Weird Movie Recommendation: Laserblast (1978)

Laserblast is a terrible movie. So bad, in fact, Mystery Science Theater did an episode dedicated to it. But back when little Kevin Strange saw this sucker on USA Up All Night in the early 90s, I hadn’t even heard of MST3K. What I did have was a heavy hankering for monster movies!

And not only does Laserblast have freakin LASERS and spaceships in the first minute, it’s also got some badass stop motion alien monster that reminded me of the Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movies that I loved as a kid.

What follows is a goofy damn tale of a weird ass kid who stumbles upon a laser gun in the desert, a cop who has absolutely no reason to be looking for said laser gun but does anyway and the aliens who left it on earth frantically turning their space ship around to go get it.

Throw in utterly pointless pool party scenes and nonsense characters like the laser gun kid’s girlfriend’s senile ex military father and two goonie traffic cops that make Barny Fife look competent and you’ve got a whole hell of a lot of time wasting fluff and a little bit of ultra cool laser gun alien fighting madness.


Kevin Strange’s Bad Movie Recommendation: Demon Wind (1990)

Some movie covers just stick with you your whole life. For me, Demon Wind is one of the most memorable VHS covers from my childhood.

It was a big-box cover that had a hologram on the front–one of the only VHS covers from the 80s/early 90s video store era to have that gimmick. If you looked at the cover from one angle, it was just an ominous closed window, from the opposite angle, a hideous demon with sharp-clawed fingers pointed straight out at you exploded through the window. YES! Motherfucking Demon Wind!

Yet for some reason, I never rented it. As a kid, I was confused about the difference between little box and big box VHS movies when, after I tried to rent a copy of a big box version of Neon Maniacs in the late 80s, the video store clerk told me (probably in error) that the big boxes were Betamax tapes and the little boxes were VHS tapes. My house only had a VCR, so from that moment on, the big box tapes were off limits to me even though by the early 90s there were rarely Betamax tapes still stocked in mom and pop video shops.

As a consequence, I only watched this truly awful piece of crap this week, in 2018, as a 37 year old man. And maybe I’m better for it.

As any reader of this movie blog knows, I myself am not only a connoisseur of very bad movies, but made a fair amount of them myself. I say maybe I’m better off having not seen Demon Wind until now because as a seasoned veteran of schlock filmmaking and having seen hundreds if not thousands of shitty movies at this point, I can really appreciate the quirkiness of Demon Wind far more than I would have as a child of 9 or 10 (a child who already liked shitty movies, but still quite in the larval stages of shit-film fandom.)

The absolute ridiculous opening stinger featuring main character Cory’s grandparents besieged by demonic voices, the demonic possession of his grandfather complete with puss spewed from mouth that would make any fan of the Troma meltdown proud, and the utter randomness of Cory’s grandmother blowing the whole fucking house up by dropping a snow-globe being the type of scene that could never be fully appreciated by a monster-loving sprout of a child, no matter how enthusiastic.

As a seasons screenwriter and novelist, I can much more fully appreciate the jaw-dropping lunacy of not just gathering Corey’s group of friends together to visit his grandparents’s cabin so he could “work some things out” after having horrific dreams about his dead father, not just the batshit decision to then have Corey’s friend’s girlfriend’s (keep up) ex-boyfriend show up THROWING MAGIC TRICKS OUT OF A CAR but then, roughly an hour into the film, bring in ANOTHER couple only to kill them less than 5 minutes later.

A little Kevin Strange just would not have produced the same belly laughs over the first actual kill in the film coming in at the forty minute mark and said death being a little demon girl turning one of Corey’s OTHER friend’s girlfriends into a doll with bleeding eyes that then catches on fire and NO ONE CARES!

Throw in a random pair of tits on a demon just to have random tits on a demon and what you’ve got is a 1990 cash in on the Evil Dead franchise demonic-cabin-in-the-woods trope that fails in every possible aspect of delivery from characterization, plot, acting, gore, monster FX and any other storytelling device of filmmaking you can think of.

My favorite part of this movie that would have been better off never made is the climax that would make any Kevin Strange fan proud. Ya’ll know I love to get nuts in my third acts. Well Demon Wind does not disappoint, as the random generic gas station “don’t go out there or you’ll be sorry!” character actually turns out to be the big bad demon dude who sucks all the souls of the other demons inside his body to become some kind of super-shredder-esque uberdemon who then decides that his single big-body should devour Cory and his girlfriend instead of just letting the lesser demons who WERE ABOUT TO EAT THEM ANYWAY do the job.

As if super-demon wasn’t enough, Corey taps into the family tradition of spellcasting by… giving himself a giant penis head? I don’t know what the fuck he looks like. A conehead, an extra from Alien Nation? How does morphing himself into a dickhead help him defeat the bad guy? Well, naturally, it fucking doesn’t! It’s Corey’s girlfriend Elaine who suddenly levels up in her random witchdom and chants the words of the final spell that banishes gas-station-warning-dude-cum-demon-bad-ass back to hell or wherever the fuck demons are from in this terrible fucking movie!

How to rate something so awful, gang? My criteria for bad movies is always that I’ll give them a chance as long as they’re not boring and Demon Wind is far from fucking boring. I can’t give it one Strangehead because there’s seriously some new weird fucking random nonsensical thing happening in every single scene. I can’t give it five Strangeheads because it’s just so fucking stupid. So I’m going to split the difference and give this whopper a solid 3 out of 5 Strangeheads for being too stupid to like but too entertaining to hate. Watch at your own risk!


Kevin Strange’s Weird Movie Recommendation: Daemonium

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So it’s not often that a movie leaves me flabbergasted. Especially a movie made after about 1994. But this crazy ass flick Daemonium from 2015 did just that!

It was added on Netflix this month and in addition to the sweet monster head thumbnail pic, the synopsis piqued my interest enough to add it to my watch list. Now, everyone knows the watch list on Netflix is where movies we’re kinda interested in go to die.

In the world of instant streaming, 24/7 social media and every movie ever made at our fingertips, movies usually get one shot to grab our interest. We either click play or we never get around to watching it because there’s ALWAYS something brand new just around the corner to steal our attention away. “Oh, look! They added Captain America Civil War!” *PLAY*

But that synopsis kept popping into my head (from IMDB):

“The story of Daemonium begins in an alternate universe to ours, in which Magic and Technology Coexist with Humans and Demons. In Daemonium we see Razor rise to power! (He will be the new image of a dystopic power and seeks a full out war with Hell the demons that dwell there and anyone that stands in his way!), the doubts of Rebbecca (who will question everything she knew for a fact about her life), Lisa, a common woman with an unthinkable destiny (womanly force on their way), and the wizard and con artist Fulcanelli (facing his own destiny regardless of his intentions).”

I mean come on, right? If I’ve got a weakness for one thing, it’s trashy dystopian cyber techno future movies with magic and demons! (I wrote a whole book about a cyborg demon, after all.) So this particular piece of B movie cheese didn’t languish on the to watch list for long. I fired that badboy up and expected the worst.

When it comes to high concept, batshit crazy movies, the piss went out of the thing in the early 1990s. Movies after around 94 (with the exception of the best weird movie year of the decade 1999) started to cut back on the ham and cheese and started going for a more gritty realism look and feel (think the difference between Hard Target and Bloodsport.)

And then movies after around 2003-04 we get into the Sci-Fi channel, awful CGI monster, movies that can’t have any night shots and consist almost entirely of military dudes walking around in the woods with their guns pointed toward the sky kind of bullshit.

So settling in for a flick made in 2015 that I’d never heard of before it popped onto Netflix? Yeah, not expecting much. I figured I’d give it 5 minutes and the first sign of an army dude radioing in to his commanding officer in a cheaply lit army base set, I’d bail.

Instead the flick starts with a close-up shot of a hot chick in a school-girl outfit sucking on a lollipop. Mmmmk.

Within seconds she’s got a pair of weird cyberpunk guns out blasting away at a big ass group of demon-mutants. Now here’s the thing. When it comes to awful movies, I have one rule: Don’t be boring.

That rule manifests itself in several different ways. First, the story. If the story itself isn’t boring but it looks like shit and the dialogue is fucking laughable, I’m still in. If the story is incomprehensible but it LOOKS interesting and the dialogue sucks, I’m still in. If the story sucks, the visuals suck, but the dialogue is inventive, I’ll still keep watching.

Daemonium (as well as a lot of my favorite cheese-ball flicks) falls into the second category right off the bat. Each of the demon-mutants has its own unique look. This isn’t Dawn of the Dead, everybody’s blue with some CGI eyes thrown in for good measure. Every creature looks like it has its own back story. Like Albert Pyun got ahold of the Hellraiser franchise and got to design his own cenobites.

Now here’s where Daemonium sets itself apart from your average cool looking but still pretty fucking stupid B movie: After the school girl fights the demon-mutants, she’s deactivated by our real lead character, another chick. Turns out school girl is some weird demon robot. Awesome.

But it gets even better. Within 30 seconds of following our NEW lead girl, she gets her head fucking frozen off by yet another weird ass mutant chick who wields a pair of freezie batons or something. Ok?

So who’s the main character of this movie? It turns out to be a yet ANOTHER chick who takes over the story via voice-over and sends us into a flashback from just before the daemonapocalypse where we follow NOT HER, but her HUSBAND!

I’m super into the flick at this point because I’m a sucker for the misleading POV type of storytelling. I first encountered it on MTV’s Liquid Television Aeon Flux shorts where we’d follow a character for a few seconds only for them to be murdered violently by another character who we’d follow and then would die horribly etc. etc. until we finally got to Aeon who would herself die in each episode.

Another thing Daemonium reminds me of is the Japanese splatterpunk genre of films like Meatball Machine and Tokyo Gore Police (I’ll have a top list of my favorites in that genre up soon.) I looked up the director, Pablo Parés, and it turns out this ain’t his first rodeo.

He’s got titles like 100% Lucha and Plaga Zombies: Zona Mutante to his credit. In other words, he’s one of us. He gets it. He’s 38 so he’s a child of the 80s. The Troma and Full Moon generation. Saturday Morning cartoons, gross out toys. Those of us creators from that generation have a special connection to the weird and I picked up on it the moment the flick started.

Anyway, enough sucking this movie’s dick. The only downside for any lover of weird cinema is that the Netflix version of this movie IS in Spanish with English subtitles. I would venture to guess the DVD/Blu Ray version has an English dub on it but listen. I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my friends about Japanese Splatterpunk flicks and ultra-violent anime.

This ain’t Shakespeare. They’re not reciting three act sonnets. 99% of the movie is brutal action and super weird visuals. The dialogue is an afterthought. You won’t spend the whole movie reading. You’ll be too busy watching monsters with giant vagina heads and chicks with killer knitting yarn to pay attention to the sub titles. DON’T let that shy you away from this flick. You’ll regret it.

4 out of 5 demon-robot Strangeheads for Daemonium, the coolest B movie currently on Netflix.