Rupert Pupkin Speaks: "Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: James McCormick ""

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest Post: James McCormick

  James is one helluva a cool dude and a very busy one. Check out all his current endeavors below:

-CriterionCast, the only podcast around which delves into the Criterion Collection, discusses the films in depth and spreading the joy that is the collection itself. Now we've also formed with a network of shows now.

-cineAWESOME! is the podcast I do with Rufus and Billy, where we take two films every week and do a concise review, around an hour long, and just link them together with some amazing titles for the episodes.

-My better half Danyell and I have also started The Hopeful Romantics, a new podcast discussing romantic comedies and how the genre works and doesn't work from a couple's point of view. 


In no way do I consider any of these movies bad. Instead, these are movies that others, friends of mine and people who are a bit pretentious have given the moniker as 'bad films', which never sat well with me, especially all the times I've popped these in my VCR or now, my DVD player, and enjoyed them much more than some specific 'classic' films. What makes a bad film bad? I think if you enjoy a film, spread your love for it. Troll 2 is considered the worst film of all time? I don't agree with that. I'd easily put Van Helsing down as a worst film than any film on my list. But everyone has an opinion and that's what's great about the film lover's community. I was asked for a top 10. But of course I need to go nuts and do a top 20. I could have easily done 50 to 100, but I don't want to hog all the films out there.

Megaforce (1982)
Hal Needham made this epic 80's action film, with Barry Bostwick in some of the tightest clothes around (he almost has his own specific camel toe), Swan (Michael Beck) from the Warriors as Dallas who sports an epic cowboy hat, the radiant Persis Khambatta as Major Zara, the usual amazing 'what accent is he going for' villain turn by Henry Silva, some epic music by Jerrold Immel and a flying motorcycle driven by Mr. Bostwick himself, with some of the most glorious feathered hair I've ever seen. This is a ridiculous film on the most grand scales. And as they say, the good guys always win... even in the 80's!

Miami Connection (1987)
This is a fantastic film on every level. Catchy music, great fight scenes, bad acting, stereotypical punk gangs and some classic dialogue. A film so great, Drafthouse Films have actually picked it up to show at the New York Asian Film Festival and will be putting out with a special edition on DVD and Blu-ray. A film that truly deserves it. One that just works, especially with a crowd. I'm trying to be coy, thinking about the people who might want to see this one as fresh as possible. Check it out if you can.

Never Too Young To Die (1986)
John Stamos Versus Gene Simmons. But not regular ol' Gene Simmons, oh no. He's a transexual villain, one named Velvet Von Ragner. Not sold? His mortal enemy is Drew Stargrove, played by James Bond himself George Lazenby. The father of John Stamos' Lance Stargrove. We also have sexy Vanity as the love interest, of both father and son. Peter Kwong plays an M type of character, helping Stargrove along the way. And even Robert Englund is in this film. It was featured in the great book Destroy All Movies, and somehow I saw it before I knew that book existed. Go figure. It deserves the love it's getting. It's a wtf movie and one wishes we got 20 more of these films.

Deadly Prey (1987)
One of the finest films the great podcast GGTMC mentioned is this film, made by the Prior Brothers. David directs while his hunky brother Ted acts in the smallest pair of cut off jorts ever. Man hunting man, which is a favorite genre of mine, this one is one of my favorites by far. It's really because of the overacting by the soldiers attempting to get Mike Danton (Prior) while he systematically kills each and every one of them. And the movie almost feels like a trilogy because of the story beats. He gets away, comes back, gets away again and comes back for vengeance. And all he was doing was throwing out the garbage like the good guy that he is. One key scene that made me know I was won over: Danton takes a soldier, lifts him up like a rag doll and breaks his back against a tree. What's not to like?

Hands of Steel (1986)
A film I was also introduced to by the GGTMC. A man (or is he?) named Paco Queruak (one of the worst character names ever) who has hands of steel, played by the underrated Daniel Greene. Directed by one of my favorite giallo directors, Sergio Martino. There's epic arm wrestling in this one and one of the main baddies is played by Italian genre icon George Eastman. This film is MASSIVE! A weird future where acid rain can kill you, unless you have a car with a top on it. You'll probably survive the horrible terrain then. Oh, and John Saxon collects a paycheck as well. Great fun and deserves a DVD/Blu release as well. Drafthouse Films, I'm asking you again to try to get your hands on this one.

2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)
My favorite Italian knock off Escape From New York/ Mad Max film, this one is directed by the great Sergio Martino again. It's a strange one, with laser blasts galore, George Eastman again as a future caveman who wants to mate with the most beautiful woman and Michael Sopkiw (who has the most difficult name to spell and say in all of film). The evil Euraks and the Federation are at war and only Parsifal (played by Sopkiw, what's with the horrible names in Martino films?) has to go into New York City and save the president... I mean, save the only fertile woman on Earth. A strongman with an eye patch, a man with a robot claw arm and a dwarf who helps them along the way round out this film, an amazing example of when the Italians actually went full force into their insane copy cat ways.

Psycho Cop (1989)
This is one I was reminded of recently by someone on another podcast. It struck me right away and I had to find a copy of the film. I did and I watched it and oh boy, was I pleasantly surprised. A killer cop, unlike Maniac Cop, where the cop doesn't shut the hell up (played by Robert Shafer, who a lot of people would know as Bob Vance from The Office) and he makes smarmy remarks like a bootleg Freddy Krueger? With some annoying 30 year olds playing teens? I'm totally in. When I heard the sequel was directed by Adam Rifkin, well, that's been put in my Amazon shopping cart, awaiting to buy it as soon as I can.

Runaway (1984)
Another Gene Simmons villain role. This one though, he is cool, calm and calculated. A master of robotics and killing all his loose ends in the near future. He has robotic bullets that are heat seekers. And also poison tipped robotic roaches. Try saying that 10 times fast. And I didn't even mention the hero is played by Tom Selleck himself. Kirstie Alley is sexy as hell as the woman who has wronged Simmons. And we have some fun camera tricks when it comes to the bullets. A great car chase with roving remote controlled car bombs as well. A fun film and further proof that Gene Simmons was a great bad guy.

War of the Gargantuas (1968)
Yes, one of Brad Pitt's favorite films. If you want to see a nonstop fight between too behemoths who are supposed to be the children of Frankenstein's gigantic monster, look no further than this insane film. One of the only non-Godzilla/Gamera kaiju films I can watch and do so over and over again.

Lady Terminator (1989)
A spirit of an evil ancient queen possesses an archaeology student, where she then proceeds to cause havoc and terminates everyone she can. This film was one I blind bought years ago from the fine people over at Mondo Macabro (please send me your films), and I was blown away by what I saw. It's a cross between The Hidden, The Terminator and any trashy action film you could squeeze in and somehow makes a fantastic mess. I'm sad that Barbara Anne Constable never made another film, because she is beautiful and carries a huge gun (well, multiple guns to be honest). It's an Indonesian film at its finest, slimy, grimy and with some sex appeal as well. Women with big hair, guys with horrible jeans on. And not to spoil it for people who haven't seen it, but it has a bit of Species in it as well, which it came out a few years before. Wonder if they saw this one first.

Street Trash (1987)
We've discussed this on cineAWESOME! and while my co-host Rufus didn't like it, I adore this grimy film, one that shows New York City in the 1980's perfectly. It looks as if a bomb hit the city and only the homeless have survived. They start to drink Tenafly Viper, a drink found by the liquor store owner, which has horrible symptoms after drinking it. If you've seen the trailer, it's some gruesome and hilarious deaths, all with this neon sheen which is amazing (and seems to be an influence on Jason Eisner's fantastic Hobo With a Shotgun). This is the best Troma film Troma never made. Roy Frumkes, who wrote and produced this film, also made the fantastic documentary Document of the Dead and wrote The Substitute films. James Michael Muro, who directed, went on to become an established and talented Steadicam operator and was Cameron's choice from The Abyss until Titanic.

Howling 2: Stirba-Werewolf Bitch (1985)
I prefer this version of the title as opposed to the 'My Sister's a Werewolf' one, and this one is an insane sequel to the moody first. We have a woman who doesn't look anything like Dee Wallace, with one of the worst werewolf transformation scenes, especially compared to the first film's amazing special effects. We have werewolf orgies, Sybil Danning baring her breasts (even 17 times or so in the credits sequence), Christopher Lee with 80's sunglasses, Transylvania for some reason and Reb Brown himself who doesn't quite believe this whole werewolf thing, even though he sees his sister becoming one on live TV. I liken this to Fright Night 2, where it goes so far from the original, but shouldn't be dismissed because it's a hell of a lot of fun.

Andy Sidaris' films
How do I pick just one? With the recent DVD set 'Girls, Guns and G-Strings', it was a trash movie lover's paradise. 12 movies by Andy Sidaris, all with women with big boobs, guns galore, men with huge chests as well, more guns, nudity galore, softcore sex scenes and some fun action scenes, explosions all the time and did I mention boobs? Sidaris came from a background of producing Monday Night Football and made it popular with the inclusion of cheerleaders being front and center. I guess he took that idea, made films on the cheap in Hawaii and got Playboy models who wanted to act a bit and somehow made cinematic gold. I can't even pick out one I'd say is the best to watch, but if I was you I'd buy that set. It goes for 5 bucks and is well worth 10 times that just for the films included. And watch them in order to see the insanity unfold with each film. Snakes exploding, cars with rockets, skateboarders being blown up by a rocket launcher... and that's only in the first two films Malibu Express and Hard Ticket to Hawaii.

Bad Taste (1987)
You're looking on imdb right now and saying, "A Peter Jackson film? How dare you!!!" Let me explain. I love Bad Taste without a hint of irony. But it isn't a good film. But considering Jackson was making this over weekends over a few years and plays two different characters who fight one another makes for a fun and gross film. You could tell there was talent behind the camera and he was only going to top the gross out factor a few years later with Dead Alive. I'd rather watch this film on repeat than The Lovely Bones, which bored me to tears.

City Dragon (1995)
Oh boy. MC Kung Fu is the man who wrote and stars in this film. A rapping kung fu artist, who just wants to get with as many hotties as he can and always comes up with a poem to woo them. He falls in love, hilarity ensues and we get some awful acting, a villain whose stay in an insane asylum is at the same hospital as his ex-girlfriend who is delivering a baby and our hero uses a Bruce Lee stinger at one point of the film. Just insanity on screen and one I love to bring out for bad movie nights.

Fatal Deviation (1998)
Ireland's first martial arts film, and for good reason. This film is on a level that Birdemic and The Room wishes they could match. Fatal Deviation is at least fun and awful at the same time. Horrible acting, weak fighting, a wizard who teaches martial arts, a crime boss who looks like your grandfather and a hero who looks as if gravity is beating the hell out of him, Fatal Deviation is one for the ages.

Undefeatable (1993)
Stingray. If you know that name, you know this film. A Godfrey Ho film that makes sense because it isn't one pieced together from 7 other films and co-starring Richard Harrison, this one has Cynthia Rothrock, a favorite of mine, primarily because she's spunky and has some fantastic skills to be honest. But it's all about Stingray, played by Don Niam, the villain of this film. He is one for the ages, a man who cannot be matched for intensity. He sprays his hair when he's about to battle in underground cage fights. Oh, I didn't mention those earlier. There's also illegal street fights, which Rothrock takes part in because she's paying for her sister's college tuition and being a waitress can't do that. She also has a gang of the lamest Asian characters ever. Top it all off with Stingray who is kidnapping and killing women who remind him of his ex-wife, who finally got the courage to run away from him. Even the co-star, John Miller, who plays the cop Nick DiMarco, has some serious skills and the end fight scene has been on Youtube for years. But when you see the full film, you'll take that end fight as the biggest cherry on top of a film that deserves more praise.

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)
On of the lesser known Rowdy Roddy Piper films (Immortal Combat still takes that honor), which is surprising because it's a post apocalyptic film dealing with frog people. And Piper is somehow allowed to have sex with women, even if they don't want to, because he might be the last human alive who has a sperm count. It's a very strange film, the first of a trilogy, and this is still the best one by far. Directed by schlockmeister Donald G. Jackson, he continued the series with Frogtown II (this time with Robert Z'Dar taking over for Piper... you can't tell the difference) and ends the trilogy with Scott Shaw and his zen filmmaking extravaganza Max Hell: Frog Warrior, which has been edited in so many different ways, people assume there's a few other films in this series. But there's not. If you're a completest, like I am, you'll be watching all three this weekend.

Strike Commando (1987)
I could have made a list just with Reb Brown films (check out the Cage films with Lou Ferrigno if you can), but this one is the quintessential Brown performance. A man on a mission, escaping Vietnam, trying to save the people there, fighting Russian soldiers who have been stationed there secretly (even though it doesn't seem like they were hiding that well). A mission goes awry, and Brown is stuck behind enemy lines. And as he screams every line, cursing away and shooting up everything in sight with machine guns galore, you cheer him on. And when he fights the evil Russian super soldier Jakoda, the headbutt of doom between the two of them is breathtaking. And we have Christopher Connelly who had a resurgence in Italian films, this one being directed by the one and only Bruno Mattei, and you have one of my favorite Rambo II cash ins. I actually prefer this to that film, to be honest. JAKKKKKOOOOODDDDAAAAA!

Trained to Kill (1990)
One more film that the GGTMC introduced to me, one that I had never heard of at all but once I saw a handful of screenshots from Large William himself, I knew I had to buy this film. We have a who's who in cinema in this cast. Chuck Connors, Henry Silva, Robert Z'Dar, Marshall Teague (from Road House!), Ron O'Neal (Superfly himself), Harold Diamond (who was in two choice Sidaris films as Jade) and even Kane Hodder makes a quick appearance. I don't even want to talk about this film because it's one of my favorite finds from this year and one that I will be sharing with as many people for years to come. We have some of the worst stocking masks ever, especially when one is stretched to the limit on Z'Dar's chin. O'Neal as a drunken Vietnam vet. Diamond plays Loc Syn, who kills people in quite a badass way. And we have two young actors who aren't too good but help carry along the film with the epic bad guys and O'Neal helping them along the way. I don't want to oversell this one, but it's an action epic that all must see as soon as possible. You can thank me later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lot of interesting titles I've heard of yet haven't seen. Need to get around to STREET TRASH. I used to have 2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK on VHS—that’s a fun little flick. Looking forward to checking out THE MIAMI CONNECTION when it finally makes it to home video.

I am thrilled to finally see some love for UNDEFEATABLE! My brother, a few of our friends and I still giggle about this movie from time to time. (One of my friends actually owns it on Laserdisc.) I also remember having fun watching John Miller and Cynthia Rothrock in HONOR AND GLORY, but not as much as with UNDEFEATABLE. It's been a few years since I last saw it, so that means I'm due for a revisit.

"Look, buddy. I don't know who you are, but I'm gonna kick your ass."