This year’s marathon brought something new to the table. A third victim! Joining me and AC this year was our buddy Matt Carr (aka gore artist Putrid) who finally decided to take up our offer to spend the day rolling around in cinematic garbage. With Matt being a fan of such things and very used to it, we know he’d feel right at home.
Sting of Death (1965) – Our first movie came from Florida’s own William Grefe, another renegade filmmaker that didn’t want to leave his Florida location and would stay and make his movies there. Sting was Grefe’s first real venture into the horror genre, creating the first half man/half jellyfish creature that has to be seen to be believed. Seeing a guy wearing a black wetsuit, with basically a plastic garbage bag over his head, and wires hanging off of him that are supposed to be tentacles is just priceless. It really is one of the best cheesy monsters in cinematic history. And it’s a blast.
A group of biology students head over to an island off the coast of the Everglades to have a party at Dr. Richardson’s house, where his daughter has just showed up to stay for a while. The doctor’s assistant, Egon, stands out like a sore thumb amongst her friends because he’s slightly deformed. So that makes it okay for all her friends to laugh, point, and generally make fun of him. But hey…they’re just wacky kids. In fact, right after they get there, they start the swinging dance party. There’s even a song playing called ‘Do the Jellyfish’ that was written and sung by famous singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka. I’m sure this was at the start of his career…But somehow, with all the dancing, the kids don’t happen to see this jellyfish creature sneak into the pool that they’re dancing around, waiting for someone to jump in the pool. As we said, it has to be seen to be believed.
Grefe would go on to make other successful drive-in style movies, including his most famous one, Stanley (1972).
Graveyard Disturbance (1987) – By the time the late ‘80s, Italian filmmakers were doing more work for television than they were for the theater. This is one example, directed by Lamberto Bava. The real sad thing about this movie is that it looks just beautiful. There is some amazing set designs, great looking creatures, just a wonderful picture to watch. The problem is that NOTHING HAPPENS! A group of young adults get trapped in an underground tomb that, like the plot, seems to go nowhere.
There are so many times when it looks like something good is going to happen, only to have some pretty stupid humor, or something that just makes no sense at all. The ever so lovely Beatrice Ring, who would later star in Zombi 3 (1988), plays one of the leads trapped in this cavernous hell, along with Karl Zinny, who had a role in Bava’s Demons (1985).
I think that was one of the hardest part for all of us trying to get through this movie is that since it did look great, but that nothing really happened, made it pretty disappointing. We knew it was a made-for-TV movie, but we’re just hoping for a little bit more.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) – Rock star Jon Mikl Thor (or rather wanna-be rock star) decided that if his musical career wasn’t going to put him into stardom, then he would also try the movies. After having a taste of the horror genre the previous year by playing a guy brought back from the dead to avenge his death in Zombie Nightmare, he decided to write his own movie, and of course star in it as well.
It’s about a rock band going to an old farm to record their new album. Just so happens that something very evil and mysterious happened at this very same farm house years ago. And low and behold, once they get settled in, more strange stuff starts to happen and members of the band start getting killed off or possessed. There are several musical performances by the band, which depending on your taste for ‘80s hair bands will rate how much you’ll either enjoy this or just be embarrassed by it. The acting is just laughable, and the same with the creatures that show up. They look like rejects from a Muppets Halloween episode. No real scares here, but a lot of look at and laugh. A perfect movie for a Turkey Day marathon.
Mega Shark vs the Giant Octopus (2009) – This feature was a first for my annual marathon. In the seven years that I’ve been holding these, we had never screen a movie that came out that year. But this was one film that didn’t need to gestate for years before it became a turkey. It was one right from day one. And the makers of the film knew it, which made it even more enjoyable.
The film is played completely straight, just like the old movies from the 50s, where the guy had to keep a straight face while looking at a man in a goofy rubber costume. But here, all our creatures are completely CGI, most of which is just a shade better than something that you’d see on the Cartoon Network. But they seemed to just revel in the outrageousness of the whole concept. We have a shark that is so big, that it literally jumps out of the ocean and grabs an airliner right out of the air. It is one of the craziest things I’ve seen during these Turkey Day screenings, but that had to be one of the best moments.
The film stars ‘80s pop star Deborah Gibson and B-movie/TV star Lorenzo Lamas trying to either start their career or completely bury it. Again, same with the older cheesy movies, I wonder if these stars knew what the title creatures were going to look like and how outrageous their actions were going to be. In either case, I never would have believed how entertained we were watching this. Granted, something like this should never be attempted alone, since the enjoyment factor will never be as high as when with a bunch of friends. Trust me. I know what I speak of.
Boarding House (1982) – Our last little feature was one that was one of the first shot-on-video productions that actually played some theaters. I know this for a fact, since it played the theater I worked at back in the early ‘80s. Granted, I thought it was just a terrible movie back then, even though it did have its share of blood & boobs. So I never went back to it. But now that it was on DVD, and felt like a perfect movie for our marathon, and the fact that Putrid just happens to think this is one of the greatest movies ever made, how could we pass it up?
A man opens up a boarding house, welcoming in young and beautiful women to stay with him. Of course, there is some evil living in the house, waiting to kill or make people kill themselves in horrible and graphic ways. But this doesn’t stop these young women to be in a constant state of undress, running around playing and wrestling with each other. Some of the gore sequences are just goofy as hell, but are bloody. They will get a reaction out of you, one way or another.
So another year goes by, and we were able to stomach five movies in total. But even more impressive, each and every one of these titles more than qualifies as a turkey. We didn’t even throw in a good one to ease the pain, but stuck through them all. And I know we’ll be back again next year to do it all over again. God help us all.