• Robert Saucedo

Ten Weird Movie Recommendations



ASSASSIN 33 A.D. (2020)


Religious conservatives like to claim that heavy metal music and stuff like HARRY POTTER are tools from the devil to corrupt the minds of Christians and damn their souls. I have a much easier time believing Satan is an uncredited producer behind ASSASSIN 33 A.D., a Christian movie in which a group of radical Muslims uses time travel to kill Jesus.

ASSASSIN 33 A.D. doesn't know how time travel works. It doesn't know how Islam works. It doesn't know how the passage of time works. This movie is DUMB but ... but ... strangely watchable. Part STARGATE, part TIMELINE, part PASSION OF THE CHRIST, the film follows a group of young scientists who discover the lab they're working on is actually a front for radical Muslim terrorists. When the terrorists use the time machine they built to travel back to Jesus' crucifixion, the scientists follow - leaving behind a trail of time paradoxes, mixed religious messages about forgiveness, and a lot of weird philosophical questions about how time travel and Christianity mix.

If Jesus promises salvation to his repentant would-be assassin but then that timeline is wiped out because of a paradox, what does it mean?

Speaking of Jesus, Christ is played by former College Station resident and American Idol contestant Jason Castro. Heidi Montag also makes an appearance in the film, doing her darnedest to speak in a British accent. Oh, and the movie was filmed in Dallas.

This film is trying its best to provide a good Christian message while also homaging AVENGERS: ENDGAME. It's weird, weirdly offensive, and features Jesus quoting THE TERMINATOR.

I kinda loved it.


CRY WILDERNESS (1987)


I watched CRY WILDERNESS earlier this year and, guys, I think I'm in love.

Irresponsible use of animal actors, eye trauma delivered by a bird of prey, tiger chases through a ghost town, and a teacher learning to love Sasquatch.

CRY WILDERNESS is an amazing movie, even if Bigfoot is portrayed with major child predator vibes. This movie is pro-Bigfoot propaganda and I'm here for its message. Somebody needs to make a supercut of the movie, but just the scenes where people stand around laughing like lunatics.


FLESH AND BULLETS (1985)


I'm kind of obsessed with this movie.

The film, a rare non-porno directed by the prolific adult filmmaker Carlos Tobalina (with second unit directing by RUNAWAY NIGHTMARE's Mike Cartel!) is a hallucinatory low-budget, low-intellect riff on STRANGERS ON A TRAIN.

A pair of asshole men meet in a bar in Vegas and proceed to bitch about the fact they have to pay child support and alimony. They decide they can solve each other's problems by killing off their respective wives. The twist, though, is that they both fall in love with their assigned victims! While watching the film, you feel like you're witnessing somebody work their way through some intense emotional issues, but through the prism of highly entertaining, lowbrow genre trash. There are bizarre tangents like a bank robbery that begins the film but is never referenced again, a flashback to a scene where two large gay wrestlers rape one of the deadbeat dads, and Robert Z'Dar getting his ass kicked.

There are tiny cameos by people like Aldo Ray, Cesar Romero, Yvonne De Carlo and it really feels like this movie should just not exist in this or any plane of existence, and the fact that it does feels like a minor miracle.

I legit had more fun watching this movie than anything else this year.


MURDER ON THE EMERALD SEAS (1973)


The directing debut of Alan Ormsby (DEAD OF NIGHT, POPCORN), this nautical farce follows a dipshit detective who goes undercover on a cruise as a female beauty pageant contestant to track down a killer. The film's DNA is steeped in Catskills comedy schtick.

The film is fascinating as a time capsule for the early '70s and the transition from a certain flavor of slapstick comedy to lowbrow raunch. There's a scene that feels like a direct inspiration for its spiritual successor MRS. DOUBTFIRE.


THE MUTHERS (1976)


I got kind of emotional while watching THE MUTHERS.

The film, a 1976 blaxploitation movie featuring a pair of African American lady pirates escaping a Filipino prison after going undercover to try and rescue one of their sisters, has a sloppy charm and endearing gung-ho approach to the action that's impossible not to love.

I might be completely wrong but the film just seemed like it was a complete blast to make. So much of the movie features the stars of the film kicking ass, blowing shit up, and being the leading ladies that they were born to be. I love watching people defy the rules and make the art they want to make. Sure THE MUTHERS was made for purely commercial reasons - to cash in on all the exploitation and grindhouse trends happening at the moment - but this film is something that, in the grand scheme of things, probably should not exist and I love the fact that it does so damn much.


ROCK & RULE (1983)


I don't think I'd necessarily have been a cooler kid if I had seen ROCK & RULE when I was younger, but I probably would have been a happier kid. 

I'd also probably be a furry.

The film, an animated sci-fi musical from Canada's Nelvana animation studios, is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. It's a very cool post-apocalyptic mishmash of ideas, inspired in equal parts by Faust, Heavy Metal Magazine, and funny animal comic strip. Cheap Trick, Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed provide the music and the story follows a mutant rodent rock band that must stop an aging musician from summoning a demon. 

It's a cool flick and it's a shame the Blu-ray from Unearthed FIlms is out of print.


THE TIME GUARDIAN (1987)


An Australian knock-off of THE TERMINATOR in which a character actually watches THE TERMINATOR. 

In the year 4039, the last remaining survivors of the Neutron War (I always suspected Jimmy Neutron would become a despot) defend their city from a warring tribe of cyborgs (the Jen-Diki) by traveling through time. Yep, that's right - instead of just one time-traveling warrior, TIME GUARDIAN features a whole city that time travels! Too bad the city uses time travel in such a cowardly way. Time travel is supposed to be cool, not the equivalent of hiding in the bathroom until the bully gets picked up from school by his mom. 

Tom Burlinson plays Ballard, who is sent to 1988 to prepare the way for the city as they are pursued by the killer flesh robots. Carrie Fisher (!!!) plays his sidekick, a soldier who is familiar with 20th-century culture but is constantly getting sidelined due to injury. Dean Stockwell also plays a future solder. What an action movie in which Carrie Fisher and Dean Stockwell are your two biggest stars! 

The movie's biggest crime is that it is just plain boring. The film frequently gets lost up its own ass when trying to explore its sci-fi concepts. Nobody cares about the whozits and whatzits of what makes the Jen-Diki cyborgs tick, we just want to see killer robots wreak havoc on Australians. I'll never forgive this movie for not having a scene in which a kangaroo punches a robot. 

That said, there are some great visuals - the robots look like live-action He-Man villains - but too frequently the movie slips into tedious plate-spinning in an effort to try and show how smart it is. Spoiler, this is not a smart move. 

The best part of the movie is the off-key power ballad "This Time I Know" that plays over the end credits. Singer Angry Andreson bellows lyrics such as "This time I know that things I love in you are the things I love in me."


AMERICA 3000 (1986)


I bet writer/director David Engelbach felt very clever as he penned the screenplay for this film. I bet he was so proud of himself. I bet he told his friends at the bar at the end of each workday what a funny, biting piece of satire he was molding with his words. I bet he wrote "THE END" and reached behind him to give himself a big ol' pat on his back.

AMERICA 3000 is a lame movie made by a man afraid of women. The film's plot is set in the aftermath of a nuclear war that took out civilization. A tribe of warrior Amazonian woman rules the wasteland of Colorado with an iron fist - dividing men they capture into workers, seeders, and pets. When two men escape captivity and discover a bunker formally belonging to the President of the United States of America, they teach themselves how to read, obtain ammunition and lead a revolt in which they will overthrow the current matriarchal society and put men back at the top of the food chain.

Now, Robert - you might be saying - it's not fair to assume that just because AMERICA 3000 features women as villainous warmongers hellbent on emasculating any men that cross their paths that the filmmaker is a sexist. Bruh, dude wrote OVER THE TOP, a movie about the sport of arm wrestling. I think it's pretty fair that he has a relatively fragile grasp on his perception of masculinity.

AMERICA 3000 is rock and roll caveman nonsense, like a braindead HEAVY METAL comic book story brought to life with cheap sets, cheap acting, and cheap intentions. Chuck Wagner and Laurene Landon sleepwalk through the film and there's a giant Bigfoot that looks like Sweetums that pops up throughout the film to play rock music out of a boombox.

Avoid.


THE NAKED CAGE (1986)


This "women in prison" movie starts off with a really great premise - a young woman, newly divorced, is shocked when her ex and his new girlfriend show up at the bank she works trying to rob the place. She gets sucked into their scheme and, after her ex-husband is shot and killed by the cops, she and his new beau are both arrested and thrown into jail.

Unfortunately, that initial premise is the most interesting thing about the movie because what follows is your standard titillation for titillation's sake exploitation film from Cannon Films. It's fine, there's some good occasional shocking violence but beyond the initial fifteen minutes, there's nothing in this movie you haven't seen in any number of previous "women behind bars" films.


ANGELS FROM HELL (1968)


At first glance, this film is your standard late '60s biker film - a portrait of a band of free-wheeling, high-spirited social outcasts who give the finger to the establishment. As the film progresses, though, it becomes clear that the movie was made by people who did not think much of the biker culture. The bikers are cruel, stupid, impotent thugs that must be put down like the dogs they are. The local sheriff, on the other hand, is a clear-headed, thoughtful man of his word, until he's pushed too far by the rancid behavior of the bikers. He also has a framed picture of Alfred E. Neuman on his desk. 

While the movie is not "good" in the traditional sense, there's a lot of interesting stuff orbiting around it. The transitions from scene to scene are jarring but add to the propulsive structure of the narrative. There's some good satire here, but it's all hidden underneath the film's desire to play the story completely straight and not for laughs. The format of the end credits - in which the cast's names are superimposed over shots of them reacting to the film's shocking ending - is fantastic. 

Interesting movie, but probably one you can go without seeing unless you are a bike movie completist.

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