Some movies you just have to see to believe. And then there’s those you can’t believe even after you’ve seen ’em. You stagger around your mom’s basement in a stupor. Eyes bleeding, you scour the floor for empty rubbing alcohol bottles so you can reassure yourself that what you’ve just witnessed wasn’t real, that it only some horrible chemical induced hallucination. Rhinestone (1984), the story of how Dolly Parton trains Sylvester Stallone to be the next country music sensation, is one of those movies. It’s not a hallucination. It’s all too real.
The evil Count Zarth Arn has secretly constructed the ultimate space weapon. The son of the Emperor of the Universe has mysteriously disappeared. And only sultry space smuggler Stella Star, her selectively psychic co-pilot, and a misogynist robot gunslinger with a Texan accent can save the day. No, seriously. I’m not making this up.
Luigi Cozzi’s Starcrash is more than just another Star Wars rip-off from the sci-fi boom of the ‘70s and ‘80s. It’s a quirky marriage of European and American pulp sensibilities. It’s a loving tribute to Barbarella, Ray Harryhausen, and the space adventure serials of the ‘30s. It’s an oft derided and misunderstood mini masterpiece of Euro-exploitation cinema. Continue reading
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “A Princess of Mars” (1912) is a steampunk sword-and-sandal masterpiece. It’s the classic tale of John Carter, a Confederate soldier who astral-projects himself to Mars, becomes a superhero, and hooks up with the hottest babe in the multiverse. It’s the ultimate in juvenile escapist fantasy. At age 13 I read a musty 300+ page first edition in one sitting. I may have given myself a bladder infection in the process, but it was totally worth it.
For the past century this pulp masterwork has been the elusive Holy Grail of film adaptations. Countless filmmakers, including Looney Tunes animator Bob Clampett, famed stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts), and Jon Favreau (Elf) have made several attempts at filming a “Princess of Mars” movie and failed miserably. But in 2012, with the (disastrous) release of John Carter, Pixar vet Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) and screenwriter Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys, “The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”) were the first to bring Burrough’s interstellar adventure to the big screen. Or were they?
In 2009, The Asylum, purveyors of such notorious bargain basement “mockbusters” as Transmorphers and Snakes on a Train, released Princess of Mars. This is a rare instance where an Asylum rip-off came out years before its big budget counterpart. But more importantly – and it disgusts me to my core to write this – this means that The Asylum achieved what Clampett, Harryhausen, and many of the greatest filmmakers in history could not. The Asylum successfullyfilmed one of the most eagerly anticipated film adaptations in history. Please excuse me while I wipe the vomit from my mouth.
Lee Vincent (Jon Hamm) is a struggling B-movie actor and single dad. Once an Oscar-nominated thespian, the only starring roles Vincent can get these days are in schlockbusters like Dr. Frankenstein M.D. and Wolfman of Alcatraz. While shooting the SyFy Channel production of The Mummy vs. the Giant Glob, Vincent somehow drowns in a swamp while wearing his mummy costume. He’s then miraculously resurrected by a stray bolt of lightning, and the undead Vincent must now rescue his kids from the clutches of his rich, ruthless father-in-law (Robert Loggia). Meanwhile, another stray bolt of lightning hits the silicone gel used for the Glob effects, bringing it to life, and the Glob consumes everything in its path. Can Mummy Daddy save his kids? And Cleveland? And make a SyFy film that doesn’t suck?
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From Razzie Award-winning director Uwe Boll and the producers of the Twilight Saga comes the romantic story of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. Taylor Lautner (Twilight, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D) gives an inspired performance as the hunky Hitler, a young struggling artist whose career is going nowhere. What Adolf needs is a muse, and she appears in the form of the beautiful (and Jewish) Rivka, played by Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, Chloe), the woman who would break his heart and shape the fate of Europe forever.
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