Movie Review: ATTACK FROM SPACE

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attack from spaceWalter Marley Enterprises Inc.
1964
NR

Back in the later part of the 1950s, there was a series of short films produced in Japan featuring a superhero names Super Giants. Note I said “a” – singular – superhero, that goes by the name “Super Giants” – plural. It’s one guy, who is also not so giant–he’s regular size. His origin story goes that he is a human-like being created from the strongest steel by the Peace Council of the Emerald Planet to destroy evil and restore peace in the universe. There were nine total short films in the series, all of which were purchased by Walter Marley Enterprises and Medallion Films for television distribution here in the United States.

Of course, here in the States, instead of showing them in their original cuts, we had to edit some of them together into movie-length features, renamed the main hero Starman, resulting in some completely bonkers sci-fi flicks. Attack From Space was one of those movies.

Featuring an edit of the 5th and 6th films in the original series, Attack From Space has our hero Super Gi…er, I mean Starman sent to Earth to protect us from the jerks from the Sapphire Galaxy, who want to conquer our universe. For what reason, I don’t know. Prime real estate? Closer proximity to Starbucks? Regardless, they want our world, and they begin by kidnapping Earth scientist Dr. Yamanaka and take him another satellite of EVIL! And it’s up to the goofy looking Starman and a couple of annoying Earth kids to save Dr. Yamanaka and the Earth from the Sapphireans’ Death Star! And no, that wasn’t a joke. They really have a “death star”.

Attack From Space is one of those mind-bendingly bad movies that you enjoy like one enjoys an old-timey Flash Gordon serial: by repressing your logic sensors and enjoying the weirdness in all its low-budget glory. Revel in the goofiest-looking superhero get-up you’ll ever lay your eyes upon. Marvel at the level of earnest cheese of the plot. Try not to have your head explode over the blatant abuse of logic. And remember to have all of your friends with copious amounts of adult beverages around when you watch this.

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Movie Review: FUTURE FORCE

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future forceEcho Bridge Entertainment
1989
R

“David Harris? I’m John Tucker, Civilian Operation Police. You have committed a crime and are presumed guilty. You have the right to die. If you choose to relinquish that right, you will be placed under arrest and imprisoned. I haven’t got all night.”

Imagine, if you will, a movie that conspired to mash together Dirty Harry with RoboCop (the original good one), bringing in a beer gut-sporting David Carradine to star and give it a budget approximately a quarter of that of a regular action blockbuster. The result is this experiment in schlock b-movie cheese, Future Force

After an introduction informing the viewer that in the post-apocalyptic future of 1991, we learn that the regular police forces have been replaced by a kind of privately funded bounty hunter league that goes by the acronym C.O.P.S. The biggest bad-ass member is John Tucker, who has a Nintendo Power Glove Cyber Gauntlet to help him fight the crime…which he utilizes only a couple of times, and keeps in the trunk of his vehicle. Otherwise, he relies on his swagger, a couple of pistols and his beer gut-fueled sweet, sweet martial arts moves. Of course, the corporate jerk who funds the C.O.P.S. is what you would call a bit corrupt, so while putting a bounty on a news reporter doing an expose’ on his corrupt-ness, Tucker decides that something’s amiss, and takes to protecting the reporter. Which leads to a bounty being put on Tucker. Now he has to protect the reporter, and avoid being ganked by his fellow C.O.P.S. who didn’t really like him much to begin with, and uncover the conspiracy behind everything in time to get back to doing what he does best. Whatever that is, I’ll let you know when I find out.

Future Force turns out to be the kind of sci-fi action flick that is short on both action and sci-fi. That’s not to say it’s totally bereft of both: There’s some riveting 35-mile-an-hour chase scenes, and that power glove cyber gauntlet thing that is featured so predominately on the movie poster is actually utilized a couple of times. Once by remote control, to punch a guy in the crotch. And then give the “thumbs up” before flying back to the main protagonist’s trunk of his vehicle.

Everything about this movie is low budget. The effects, the acting, the settings, the filming and editing. The fat that the “future” in a movie called Future Force is only two years off from when the movie first premiered is a major red flag. But, oh, the biggest disappointment here is David Carradine’s phoned-in performance. I didn’t expect A-level action star calibre from him, mind you…but I expected something.

I would say, overall, Future force would barely qualify as a So Bad It’s Good flick. Maybe to marvel at the ineptitude of it all. Otherwise, you’re not missing anything if you pass on this.

Book Review: NEW ADVENTURES IN H.P. LOVECRAFT’S DREAMLANDS Vol. 1-4

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Brian Lumley
Tor Books
1986-1990

By now, if you know anything about British author Brian Lumley by the book reviews I maintain on this blog o’mine, that one of his most obvious literary inspirations was H.P. Lovecraft. Not only has the lore inspired and influenced Lumley’s own blend of weird science fiction and horror hybrids; like many other authors have done before and since, he’s also gleefully frolicked in the mythos of the worlds Lovecraft built in his short career in speculative fiction. One of these was a four-volume set of books set in the Dreamlands from the Dream Cycle stories, featuring the adventures of erstwhile dream-questers David Hero and Eldin the Wanderer.

Each of these four books clock in at a surprisingly brief (for Lumley) 240-some-odd pages, really more of a set of four novellas. Normally, I would do a separate review for each, but in this instance , given the brevity of the books, I decided to read each one of them first, and review them all together in one review. You’re welcome.

1 hero of dreams

  • Volume 1: Hero Of Dreams

Something vital is missing from David Hero’s comfortable, ordinary existence. One day is much like the next, simple, predictable…boring. But the nights! Each night David Hero finds himself transported to a marvelous world where brave men and women battle terrible creatures possessed of cruel, dark powers. Despite his fears, the Dreamworlds tempt David, drawing him farther and farther from the waking world. Here he finds noble warriors; beautiful, loving women; and challenges almost greater than he can imagine.

2 ship of dreams

  • Volume 2: Ship Of Dreams

Once David Hero was an ordinary man living in the real world. Now he is trapped in the Dreamlands, cut off from the waking world. David Hero’s dreams and nightmares have become his only reality. Led by wickedly beautiful Queen Zura, the zombie armies of the dead are on the march. They will destroy the beautiful Dreamlands, making them a permanent, deadly nightmare. Unaware of the marauding zombies, David Hero and his friend Eldin voyage through the clouds in a wondrous skyship. their journey is interrupted by a pack of faceless nightgaunts, terrifying creatures, half-man and half-bat–and all evil! David Hero is one of Zura’s first targets. As a man of the waking world, he can withstand her terrible seductive power and shatter her shambling armies. David Hero must be the first Dreamlands hero to die.

3 mad moon of dreams

  • Volume 3: Mad Moon Of Dreams

Swollen, glowing oddly in the gloom of night, the moon hangs lower and lower over the Dreamlands. Its weird, unearthly light transforms beautiful landscapes into twisted nightmares and imperils the sanity of any who walk abroad after sunset. Beams of terrible power stab the unsuspecting earth, destroying the land, shattering buildings, and dragging people into the shrieking sky, straight toward the hellish moon! David Hero, once a man of the waking world, finds himself fighting side by side with his worst enemies–Zura and her zombie armies, the Eidolon Lathi and her termite men–against the slimy, many-tentacled moon monster.

4 iced on aran

  • Volume 4: Iced On Aran

Atop the Dreamlands’ most majestic mountain is an unusual sculpture garden, featuring statues of the Dreamlands’ legendary heroes. For generations insane artists have created and tended the glistening statues of ice. Each hero is represented by twin portraits–perfectly matched except for the expressions of horror frozen into one of each pair! Seated on a chilly rock, David Hero is the mad sculptor’s newest subject. He sees nothing to account for the fear and dread on the icy faces that surround him. Until he attempts to rise from his pedestal–and discovers that the rock is not the only thing shrouded in ice! Trapped by black sorcery, David Hero has only one chance at escape.

Overall…yeah, this entire series was kind of a slog to get through. I’m not really that big of a fan of the pulp style that Lumley utilizes in a lot of his mythos stories, and here it’s just about as purple prose and over-the-top as they get. After the first book, the two main characters–who were both members of the waking world–get permanently stuck in the Dreamlands due to their real selves dying off at the end of the first book. I would think that the saga would have been a bit more interesting had there been a kind of contrast between the two reconciling their waking and dreaming identities in their lives. But, apparently that kind of dichotomy was too much to explore. Keep things with the swashbuckling swords and sorcery daring-do and all that.

Truth be told, it took me far longer than it should have to get through this series. The first book I had to pick up as an eBook, as I couldn’t find it in physical form anywhere. Regardless, I probably won’t be reading these again any time soon.

 

Music Review: JIMMY P. BROWN II – Eraser Head

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via Music Review: JIMMY P. BROWN II – Eraser Head

Music Review: HAVE MERCY – Armageddon Descends

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via Music Review: HAVE MERCY – Armageddon Descends

 

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Movie Review: PRAY.

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prayCross Shadow Productions
2007
NR

I’ve always said that the horror genre is the perfect medium for Christians to get involved in. I say that with absolutely no sarcasm or irony whatsoever. But, of course, this is generally not very well received by most of my fellow brethren and sisteren who share the faith in Christ Jesus as I do. You may have noticed that I don’t generally watch a lot of Evangelical Christian produced movies, for the obvious reasons. But, once in a while, I come across something so utterly adorable that the Evangelical Christian market puts out, I have to actually watch it just to marvel at it. Sometimes I enjoy it for all the wrong reasons. It’s the same reason why I love movies like The Room and Birdemic.

Recently, thanks mainly to the YouTube channel Say Goodnight Kevin, I discovered the attempt to make a Dove-Approved, family friendly slasher horror. That, of course, seems as feasible as dividing by zero. But, then, here we go. The movie is called Pray. (that period is actually part of the title, not the indicator that I’m done writing the sentence), and I believe I may have found that rare treat for my bad movie watchin’ tastes. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Madison and Lacy enjoy an out-of-town Christian rock concert. After some eerie events, the friends decide to drive back to their hometown. However, someone or something follows them home! Events unfold that find Madison alone at the mall later that evening. The mall closes, and we find our heroine mysteriously trapped inside. It will take her resolute strength and unflinching faith to escape!

Pray. is the most amazeballs movie I’ve every had the gleeful joy of watching. I mean that. This movie manages to hit near The Room levels of badness that it must be seen to be believed. There is just so much to unravel here that I really don’t know where to begin. But, here goes.

First off, not only do we start with a text of the definition of the word “miracle”, but the movie itself doesn’t think that we, the viewers, are competent enough to take it in, so there’s a handy-dandy voice-over reading the text out loud for us. I love it when the movie I’m watching decides to insult my intelligence right off the bat. It gets this out of the way, so I can settle in and enjoy things. Anyway, the acting here is about what you would expect from a low-budget Christian-based independent flick–meaning, I wouldn’t be surprised if they used volunteers from the church to film this, with a script that just had a general outline of what was going to go on, some minimal dialogue actually written out, then the rest just improvised for filler. There’s a scene early on, when the gang of kids emerge from where the nondescript “Christian rock concert” was, and the WGWAG* has his guitar strapped to him. He wasn’t a member of the band. He brought his acoustic guitar with him to the concert. Look, I’m acquainted with plenty of acoustic guitar enthusiast youth group types, and I’ve yet to witness any one of them take their guitar with them to a concert, Christian, rock or otherwise, unless they’ve got a set to play themselves. But, I digress.

The pacing and editing is shoddy, the film making is worse than amateur, many of the shots were lit very badly, and don’t even get me started about the complete lack of actual scares, tension or suspense in this so-called “horror” movie. Look, I understand that, to get a movie “Dove Approved”, there has to be certain homogenizing going on to get just the right amount of sanctification to make this family friendly. I wouldn’t be complaining much if the makers of this movie just relied heavily on jump scares, but even that’s too scary for Christians, apparently. Mind you, there’s a lot of music cue buildup to what you may thing will be a scary payoff, but no. The actual killer in this–listed on the IMDB page as “the Shape”, so they’ve ripped off something from a much, much better movie, par for the course for any Evangelical Christian attempt at pop culture–looks so very much lame: a hoodie and one of those translucent masks that you can get at any dollar store nearby. And that final twist ending itself not only insults your intelligence, but then punches it in the gut, and spits on it as it lays on the ground in the fetal position, before riding off with its girlfriend on a motorcycle. Seriously, this twist will make you pine for the days when “The call is coming from inside the house!” made your bellybutton pucker.

So, what else do I have to say? Would you believe there have been two sequels to this movie? With the third one in 3D. Because of course there is. You better believe I have those two cued up in my streaming account as we speak. In the meantime, though, Pray. (you gotta remember that period, it’s important) needs to be watched by everybody. Highly recommended for all the wrong reasons.

[*=“White Guy With Acoustic Guitar”]

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