The Midas Touch (1997)

Starring Trever O’Brien, Ashley Tesoro, Joey Simmrin, David Jeremiah, Marla Cotovsky, Danna Hansen, Shannon Welles

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Expectations: Low.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Like Train Quest, The Midas Touch isn’t listed on Full Moon’s official filmography. Regardless, IMDB lists it as being originally distributed on VHS by the company, and the film bears most of the significant hallmarks of a Moonbeam film (notably missing are any kind of references or posters from other Full Moon films). Directed by longtime Full Moon collaborator Peter Manoogian, The Midas Touch is one of the more respectable Moonbeam films. I don’t have kids so I don’t really pay attention to these things, but I don’t remember anything here that would anger touchy parents. It’s not the most exciting film in their ranks, but just the fact that it can actually work as a family film gives it a rare distinction among its Moonbeam brethren.

Billy (Trever O’Brien) is your typical weakling kid, lacking in confidence and easily susceptible to bullying. His parents tragically died, leaving him in the care of his grandmother (Danna Hansen). She’s not doing great, either, as her heart condition has forced her to step away from her job. These stressful factors all contribute to Billy’s anxiety about life, but his grandmother does her best to instill in him the courage and confidence necessary to persevere and make it through the day. Billy’s dream, though, is not just to get through the day, but to be rich enough to provide a better life (and a pacemaker) for his grandma. Lucky for Billy, circumstances lead him to the creepy mansion of Madame Latimer (Shannon Welles), a woman with an ability that might be able to make his dreams reality.

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Seedpeople (1992)

seedpeople_1Seedpeople (1992)
AKA Dark Forest, Devil Seed

Starring Sam Hennings, Andrea Roth, Dane Witherspoon, Bernard Kates, Holly Fields, John Mooney, Anne Betancourt, David Dunard, Charles Bouvier, Sonny Carl Davis, J. Marvin Campbell

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Expectations: Moderate, but how can a movie called Seedpeople not be good?

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


It is true that Seedpeople is a variation on Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Piranha, but when the main villains roll around in seed pods and spring out with limbs outstretched to snare another puny human in their mind-control scheme to re-populate the Earth, these types of concerns are pointless. Seedpeople is a film designed for pure fun, and for those willing to get down and dirty with it at its level, it will provide a plethora of hilarity and good times in a slim 81-minute package.

Our main character is a geologist who’s staying in the remote town of Comet Valley to give a talk on meteorites to the Fireball Club. The town was founded on the site where a comet hit the Earth, and recent meteor showers have ignited the townspeople’s desire to hunt meteorites and sell them or collect them or whatever. Meanwhile, there’s some kind of flower spores growing in a resident’s orchard trees. Late at night a man comes by to turn on the water, and instead gets a massive load of plant sperm spewed all over him. It’s a literal alien bukkake, and I wish I could say this was a first in the Charles Band catalog, but it’s not. There are at least two other films I can think of off the top of my head that involve alien sperm, so ponder that for a while before you hit the break for the rest of the review.

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Enemy Territory (1987)

Enemy Territory (1987)
AKA Manhattan Warriors, Terror Night – Hochhaus in Angst

Starring Gary Frank, Ray Parker Jr., Jan-Michael Vincent, Frances Foster, Tony Todd, Stacey Dash, Deon Richmond, Tiger Haynes, Charles Randall, Peter Wise, Robert Lee Rush, Lynnie Godfrey, Theo Caesar

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Expectations: High. I’ve heard good things.

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:


Like many great action films, Enemy Territory kinda sneaks up on you. After a dope rap song and some fun establishing shots of New York City, we’re introduced to Barry, an asshole insurance agent who’s on his last legs at his company. His boss calls him into his office and offers him one last chance to stick around. The only catch is that he’s got to venture deep into the projects to get an insurance policy signed, and if he doesn’t get back out before night falls, he may never get out alive. Of course, the shit hits the fan rather quickly and Barry is stuck on the twentieth floor of the Lincoln Tower with a bloodthirsty gang known as the Vampires hot on his trail.

As soon as the film starts, it never lets up. Within the first 10 minutes, Barry is inside the building and it’s already turning sour. 10 minutes after that and the first casualty of the evening has occurred. But during this first altercation Barry picks up a good Samaritan in Ray Parker Jr.’s character, Willy. Yes, you read that right, THE Ray Parker Jr. of the Ghostbusters theme song fame. Turns out the dude can act (although he didn’t get much work besides this), and his unlikely partnership with Barry forms the foundation the film builds from. This is a low-budget action film, so the characters are never developed more than they need to be, but they form a strong team regardless.

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Eliminators (1986)

Starring Andrew Prine, Denise Crosby, Patrick Reynolds, Conan Lee, Roy Dotrice, Peter Schrum, Peggy Mannix, Fausto Bara, Tad Horino, Luis Lorenzo

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Expectations: Moderate, I don’t know anything about this other than there’s a guy in a robot suit.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


A mandroid escapes from his evil creator and seeks out the help of a scientist (Denise Crosby), who then turn around and fight their way back to kill the evil creator. The scientist brings along her small robotic companion, R2D2 S.P.O.T., and along the way they join forces with the rough and tumble river guide Harry Fontana and a ninja! What more can you ask of a Terminator/Indiana Jones/Star Wars/African Queen/Ninja movie? Lots of explosions? Ok, you can have those too. 1980s optical lightning FX? Duh, of course!

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Demonic Toys (1991)

Starring Tracy Scoggins, Bentley Mitchum, Daniel Cerny, Michael Russo, Barry Lynch, Ellen Dunning, Pete Schrum, Jeff Weston, William Thorne, Richard Speight Jr., Larry Cedar

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Featured Toys: Baby Oopsy Daisy, Jack Attack, Grizzly Teddy, Mr. Static

Expectations: Moderate, it’s one of the more well-known Full Moon titles.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


Yet another film in Charles Band’s long pedigree of films featuring pint-sized murderers, Demonic Toys has a lot to live up to. Because so many of his films share these mini-attackers, they could easily run together if you’re not careful when crafting them. Demonic Toys actually manages to set itself apart from the crowd pretty quickly, thanks to hard-edged dialogue and a fair amount of graphic gore and fun special FX.

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Arena (1989)

Starring Paul Satterfield, Hamilton Camp, Claudia Christian, Marc Alaimo, Shari Shattuck, Armin Shimerman, Brett Porter, Charles Tabansi, Michael Deak, Jack Carter, William Butler, Grady Clarkson, Dave Thompson, Ken Clark, Diana Rose

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Expectations: Pretty high. Look at that poster!

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
threehalfstar


Like a sci-fi fan’s teenage wet dream, Arena successfully combines two of the universe’s most satisfying things, boxing and aliens. Add in a healthy dose of said aliens getting repeatedly punched and kicked in their foam latex faces and we’ve got ourselves a ridiculously fun slice of 1980s high-brow cinema. I can’t ask for much more than that!

Steve Armstrong just isn’t cut out to be a short order cook, but when an alien causes some trouble in the restaurant where he works, Armstrong gives him the old one-two and then throws him out through the front window. In the grand tradition of tough guy movies, he loses his job and proves just how badass he is in one fell swoop. His co-worker, a four-armed dude named Shorty, takes Armstrong in till he can get back on his feet but others have had their interest piqued by Armstrong’s supreme fighting skill.

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Ragewar (1985)

Ragewar (1985)
AKA Ragewar: The Challenges of Excalibrate, The Dungeonmaster

Starring Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll, Leslie Wing, Phil Fondacaro, Anthony T. Genova III, Lonnie Hashimoto, Michael Steve Jones, Peter Kent, Paul Pape, Randy Popplewell, Felix Silla, W.A.S.P.

Directed by Dave Allen, Charles Band, John Carl Buechler, Steven Ford, Peter Manoogian, Ted Nicolaou, Rosemarie Turko

Expectations: High. With a title like Ragewar, it’s hard not to have high hopes.

On the general scale:
threestar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Did you ever wear an NES Power Glove when you were a kid and pretend you were pushing buttons on it, affecting the real world? Me too, and boy have I got a movie for you!

The film opens with a short dream sequence in which our hero finds himself slowly chasing after a woman in a red dress. He follows her into a room where she has disrobed and lies on a spotlighted bed. He goes in for a kiss, but shortly after, a bunch of Tusken Raider-like mutants bust through the door, punch him out and take the girl! This has no real bearing on the main story but it sets up the film nicely. Upon US release this scene was removed in order to secure a PG-13 rating and the title was changed to The Dungeonmaster to capitalize on the success of Dungeons and Dragons, despite having zero relation to the classic pen-and-paper RPG.

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