SEPTEMBER 22 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND
STARRING: Fred Williamson, Andrea Coppola, George Eastman, Vito Fornari, Giovanni Frezza
1982, 91 Minutes, Directed by: Enzo G. Castellari
Description: In a post-apocalyptic future, a group of weary survivors is faced with a relentless onslaught from a gang of roving bandits. Into this conflict comes two men, rivals by nature, but forced to take the same side against a common foe. The survival of the human race may very well come down to the outcome of this battle. — Amazon.com
One of countless cheap Road Warrior rip-offs made during the early-1980s.
Also known as The New Barbarians, this Italian flick is one of those movies in which villains chuckle smugly whenever they run through any of their victims and the hero drives a car with a huge plastic bubble on the roof. (The bubble glows green in the dark for some reason by the way.)
The villains dress in white like Imperial storm-troopers and drive golf carts made up to look like the vehicles in Death Race 2000. Warriors of the Wasteland literally features some of the slowest car chases ever and one keeps on expecting one of the villains’ intended victims to simply outrun them on foot. The villains' cars also all have protruding razor blades and other gizmos to kill and maim the last few remaining survivors of some unspecified post-Apocalypse. The hero wears a sheepskin jacket – how macho. But it’s acceptable in comparison to some of the other silly costumes worn by his co-stars. Later on he is made to wear a bullet-proof outfit made of . . . transparent plastic bubbles!
Unlike the many golf carts on display the pace isn’t too slow though and there are some neat low-budget stunts featuring exploding motorcycles. It’s all very ridiculous and perfect for Mystery Science Theater 3000-style connoisseurs of bad movies. Invite your buddies over, but have some beer – lots of beer! – handy while watching it.
SEPTEMBER 22 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND
1982 was apparently a great year for crappy movies to find their way over to American soil. To truly understand the meaning behind the rating of this film just remember "The One's" most important line from Warriors of the Wasteland: "It's against the rules to interrupt me!…Now Go! Hate and Exterminate!"
This film pits a death-squad called "The Templars" against "The Scorpion," a former Templar who wishes to live in peace...in a desert nuclear-post-apocalyptic future in the year 2019 A.D just after 1970s synthesized music made its way out of mainstream movies and into porn.
While the potshots at handle-mustache-wearing-renegade-soldiers-from-Spaceballs makes the first few minutes and the first of NINE (count 'em) dune buggy/golf cart/mustang-with-a-dome (why does it have a dome again?) car chase scenes remotely bearable. The other EIGHT dune buggy/golf cart/mustang-with-a-dome car--oh and metal skull as a dashboard ornament (can't forget that)--chase scenes and lack of plot, aren't all that bearable.
Seriously, how many bad car chase scenes without explosions does a movie really need, if it isn't Dukes of Hazzard? Really, are you serious? You really want me to like ALL NINE of the NINE dune buggy/golf cart/mustang-with-a-dome car chase scenes and not fast-forward through them?
If it wasn't for the 70s music played by a kid on his first synthesizer (with his mother yelling at him from downstairs while banging a broom on the ceiling), I don't think I could have made it through the first seventeen minutes of this film. If it wasn't for the fact that the actors blatantly read from cue-cards or that half of the film's budget had to have been spent on the opening-explosion-sequence or that the kid who should have played Anakin Skywalker is an exposition and slingshot-shooting mechanic I don't think I could have yawned and rolled my eyes within the first thirty minutes of the film.
Or to put it another way: about twenty-six minutes in I did start to rub my eyes. Then at thirty-two minutes in, I fast forwarded through THREE car chase scenes and one "sex" scene that took place inside of one of those inflatable bouncy castles that you see at shitty Fourth of July block parties (but this one is clear and they don't have any sparklers). Then, finally about forty-eight minutes in, the "main biller" for the film, Fred Williamson, finally shows up looking like Jax from Mortal Kombat but with a Lord of the Dance head band. So I made a "Hey, he is like the Green Arrow, but Black! He is the Black Panther Arrow!" joke. Then I made a sandwich. And forgot I was watching the movie for about twenty minutes.
Maybe seeing the film in its original Italian would have made this movie better...? But actually, the first fifty minutes of the film aren't that bad. Indeed, I think I would have rated this movie higher if not for the DRAAAAAAAAAGGGGG during the last forty minutes of the film. Between the poor-man's Irene Cara in a plastic bra with pasties over her nips and the FOUR final dune buggy/golf cart/mustang-with-a-dome car chase scenes, you can't wait for this film to end. Even the special effects are bad! I've seen college student films with better ones, honestly.
Williamson's William Shatner-style comment to "The Scorpion" pretty much sums up why you should not see this film...unless you like hitting the fast-forward button and regretting spending that dollar at the Dollar Store: "Here lies the 'Great Scorpion' in pain. Victim of the big bad queers, The Templars. All you have to do is ask and they dare, 'I need your help.' You are not so great now, Scorpion."
Never mind the clear-bullet-proof-football-gear, never mind that the best lines are said by "The One" who is the leader of The Templars, never mind that a band of survivors are lead by a Catholic priest named Moses who will "lead them to the promise land." This film could have been great! In fact, I can say that the first fifty minutes of this film made the movie great. Just stop watching about that far in, think of what you would like the ending to be in your head and turn off the film, then return it to the Dollar Store. Not only will you like the movie more, you just might hesitate when you return it. Again, just don't watch the last forty minutes. Call this warning my gift to you.
Finally, I just want to give a "Why" shout out to Digiview Entertainment. Guys, I love that you put all of my cheesy Hong Kong theater films on DVD for me, but did you really have to go there with Warriors of the Wasteland? I know that it is the poor-man's Road Warrior but did you really have to? Really?
SEPTEMBER 22 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND
aka, THE NEW BARBARIANS (I NUOVI BARBARI) 1982
Director: Enzo G. Castelleri
Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl
In glorious trash-o-rama, Warriors of the Wasteland; aka, The New Barbarians (I Nuovi Barbari, 1982) is an Italian no-budget post-apocolyptic fantasy of a world completely junked up, having only a few violent survivors of nuclear holocaust.
Lackluster set, costume, & prop design renders the environment of the tale unconvincing. Various video boxes & posters prefer paintings to advertise the film rather than any image from the film itself, as even cartoony drawings looks more thrilling.
Though the actors spoke English rather than Italian, they're badly dubbed even so! For lovers of truly abysmal cinema, this is it.
It gets one bonus point for political incorrectness (roving gang of killer faggots) but nothing more.
The primary scenarios involve badly redecorated dune buggies, golf carts, & motorcycles in tedious imitation of The Road Warrior (1981), but lacking the smallest fragment of the original's charm.
Now if they'd been roaming over the countryside stirring up dust with zambonies, the filmmakers might've had something.
It's unutterable crap, but anyone who expected that a film with Oakland Raiders once-was Fred "Hammer" Williamson replacing Mel Gibson was going to be an actioner with great performance was probably off their meds the day they rented this turkey & deserved to be disappointed.
Anyone else should know exactly what they're getting into as nothing about the advertising & packaging misleads. Whoever gets a major charge out of seeing people explode, this film won't leave 'em dissatisfied.
SEPTEMBER 22 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE
The film begins in a hospital where Beth (Angela O'Neill) is telling a woman, who we later on discover is the sorority housemother Mrs. Lawrence (Mary Anne), her story which is soon unraveled. It all starts when Beth enters the Theta Omega sorority. While all this is happening, we see a man (John C. Russell) tossing and turning in his sleep on a bed in a mental institution. There's some sort of psychic link between the man and Beth as he sees Beth enter the sorority house, but Beth is a little girl. When the man gets a closer view of her face, he awakes immediately in hysterics, causing two orderlies to come in and restrain him.
Meanwhile, Linda (Wendy Martel), Sara (Pamela Ross), and Tracy (Nicole Rio) stay at the sorority house during other sorority sisters' Memorial Day weekend vacation. Beth's aunt has just died, making Beth very depressed. Not to mention, she's having nightmares of a man stalking her in the sorority house with a hunting knife, only it's not furnished like the sorority. She encounters three little girls who warn her about the house as well. Troubled by her dreams, Beth seeks the help of Linda, who has a major in psychology. Suggesting that a man with a knife might mean Beth has a fear of sex, the girls don't know how wrong they are.
Escaping the mental institution, the man, whose name is Robert Henkel, murders a shop owner just for one knife (!), then stealing a woman's car and proceeding to the sorority house to hunt down Beth. Why does this man want Beth dead? The shocking truth is revealed as the story unfolds and the girls and their boyfriends struggle to stay alive.
Combining surrealistic imagery with sublime terror, this film creates dream sequences almost as bizarre as a David Lynch film, leading up to the frightening incidents that insue. The plot is very similar to Halloween (1978) and Halloween 2 (1981), but the film shouldn't just be labeled a ripoff, but instead be recognized for its non-stop entertainment involving thrills, chills, and action.
SEPTEMBER 22 VHS MOVIE REVIEW : SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE
Once in a while, Roger Corman's New Horizons or Concorde Pictures makes a really good movie, like Cheyenne Warrior, Confessions of a Serial Killer, or Brain Dead. But usually we get movies like Sorority House Massacre - cheap, unimaginative, and badly made formula-driven productions. What makes this particular film more of a chore to watch than usual is that it comes from the slasher genre, which hasn't produced a lot of originality, or even rehashes filled with energy. Even the relatively easier ways a movie of this kind can please the fans - blood, nudity - is woefully lacking. Especially the breasts, both in quality and quantity.
The movie begins with the end - to be more specific, the first thing we see is a young university student named Beth in a hospital bed. An older woman comes into the room and asks her what happened. Beth replies, "It must have all started when I entered the house...", which cues in a flashback that lasts for the rest of the movie. I've never liked it when any movie, slasher or otherwise, starts off with a character looking back at the events he or she just went through, consisting of the remainder of the movie. The reason is obvious: we know that the character is going to survive through the ordeal, whatever it is. Since we know that Beth is going to survive the title incident, there is no suspense concerning her character. So the only think possible we can feel about her character is a sense of impatience, knowing full well what her fate is going to be.
Back to the plot. In the flashback, Beth is invited to the Theta Omega Theta sorority for the weekend, so that the girls there can decide whether to take her on as a member. At the same time, across the city (wherever this city is - there's no sense of which city or university this is), some guy locked in in an insane asylum seems to sense her entrance in the house, and starts making a large fuss. He is quickly strapped down in his bed by the orderlies, who strap his wrists so loosely, he could easily pull his arms free. Neverless, it takes him some time to free himself from the bed and the asylum, finally arriving at the sorority after more than half of the running time has gone by, but then he tries to make up for this lost time by immediately going after everyone in and around the sorority.
That's about it for plot. The script does try to build in one of those "twists" you usually find in this kind of film, giving us clues the way by some dream sequences. These dream sequences are, at least at the beginning, not so bad, giving out a little eerie atmosphere. But they quickly become boring, with Beth in her dream walking from room to room, taking a long time to do so. The twist, by the way, is so blatantly slapped in our face early on, Beth's unseeing of it time after time makes her look pretty stupid. The fact the movie runs only 75 minutes gives you a better clue that we're dealing with a pretty weak script. In another scene, one of the girls says, "Let's try on Cindy's clothes!", leading to a montage of the girls wearing various outfits and making various poses. It's quite a coincidence that all these girls happen to be the same size as Cindy, for these outfits fit perfectly. Of course, this scene is also an excuse to throw in some nudity, but it's all a tease, quick flashes of nothing really spectacular, if you know what I mean.
The big nude scene actually comes from one of the four jocks and nerds that drop over just before the killer arrives. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I saw a close-up of this guy, naked except for a pair of shoes, running back to the sorority after his girlfriend is killed in their teepee. However, I did laugh after he ran into the sorority, because peeking out at the bottom of the screen you can see that he has suddenly grown a pair of underwear. Possibly the director didn't get the shot framed correctly; if so, this scene then becomes just another example of the incompetence of the direction. Though some of the night photography isn't bad, it's otherwise strictly amateur hour and fifteen minutes here. The sorority itself isn't convincing, looking too posed, too clean to be a real sorority. The interior of the asylum looks like an abandoned school or clinic - no place seen in this movie is the least bit believable. The strangest aspect of the direction is how the killer is directed. Early on in the movie, we get a clear look at the killer's face. Yet for much of the remainder of the film, his face is obscured by darkness or by being off camera. It's almost as if the director suddenly realized during the shoot that some of the more popular slasher movies have had killers who were masked or unseen.
In fact, there is a definite influence of one of those famous slasher movies here - Halloween. Like in that movie, the killer here escapes from an asylum, traveling back to a dwelling where he was in the past. There's even a scene where he steals a car, and creeps into a store to swipe something to aid in his preparation. The only difference in that latter scene is that here he kills the owner of the store, in a manner so almost casual, it at least provides a few unintended chuckles in this sea of boredom. Having already established the quality of the nudity, this gives me the opportunity to discuss the movie's other supposed raison d'être - the killings. While close reflection on the movie reveals that the body count here is about average, the killings themselves are so lame, and so spaced out, it seems that there are much less murders than there really are. The first murder doesn't happen until a third of the movie is over, and between the next and subsequent murders, we are treated to endless sequences where people are surprised by people walking up behind them and touching their shoulders. The amount of blood is about the equivalent of a few squeezes from a plastic ketchup bottle - in fact, the phony blood looks like ketchup. The killer himself doesn't try to make the killings interesting - almost all the victims are lamely stabbed by a wimpy looking knife. The knife is so wimpy, you can see it has no blade as it repeatedly enters and exits its victim in one knifing. Being mute and mostly unseen, we have a psycho here that is boring, though once he impressed me by managing to jump from the ground to a second story window. I can live with a stupid slasher movie, as long as it's lively and sleazy enough, but there is absolutely no excuse for a slasher movie that is as boring as Sorority House Massacre. A sequel was produced four years later, but I don't think that it will be any improvement, especially considering Jim Wynorski was the director.
UPDATE: Jim Noble sent this along:
"How ya doin'? I remember the filming of Sorority House Massacre as if it happened a million years ago. My then best friend and roommate, John C. Russell, was cast as "Bobby" the psychotic slasher. John and I were trying to break into the film biz at the same time, and I had gotten a small part on another classic... Beverly Hills Bodysnatchers. We would, when possible, visit each others set, and I even did something terribly STUPID and asked director Carol Frank why Bobby was trying to kill his sister. She whispered something into a production assistants ear and walked away: I suspect she cursed the day I was born, but the production assistant calming explained to me that "it's all about blood, guts, and carving up your sister."
"Sadly, my good friend John C. Russell passed away five years ago, but somewhere he's smiling about the fact that people are actually watching Sorority House Massacre and arguing about how bad it is.