Event Horizon (1997)Quick Review: It really is hell in space. I havent looked at this puppy in years about the haunted space ship that travels through dimensions and visually its very well done but on the whole the characters are very thinly written with each of their dark secrets seemingly coming out of nowhere, which is a real shame considering the cast they got of Dino survivor Sam Neill, Matrix man Laurence Fishburne, and Rayden hair wearing Lucius Malfoy man Jason Isaacs. Despite some interesting visuals this one's a swing and a miss from Paul W.S. Anderson although better then the Resident Evil sequels.8 Word Review:Milla Jovovich is rotating the Event Horizon ball.
THE ASPHYX (1973) on Amazon Prime for the first time.A Hammer-style "Twilight Zone"-ish British flick set in the mid-1800's Victorian age but book-ended by then-present day scenes that give the whole thing a sci-fi vibe, "The Asphyx" is a pleasant delight. Aristocrat amateur scientist Hugo Cunningham (Robert Stephens) discovers that, through the manipulation of light with his recently-invented moving camera and water/crystal projection gear, he can record a living being's spirit when it's taken over by an ancient rogue spirit named Asphyx that only manifests itself when a host reaches the apex of fear right before he/she/it is about to die. Hugo theorizes immortality could be achieved if someone's Asphyx could be locked in a light box while being projected, and naturally Hugo's desire to experiment and push the boundaries of his discoveries will bring tragic consequences for him and his loved ones. Light on gore and shocks (everything's telegraphed) but dripping with atmosphere, "The Asphyx" is at its core a Folie à deux story in which Hugo's obsession/madness rubs on his initially-skeptical adopted son Giles (Robert Powell), who in turn drags his stepsister/fiancé Christina (Jane Lapotaire) down to his father's wavelength. Remember the scene in "Ghostbusters" when Slimmer is trapped for the first time in the hotel ballroom? We get many similar scenes in "The Asphyx," only with elaborate Houdini-like devices meant to scare-to-death a person bad-enough to get their Asphyx exposed. The ending was lifted by a Stephen King-loving film director for one of his King movie adaptations, which only solidifies "The Asphyx" as a solid little slice of UK gothic sci-fi goodness. Skip the extended edition (crappy-looking padded extra footage) and go with the under-90 min. US theatrical version instead.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)Before the time of franchise film making as an industry unto itself there was Buckaroo Banzai, a production that saw Planet of the Apes and Star Wars and thought to itself "I can do that"....it couldnt. This is a movie whose parts are greater than its sum. Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Ellen Barkin, aliens, alternate dimensions. What could go wrong?I really like so many of the ideas in this movie, such as the fully formed world with a complex history that we enter into and play catch up on assumed knowledge, and as a scifi update on Doc Savage. Unfortunately this means that there are lots of characters who dont get explored and end up cluttering the space.Its just frustrating that almost none of the performances commit to the craziness of the concept with most people are downplaying their characters, and that the movies idea of "Super Cool" is fairly flat. I can see this movie from both sides of the coin. I can see how it failed to get an audience upon release, and I can see how people would have a high affection for it. Im probably in the former camp after my first viewing, but it can see it potentially growing on me. Glad I saw it.
Tell me you stayed through the credits. The end dance/march number that happens during the credits is by far my favorite part of that movie.
I have similar lukewarm feelings about the movie, but I'm very surprised that we haven't seen a reboot of some sort in the past couple years. People adore this movie!
I completely agree. I’m very much with the train of thought that thinks remakes should be done of poor movies with good ideas, and there is a great idea behind this movie. If I had come across this movie when I was 10 then I think I could easily have high affection for it. But the lack of enthusiasm from most people on screen was quite off putting and disappointing.@Matt yes I did like that. And I think where that scene ends up illustrates how overcrowded the movie was with peripheral characters. I just ended up not really knowing any of them by the end, let alone caring about them.
C.H.U.D. (1984)I remember watching bits & pieces of this on cable as a kid. I always thought it was extremely gory and fantastic.. However, seeing it now I'm shocked about how much this movie flirts with being an exploitation classic but never fully goes all out in the craziness. Virtually all the kills happen off-screen (a cardinal mistake). Also, C.H.U.D. doesn't really pick up until the last act. The cast ranges from over the top(Daniel Stern, the one homeless guy that looks like Joe Hill) to embarrassed(Kim Greist, John Heard, who looked so sweaty I kept screaming, "Will someone give him a damn towel! Come on!"). Also, John Goodman is in this for about a minute. I really wished I liked this more because it has a goofy charm.
Zeta One (1970)Spy spoof features “James Word” being ordered by his superior “W” (yes, it is that lame) to investigate disappearances around swinging, mod London. Because the filmmakers want to grab us right from the start, the film commences with a sequence where James and his boss’s secretary flirt and tease each other for TWENTY FREAKING MINUTES before getting on with the story. The story? A mysterious woman named Zeta (who may or may not be an alien) is abducting young women for incoherent reasons and bringing them to her base (which may or may not be in space). A nasty man named Major Bourdon wants to find and stop Zeta. James, who we think is the main character, actually does nothing except drive his car and have sex (perhaps Tom Mankiewicz watched this before writing Live and Let Die). Then there is a woman named Edwina who seems to become the main character. She is abducted, gets a tour of Zeta’s crib, has her memory erased, and disappears from the film. The filmmakers apparently think that enough naked flesh will make up for the nonexistent story and nonexistent characters. But naked boobs do not an interesting film make. My teenaged self would hardly believe that possible, but that’s what growing up and gaining wisdom are for.
2019: After the Fall of New York (1983, dir. Sergio Martino)Italian movie shamelessly rips off Escape from New York with a story about an imitation Snake Plissken (Fake Plissken) who has to enter the apocalyptic wasteland that used to be New York to locate the only remaining fertile woman on Earth. There are cyborgs, beheadings, disembowlings and a race of mutant ape people. The usual. For being a copy of a copy, the movie is super entertaining. Not sure how I ended up watching so many Italian films so far this month, but they really do seem to be the kings of exploitation.
Hollow Man II (2006)In a rare turn of events, this direct-to-video sequel is significantly less sleazy and exploitative than the theatrical feature that inspired it. There's still a bit of gratuitous violence and nudity, but for the most part it's a bland rehash of invisible man antics we've seen before (so to speak) only on a much lower budget. Disappointing.
Galaxy of Terror (1981) - First ViewingOn first glance, it’s a cheap rip-off of Alien, but it is really more than that. I don’t want to spoil too much, but this movie is best known for one infamous scene. I’m highly de-sensitized, but this scene still absolutely revolted me (since it’s Junesploitation, that’s a good thing question mark?). It is sleazy, gory, with a decent cast. This is one of those movies that has kind of a nightmare feel to it, I would say check it out!
Starman (1984): Uni library loan - This is grounded by the peformances, especially Jeff Bridges, that make this rather beautiful. I think there is a lot going on here and I want to re-watch it to disect it. But on a first viewing I found it a moving film that also deals with loss of a love one quite uniquely.
Metal Tornado (2011) Lou Diamond Phillips back in action and hasn't aged a bit. I love that guy btw. He and some other scientists have created a way to use solar flares from the sun to create pure energy and isolate it for use on Earth. Problem is - when they run it for the first time they lose 2% of the magnetic field energy (yes, LOST, can't find the energy) and magnetically create a freaking tornado magnet, magnetically speaking. Seriously, these guys are definitely scientists cause they say things like "ionized particles in the atmosphere" and "rouge magnetic vortex" (they say "vortex" and "Magnetic" at least 100 times in this film) so I'm definitely buying that they're the real deal! Everything starts flying everywhere including chainsaws, cars, canned goods, silo's, anything magnetic and gets sucked up into the METAL TORNADO; which looks pretty rad for bad CGI. The only thing that would make this film good is to take a drink every time they say "magnetic field" or "Vortex" BUT you would be drunk in 10 minutes and pass out. We were seriously laughing out loud at the amount of "Magnetic Fields" that were written into the script. At one point I felt really bad for LDP but then I stopped because he's a millionaire so I'm sure he was like "Fuck it - I'll vortex the hell out of this polarized ion ore vein" (Science) http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4c3wnyoJB1rvq0gmo1_500.pngAll in all I had fun watching this though.
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)Nicolas Roeg's movies take a long time to sink in for me, so I'm not sure if waiting two hours was enough time to talk about it. Gotta give props to Bowie for portraying an alien with little more than his body language and natural presence. If so much of the movie was a little too dreamlike to completely hold my attention, I really felt for the poor guy who wanted to save his family but wound up falling prey to the "good life" instead. I have now also fulfilled my full frontal nudity requirement for the week.
And with Artie from "The Larry Sanders Show" no less... hey now! :-P
STARCHASER: THE LEGEND OF ORIN (1985)It’s about time animation was represented in Junesploitation. This is basically an ‘80s Saturday morning cartoon that somehow ended up on the big screen. (Originally in 3-D!) The ripping off of Star Wars is unbelievably shameless. There’s the young hero with the magic sword, the tough-girl princess, the scoundrel smuggler, the whiny English-accented robot, the big scary bad guy dressed in black with an army of white-armored foot soldiers, and so on and so forth. There are some nice “scary for kids” moments, especially some freaky cyborgs, but there’s also a lot of weird-and-not-in-a-good-way stuff, like when the sexy fembot (Spoiler: there’s a sexy fembot) gets reprogrammed so she goes from being feisty to being all docile. As a sci-fi dork, I’m glad I saw this movie, but I don’t foresee ever wanting to see it again.
Re-Animator (1985)This was fantastic! Jeffery Combs as Dr. Herbert West, a man obsessed with bringing the dead back to life, was perfect. This had the right blend of camp, overly-dramatic lines, and some really great practical gore. I had this on my Netflix list for a really long time, and I'm super glad I had Sci-Fi day to get me to watch!!!
I love that movie. Glad you liked it. Have you seen any other Stuart Gordon movies? If not, you should watch From Beyond next.
I haven't! It's available on DVD from Netflix though...and I've just added it!
The Signal (2014)Three college students on a cross-country road trip decide to take a short detour to track down a hacker/cyber-bully. Great cinematography and a contemplative mood. The story meshes sci-fi, mystery, relationship, captivity/escape/manhunt, a few minutes of found footage, and a twist ending. Early critical reviews are mixed, but I liked it.
Ender's Game (2013)I would've loved this movie as a kid. Or at least parts. Like the scenes with Hailee Steinfeld. But it's pretty badly paced, and there aren't any real stakes. Director/writer (/hack?) Gavin Hood is too busy with zero-G wirework and CGI ant queens to bother having any two actors connect on screen.
(Sorry for posting this five days late, but I was too hammered to finish this one at the time. Just didn't want anyone to think I'd skipped any days during Junesploitation!)The Beast in Space (1980) trailer / full movie (including the XXX stuff!)Al Bradley, Italian director of public domain box-set staple War of the Robots, finished off his brief yet prolific (and generally family friendly) pulp sci-fi cycle with a XXX-gilded psuedo-sequel to Borowcyzk's arty, also XXX-gilded period-piece monster film La Bete. With its slow, strange structure (60 minutes of cheesy, cheap space adventure/20 of soft- and hardcore sex/15 more of robot-slicing sci-fi) and underpinned with themes of premonition and hallucination, the viewing experience is groggily, confusingly dreamlike. The costumes are funky as shit and the score is creepy and spacey, somewhat reminiscent of Clockwork Orange. Only for the perversely/adventurously patient.