The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree (1979)

An annoying combination of anti-father propaganda and commercial for professional Christmas tree salesmen, The Berenstain Bears Christmas Tree somehow conflates wanting to have a bad ass Christmas tree with not knowing what is really important about the holiday.

Everyone knows they’re supposed to pay lip service to the idea that the whole point of the season is about giving, but how you can be credible handing out goodies to ungrateful family members if you’re having to do it underneath some stunted and deformed fir that looked looked like it did a tour in Nam and got hit with some experimental defoliant? Continue reading “The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree (1979)”

A Howling in the Woods (1971)

Welcome to Stainesville, Nevada! It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone else and more importantly, everyone knows everyone else’s dirty little secrets and spends most of their time shooting glowering looks back and forth and testily advising one another not to talk to that no good outsider from New York who is staying at her family’s lodge. (Don’t be so defensive guys! She’s just there to establish residency so she can get a quickie divorce, not bust up your evil coven, secret sex cult or college sports betting ring!)
Continue reading “A Howling in the Woods (1971)”

Eyes Behind the Stars (1978)

An uncompromising and bleak effort, Eyes Behind the Stars is a surprisingly serious sci-fi conspiracy thriller with almost none of the goofiness you would expect from an Italian exploitation movie generally and especially from Mario Gariazzo who also made the spectacularly inept, tastless and boring Very Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind the same year! (Of course, the aliens in Eyes Behind the Stars could be classified as a bit silly-looking with their wool long johns pulled up over their heads and blue plastic visers covering their face, but their intelligence and technology are probably way too advanced for someone watching a 1970s Italian sci-fi film to properly grasp.) Continue reading “Eyes Behind the Stars (1978)”

Very Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind (1978)

Very Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind is an Italian sex farce focussing on three scumbags who dress up in cheap spaceman costumes and trick women into being intimate with them, committing any number of felonies in the process (not the least of which is being criminally unfunny), but who are only ever arrested for running a red light while dressed up as women. (Their clothes had been stolen and the only things nearby to wear were dresses, but that didn’t explain why they all felt like they needed to be in full drag complete with wigs and hats.) Continue reading “Very Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind (1978)”

Ravagers (1979)

There was a moment in the last third of Ravagers where it threatened to become interesting. Richard Harris (Strike Commando 2) had survived the post-apocalyptic wasteland and made his way to a ship where there was plenty of food, electricity, and even clean clothes. Given a tour by the always welcome presence of football/film legend Woody Strode (Spartacus, The Final Executioner), Harris is let in on the dirty little secret of the boat.

Is this the fabled New Genesis that everyone is searching for? Have people finally started having children again? Or is it something darker? Maybe they’ve got a little Soylent Green situation going on. Or everything is being powered by the blood of mutants. Heck, maybe the apocalypse never even happened at all and everything been’s leading to some awesome twist ending! Except that Ernest Borgnine was second billed in the credits and we haven’t seen him yet Continue reading “Ravagers (1979)”

One of My Wives Is Missing (1976)

Is Daniel Corbin going crazy? A few days into his honeymoon, he reports his wife missing, but when she reappears accompanied by the friendly neighborhood priest, he claims he’s never met her before in his life!

But why does she know everything about him? And why does no one else remember the person who he thought was really his wife? And is he really seeing that head shrinker back in Detroit because of how crazy he is? And isn’t the real proof of his insanity that he continues to insist that the person husky-voiced Elizabeth Ashley is playing is not his wife even after seeing her in a succession of clingy, low cut nightgowns? I mean, unless his original wife was Farrah Fawcett, this has to be a total upgrade! Continue reading “One of My Wives Is Missing (1976)”