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Howard the Duck

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It's been a long time coming and it's now finally time to delve into the complexities of the dark comedy/action thriller about a duck, man. George Lucas puts on his producer hat and then proceeds to lose all the money.

Howard the Duck is one of the hardest films we've ever had to review. Not because its that hard to watch (although it's chock full of groan worthy moments), but just because it's so hard to determine what the heck it is. Is it a kids movie? Is it a comedy? What's the moral or the point, really? It's just very hard to define and that makes ones expectations pretty hard to narrow down. I've tried to use our blog tag system to give some single words as to what it is - yet the only thing I can come up with is that it's an 80's movie.

The effects, the audio, Tim Robbins, and the animatronics are all top-tier performances but they disappear behind Munchie-levels of hyjinx. Once again the word comes to haunt a film and put it into the realms of the bottom 100 films. Just when you're finally about to relax and stop screaming at the idiocy before you, Howard gets into yet another series of buffoonery that make you want to break your remote between your teeth.

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Howling II: Your Sister's a Werewolf

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Buckle up for banana business as were-monkey-wolves try to throw a killer birthday party. Every body is invited. Leave your head at the door. It'll be a bloody good time. Ok..well unless Christopher Lee and some townies are party-crashers. Then you'll get shot up pretty good.

When you put Reb Brown next to Sir Christopher Lee, and then have a bunch of guys in Planet of the Apes costumes pretend (or not?) be werewolves, you're destined to have a mind-boggling mess on your hands. This thing is bafflingly bad. The events that transpire are sorta clear, but why they happen is absolutely nonsense. Best we can determine is that a lady's birthday orgy gets interrupted because he brother shows up.

It's gory as hell, hilarious from the opening frames, chock full of nudity, awful one-liners (from the forever wooden Reb), 80's new wave, insanely uncomfortable costumes and plenty of terrible acting and dialogue. Howling II is exactly what one signs up for in enjoying bad movies.

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The Return of Swamp Thing

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How do you follow up Wes Craven's directing? You call Jim Wynorski? And he totally shows Wes how its done? Wow. Fan-Fave Jim showcases how you have fun with a failed superhero property. Replace Zach Snyder right now, DC!

The polarization between the two versions of Swamp Thing is night and day. It's known within the first 15 seconds as shown by the opening scroll:

"Once upon a time....in the swamp!"

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Swamp Thing

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Nothing says the follow-up to Superman like a budget movie, right? It's that weird mix of camp, bad costumes, a busty lady, and villians of dubious intent. Oh, and it's also a fairy-tale love story. WTF is Swamp Thing?

It's surprisingly bad. Nothing can prepare you for how crummy this film is. You've got all the pieces that should make for an OK movie - the established Wes Craven only 2 years before his masterpiece. Adrienne Barbeau hot off her run of John Carpenter films, Ray Wise on his way to Leland nuttiness, Harry Manfredini ready to give the hot licks, Alan Moore's material, the backing of DC loaded up on cash after Superman. How did this go wrong?!?!

The makeup is awful, the costumes are atrocious, the writing is beyond nonsense, the story is a big question mark and then the way the whole thing ends is just nuts. This truly is one of the worst comic-book movies of all time.

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Collision Course

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Nothing says comedy team-up like when a street-wise cop has to be the American ambassador to a martial-arts packing fellow officer from the East to take down an international crime syndicate. Boy that sounds familiar. Unfortunately for everyone involved, this is NOT Rush Hour.

All uncanny resemblance to Rush Hour aside, there's not a lot here folks. It's very unfunny (groan-worthy) and pretty uneventful until the last 1/4 (when the movie shifts into a totally dark tone). Its a very slow and rough experience with just a sprinkle of fun, here and there.

HOWEVER, there is two show stealing scenes that ALMOST redeem the whole thing and definitely put it up in the fine-line between "do and don't". It still is incredibly close and depending upon the viewer is either going to give it a 50% (a do not) or a 51% (a do). It's that close.

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Rent-A-Cop

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We setup our tribute to the dearly missed Burt Reynolds with an examination of his first Razzie nomination as "bored actor who doesn't want to be in the same film as Liza Minnelli". It's like Sharky's Machine meets A Star is Born. Does that work for a bad movie "do"?

Let's get straight to the bad - the big bad is Liza. She's insufferable. It's not completely her fault as the script calls for the most annoying person ever as the "love interest" for hunky Burt - because that's how all cop movies should work right? So she is supposed to play an annoying person and she does that in spades or jazz hands or sea-urchin hair cuts. Whatever. It's awful and you can't put someone who is like nails on the chalkboard into a movie even if the role calls for it. You can't annoy your audience for 2 hours. Ugh.

Then there's Burt. Sweet, sweet Burt. He stinks. And it's his fault. It's a clinic on how to shoot an actor that in no way wants to be in your movie. Sadly this is the beginning of the end for Burt (until Boogie Nights) where he would take whatever role he could get. So he'd rather be in Cleveland than starring next to the most annoying character ever. It's a little tough to watch.

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St. Elmo's Fire

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When you look up pretentious, self-obsessed, socially awful, and completely uninterested in benefiting mankind in anyway in the dictionary (you can look those terms up, right?) then you see a picture of the "brat pack" from this clinic in deplorability.

I hate these people. Not one can be redeemed. Its horrifying how awful they are and how their awfulness is not the focus of the movie. This is one of those jobbers where people (who are just as awful) will say, "This is it. This shows the challenges of live after becoming a full adult and the struggle with transitioning between having no responsibilities and then suddenly thrust into the real world." No, this is just you being completely blind to how morally bankrupt these people are. ARRHSHSHGHGGH!!!!!

90% of the reason to show up for this is to see how shitty these people are and wonder why in the hell this movie was made (it serves 0 purpose). The other 5% is the random crap that Schumacher stuffs in behind the focal point of the POV. Weird clowns, puppets, a naked fat guy butt...etc. and then 5% of Judd Nelson and Rob Lowe completely flubbing their lines. 

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Miami Connection

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We take one of the most beloved stinkers of the last decade and find a new reason to justify the entire plot - a rumble to the death over the most important theme of the 1980's - high fashion.

Miami Connection is at the top of the list for most fans of crummy films and this is no accident. It's truly one of the most accessible bad movies of all time. Where some may struggle to view The Room and Fateful Findings there is something for everyone in YK Kim's masterpiece, especially those from the 80's or have 80's nostalgia. While those two items are helpful, they are not required. You can show this to just about anyone, from all ages and all walks of life.

Then there's Dragon Sound. In the usual vein of films like this you might catch a glimpse of the amazing band playing in the background but Dragon Sound is front and center throughout with two entire songs played without break in music video format. With some of the worst lyrics ever put to film and "Against the Ninja" showcasing the plot verbatim, Dragon Sound is the most beautiful train wreck set to video.

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American Hunter

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Robert Mitchum's kid freelances his way into a "get the ninja tape" situation and into Janet's heart all while being WAY above the law and murdering many innocent people. Expect some shenanigans in this super-budget movie out of Indonesia.

One of a kind in it's repetition and recurring themes, American Hunter (Lethal Hunter in Europe) is a classic super-budget action film with very poorly thought-out plot elements. Behold the final list of incredibly weird repeating onscreen events:

4 - The number of bad dives4 - The number of times Janet gets kidnapped3 - The number of times Jake survives after something that would kill anyone else4 - The number of times someone shouts "Asshole!" right before killing someone4 - The number of times a stunt car drives up and ramp and jumps2 - Houses owned by the villain that are exploded by the villain3 - Random species of critters the villain owns

Then there's sweet sweet Janet. Poor Janet has been put through unholy hell. She loses her job, gets someones brains all over her face, kidnapped four times, crashed into a gas truck, her car destroyed, dropped from a helicopter, shot in the shoulder, had her neck shaved (?), and then married to a man who clearly doesn't care about whether she lives or dies.

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Deathstalker II

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Like that weird kid that doesn't look anything like his parents, you may be thinking he's a weirdo and should be avoided. But then you bump into him at the punch bowl and realize he's one cool dude. That's Deathstalker II.

Once again, Jim Wynorski shows the world why he should be at the top of the list of directors who make budget films. While most similar directors are given a project like this and just crap it out for the paycheck (I'm talking to you, anyone who works for The Asylum) good ol' Jim is told to make a Conan-knockoff and then makes a buddy-copesque screwball comedy with lots of adventure and shenanigans. Jim is the DaVinci of crummy movies.

Leads John Terlasky and Monique Gabrielle "shine" together in excellence of LOL acting. While John plays the smarmy Errol Flynn competently, Gabrielle gives us two different roles (one straight-laced Princess impostor, the other a way-over-the-top damsel) there is clear evidence that she is hamming one of them up. She's beautifully terrible as Reena the Seer, yet competent as Princess Evie. It's proof positive that she is intentionally acting poorly in her main role and kills it. SAG members couldn't act this bad if they tried and she is trying. It's an achievement and should be rewarded for the mastery of her stink.

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America 3000

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Arguably the most unique of post-apocalyptic films and Cannon Group's darling, it's also one of the most under-rated budget films of history. This is a big deal folks and 2/3 Stinker Madness host's favorite b-movie.

PA films commonly suffer from their own existence. Most only take place in a "nuked" world because, welll... the desert is just right there. So they shoot this crappy $0 action film in a post-apocalyptic world because it's super cheap to do. The world they live in isn't even the focus. Then tack on a bunch of b-movie tropes (cars with random crap bolted on it, skimpy lady outfits, the chef-d'œuvre usually in the form of a head coming off or exploding at some point) and you've just got a bunch of people chasing each other around in the dirt. Whoopee!

America 3000 busts directly through all that, possibly accidentally, and tells a multi-layered, universe-driven story, where the focus is shifted away from giant radioactive cockroaches or Zardoz-like swinger communities, and into a world with deep political divides, GofT style conspiracies and plotting, societal conflicts and complications and humanitarian issues. All while fitting in a balding Sasquatch and a Hal Needham level of chaos battle-scene.

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Hawkeye

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Steer clear of the police in Las Vegas in 1988 is the absolute message of this super-budget gem of a tough cop movie. Penalties for being alive are getting kicked in the face while walking down a hallway and being beat to death while sitting in a chair.

Hawkeye (1988) is a film that does not showcase the talents of a guy with a bow and arrow. It instead showcases the talents of a guy who is not Eddie Murphy and a guy who likes his Guess Jeans butt a bit too much. The matchup of Chuck Jeffreys and George Chung is bad-movie comedy gold. They are ridiculous, horribly corrupt, and clueless in all aspects of life. 

Yet despite being inept, corrupt, racist, torture approving, innocent person shooting/punching/kicking, "shit-packing", girlfriend neglecting, sons-of-bitches the pair of Wilson and Hawkamoto are an absolute blast to follow around in their awful policing. This is a must do.

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Savage Streets

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Somehow we've managed to stay clear of Linda Blair, which is strange because she's very easy to bump into. Here she's showcasing the gals, while running a gang of gals, and find revenge (eventually) after taking an hour and fifteen minutes to be pushed over the edge.

Somehow Savage Streets manages to be a mashup of about every 80's budget genre. It's a slasher, a sex-romp, a revenge jobber, and a roller-skating boogie in the vein of Grease. Yet it manages to miss being a Romeo & Juliet, a vigilante justice story and Dangerous Minds. It's pretty bizarre in how much territory it covers while failing to get to the plot for one hour.

Boobs. Wow. Lots and lots. This high school that Linda Blair's Brenda attends must have some rigorous testing for enrollment. You must be:

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No Holds Barred

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People that make TV shows, write a script in 72 hours while blasting through piles of cocaine, that showcases their complete lack of knowledge about making TV shows. It's Rip v Zeus in The Battle of the Tough Guys that can only end in one way.... murder!

Nothing can describe the (at that time) WWF in the late 80s like No Holds Barred. Hulk is the #1 guy in the phony man-fighting and his entire schtick is on display here. There's no difference between the character of Rip and Hulk Hogan. Imagine a film called "Morgue Work" starring The Undertaker who's character name is Mortician Jim. Rip loves the kids, he loves his family and he loves making snorting sounds....just like Hulk Hogan. Which leads me to believe that Terry Hogan had more to do with writing this POS then Vince McMahon. I like to envision Terry writing in crayon in a furor while McMahon murders prostitutes in the corner.

Vince (covered in blood): Terry, you need any help over there? I've run out of prostitutes to murder. I could help out for a bit.

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The Running Man

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Despite its satirical nature and heavy social commentary, The Running Man drops the ball (or the hockey puck) before the goal and trips into the net, bashes into the goalpost, gets the ball stuck in its facemask, and suffers multiple self-inflicted concussions. Well...at least it didn't murder it's ex-wife and her lover. WHOA!! TOO SOON!

1987's The Running Man is one of those "oh, so close" to being good films, but as we see time and time again, men in ties get in the way and say "We gotta ham this up! We got Arnold so its has to be stupid, right?" There is just enough left of Stephen King's novella in here that you feel like you should be able to see past the caricature of entertainment and find meaning in its messages. Time for some deep reflection, right? Well no. Time to slap your forehead in missed opportunity grief.

Its still a fun stinker, and it's unintended wackiness leaves the viewer with more joy than grief. Do NOT misunderstand though, this is NOT Commando. There is a level of tedium within and for its ridiculous nature is a little empty in content here and there. There is lots of sequences of...well...running. Running, running, running, explosion, new stalker, running, running, running, the resistance, running, running, explosion, repeat.

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Christmas Evil

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When your mom has a beard on her knee from a man who may or may not be your dad or Santa, you're best option is to obsess over Christmas until you're in your thirties and then you go all Buffalo Bob so that you can become the actual Santa. Not just copy cat. Actually Santa.

Christmas Evil is arguably one of the strangest Xmas films ever created. It was made a time when horror movies tried to play on any holiday and the jingly time was no different. See (but don't watch) such films as Santa's Slay, Santa Claws, Don't Open til Christmas, Black Christmas, etc... However there's a complete banana-factor to this feature.

Unfortunately to get to that banana-factor you have to go through a fairly uneventful montage of a man going all Santa. The performances are all solid and the cinematography is competent especially considering this is a drive-thru film. So that leaves you with an hour of not really having much to do. It's quiet, slow-moving and leaves not much room for riffing. I wouldn't call it boring, per se, but if you're coming for a mover-this ain't the one.

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Pet Sematary

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"Don't do down that path, yah", the strange drunk man with dubious ambitions said to the new residents. Later he would take them on a wondrous adventure to bury a kitty-cat that he himself murdered. It was the strangest thing that week until the dead son came back as Little Lord Fauntleroy with super-powers.

Pet Sematary is just another in a long line of Stephen King movies that raked in the cash but not one theater attendee bothered to pay attention to what was happening on screen. The entire plot is bananas (and falls squarely into "the idiot plot") but that's the least biggest draw for fans of our show. It's all the elements around the plot, ie. the truckers who are clearly trying to break speed records, the undead cat that is just like any other cat, Gage acquiring super-powers upon being reanimated and that the family never asks "Who the hell is this Judd Crandall guy anyways?"

It's a beautiful disaster and truly pushes the boundaries of bad movie laugh-ability with horrific tragedy. I mean, think about it. You are laughing at a child getting ran over - the worst possible thing that could ever happen. Yet the movie is so bad and the production is so crap that you are laughing.... during the worst thing ever. That is one hell of an achievement in bad film-making. Hell even Tommy Wiseau didn't do that.

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Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

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We wrap up our Spooktober with a staple from a staple franchise and one of the strangest big box office horror films ever made. This is just a strange film starring "Jason" with lots of head choppins, boobs and a cast of some pretty unusual characters.

So Jason V is one weird film and frankly astounds that it ever frightened anyone...even children. It's seriously gentle in its horror, the plot is not frightening, Jason is not intimidating, and the gore is pretty mild. The MPAA really didn't help out this film at all as it's seriously cut down.

None of it lines up, of course, with any one who cares about continuity or character motivations. The killer doesn't know how revenge works. The hero doesn't know how idolatry works. The film-makers don't know how enchiladas work. It's stunny how little anything works.

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The Barbarians

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Imagine a film where the biggest idiot you could ever find is the lead, make him do a ton of steroids, be a general dickbag to his co-workers and then DOUBLE HIM!!!

In typical Cannon Group tradition, this movie is what you call, "not good", yet also "completely unbelievable". It is beyond the realm of standard imagination and can only come from breaking through the doors of perception, AKA doing a ton of coke. From concept to final cut, there's no way you can do a good job here. And that falls fully on the muscly shoulders of the Barbarian Brothers.

These two idiots... I can't even describe them. I'm empty on words. I guess the best that can be done is that the Jersey Shore invades a swords and sandals movie. They are terribly unlikable in either form or character. However, if you can get past how much you hate these two and appreciate them for being the worst pair in cinematic history, well... you're in for a good time.

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Maniac Cop

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With a deep stinker cast and the classic script-writing of Larry Cohen, we've got all the elements for an amazingly awesome bad movie. Robert Z'Dar becomes a murderous Frankenstein in pretty nonsensical plot with lots of action and bad acting to boot.

In a double plot of framing another cop for murders (without any evidence) and trying to kill the Mayor (who doesn't have a role) and the Commissioner (Richard Roundtree), Maniac Cop fails to achieve both of these things. It also fails to tell a full story. If a story consists of a beginning, a middle and an end, this film appears to be only the middle. The beginning of the story is only told briefly in exposition and a tiny flashback of hardly any new knowledge and then the end of the film appears to be a setup for just the next scene...that doesn't come.

It's also pretty difficult to define exactly what Maniac Cop is, not the movie but the character. Is he undead? Or is he just so brain-damaged that he's immune to death? If he's undead, is he a zombie? What the hell is he? Well we figure it out but we're gonna make you listen to the podcast to find out what Maniac Cop actually is.

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