The Raiders of Atlantis

July 1, 2018 at 10:28 pm (3 Heads, Raiders of Atlantis) (, , , )

The Raiders of Atlantis – 1983 – Italy/Philippines

In the future year of 1994, American scientists accidentally raise the continent of Atlantis. The Atlanteans are Road Warrior-type freaks who wear spiked leather and drive motorcycles with blades on them. With axes, machine guns, and grenades, they attack the Caribbean islands, kill everyone, and turn the cities to scorched ruins. Two American mercenaries team up with a bunch of hapless victims and fight back with guns and Molotov cocktails.

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Spirit Warrior

July 1, 2018 at 10:17 pm (3 Heads, Spirit Warrior) (, , , , , , )

Spirit Warrior – 1988 – Japan

Spirit Warrior (a.k.a. Peacock King) is a series of five episodic anime movies. This review covers Spirit Warrior: Revival of Evil and Spirit Warrior: Regent of Darkness since these two episodes form a single story arc.

In an alternate modern day reality, the Nazis have risen again and possibly taken over America. Lead by Fuhrer Siegfried, they fly around the world in their zeppelin (the Hindenberg) in pursuit of an artifact called the Dragon Orb. This orb, which is actually a skull, can apparently “engulf the world in darkness”. Kujaku, a Buddhist exorcist, joins forces with some Tibetan monks to stop the Nazis. Kujaku and his allies travel between Japan, America, Germany, and Tibet. Along the way, Kujaku discovers he is the reincarnation of the “god of light”, and his long lost twin sister is the goddess of darkness. The story ends with Kujaku and his sister in a spiritual battle for the fate of the world. After reconciling their differences, they both die.

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Phantasm II

July 1, 2018 at 10:06 pm (9 Heads, Phantasm II) (, , , , , , )

Phantasm II – 1988 – United States

Phantasm II
is the sequel to Phantasm (1979) and begins seconds after the first film ends. As Mike and Reggie are planning a road trip, their house is attacked by the Tall Man and his army of hooded dwarves. Reggie turns on a gas stove and obliterates the whole house in a spectacular explosion, but the Tall Man escapes. After the incident, Mike is put in an insane asylum.

Seven years later, Mike is released. He is haunted by psychic premonitions. When Reggie’s family is killed in another house explosion, Mike and Reggie take a road trip to find the Tall Man and destroy him. They rob a hardware store and arm themselves with a bunch of outrageous weaponry. Mike wears a welding mask and wields a pistol and a homemade flamethrower. Reggie builds a four-barreled shotgun and carries a chainsaw. In their bitchin’ muscle car, Mike and Reggie pursue the Tall Man through desolate highways and ghost towns. Along the way, they both meet girlfriends. The group reaches a destroyed Oregon town where the Tall Man manufactures his army of dwarves, killer robotic balls, and guys in gas masks. Mike and Reggie stage a commando raid on the Tall Man’s mausoleum and mayhem ensues. They blow up the Tall Man’s minions, inject the Tall Man himself with a tank full of hydrochloric acid, and light the mausoleum on fire. Of course, in the Phantasm series, nothing is that easy. As Mike and Reggie escape the burning mausoleum in a hearse, the Tall Man bursts through the car’s back window and snatches Mike. Mike says, “This is all a dream!” to which the Tall Man famously replies, “No. It’s not.”

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Venus Wars

June 2, 2018 at 3:35 pm (7 Heads, Venus Wars) (, , , , , )

Venus Wars – 1989 – Japan

A hundred years in the future, Venus is colonized by humans. The planet has been terraformed and has a breathable atmosphere, but it’s still a craggy wasteland wracked by acid rainstorms. The colonists live in rundown cities where they eke out a living in Venus’s faltering industrial economy. A young named Hiro and his gang of friends are professional rollerbikers. Rollerbiking is a dangerous, destructive sport resembling roller derby on single-wheeled motorcycles. When Hiro’s home city of Io is invaded by the neighboring country of Ishtar, Hiro and his gang become partisan guerrillas. They are joined by a spunky Earth journalist named Susan Sommers (who resembles the real Suzanne Sommers). They get recruited into a more organized rebel army, but their punk attitudes clash with the military leadership. Nonetheless, Hiro and his gang ride their motorized unicycles to war and destroy the Ishtar army.

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R.O.T.O.R.

May 13, 2018 at 7:48 pm (7 Heads, R.O.T.O.R.) (, , )

R.O.T.O.R. – 1987 – United States

Barrett Coldyron (pronounced “cold iron”) is a Texas rancher and robotics researcher. He is developing a robotic policeman code named R.O.T.O.R. (Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research). Coldyron seems pretty cool. He has a cool mullet and wears sunglasses all the time, but he’s sort of a fascist. He says, “Either we control society, or it destroys itself.” He believes that only an invincible robot cop can protect people from their own anti-social behavior. Nonetheless, he is this movie’s hero.

A greedy politician forces Coldyron to deploy ROTOR before it’s ready. The robot goes berserk. It kills a guy over a traffic violation and stalks the guy’s wife across the country. Coldyron says, “ROTOR would walk through a bus full of nuns to get to a jaywalker. It’s like a chainsaw set on frappe.” Coldyron races to stop ROTOR. Unfortunately for him, ROTOR is super strong, performs motorcycle stunts, and can look backward through time. Coldyron shoots and wrestles ROTOR ineffectually for a while, but eventually discovers it can be paralyzed by a loud car horn. Coldyron lassos all of ROTOR’s limbs, ties the ropes to a car, and draws and quarters the robot. In the final scene, Coldyron is shot to death by his evil boss.

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Robo Vampire

May 7, 2018 at 12:26 am (5 Heads, Robo Vampire) (, , , , , , , )

Robo Vampire – 1988 – Hong Kong/Thailand

An evil Buddhist priest and a gang of heroin dealers use Chinese hopping vampires to kill the police. The “police” wear camo fatigues, carry grenade launchers, and know martial arts. A policeman is killed and resurrected as a cyborg warrior. He looks like Robocop mixed with a samurai, but made out of pillows and duct tape. The movie has a lot of fight scenes.

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The Demons of Ludlow

April 5, 2018 at 2:08 am (4 Heads, Demons of Ludlow) (, , )

The Demons of Ludlow – 1983 – United States

Ludlow is a New England village with a population of 47. During the town’s bicentennial celebration, a mysterious white piano appears in the town hall. Rumors among the townies suggest the piano is part of a curse related to Ludlow’s colonial era history. Soon, ghosts in powdered wigs, two hundred year old clothes, and grotesque pasty makeup appear and begin murdering people. Ludlow’s mayor conceals the crimes to protect the town’s tourist reputation. Meanwhile, a young investigative reporter digs into the town’s sordid past.

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Ewoks: The Battle for Endor

March 14, 2018 at 12:36 am (6 Heads, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor) (, , , , , , )

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor – 1985 – United States

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor is a spin off of Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi and a sequel to Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. Battle for Endor takes place immediately after its prequel. Cindel, the young heroine of Caravan of Courage, and her family are living with the bear-like ewoks on the forest moon of Endor. Cindel’s father is repairing the family spaceship so they can leave the planet and go home. Five minutes later, the ewok village is ravaged by reptilian barbarians with lasers. Cindel’s entire family is killed, and all the ewoks are abducted. Only Cindel and her ewok pal Wicket manage to escape.

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Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure

February 25, 2018 at 9:40 pm (5 Heads, Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure) (, , , , , , )

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure – 1984 – United States

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure is a made-for-television spin-off of Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. In the Star Wars continuity, Caravan of Courage takes place an indeterminate amount of time before Return of the Jedi.

Mace and Cindel are two kids stranded on the forest moon of Endor. Their family’s shuttle has crashed and they are separated from their parents. Cindel is a friendly little girl. Mace is her impulsive high-strung older brother. While searching for their parents, the kids encounter a tribe of ewoks, Endor’s cute bear-like natives. The ewok shaman performs a divination ceremony involving an over-sized dreidel and tells the kids that their parents have been abducted. The adults are imprisoned by the Giant Gorax in the ominously named Forbidden Land.

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Puppet Master

February 14, 2018 at 2:30 am (8 Heads, Puppet Master) (, , , , , , )

Puppet Master – 1989 – United States

Andre Toulon is a German puppet maker living during World War II. He discovers an ancient Egyptian spell to bring his puppets to life. Hunted by Nazi spies, he flees Germany to California, taking residence in a coastal hotel called the Bodega Bay Inn. As the spies close in on him, Toulon commits suicide, but not before hiding his puppets in the hotel’s walls.

In present time, four psychics are invited to the Bodega Bay Inn by their mutual acquaintance Neil Gallagher. When they arrive, the hotel is closed and Neil’s wife informs them that Neil recently committed suicide. The psychics are shown to their rooms, and each investigates the hotel to unravel the mystery of Neil’s invitation. Meanwhile, they are hunted by a killer gang of Toulon’s living puppets. It turns out that Neil moved into the hotel to find Toulon’s magic spell. Upon recovering it, he killed himself and used the spell to return to life in an immortal body. The invitation to his old acquaintances was a trap to kill them. In the end, Neil’s immortal body fails and he is killed by the puppets that he controlled and abused.

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