It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

Why Am I Still Doing This…? Part 2

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I must be mad, I tell you, mad… Well, if I’m not now, I will be by the time I’ve finished my Nightmare Worlds 50-movie pack. The SciFi Classics one was bad enough, but this set is rapidly showing itself to be of even lower quality.

But, never mind. Without further ado, here’s the next batch of personality-wipingly bad films from the set:

Death Warmed Up – many years ago, Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, started out his career with a bad sf/horror spoof called Bad Taste. The director of Death Warmed Up clearly tried for something similar – but his film is crap.

Doomsday Machine – the Chinese have built the ultimate weapon, so the crew of a soon-to-launch mission to Venus is quickly reshuffled, replacing half the men with women. The ultimate weapon does exactly what it says on the tin, leaving our hardy space explorers as the last of the human race. But, of course, they bicker and fight until there’s none of them left. Not a film to watch if you’re feeling misanthropic, but actually not bad for an early 1970s sf B-movie (if that’s not over-qualifying it too much).

Embryo – Rock Hudson is a genetic scientist who manages to save a dog fetus after its mother was run over. The dog grows to term and proves entirely normal – for a savage Rottweiler guard-dog. So Hudson decides to up his game and try the experiment with a human fetus. He’s successful, and the baby grows – using some super-growth scientific thingummy – into the bright and beautiful Barbara Carrere. But, of course, it all goes horribly wrong in the end. Hudson made a couple of odd but strangely watchable genre films during his career – like this one and Seconds.

End of the World – Christopher Lee is a priest who runs a convent. And he’s also an alien double. The aliens are trying to take over the world, of course. A young couple get involved somehow. I remember some scenes set in a 1970s computer centre, although the computer was apparently capable of tasks even modern ones can’t do. And there were the nuns, who were really aliens. And a transdimensional gate, or something, which was the cause of the natural disasters which were destroying Earth. A very odd film.

Eternal Evil – a television director is taught how to astral project by a mysterious woman, and while he sleeps does just that. And kills lots of people. I must have been astral travelling when I watched this, because I can’t remember any of it.

Evil Brain from Outer Space – Starman saves the Earth again. Sigh. This one had a really strange monster in it – I mean, yes, it was obviously a man in a rubber costume. But it looked very weird. Oh, and the titular evil brain spent the entire film being carried round in an attaché case. I’ve seen plenty of maguffins, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a brain used as one.

Shadow of Chinatown – this is actually a serial from 1936, and it’s real pulp action. A mad Eurasian scientist (Bela Lugosi) plots to put the Chinese merchants of an unnamed West Coast American city out of business. There’s a plucky reporter, her manly boyfriend, fistfights, narrow escapes, bombs, and poison traps. It would have been really exciting if it weren’t so, well, dull…

The Disappearance of Flight 412 – and here’s another one which proved less exciting than its title or synopsis suggested. A USAF plane witnesses a UFO encounter, and is directed to land at a disused airbase. Where the crew are held and interrogated by government agents. Their commanding officer, meanwhile, wants to know where his men have vanished to. It’s all because the policy is to cover up UFO sightings and not to investigate them, you see.

Idaho Transfer – I’m not entirely sure what to make of this one. The transfer was terrible, which didn’t help. But its story, and the way it approached it, was actually quite good. A group of scientists have perfected a time machine, and regularly send people 56 years into future, when the Earth appears to have suffered some form of ecological collapse and humanity has died off. The nature of the time travel device means only people under the age of twenty can go, and when the military seizes the time travel facility, a group of young people maroon themselves in the future. Only the Earth isn’t entirely depopulated, and it does eventually recover. An odd, low-budget, low-tech time travel film, not unlike Primer (although nowhere near as confusing).

Good Against Evil – a pilot for a television series which was never (thankfully) made. It apparently stars a young Kim Cattrall of Sex & the City. I don’t actually recall seeing her in it. But then I don’t actually recall much about this film. Something about Satan trying to possess a woman, and a writer trying to exorcise her. The writer is played by Dack Rambo. Who apparently has a twin brother called Dirk Rambo. Dack and Dirk. You can’t make this sort of stuff up…

Alien Zone – a man is dropped off on the wrong street while trying to return to his hotel. It’s raining badly, so a mortician offers him shelter. As they do. To while away the time, the mortician tells the man stories about four of the bodies currently occupying his coffins. As they do. I don’t actually recall what those stories were, however. Or what they had to do with aliens.

So, a mixed bag this time. Embryo, End of the World and Idaho Transfer weren’t bad – and might even have been quite good, if the transfer hadn’t been so poor. The Disappearance of Flight 412 proved duller than it should have been. The rest were as expected.

Don’t forget part one of this recipe for insanity.

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