Posts Tagged ‘Charles Band


Puppetmaster (1989)

Sexy puppets! Be careful, she's probably gonna nibble on ya...

Sexy puppets! Be careful, she’s probably gonna nibble on ya…

Some time ago, I committed to watching all of the Puppetmaster movies. I did this not knowing exactly what I was getting into. I had heard that Puppetmaster and its sequels had left something to be desired, but I still pushed forward, insisting this is actually a goal I should pursue. I mean, there are like 11 sequels to the first Puppetmaster, it has to have something going for it, right?

Um, no. Wrong. Dead wrong. Puppetmaster was one of the most boring, disappointing movies I’ve ever seen in my life. The characters are stupid, the plot is thin, the acting is incredibly poor, and considering we have murdering dolls on our hands, the special effects don’t pull their fair share of the weight either. 

I don’t even know if it’s worth summarizing, but since I’m here I’ll do it anyway. Andre Toulon (William Hickey) is an amazing puppeteer who has unleashed an Egyptian spell which brings inanimate objects to life. The Nazis (of course) want this technology and just as they’re beating down Toulon’s hotel door,



he blows his own brains out to avoid being used as a puppet (heh, heh, get it?) by the evil Nazis. 

Fast-forward fifty years. A jerk named Neil Gallagher has also unleashed the same Egyptian spell, staged his own death, and invited a bunch of his psychic friends to the old hotel to kill them, or something, I guess. Whatever. 

I must say I’m still curious to see if these sequels actually offer anything more interesting, exciting or worthwhile than the first film. It’s not unheard of to have a sequel outdo its predecessor, I’m just not sure the folks at Full Moon are where I should be looking for such a thing. Ugh. The worst. 


Bad Channels (1992)

I had to keep reminding myself that the reason why we decided to watch Bad Channels is because it is very tenuously connected to the Dollman and Demonic Toys flicks, movies that we will soon watch every single one of. Considering how bad Bad Channels is, you’d think we’d reconsider our completist vow to watch all things Dollman and Demonic Toys, but you’d be wrong.

Famous veejay Martha Quinn!

Famous veejay Martha Quinn!

Remember Martha Quinn? Okay, okay, you don’t. But what about MTV veejay Martha Quinn? Coming back to you now? Here she plays Lisa, an ambitious news anchor determined to sink her teeth into the next big story, which she believes is the alien that just came out of that flying saucer she saw. Her boss, unfortunately, doesn’t agree, and makes her cover the reopening of a local radio station whose frequency can reach far distances. A gimmicky shock-jock has chained himself to the studio and promises to play nothing but polka until someone comes up with the right combination to unlock him from his chains.

Alien and deejay.

Alien and deejay.

Sound tiresome yet? We’re not even close to done. Shock-jock rigs the contest, frees himself, and starts playing rock and roll. Soon after, the station is invaded by aliens who use its frequency to connect with the minds of righteous young babes who love hair metal and grunge music alike. The aliens use their super alien powers to beam the girls into tiny little glass jars in the studio. Seems that once they get a collection, they’re going to rocket off into space with them.

Smells Like Bad Channels.

Smells Like Bad Channels.

First of all, Martha Quinn is not a very good actress. I found her constant exasperation really, really… exasperating. Second, this movie is just very poorly put together. When the aliens take over the brains of the unfortunate young ladies, the scene just stop dead and the movie turns into a music video. A bad music video. A nineties music video. There are jokes here, and they aren’t funny. The movie touts a soundtrack by Blue Öyster Cult, but I think they only do one or two songs. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this movie is noticing that the “kick 100% of your ass” guy from Fast Times at Ridgemont High is in it.

Unfortunately, "Bad Channels" is not 100% guaranteed.

Unfortunately, “Bad Channels” is not 100% guaranteed.


Crash and Burn (1990)

CrashAndBurnPosterThe Cull* continues with Crash and Burn, another post-apocalyptic science fiction adventure which, lucky for us, was much, much better than the now-culled Circuitry ManThank goodness all post-apocalyptic films aren’t created equal.

The year is 2030, the temperature: hot. The Earth is a wasteland. Humans shouldn’t go outside without wearing their cool-suits. Unicom is a corporate giant that controls everything from television to freon distribution. Robots have been outlawed, and so has personal computer use. A cog in Unicom’s wheel, Tyson Keen is just trying to deliver some freon to an independent television studio. The owner of the station, Lathan Hooks, lives there with his granddaughter Arren and a few other folks, including a satellite school-teacher and a disgusting Rush Limbaugh type television host.

Lathan and Arren are members of the Resistance, and so Tyson has to prove himself a good guy before he can be trusted. This is easily done since Tyson is obviously ignorant of his employer’s underhanded practices. The group is about to hunker down for a “thermal,” a heat-storm that keeps people inside for days at a time. It is during this storm that one of the crew murders Lathan. Arren is left to prove to the others that there is double-agent in their midst.

Arren & Tyson

Arren & Tyson

This movie isn’t bad! It helps having pretty low expectations, and honestly anything after Circuitry Man would probably seem passable – but this is charming in its own way. I’m also a fan of its anti-corporate message. Some of its social commentary was even meaningful and prophetic (though that word is way too strong, I think it gets the point across). Would I recommend this movie to someone? Probably not, but it has survived the cull, so that must mean something!

*Q and I have decided it’s time for a great cull; an early spring cleaning. We have a large number of movies we have not yet seen. Are these movies any good? This is the question we are out to answer. If it’s no good, out it goes.


Trancers (1985)

trancers posterNo, I don’t like Blade Runner. I don’t even like Mad About You, and yet somehow I really enjoyed Trancers. Yeah, Trancers is Blade Runner for kids, and yeah, it stars Helen Hunt, but holy crap it’s so much fun. It also helps that it certainly must have had some sort of influence on everyone’s favorite time-travel show Quantum Leap. But Jack Deth is way cooler than Sam Beckett (just realized his name is Sam Beckett. What’s that even mean!?).

Jack Deth is a badass cop who is on the hunt for super-baddie Martin Whistler, a psychic genius who turns his followers into zombies. Like we’ve seen in some other movies recently (Full Eclipse, Predator 2, both of which also remind me of Point Break) Deth is in a constant struggle with his superiors that eventually results in his resignation. This doesn’t last long, though, because this golden boy has been chosen by a group of leading elders who are all singled out by Whistler. Whistler’s creative way of deleting the elders from the world is time-travel: going back in time

Deth. Jack Deth.

Deth. Jack Deth.

and destroying their ancestors.

So, Deth agrees to take a drug which sends him back into the past, into the body of one of his very own ancestors. He travels with two important accessories: a swatch that will stop time for everyone but him for 10 seconds (which can only be used once), and a gun that had the antidote to the time-travel drug with two doses: one for him, and one for Whistler once he is caught.

Dude, cycle hits window. Window breaks.

Dude, cycle hits window. Window breaks.

Deth’s a lucky guy, and when he rolls on into 1985 Los Angeles, he wakes up next to a “punk” girl named Leena. In this scene we’re treated to some very adorable Quantum Leap moments as Deth orients himself to the new world and all the fun begins.

I like this movie so much, and I probably like it because it is totally ridiculous. Deth is your traditional Noir detective, and so the movie is packed with one-liners. Helen Hunt is actually pretty good, but I don’t think Charles Band knows what punk is, and that’s okay.


Spellcaster (1992)

Could you say no to a thirty-three-cent copy of a 90’s horror videocassette starring Adam Ant? Neither could I. Spellcaster doesn’t actually star Adam Ant, in fact I don’t think you actually see his face until the last five minutes of the movie. But it does indeed star one Ms. Bunty Bailey, none other than the chick from A-ha’s video for Take On Me.

Bunty Bailey’s Cassandra Castle: A lot less cute than her Take On Me moment!

Bailey plays Cassandra Castle, an insufferable, drunken pop star who begrudgingly agrees to isolate herself with several lucky contest winners in an Italian castle for a weekend. The chance to be near Castle is just icing on the cake; the real prize is a check for one million dollars to whomever finds it first. The check is hidden somewhere in the old castle, owned by the mysterious Diablo, played by Ant. Castle abhors her fans, her job, the awful “veejay” Rex who is hosting the fiasco, and herself. She promises Rex she’ll keep the check hidden from the contestants so they can split the goods, as long as he enforces the rule that none of the contestants can come near her, but Diablo and his crystal ball have different plans for that check.

Honestly, you can’t blame Castle for not wanting to be around the terrible contestants. They each represent the worst stereotypes of their respective countries: The creepy Italian womanizer, the French diva, the rich English colonialist, the fat American, and so on. I actually wondered at one point if the contestants were supposed to represent the seven deadly sins, but that never really seemed to pan out. As the contest begins, we see real greed at work, and as contestants break the one real rule of the contest – don’t fuck with Diablo’s shit – they begin to drop like flies.

The audience has to wait as long as the contestants to meet Diablo.

Ultimately this is Willy Wonka for horror fans… only it’s less creepy. Like Willy Wonka, Diablo’s purpose was to weed out the bad apples to find the good, pure soul. The difference, of course, is that Diablo wants that soul for his very own. In the grand scheme of things, this movie isn’t bad at all; it had some pretty good special effects and, come on, it had the chick from Take On Me and Adam Ant (albeit for a brief scene). I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a hidden gem, but it comes close – you could do a whole lot worse (and believe me, I have!). It’s just good enough to keep me gambling on cheap videocassettes. Whether that’s good or bad I’ve yet to decide.


Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice (1988)

Our local Value Village offers a wide array of VHS tapes at 49 cents a pop. Seeing as how we’ve got two VCRs, how are we to resist wonders such as Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice?

Curse IV’s ancient (yawn) demon (ya-a-aawn).

I’ve never seen any of the Curse movies, but it doesn’t matter. This movie was filmed in 1988 and was supposed to be named Catacombs, but its distributor went out of business. It wasn’t until 1993 it was finally released as part of the Curse franchise, because, you know… why not?

There is pretty much nothing remarkable about this movie, except the fact that it stars Ian Abercrombie (Seinfeld’s Mr. Pitt) as the brother superior in a Spanish monastery. The monastery hides a secret in its basement: an ancient demon chained and sealed in a wall.

How is this demon released? Why is it there? What are its intentions? If you want to know, too bad for you, you will never find out. This movie does have a slight sense of humor about itself, but it is not good. Let me say that again: this movie is not good. The best part about the movie, for me, was the part when one of the brothers cut up a Snickers bar into bite-sized pieces, much like Mr. Pitt does on Seinfeld (skip to the 2 minute marker in this video).

Note to self (and anyone out there listening): don’t just buy a movie because it’s 49 cents.

Note to self part 2: who are you kidding, your curiosity will always force you to buy the 49 cent movie, watch it, and complain about it later.


Old Wave