Friday, June 07, 2013

Scream And Shout!

In keeping with this blog's original goal of finding glorious crap movies at shockingly low price points, we return to active duty with a splendid offering from Shout! Factory. Shout! has been around for a while now, and I have to admit that I have a deep well of respect for this company. They have pulled from the veil of oblivion quirky TV series like Small Wonder, Rocko's Modern Life, and Max Headroom as well as release some wonderful films of dubious (to anyone except fans of crap movies) entertainment value.  

More to our liking here at Bargain Basement Thrills, Shout! Factory also releases 4-movie "marathons" aimed directly at both cheapskates and those who delight in films that inspire giggles when they try to be deadly serious. With that, let me give you the lowdown on their 4 Action-Packed Movie Marathon collection.

You get Cyclone, Alienator, Eye Of The Tiger, and Exterminator 2 on 2 DVDs. If you aren't familiar with ANY of these titles, you live a sheltered life or you are in your 20s (or younger). In any case, if you are here reading this and you have never heard of these films, then shame on you. Out of the kindness of our hearts, Shout! Factory and Bargain Basement Thrills will educate you...if you can consider what we are about to introduce you to as an "education".

Cyclone is a fairly standard low-budget action film. The primary asset the film has is Heather Thomas in the star role as the girlfriend of an inventor who is murdered over his latest creation--a super-awesome, gnarly, radical, bitchin' motorcycle with lots of things glued and bolted onto it to make it look...well, clunky and dorky, to be honest. But it can do all these awesome things!! In theory. We never really see it do too much. In its defense, the motorcycle is a far better actor than Heather Thomas, but not as pretty as she is. Of prime interest for giggles, watch for the nightclub scene that looks like it was shot in the corner of an abandoned community center hall. Do NOT expect any action until the final quarter of the film. Lots of talk and poor Heather getting roughed up a bit fill the bulk of the film, but it at least has decent pacing and fairly interesting characters.
On the other hand, we have Alienator. Both this and Cyclone were directed by Fred Olen Ray. Where Cyclone is fairly enjoyable, Alienator is anything but. A rebel leader (played by Ross Hagen, who did not age well) escapes from a space prison and lands on Earth, so the warden sends the titular being after him. He stumbles in front of an RV driven by a drunken lout with his annoying friends as passengers. Actually, "annoying" is the key word for this movie, as everything about it makes a bushy crotch full of crabs, fleas and lice sound like a refreshing bit of R and R. Unlikeable characters who either act like morons, cry non-stop, spout gibberish or speak with a voice that makes you homicidal are paired with pointless scenes and a go-nowhere story with a--hold the presses!!--"twist" ending that can't even explain itself well and does nothing to save the film from leaving you wishing for your 90 minutes back so you can spend it kicking yourself for having watched this thing in the first place.
Eye Of The Tiger is the highlight of this 4-movie set. Admittedly, that isn't saying much, but you take what you can get. This movie is one of those simple vengeance films that the 80s seemed to spew forth as fast as it did slasher flicks. You know the drill: average guy who has been wronged too many times finally takes a stand. That's it. But this one added some odd quirks that make it stand out from the pack. You have Gary Busey as the lead character. This was before he had his noggin whacked in that motorcycle accident that apparently unleashed some weird Id creature that now makes the man appear to be mostly insane. The film also sports a traumatized child who is used as a bargaining chip by the bad guys. Ooh, and grave desecration! That is a nice spin on things. Add to that the fact almost everyone EXCEPT Busey chews the scenery up with a voracious appetite. Pretty fun stuff, except for the traumatized child bit. Oh, and this was NOT directed by Fred Olen Ray, which is probably why it was quite enjoyable.
Last, but far from least (that would, of course, be Alienator), we have Exterminator 2. Yes, a sequel without having the first one on the disc. It is better this way; just trust me. Go out and get Exterminator on Blu-Ray, watch it and then watch this sequel. That way, you get to see how far down the toilet this sequel went compared to the original. On its own merits, it...well, it didn't put me to sleep. Here we go again with the revenge/vengeance thing. Guy who is slaughtering the bad guys in New York lets his guard down to fall in love, and tragedy strikes, making him...wait, he's already killing punks, so having horrible things visited upon his friends and lover is just sadistic icing on the cake. Of prime interest is Mario Van Peebles as the nasty villain. He tries his best, from what I can see, but the role is nothing but a fruitcake with a taste for violence. The star of the film, the late Robert Ginty, looks tired and seems to just be hitting his marks to land the paycheck at the end of the day. Just go watch the original Exterminator for a decent, though definitely brutal, revenge movie.

Shout! Factory, the Bargain Basement Thrills blog salutes you for providing good, cheesy entertainment for chump change. We look forward to your 4 Scifi Movie Marathon due to be released on July 9, 2013, and it will be the subject of another blog post shortly after that release date. 

For those of you who read this, expand your library of films and welcome Shout! Factory into your home with these inexpensive movie sets. Believe me when I tell you that after watching these, you will be using Alienator as your new watermark for awful films.

(Just for the record, I bought this set with my own money, and Shout! Factory in no way contributed to this post, other than releasing this 2-disc set. However, Fred Olen Ray owes me SOMETHING for watching his alien hunter movie. Maybe a nice cheeseburger and a bottle of beer. Or a hug. I understand an apology is asking way too much.) 

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