Friday, March 11, 2016

Bad Movie Night Review: David A. Prior's "Killer Workout"

* Here's a post from January of this year from my other blog, robotGEEK'S Cult Cinema

Directed by: David A. Prior
Category: Horror

If you're a Bad Movie lover, horror fanatic, or VHS collector, then you know Killer Workout is legendary. Mainly because it's bad in an entertaining way (a rarity with these types of films) , and also that it's insanely rare to come by. The VHS goes for a good chunk of change if you can find one in decent shape, and it's never gotten an official DVD release until now, almost a full 30 years after it's release.

Legendary cult filmmaker David A. Prior (Deadly Prey) writes and directs this low-budget masterpiece and uses nearly the entire cast of his other '87 filmDeadly Prey. The result is arguably one of the best, funniest, most 80's slasher films ever made. I shit you not. Every single minute of this film is gold, and if there was ever a good horror candidate for Bad Movie Night, it's Killer Workout.

I'd hate to divulge too much information about the plot because we found that as ridiculous as the plot points were, it sure was a helluva lot of fun watching them unfold. Essentially, Rhonda runs a local gym where her customers begin falling victim to a killer. Really, that's all you need to know because that's the meat of the story. However, there are enough peculiar plot points and twists that keep the story moving along nicely. It also helps that Prior shoots this very gratuitously. You'll know what I mean when you watch it.

There is so much nonsense to laugh at in here that it's hard to tell you where to begin. I've always considered David A. Prior to be an inept filmmaker, yet somehow he was able to keep making film after film on a minuscule budget. But there's a "So Bad it's Good" quality to a lot of his films, and it's these rare little gems that make us coming back for more. Truthfully, I never got around to watching neither of his 2 most famous films, Deadly Prey and Killer Workout, until Olive Films obtained the rights and released them on both DVD and Blu Ray this past year. While the transfer's aren't very good, I understand they did their best with the best elements they could find for these SOV classics. Being as these were never shot on actual film, it's totally forgivable, and you know, there's a bit of nostalgia to the fact that it looks like you're watching a VHS.

Every actor in here, led by the great Ted Prior, is amazingly awful and cheesy. I'm sure the dribble they were forced to spill out didn't help. Yet, as bad as they were, they were also fucking brilliant. It takes a certain kind of actor to deliver these lines with a straight face, and holy fucking shit do they ever deliver in this.

I really can't praise this film enough in terms of entertainment value. Killer Workout easily ranks as the best of the best in the Bad Movie Night sub-genre. Grab your buddies, grab some beer, and throw this baby on. You're guaranteed to have a badass time.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bad Movie Night Review: Never Too Young To Die

Directed by: Gil Bettman 

For my first post, I thought the best way to go would be to suggest one of my favorite films, and one of the best So Bad, It's Good films out there. You may remember seeing this VHS cover way back in the day in your local video store. I sure did. I even remember renting it, or rather, my mom rented it for me. I remember feeling totally awkward during the sex scene between John Stamos and Vanity as my mom was sitting right next to me. But anyway, that was a long time ago. 1986 to be exact. And I hadn't seen it or even thought about it in nearly 30 years. Then one day it popped up on my radar somehow, I don't remember the exact details, but little bits and pieces started to come back to me, most notably Gene Simmons in drag, and I soon set out to find a copy. 

That was easier said than done. Aside from VHS and Laserdisc, this was never officially released on DVD or Blu-ray, a fact that still remains to this day, surprisingly. Even an original VHS won't run cheap, typically going for over $20. The Laserdisc is even more scarce, going upwards of a whopping $100 or more, depending on the seller. And forget about ever coming across it on television or any streaming site. I don't know what the deal is with the rights, but somehow, for some reason, this is not easy to come by. So unless you're willing to shell out a cool $20 for a VHS, your next best option is bootleg, which are fairly easy to come by from a number of different sites. 

Nearly 30 years later I am sitting in front of  my tv screen, and to tell you the truth, I just can't believe what I'm seeing. To put it lightly, Never Too Young To Die is fucking insane, and in the best possible way. I have no idea what the filmmakers were thinking when they made this, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't this. However, it's because this film is so bonkers that it works so well. Had it been made "competently", I don't know if it would have worked so well. But trust me when I tell you that if you gather a bunch of friends and throw this baby on, your mind will be blown. 

What can you say about a low-budget action film that stars a teenage gymnast named Stargrove (John Stamos), who ends up becoming a secret agent to fight a hermaphrodite cross-dressing super villain named Velvet Von Ragnar (Gene Simmons) that's hell bent on poisoning the city's water supply to take over the world? Or something like that. Though it's technically present day 1988, Ragnar's army look like they came right out of Mad Max, even being able to ride around in broad daylight on motorcycles wielding axes and swords. Logic also dictates that since Stargrove knows gymnastics, he must also be a natural martial artist. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the one and only Vanity also stars in this, as another secret agent? Yea, she does, and the best part is that she's either nude or half nude through the entire thing and sexy as hell.

Rumor has it that both Stamos and Simmons refuse to acknowledge this film. When you see the end result, what ultimately became NTYTD was obviously not what was intended. But that's what makes it so great! You will literally lose count how many times you yell "WTF?", or laugh your ass off while watching this. Though it's taken a few decades to happen, this film has gained momentum as a certified true cult classic, and if Stamos was a smart man, he would embrace this glorious film for all it's worth, rather than be ashamed. Hit the conventions! 

If I had to "try" and describe this film, I'd say it's a cross between James Bond and Mad Max, with a whole lot of 80's cheese thrown in for good measure. But really, even that's not doing this film justice. It's fucking insane, and you just need to see it for yourself. What I can tell you is that every single person I've ever shown this to immediately claim it to be their new favorite film, simply because of how nuts it is. On top of that, it's easily one of the most entertaining films you will ever see. You will never guess what direction this will go at any given moment, I assure you. To this day this WTF? masterpiece remains one of the biggest hits for our Bad Movie Nights, and I hope it will be one of yours too. 

P.S. Can someone PLEASE try and convince Shout! Factory to grab the rights to this so we can finally get a decent transfer?