Yes, Halloween 2020 is done and gone. So while we start counting down the days to next year, now that it is November, that means it is time to start talking Turkeys! And no, I’m not talking about the kind you eat, but the kind you watch! Those who are veterans of the previous Krytpic Army will know well of this dangerous terrain I’m about to send you through, but trust me, you’ll be a better person because of it. Or end up locked up in a padded room.
To really define what a is Turkey is tougher than getting through a line at Wall-Mart on Black Friday. So to make it easier for everyone, we’re going to use what we’ve been doing in the past, where the film has to have a 3.9 rating or below on IMDB to qualify. Yes, there are some Turkeys that get a high rating because so many people enjoy it so much, such as The Giant Claw (1957), which is sitting at a 4.6 rating!?!? But there are still some classic Turkeys out there, such as one of my favorites, Robot Monster (1953), still sitting at a 3.0 rating. So you should have plenty to choose from. You just might have to do some searching. You can always check out the titles from our Turkey Day Marathons (the link is to the right) for some ideas. Again, some of those might score higher, but I think you can find a few. Worse case, just check out a couple of Larry Buchanan films!
So for your mission this month, you need to find and watch two horror films (yes, we will accept sci-fi movies, if that’s really a genre…) that you’ve never seen before, that both have a IMDB rating at 3.9 or below. You will have until 11:59pm on November 30th to do this, and report back on this page here. Be strong, be tough, and be grateful it is only TWO movies!!!
See you on the other side… hopefully.
I noticed a reoccurring trend when scrolling through the Turkey Marathon links: all films seem to be coming from the previous millennium. Especially the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s decade are a hit. Some dubious ’80s gems as well. But at first glance, I couldn’t find a film title that was made post-2000. So I thought, why not change that? There’s no rule that says we can’t, right? Thus, I made it my personal mission to find & watch a few, keeping that 3.9 rating (or less) in mind…
DESTINATION INFESTATION aka SWARM (2007)
Ants on a plane. There you have it. After snakes, zombies, ghosts, death itself and likely Satan too, now we get… these miniature mutant venomous six-leggers at 60,000 ft up in the air. Some guy, with this particular type of ants incubating inside his abdominal area, gets on a plane. His stomach is not handling this very well, so it bursts open, et voilà, a whole swarm infests the civilian aircraft in mid-flight. Up to the crew and passengers to survive the ordeal, because evil government officials don’t want the plane to land. Starring lots of CGI dots as ferocious killer ants and also featuring numerous close-ups of the real deal (that can’t be bothered to attack anything, of course). And you can expect a delightful bunch of stereotypical characters too. It also stars Antonio Sabato Jr. Haha. This is one ridiculous film. And the fact that it’s playing it straight, helps on the Turkey scale.
DRAGON SOLDIERS (2020)
This might as well receive a couple of extra points, simply because it’s a bit more aware of what it is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else than just that. A bunch of ex-military tough guys (mercenaries, if you will, contractors, if you won’t) are sent into a remote mountain region, initially led to believe by a small town’s corrupt mayor that they’re hired to capture and remove a bunch of renegade homeless tribe people who are allegedly responsible for the rash of missing persons in the area. As elaborate this may sound for a plot, we basically get another variation on Predator (the original Arnie film). And as the title, uhm, cleverly suggests, our soldiers figure out soon enough that they’re actually up against a flying, fire-spewing dragon. A little more and a little better would have been great, but doing what all they could with the cast, crew, CG effects and available budget, things also could have turned out worse. The landscapes even provide some breathtaking scenery, straight out of hiking heaven. And as for Turkey moments, those scenes involving the dragon’s, ehrr, hypnotizing fumes (!) are a winner.
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Hey Gert….My feelings is the reason that most turkeys are in those previous decades was because even with the low budgets, those filmmakers were still trying to make a decent film. It wasn’t meant to be campy or cheeky. But today, like with the whole Sharknado films, they are purposely making turkeys, and that is where I think they lose it. You can’t make a turkey on purpose. It just doesn’t have the same feel to it…like synthetic.
That being said, your first pick, Destination Infestation has me a little intrigued. Great title there and it has been a while since we’ve had killer ant movies. Or at least, that I’ve been paying attention for! Might have to seek that one out.
Ooof….CGI dragon….can’t be good. No way. There was one I seen years ago, can’t (or won’t) remember the name but it was the worse cartoon I’ve seen!
Hey Jon… I hear you and that was also one of my criteria in seeking out newer Turkeys: to avoid the ones that are deliberately playing it for laughs, like those many The Asylum flicks you’re hinting at. That said, I think I found a couple with at least some Turkey qualities to it…
Destination Infestation wants to be quite serious in what it does, but it’s so bland, full of clichés and has a below par made-for-TV quality to it. It might sound fun, but I doubt you’ll find it worthwhile seeking out.
Dragon Soldiers on the other hand, believe it or not, is a slightly better effort, as in that it doesn’t try to do things it can’t pull off. And it doesn’t play out the Turkey card deliberately either. The CGI dragon is a given, as usual in these lower budget productions. I was willing to fly with that, but it’s far from the best looking beastie you’ve ever seen.
I was of a similar mind regarding Destination Infestation as Jon, but now I realize that your review is what sounds fun as opposed to the film itself!
Outside of Reign of Fire, have there been any genuinely decent “scary dragon” movies?
You caught the drift alright, AC. Destination Infestation isn’t as fun watching as it is ridiculing it.
Absolutely agree with you on Reign of Fire. I’ve been catching up with a few more recent dragon movies. And most of them fall flat when it comes to the titular beastie(s). I keep referring back to RoF myself, as the first — and still only, as far as I’ve seen — film in the CGI era that manages to have them appear as quite awesome and menacing creatures. What also helped in RoF, was that there were still some amazing practical effects involved.
In terms of impressive dragons in more recent films, there was the Russian film I Am Dragon (2015). Of course we’re talking CGI and the film itself is more like a fantasy / doomed romance affair. But the decent production values were at least a saving grace.
My husband and I took you up on your Turkey Time Mission. We watched Jaws 3-D (3.7) and Jaws: The Revenge (3.0). Wow, were those movies Turkeys!
Jaws 3-D barely seemed related to the first film since it took place in a Florida aquarium and followed only the two now grown sons from the earlier films. Every time the 3-D scenes happened, the plot halted for some oddly-colored octopus or severed arm to, I guess, pop out at the audience. We didn’t have 3-D glasses so the gimmick was unfortunately lost on us. Out of all the Jaws films, this is absolutely the one I’d recommend for a bad movie night. The shark attacks are pretty silly, especially when the shark destroys parts of the aquarium. My favorite parts were when the shark burst through a window and when we discover a dead body just chilling in the shark’s mouth.
Jaws: The Revenge was much less good. I can’t say this film had many redeeming qualities. None of the famous actors look like they want to be there or seem to have much fun. The body count is shockingly low, and for much of the film, nothing important happens. The Caribbean setting was pretty to see, but I’m afraid that’s the nicest I can say. Although I can forgive a lot, I found it really unpleasant how this film showed flashbacks to the first one. I don’t need a turkey showing me a better movie. I’d much prefer to revel in awfulness without being reminded I could have made a better choice!
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I got to see Jaws 3-D in the theater when it first came out. Being a huge fan of the first one, and really liking part 2, I couldn’t have been more disappointed with the 3rd. Just seemed to lose the power the previous ones had. Not sure if I’ve seen it more than once after that.
And then when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I caught part 4 when it first hit video. Wow. This one I know I have never seen more than that first viewing. Oof.
I figured I might has well get my movies in for this month and get them reported. I could have sworn I posted my movies from last month’s mission, but they seemed to have never made it. But here are my “turkeys” for this months mission. One good and one not so good.
Devil Story (1986) – this French film is perfect for any Turkey Day Marathon. Wow. It makes no sense as to what is going on. IMDB, who gives it a 3.5 rating, has a short description of “a zombie wearing a Nazi SS uniform terrorizes the French countryside.” Yeah, not sure if having a swastikas patch on your jacket makes it a Nazi uniform, but that is the last of your worries. There are some many sequences in here that will have you shaking your head, I couldn’t recommend this enough. Oh yeah, did I mention there is a mummy in this?
Memorial Day (1999) – I sought this movie out because it is the same director who recently gave us The Old Ways (2020) which I thought was amazing. Granted, director Christopher Alender must have learned quite a bit since 1999 because Memorial Day is not a well made film. With a rating of only 2.8, it shows in every frame here. Unlike our first title, this isn’t even fun to watch. I wouldn’t bother with this one, but I would suggest to keep an eye out for when The Old Ways comes out.
What I want to know is why you didn’t save Devil Monster for an official TD screening? It’s so good. Or not good, as the case may be.
That’s such a bummer that Memorial Day doesn’t demonstrate the promise the The Old Ones does, but at least he’s moving in the right direction!
DEVIL MONSTER (1986) (3.4)
d. Launois, Bernard (France)
Oh, man, this was absolutely amazingly insane. Between the endless sequences of a crazy old guy shooting a never-empty shotgun, a mystical black horse that gets more screen time than any of the human actors, and random acts of gory violence happening at the most, er, random times, I never knew quite what was going on and it didn’t bother me for a second because it was all so utterly bonkers and energetic. Merci Beaucoup, Monsieur Kitley!
UNKNOWN WORLD (1951) (3.9)
d. Morse, Terry O. (USA)
Oh, man. This was absolutely amazingly boring. It probably would have been a lot more fun in the company of some Gobbler-loving pals, but as it was, this exercise in drudgery about a futuristic craft burrowing into the center of the earth should have been a lot more entertaining. Then again, considering the time-stamp, we weren’t really into the golden age of sci-fi yet and this was one of those failed experiments trying to find the way. The only real item of interest is that longtime Hollywood editor Morse’s next directing assignment would be shooting the American scenes with Raymond Burr for the international release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
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Damn! You watched Devil Monster too! What are the odds?
Not sure I’ve heard of Unknown World. Might have to look more into it…so I can avoid it!
I had to look up this Devil Monster. Apparently it’s also known as Devil Story aka “Once Upon A Time There Was… The Devil” (literal translation of the French title). Found an extended trailer of it on YouTube… Man, what all did I just watch there? Haha! It even has… a mummy in it?!?
Let’s see how many movies on my turkey day were 3.9 or below?
1) The Creeping Terror 2.2
Not even sure there was a point to this movie. Spaceship lands, giant space monster comes out and attacks people that can’t seem to run away when they see it. The end. Too long, but I feel like I have seen worse.
2) The Alien Dead 2.8
More shit from space, this time meteorite or something turning people into zombie like creatures. Also no real purpose as to why anything is happening and it just kind of ends. At least it is only 75 minutes.
I guess only two. Will have to try harder next year. Though these two were probably the worst of the bunch for sure.
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Every now and then I forget just how terrible The Creeping Terror and decide I need to watch it again. Aside for the gloriously bad monster, nothing happens! Granted, the story BEHIND the is much more interesting.
I think the last time I watched The Alien Dead was on VHS, so… 30 years ago? And don’t think I need to revisit it anytime soon.