Deadly Friend ~ 1986, Wes Craven, USA



















For most horror enthusiasts, the name Wes Craven is spoken with an air of reverence. After all, this is the man who gave us classics, like Nightmare on Elm Street, Last House on the Left, and The Hills Have Eyes, but it’s time for some inconvenient truth, friends; this man’s body of work is not all slam dunks. No, Wes Craven is also responsible for more than a few serious pieces of shit. And with that….

Deadly Friend follows Paul, the new kid, having just moved into town with his parents, and his big, stupid robot, BB.

BB Mows the Lawn

Yeah, the movie is mostly about a robot. I know the trailer did not prepare you for that… But it is. Anyway! Paul designed, programmed and built BB, because this was the 80’s, and in the 80’s any 11 year old with glasses and a tree fort was more than capable of building a laser, a spaceship, or a fully functioning android. Physically, BB looks like your typical Johnny 5/Wall*E type robot, but his temperament is much nastier. He also has a bizarre way of speaking which, to pretty much anyone living or dead, seems puzzlingly out of character for a damn robot. He mostly communicates in a series of raspy utterances and snickers, like how an evil baby caveman might have spoken. Actually, he sounds a lot like the Gremlins do, as well. Really, I have to assume that the people who made this movie didn’t actually understand what a robot was.

So, soon after arriving in town, Paul and BB make some friends, including a local girl named Samantha, whom Paul, of course, has the hots for. Samantha comes from an abusive home… “How abusive is it?” Well, it’s so abusive that her dad murders her. Paul is crushed, Samantha was his friend, and easily the most attractive girl to ever just accept that his best pal is a four ton boxy robot caveman baby of his own design. Knowing that only his keen teen intellect can reverse the brain death and decay Samantha’s lifeless corpse has suffered through being dead for hours upon hours, Paul, who doesn’t understand hubris, breaks into the morgue and implants BB’s robot circuit boards onto her brain. There should have never been any question as to if this was going to work, because of course it does, Samantha is back and the same as she ever was, save for the fact that she is now BB in Samantha’s body, and she now kills people. One of the people she kills is that cranky old monster from The Goonies, and it is, unquestionably, the one cool moment in the entire movie. Here it is, so you don’t have to sit through the rest of this dud.

If you feel hesitant to suspend your disbelief enough to accept what I’ve described above, then Deadly Friend is indeed nothing you want to tangle with, because it only get’s worse from there. The film ends with a new, more humanoid BB tearing out from inside Samantha’s empty corpse, because somehow the tiny slab of silicon and copper stuck onto her brain managed to reconstitute her entire body into some sort of terminator exoskeleton or something. It’s really hard to imagine that there was a time in man’s history when the concept of robotics was so badly misunderstood by anyone,  and I feel confident stating that Deadly Friend is not proof of ignorance, it’s proof of stupidity.

So, Deadly Friend really, really sucks. The story is unforgivably stupid, and reliant on concepts that only a child would accept, but with subject matter far out of the range of what is appropriate for a child. The production is adequate, but who cares how well Deadly Friend is made, it’s DEADLY FRIEND! You can follow the recipe perfectly, but if the dish you’re crafting is dog feces soup, no one will compliment your cooking. The truth is, Deadly Friend is only worth seeing if you’re the kind of person who enjoys the DIY MST3K movie experience, as I do. If that’s what you want, here it is, it will suit you nicely. Even so, the move isn’t very likable, so I am forced to grade it harshly.

Also noteworthy; the theme song that plays over the credits. It’s just spooky tones, funky bass lines, and voices saying “BB!” Over and over. Did these people really think that the new, franchise spawning horror icon of American Cinema was going to be this lame droid? Clearly, the studio didn’t, because if you watched the trailer above, you’ll see that any reference to BB or robots is missing altogether. That’s the case with most of the press materials I’ve dug up in researching this film. Pretty funny. “Robot? What robot? Listen, just go see the movie.”


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Happy birthday to us!

On this day, one year ago, the first issue of Fantastic Crap Comics went up on this site. That more or less makes this Fantastic Crap’s birthday! Hooray!

I like how things have gone in our first year, but I think it’s clear that I need to make further promoting the comic a goal for the future. Another goal? A total website overhaul.

I hope everyone has had a good time so far. Here is an amazing video.



OVER THE TOP~ Menahem Golan, 1987, USA


Over The Top tells the story of Lincoln Hawk (played by Sylvester Stallone,) a trucker on a quest to win a world championship arm wrestling tournament, and in the process, reconcile his relationship with his son, whom he abandoned the shit out of a decade prior. Along the way, Hawk must contend with cartoonish arm wrestling thugs, as well as his wealthy and corrupt father in law, played by suitably cranky old Robert Loggia, who uses his vast fortune to attempt to bully Hawk into handing over custody of his son. With mounting money problems, Hawk sees the World Championship as his only opportunity to turn it all around.  So, in summation, what the hell?

What the hell, indeed.

Now, Lincoln Hawk isn’t the biggest guy on the arm wrestling circuit- but he’s the one to beat. Why? Because he’s invincible. He’s a hard working, honest trucker with a super patriotic name, and he exists in a Sylvester Stallone movie. His coming was foretold by Teddy Roosevelt a thousand years before dinosaurs, and any who dare challenge him do so only to face their destruction, set to a rousing Kenny Loggins theme song. The 80’s were a different time.

So… Pros and cons.. Deal with this truth torpedo; this film’s production is fantastic. It’s very well made, the art department is kicking ass, and the photography in particular stands out as being excellent. We all know the situation at hand, however. This film was never going to be judged based on production value unless said production value was horrible. Over The Top is a damn 80’s movie about arm wrestling with Sylvester Stallone, people have already decided how they feel about it just based on that information alone… and mostly, that’s fair enough. I do have one criticism that I think is worth talking about, however. The film is even more two dimensional than you might expect- here’s a good guy, here’s a bad guy, no grey area whatsoever, even where it logically should exist. The narrative demands that the viewer just gloss right over anything that might cast Lincoln Hawk in a bad light, and there’s a lot to gloss over… For instance, why did he abandon his wife and son? “Who cares, he had a good reason, moving on!” That’s literally all the film wants to say about that topic, his “good reason” is never explored or revealed. I feel like that’s kind of important, and that’s the sort of added dimension that could really flesh this movie out… However, the only “fleshing out” that happens in Over the Top is the added flesh on screen you get when two sweaty dudes pop off their dirty, sleeveless t shirts in preparation for some man on man arm wrestling. Again- the 80’s, it was almost a different world.

No matter what the consensus may be, at the very least we now have an 80’s movie about professional arm wrestling, a movie where a grown man with a bleach blond mullet declares, very matter-of-factly that he is “The Smasher,” without a hint of shame, and where Stallone lifts weights while driving a semi truck.  No one can take that away from us… So breathe easy. I think probably everyone should see Over The Top. Actually, I need to rephrase that… NO ONE should see Over The Top, but everyone needs to have already seen it, like, years ago. When you were young. This needs to be at the base of your pyramid, but too far towards the top and your structural integrity will suffer, or you’ll reject the film altogether.




LADY TERMINATOR ~ 1989, H. Tjut Djalil, Indonesia


















The psychotronic landscape is littered with examples of bizarre and shoddy, foreign rip offs of popular Western properties. Often, these are done with cunning exploitation of loopholes and/or blatant disregard for copyright laws (Turkey is king in this arena). Many of these bizarro world doppelgangers are often great for a chuckle, but almost none of these movies can ever hold a candle to the film they imitate … Indonesia’s Lady Terminator is one shinning exception. Wow. This movie out-Terminators The Terminator over and over.

Glorious though it may be, though, underneath all the righteous splendor and gunfire, Lady Terminator IS a cheap knock off, albeit with a bit of local Indonesian flavor to spice things up and smooth things out. Let’s have a fun little look at how these two films are similar, and how they differ:

  • Our Terminator is a lady: First, most obvious difference, there’s no Indonesian Arnold in this flick. For our menacing murder delivery system, Lady Terminator has traded a teetering Austrian muscle man for an attractive white girl sporting regrettable 80’s frizz hair. This may have been done for the sole purpose of guaranteeing female nude scenes, but ever changing Indonesian censorship laws would force distributors to draw cartoon lightning over her grown up parts off and on as years went by, leaving the Lady Terminator with Laser boobs on some prints of the movie. The DVD release of this film by Mondo Macabro has an interesting feature on the film which explains this phenomena. Behold; Laser Bra:laser bra 2 The laser versions of the movie are automatically pretty funny for this reason, and I wish that there existed a version of The Terminator where Arnold has laser wang. Actually, by now there probably is, thank you Internet.
  • No robots, no time travel: The second biggest deviation from James Cameron’s 1984 film is that all the time travel and robots from the future are completely left out altogether, for reasons I am not privy to. Any attempt to explain this would be based solely on speculation (probably budget). Instead, this film involves magic… from the past! Some dude angers an evil witch, and she in turn curses his lineage, as witches are wont to do, claiming that at some point a descendant of his will become a terminator, or get stalked and terminated by a terminator, or something… Something terminator related will go down, is what the witch says. That’s what basically happens.
  • Snake: As everyone knows, the area in which Cameron’s The Terminator was most lacking was in it’s failure to feature a weird, weasel looking solider of fortune type guy with a blonde mullet named Snake. Fret not, Lady Terminator has you covered here, and he is spectacular.snake

Anyway, the film’s basic skeleton unravels pretty closely to the original. Lady Terminator wants to kill some girl, some guy opts to help her survive, there is a disco shoot out, Snake get’s involved, and a lot of people get blown away. A LOT of people. Lady Terminator is VIOLENT…. Cartoonishly, awesomely so. The body count leaves the original Terminator in the dust, and  as a matter of fact, SOMEHOW, this movie has a better “person digs out their own eyeball in a bathroom sink” effect than the real Terminator. Explain THAT to me.

Yeah, the move is super crappy, but I remind you that this is an Indonesian rip off of The Terminator that we’re talking about. I love Lady Terminator, and it deserves a lot of praise for managing to match The Terminator where it needs to and smoke it where it wants to.

snake 4


Ninja Turtles….

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ~ 2014, Johnathan Liebsman, USA


When I went to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I knew that it was going to be terrible… But the fact is, I could never be prepared for it to suck this badly, or in this way. I’m not even sure I can voice this clearly, but let’s give it a shot…

To be clear, I was among the many, many jaded former fans who were repulsed by early screen shots of the new Ninja Turtles, given that they are so damn hideous, but honestly, we have bigger problems. If the worst thing this movie had in it were lips and nostrils and an over the top pile of knives called “The Shredder,” I would have felt way better walking out of that theater. Now, after seeing the movie, I could not care less how the Turtles look. Who, to put it plainly, gives a shit? Did you see that film?! Don’t. If I listed what was wrong with this movie, the Turtle’s redesign wouldn’t even crack the top 5,000 flaws hammered into your brain and soul throughout the unmercifully lengthy run time of this satanic hog-orgy. I’ve already decided I was going to use much more R rated language to describe this, I can’t feel like I’ve been honest if I keep this PG-13.

So, the first thing wrong here is that this is, more than probably, the least engaging movie I have ever sat through. Is a Michael Bay movie funny? No, no it isn’t, but you at least can see and understand where the “jokes” are. Typically, these movies are made to be very bland, very universal, and very unobjectionable, so you get the same kind of humor that you might hear at a family reunion. No, it’s not really funny, but the jokes are easily spotted and if you don’t have a bad attitude you can understand why other people are laughing, and maybe even fake it yourself. That’s not happening here. From the beginning, I found myself confused by how flat, dis-interesting, unngaging and bland (even for this kind of film) the language, characterization and humor was. This isn’t a Michael Bay movie, it’s a Johnathan Liebsman movie, which is basically Michael Bay Jr… And you can feel it. This is what happens when you accept something so profoundly lackluster and insulting as Michael Bay, eventually they even water THAT down, and you get THIS. The writing is just embarrassing.

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE:  Let’s try to help this movie… SOMETIMES the Turtles are funny enough. Everything else isn’t even one dimensional. Is zero dimensional even a thing? I feel like this proves that it can be, under extreme circumstances.

About the Turtles… Remember the turtles of yesteryear? Well, forget them, because evidently they were too boring, so they’re gone. These are basically The Hulk, with a shell. They’re fucking bullet proof. “Only their shells are bullet proof!” So? Nobody seems to be able to hit the rest of their bodies, so in effect, bullet proof. Also, they have super strength. Why? Because clearly that’s the only way a movie can be entertaining. Remember when you’ve seen entertaining movies before and the characters weren’t super strong, or bullet proof, or eight foot tall monsters? Michel Bay doesn’t remember that, not at all. The degree of scrutiny applied to this movie’s script while in development had to be bellow kindergarten level. What is a table read like when Michael Bay is your producer? I imagine he stands the entire time, guzzling vitamin supplements, ceaselessly curling a ten pound weight and shouting things like “AWW, TIGHT, BRA, THAT’S HELLA FUNNY.” Also, he’s probably chewing gum and is definitely not paying attention. America is an overly-medicated society, but Michael Bay proves that adult attention deficit disorder is a real thing.

Here’s an interesting point we should talk about- at a time when a black Captain America, a black Flash, and a female Thor are making headlines, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seems to be trying deliberately to go the other way. This movie is WHITE. It feels like they wanted as few non-whites in it as possible. Two asians, no ninjas, anything non-Caucasian is limited to only the minimum allowable number of token minorities. The Foot Clan you know and love from prior Ninja Turtle adventures is now just a terrorist group, they carry guns and have no idea what the hell karate is. Splinter is now Tony Shalhoub, definitely not Japanese, and he learned the martial arts from a book he found in the trash, and then he taught the turtles. Here, go find a “teach yourself kung-fu” book and try to teach yourself. Then, challenge a traditionally taught martial arts novice- just make sure your will is in order beforehand because he/she is going to stomp the shit out of you so hard you will actually disappear from the memory of the universe, you will simply cease to be, because the idea that you can train yourself and others from a book with absolutely no instruction and then possess any level of proficiency is so stupid that I am insulted it was even considered for inclusion here.

AND THE SHREDDER…. The entire movie, Shredder is such an afterthought, he amounts to nothing more than a thug, and absolutely not the film’s real villain. The really bad guy in this movie is Eric Sacks, played by William Fichtner. Throughout the movie, I constantly felt like some secret regarding The Shredder was only moments away from being revealed, but then it never happened, Shredder is never adequately explored, and his role and inclusion feels murky and unfinished. In fact, the movie clearly seems to be heading for the reveal that Eric Sacks is in fact The Shredder, but it then establishes that he isn’t. The truth is that there is more going on here than the uniformed might think, and this ties into my point above about a lack of diversity. I guarantee, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that initially, William Fichtner’s character Eric Sacks WAS going to end up being The Shredder. Part of how I know this, is because in early interviews, multiple cast and crew members, Fichtner himself among them, it was confirmed that William Fichtner WAS The Shredder. “Eric Sacks” even sounds like an appropriately Anglo-Saxonized version of “Oroku Saki,” the Shredder’s name in traditional Ninja Turtles cannon. However, after this word came out, fan backlash kicked in, mostly to the tune of “Wait, the Shredder is some white guy? Why? Why are there no Asians in your damn karate movie, Michael Bay?!” Shortly after this, reshoots commence, and suddenly, William Fichtner isn’t the Shredder anymore, and instead there is a super tacked on, badly smoothed out Shredder character crammed into the film, and the hope is that we just buy it and don’t notice. Nice try, Michael Bay, but not everybody can be a white guy.

Maybe the worst part of this shit show is Megan Fox’s April O’Neil. Now, Megan Fox isn’t a great actor, but the problems we have here are not her fault- this comes right down to the writers. April O’Neil is the central character in this film, and there is a predictably generic “it’s a small world” attempt to tie her in to the Turtles origins by placing her in the laboratory where they (and the newly white Splinter) were created, by her father, when she was a child. That would MAYBE fly, if the movie didn’t also want her to be a sleuthy, gum-shoe style reporter who would constantly work to unravel the mystery of who, what, and how these mysterious turtles could possibly exist. The key to a good mystery isn’t having your detective slowly piece together “Oh, yeah, I remember now, it was because of me!” It just can’t be both. April O’Neil can’t logically be involved in the way that she was with the turtles origin and still constantly struggle to piece together the very origin she was a part of, it’s just not good writing. Even worse, after she remembers, she just forgets again and Splinter has to re-explain what she just pieced together. Basically, the Megan Fox April O’Neil has a severe learning disability. That’s the only way her character’s actions makes any kind of sense at all.

So, there is, out there, a desire to just be happy and enjoy this movie, and this is wrong. If you want to argue with the overwhelmingly negative critical consensus that this movie is horse shit incarnate, then you’re wrong, and you should feel deep, deep shame. Let’s look at some of these arguments:

  • It’s a Kid’s Movie! : So what?! I’ve seen kid’s movies before, they don’t have to suck like this. That is not an excuse for this sham.
  • “I just want to enjoy my Ninja Turtles!” : Hey, bud, I liked the Ninja Turtles too, but it’s not enough for something to just be called The Ninja Turtles. It also has to NOT suck really hard. Here, do you like Spaghetti? If I feed you vomit and garbage but it’s called Spaghetti, are you going to get mad at people who act like your “spaghetti” is gross? Logic doesn’t follow, friend, you’re eating garbage and vomit. That’s what this movie is.
  • “You’re just mad because it’s different!” : Yes, exactly, I’m mad because it’s different in one key way, before, it wasn’t really, really, really horrible, and now it is. That’s a change that I do not support.
  • The old Ninja Turtles was dumb, too!: It wasn’t this dumb, and you know it. We all know it.

I’m just sick to my stomach thinking about this.




The Fantastic Four~ 1994/never, Oley Sassone, USA

In 1994, B-Movie titan Roger Corman served as executive producer on an ultra low budget big screen adaptation of Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four. The film was so bad that it was never released. This is currently the best Fantastic Four movie ever made.

Ffmovie1994I’m serious.

There are differing accounts of why this film never saw the light of day. Some, Stan Lee among them, state that the film was made by the producers in an attempt to avoid losing the rights to the franchise, and that the studio who created it had no intention of ever releasing it. Others say that Marvel purchased the rights to the film before it’s release and buried it, for fear that such an epic direct to video dud could harm the brand and stymy future Marvel films. I guess that was probably a good call. The market is saturated with super hero movies now, even if one bombs audiences are comfortable enough with the concept that a reboot before the dust settles doesn’t confuse anyone, but back then, the idea of a Comic Book Movie was a more fragile thing. This may have caused some problems in 1994.

Even though it never saw a proper release, bootleg copies of the film are easily obtained online, or in shady tape trading circles like the one Nick Cage goes to in 8MM (This is where I got my copy), and if you manage to get your hands on this thing you’ll quickly understand why a 1994 Marvel would want to disassociate themselves with this cheeseball nightmare. Why they didn’t do the same thing with the 2005 adaptation remains a mystery.

 The movie follows the comics quite faithfully, to a fault, in fact. While The Fantastic Four remains one of American comics greatest treasures, significant liberties need to be taken to adapt it for film. For instance, a scientist taking his friends into outer space only to ruin their lives by getting them blasted with space radiation screams “criminal negligence” to the litigation rich sensibilities of today’s audience, but apparently this was all cool back in the 60’s. That’s what happens in The Fantastic Four. Reed Richards, big deal science man, takes his girlfriend, her little brother, and his pal Ben into space and then destroys their lives forever by making monsters of them all. We end up with:

  • Mr. Fantastic, who is able to stretch his body like a rubber band, but unable to ever find a practical application for such an ability (The newer movies also seemed to have a hard time making this super power seem cool. I don’t know what the damn problem is, Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles managed to pull it off pretty well.),
  • The Thing, who looks like a Ninja Turtle, sounds like Patrick from Spongebob and hates life more than Biocop
  • Invisible Woman who I guess can probably turn invisible
  • and the Human Torch, with the power of Earth’s most punchable face. The actor who plays the Human Torch seems to be trying to portray some manner of bleach blonde Corey Haim/Joey Lawrence fushion. He nails it, and you’re going to hate him.

Also in the movie; Doctor Doom, a weird underground thief dude who is probably based on the Moleman, and set designs worthy of the Adam West Batman TV series. Holy shit this movie is campy. And bad. Really, this this isn’t the movie the franchise deserved… But it happened. let’s not be Stalinist about this, the movie exists and is real, and the fact of the matter is, it’s kinda fun. Yes, it sucks like Satan’s Maelstrom, but I think even mainstream America no longer demands that something not be stupid in order for it to be enjoyable. Quite the opposite, all of our most popular stuff is stupid as hell.  We appreciate our campy nonsense these days, and I think that, as a people, we are now ready for 1994’s The Fantastic Four. Sadly, rumor has it all original prints of the film have been destroyed, making a proper release all but impossible. A true shame, because I think that 20 years in exile is enough, The Fantastic Four doesn’t hurt anymore.


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