Alien Blood

Ah, Troma. How have we not yet had one of your lovely cinematic gems grace our screens? How could we have gone so long without a film from the makers of The Toxic Avenger. How could we not get on our hands and knees and prostrate ourselves before the altar of those that brought forth the almighty Class of Nuke 'em High ?

Well, allow me to tell you, dear readers, that this oversight is about to be addressed. For on the Friday live-blog, we-the Cavalcade of Schlock army-shall take up arms, and march on the fields littered with Alien Blood (1999), a film actually produced by a company called West Coast Films, and distributed by Troma. WCFs only other credit on IMDB is a film from 1922. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that’s not the same West Coast Films, unless they only surface to produce a movie every 77 years, like some bizarre kind of production Cicada-creature. If that’s the case, then we should be safe until 2076. But let’s move on to the synopsis, shall we?

As pulled from Netflix:

An extraterrestrial mother determined to save her daughter and her unborn child seeks refuge in a house full of vampires in this offbeat blend of sci-fi and horror. Pursued through the English countryside by a band of assassins, pregnant Helene (Francesca Manning) and her daughter Monique (Rebecca Stirling) break into a mysterious house. Confronted by the bloodsucking residents, Helene goes on a gruesome killing spree to protect her offspring!

We’ve got ourselves Aliens, Unborn Alien Fetuses, and Vampires!

I don’t know whether to be wickedly excited, or terrified.

Please refresh the page to see the latest post in the live blog starting at 2pm EST
  • Alien Blood (1999). Starts off with some weird dream-pyro-screaming-thing.
  • Oooh…Ominous titles. “The Last Day of the Century”. Now onto one of the worst fight scenes I’ve ever seen.
  • Poor waiter, all he did was knock on a door. Did that really mean you had to kick him in the groin 5 times?
  • “Introducing: Rebecca Sterling” who according to IMDB, went on to do….absolutely nothing.
  • Huh, music’s nice. Got that Blade Runner vibe. Only cheaper.
  • Produced, Directed, Written, Executive produced, and catered by Jon Sorenson
  • Seriously, what’s up with all the sunglasses?
  • So far, 8 characters, 6 in sunglasses. What is this, The Matrix?
  • CSI, wearing sunglasses INSIDE, taking pictures. Right. Sure. Ok.
  • Wait, is she preggers? Or does she already have a kid? It keeps flipping back and forth. And why tai chi?
  • Ok, is this ENTIRE movie shot in slow mo? I mean, even John Woo doesn’t abuse the Slow Mo this much!
  • Yes. That is indeed a pretty vista to look at, Director. Or at least it WOULD BE IF YOU DIDN’T HIDE IT BEHIND A THICK RED FILTER!
  • Oh, he MUST be evil! He has TWO walky-talkies that make sonar pings!
  • Ok. Seriously, the entire movie is shot like a damn nature video with dolphins. All relaxing synths, slow-mo, and crossfades.
  • Sniper…using an Uzi? Yeah. Sure. Ok. Uh oh! she took off her glasses! AW YEEAAAH!
  • Now the little kid is gettin’ down! Some assasin you are. A 10 year old gave you a beatdown…and then got shot. Well THAT’S a downer.
  • What? Alien screaming? Is that supposed to be the blonde lady-What?
  • CG looks straight out of X-Com: UFO Defense.
  • We’re 20 minutes in, and finally have dialogue. Er..villain monologue, rather.
  • Ok. The fact that somebody a crewman sneezed in the middle of his monologue was pretty funny.
  • Random…juggler… in the middle of the swamp? WHAT?
  • Well, at least they shot him in the head. Serves him right for juggling in the woods.
  • Oh hey, naked lesbians in a farmhouse. Ok, sure. Why not?
  • And now we pause fo an entire scene shot in slow-motion of them dressing each other. Why is that, exactly?
  • and now people having incredibly fake sex in a bed, naked chick in a bathtub…and a doorbell.
  • And why are vampires biting each other for no reason? Don’t they feed off of humans?
  • Ok Dude. You’re having sex with her BELLY BUTTON! Aim lower!
  • And now we pause for a random bagpiper scene.
  • Well then we shoot the bagpiper. Serves him right. Playing bagpipes in the woods and all.
  • I wonder why no one ever told these people that an UZI is not a SNIPER RIFLE.
  • And now they’re all hissing at each other, to what? Say “Hi”?
  • So Dracula is a pudgy english horndog? Ok. Sure.
  • And the only attractive woman in the entire picture is sitting naked in a bathtub rearranging candles.
  • We have Aliens, Vampires, Psychics, and soldiers with Uzi Sniper Rifles. Just wanted to take a tally.
  • Seriously, somebody should have given the crew on the film Anti-histamines. Somebody off camera keeps sneezing.
  • And why is there an ominus thrum around Dracula’s wife? It kind of follows her around.
  • aaaannd the psychic is still in the bathtub….dreaming of aliens.
  • This girl got thrown down, they cut away to another room, cut back, and she got thrown down again. Bad editing…
  • You know what? Dialogue doesn’t make this any less confusing and stupid.
  • Beware armed pregnant alien mommas. They shoot first, ask for help later.
  • And hey, the vampire just peed himself.
  • Halfway through the movie! Woot! The endurance challenge continues!Wait, she speaks english? Then why was she speaking french? She’s asking for help in the wrong language on purpose?
  • All kidding aside, if they shot the movie at normal speed it would be over by now.
  • At least the psychic had time to change outfits in the middle of a FIREFIGHT.
  • 24 whole minutes left to go…
  • Lesbian Vampires with Uzis!
  • I’m starting to think that the sneeze is a sound effect. But it occurs so randomly!
  • Wait, the kid can cause seizures in the bad guys? And he waits until NOW to do this?
  • Wait…he can MELT people by looking at them? Why the hell do they need protection again?
  • And for vampires, they are awfully fragile….what the shit? Spaceship!
  • Um miss? It’s a fully-automatic weapon, you don’t need to keep squeezing the trigger.
  • Wow, the psychic JUST figured out these are aliens. She’s a quick one, she is.
  • And to pad the movie even further, let’s keep recycling footage!
  • Wait, I thought the bagpiper was dead?
  • Dear god this movie is f-ing confusing. And bad. Never forget bad.
  • What??? Where’d the baby come from?
  • And the vampires can go out into the Sun? How are they even VAMPIRES?
  • I don’t even know what I just watched. I need to…yeah. My mind feels violated.


April 8th, 2008- It’s the date of the 6th Cavalcade event, and I’m left in a bit of a lurch. All week, I’d been searching for a 3rd mad mummy movie for our mad mummy movie marathon (ok, enough alliteration from me), but just couldn’t find something that broke the mold set forth by The Mummy (1932), so out of desperation, I head over to the Blockbuster across the street. Maybe they’ll have something in their previously viewed bin, a crappy little film I can pick up on the cheap.

After digging through the bin for close to 20 minutes, I’m feeling despondent, giving up hope that I’ll find anything, and turning to walk out of the store. Just as I take my eyes of the racks of DVD cases, a grotesque creature catches my eye. It kind of looks like a mummy, so I pick up the case, turn it over, and read…

When a black market antiques deal is botched by a goon and his girlfriend, the mummified remains of an alien they were selling is revived by the blood of the murdered dealer, Eldridge (Darrow Igus). The blood hungry mummy is on the run, and stumbles upon an in-patient psychiatric facility that his home to dozens of beautiful, voluptuous lesbian nymphomaniacs.

Dear sweet Gozer, I’d struck the mother-load! Space aliens! Mummies! Alien Space Mummies! Lesbian Nymphomaniacs! This has all the elements of a PERFECT Cavalcade feature! But wait, there was more on the box:

Meanwhile, the mummy is being tracked by FBI Special Ops agent, Buzz York (Roark Critchlow). While the mummy wreaks havoc at the facility, the resident Dr. Von Gelder (Osman Soykut) does everything in his power to protect his greatest experiment-eternal youth, in the form of the beautiful Cory (Dana Marie Barba).

Buzz York teams up with Helen Noel (Jessica Lancaster) and the other patients to battle the blood and lust hungry mummy.

Oh man, I just had to get this movie. Besides, it was 3 dollars, I couldn’t lose!
Unfortunately, in my exuberance, there was a small detail I missed, as my thumb covered it up:

Produced and Directed by Charles Band

Those aficionados of craptastic cinema are already knowing where I’m going with this. Mr. Band is the founder of Full Moon Entertainment, a.k.a. Full Moon Features, Full Moon Pictures, Full Moon Productions, Empire Pictures, and Charles Band Productions. While responsible for the seminal 80's low-budget franchises, Trancers and Puppetmaster, they were more recently responsible for such disasters as Decadent Evil (“Vampires! Midgets! Strippers!”-Their words), and Evil Bong. This guy produces more movies a year than some porn studios, with comparable production schedules that are frequently a week or less.

Nevermind the Wizard Entertainment logo the box. This was a full-on Full Moon Feature.

Complaining that a Charles Band movie has craptastic action, terrible acting and production values, or any of that other jazz is like complaining that water is wet, so instead I will focus on the fact that it’s filled with padding. After a brisk first scene that is fairly cool from a made-for-ten-dollar-schlocktastic-crap perspective sets the stage,  the film slows to a crawl. Scenes of people standing around, cracking random jokes that fall flat and otherwise jabbering on are the order of the day.

Then things just get sloppy. Characters appear in one or two scenes and then disappear from the picture altogether. Others reappear at the tail end with no explanation (and in one case, a vastly different hairstyle). Finally, for a movie that salaciously flaunts its lesbian nymphomaniacs, there is a surprising lack of sexploitation on display.

Yes, ladies and gentle sirs, this film failed to entertain on pretty much every level, and yet I’d still recommend that a Cavalcade put the movie in for the first 15 minutes alone. If the rest of the film were as laughably B-movie awesome, we’d be in for a treat. But alas, this mummy is wrapped in suck.

Starship Troopers

Around you the ragged breathing of your comrades in arms can be heard as you survey the sun-battered alien landscape that streches out before you. Far off in the distance, you can see them coming. The Bugs. You don't know where they came from, you don't know why they're here, you only know your duty. The ground rattles beneath your feet. They're coming. You peer out at the wasteland once again. The giant behemoths are rampaging now, tearing their way to you. "This is it", calls your commander, "it's time to prove yourself as a citizen!"

You look back over your shoulder at him, tall and thin in his fetishistic nazi-style uniform, stalking the ramparts with a confidence he Doogie Howser never showed before in the Hospital and you knew you were going to win.

After falling flat on his face with the surprisingly boring crap-fest that was Showgirls (1995), Dutch-born Paul Verhoeven, director of genre-favs Robocop (1987) and Total Recall (1990), returned to the realm of Sci-Fi action with this movie adapted from a story by Robert A. Heinlein. Though where the book was an examination of a future where compulsory service was the norm and how a society that bordered on fascism was a good thing, the film focuses on large Arthropods  operating with surprising military efficiency and mankind's struggle to rage against the dying of the light.


Big. Dumb. Loud. Three words that perfectly sum up this picture. Focusing on a group of young high school grads, the film primarily tells the tale of Rico (Casper Van Dien), Dizzy Flores (Dina Meyer), Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards), and Ace Levy (Jake Busey) as they move up the ranks of the military during the afore-mentioned war against an alien race of bugs (who can fire asteroids out of their.... butts).

You can already see where the film is going to go wrong in the first 10 minutes or so, where the film decides to develop it's "characters" with scenes of them still in high school and interacting with family. The failure, of course, is that both Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards are interchangeable with posterboard cutouts, something that hasn't changed with subsequent appearances in other films. Only when you get grizzled Michael Ironside (Total Recall) and Clancy Brown (Highlander) toting pulse rifles does the film become even remotely watchable. In the director's cut we watched, these scenes are even longer, delaying the set-piece eviceration-by-insect scenes that are this movie's hallmark.

Oh, and Neil Patrick Harris is a Psychic who can scramble bug minds while wearing very Gestapo-ish gear. When the film was released, he still hadn't shed his Doogie Howser image, which made this the best part of the movie, really.

The effects, which were state-of-the art CG in their day, hold up better in some scenes then others. The problem is that the film relies heavily on them to try to distract from the sheer level of suck everywhere else in the production, from script to direction. Verhoeven pulled out all the stops, with Bullets, Booms, and Boobs-alongside the trademark satirical television spots that frequently outshine the rest of the film. These, with the twist at the end, almost make the film worth sitting through and actually pay attention, but not quite.

All told, this film failed to generate any real excitement in our Cavalcade, but I'm still going to give it a recommendation as long as you watch the shorter theatrical version simply for the sight of Neil Patrick Harris in full gear. Just have the remote handy, in case you need to skip ahead to the entertaining bits.

Aliens: Director’s Cut

I've been wracking my brain on this review for the better part of a week and a half now, trying desperately for a way to talk about the gob-smacking rocksauce awesome that is this film without degenerating into a quivering mass of gelatonous gibbering fanboyism.  I finally decided that it most likely wouldn't be possible, but I had to give it the old college try.

Following Ridley Scott's atmospheric and downright creepy Alien (1979)-Director James Cameron took an entirely different tack with his sequel. Whereas the first film focused on a small crew of miners being hunted by a solitary predatory Xenomorph, this film would see a crack team of mercenaries facing down hundreds of bone-gnawing extra-terrestrials. But anyone heading to this site knows this already. Because any film fan who claims to like Sci-Fi action, Sci-Fi horror, or movies in general has already seen this movie: Because it. Is. AWESOME.

Damn, almost made it through the first paragraph. Ok, let's try that one again.

Set fifty-seven years after the original, Ellen Riply (Sigourney Weaver), the sole-survivor of the alien attack aboard the space freighter Nostromo, wakes to a new world where all of her friends and family have long-since passed on. With no physical evidence to back up her reasons for blowing up a multi-billion dollar spacecraft, no one believes her tale of extra-terrestrial infestation, leaving her stripped of rank and marginalized. One of the most damning things against her is that the planet from whence the original alien was acquired has since been colonized, and no one has seen anything out of the ordinary for over 20 years.

Of course, before long, lots of out of the ordinary things happen, and the colony stops responding to calls from home. Time to send in the Space Marines! With Ripley along as a "Technical Alien Advisor", this rag-tag group heads down to LV-426 to find... well, you've got the idea.

I can feel the fanboy raging to get out, wanting to talk about the visual effects that still (for the most part) stand-up. Or the sheer number of genre-defining set pieces that would go on to become benchmarks for every space movie (indeed most Sci-Fi/Action movies) that followed. Or the unforgettable characters like Hudson (Bill Paxton), Vasquezz (Jenette Goldstein), Bishop (Lance Henriksen), and Hicks (Michale Biehn). Or the kick-ass final showdown between Ripley and the Alien Queen over the rousingly explosive score by James Horner! OR THE AMAZING CHASE WHERE BISHOP-

Ahh...there I go again. If I smoked, I'd need a cigarette. So let's bring it down a notch.

The Director's cut expands on the setup with the inclusion of a scene explaining the beginning of the infestation. While it's technically compitent, it slows down the pace of the film lessens the effect of seeing the planet and certain characters for the first time with the rest of the marines. However, this version also includes some other scenes that overall, make it a better experience than the theatrical version.

It goes without  saying that this film comes highly recommended for the Cavalcade, family dinners, wedding anniversaries, or any other occasion. It's beyond a crowd-pleaser. It's quality entertainment that succeeds on all levels. It's safe to say: If your group of friends don't love you for screening this film... you need new friends.


Once the intrepid astronauts fly into the tail of Haily's Comet to find a gigantic ship shaped not-unlike a penis, disembark their shuttle to enter and fly down a long organic corridor that is not-unlike a urethra (more of a fallopian tube, but we're sticking with the previous organ), and enter a room that was not-unlike a womb filled with batlike fossils, and with a large doorway that is not-unlike a sphincter that later has a shaft of light shoot out of it, we knew we were in for a cinematic achievement heretofore unimagined by man. Once the self-same astronauts deploy a "specimen bag" on one of the fossils (read: A Net) and fly into the sphincter light only to find some nubile alien hotness in a crystal cage on the other side, we realize that Freud is deeply at work in this picture. But we also realize that this is going to be one hell of a movie!

It's kind of hard to figure out exactly where this film went so gloriously astray. Written by Alien-scribe (and director of Return of the Living Dead) Dan O'Bannon, who certainly is capable of writing a creepy film with Xenomorphs, and directed by Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), who has scared the living crap out of an audience more than once, and yet this is one of the silliest "serious" Sci-Fi/Horror movies to ever come out of the 80's. Maybe it's the subject matter? When you adapt a little-known book published in the 70's with the auspiciously descriptive title of Space Vampires, you set yourself up for a certain level of camp. Strangely enough, the book is supposedly better than the movie, but I can't see how. It doesn't have Mathilda May.

Ah yes, Mathilda May, the lead vampire. One must  wonder what she thought when she read the script and saw that the only costume she would be wearing the entire production would be a see-through scarf, and that for only one scene. The rest of the movie she walks around the very cold sets very naked, something that the producers certainly decided to showcase in all of the trailers and a healthy dose of the promotional materials. To be fair (and a bit of a lech), it's totally the right call on both the producer's and the vampires' part.  To quote one of the astronauts: "I'd say she's perfect. I've been in space for six months and she looks perfect to me."

Don't worry ladies, there are two male vampires who also suffer from the same continuous wardrobe malfunction for a large portion of the picture, but for some reason they don't get equal screentime. Go figure.

As it turns out, bringing naked space aliens, who just happen to resemble hot-bodied models housed in crystals to your ship can lead to electrical fires (something that Smokey certainly never thought of). Also, when a derelict burned-out space shuttle is found to have only one survivor and a cargo of naked space aliens, who just happen to resemble hot-bodied models housed in crystals, it might not be a good idea to bring them back to Earth. It might just lead to an alien invasion, a whole host of horny zombies, and some man-on-man action with Patrick Stewart. Who knew?

What totally makes this movie is that every one in it is dead serious. British actors Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, and the aforementioned former Starfleet Captain all deliver their lines with the gravitas of Lincoln's Gettysburg address. The same goes for the heavy-handed direction and script. At no point, it seems, did anybody realize exactly how ridiculous this all was, which makes it all the more amusing to watch.

Colonel Tom Carlsen: She's resisting. I'm going to have to force her to tell me. Despite appearances, this women is a masochist. An extreme masochist. She wants me to force the name out of her. She wants me to hurt her. I can see the images in her mind. You want to stay? Otherwise wait outside!
Colonel Colin Caine: Not at all. I'm a natural voyeur.

When exchanges like that are handled like they're reciting Shakespere, well...It just becomes that much more enjoyable with a group of friends, a host of drinks, and a large helping of food. Throw in some truly impressive special effects for the time, and this film is highly recommended for the Cavalcade.