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Old 03-25-14, 08:35 PM   #25
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Re: Fifth Annual Drive-in/Exploitation/B-Movie LIST THREAD April 1-30 2014

04-08-2014: Added titles 1-8
04-16-2014: Added titles 9-17
04-26-2014: Added titles 18-27
05-01-2014: Added titles 28-33; added reviews
05-02-2014: Added reviews
05-03-2014: Added reviews
05-06-2014: Added reviews
05-07-2014: Added reviews

5th Annual Drive-In/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge

LAST YEAR: 35 films

All films are DVD format unless otherwise noted.
Bold = first-time viewing
* = wildcard selection
  1. Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) - From the First Drive-in/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge:
    A shaggy-haired stock car driver and his mechanic (Peter Fonda and Adam Roarke, respectively) take a supermarket manager's family hostage for the market's daily bankroll. They pick up freewheeling groupie Mary Coombs (Susan George) during the getaway. The trio spends the rest of the film evading the police, led by the equally crafty Captain Franklin (Vic Morrow). The film showcases some incredible car stunts coordinated by Al Wyatt, Sr. and his crew. The "Charger vs. Chopper" sequence alone is worth the price of admission. An uncredited Roddy McDowall plays the supermarket manager. Susan George and the abrupt ending are really the two sourest notes that the film hits, but the rest of it is solid entertainment.
  2. The Georgia Peaches (A.K.A., "Follow That Car") (1980)
  3. Van Nuys Blvd. (1979)
  4. Supervan (1977) - Come for the vans (including the title van designed by legendary Hollywood customizer George Barris), stay for the completely unexpected cameo by cult author Charles Bukowski!
  5. Jailbait Babysitter (1977)
  6. Friend of the Family (1995) - Youtube. Of the softcore erotic thrillers that clogged video store shelves in the '90s, Friend of the Family holds the distinction of not being a thriller at all. In truth, the film is a domestic melodrama in spite of its nudie flick trappings. An affluent middle class family is on the brink of collapse when a sexy free spirit named Elke (January 1992 Penthouse Pet Shauna O'Brien) unexpectedly enters their lives. During her stay, Elke creates an atmosphere conducive to reconciliation by frequently being nude and (separately) sleeping with both the husband and wife (Griffin Drew). She also convinces the slutty daughter (Playboy model Lisa Boyle) that there are ways to find the right man other than being a human mattress and then proceeds to make out with her! Director Edward Holzman, a veteran of multiple Playboy productions, delivers the nudity and simulated sex like clockwork. O'Brien, Boyle and Drew are all in their physical primes, and they aren't afraid to flaunt what they have.

  7. Night Club (1989) - A hard-drinking writer is stuck in a remote location with his wife and gradually becomes mentally unhinged. Sound familiar? This lame psychological "thriller" is essentially an homage to The Shining without any of Kubrick's visual flair (or a plot, or a budget, or talent, or...). Elizabeth Kaitan pulls double duty as the protagonist's wife as well as his ethereal object of desire.

  8. Night Eyes Three (1993) - Youtube. When the star of a popular cop show (Shannon Tweed) is assaulted by her deadbeat ex-boyfriend, the show's executive producer insists that the head of Night Eyes Security (Andrew Stevens) personally guard her body. Having learned absolutely nothing from the previous two films, Stevens' character takes the job. Meanwhile, a rival security firm makes a play to steal away Stevens' clients. Can he find happiness with Tweed, protect his business and be a good single father to his daughter? Did anybody in the production point out Shannon Tweed's resemblance to Stella Stevens, Andrew's mother? Also starring Shannon's sister, Tracy Tweed, as her catty television co-star.

    Before they were famous: A young Allison Mack (Smallville) plays Stevens' daughter.

  9. No Contest (1995) - Google Play. Shannon Tweed plays a fading beauty-queen-turned-female-action-star who's hoping to give her career a shot in the arm by hosting a beauty pageant, and the daughter of a U.S. senator just happens to be a contestant. When a gang of criminals led by Andrew Dice Clay hijack the pageant and hold the contestants hostage, it falls upon Tweed to rescue the girls with some help from the bodyguard of the senator's daughter (played by Robert Davi).

    I really wanted to like this Canadian Die Hard clone more than I did. Perhaps the biggest stumbling block the film hits is the fact that unlike Bruce Willis' John McClane, Shannon Tweed's character doesn't have much of a body count. The cops and criminals do most of the killing. Even though she has a decent combat sequence with wrestler Roddy Piper, Tweed spends the majority of the film running from conflict. It might be more realistic, but it somehow doesn't make for a particularly thrilling story. A disappointing effort from Paul Lynch, the director of the original Prom Night.

  10. Top of the World (1997) - On his first night out as a free man, an ex-con (played by Peter Weller) inadvertently gets mixed up in a casino heist. Can he reconcile with his estranged wife (Tia Carrere) without getting them both killed? The film's cast reads like a list of character actor all-stars. In addition to Weller and Carrere, you've got David Alan Grier, Martin Kove, the late Ed Lauter, Cory-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Joe Pantoliano and Peter Coyote. Presiding over this court is none other than Dennis Hopper as the casino's owner!

    So what went wrong? For starters, it doesn't help that Hopper, Weller and Carrere are all sleepwalking through their roles. Second, the movie wants to be too many things all at once. It starts out as a heist film that sharply turns into a Die Hard clone, then morphs once again into a buddy cop movie, then returns to Die Hard mode until a continuity-breaking showdown occurs between Weller and Hopper while hanging from the side of Hoover Dam. As a consequent, the movie feels ten minutes too long. There are a couple of automotive stunt sequences that are handled fairly well, but the movie is plagued by too much filler.

  11. Fifty/Fifty (1992) - From the First Drive-in/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge:
    The CIA hires two wisecracking mercenaries (Peter Weller and Robert Hays) to arm and train a small band of rebels to overthrow the dictator of the fictional island nation of Tengara. When they are sold out by their CIA handler, the pair decide to overthrow the dictator themselves. Take away the squibs, explosions and profanities, and what you have is a Hope/Crosby "Road" movie with Hays in the Hope role and Weller in the Crosby role. It's almost a shame that the duo never does break into song or that Weller doesn't serenade the female lead. Competently directed by Charles Martin Smith.
    IMDb's trivia page for this film claims that it began life as a potential project for Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell, but they opted to make Tango and Cash instead. What could have been...

  12. Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991) - First time on DVD. Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson play the respective title characters (with no connection to the companies associated with the trademarks, as is made explicitly clear in the opening credits) in this mishmash of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Easy Rider set in the far flung future of 1996. Harley and Marlboro are bikers who plan an armored truck heist in order to save their beloved watering hole from foreclosure, but the cargo the truck was delivering turns out to be a dangerous new synthetic drug instead of cash. Things go from bad to worse when a pack of killers in bulletproof dusters shows up looking to reclaim the goods. The cast also includes Giancarlo Esposito, the late wrestler Big John Studd, Chelsea Field, Vanessa Williams, Daniel Baldwin, Branscombe Richmond (from TV's Renegade), Tom Sizemore and Robert Ginty (The Exterminator, Exterminator 2)!

    The film is possibly more entertaining than it ought to be. It meets the all the basic expectations that a viewer has for an action film, but the film has just enough character to distinguish it from the other video store shelf-filler. I'm especially tickled that the filmmakers thought gasoline prices approaching four dollars and a billboard promoting Die Hard V ("Die Hardest") would make funny sight gags. Directed by Simon Wincer.

    Before they were famous: Kelly Hu as a gas station attendant and Tia Carrere (just one year before Wayne's World) as Tom Sizemore's personal assistant

  13. Joysticks (1983) A trio of guys and their attractive gal-pals (including May 1982 Playmate Kym Malin) attempt to save their beloved arcade from a reactionary pillar of the community (played by Joe Don Baker). Everything rides on a game of Super Pac-Man against the notorious King Vidiot (Jon Gries). Joysticks barely hangs together as a movie, but it remains weirdly watchable as a sort of snapshot of America's all-too-brief love affair with video arcades. Corinne Bohrer puts more effort into playing Baker's valley girl daughter than this movie deserves.

  14. Picasso Trigger (1988)
  15. Do or Die (1991) - From the Third Drive-in/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge:
    Not only does Erik Estrada reappear in Do or Die (this time he's wearing a white hat as an Air Force officer), but the film also stars Pat Morita as a Japanese crime lord. In some ways, the presence of these two fading celebrities in the same Andy Sidaris film marks a high point in his popularity (or his notoriety). There are a number of stylish softcore scenes that I daresay show Sidaris reaching for a level of sophistication unseen in his prior films. Unfortunately, the plot and the performances remain characteristically undercooked.
  16. Caged Fury (1990) - It's your typical Hollywood story: a virginal young woman moves from Utah to Los Angeles against her father's wishes to become a star. Through the boyfriend of hitchhiking trailer trash, she gets what she hopes is her big break. Unfortunately, it turns out to be an elaborate frame-up, and both girls are convicted of prostitution! They're sent to the "Honeywell State Prison for Women," where they become the playthings of the lesbian dominatrix warden and the sleazy male prison guards. When the girl's sister winds up falling for the exact same scam, it's up to a motorcyclist (played by Erik Estrada) and a seemingly superhuman kickboxer to free the lingerie-clad inmates! The cast includes a squandered Michael Parks, James Hong and Ron Jeremy(!) in a cameo. In spite of the luridness of the material, there's a strange air of restraint about the film.

  17. Deathrow Gameshow (1987) - If you've ever watched The Running Man and wished Richard Dawson's character was the hero, then have I got the movie for you (actually, I don't).This abysmal dark comedy follows the host of a game show called "Live or Die" that offers death row prisoners their freedom by playing games of chance. Despite the lovely Debra Lamb going topless during the "Dance of the Seven Boners" and the sight of a clearly embarrassed extra half-heartedly humping a roast turkey, there's not a whole lot of laughs to be had. The film also incorporates footage from Crown International's supernatural thriller The Hearse during a nightmare sequence. You can tell, because those few seconds look superior to anything else in the film.

  18. The Arena (1974) - The duo from Black Mama, White Mama are back in this entertaining hybrid of the "swords and sandals" film and "women in prison" film. Margaret Markov and Pam Grier play slaves who are forced to fight to the death in gladiatorial games for their Roman overlords. Joe Dante's editing makes it look as though the two femmes fatale can really fight!
  19. Barbarian Queen (1985) - Lana Clarkson stars in this satisfactory "swords and sorcery" fantasy film. When a band of raiders attacks her village on her wedding day, a woman warrior (Clarkson) goes in search of her kidnapped sister (former jailbait Dawn Dunlap, perhaps most notorious for Laura) and groom-to-be (Z-action star Frank Zagarino). You'll find better sword-fighting in any given episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, and there's a lot of rape on display (including one sequence that's tastelessly played for laughs).
  20. Deathstalker (1983) - Now this is the movie for which Lana Clarkson should be remembered. The story has the title character go on a quest for a series of mystical items in order to defeat an evil wizard and rescue a kidnapped princess (Barbi Benton), but Clarkson's wardrobe (or lack thereof) is maybe the most striking part of the film. Also among the heroic meathead's traveling companions is a swordsman played by the late Richard Brooker (Friday the 13th Part III's Jason Voorhees).

  21. Wandering Ginza Butterfly (1972)
  22. Wandering Ginza Butterfly 2: She-Cat Gambler (1972)
  23. Sonny Chiba's Dragon Princess (1976) - From the Second Drive-in/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge:
    Despite Sonny Chiba's prominence in the title, he only appears for about twenty minutes in the film. Chiba plays a karate master who is forced to leave Japan after being ambushed by his rival and his rival's cronies. In his years of exile, Chiba trains his daughter Yumi (Etsuko "Sue" Shihomi) to exact revenge on his enemies. Once in Japan, Yumi teams up with a mysterious man (Yasuaki Kurata) to take on her father's rival. It's a pretty boilerplate martial arts movie plot (and perhaps owes some credit to Lady Snowblood), but I prefer this film to Shihomi's better-known "Sister Street Fighter" movies. Shihomi has never looked better than she does in this film.
    Although I've seen this film multiple times, it only dawned on me this time around that the bizarre nude scene in the film was most likely inserted by the American distributor just so the film had some sex in it.

  24. No Blade of Grass (1970) - Viewed in observance of Earth Day. After a virus decimates the world's grain supplies and sends a world already weakened by pollution and overpopulation into complete chaos, an architect (Nigel Davenport) leads a group of survivors on a caravan to his brother's potato farm in the northern highlands. Everything reverts to the days of the Wild West once civilization collapes. This is reinforced by the "wagon train" motifs in the film score as well as a standoff with a motorcycle gang. The Naked Prey director Cornel Wilde attempts to shock the audience with flashforward jump cuts and other avant garde gimmickry, but the footage of an actual live childbirth may be the most jarring trick. In addition to Davenport, Anthony May acquits himself very well in the role of the young antihero, Pirrie.

  25. She (1982) - Youtube.
  26. Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983)
  27. Wild Wild Planet (1965)
  28. War of the Planets (1966)
  29. The Snow Devils (1967)
  30. The Green Slime (1968) - From the Second Drive-in/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge:
    A team of astronauts (led by Robert Horton and Richard Jaeckel) is sent on a mission to drill and plant nuclear charges beneath the surface of an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. While Michael Bay took over two hours to tell the same story, Kinji Fukusaku and company do it in a half-hour. As an added bonus, they give us the story of a space station overrun by rubbery, tentacled aliens. Richard Delvy immortalizes it all in the greatest theme song ever recorded. Luciana Paluzzi has the unenviable task of playing the third point in a love triangle between herself, Horton and Jaeckel.
  31. Track of the Moon Beast (1976)
  32. The Crater Lake Monster (1977) - From the First Drive-in/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge:
    A meteor falls into Crater Lake, causing a dormant, fertilized plesiosaur egg to hatch. It doesn't take long for the dinosaur to develop a taste for cattle, sightseers and fugitives. Only the courage of the town sheriff (along with the noble sacrifice of a local yokel) proves powerful enough to stop the creature. Stop-motion sequences by David W. Allen momentarily increase the film's production values by eleventy percent, but the sequences only comprise five or ten minutes of the film's total runtime.
  33. Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956)

First-time Viewings = 17


Last edited by nezumi; 03-31-15 at 09:12 PM.
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