A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

07 June 2009

Crappy movie Saturday

Sleeping Beauty (1987)

Part of Cannon Film's movie tales series, Sleeping Beauty is a faithful adaptation of the classic fairy tale. Morgan Fairchild stars as a queen who longs for a child of her own (as she tells us in a badly dubbed song - since when do Hollywood actresses have Eastern European singing voices?). An elf (Kenny Baker - R2D2!!!) recognises the queen's longing and makes a special potion to help her and soon after she is with child, and decides to invite all of the 9 fairies in the land to a celebration. Unfortunately fairies can only eat from gold plates, and they only have 8 of them. This angers the evil Red Fairy (Sylvia Miles) so much that she curses the child, on her 16th birthday she will die when she pricks her finger on a spindle! Fortunately the White Fairy (Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Go's) sings a sweet little song and casts a spell so that Rosebud will only sleep, not die, luckily the spell can be broken if a true prince finds her and kisses her. Still fearful the King and Queen ban all the spindle's in the land.

This movie is pretty terrible, the songs are just hideous, Spin Spindle Spin being the worst of the lot. The best bits are with the Red Fairy ,who is just terrifying, from her scary cackle, to her blood red dress and bellowing voice. Her old lady mask in the scene where she tricks Rosebud should have been enough to warrant this an 18rating - it was absolutely horrific. Tahnee Welch on the other hand is just gorgeous and does a good job. Like most Cannon movies this is so cheap and cuts every corner imaginable, and that really lets it down, especially the script! Some of the visuals are quite impressive though. It was made in Israel.

Subspecies (1991)

Much like Sleeping Beauty this one got better as it went along. As the ads on my favourite movie channel on cable, Zone Horror proudly boast, this is part of their season of Full Moon Vampire Movies that they are premiering throughout June. This is the kind of crap that I love about this channel, they like this junk as much as I do! Subspecies is about two vampire brothers, one good and one very bad! The opening scene was just dire, perhaps it was because this scene was the most 'special' effects intensive - lets just say stop motion animation should have been confined to the 80's, and bad stop motion should always remain on the cutting room floor! This stuff is the pits!

For a movie on a very tight budget this one is quite effective, it's pretty gory and there is a lot for fans of vampire movies to enjoy. Some things I particularly enjoyed were the realistic gore effects, and of course any mention of shooting rosary's at vampires ticks all the boxes for me. That, and of course the damsel in distress who gets chained up just so happens to have her shirt ripped in perfect symmetry - conveniently exposing both nipples! Classy stuff! I'll be sticking with this series to see where it goes, Subspecies is by no means a good movie, but I enjoyed it. Romania always provides a spooky location too.

The very bad trailer, who thought those shitty creatures would sell this to anyone - they're hardly even in it!

The Wiz (1978)

Diana Ross as Dorothy, Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, it can only be a Motown movie!!! Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, this movie was heavily criticised upon it's release and I can see why. Leaving the fact that this is an all African-American cast, Diana Ross is very plain as Dorothy and her acting is patchy, as is her singing. But as soon as Michael comes along things really pick up, they really worked well together (and continued to do so into the 80's with hits like Muscles and Eaten Alive). I think The Wiz is a fun and inventive adaptation of the Wizard of Oz, it's also pretty freaky! I would not show this to a child - the makeup effects are garish and disturbing and it's seriously trippy. In one scene our heroes are chased around a subway by ferocious storage lockers, trash cans with teeth , and goodness knows what else! Mabel King as the monstrous Evileene was great too.

I read a review that said essential the probelm is that it was too scary for kids and too silly for (most) adults, and I think that sums it up perfectly. However, you can't deny the amazing special effects and the impressive sets make The Wiz a visual feast. The use of the Manhattan landscape is brilliant too. Diana and Michael's song Ease On Down The Road is another highlight. Richard Pryor is also pretty good. The Wiz is coming back to Broadway later in the year.

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