Sunday, November 28, 2010

Enter to win a free copy of
150 Movies You Should [Die Before You] See

The folks at are giving away three free copies of my book via drawings. Enter by clicking on the link below. (The deadline for entries is December 5.)

Click to enter.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

'Blood Legacy' is not worth inheriting

Blood Legacy (aka Legacy of Blood) (1971)
Starring: Mary Anders, Faith Domergue, Norman Bartold, and John Carradine
Director: Carl Monson
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

An unlikable old man (Carradine) dies and leaves his massive fortune to his four equally unlikable children... assuming they can stand each other long enough to spend a week together in the family mansion. Well, wouldn't you know it, they soon start dying messily. Who among the ever-dwindling list of suspects hates his or her siblings and their spouses that murder is the answer? Or is there something deeper and more sinister behind the killings? Will the viewers pass out from boredom before the answers are revealed?

"Blood Legacy" is a by-the-numbers thriller with the standard collection of greedy relatives (one of whom is a former mental patient) who are thrown together in a house to get an inheritance. It's basically a sleazy retelling of "The Cat and Canary"--or perhaps one of any number of other similar films, as there is nothing here that hasn't been done much better in countless other movies. The filmmakers attempt to introduce a twist on their lifted plot, but it's too little, too late, and nowhere near clever enough to even begin to save the film.

From the script, to the acting, to the camera work, to the editing, to the special and sound effects, there's nothing that's well done in "Blood Legacy." It's borderline non-watchable, and the only fun you'll get out of it is viewing it with friends who are witty and good at mocking bad movies in "Mystery Science Theater 3000" style.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!

I am thankful for the roof over my head, and for the fact that I have enough money to keep it there. I am thankful that I have good friends to spend this day with. I am thankful that I live in the United States where I have the luxury and freedom to watch and review whatever the heck I want in my various blogs, not to mention the freedom to write whatever I want on other subjects. I am thankful for all the men and women in law enforcement and the armed services who are protecting my rights and ability to be frivolous.

And I am thankful for all of you reading this and to those of you who have or will be picking up 150 Movies You Should [Die Before You] See. Writers may write, but we also hope to be read.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

'Weapons of Death' aren't nerf guns or tasers

Weapons of Death (1986)
Starring: Eric Lee, Bob Ramos, Ralph Catellanos, Louis Bailey, Gerald Okamura, Gina Lau, Nancy Lee, and Paul Kyriazi
Director: Paul Kyriazi
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

When the owner of a martial arts school in San Francisco (Lau) refuses to pay protection money to a local Chinese mobster, vicious thug Bishop (Catellanos) is hired to kidnap her daughter, Angela (Lee). Her half-brother (Lee), father (Ramos), and boyfriend (Kyriazi) set out to pay the demanded ransom, but run afoul all sorts of trouble, mostly brought on by stupid scripting.

"Weapons of Death" is a title that prompted me to ponder the question, "Are there any other kinds of weapons other than weapons of death?"

I suppose there are... like tasers and Nerf bats. And then there is the Ugly Stick and the Stupid Stick, both of which were used liberally on many of the actors and all of the characters in this film.

As for the movie itself, the sheer idiocy on the part of the characters, the way motivations seem to be come and go and change between scenes, and the way some of the actors can't even seem to deliver a single line without sounding like they should be attending the Tromaville School for the Very Special (yes, i'm looking at you Eric Lee and Paul Kyriazi) make me wonder if the "script" for this film wasn't made up as shooting took place. Something was needed to tie the so-so choreographed and horribly filmed fight-scenes together after all. (Actually, i happen to know that at least one draft of the script was written, because the director makes reference to writing it on his website. It's too bad he didn't take it through several drafts; he might have realized that his kidnap was victim was annoying--particuarly the way she gets kidnapped, rescued, kidnapped, rescued, and then kidnapped again--his heroes were dumb and his villians dumber, and that an explanation for why the Chinatown crimelord and all his goons seemed to be living in a desert wilderness would have been nice.)

The only two actors who should put this film on their resumes are Louis Bailey (who plays the toughest of the bad guys, and who has a change of heart halfway throgh the film) and Ralph Catellanos (who, as Bishop, is such a nasty piece of work that even other bad guys don't like him). The rest of the cast are average or subpar.

Between the bad script, weak acting, and indifferent to shoddy camera-work, there is no real reason for you to seek out "Weapons of Death". It might serve as a B-feature on a Bad Movie Night, but otherwise this is a film best left to fade into cinematic oblivion.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

'Bloodlust' is not a desirable film

Bloodlust (1961)
Starring: Wilton Graff, Robert Reed, June Kenney, Joan Lora, Eugene Persson, and Lilyan Chauvin
Director: Ralph Brooks
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

A homicidal madman (Graff) traps two young couples (Reed, Kenney, Lora, and Persson) on his private island and hunts them for sport... and for future display in his trophy room.

A "The Most Dangerous Game"-like riff (or maybe just rip-off) that is sapped of all excitement, tension, and horror by lackluster production values, weak wooden acting, awful dialogue, and an unbelievably stupid script. (Four strapping young people just stand there and listen to Graff as he tells them he's going to hunt them and kill them. Why didn't they just knock him on the head just then and there? More to the point, why would someone like Graff's character who likes hunting people because they're more dangerous prey than animals even WANT to hunt four people so passive they stand there while he gives a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong speech about how he's going to kill them?)

If I'm to be charitable, I would suggest that this script may have been written for a 12-page comic book story for "House of Mystery"--it would explain the speeches that go on forever, as word balloons ever seem to be as verbose on the page than if you read them out loud--but someone decided it would make more money as a movie. And so, they conned, um, CONVINCED Cincegrafik into producing it.

A far more real answer is that the screen writer and director on this project both show a distinct lack of talent.

While there are a few glimmers of something interesting now and then--Graff goes a passable Vincent Price imitation, and has a few almost funny lines... and the revelation of what's in the trophy room is creepy--but any developing potential is quickly squandered through a combination of bad acting and bad script-writing.

This is one movie to just take a pass on. It's so dull that even the "Mystery Science Theater" version is only mildly amusing, teetering on the brink between a Five and a Six rating. (Although, the 'bots do say everything you'll think to yourself if you don't heed my advice. This movie isn't so "bad it's good", it's just bad.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Those wacky Ninja and their wackiness!

Ninja Champion (1980)
Starring: Nancy Chang, Bruce Baron, Jack Lam, Richard Harrison, and Pierre Tremblay
Director: Godfrey Ho
Rating: One of Ten Stars

A rape victim, Rose (Chang), infiltrates a diamond smuggling ring so she can more effectively stalk and kill the three men who raped her (as well as uncover who ordered them to do it). Meanwhile, the Good Ninja (Baron), who also happens to be an Interpol agent, is attacking and killing the followers of the Evil Ninja (Tremblay) because... um... well, just because. It might have something to do with the diamond smuggling, but, then again, it might not. Who can tell with these cazy ninjas?

"Ninja Champion" is one of the most inane, muddled martial arts movies I've ever seen. The plot with rape victim is fairly trite, but comprehensible in and of itself, even if the whole diamond smuggling bit is rather farfetched and rediculous. The ninja stuff, however, is so stupid that it doesn't make any sense even after the Evil Ninja (who is named Maurice, so it was obviously the cruelty of his parents that made him choose a life of crime and evil) explains his plot the the Good Ninja. It understandable the Good Ninja wants to kick his ass... I wanted to do the same to the writer/director who came up with this crap.

This is a One Tomato movie that I'm nonetheless awarding Two Tomatoes for, due to much unintended hiariity in the bad dubbing and the bizarre final battle between the Good Ninja and the Bad Ninja.

I can't really recommend this movie to anyone, because I think I felt the braincells dying as I was watching it. However, it might be good for a Bad Movie Night if you've got someone in your crowd that's good at quipping while a film unfolds.