Zeiram 2 – 1994 – Japan
Zeiram 2 is a sequel to Zeiram (1991). Iria, the foxy alien bounty hunter, returns to Earth to destroy a robot warrior who hosts the parasitic monster Zeiram. Iria and Zeiram face off in an alternate dimension containing an abandoned industrial complex, a Shinto shrine, and a 370’ tall statue of a woman. They battle with guns, martial arts, force fields, landmines, grappling hooks, heat seeking robotic insects, and a helicopter umbrella. Also present is Bob (Iria’s AI partner) and the two bumbling electricians from the first Zeiram film.
I Bury the Living – 1958 – United States
Robert Kraft reluctantly takes a job as manager of the Immortal Hills cemetery. On his office wall is a huge map of the cemetery filled with pushpins. Plots marked with white pins have been sold but are unoccupied, while plots marked with black pins contain bodies. Examining the map, Robert accidentally replaces a white pin with a black pin. When the grave’s owner dies the next day, it seems like a fluke .When the same coincidence happens again, Robert suspects the map has supernatural powers. He tells anyone who will listen but no one believes him. Trying to prove his claims to the police, he inadvertently kills others. Wracked with guilt, he attempts to bring his victims back to life by replacing the black pins with white ones. The next morning, Robert finds that the graves of his victims have been mysteriously dug up. This is never really explained. The film’s unbelievable twist ending reveals that the cemetery’s kooky old Scottish caretaker actually murdered most of the map’s supposed victims. The police also faked some of the deaths to make Robert believe in the paranormal map. Somehow this was supposed to trick the caretaker into revealing himself as the killer. Huh?
Interstella 5555 – 2003 – Japan/France
Interstella 5555 (a.ka. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem) is a collaboration between French electronic musicians Daft Punk and Japanese manga creator Leiji Matsumoto. The film is a feature length narrative music video for Daft Punk’s album Discovery (2001).
Toward the Terra – 1980 – Japan
After Terra (Earth) is ruined by war and pollution, the survivors establish a totalitarian government called Universal Control. They create a computer program called Mother to breed a new race of genetically modified humans. These test tube babies have implanted memories that make them complacent and unemotional, thereby preventing mankind’s irrational tendencies from ever destroying the planet again. Occasionally, a mutant is born. These mutants are called the Mu. Each is physically disabled in some way (blind, asthmatic, mute), but they accommodate with psychic powers. Hunted by Universal Control, the Mu hide in their underground city and plot rebellion.
Sisters of Death – 1976 – United States
Sisters of Death opens with a cult-like sorority initiation. Girls in veils play a ritualized version of Russian roulette. The gun is not supposed to be loaded, but it is (of course) and one girl is shot in the head. The police declare the death an accident and no one goes to jail (which seems unrealistic). Seven years later, the former sorority girls receive mysterious invitations to a reunion at an isolated desert hacienda. The women are suspicious but attend anyway. Upon arriving, they are sealed in by an electric fence, along with the two hapless men who gave them a ride. The hacienda’s owner is the father of the dead sorority girl. He reveals his identity to the women, taunts them, and murders them one by one. Meanwhile, the two men help the women escape.
The Cold – 1984 – United States
In The Cold’s title sequence, ragtime music plays and various board games (including the Mad Magazine Game) are shown. Afterward, the rhyming narrator introduces the film’s plot. “Once upon a time in a far away resort, three millionaire eccentrics played a game for fun and sport.” These demented millionaires recruit greedy weirdoes to compete in the “Game of Fear” for a million dollars. The players (a lawyer, an ex-con, two trampy women, and three country musicians) stay at a resort while the millionaires try to terrify them into leaving.
Track of the Moon Beast – 1976 – United States
While watching a meteor shower, a mineralogist named Paul is struck by a hurtling rock. The rock (from the Moon) lodges in Paul’s brain. Every night when the Moon appears, Paul transforms into a humanoid lizard and goes on a murderous rampage. Paul’s friend Johnny Longbow keenly investigates the murders. Johnny is an anthropology professor, champion archer, Native American, and all-around great friend. Plus, he makes a delicious stew. Upon discovering Paul’s condition, he collaborates with the world’s top neuroscientists to find a cure. When Paul proves incurable, Johnny kills him with a handmade arrow of Moon rock.
Drive-In Massacre – 1977 – United States
A sword-wielding maniac beheads people at a drive-in theater. Two pudgy middle-aged police detectives investigate. The theater was built on the site of a carnival and is staffed by former carnies, but this fact is irrelevant to the plot. The detectives unsuccessfully question a series of mean, seedy, or pathetic suspects. The theater manager cruelly abuses his staff. A peeping tom cracks during interrogation and admits, “I just wanted to beat my meat!” An imbecilic janitor gets fired for helping the detectives. At the plot’s climax, the killer commits a daring murder in the theater’s projection booth. He is never caught and his identity is never revealed. Before the credits, a message warns viewers to be careful while attending drive-in theaters.
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad – 1973 – England
Sinbad and the Grand Vizier of Marabia unite on an adventure to find the Fountain of Destiny on the lost continent of Lemuria. They race for the fountain against the evil magician Prince Koura. The powers of this wondrous fountain are a little unclear, but Koura somehow intends to use it conquer Marabia. In route to the fountain, Sinbad sails treacherous waters, battles fantastic creatures, and solves ancient riddles.