Lines In Wax

THIRTEEN YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

sci-fi

This Is The End (2013)

This Is The End (2013)

This was a strange one. The Franco / Rogan et al contingent and their purile humour tackle the subject of the world ending, of course with a six hundred billion celebrity guest cast list and the main set being James Franco’s house. Honestly, this was absolutely rubbish and I dread to sit and think of what better uses the money used to make this film could have been used for.

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The Cloverfield Paradox is the third entry into the uhh, Cloverfield universe. Going far beyond the previous two entries into the series, at least in terms of lore and general sci-fi vibes, the Paradox entry further muddies and complicates the end of the world setting that was introduced in the Marmite-like first movie. Honestly, this was a nice addition, but it wasn’t that great. Where are we now? Where do we stand? Was the earth invaded by a giant monster? Or was that monster(s)? Or are we now firmly lodged into alternative dimension hell? LOL – Honestly, its super difficult to not think of these three movies as being strung together in name only. Each one feels completely and utterly in a different world, not the same one.

Moon (2009)

Moon (2009)

Moon is great. A paranoid, twisty-turny sci-fi that plays up the protagonist’s isolation as he continues to uncover a mystery about his career, his moon base, and his entire existence. Can’t really say more than that without ruining it, but this was a great sci-fi movie.

Dune (1984)

Dune (1984)

I’ve been putting off all things Dune for many, many years. The density of Herbert’s fantasy has always had me rescheduling my goosery into such. The movie, well, I heard was awful, despite being a Lynch film. But, with the 2020 remake coming, I figured now was the time to get caught up, at least with the previous cinematic offerings that came from this world. Dune is a mess, to put it simply. David Lynch has all but disowned this movie, claiming that he lost the rights to the final cut. Lynch’s cut was supposed to be in excess of three hours (ring any bells, FWWM fans?), but the studio took back control, and much in the vein of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, produced their own 2 hour or so cut, with narration voiceovers and a tacky intro explaining the plot to you. One can however heavily appreciate the insane world that Lynch and his co-conspirators brought to the big screen. The man at the helm may be ashamed of his work, and the film itself technically a box office failure, but the sheer scale of work here can be appreciated. The effort and attempt alone is worth watching for, as is the – admittedly plagued – SFX, not to mention the costume design and set design. If you appreciate these kinda things, give Dune a go. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother.

Hell Comes To Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes To Frogtown (1988)

Well isn’t this just awful? Hahaha – I mean, I expected it to be, truly I did, but off the back of how terrible yet entertaining They Live was, I fell into this with my expectations set far too high. If there were any illusions of Roddy Piper being able to act, Hell Comes To Frogtown will shatter those illusions forever. Giant lizards in fantastically entertaining makeup, and the odd bare breasted machine gun toting 80s lass aside, Frogtown is an absolute mess. An abortion of plot is carried by dreadful dialogue and boring action sequences. I can’t believe I made it to the end, to be honest with you.

Chopping Mall (1986)

Chopping Mall (1986)

Its incredible what chopping 15 minutes off your average runtime will do to a film, especially one of this calibre. Maybe I’m getting bored of watching low budget horrors, but for me a lot of them just suffer with horrendous pacing. Chopping Mall’s plot is direct to the point and doesn’t drag at all.  As for the movie, a gang of young and sexy party goers are trapped in a mall overnight and are pursued by killer security robots. The robots look like the love child of ED-209 and Wall-E. The whole thing is frankly ridiculous. But hey, that’s why we are here, right?

Barbarella (1968)

Barbarella (1968)

Nowadays, thanks to the wonders of technology, if you want to see Jane Fonda’s tits you can just do a quick Google search. Unfortunately for folk back in the 60s, it meant having to sit through absolute garbage like Barbarella. I’ve tried hard to find some merit in this low budget, camp as hell sci-fi romp. Truly, I have. Sure, its better than OG Star Trek, and watching Barbarella sleep her way across the galaxy to save the universe does have some sort of barbaric charm, but for the most part the plot is wafer thin and the pacing is glacial. The COVID 19 lockdown allows me to take some sort of pleasure in drinking all my whisky reserves and plowing through dreck like this, so I managed to make it to the end in the name of either perseverance or boredom. Fun fact: the band Duran Duran got their name from the character Durand Durand in this movie. You learn something every day!

Inseminoid (1981)

Inseminoid (1981)

Who’d have thought a sleazy sci-fi b-movie would include cast members that would go on to be in shit like Coronation Street? Yes! Welcome to the world of Inseminoid, a terribly low budget sci-fi horror where a female…. astronaut? Scientist? Whatever!? – Anyway she gets inseminated by alien semen and goes berzerk. Plot! The best thing about Inseminoid however is the acting, or lack thereof. The entire cast showcases a unified level of ineptitude that I have yet to find matched anywhere else, except maybe in The Room. I cannot fathom how bad this is. Really, I should have turned it off, but fuck, it was entertaining.

Annihilation (2018)

Annihilation (2018)

I’m not entirely sure what it was that made me watch Annihilation for the first time. It might have been Alex Garland’s work with Ex Machina, which I really enjoyed. I didn’t really know what to expect going in to Annihilation, other than mostly everyone I knew that had watched it had hated it. And I suppose, I can see why. Annihilation isn’t a bad movie per se, its just that I had no fucking clue what was going on. I’m usually pretty alright with this, and to be honest I probably mostly was, but I had the sneaking suspicion that I was missing some sort of deeper meaning or message that was being lost from the novels. The visuals are stunning and the cast are fantastic. The effort of everyone involved is commendable, but unfortunately, the big Hollywood adaption of this bizarre tale does slightly miss the mark.

C.H.U.D. (1984)

C.H.U.D. (1984)

The Dad from Home Alone (haha) leads a cast of Misfits through this entertaining but incredibly low budget mush. Nuclear waste is being dumped in the sewers of New York (honestly, that would explain a lot IRL) and the CHUDs have come to wreak havoc. Hilarious spots for me were noticing bit parts played by Commissioner Burrell and The Greek from HBO’s The Wire. 

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner (1982)

I am not entirely sure how it has taken me all my life until this point in time to finally watch Blade Runner. I treated myself to the final cut, and within minutes I was completely enthralled in this dystopian world. Unfortunately, I watched this on my phone at 1am, so will be purchasing a Blu Ray copy of it in the future, I should think (2020 edit: I have now seen this in all of its HD glory!). Everything about this is just so perfect in every way; Vangelis’ score, the cinematography, the atmosphere and the crushing parallels to real-life 2019. It is enough to bring one to tears, speaking so freely, the gorgeous and terrifying world is so enthralling. A new favourite of mine. 

Videodrome (1983)

Videodrome (1983)

Classic lo-def body horror thriller from Cronenberg (M-Mmmmorty). James Woods is a bit wet (reminds me of Weller’s RoboCop) and Debbie Harry, despite looking absolutely fine, leaves a lot to be desired. Nevertheless, its a great movie with some awesome trippy effects.

The Running Man (1987)

The Running Man (1987)

Arnie in the Hunger Games, basically. Insert fire asf female accomplice, terrible bad guys and a pile of one liners and cigars, oh and the chief detective guy from Homicide: Life on the Street, and you’ve got The Running Man. Really, it kinda feels shitty to summarise it like that, but this is an 80s Arnie action movie, and its best to just watch the thing. Or not. LOL.

Sharknado (2013)

Sharknado (2013)

Well then, this is just as bad as (if not worse than) I thought it would be. I absolutely love bad movies, as I’m sure frequent readers are fully aware, but I’m more of a creature-FX, fake blood and lots of tits kinda guy, rather than an a Z-list-celeb-loaded, computer generated “we’ll fix it in post” kinda guy, y’know? When it comes to awful CGI rain and/or sharks though, I feel as though there isn’t really anything that could compare to this movie. It is like the millennial B-movie answer to Jaws, a stupid idea jacked up on intramuscular (CGI) steroids but failing to fall into any specific camp comfortably. Yeah, it has a cult following, but doesn’t quite fit the exploitation tag, in my eyes. It is, purely, nothing more than just a really, really bad movie, if not for the CGI sharks then for casting Tara Reid. The best bit of the whole film was when the dad from Home Alone saved a dog from an almost certain shark-related death by putting a car window through with a bar stool. If that is all you can really take away from a 90 minute feature then there’s something wrong. That being said, I would totally watch a sequel. Haha!

Event Horizon (1997)

Event Horizon (1997)

When I first saw this as a kid it frightened the absolute living shit out of me, and re-watching it 20 years later, I can still see why. Perhaps it is the echo of that fear I developed in my youth, but there is something incredibly unsettling about Event Horizon. Yes, the sci-fi side of things doesn’t really add up, causing enormous continuity errors and goofs, and resulting in this half lost in space adventure / half inter-dimensional psychological horror really hitting the mark – for about only half of the time. The fact that there was a lost 130 minute cut of this 90 minute movie tells me that there was a lot more going on that we weren’t filled in on. A recent journey through the revived Twin Peaks taught me that a deeper sense of satisfaction can be achieved by embracing and perpetuating mystery; that great things can come of events that raise more questions than they set out to solve, but here it still kinda feels like we are being cheated out of finding what truly lies behind that portal into the “hell” dimension. The lost cut is just that; lost, forever, and that bizarre story just adds to the intrigue around this contrasting movie. Maybe we don’t need to find out what “hell” looks like…perhaps we are already there. A highly recommended 90s sci fi horror, give or take some terrible effects and over-use of the word “motherfucker”. 

Astro-Zombies (1968)

Astro-Zombies (1968)

I primarily checked out The Astro-Zombies because of The Misfits track which shares the same (or very similar) title. This film is, in a word, terrible. The pacing is excruciating, and when anything does happen, it is so badly acted out that it is just laughable, and not in a good way. The plot is paper thin, and the “Astro-Zombie” scenes are incredibly hammy. The titular “Zombie” is just some dude in a plastic mask. This is a B-Movie I know; a world where villains are often just dudes in plastic masks, but it is so casually obvious, with no apparent care or attempt to make it seem less obvious. For the first half of the film I was completely lost in regards to the plot. The mad scientist and his cliche hunchback assistant are nauseatingly boring to watch, but the strangely beautiful Tura Satana keeps things mildly interesting as the enigmatic villain, even though she can’t seem to fire a gun without posing like a complete buffoon. Appalling, but a small part of me wants to see the sequel, for reasons that I cannot even explain to myself…