Oasis of the Zombies (C, 1981) AKA Tombs of the Living Dead, Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies, Treasure of the Living Dead
Absolutely worthless dreck about some people going to the desert site of a lame WW2 battle (shown in flashback - never has a shootout been so dull) to look for gold hidden by Rommel. They raise the ire of some undead Nazis guarding the place. The zombies look pathetic - just people with some dried glue on their faces. One looks like it died of surprise (big googly eyes) and one of 'em even appears to be some sort of puppet. They're the worst zombies I've ever seen, and that covers some ground. In fact, this is, hands down, the worst zombie film I've ever seen - it's so boring that it's very difficult to sit through. Jess Franco is vaguely connected with it - some footage was apparently stolen from one of his films and he's one of the zombie extras - that could be part of the reason it's so bad. It's French, and so is the similar Zombie Lake that Jean Rollin put out just to pay some bills. Not even good enough to be good-bad. -zwolf

The Old Testament (C, 1962)
Italian epic in Supertotalscope! Whatever that means. Must be a god-thing. A guy named Judas (no, not that one, this is the Old Testament, remember?), a blacksmith, and *GOD* fight off pagan invaders. When the invasions become too much, they wander out into the desert like Moses. The bad guys wear upside-down lampshades on their heads, and whip enemies and bury them up to their necks in the sand. Spectacle battle scenes and impressive sets, but has little to do with the Bible. Plenty of action, but still pretty dull. At least now you won't have to read the book. -zwolf

Olga's House of Shame (B&W, 1964) AKA 36 Hours of Terror, House of Shame
Third in the obscurely-infamous Olga series. Audrey Campbell is back as the sadistic, perverse queen of all-things-criminal. She's dealing with narcotics, prostitution, and jewel-smuggling, keeping her couriers honest by keeping them terrorized with rubber-hose beatings, tightening vices on their wrists, soldering-irons to the cleavage, pliers to the fingers, bondage, scrub-brushes, and some really light-looking slaps. One girl escapes and is chased through the woods with melodramatics straight from the days of Lillian Gish. There are also intermittent scenes of lesbian belly-dancing. Olga ties girls to trees and puts them in an electric chair to shock them until they're "reduced to the moronic stages of life." There's not much of a story (that would only get in the way, really) and most of it is narrated, with heavy use of classical music, but there are a couple of brief sound-synched scenes. Some cheap mild gore (magic marker lines for whip-lashings) round it out. Old exploitation film that paved the way for the heavier Ilsa films. A sequel called Olga's Garden of Bondage was planned, but that never happened. -zwolf

One For The Road (C, 1982) AKA Against All Hope
Just in case you're not enough of a reader to make it through one of those Jack Chick religious comic books, here's the movie equivalent... and it features Michael "The guy who cut off the dude's ear and fed it to him in Reservoir Dogs" Madsen in his first starring role, as Cecil Moe, the kind of guy G G Allin would call "scumfuck alley trash." He scams booze from gutter drunks and alienates his wife to the point where she's gonna leave him and take the kids. He can't stop drinking, feels like killing himself, and calls a random preacher in the middle of the night for a talk. The preacher tells him to come over and Cecil Moe spills his tale of Cecil woe, which all started the day he fell off his horse, "Peanuts." Going in to tell his mom about it, he finds her dying. She lives long enough to be abused by a hateful nurse who later becomes Cecil's stepmother, and she doesn't treat him all that well, either, so he runs away (with his stuff tied to a stick, no less) and eventually joins the Navy. His dad dies (after being beaten up by the hellish stepmom) and Cecil takes up chugging cheap booze, after asking a friend if he feels better drunk. Then Cecil gets a wife and kids, and after some problems he quits drinking, and everything's great. But then some of his old drinking buddies pressure him into having just "one" more drink, and he's off the wagon and down the road, skipping work to drink and selling his wife's car for beer money. They end up living in a rat-infested slum and then Cecil spends his son's medicine money (gotten by pawning a toaster and a necklace) to buy booze, while the kid sits at home coughing his unsaved little lungs out. There ends Cecil's tale of misery, and the preacher babbles some simplistic scripture that even Cecil doesn't understand the relevance of, hears "Jesus loves you," and then everything's peachy! Hooray! Then Cecil becomes hard to live with, 'cuz he's not drinking any more, but he talks about Jesus nonstop. This is one of the worst, unintentionally funniest movies ever, and I am so damn glad that I shelled out $4.95 for the no-budget DVD (the picture quality's really rough and blurry but that kinda adds to the atmosphere, really), because I literally laughed so hard at parts of this that I couldn't even make any noise. The acting (even Madsen's) is about on the level of Miss Crabtree's from "Little Rascals" (i.e. 'bout as bad as humanly possible) and the script is so melodramatic that you won't believe it. Plus the message is really skewed; it makes Christians look like total losers who can't deal with real life and need to be addicted to something - basically, Jesus is just a substitute for booze. This has all the gritty sleaze look of movies like Combat Shock and Deadbeat at Dawn, but it's got a moral! Christianity at its most simpleminded! I'm seriously wondering if it's not based on one of those Chick comics. WONDERFULLY awful, a hidden gem that should be sought out. -zwolf

One Night at McCool's (C, 2001)
I should be screaming praise for this movie, since it stars the lovely Liv Tyler... I love me some Liv Tyler, boy! But even with her onscreen for most of the film, I could barely sit through this predictable piece of shit. Liv plays Jewel, an e-e-e-evil seductress who uses men to get what she wants. Much of the story is told in flashback, from the perspectives of three of the men whose lives she's touched (or should that be destroyed?), played by Matt Dillon, Paul Reiser, & the always excellent John Goodman. It is a telling indictment of this film that even John Goodman couldn't salvage this one from the crapper. I can't even recommend the film to my fellow perverts, since Ms. Tyler has not even one measly nude scene, just some very softcore tease-stuff. If you're just looking for some good sexy & nude footage of Liv, go rent Stealing Beauty again... If you're looking for a better film about a beautiful, evil girl & her effects on the men around her, see Saving Silverman, which isn't to say that's a good film, just better than this one! -igor

Organized Crime and Triad Bureau (C, 1994) AKA Chungon satluk linggei
John Woo veterans Danny Lee and Anthony Wong square off against each other in this cops and robbers saga. Lee leads an overworked police squad in a dogged pursuit of Wong's gang of thieves. They round up a lot of the crooks, but Wong and his mistress escape to an island and go into hiding. They're pretty miserable, covered in dung and eating dried jellyfish, and the cops aren't too happy, either, because their headquarters hassles them and doesn't provide much support... especially since they torture suspects and try to cover it up. Lee may not be the nicest cop in the world, but he is one of the most determined, so he seals off the island and catches Wong... but his girl breaks him out and they engage in a massive shootout with the cops. Oddly, the criminals seem to get more sympathy from the filmmakers than the cops in this one. Fast-paced (you'll have to stay on your toes to keep up), but it's a gritty, workman-like film, so even though it's intelligent and has plenty of style, don't expect John Woo craziness. But you don't need Woo every time, so this one's definitely worth checking out for fans of Hong Kong action. The director went on to do the American film The Big Hit. Amazingly enough, this hard-ass film was written by a guy calling himself Winky Wong. I guess if you're going to walk the streets with a name like that, you've got to be pretty tough. -zwolf

The Other Hell (C, 1980) AKA The Presence, Guardian of Hell, L' Altra Inferno
Bizarre entry into the small, twisted "nunsploitation" horror subgenre, directed by Bruno Mattei... which means it's going to be at least somewhat laughable. A young nun discovers that the nun who does the embalming for the convent is a freaking nut; she carves the genitals out of dead nuns and shakes them about while ranting that the vagina is another gateway to Hell. Satan himself watches them... or maybe there's just a pinball machine in the basement, because he's personified by two blinking red lights that I suppose are his eyes. Another nun goes crazy and starts raving that the whole convent is possessed and that the Devil is in Heaven. Another develops stigmata. And soon nuns are getting possessed or dying right and left. A priest who's been sent in to exorcize the convent has to find out what's behind the hellish sickness, which includes rubber bats, priests burned to death, rotting heads in the sacristy, babydolls hanging in the cobwebbed attic, a faceless nun who lurks about, maggots, dog attacks, boiled babies, stabbing, telekinesis, zombies, and all kinds of spooky craziness... basically any and everything that Mattei could fit in that he thought would be creepy. And he hits the mark pretty well in some spots, but others fall flat because of their derivativeness (it steals from The Devils, The Exorcist, Carrie, etc.) and because of some poor special-effects compromises : the blinking-light devil and an obvious baby doll's eye that's supposed to be a real baby in close-up). Still, it's better than you'd expect from the guy who brought you the stock-footage-filled Hell of the Living Dead and the astoundingly-bad dialogue and costuming of Rats: Night of Terror (both of which were very enjoyable, anyway - the guy's bad, but I love his stuff). Worthwhile viewing for fans of Italian horror despite its shortcomings. Has a Goblin score, mostly borrowed from Beyond the Darkness. -zwolf

The Others (C, 2001)
Nicole Kidman plays a war widow on an island off the coast of England after WWI with two sick children, both so extremely photosensitive that all of the curtains must remain drawn, among other measures. The huge manor they occupy is soon staffed with new help, a trio of mysterious newcomers, as strange goings-on go on. No gore, but there are some genuinely creepy moments in this film & the plot careens through more twists & turns than the average digestive tract. The children are both very good actors, & featured in many of the scary moments of the film. I nailed one of the film's big revelations in the first few minutes of the film, but was happily surprised by a couple of other events & disclosures along the way. An interesting & well-made film from director Alejandro Amenábar, who is also responsible for Abre Los Ojos, which was remade immediately (& poorly) as Vanilla Sky. Recommended for fans of The Sixth Sense or The Changeling. -igor

Out of the Blue (C, 1980) AKA No Looking Back
...and into the black. Dennis Hopper directed this white-trash drama in which he plays a truck driver who drunkenly drives his semi through a school bus full of kids and goes to jail for five years. In the meantime his tomboy daughter C. B. is becoming a juvenile delinquent, operating under a strange combo of Sex Pistols and Elvis influences. Her mom's a slutty junkie, so C. B. spends most of her time roaming the streets, hitchhiking, goofing around on the CB radio in her dad's old wrecked truck, hanging out with street people, yelling "muthafucka" at every available opportunity, and trying to "subvert normality." She does a pretty good job of that last thing, but it keeps getting her in trouble, and when her dad gets released from jail her hopes for things to get better prove unfounded because he's still pretty messed up. He loves her and means well, but he's irresponsible and incorrigible and nothing good's going to come of it. It's all very existential and doesn't have much plot, but in dealing with such go-nowhere directionless lives, that's pretty much the point. Worth checking out and not badly done. As you can probably guess from the title, Neil Young's "My My Hey Hey" figures heavily in the soundtrack. -zwolf

Out on the Edge (C, first aired on CBS-TV May 14, 1989)
Ricky (excuse me, Rick) Schroder stars as a troubled teen in this made-for-TV drama. Instead of giving him the attention he needs, his parents ship him off to one of those "behavior modification" centers that Tipper Gore loved so much at the time. He acts a lot like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest with the inmates, who are all drug abusers, bulimics, and suicidals. He finds out that the center is an apathetic, corrupt place that isn't any help at all, and he determines to break out, which makes them come down harder on him. Rick buries his goody-goody kid performance on Silver Spoons for good by smoking, getting drunk, acting violent, riding motorcycles, and having beard stubble. Not bad TV drama. -zwolf

back to top