Written by: John
If there is one solid constant in this universe, it is that nobody is perfect. One way or another, despite how polished a professional you are, mistakes are going to be made. Peyton Manning will throw an interception this year; someone will accidentally delete an important document from his or her desktop and so on.
Usually these mistakes go unnoticed and eventually forgotten, but not in Hollywood, and not when the mistake is made by one amazing writer.
Case in point for today’s B Movie Spotlight…Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive.
In the film the planet earth finds itself caught in the tail of the rogue comet (oh yes, another comet) Rhea-M for the next eight days. But the instant these two astral bodies cross paths, strange occurrences begin to pop up. Radios no longer seem to be picking up any signals; traffic lights begin to malfunction and drawbridges rise up without warning. These accidents of course lead to carnage, but are only the beginning.
Suddenly the technology of the world seemingly becomes self aware, functioning on its own, and attacking mankind.
In North Carolina, the patrons and staff of the truck stop known as The Dixie Boy are cut off from the bloodbath of machine versus man so many miles away until the very trucks they service come to life, and keep them all trapped inside. With no rescue coming, and seemingly no hope on the horizon, this band of unfortunate victims must figure out how to survive.
Based off of Stephen King’s short story Trucks, King himself wrote the screenplay and even stepped behind the camera as Director for the only time in his career to helm what would quickly become an unmitigated disaster.
The acting is awful, and for solid proof of this, pop the DVD in and enjoy the scene when a waitress inside the Dixie Boy decides to go outside to lecture the machines on “who made who”. The idea of the film has promise but with no experience as a director King’s vision ends up playing out in the hokiest of fashion.
The only saving grace for the film comes in its decent special effects, some awesome kills and a bitchin’ soundtrack by AC/DC. But aside from those few highlights the picture provides only the highest quality of cheese, and it is no wonder that Stephen King returned exclusively to writing after crafting this stinker.
But in the end I forgive Mister King, if only for the fact that he provided us with an incredible B movie to marvel over and for finally finishing The Dark Tower series. But this was truly his greatest mistake, proving that while he may be the master of our nightmares, he really is only human.
Written By: John
Last week we took a long look at Night of the Comet, a “hip” horror film homage with an end result that was nothing short of disastrous. A good time in the wrong kind of way, and it is a film that merely scratches the surface of what hurt the horror genre years ago and continues to plague it today.
But while there are plenty of awful, awful horror films paying “tribute” to the institution’s history, there are a few that manage to get it just right. Case in point is today’s B Movie Spotlight…Night of the Creeps.
The film opens…in outer space, where an alien tries desperately to escape his fellow shipmates. Something is obviously wrong with this particular alien, but he manages to hide long enough to send a metal tube, referred to as an “experiment” by one of the aliens pursuing him, into the void beyond.
Unfortunately that tube crash lands on earth in the year 1959. Where a hapless frat boy gets too close to it and discovers that the cylinder is full of slug like creatures, and one is more than happy to leap into his mouth.
Flash forward twenty-seven years and two young outcasts trying desperately to fit in by joining a fraternity are ordered as pledges to steal a body from the mortuary as a gag. But in their search they discover that the man who swallowed a space slug has been cryogenically frozen and upon defrosting him, all hell begins to break loose.
It turns out the slugs reside within the brain which they use as a nest. Technically the host is clinically dead during this process, but the little buggers can keep the host walking around, until the nest is ready to hatch.
The bodies begin to pile up, forcing a Detective with a death wish and college student Chris to team to put a stop to the menace before the space slugs claim us all.
What makes Night of the Creeps work so well is that for one, it plays the material straight. It knows it is low budget, it knows it is saying hello to the films of yesterday and never once tries to tweak it or one up it. That alone makes the movie worth watching, but it has something for every fan of the genre.
There is plenty of gore for the splatter hounds, a few genuine “edge of your seat” moments and some incredible one liners, all delivered by actor Tom Atkins at his best here playing Detective Ray Cameron. But most important of all, you get a healthy dose of zombies and for those of you out there who do not enjoy dull moments, you won’t find any here.
If you haven’t seen this one yet, get to it. If you’re a collector, you need to own this. Only due to the fact this is one of the rare times in film where everything just comes together.
Written By: John
It’s been far too long since we here at Girls of Geek have dedicated the time to reminisce on the cheesier choices made by Hollywood of yesteryear, and for that I apologize. Why apologize for not talking about hokey films? Because let’s face it, they are just too much fun.
We all love the chance to sit down and watch an incredible film, to laugh or cry and walk out feeling invigorated by sharing an experience with our friends or loved ones. But let’s face it, we also love terrible cinema. There is something alluring about seeing it all fall apart while sitting on the couch in disbelief that something with such promise could end up so bad. B movies find a cult following all the time, and if you don’t believe me, just find a local midnight showing of The Room.
But alas, while that is one powerful B movie in its own right, it isn’t in our genre line. Instead, we are going to spend a little time today discussing the 1984 Sci-Fi/Horror “extravaganza” Night of the Comet.
The film revolves around the discovery of a rogue comet that is on its way to a close call with the earth, as since the planet will pass through the tail of the comet, an ominous event that has not happened in 65 million years. Of course, this has horrific ramifications as it turns out that while the lightshow that follows from this is spectacular; the end result is an extinction level event.
Those completely exposed to the comet’s rays turn to red dust, and those only partially exposed turn into flesh eating zombies. The few that have survived (steel shelter protected them) are now left to fend for themselves in the empty hulks that were once our cities.
That sounds pretty awesome doesn’t it? If I left it at that, we would be talking about an entirely different film, because there is one important fact that basic summary leaves out. Our tale revolves around two teenage girls left to survive in the city of Los Angeles. Oh yes, that’s where the awesome premise of Night of the Comet collapses under its own weight and goes completely awry.
There are scenes that demonstrate their strife at home, the debate as to who deserves to be with what could possibly be the last man on earth, and most importantly which department store to shop in.
There you have it, a film that is so bad, it’s good. Its attempts to pay homage to some of horror and science fiction’s finest films falls flat on its face, leaving 95 minutes of material worthy of an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. But it is definitely worth a look, as since it will draw you in for the same reasons we discussed earlier.
But what matters most, is that the film will take you back. Back to the era of big hair, big music and over the top movies that do nothing more than leave you with good memories of good times to the max.