Tomorrow afternoon — into evening — at the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, the Exhumed Films “Guilty Pleasures” marathon returns with five low-budget shlock epics to beat the band. Your faithful editor will be there, as will Daily Grindhouse writer Matthew Monagle, so expect a full report after the event. This post will magically transform at that point, Cinderella-style, but for now, since there are still tickets available (!) we’re going to run the official descriptions of the films in this space.
RADIOACTIVE DREAMS (1985)
After the international success of George Miller’s films MAD MAX and THE ROAD WARRIOR, post-apocalyptic rip-offs were all the rage during the 1980s. Perhaps the oddest—and possibly most successful—of the lot is Albert Pyun’s RADIOACTIVE DREAMS, which populates its predictable post-nuclear wasteland with two unique protagonists. Phillip Hammer and Marlowe Chandler (John Stockwell and Michael Dudikoff) are two teenaged survivors of World War III who have spent their entire lives locked in a fallout shelter with nothing but pulp fiction detective novels to inform their understanding of the world. They venture out into the barren landscape, dressed in 1940s-era zoot suits and spouting hardboiled dialogue, to face a brave new world of cannibals, child gangsters, and mutant rodents. Featuring special effects by genre faves Greg Cannom, Kevin Yaegher, and The Chiodo Brothers, plus the official “Guilty Pleasures” theme song!
GANG WARS a.k.a. THE DEVIL’S EXPRESS (1976)
GANG WARS/ THE DEVIL’S EXPRESS is an insane genre mash-up: a Blaxploitation/Horror/Kung-Fu absurdist masterpiece that could only exist in the exploitation heyday of the 1970s. Warhawk Tanzania (who, incidentally, possesses the greatest name in human existence) plays an American martial artist that inadvertently resurrects an ancient zombie/demon/monster while on a trip to China. The creature follows Tanzania back to New York City, where it wreaks havoc in the subway system. Oh, and to further complicate matters, there’s also a gang war brewing between some of the toughest dudes in town. It’s up to the local police force and Warhawk himself to put a stop to both the gang violence and the demonic creature stalking the subways. But can they do it before the city explodes? A lost gem that truly must be seen to be believed–keep an eye out for NYC performance artist/frequent Letterman guest/weirdo icon Brother Theodore as a crazy clergyman.
REDNECK MILLER (1977)
“Baby, you can take a lot of lovin’, but I can only get killed once.” That sort of brilliant philosophy gives you a sense of what you are in for with REDNECK MILLER, a sublime example of southern regional cinema at its finest. Geoffrey Land plays the titular character: a hard drinkin’, hard lovin’ country boy disc jockey who locks horns with local drug dealer Supermac and his gang of ne’er-do-wells after a case of mistaken identity and missing motorcycles. Never released on home video in any format–don’t miss this rare opportunity to witness Hicksploitation history.
BLOOD RAGE (1987)
Remember THE PARENT TRAP? The adorable Disney film about precocious identical twins who switch identities in order to fool their parents? Well, imagine if one of the kids was a psychotic serial killer who attacked some promiscuous teens and then blamed the murders on the saner sibling: that’s essentially the plot of BLOOD RAGE (a.k.a. NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS). Filmed in 1983 but not released until several years later, BLOOD RAGE tells the twisted tale of twins Todd and Terry—one good, one bad; one sensitive, one insane—and their long-suffering mother (Mary Hartman star Louise Lasser, who seems to have agreed to appear in this low-budget affair provided she could film all of her scenes from the comfort of her kitchen table). Years after the horrible double murder that resulted in the mistaken institutionalizing of innocent Todd, the homicidal Terry lashes out in a new bout of murderous rage. Little does he realize, though, the recently escaped Todd is on the way back to his childhood home in an attempt to stop his brutal brother and clear his name. Filled with gory set pieces and an unforgettable conclusion, BLOOD RAGE is an enjoyable slasher well worth re-discovering.
NINJA BUSTERS (1984)
Definitely one of the rarest films of the event: never available online, on DVD, or VHS, and—to our knowledge—never released theatrically in the United States, NINJA BUSTERS is a wacky kung-fu comedy and a quintessential example of outsider art. Written by and starring a group of real life martial arts instructors who dreamed of being movie stars, NINJA BUSTERS tells the tale of two sad-sack goofballs (Eric Lee and Sid Campbell) who join a dojo in order to pick up girls and maybe learn a little self-defense in the process. After three years (!) of training, the duo runs afoul of a gang of weapons dealers and their army of trained ninja assassins. It’s up to our heroes and their kung-fu comrades to quit being cowards and to become NINJA BUSTERS! This previously lost movie (little to no information is available on IMDb) was forgotten and buried amidst hundreds of titles in an old film depot until unearthed by one of the members of Exhumed Films. It brought down the house at our recent eX-Fest marathon in Philadelphia, and now we’re spreading the gospel of NINJA BUSTERS by bringing it to the Alamo Yonkers! Fans of films like MIAMI CONNECTION and L.A. STREETFIGHTERS will not want to miss this one!
— JON ABRAMS (@JONNYABOMB).
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