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thereddragon

thereddragon

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Welcome to my lair! I review cult and just plain bad movies, and classic PC games.

Reviews written

since 16/07/2006

90

Psycho Beach Party (DVD) 21/07/2010

Beach Blanket Bloody Murder (and bloody funny, too)

Psycho Beach Party (DVD) Starring: Lauren Ambrose as Florence 'Chicklet' Forrest Nicholas Brendon as Starcat Matt Keeslar as Lars Kimberley Davies as Bettina Barnes Charles Busch as Captain Monica Stark I recently stumbled across a copy of this movie, never having heard of it before, but thought with a title like that, it would probably be at least somewhat entertaining. I thought the title and the plot concerning mysterious murders of several teenagers in a small beach town sounded like something from the 1950s teenage exploitation genre, but it was made in 2000, so can it really be any good? Well, I thought it was fantastic. I hadn’t enjoyed a movie this much in quite a while, and found myself not wanting it to end. Written by Charles Busch, a writer and sometimes performer for the theatre, he also stars in this movie in a cross-dressing part as Captain Monica Stark, the policewoman on the case. Apparently Mr Busch often appears in cross-dressing parts on stage and screen, so he’s quite good at pulling off this type of role well. In fact, I found Captain Monica one of my two faves of all of the really quite good cast in this movie, the other being Kimberley Davies as an uncannily convincing Marilyn Monroe, called ‘Bettina Barnes’ here. It’s a superb send-up of the late 1950s – early 1960s ‘Beach Party’ type films, really capturing the atmosphere and the characters of the time. The movie follows the exploits of the main character, geeky teenager Florence Forrest, aka ‘Chicklet’, who wants to ...

The Sinful Dwarf (DVD) 15/07/2010

Good things can come in small packages, but not in this film

The Sinful Dwarf (DVD) Well, I think I can now truthfully say I’ve just seen the worst film I’ve ever seen in my life, and probably for all eternity as well. This 1973 monstrosity is so diabolical that I have decided to dispose of it rather than have it become a part of my cherished bad movie collection, something I rarely do. I was really surprised to see that Ciao had this film listed, and decided I might as well take advantage of that situation in order to warn anyone who might be curious about its contents. I got my copy thinking it would be a fun bad horror movie. I mean, the premise of an evil dwarf who goes around enticing local innocent young women by means of a yapping toy poodle he gets them to play with and then lures them back to his house to be kidnapped and enslaved into prostitution, sounds like a bit of cheesy and lurid amusement, a fun foray into ‘so bad it’s good’ness. It’s a Danish film (original title ‘Dværgen’), badly dubbed into English, which also adds to the comedy effect, and it got off to a good enough start what with the bad dubbing and the silly premise. We see an innocent young thing out for a walk and then see Olaf the sinful dwarf (who has a sort of unnerving slight resemblance to Jack Black) approach her with his stupid yapping wind-up dog. Somehow, the young woman is so enticed with this stupid toy that she wholeheartedly agrees to accompany Olaf home when he offers to take her there to show her some more of his toys (ooh er). Once inside his house, he canes her ...

HP Compaq Business Desktop Dx2420 (VC466EA#ABU) 09/07/2010

Good decent-featured budget desktop PC

HP Compaq Business Desktop Dx2420 (VC466EA#ABU) In September my games PC packed up in spectacular fashion, and I had to bite the bullet and buy a whole new one as the old one was really beyond economical repair. Being of extremely limited funds, it was hard to know whether I’d be able to afford anything capable of running current-day games, especially as I’m a custom content creator for The Sims 3 and therefore need a PC capable of running it with all the highest sim and texture resolutions and the highest poly 3D models. An intensive hunt through the budget desktop PCs on offer turned up this nice little microtower as probably the best bang for the few bucks I had. Having had several HP or Compaq PCs over many, many years (I even still have my oldest one, a Compaq Portable III 386 from the 1980s which I’d lovingly upgraded to a 486 and Windows 3.1, and is still in perfect working order!), I liked the brand and decided to settle on this product. It’s sold as a ‘Business PC’, but if you upgrade the very basic onboard graphics it comes with by installing a decent graphics card of your choice, it’s fine for games too. They come in a few slightly different configurations: mine has a dual-core Pentium E5200 processor running at 2.5Ghz, 2GB RAM (upgradeable to 4GB), a 320GB Serial ATA hard drive, a Serial ATA DVD writer with Lightscribe, and a built-in Integrated Intel Graphics chip. Thankfully it also has a PCI Express slot for you to upgrade the graphics, which you’ll want to do if you want to run games on this PC, as the ...

The She Creature (DVD) 04/07/2010

She creature, sea creature, she sells sea shells…oh, forget it.

The She Creature (DVD) Starring: Chester Morris as Dr. Carlo Lombardi Marla English as Andrea Talbott Tom Conway as Timothy Chappel This Science Fiction offering from 1956 combines some of my favourite ‘bad film’ elements: evil moustachioed stage hypnotist, female half-human-half-monster, a really poor ‘reincarnation’ premise, terrible wooden acting, and lovely seaside location (Malibu in this case). It has a pretty good bad-film pedigree, having been directed by Edward L Kahn who gave us such 50’s gems as ‘Invasion of the Saucer Men’, ‘Creature with the Atom Brain’, and what is actually one of my fave more 'serious' 50’s Sci-Fi films, ‘It: The Terror From Beyond Space’, which I’ve heard is believed to have been the inspiration for the later blockbuster movie ‘Alien’. Dr Carlo Lombardi, stage hypnotist and possessor of a superbly sinister moustache (together with such oily slicked-back hair that it positively radiates), strolls along the beach late at night impeccably dressed in suit, tie and hat. After frightening off a yapping stray dog simply by dint of his intense gaze, he goes on to find a strange large webbed footprint in the sand. We’re given a closeup of his eyes as he looks around in some sort of furtively mysterious and meaningful way, before we then cut straight to the middle of some pleasant formal-dress house party. An older lady confides in one of the guests, who we learn is her husband: ‘Dr Lombardi said something terrible is going to happen along this part of the coast ...

The Sims 3: Design and Hi-Tech Stuff (PC) 30/06/2010

Livin' the High-End Life, EA Style

The Sims 3: Design and Hi-Tech Stuff (PC) The Sims 3 High-End Loft Stuff, retitled for some reason in Europe as 'The Sims 3 Design and Hi-Tech Stuff' apparently because (so I've read) us Euros don't know what 'Loft' means or it means something different here, or something, is the first Stuff pack for The Sims 3. Stuff Packs, as opposed to Expansion Packs, add some new items such as hairs, clothes and household objects, usually as a themed set, whereas Expansion Packs add significantly to the gameplay and the game's coding as well as supplying some new objects and hair/clothes. So Stuff Packs are smaller and cheaper then Expansion Packs. High-End Loft Stuff (or Design and Hi-Tech Stuff) is themed along the lines of modern, contemporary 'loft' style living, in the sense of those big open-plan 'loft' apartments in America which tend to be inhabited by trendy up and coming types who favour modern furniture and decor, and high-tech and gadgety appliances. So, we get such things as a nifty new selection of sleek, modern furniture, a massive improvement on all the dreadful stuff that came with the base game, a snazzy new computer, a new gaming console system, a slick stereo, an ultra-slimline TV and a sleek and modern treadmill to play with, and modern-looking decorative items. There are also a few, disappointingly few, new hairdos and clothing items, and none of them are anything to write home about - I would have liked to have seen a bigger and better selection of those. So all of this adds up to a chance to transform ...

I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle (DVD) 20/06/2010

When buying a used bike, make sure you know its FULL history!

I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle (DVD) Starring: Neil Morrissey as Noddy, aka Nick Oddie Michael Elphick as Inspector Cleaver Anthony Daniels as Priest Burt Kwouk as Chinese takeaway owner Daniel Peacock as Buzzer I think this may well be the silliest concept for a movie I’ve come across so far. Made in 1990 and starring a few reasonably well-known actors such as Neil Morrissey in his pre-‘Men Behaving Badly’ days, Michael Elphick, Anthony Daniels (best known for playing C3PO in the Star Wars movies), plus a short cameo appearance from Burt Kwouk (Cato from the old ‘Pink Panther’ films) and a brief role from Daniel Peacock of 1980s ‘Comic Strip’ TV series fame, I was surprised to find that I’d never seen or even heard of this film before. The story starts with a group of Satanist bikers carrying out a demonic ritual, only to be interrupted by a rival biker gang and murdered viciously. As a result, the demon that the first group were trying to summon, decides to take up residence in a nearby circa-1970s Norton Commando motorcycle that had belonged to one of the deceased. The haunted bike ends up at a second-hand bike dealer’s, and our hero Nick Oddie, known affectionately to his pals as Noddy, can’t resist this magnificent-looking piece of machinery despite it breaking his budget. He feels really chuffed with his new purchase – until, he starts to notice some increasingly disturbing quirks: it only wants to start at night, and it sometimes seems to start heading off in some direction other than where Noddy is ...

Frankenhooker (DVD) 17/06/2010

A mad scientist, a bad lawnmower, and exploding hookers

Frankenhooker (DVD) Starring: James Lorinz as Jeffrey Franken Patty Mullen as Elizabeth Shelley Louise Lasser as Jeffreys Mother Joseph Gonzalez as Zorro John Zacherle as Weatherman This is one weird and crazy film (well, as regular readers here may know, I rarely review anything other than weird and/or crazy films). Written and directed by Frank Henenlotter, infamous for equally weird cult films ‘Basket Case’ (1982) and ‘Brain Damage’ (1988), this quirky 1990 comedy-horror is fun and yucky at the same time. The story starts with a nice idyllic outdoor party scene in which we learn that Jeffrey and Elizabeth are a young couple in love and that the festivities are in honour of Elizabeth’s dad’s birthday. Dad blows out the candles on his cake and Elizabeth presents him with a surprise gift, a flashy new remote-controlled lawnmower. However, tragedy quickly ensues: Elizabeth makes the mistake of standing in front of the lawnmower with her back to it in order to demonstrate the remote control, the lawnmower lurches forward and, well, Elizabeth ends up in bits strewn all over the family lawn. Heartbroken Jeffrey, who we discover is a medical school drop-out who has an improvised home laboratory and conducts some pretty strange experiments, takes to spending all his time in there, working on a highly detailed life-sized sketch of all of the muscles, organs and nerves of the human female body, with a photo of Elizabeth’s face pasted to the top of it. We soon learn that some parts of Elizabeth’s ...

The Sims 3: Ambitions (PC) 14/06/2010

Capture ghosts, travel through time & slide down firemen's poles!

The Sims 3: Ambitions (PC) ‘Ambitions’, released June 2010, is the second expansion pack for The Sims 3. And for the first time since The Sims 3 came out a year ago, it finally adds some worthwhile content to the game. I found the base game incredibly boring, with very little for the sims to do and nowhere for them to go aside from a few parks, libraries, gyms and other such uninteresting locations – there were few hobby items, and most of the community lots were ‘rabbit holes’, ie fake buildings that your sim disappears into and you are simply left sitting there blankly watching a progress bar showing the progress of whatever it is that your sims are meant to be doing in there. The first expansion pack, ‘World Adventures’ was a disappointment – basically all it delivered was the ability to send your sims on holiday, and while that added a small amount of interest, it soon became repetitive and the pack just didn’t add enough to the gameplay or the content to be very worthwhile. As I mentioned in my review of it here, it was worth getting just for at least SOMEthing more for your sims to do, but a far cry from what gamers wanted. But now, with Ambitions, the developers have finally got back on track and given players some substantial content, both in gameplay and in new objects. I was not expecting much from this pack, as everything else released for The Sims 3 so far had been very disappointing, but was really pleasantly surprised when I installed this pack last weekend and for the first time since ...

Killer Nerd/Bride of Killer Nerd (DVD) 06/06/2010

The Nerd Strikes Back!

Killer Nerd/Bride of Killer Nerd (DVD) Starring (both films): Toby Radloff as Harold Kunkle Virginia Scott as Helen Kunkle Heidi Lohr as Sally/Thelma Well, oppressed nerds of the world, this is your chance to vicariously strike back at your tormentors! ‘Killer Nerd’ (1991) and its sequel, ‘Bride of Killer Nerd’ (1992), are brought to us by Troma, prolific purveyors of the cheapest and silliest horror movies you’re ever likely to find. (I’ve previously reviewed their ‘Chopper Chicks in Zombietown’ here, another real gem.) These offerings are as wonderfully cheap, funky and hilarious as ever. In ‘Killer Nerd’, we meet Harold Kunkle, uber-nerd. He’s really terminally nerdy, both in looks and in behaviour, in every negative stereotypical way imaginable. With his bad teeth, taped-together glasses, pimples, greasy hair and very poor dress sense, plus no social graces of any description, he gets teased by local teenagers and children, who chant ‘Nerd! Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!’ at him, and he gets nagged by his well-meaning mother with whom he lives. He has a humdrum job where he works with Sally, the girl of his dreams. Sally is always very nice and amiable to him, so finally he musters up his courage and asks her for a date, but she turns him down (nicely). Dismayed, he goes home and watches TV, and sees an ad featuring a suave presenter, ‘Slick Dick’, promoting his set of tapes on how men can make themselves gorgeous and sexy and irresistible to women. Harold keenly sends off for the tapes and puts them into practice – ...

Shock Corridor (DVD) 03/06/2010

Warning: pretending to be crazy can make you crazy

Shock Corridor (DVD) Starring: Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett Constance Towers as Cathy Hari Rhodes as Trent With its tagline of Euripides’s "Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad", this 1963 movie is quite an oddity. Written and directed by Samuel Fuller, who made various other unusual and gritty films ranging from the great Film Noir ‘Pickup on South Street’ (1953) to the strange and controversial ‘White Dog’ (1982), this film deals with the experiences of a reporter posing as a mental patient so that he can report, from the inside, some dodgy goings-on in a certain psychiatric hospital. Fuller started out as a reporter himself, so this helps give the look and feel of the film a bit of a ring of authenticity. The style of direction makes it seem almost like a documentary, but it is one weird film, with many surreal moments and almost dreamlike in parts – a really odd mixture. It’s in black & white and has a very ‘dark’ and dramatic look to it, much like a Film Noir. The main character is Johnny Barrett, played by Peter Breck who has an uncanny resemblance to comedian Denis Leary. Johnny is a very ambitious young reporter who wants to make a big name for himself. So he decides to fake a mental illness and try to have himself admitted to the afore-mentioned psychiatric hospital, hoping to find clues to a murder that had been committed there but that had only been witnessed by three inmates, all of whom have conditions that make them too out of touch with reality to be able ...

Thing With Two Heads, The (DVD) 25/05/2010

Double the silliness!

Thing With Two Heads, The (DVD) Starring: Ray Milland as Dr Maxwell Kirshner Roosevelt (Rosey) Grier as Jack Moss Don Marshall as Dr. Fred Williams Roger Perry as Dr. Philip Desmond I love this extremely silly 1972 comedy Sci-Fi. Co-starring distinguished British actor Ray Milland, known and admired for his starring roles in classic films such as his Oscar-winning role in 'The Lost Weekend' (1945), and star American football player Roosevelt Grier (billed as 'Rosey' Grier for this film), I can only think both of them must have really needed money desperately. However, be thankful that they did, because this laugh-riot really was worth it. With a tagline of 'They transplanted a white bigot's head on a soul brother's body!', this movie is not for terminally politically-correct viewers. How this absurd situation came about is as follows: Dr Maxwell Kirshner owns and runs a prestigious hospital doing ground-breaking experimental work in the field of transplants. He is dying of terminal lung cancer and, being a mad scientist type and an egomaniac, he feels that he must survive and that the only way of achieving this is to have his head transplanted onto a healthy man's body. He has already successfully accomplished this on a gorilla, which we are shown in its cage happily romping about with two heads, one the original and the other transplanted from another ape. With two heads, he can eat two bananas at once, so he's a happy ape. The next step is to be able to transplant human heads onto donor bodies: once ...

The Sims 3: World Adventures (PC) 21/05/2010

'The Sims' goes all RPG and 'Indiana Jones' on us!

The Sims 3: World Adventures (PC) 'World Adventures' is the current Expansion Pack for the 'The Sims 3' life simulation game. It was quite an odd idea to have a vacation pack be the first expansion for a Sims game, and the news was received with a lot of mixed feelings. Many players, myself included, would have preferred something more along the lines of the 'Nightlife' pack, one of the very first expansions for The Sims 2, which added more social interactions along with the ability to go on dates, go out on the town and party, and other fun stuff. The concept of simply adding holidays to an already lacking-in-content base game didn't sound so hot. So, is this pack worth getting? I do think it is. As well as the going-on-holiday bit, it also adds new objects, skills and various other bits and pieces, which do make it worth having. You get quite a few new clothing items and a few more hairstyles, both of which were sorely needed. The new skills of photography, martial arts, and nectar (wine) making, give your sims a few more things to do, which was very lacking in the base game. Your sim gets to take photos with a handheld camera, practise their martial arts skills on a dummy and a block-breaking stand before trying them out on other sims, and learn to brew and age 'nectar' with their own home grape-stomping barrel and nectar machine. There are also new character Traits to go along with these new skills. You also get a new supernatural, a Mummy. Though I still want Vampires, Aliens, Zombies and Werewolves as ...

Blacula/Scream Blacula Scream (DVD) 16/05/2010

"I curse you with my name. You shall be: BLACULA!!"

Blacula/Scream Blacula Scream (DVD) *BLACULA* Starring: William Marshall as Mamuwalde/Blacula Vonetta McGee as Luva/Tina Denise Nicholas as Michelle Thalmus Rasulala as Dr. Gordon Thomas Gordon Pinsent as Lt. Jack Peters *SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM* Starring: William Marshall as Mamuwalde/Blacula Don Mitchell as Justin Pam Grier as Lisa Michael Conrad as Sheriff Dunlop This review covers the original movie, ‘Blacula’ (1972) and its sequel, ‘Scream Blacula Scream’ (1973). Although I’d heard of both of these films when they were out back when I was a mere slip of a girl, I never got around to seeing them at the time. I was vaguely aware that they were of the crop of ‘Blaxploitation’ films popular in the mid 70s, and assumed that they would be just silly. Having recently acquired copies of both films and watching them for the first time, I was surprised to find them actually quite good. Yes, there is some silliness involved, but they’re not the lurid cheesy comedies I was expecting. They are played relatively seriously, with a good dose of humour thrown in at times, but with surprising poignancy as well, particularly from the lead character. In ‘Blacula’, the story begins in Transylvania in 1780 with a visit to Count Dracula’s castle by African prince Mamuwalde and his beautiful wife Luva. Prince Mamuwalde meets with Count Dracula to ask his help in ceasing the slave trade, but meets with quite distasteful behaviour from Dracula, who not only disagrees that the slave trade should be abolished, but also ...

I Drink Your Blood 08/05/2010

Rabies-Infected Satanic LSD-Crazed Hippies! Yippee!

I Drink Your Blood Starring: Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury as Horace Jadine Wong as Sue-Lin Rhonda Fultz as Molly George Patterson as Rollo Rabies-Infected Satanic LSD-Crazed Hippies! Best horror movie concept ever, or what? This cheapo 1970 horror movie is one of the most side-splittingly funny things I’ve seen in a long while. I think it was supposed to be serious, though. I mean, LSD-crazed hippie Satanists descending upon a small quiet country town in the middle of nowhere and terrorising innocent locals sounds pretty serious to me. It was produced by a guy called Jerry Gross, an apt surname considering much of the goings-on. We start out with dramatic footage of the above-mentioned hippies conducting a Satanic ritual around a bonfire in the nude, late at night in the woods. Their long-haired weirdo charismatic leader, one Horace Bones (I kid you not) gives a rousing pep talk to his followers: ‘Let it be known to all the spirits that I, Horace Bones, was born into Hell! I am the first-born son of Satan!’ His nekked followers gaze on him adoringly, and he pours some liquid substance into a large goblet. ‘Let it be known, sons and daughters, that Satan was an acid-head,’ he declares smilingly. ‘Drink from his cup. Pledge yourselves. And together, we’ll all freak out!’ Everyone has a sip, and then they proceed to kill a chicken and pour the blood over a nude middle-aged Chinese lady member of the congregation. However, another member suddenly spots a frightened teenaged girl hiding behind a ...

Everything that starts with W ... 18/04/2010

Where to find good The Sims 3 custom content - UPDATED AUG 2011

Everything that starts with W ... ***UPDATED AUGUST 2011*** The Sims 3, the latest in the 'Sims' series of life simulator games from EA Games, was released in June 2009. It was disappointing upon release as it was notably lacking in basic content such as hair, clothing and household objects which even The Sims 2 base game had more of. The place to turn to find solutions for these dilemmas is, as always, the large number of Sims custom content sites. In its unmodded straight-out-of-the box form, it was much harder to create a Sim that looked how you wanted it to look than in The Sims 2. The applet 'Bodyshop' which came with The Sims 2 and let you create your own hair, accessories and clothing, no longer exists in The Sims 3. There was also no way to make new objects such as furniture, decorative objects, cars and so on. However, now that the game has been out for some time and a few expansion packs have also come along, expert modders have created a fantastic array of tools that enable custom content creators to make just about anything you could want for your Sims 3 game. Here are some good places for Sims 3 custom content: 1. MOD THE SIMS (formerly Mod the Sims 2) http://www.modthesims.info/ This is by far the best Sims custom site I've ever come across and I find it absolutely indispensable. Their downloads are high quality and as well as loads of Sims 3 items, they also have a massive amount of Sims 2 content, worth a look if you are still playing The Sims 2. They exercise strict quality control on ...
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