The Nest (1988)

thenest_1Starring Robert Lansing, Lisa Langlois, Franc Luz, Terri Treas, Stephen Davies, Diana Bellamy, Jack Collins

Directed by Terence H. Winkless

Expectations: Moderate.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Who likes cockroaches? Or better yet, who likes swarms of cockroaches invading every facet of small-town life? Not enough? Well… these cockroaches eat flesh! That’s the basic pitch for The Nest, which honestly could be even shorter: It’s Piranha with cockroaches (and less humor)! But while it may be based on a tried-and-true premise, The Nest delivers enough B-Movie thrills to make it creep, crawl, and endear its way into your heart.

Sheriff Richard Tarbell (Frank Luz) wakes up with a small roach problem. Not the best “How do ya do?” to start the day, but he’s got other things on his mind so it doesn’t faze him much. Elizabeth (Lisa Langlois), his high school sweetheart, is coming back into town after a four-year absence and guess what? A lot has changed since she left! A building or two have been demolished, the sheriff is kinda seeing someone else, and oh, there’s now a base just outside of town run by a nefarious corporation called Intec. I’ll give you one guess what they were experimenting on in this mysterious base…

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Piranha (1978)

piranha_1Starring Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies-Urich, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Dick Miller, Barbara Steele, Belinda Balaski, Melody Thomas Scott, Bruce Gordon, Barry Brown, Paul Bartel, Shannon Collins

Directed by Joe Dante

Expectations: High.

On the general scale:
threestar

On the B-movie scale:
fourstar


Piranha is exactly the type of movie that I love. It’s equal parts genuine horror and outlandish comedy, with a premise so over-the-top and ridiculous that no one could possibly believe it as a plausible story. But then how did stories of piranhas in local waterways filter down to the schoolyard playgrounds of my youth? Piranha is a film that captures your imagination and runs wild. Its pace is quick, rarely coming up for air. The film’s villains may never be visible for more than a fleeting few seconds, but they are ever-present in the film’s atmosphere.

Piranha opens like hundreds of other horror films: a young couple is out at night in the woods looking for a good place to be alone together. These particular kids ignore the “No Trespassing” signs on the chain-link fences they sneak through in their quest. And of course, when they find a pool of water they decide that skinny dipping is the only course of action. What they never considered was that this secluded, abandoned Army installation wasn’t quite so completely abandoned. Shoulda watched more horror movies, guys.

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Death Race 2000 (1975)

deathrace2000poster02Starring David Carradine, Simone Griffeth, Sylvester Stallone, Mary Woronov, Roberta Collins, Martin Kove, Louisa Moritz, Don Steele, Joyce Jameson, Carle Bensen, Sandy McCallum

Directed by Paul Bartel

Expectations: High. It’s one of the most famous low-budget movies of the ’70s! Of course I’m excited!

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


Do you have a buxom beauty of a navigator sitting by your side as you read this review? No? Well, then you’re doing it wrong! That’s the only way to successfully make your way through the Annual Transcontinental Death Race! Death Race 2000 is a movie that defies all expectations and delivers pretty much non-stop fun throughout. There are moments here and there that don’t hold up as well as they would’ve nearly 40 years ago, but that’s OK; Death Race 2000 more than makes up for it with heaped-on excess and wonderful satire.

Death Race 2000 doesn’t really concern itself with setting up the world, and we’re dropped right into the race’s opening ceremonies as the film opens. We’re introduced to all the crazy drivers and their wacky cars, and instantly I realized that this was not the dystopian version of the future I had expected, where American spectators rallied around a show that glorified vehicular violence. Instead, Death Race 2000 is a dystopian version of the future by way of Wacky Races, where American spectators rally around a show that glorifies vehicular violence. It’s a fine line, but it makes a world of difference.

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Uncle Jasper reviews: The Wild Angels (1966)

Starring Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Dern, Diane Ladd, Buck Taylor, Norman Alden, Michael J. Pollard, Lou Procopio, Joan Shawlee, Marc Cavell, Coby Denton, Frank Maxwell

Gayle Hunnicutt

Directed By Roger Corman


Man, I don’t know what to say about The Wild Angels. Whereas most B-grade biker movies tend to glorify their subject matter, this film does anything but. Being that this movie marked the beginning of the outlaw biker genre, comparisons to Easy Rider are going to be unavoidable, but this film really shares little in common with that film. Instead of a couple of freewheeling drifters, we are dealing with an unruly mob of Hells Angels. And boy are they a bunch of assholes.

Peter Fonda is “Blues,” leader of the gang’s San Pedro chapter. He meets up with fellow member “The Loser” (Bruce Dern) at his day job as a construction worker. Apparently The Loser’s bike had gone missing weeks earlier and Blues has tracked its whereabouts down to some dusty desert crossroads called “Mecca.” The gang takes a day trip down to the small town before concluding that the bike is hidden away in a tiny Mexican chop shop. Now whether it actually is or not is beside the point. The Angels are mean and ugly and are gonna kick the shit out of these Mexican guys regardless.

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