It’s really hard to find anyone who does eighties neon pop surrealism like Empire Pictures. If you want to soak in everything about the decade from the bright colors, weird synth music and massive hair, look no further than films like “Terrorvision,” “Bad Channels” and or “Vicious Lips.” Your experience with Albert Pyun’s rare cult film may vary depending on your love for the decade, but sans the nostalgia goggles, it’s only a moderately entertaining experience that it limitless in its oddities. Something of a mixture of “Rock and Rule,” “Jem and the Holograms,” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Albert Pyun throws so much imagery at the audience and there’s never any kind of substance soaked up.
“Virtual Encounters 2” is from Surrender Cinema, one of Charles Bands’ sub labels that specialized in the type of movie you’d usually find on late night Fridays and Saturdays on Cinemax back in the nineties. It’s always a good sign when you enter in to a new movie and the first thing you see are a woman’s erect nipples. “Virtual Encounters 2” is the okay sequel to the okay original film. The sequel follows a new group of characters, setting down on two dorm mates at Midvale College. Mel has wet dreams about the girl of his dreams and is discovered by his roommate Sam who actually can score with women. Sam convinces Mel to attend an art class with nude models and Mel is shocked to see one of the nudes are the girl of his dreams.
It’s another episode of “Filmonsters!” and while I appreciate the inherent idea behind Full Moon composing hour long movies with broadly written monsters that vaguely resembled Universal’s staples, this second movie isn’t good. In fact it’s almost the exact same movie as “Frankenstein Reborn!” To evoke emotions in the vein of RL Stine’s “Goosebumps” the producers make a young girl the star of their story. I think if it took off, every “Filmonsters!” would have had young teenagers who realize something about themselves or their families while fighting monsters. I wonder if there would have been a “Gillman Reborn!” with a young girl realizing she’s from a family of ancient lizard people or something.
You could see where David DeCouteau’s contemporary film list started, as “The Killer Eye” is no more a horror film as it is a fifty minute soft core porn with twenty minutes of story added. “The Killer Eye” looks like it was made on a bargain basement budget, and considering the limited scenery, it’s not hard to figure out that DeCoteau put his entire budget on the film’s titular monster. This movie probably introduced a lot of people to hentai for all we know.
The beautiful but deadly Cynthia Rothrock is back with another of Full Moon’s great compilations entitled “Fists of Fury.” At a little over a hundred minutes, “Fists of Fury” features clips to a ton of famous and infamous martial arts films that tackle all kinds of topics far and wide. There’s “Female Fighters,” the funny but awkward “Brucesploitation,” and “Deadliest Weapons,” movies with some of the most unusual and dead weapons in all of action cinema.
While “Puppet Master 3” was a prequel to “Puppet Master” parts one and two, “Retro Puppet Master” is a prequel to the entire series. Rather than being chased by the Nazis, a young Toulon is facing off against mysterious undead agents working for a demonic force that wants his life serum. In “Retro Puppet Master,” the writers pay tribute to the original movies by re-casting Guy Rolfe as Toulon. Still running from Nazis, he camps out for the night in a cabin and regales his puppets with how he originally began his journey.
I really like what Full Moon had in mind with the “Filmonsters!” movie series. Take public domain characters, turn them in to hour long movies for the PG-13 crowd, add unique twists, and call it a series! It’s too bad there were only two of these “Reborn!” movies. I’m not saying “Frankenstein Reborn!” is a masterpiece, but it has its head in the right place, and could have taken many more monsters and re-imagined them down the line. The series has a neat opening credits scene with Full Moon’s banner monsters Toulon’s puppets, and craftily edited re-cuts of them in a graveyard among the tombstones of various monsters, and them reviving their master, which would also count as them reviving whatever monster of the week Full Moon was spotlighting.
“Metalstorm” is another one of the Not Brand X movies from the eighties where fans of “Mad Max” were treated to a long list of movies that desperately emulated its formula and aesthetic. If you survey most of the late seventies and eighties, you could probably build a whole sub-genre of post-apocalyptic movies that emulate “Mad Max” and “Escape from New York.” There’s a whole library from various studios who aimed to capture the same success and pop culture momentum as the aforementioned. “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn” is by no means a bad movie. It is a hokey but fun movie, though. It has all the hallmarks with films of this ilk including a desert wasteland, a hot rod driving “road warrior,” and his blonde babe.