Ghost Town (1988)

Starring Franc Luz, Catherine Hickland, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Penelope Windust, Bruce Glover, Zitto Kazann, Blake Conway, Laura Schaefer, Michael Alldredge, Ken Kolb, Will Hannah

Directed by Richard Governor

Expectations: High, I love a good genre-bending western.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


A woman drives her fire-engine red Mercedes down a desert dirt road. Her car breaks down, as the sound of chasing horses envelop her and crows look on with hungry eyes. She is alone in this forsaken world, stuck with a long walk ahead of her to the nearest civilization. A dust cloud picks up and ominously moves towards her. She screams and the last thing we see is the woman dragged against her will away from the car, her hands grasping and clawing for purchase but finding nothing but wind-blown sand.

YEAH! That’s how you start a movie! Mysterious, interesting and exciting, the opening of Ghost Town sets up the rest of the film perfectly. Soon after, we meet out hero Langley (Franc Luz), a sheriff’s deputy doing some mean target practice complete with slow-motion shots of target piggy-banks and beer bottles exploding. He soon finds himself hot on the trail of the horseman who kidnapped the girl, and after walking most of the day through the desert, he arrives at a ghost town. Just outside the town he finds the tombstone of the sheriff. When he kneels down to investigate it, two skeletal arms shoot out to grab him and the zombie sheriff warns him of the danger he’s about to get himself into. It is here that many will find themselves reaching for the stop button, but for those that just shouted, “Fuck yeah!”, please continue along with me.

Continue reading Ghost Town (1988) →

Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996)

Starring Richard Joseph Paul, Musetta Vander, Maxwell Caulfield, Julie Newmar, Jackie Swanson, Andrew Divoff, Meg Foster, Isaac Hayes, George Takei,  Carel Struycken, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Irwin Keyes, Jeff Celentano

Directed by Sam Irwin

Expectations: Moderate, I enjoyed the first one. Hopefully this will live up to it.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


Oblivion 2: Backlash starts out pretty slow for a movie with an eighty-three minute runtime. The first ten minutes are filled with a fairly detailed recap of the first film for those who either didn’t see it or weren’t paying attention. This does set the stage rather well for this film, but it goes on a little long. This leads into roughly ten minutes of lazy exposition explaining where everyone is and what they’re doing following the calamitous events of Oblivion. Really? The first quarter of the runtime is padding? This can’t be a good sign for the rest of Oblivion 2.

Continue reading Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996) →

Oblivion (1994)

Starring Richard Joseph Paul, Jackie Swanson, Andrew Divoff, Meg Foster, Musetta Vander, George Takei, Julie Newmar, Carel Struycken, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Isaac Hayes, Jeff Moldovan, Mike Genovese, Frank Roman, Irwin Keyes

Directed by Sam Irvin

Expectations: High, this looks awesome.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


For fans of science fiction westerns, there aren’t a lot of options. You’ve got Westworld, Back to the Future III and a few others, including the soon to be released Cowboys and Aliens. There’s also Oblivion, Full Moon’s entry into the genre, which also manages to wrangle some horror and comedy elements into a hoot of a genre-bending time waster. When the evil alien Red Eye kills the Marshall of the town of Oblivion, the settlers can do nothing to stop his pillaging ways. What Red Eye didn’t count on was the Marshall’s coward son Zack coming back into town. Along for the ride is Zack’s native friend, whom he rescued from a badass twin-tailed stop-motion scorpion about fifteen minutes in.

The world of Oblivion is interesting unto itself. It’s a mixture of future-tech, Old West, post-apocalyptica and varied alien creatures, resulting in a very unique and engrossing world. Grisled prospectors might wear calculator watches to compute their earnings, but revolvers are still the guns of choice. They never seem to reload said revolvers though, which may be a technical advancement of this mash-up world, or simply an oversight during production. As this is a Full Moon movie and they need every imaginative element working in their favor, I’ll go with the former.

Continue reading Oblivion (1994) →

Puppet Master (1989)

Starring Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle, Jimmie F. Skaggs, Robin Frates, Matt Roe, Kathryn O’Reilly, Mews Small, Barbara Crampton

Puppet Cast: Blade, Jester, Pinhead, Tunneler, Leech Woman

Directed by David Schmoeller

Expectations: High. It’s THE Full Moon movie.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


The film that launched an empire! After the fall of Charles Band’s Empire International company he quickly regrouped and released Puppet Master, which was to be their next film, direct-to-video under the newly formed Full Moon Pictures banner. It’s a landmark film in the history of low-budget independent horror, but also one that divides me right down the middle. I love the premise. I love the puppets. I don’t love most of the human characters. This logic can be applied to many horror films with inhuman murderer protagonists, but there’s just something about Puppet Master that makes it hard to believe that this is the one the entire Full Moon company is built upon. Regardless, Puppet Master did gangbuster business at video shops across the country and just judging off of the box art and my love for the premise, it’s easy to see why. And to be fair, while this may be a lesser film in scope compared to most of the Empire films, it does deliver a lot a fun stuff in a much better way than a good portion of the direct-to-video fare I’ve seen over the years.

Continue reading Puppet Master (1989) →

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