KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988)

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988)

Starring: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson, John Vernon, Royal Dano

Director: Stephen Chiodo

Earth is under attack yet again when intergalactic bozos invade a small town and cocoon the inhabitants in fairy floss for food. This glorious hit-and-miss comedy plays like one of Frankie and Annette’s beach party movies (nothing wrong with that) and features scary latex clowns arriving on Earth in a flying circus tent and using all sorts of clown shtick to subdue their victims. I’m not sure if my favourite is the shadow puppet dinosaur that eats its audience or the killer balloon animal dog. There are heaps of bad jokes and the acting is very camp with the great John Vernon turning in a performance of suitable gravitas as the town sheriff. The title song by “The Dickies” is awesome.
 

Who are these clowns?

Who are these clowns?

INVADERS FROM MARS (1986)

INVADERS FROM MARS (1986)

Starring: Karen Black, Hunter Carson, Timothy Bottoms, Laraine Newman, James Karen, Bud Cort, Louise Fletcher

Director: Tobe Hooper

When a small town is invaded by Martians a little kid and his schoolteacher try to stop them before they take over the world using mind-controlling neck implants. Serious cinema goers find little of merit in this overblown remake of the 1953 sci-fi of the same name but for camp connoisseurs it’s a laugh and a half. The Martian designs are glorious and the big name cast has a field day. Karen Black does some of her best screaming and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher eating a rubber frog. Directed by Tobe Hooper who made Cinema Fiasco’s other favourite sci-fi movie “Lifeforce”

An invader from Mars.

An invader from Mars.

SHOWGIRLS (1995)

Director: Paul Verhoeven  Starring: Elizabeth Berkeley, Gina Gershon, Kyle Maclachlan, Glenn Plummer

Some call it the worst movie ever made but really it's one of the funniest. A beautiful but obnoxious drifter wanders into Las Vegas looking to find fame and fortune as a showgirl. She does but only after being molested by various sleazebags and lesbians, having sex in a swimming pool, licking a few poles and mispronouncing the name of a major (and hardly obscure) fashion label. The guilty pleasures come thick and fast with pages and pages of camp dialogue ("I studied in New York - Alvin Ailey!") and performances to die for! Maclachlan looks like he's never acted before in his life and you haven't lived until you've seen Berkeley throwing her french fries around during a tantrum in a fast food restaurant. With over-the-top productions numbers, lots of lap-dancing and wall-to-wall boobs, this is one you won't want to miss.

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LIFEFORCE (1985)

Director: Tobe Hooper

Starring: Steve Railsbeck, Mathilda May, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Patrick Stewart

The major selling point of this movie is the main character: a nude lady vampire from outer space. She’s an alien, she’s a vampire and she’s totally naked – for the entire movie. She comes to earth, but rather than sucking her victim’s blood, she sucks out their life force, leaving behind a trail of shriveled-up corpses, all the while wearing nothing – which is probably how vampires get about in outer space. The novel on which the movie is based features an extra-terrestrial nude lady vampire only at the beginning but the producers of this $25,000,000 spectacular weren’t taking any chances – so she’s nude all the time. For your average bad movie lover the film throws up a cornucopia of hammy performances, gruesome special effects and rampaging zombies. But for fans of unearthly, undead, undressed women there is no better movie in the entire universe!

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I DON'T WANT TO BE BORN (1975)

Director: Peter Sasdy

Starring:  Joan Collins, Ralph Bates, Eileen Atkins, Donald Pleasence, Caroline Munro, John Steiner

Joan Collins is an ex-stripper whose affair with her former boss might be the reason she’s had a possessed baby.  The little brat bites and scratches everyone, pulls the head off his doll and puts a dead mouse in the housekeeper’s cup of tea but then gets really nasty when he pushes nanny into the duck pond and kills her. Thank heavens Joan’s sister-in-law is a nun who knows how to perform exorcisms! Other highlights from this hilarious Rosemary’s Baby rip-off include Joan’s strip routine (in which she doesn’t take off any clothes), a randy dwarf and a supporting cast of desperados including former Bond girl Caroline Munro (who’s been dubbed) and Ralph Bates as Joan’s Italian husband (who should have been dubbed). Bring your mum. I dare you.

Goo! Go! Ga! Ga! Die! Die!

Goo! Go! Ga! Ga! Die! Die!

TROLL 2 (1990)

Director: Claudio Fragasso.
Starring: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Margo Prey

A perfectly awful family goes to a small town and encounters a bunch of goblins who want to turn them into plants and eat them. This bogus sequel (made by Italians after a quick lira) has bad acting, camp dialogue (“Joshua is not a little shit. He’s just sensitive!”) and make-up effects that must have cost all of $20 but goes beyond your ordinary bad movie thanks to a lunatic quality that infuses everything about it. A must see. It’s quite possibly the FUNNIEST BAD MOVIE EVER MADE

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BREAKIN' (1984)

Director: Joel Silberg

Cast: Lucinda Dickey, Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones, Michael "Boogaloo Shrimp" Chambers

A dance craze is an excellent basis for a bad movie and when you take the old Mickey-and-Judy-putting-on-a-show template and set it in the 80s you’ve got an entertainment that’s pretty much irresistible. Kelly is a talented street dancer. She’s working as a waitress but she has a quest; to prove to the dance establishment that what she does is as legitimate as anything ballet has to offer. All sorts of obstacles stand in her way (a horny dance teacher, a disillusioned colleague, lots of bad 80s clothes) but it all ends happily with an amazing dance spectacular that will have you jumping out of your seat – and probably running from the theatre!

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SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT (1984)

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Director: Charles E. Sellier Jnr

Cast: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero

In a flashback prologue, little Billy sees his parents bumped off by a sicko in a Santa suit. Later, when he gets a job as a department store Santa, Billy flips out and starts killing people using a sled, fairy lights and reindeer antlers.

This holiday hacker is the best Christmas movie ever with killer Clauses, psycho nuns in wheelchairs and TWO scenes in which Santa is shot dead in front of a bunch of little kids. Everyone overacts (except the kids who can’t act at all) and there’s plenty of yuletide gore and toplessness.

99 WOMEN (1969)

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Director: Jesus Franco

Cast: Maria Schell, Luciana Paluzzi, Mercedes McCambridge, Herbert Lom

Lovely Marie finds herself locked up in a prison swarming with desperate women and dominated by a lesbian wardress played by the voice of the Devil in “The Exorcist” - and things get worse from there.

This sleazy women-in-prison romp is chock full of cheap thrills (catfights, bare breasts, an action-packed breakout and a strip routine), and features a very upmarket cast who, I’m guessing, really needed the cash.

FOR YOUR HEIGHT ONLY (1981)

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Director: Eddie Nicart 

Cast: Weng Weng, Yehlen Catral, Carmi Martin

Evil madman Mr. Giant kidnaps a brilliant doctor and threatens the world with the doctor’s dreaded N-bomb. No one can stop him except a midget Filipino superspy code-named 00. This is the best James Bond spoof ever with gadgets and action galore and a half-pint hero who kicks the crap out of the big guys, romances the ladies and flies around in a jet pack. The dubbing is hilarious.

BLACULA (1972)

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Director: William Crain
Cast: William Marshall, Vonetta McKee, Elisha Cook Jnr

An African prince (on an anti-slavery mission to Transylvania in 1780!) is bitten by Dracula and cursed to roam the earth as the terrifying black vampire Blacula. Two hundred years later, when a couple of camp antique dealers import his coffin stateside, Blacula finds himself in L. A. where he  creates all sorts of mayhem among the 70s disco set and falls in love with the reincarnation of his former wife. This great Blaxploitation/horror hybrid features a mind-boggling array of afros, heels and flares, jive-talking dialogue, lots of action, a guest appearance by hit-makers The Hues Corporation and the magnificent William Marshall whose velvet voice and imposing presence call to mind the tantalizing suggestion of a vampire Barry White.

THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970)

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Director: Daniel Heller 
Cast: Sandra Dee, Dean Stockwell, Ed Begley, Sam Jaffee

The Whatley twins are very strange boys. One is a warlock called Wilbur (Stockwell) who plans to gain access to an alternate dimension by knocking-up eternal goody-goody Sandra Dee! The other is “not of this earth” and has been locked away in the attic. Fortunately he breaks free and goes on the rampage.

Delirious H. P. Lovecraft adaptation comes complete with a spooky old mansion, psychedelic dream sequences, demonic ceremonies, a fabulous score by lounge music maestro Les Baxter, Stockwell stoned off his gourd and a monster that might have been won at the Royal Melbourne Show.

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HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE (1980)

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Director: Armand Mastroianni. Cast: Don Scardino, Caitlin O’Heaney, Elizabeth Kemp

“On the night before her wedding, every girl is frightened. And this time, there’s good reason!” The caterers didn’t show up? No, it’s worse! A homicidal maniac (one of many getting about in the early 80’s) is running around bumping off brides and it looks like pretty Amy might be next!

Lots of fun with every slasher movie cliché accounted for and a five minute cameo by a debuting Tom Hanks. Now that’s scary!

KANSAS CITY BOMBER (1972)

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Director: Jerrold Freeman
Cast: Raquel Welch, Kevin McCarthy, Helena Kallianiotes

Raquel Welch (the worst actress in movies until Madonna started making them) plays a roller derby queen in this hard-hitting (literally) 70’s action drama.

In what many describe as her finest acting achievement, Raquel skates, falls over, snarls, punches people and gets hit on by Kevin McCarthy. I bet he hated that! Lots of cat fights too. 

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SPINOUT (1966)

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Director: Norman Taurog 
Cast: Elvis Presley, Shelley Fabares, Deborah Walley

Car-racing rock star Elvis is a confirmed bachelor pursued by three desperate women who want to marry him. This trashy star vehicle has car chases, loads of slapstick and some of the cheesiest songs ever including the immortal “Smorgasbord.”

The supporting cast is way over-the-top while Elvis looks like he’d rather be having a nice lie down. Great fun but really awful.

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THE PRODIGAL (1955)

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Director: Richard Thorpe
Cast: Lana Turner, Edmund Purdom, Louis Calhern

The Bible goes Vegas! Lana Turner (in costumes that would bring Liberace back to life) plays a pagan priestess who seduces a nice Hebrew boy and does a spectacular swan dive into a flaming pit. Absolute twaddle but lots of fun with sets that look like they fell off a Mardi Gras float and orgies in which people eat roast chicken with their hands and pour wine all over their chins. Watch out for that terrifying stuffed vulture on a string attack.

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THE GREEN SLIME (1968)

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Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Cast: Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel

Tentacle-waving, one-eyed aliens invade a space station and start giving everyone electric shocks and killing them.

A hilariously bad sci-fi, this has wooden acting and cardboard sets aplenty but also such kickers as a heroine played by a former Bond girl, futuristic disco dancing and a title song performed by a Jimi Hendrix impersonator. The monsters are played by eight years in rubber suits and there’s an asteroid that looks like a giant Ferrero Rocher.

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SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN (1970)

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Director: Gordon Hessler
Cast: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing

Vincent Price is a mad scientist (of course) who plans to take over the world by replacing Europe’s leaders with synthetic humans. Set in Swinging London, this bizarre epic has enough material for three bad films: vampire rapists, killer nurses, car chases, acid baths, creepy autopsies and lots of groovy dancing. The title turns up in a song in a nightclub and there’s some very suggestive gear stick groping. There’s lots of dismemberment including a jogger whose limbs keep disappearing as he lies in a hospital bed and a villain who chews off his hand to escape handcuffs.

SUGAR HILL (1974)

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Director: Paul Maslansky
Cast: Marki Bey, Robert Quarry, Don Pedro Colley

After her boyfriend is rubbed out by the mob, fashion photographer Sugar Hill gets her local voodoo priestess to summon up an army of zombie hit men to knock off the gangsters who did it.

This fantastic blend of Blaxploitation and horror has it all: voodoo rituals, fashion shoots, catfights and a horde of soul brother zombies doing in a bunch of honky hoods: one of them gets fed to some pigs (“I hope they’re into white trash”) while another is terrorized by a demon chicken foot! All the performances are great with Bey coming on like a cross between Pam Grier and Joan Crawford.

THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN (1977)

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Director: William Sachs.
Cast: Alex Rebar, Burr De Benning, Myron Healey

After a trip to the rings of Saturn, astronaut Steve West returns to Earth suffering from a disease that causes him to melt and eat people. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” says one of the doctors. After chasing a fat nurse through a plate glass window, Steve goes on the rampage; decapitating a fisherman, scaring some little kids and eating the heroine’s comic relief parents. The excellent special effects by Rick Baker depict Steve gradually loosing his body parts while Rainbeaux Smith contributes a scene gratuitously exposing hers. Both the acting and the décor are hilarious. Best dialogue: “My God! It’s his ear!”

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Best dialogue: “My God! It’s his ear!”