The Day Time Ended

Aliens visit the solar-powered house of a middle-class family, and the house is suddenly sucked into a time warp that transports it back to prehistoric times.

Yes!  How awesome does this sound?  Everything you need for a good bad movie is here.  And yet, The Day Time Ended utilizes none of it.  I have a superhuman tolerance for bad movies- that’s not a bragging right, it’s a birth defect- but this movie is tedious and boring, even for me.  This movie could almost be something out of the Theatre of the Absurd, except that it’s horrible, like a piece of seaweed decided to make a movie, and this is what we got.

The Day Time Ended Burn
Who shot J.R.? The same guy who’s about to shoot this dumbass burn.

There’s a boring old family living in the desert, and UFOs keep buzzing their house.  Tiny UFOs fight inside their house.  Stop-motion monsters fight out in their front yard… and I’m making this sound so much more interesting than it actually is.  How do you even make any of this stuff suck?  I don’t know, but the people behind this movie found a way.  Then they’re all thrown into the future where everything looks like a cheesy 1950s book cover.  And they have horses.  The end.

The Day Time Ended Monsters
Don’t let them fool you into thinking this movie is good.

The Day Time Ended is like a couple of sci fi stories died in the same spot, and then centuries later some amateur archeologist found a few of the remains and tried to assemble them into a single artifact.  And he just used glue to do it.  This is a boring, bad movie you should definitely stay away from.  It has a 4.3/10 on IMDB, which is totally inconceivable to me.  I’d almost, ALMOST recommend Catman in Lethal Track over this one, but I won’t actually, because most of it is also boring.  Somehow, it’s considered a cult classic, but it must have bribed its way onto the list, because it’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  If someone gives you the option to watch this movie or go on a 2 hour car ride in the trunk of the car, choose the car ride.

The Day Time Ended the End.
Then they end up on a sci-fi book cover.

Why end the year on a positive note?

It’s on Amazon, but don’t watch it.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Santa Conquers the Children
Not too different from Earth children.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is the sort of movie that reminds me why I love the sort of movies I love.  Santa CONQUERS the Martians.  He doesn’t befriend them, or teach them a lesson, he topples their monuments and ravages their women and makes the Martians his slaves.  At least, that’s what I was expecting.  Instead, Santa is kidnapped by Martians because…

Santa Conquers Certain Death
Santa is dim-witted and oblivious.

See, on Mars, things are rigid and structured.  Starting in infancy, children have their educations fed straight into their brains via computers (this movie was advanced for 1964).  All of this structure, though, is leading children to rebel by watching too much Earth TV.  So, the adults consult their 800 year old Martian sage, Chochem, who thinks that children should probably have more freedom, and be allowed to have fun.  The guy’s 800 years old, and he just figured this out.

Santa laughs at the fact that you think he’ll take “no” for an answer.

Obviously, the best way to go about this is to kidnap Santa Claus… but, there’s a lot of fake Santas on Earth, so how do you find the right one?  You kidnap a couple of kids and make them find him for you.  They get the real Santa, but then Voldar decides he doesn’t like this entire plan, and he repeatedly tries to kill Santa and the kids.

Santa Conquers Dirty Martians
Ugh. I don’t care if it’s racist, look at these guys.

Martians have names like Kimar, Momar, Girmar, Bomar, Chochem, Voldar, Shim, Stobo, and Dropo.  It’s hard to argue with that.  This movie speaks for itself.  It often winds up on Worst Movies of All Time lists, which is completely unfair.  Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is much, much better than a lot of the crap Hollywood churns out.  It’s even spawned a book and a musical.

Santa Conquers All
S’what conquering looks like, I guess.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 screened this movie, and that’s all well and good, but you can watch and enjoy Santa Conquers the Martians on its own, too.  In fact, you can download it for free RIGHT HERE, totally legally.  It’s public domain.  Enjoy.

Gigli

Gigle Phone
One of these characters is mentally challenged.

Gigli is a weird movie. I probably shouldn’t like it as much as I do, but I can’t help it. Everything about this movie is unlikely. In fact, “unlikely” is probably the most concise way to sum the whole thing up. Critical reception of Gigli is extremely negative, but nearly everyone is looking at this movie in the wrong light. You have to ignore the film’s intent almost entirely, and when you do, Gigli becomes fantastic.

Gigli Walken
Inept henchman + lesbian assassin = zero chemistry

Ben Affleck plays Larry Gigli, an inept low-level mobster henchman who should never be taken seriously enough to be working for the mob. He’s forced to team up and live with a lesbian assassin named Ricki, played by Jennifer Lopez. Ricki has extensive, bizarre monologs about vaginas and pulling out people’s eyes. Together, they have to babysit the mentally retarded/intellectual disabled brother of a California district attorney, whom Gigli kidnapped. A romantic comedy ensues, I guess. I’m not sure what the endgame in all of this actually is, and I’ve seen Gigli quite a few times. In fact, I bought it on DVD after watching it once because it’s pretty great.  Check this out:

FAN-tastic. That’s pretty great, right?   I don’t even think Walken was scheduled to be in the movie, he just walked on set by mistake and played himself.  Guess who else is here…

Gigle Al Pacino
Surprise, for some reason.

Ta-Da!  There’s a strange, absurd quality running through the movie.  It’s clearly unintentional, but it’s there, and it makes Gigli into something it wasn’t intended to be, but that’s ok, because, for me, what it became was something far better than any filmmaker could have intentionally made it.

Get it on Amazon.

The Human Tornado

The Human Tornado Fight
There’s plenty of this…

The Human Tornado, also known as Dolemite II, is the sequel to Dolemite.  It stars Rudy Ray Moore, who was also in Disco Godfather, a favorite of mine.  There are 3 or 4 Dolemite movies… the 4th one isn’t technically Dolemite, but it is, basically.  While I prefer Disco Godfather, The Human Tornado has a lot going for it, too.  Like Ernie Hudson, for example.

The Human Tornado Titties
and just enough of this.

Dolemite returns home from a successful comedy tour and throws a party at his mansion, but then the police show up because black people are having a party.  Also, Dolemite is having sex with the sheriff’s wife.  You’ll see Dolemite roll naked down a hill.  You’ll see the sheriff shoot and kill his wife.  Naturally, Dolemite and friends decide to leave town for a while.

The Human Tornado Cool Times
Cool Times.

They end up meeting Queen Bee, and getting involved in her crazy story about a mobster kidnapping a couple of her girls, forcing her to close up shop and work for him.  So, Dolemite has to save everyone and also the sheriff is still after him for killing his wife.  You get a pretty decent kung fu finale, to boot.  This movie is obviously worth watching.

Get it on Amazon.

Dead End Drive-In

I guess I don’t need to write too much about Dead End Drive-In, since G. Arthur Brown stole it from me, even though I watched it long before he ever even heard of it because he’s so behind the times.  And now I look like I’m behind the times, like I’m the goofus, because it took me so long to publish this, and at this point, it’s long after he published his write-up.  For the record, though, I knew about Dead End Drive-In before Gary made it cool.

Dead End Drive In Punks
If this is the future, count me out.

This is a pretty weird movie.  It’s set in a future where the economy has collapsed, and crime is rampant.  Cars are the big commodity, because no one’s really making them anymore.  In order to keep things somewhat under control, Drive-Ins have been turned into concentration camps, where punks form gangs, eat junk food, take drugs, and watch bad movies.  It’s pretty much a win-win for all parties.  Society doesn’t have to deal with these guys anymore, and these guys get to eat pizza and watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians while high.

Dead End Drive In Fight
The guy in red hates Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

The protagonist, Crabs, is trapped in one of these drive-ins, because he didn’t know it was a trap, and most of the movie is him trying to find a way out of there while his girlfriend gets absorbed by the prison culture.  The movie never really explains why it’s so difficult to escape.  When he makes his final bid for freedom, though, it’s pretty epic.  Sort of.  You may have seen the cover of this movie and passed it up because it looks like one of those horrible The Crow sequels, but Dead End Drive-In is definitely worth watching.

Get it on Amazon.

Return to Horror High

Horror High
A 13 Year Old Kevin Bacon plays the Protagonist/Antagonist.

In the mid-70s, there was a largely forgettable horror film called Horror High.  It’s basically a teenage Jekyll and Hide story (something I’m surprised isn’t currently airing on the CW).  A high school nerd/super scientist invents a concoction that turns both his guinea pig, Mr. Mumps, and himself into a monster of some kind.  Naturally, he stalks through the school each night, killing off the faculty.  Along the way, he wins the heart of the jock’s girlfriend, but also the police are after him, because he’s pretty obvious about what he’s doing.  In the end, the police shoot him to death.

Return to Horror High Killer
It’s like Scream, except they stopped making them.

Then, in the ’80s, Return to Horror High happened.  This movie was George Clooney’s big film debut.  It’s not really a sequel to Horror High, although the story revolves around a series of unsolved murders that took place years earlier.  When Harry Sleerik comes to town to make a movie about the murders, the killer apparently returns, because people start dying and disappearing.

Return to Horror High Clooney
As smug as ever.

Return to Horror High has a lot a good qualities.  The acting is prime, the dialog is great, there’s a boom in the shot, and the movie alternates between being a movie and having a movie in it… in fact, it’s pretty meta.  I don’t want to give anything away on this one, it’s worth watching.  It’s not a movie you hear too much about, and we only found it by accident, but put it on your list and give it a chance.

Get it on Amazon.

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp Angela
She’s not even looking.

There’s a lot of ground to cover with the Sleepaway Camp series, but I’m going to focus on the first movie, because it’s obviously the best one.  This is an early ’80s-kids-getting-killed-at-summer-camp movie, and it’s fairly decent for what it is… but then you get to the end, and the movie becomes somewhat legendary.

Sleepaway Camp Banana Man
Everyone HATES this guy.

In fact, I don’t even want to write about it at all, I just want to post a big picture of the killer and leave it at that, but if you haven’t seen Sleepaway Camp, the big reveal is bolstered by having watched everything that comes before it.  Though you could easily look it up and view it out of context, I’d recommend against it.  Just watch the movie, the payoff is there.

Sleepaway Camp Cool Guy
Feel free to hate this guy, too.

One summer, young Angela and Peter are out on the lake with their dad and his gay lover, Lenny, when tragedy strikes.  Eight years later, Angela is living with her lunatic aunt and cousin Ricky, and the two of them are sent to Camp Arawak.  Angela is pretty introverted, and the other kids bully her.  Other stuff happens, and the camp really sucks until people start dying, then it becomes awesome.  Despite people missing or being found dead, the camp never closes.

Sleepaway Camp Obvious Cool Kids
The cool kids have a water balloon fight on the roof.

Then, it ends and it’s great.  If you only watch one Sleepaway Camp movie, make it the original.  There’s Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland, directed by a different guy, and with Angela played by Bruce Springsteen’s sister, Pamela.  These two look like they were filmed back to back, and aren’t nearly as dark as the original, but they can be worth watching in the right setting.

Sleepaway Camp cool cop
But don’t worry, this guy is on the case.

Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor is directed by yet another guy, but I’ve never seen it.  The original director, Robert Hiltzik, made a real sequel (ignoring the previous three), called Return to Sleepaway Camp, picking up where the first movie ended.  I’ve also never seen this one, but I’m going to look into it.  Hiltzik is apparently working on a conclusion to his trilogy called Sleepaway Camp Reunion, while the guy who directed Sleepaway Camp II and III wrote a script for Sleepaway Camp: Berserk, but who cares?

Sleepaway Camp Drain STH
Before Drain STH hit it big, they played in camp talent shows.

Did you get all of that?

Sleepaway Camp Burned Bones
If she catches you, she makes you hang out with her skeleton friend.

Basically, just watch Sleepaway Camp.  MAYBE watch Sleepaway Camp II and III, if you’re in the mood for goofy camp slasher movies you haven’t seen before.  And then there’s Return to Sleepaway Camp and Sleepaway Camp Reunion, which are part of an authentic Sleepaway Camp trilogy because the series creator made them.

Get it on Amazon.

Vamp

Vamp Grace Jones Dancer
Johnny Depp as Grace Jones

Vamp is almost your typical ’80s movie.  When two too-smart-for-everyone-else college students, AJ and Keith, decide that their frat initiation ceremony is lame and needs a stripper, they head out to the bad side of town to find one.  Before they can go, though, they need a car, so they borrow one from The Goofy Asian Guy, Duncan, on the condition that they must be his best friends for a week.  The ’80s were a simpler time.

Vamp Albino Street Gang
The albino street gang.

The nightclub they find is run by Grace Jones as a vampire and her Renfields.  They can’t just leave, though, because there’s a weird gang outside lead by an albino that AJ pissed off earlier.  Plus the Renfields are on to them.  Fortunately, they do spend time running around the city at night, because the color choices are fantastic.

Grace Jones Vampire
Grace Jones as Grace Jones.

One of the friends becomes a vampire, a waitress joins the party, and the survivors spend the night trying to survive while making quips and perpetuating ’80s vampire movie tropes.  Still, it’s pretty good.  I said that Vamp is almost typical, but it’s not quite there- it has some subtle differences that make it its own thing, and I would recommend watching this one.  It reminded me of From Dusk Til Dawn, though Jones’ strip tease is probably superior to Hayek’s snake dance.

Get it on Amazon.

Jingle All the Way

Jingle All the Way Santas
Just before the brawl breaks out, the calm before the storm.

By now, I expected everyone to have seen Jingle All the Way, but surprisingly, I’m finding out that several people haven’t seen it.  This movie is on TV constantly this time of year, go watch it.  It’s pretty bad, but it’s also pretty good.  Arnold Schwarzenegger plays workaholic/bad father Howard Langston, who engages in a death race against postal worker Myron Larabee, played by Sinbad.  They’re both after a Turbo-Man action figure, but it’s the day before Christmas, and humanity is insane.  The movie drives home the point that holidays are commercialized.

Jingle All the Way Last One
Arnold gets heckled by Robin Williams from Toys and a guy from The Hangover.

The movie is considered a satire, but I have another take.  There’s a scene where Howard falls on the sidewalk, hits his head, and dies.  The rest of the movie is an increasingly bizarre death fantasy.  Howard journeys through strange places, faces his own shortcomings, falls, ascends, and finally achieves what he never achieved in life, which allows him to move on… It’s a lot like Jacob’s Ladder, only portrayed in a more family-friendly way.

Turbo Man Tengu
Turbo Man makes off with yet another young boy.

Jingle All the Way is pretty famous, I shouldn’t have to say much about it.  It’s bad, but worth watching.

Get it on Amazon.