Thursday, June 24, 2010

Win a copy of "Death Race 2000" on DVD!

Greetings b-movie fans! I just picked up the amazing Blu-ray of Shout! Factory's latest installment in the "ROGER CORMAN'S CULT CLASSICS" film series, namely "DEATH RACE 2000!" Because of this, I find myself having an extra copy of the film just lying around.

The DVD is the old New Concorde release from 2001 and is from my personal collection. I take great care of my DVDs, so this disc is in pristine condition. Here's all the info about the disc...

Approx. Running Time: 78 minutes
MPAA Rating: R
Region Encoding: 1 (NTSC)
Format: Fullscreen

Special Features:
Exclusive Leonard Maltin Interview with Roger Corman
Original Theatrical trailer(s)
Cast biographies
Previews of other Roger Corman films
Collectible booklet / dvd catalog inside

So how do you win this DVD you might be wondering?!
Well first off, you must become a fan (or ahm... "liker") of The B-Movie Film Vault on FACEBOOK. (This giveaway is strictly for the Vault fans on Facebook!)

Secondly, send an e-mail to vault_master[at]bmoviefilmvault[dot]com with "DEATH RACE 2000" in the subject line. Within the e-mail include your name, address, and a short one to two-paragraph essay describing the car you'd drive in a real "Death Race." (The more fun, imaginative, and deadly, the better!) This contest is going until July 1st, so sign up as a Vault fan, and get your entries in ASAP!

The winner will be announced on July 2nd; the disc will be shipped soon afterward! Good luck and godspeed Corman fans!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vault Master's Top Ten Most Ridiculous Shark Movie Moments!

Greetings fellow b-movie fans, and welcome to a very special top ten list. Since today marks the 35th anniversary of JAWS' release in theaters, I joined forces with like-minded online reviewers to pay tribute to Spielberg's 1975 classic and all the films that followed in its wake. While many of my fellow scribes have been focusing on praising JAWS and other killer shark films, I decided that I'd go the different route and glorify the most absurd and stupefying moments in shark cinema history! So let's dive right in and start off with the poppa of all Summer blockbusters.....

Synopsis: A huge Great White dines on the denizens of Amity Island until the police chief, a marine biologist, and an old sea captain, with an axe to grind against sharks, join forces to hunt down the rogue fish.

Most Ridiculous Moment: For a film that relatively stays grounded in reality, it suddenly goes into "ridiculous mode" right at the explosive climax. Chief Brody hangs precariously onto the mast of the sinking "Orca" and fires an old World War II rifle (M-1 Garand?) at a charging Great White Shark that has a tank of compressed air in its mouth. Naturally Brody defies the odds, fires a lucky shot, and blows the offending marine monster to smithereens.

Why It Is Ridiculous: Besides Brody's one-in-a-million shot, there are a few things that just don't add up here. Sharks are known to eat just about anything, hell, they state that earlier in JAWS when Matt Hooper and Brody perform an autopsy on a Tiger Shark. So why didn't the goddamned Great White swallow the air tank? Because having it keel over from a sudden poison-induced heart attack isn't nearly as exciting. (SPOILER: That's how the shark dies in Peter Benchley's novel.)

To further put the kibosh on this scenario, the Mythbusters Team did an episode where they attempted to blow up a scuba tank full of compressed air with a shot from a rifle. Needless to say, it did not create a huge explosion. Check out the full test results HERE.

Still, I would not have the film end any other way. There's something very satisfying about seeing an unexpected hero totally decimate the seemingly unconquerable villain at the end of the film.


Synopsis: A second Great White Shark comes to Amity for dinner. Not only is this one bigger than its predecessor, but it is downright diabolical. After terrorizing, and occasionally dining on, a group of stranded teenage boaters, the villainous shark gets its comeuppance at the hands of Chief Brody. Utilizing a powerline that he drug up from the ocean depths, Brody tempts the shark into chomping on the wire, thus electrocuting the offending fish.

Most Ridiculous Moment: The moment when the shark becomes "SCARFACE-JAWS." Early on in the film, the Great White chases after a water-skier and manages to nab her. Then it goes after the woman driving the boat. In a fit of desperation, said woman douses the shark, the boat, and herself with gasoline, then fires a flare gun at point blank range, into the shark's mouth. This blows her and the boat up real good, but only manages to horrifically burn half of the shark's face, resulting in the first ever Great White Shark in need of a "Phantom of the Opera" mask.

Why It Is Ridiculous: The screenwriters decided to make the shark in this film a horror movie slasher villain. First it is physically deformed in the aforementioned explosion, then it scares a man near to death, murders a killer whale, and begins a campaign of terror against a group of teenagers that are out boating. This movie follows slasher film conventions so closely at times that I was waiting for the shark to don a hockey mask during the third act. Heck, I wouldn't have been surprised if it came back to life and dined on Chief Brody's brains after he electrocuted it during the climax.

Synopsis: A thirty-five foot Great White stakes a claim off the shores of Port Harbor. The Mayor naturally refuses to close the beaches so James Franciscus (Chief Brody-lite) and Vic Morrow (Diet Quint) head out in a boat and attempt to bring the murderous shark to justice.

Most Ridiculous Moment:
Aside from being so derivative of JAWS (and JAWS 2) that it got taken out of U.S. theaters and banned from seeing a legit release in America? How about casting Vic Morrow as Ron Hamer, a dead ringer for Robert Shaw's "Quint" from JAWS? There's almost no disguising who Vic Morrow is supposed to be, and every time he is on the screen, you can't help but be distracted by his presence. ("Hey isn't that....? Nope. Just Vic Morrow. Sigh....")

Why It Is Ridiculous: As if it weren't bad enough that at least sixty percent of The Last Shark was cribbed from Spielberg's movie, the film makers decide to put a prominent mustachioed actor in the same exact role as Robert Shaw. That alone probably sent Universal into a fit of rage. Plus, Morrow's role is made all the more ludicrous by the fact that he is (usually unsuccessfully) aping Robert Shaw's accent from JAWS.

Synopsis: Researchers in an underwater facility, in their crusade for a cure for cancer and other deadly diseases (because shark's are immune to every disease known to man), mix human and shark DNA, resulting in super-smart undersea predators. Eventually the sharks manage to force their way into the facility, and are soon swimming about and chomping on all the members of the cast that weren't top-billed.... or named L.L. Cool J. Eventually, the last of the sharks attempts to escape out into open sea, and its up to a second-rate rap artist, and a second-rate "Punisher" to stop it!

Most Ridiculous Moment: Oy! There are so many moments in the film that are jaw-droppingly stupid and ridiculous, but I think the real show-stopper here is Samuel L. Jackson's big survival speech / pep talk to the terrified scientists in the undersea lab. His speech is so grand, that everyone in the movie (and probably everyone watching the film) are convinced that survival is an option. And then a fig bucking super-intelligent Mako Shark leaps out of the water behind him. The shark drags Sam Jackson back into the water and chomps the everliving shit out of him, thus crushing anyone's hopes of escaping this insane scenario alive.

Why It Is Ridiculous: Few films are ballsy enough to kill a main character off, especially when he or she is making a speech and attempting to get people to cooperate with one another in order to survive, or just overcome an obstacle. Renny Harlin and friends pretty much said "f*@k that" and decided to not only interrupt Sam Jackson's rousing speech, but do so with a huge CGI shark. It's hilarious and totally unexpected if you're a first time viewer, and pretty much lays the groundwork for what you can expect as this goofy action film plays out.

Synopsis: Michael Brody (Dennis Quaid) and company discover that a Great White has snuck into their Sea World theme park and snacked on a few folks. They manage to capture the beast (which is rather small to be the antagonist of the film, dontcha think?) but alas, it dies in captivity. Turns out that they basically kidnapped and killed "JAWS JR." and soon its much bigger, and angrier momma is out and about and creating havoc throughout the park. Eventually, the shark is destroyed because it apparently couldn't swallow a scuba diver that was armed with a grenade.

Most Ridiculous Moment: There's a lot of scenes that really fit the bill, but I think the winner here is at the explosive climax of the film. During the third act of JAWS 3D, a character named Philip FitzRoyce (played by Simon MacCorkindale, a.k.a. Manimal!) attempts to destroy the Great White by tossing a grenade into its mouth while it is trapped. His plan fails, and he soon discovers himself in the gullet of the mighty fish. But rather than getting swallowed (or even chewed), Philip is crushed within the shark's body and remains visible whenever the animal opens its mouth. Oh, and his lifeless body is still clenching that handy grenade. Naturally Mike Brody notices this at the film's finale, and manages to pull the pin on the grenade, causing the shark to explode! Doh!

Why It Is Ridiculous: Because the shark would have chomped down "Manimal" and swallowed the unlucky S.O.B. whole! If anything, the guy should have pulled the pin when he realized he was about to be swallowed before entering the shark's mouth and having its throat muscles pound him into jelly. Regardless, he would have been swallowed entirely, leaving absolutely no "Achilles Heel" in plain site for the main hero of the movie to take advantage of. Stupid movie sharks; start swallowing your damned victims!

Synopsis: Totally ignoring the events of JAWS 3D, this film has the cursed Brody clan coming together in the Bahamas after one of their own is eaten by a poorly constructed robotic Great White. The shark attempts to kill only members of the Brody household but ultimately fails in its unexplained quest and fuels the ire of Mike Brody's mother, Ellen, who goes out to sea in order to challenge, and somehow defeat, her aquatic foe.

Most Ridiculous Moment: This was a tough call because so many things in this movie are one-hundred percent idiotic such as Reggae Mario Van Peebles, Michael Caine as a character named "Hoagie," and of course, the giant, roaring, telepathic Great White Shark! The moment where the movie totally falls apart under the enormous weight of sheer stupidity occurs right at the end when Ellen drives the front of the boat she's sailing into the side of the leaping, roaring Great White. For some inexplicable reason, the shark EXPLODES! (Or rather, an awfully poor miniature of a shark explodes!) No explosives were utilized in this final, desperate attack on the shark mind you; it just blows up real good because a pointy piece of wood was forcefully jabbed into its body.

Why It Is Ridiculous:
There's nothing to explain here. The exploding shark scene (added in because test audiences didn't care for the "shark spews blood and sinks to its death" ending) is completely ludicrous and defies explanation. F*ck this scene, and f*ck this horrible movie!

Synopsis: A giant ape escapes from an exploding toy boat and wades toward South Korea, briefly battles a shark, and then wanders onto the coast of South Korea, where it gets into all sorts of trouble. Eighty minutes of terrible 3D effects and bargain basement city-stomping later, the mighty guy-in-ape-suit flips off the Korean military before it is destroyed.

Most Ridiculous Moment:
For the sake of being on this list, I have to say that the most ridiculous moment of A*P*E is when the Kong-wannabee fights with a "Great White Shark." (i.e. "King Kong vs. JAWS" with next to no budget.) While this may sound cool, it is actually hilariously embarrassing because the guy in the terrible gorilla suit wrestles around with a DEAD SHARK! Even worse, when the mighty gorilla tears the shark's jaws apart, you can clearly see that the poor shark's mouth has already been pre-cut!

Why It Is Ridiculous:

Synopsis: A ginormous prehistoric shark goes on a rampage and its up to two good-looking "marine biologists" to stop its reign of terror. This movie is the pinnacle of bad shark movies, featuring some of the most hilariously bad effects you'll ever see and.... the most infamous line of dialogue ever delivered!

Most Ridiculous Moment: It's a two way tie between the awful scenes where the impossibly huge shark eats people and THIS AMAZING EXCHANGE OF DIALOGUE!

Why It Is Ridiculous: The shark attack sequences are so horribly done; it's hysterical to watch! Essentially, instead of using fake sharks (animatronic or otherwise) or using (i.e. stealing) footage from other films, the effects artists for Shark Attack 3 decided to go a different route: They digitally inserted people into the mouth of documentary footage of a shark! Here is the result of that "awesome" idea:

As for "the line," that pretty much speaks for itself. Watch it again won't you?

Synopsis: I stopped watching Sci-Fi Channel originals a long time ago; life is simply too short to waste on them. Case in point: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. In this aptly titled "epic," a massive shark and octopus, frozen in ice during their last ancient battle, thaw out and go crazy on humanity. Man's weaponry is useless against these two ancient titans, so a plan is developed to get the two creatures to meet up once again so that they can hopefully fight to the death.

Most Ridiculous Moment: Every damned scene that features the shark pretty much makes the cut. It chomps a battleship to pieces, leaps up into the sky to snag an airliner, and takes a bite out of the Golden Gate Bridge! No, I'm not making this up! Here's proof:

Why It Is Ridiculous: I don't care how big a f*cking shark gets, it will never EVER be able to pull off any of the crazy shit this CGI monstrosity does, including leaping 15,000 feet into the air to snag a plane!

Synopsis: A giant, seemingly invulnerable shark begins attacking people near a coastal fishing village. Its up to two kung-fu brothers to stop the giant beast before the village's livelihood is forever ruined! :: Cue Hindi song & dance number ::

Most Ridiculous Moment: Every single frame of this movie qualifies! This is the bizarrest take on the JAWS story I have ever seen and despite the lack of English subtitles, I don't think the film would make much sense anyway. Seriously, during the first hour of watching this epic of insanity, there were three song & dance numbers, two kung-fu battles, one attempted rape, and zero scenes involving a shark. The terribly fake fish shows up around the fifty-minute mark and soon becomes a thorn in everyone's side. Check out the video below to see India's JAWS in action:

Why It Is Ridiculous:
Because it was made in India, natch!

Well I hope you enjoyed my top ten most ridiculous moments in shark cinema! Be sure to read more shark-related articles, reviews, and more as SHARKATHALON comes to a close! To read everything shark-related that was posted in the last eight days, click on the image below:


Friday, June 11, 2010

SHARKATHLON is coming; plus site updates!

Greetings b-movie fans! Just a quick update before I head off the web for the night. First off, June 13th - 20th will be chock full of shark cinema goodness during the massive SHARKATHALON online event, which will be celebrating the 35th Anniversary of "JAWS!" Numerous bloggers and webmasters are uniting to write articles and movie reviews of shark films in celebration of the 1975 classic that spawned an entire movie genre, made Steven Spielberg a household name, and began the yearly Summer blockbuster tradition.

My first contribution is now up for this event. It's an old review for JAWS: The Revenge, fully rewritten and given an all new lease on life! Next up I plan on posting a review for the amazingly bizarre and mind-numbingly strange "Aatank" (a.k.a. Bollywood JAWS), and sharing an all new Top Ten List of the most ridiculous moments in shark cinema history!

But I won't stop there folks, oh no! I intend to celebrate shark movies for the remainder of the month (and maybe longer), so keep checking back often for new content!

Also, I forgot to post a link here a while ago for my capsule review for the insipid remake of Clash of the Titans. I really disliked the movie; it was so terribly put together that it made the 1981 original look ten times better! It's coming out on DVD & Blu-ray in the very near future, but if I were you, I'd either skip by it, or just give it a rental. It is most definitely not worth buying.

Well that's it for now, but keep your eyes peeled for the aforementioned Top Ten List this weekend!