Saturday, June 29, 2024

Junesploitation 2024 Day 29: New Horizons!


  1. The still for today is from the very entertaining DEATHSTALKER II. It definitely would be a good watch for anyone in the mood for a humorous sword and sandal film. I think it is much better than the first one.

    Today I am really getting into some sleaze with...

    STREETWALKIN’ (1985, dir. Joan Freeman)

    The similarities with the 1982 sleaze masterpiece Vice Squad are striking and probably intentional. Though Streetwalkin’ is not at the level of that film, it does have an identity all its own while delivering some satisfying sleaze. When a runaway teenage girl and her brother arrive in New York City, a man at the bus station offers to help them. It’s an encounter that leads to a life of hustling on the streets. The lead actress, Melissa Leo, portrays her character in a very sympathetic way. The location shooting in New York adds a lot of atmosphere and a sense of authenticity to the film despite the over-the-top story. Dale Midkiff, the father in the original Pet Sematary, is the pimp who shows no mercy when “his” girls reveal an independent streak. The supporting cast is fun to watch, too. Though it never gets too explicit, Streetwalkin’ is definitely not for children. Overall, it is a solid psycho pimp thriller that is unmistakably from the ‘80s.

    The end of Junesploitation is really in sight now. Oh well, everything has a conclusion. Only three months until Scary Movie Month. My favorite time of the year is undoubtedly this month, though.

    1. Nothing like a solid psycho pimp thriller!

      Man, today is a tough day to pick a flick. There's a lot of kickboxing and creatures on the list. I was gonna go with Carnosaur, and may still, but I'm not that compelled to watch it. I haven't watched a Fred Olin Ray, so Droid Gunner is a possibility. Sometimes, though, I just gotta push the play button! We'll see what strikes me when it's movie time...

  2. Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader (2012, dir. Kevin O'Neill)

    College student Cassie is a science nerd who's pressured by her mother to be a cheerleader and join the hottest sorority. She's also hideous (= a hot actress with glasses and two zits on her face). When she takes an experimental drug designed to repair injuries and deformities, she becomes hot overnight (= no zits and bigger boobs). For a while, she becomes a hit with the sorority and a cheerleading star, but the drug's effects aren't done: she starts growing into a giant!

    Bad writing, bad directing and bad acting. It's a movie about terrible people, some of them are just more terrible than others, so you're left rooting for the lesser of several evils. Terrible, terrible movie.

  3. Barbarian Queen (1985)

    This is the day to get your fix of vintage 80s lewd, crude sword-and-sorcery, and I wouldn't dream of watching anything else.

    1. Ha! Nice! I snagged a dvd set for Deathstalker recently and this is in it...gonna catch this one real soon.

  4. Deathstalker II (1987)

    (I recently discovered the first Deathstalker when Joe Bob included it as part of the two movie tribute to Roger Corman during last years Jamboree (once again i HIGHLY suggest checking out that interview which Shudder even posted for free on youtube). I was surprised how much fun i had with it and wanted to see more. Sooo perfect timing for todays New Horizions theme and a suggestion from Patrick on the patreon...)

    This movie is filled with cheezy acting, the corniest of lines, multiple bits lifted from other movies, and some scenes that feel like a great group of friends at the local Renaissance Faire decided to shoot a movie one weekend.....also its realllly well made and fun for days! I had such a good time watching. Not to mention it covers genres like: Sword and Sandal, Zombie, Action, Comedy, and unexpected-full-on-World-Wrestling-Federation-scene. Wynorski for the win!

  5. The Unborn (1991)

    Pretty fascinating to watch a performance as great as Brooke Adams in this one. She is surrounded by a combination boring production design and some truly batshit scenarios and never misses a note. Makes me want to seek out her other performances of which I have seen few of. Not a ringing endorsement, but I was glad the back-alley abortion scene was handled more delicately than the dead kid in a tub scene. Yikes. Listening to Gary Numan's collaborator attempt applying cohesive thriller elements to the pop star's haunted house synths made me smile. Fetus prosthetics are used sparingly but to excellent effect once the time comes. Kathy Griffin goes beyond a cameo even getting a bloody fight scene with her pregnant girlfriend. Lisa Kudrow, not so much.

  6. Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader (2012)

    Produced by Roger Corman. Plus, Corman, John Landis, and Ted Raimi all have roles in this! There's boobs! And a giant spider! And Treat Williams and Sean Young! This is what Junesploitation is all about! Woo hoo!!

  7. AMAZONS (1986)
    Scantily clad woman warriors go adventuring to save their kingdom from an evil warlord. This is one hacky, sloppily made barbarian flick. While the sleaze and swordfights are plentiful, this one is too plotty, with endless talk about a magic sword and a prophecy and some emerald and so on. The movie really needs a Madmartigan type of character to bring some levity and relatability. This is the bottom of the sword n’ sorcery barrel.

    STAR HUNTER (1996)
    It’s a variation of Predator, with an alien hunter chasing an alien prey around Earth, and a school bus full of teens caught in the middle. Roddy McDowell shows up for some quirkiness, but also suspense because he keeps you guessing as to whose side he’s on. I enjoyed this one, a fine example of a filmmaker with no money but a lot of ambition, really going for it.

    Bonus Universal Monster-sploitation: ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY (1955)
    The search for buried treasure leads to a mummy, of course. But there’s not much mummy action, and the plot stops at several points so Bud and Lou can do bits from their standup act. But the bits are very funny, so who’s complaining?

  8. Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)

    Some favorite moments/things from another re-watch of the masterpiece:

    Mary Woronov's face
    Paul Bartel's clothes and whole vibe.
    Kate Rambeau's (Dey Young's) glasses and whole vibe.
    PJ Soles energy as Riff Randle
    Clint Howard's office and never-ending visual aides.
    Dean Cundey shooting into mirrors.
    Editing during title track Riff Randle version in the gym.
    "I Want You Around" sequence (Dee Dee in the shower)
    Joey's breathtaking voice
    Johnny's right hand
    Marky"s right hand
    Rob Bottin's giant mouse
    EVERY line delivery by a member of The Ramones
    Dick Miller gettin' laughs at the 11th hour

    Long live Roger Corman, The Ramones and Rock 'n' Roll

  9. Droid Gunner aka Cyber Zone (1995)

    For me, cheapo flicks of the late 80s and 90s tend to have a look and feel that just doesn't appeal. Then there's the done-to-death post-apocalyptic rip-offs of Mad Max, Terminator, and Blade Runner, to name a few. Fred Olen Ray weighs in here with an effort that includes many of these elements, and he delivers a decent but unremarkable movie. Mark Singer was the highlight with his low-key delivery. Par for the F.O.R. course, there's plenty of boobs. And as an extra, there's recycled footage from Battle Beyond the Stars.

    I knew this would be a tough day for me, as the theme wasn't really up my alley. Droid Gunner (even rhymes with Blade Runner) wasn't unwatchable, and it evoked a few guffaws. But it wasn't bad enough to be bad/good, nor good enough to be good. It was just meh, with mammories. Welp, I won't let one mediocre movie get me down: there's one more day to go for 2024's Junesploitation, and I'm gonna make it count!

    1. I doubt you were alone in your feelings about the the options for today, Zillagord. New Horizons was not involved in making "quality" movies, and 1980s and 90s (and beyond) crap is not for everyone. I noticed some people jump straight to slashers.

    2. Thanks for the condolences. There's some crap I love, and some crap I don't. Worth giving the category a shot, though-- I discover a lot of fun flicks when I challenge my contempt prior to investigation.

  10. Summer Camp Nightmare(1986 Dir: Bert L. Dragin)
    Lord of the Flies meets Meatballs meets Over the Edge. Kids take over a summer camp and the party ends almost immediately when the overly strict and maybe pedophile head counselor is stabbed and killed and a camper rapes another. Its surprisingly good stuff and goes places you wouldn't expect. Would make a great double with Heavyweights.

    Recruits (1986 Dir, Rafal Zielinski)
    The team that ripped off Porkys and Animal House to bring you Screw Balls and Loose Screws rips off Police Academy 1 and 2. Once again it manages to be raunchier with a lot more nudity, a lamer story and less jokes than the original.

  11. The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984)

    It's Yojimbo in a fantasy realm. David Carridine really seems to be taking everything seriously, the one on one fights are pretty good and Maria Socas literally never wears a top. Like, girl, you've been rescued. You can but a shirt on...if you want. You do you.

    Side note, feel like the titular Sorceress should be called like a priestess cause she never does any spells...just prays.

    1. The Warrior And The Sorceress sounds better than The Warrior And The Priestess.

      Even in the cheapest of films, David Carradine could give a serious performance. He is worthy of a Junesploitation day.

  12. Carnosaur (1993)
    I only watched this to see the lab set from this, which was later re-used in Roger Corman’s ill-fated Fantastic Four movie. Surprisingly inept attempt to rip off Jurassic Park, though this movie was actually released first. IMDb lists this as a “dark comedy.” Nope. Diane Ladd stars, I guess because her daughter was in Jurassic Park? She works at genetic modification of chickens for the evil Eunice Corporation. Because Ladd wears a patch on her doctor’s smock that says this, I kept assuming that Eunice Corporation was her character’s name. Clint Howard investigates a huge chicken coop while eating fried chicken, which seems rude. He is punished… by the CARNOSAUER! What could have been a sobering cautionary tale about genetically modified food is done in with low production values and a bad script. Corman and company save money by not building full sets, but just making every interior space exceedingly dark. Corporate meetings, important lab work, and even an autopsy are done in almost total darkness. Odd. Most of the time, the titular dinosaur is played by an unconvincing hand puppet. One of the film’s final scenes rips off Alien to boot. Featuring Jennifer Runyon from Ghostbusters, Rafael Sbarge from Risky Business, Brent Hinkley from Ed Wood, and Ned Bellamy from Being John Malcovich.

    1. It does not sound like you enjoyed the experience, JB, but you did make me laugh with your description of it. "What could have been a sobering cautionary tale..."

    2. I was gonna watch this, but I had my reservations and just couldn't pull the trigger. Thanks for the review, JB, I will take your words as a cautionary tale!



    One-man exploitation machine Cirio H. Santiago was a key asset in Concord/New Horizons stable of international filmmakers churning product for Roger Corman overseas. In these two action films Santiago either brings the Vietnam War to American streets ("The Devastator") or delves into the war itself ("Firehawk") with mixed results. Both "Devastator" and "Firehawk" open almost identical: two minutes of straight-up war movie footage that seems lifted from an entirely different Philippines-shot production. They literally start with the bang of loud explosions, then cut the credits the instant the main narrative ends.

    Vietnam War veteran Deacon Porter (Rick Hill) goes to the small California town of Kings Ransom (no apostrophe) when the widow of his commander officer confides she doesn't think hubbie's death was accidental. Less than 15 minutes after meeting Porter this woman and her bar will be set on fire (on camera!) by thugs working for Carey (Crofton Hardester, a dead ringer for Alan Ruck in "Speed"), whose sprawling hemp business keeps attracting civilians (Canadian couples, stoned college students) that meet grizzly ends. The local sheriff (Tom Atkins-lookalike Kaz Garas) is in Carey's pocket, and an unprepared Deacon nearly dies chasing after Carey's well-armed thugs. He retreats, makes a plan, then returns with his former Vietnam platoon to avenge their CO's death and destroy Carey's drug trade. A local hottie (Katt Shea's Audrey) helps our heroes with intel and also makes love to Deacon in slow motion during a well-timed lightning storm. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    At 79 minutes "The Devastator" is fat-free and doesn't waste time. It feels like "Rambo II" meets "Death Wish 3" without civilians (Carey's thug army is huge) and a rural California that looks an awful lot like the outskirts of Manila. We spend just enough time getting to know Deacon's A-Team-ish war buddies (Jack S. Daniel's Ox, Steve Rogers' Reese and Bill MCLaughlin's Bartlett) that we fist-pump when they kick butt, then feel sad when some of these guys don't make it. :'( Cirio Santiago could produce/direct disposable action flicks like this in his sleep, and even when the low-budget strain shows (the miniature dam bridge explosion) the action skews toward the fun side of mindless. 'It's fine.' 3.45 BOOBY-TRAPPED ABANDONED MINES (out of 5).

    Santiago delves into the drama of the Vietnam War... 7 years after "Platoon" came out and long past Hollywood's peak infatuation period with that armed conflict. A helicopter evacuation team has a new field doctor, but Davis (Terrence 'T.C.' Carson) and helicopter pilot Stewart (Martin Kove) clash over the latter's wild antics. When their helicopter malfunctions and goes down deep into Vietcong territory, the group's loyalties get tested when sabotage of the chopper's fuel lines is discovered. Plenty of Filipinos-as-Vietcong cannon fodder for our American "heroes" to mow down (mostly by gunner Matt Salinger, aka 1990's "Captain America"), and plenty of jungle scenery for Martin Kove to chew on with his typical bravado. That you don't know until the very end whether Kove is a good or bad guy is as close as this guy ever comes to being the heroic type is fitting for a story that stars semi-realistic, then descends into James Bond-type antics. The 'Firehawk' from the title is another helicopter's secret military weapon that our evac team eventually comes into contact with. At 102 minutes "Firehawk" is 20-25 mins. too long and outstays its welcome, but a single viewing won't be a total waste of time. 2.85 HIJACKED EVAC CHOPPERS (out of 5).

    One more day, almost over. The summit is in sight! :-D

  14. NAKED VENGEANCE (1985, dir. Cirio H. Santiago)

    This is another Cirio H. Santiago production. (Read J.M. Vargas' review above to learn about him.) What begins as an I Spit On Your Grave rip-off morphs into other genres by the conclusion. There is absolutely nothing original in Naked Vengeance, and it certainly is a very pale imitation at best. As you can imagine, there is little consistency in the tone or the script. The acting may be the worst I have encounter this month. By the middle of the film, I stopped caring about the narrative whiplash and just tried to go along for the ride. Although I was laughing by the conclusion, there is a lot of nonsense to endure. Maybe I am tired after a heavy month of movie-watching, or maybe this is just as bad I think it is. Naked Vengeance is not completely devoid of entertainment potential with the right mind-set for it, though.

  15. Deathstalker II

    Hey, the picture at the top is from this movie. This actually ended up being way more comedic than I was anticipating from the poster, which was a pleasant surprise. This deep into Junesploitation I was ready for something more light-hearted.