.  Marty who now has Spike’s teacher with him shows up at crystal house and so does Spike who has to come stag since his girl is dead and all. Start up the big finale even though these heroes such as they are have become very difficult to care about. So a chase starts and Hoax and Spike have it out which all winds up with Hoax being flipped into a fire pit below and then the ground swallows him up. So that’s it-oh, no wait twist ending alert- we see Mark Dark in an office and find out that he is operating 976-Evil and he’s keeing a file on those he takes over because he has a picture of Hoax in front of him. Oh, jeepers creepers role the credits and start penning the sequel.

976-evil

So they stuck Spike’s teacher in the last half hour of the film just so she could have this done to her.

Stats-

Number of fish that fall from sky once Spike starts using the hotline-Maybe 30 but they were pretending like was hundreds. Not the only thing that smelled fishy about this movie.

Number of teenage girls who wear men’s underwear or big baggy underwear-Two

Number of high school kids who don’t look like they are at least 23-None that having speaking roles.

Number of poker games that Marcus and his gang have whether with Spike or Hoax or without- I think four although maybe it was all part of one big long game.

Negatives? This movie falls into the trap that so many films in the late 80’s did which is to wrap the films up with blood an gore but never manage to be scary or even surprising. On top of that as previously mentioned the plot falls apart as the film goes along. Stephen Geoffreys has a lot of pressure on him to carry a lot of the film. He tries using the quirky mannerisms that worked for him in Frigh Night, but here we see he really needed a strong script to help him out and he didn’t have one. Patrick O’Bryan is about as one dimensional as he can be and you really should be made to care a little about the hero, but I actually cared less for him as the film went on.

Positives? At least they didn’t make a sequel. Oh, wait they did, but I have not seen it so I would guess that’s a positive for me. Spike was I believe the only character who returned for the second one and it was the last acting credit that IMDB lists for that actor, imagine that. The effects are mostly good for the budget, the crystalized house was probably the best effect. Casting Robert Picardo as Mark Dark was a good move as well. Sandy Dennis tried, but she wasn’t given all that much to do. JJ Cohen didn’t have a great role or a great gang, but something about his performance made me think he could have been a good gang leader in a film that offered him a little more to do. Despite the effort to give Geoffreys cute lines it’s Cohen’s “What’s up…Chuck?” that he delivers before hazing Hoax that tends to be the most memorable line of this film.

So should you see this if you have not already? Lovers of 80’s horror may want to give it a once over. More casual horror fans will likely to skip it because it’s nothing spectacular.