Penitentiary (1979)

We’re getting back to some good old blaxploitation with this week’s B-Movie Enema.  Penitentiary was written, produced, and directed by Jamaa Fanaka.

Fanaka was part of the L.A. Rebellion from the late 60s and into the late 80s.  This was a movement of black filmmakers whose whole intent was to make films that offered an alternative to what most deemed “classical” Hollywood films.  This was mostly influenced by Latin American and Italian cinema, but also from an emerging African cinema.

You see, the 1960s was a particularly turbulent time.  After a series of events like the Civil Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and the Watts Riots, society shifted and evolved very quickly.  Affirmative Action allowed for many more black students to attend colleges – and particularly at UCLA which got urged to create an ethnographic studies program to allow black filmmakers to tell more of their story and stories that would expose their struggles. Continue reading “Penitentiary (1979)”

Mutant War (1988)

Last week, I checked in on site favorite Norman J. Warren.  This week, it’s time to check in with another favorite of the site, Brett Piper.

Toward the end of 2019, I wrote about his fun, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, alien invasion flick Battle for the Lost Planet from 1985.  This time around, let’s look at the 1988 sequel – Mutant War.  Whereas the first movie finds our hero Harry Trent first remembering a series of events that started with him hijacking a space shuttle to being stuck on a pre-planned, five-year course to finally returning to Earth to discover that aliens have landed and more or less messed things up pretty bad.  It made for a nice little movie that, at times, gave me real classic Doctor Who vibes.

As was the case with his later film, Drainiac, and, to a certain degree, They Bite, I appreciate the spirit in which Piper works with and his general effort he puts out for the movies.  I truly do get the feeling that Piper just likes making movies and he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  Good on him.  In truth, he mostly just likes doing effects and creatures, which is obvious in his movies.  That said, sometimes, you just need these little types of movies that don’t take themselves very seriously and just wants to entertain. Continue reading “Mutant War (1988)”

Don’t Answer the Phone! (1980)

It’s a new B-Movie Enema and, this time, Don’t Answer the Phone!

By 1980, there was a weird feeling in the country.  The 70s were pretty tumultuous with the Vietnam War and President Nixon leading to many feeling they can’t trust the federal government.  The entire decade felt as though the counter culture was putting their stamp on the new Hollywood, but that was about to come crashing down.  Indie exploitation was about to be scrubbed away by the religiously-charged, great white hope of the Reagan era.

One of the things that would play out for the next 20-25 years after the conclusion of the Vietnam War would be the psychological damage of the vets that returned home.  Whether it was by way of dramatic films like Coming Home and The Deer Hunter, or action films like the Rambo series, Vietnam vets played a huge part in many films.  But there was also a darker side to it as well… Continue reading “Don’t Answer the Phone! (1980)”

Vice Academy (1989)

I like to think of this subgenre, particularly in the 1980s, an American tradition.  Certainly it was nothing new to either the United States or other countries before the decade or even to this very day, but there was something pretty special about the American landscape of both horror and comedy in the 1980s.  It was the decade of slashers and Porky’s ripoffs.  But, maybe more important, it all falls back onto an idea I’ve discussed numerous times before – you had to stock video store shelves and late night cable TV time slots.

That brings us to director Rick Sloane and this week’s screwball comedy, Vice Academy.

Sloane is probably best known for his sci-fi throwback/boner comedy/creature feature Hobgoblins.  I’ve covered that over at Film Seizure on an episode of my weekly Monster Mondays show.  That was a movie I’ve seen a few times when it first made its way to cable, and several times when it was literally eviscerated by the crew of the Satellite of Love on Mystery Science Theater 3000.  While I love that particular episode of MST3K, I’ve always enjoyed the quaint attempt at a Gremlins clone as well as the general quirkiness of the mixture of a lot of 80s tropes that are at play in the movie. Continue reading “Vice Academy (1989)”

Party Line (1988)

It’s another week here at B-Movie Enema and I think I worried I went too long before covering another Vinegar Syndrome release.

So I’m here to fix that with this week’s movie, Party Line!  This 1988 flick had a provocative cover of a sexy girl in lingerie with a phone line wrapped around her leg and torso.  It was a memorable movie cover to see in the suspense/thriller section of the video store.   The movie basically plays to the 80s exploitation of sexy thrillers.  This was perfected probably best in the 90s with movies like Basic Instinct, but these little indie flicks toyed with the idea of mixing sex with murder.

This flick features a rich brother and sister psycho combo.  She lures men through a party line on the phone for her brother to kill them.  You have Richard Hatch playing a detective who is going after the killers.  And then there’s Richard Roundtree playing Hatch’s captain. Continue reading “Party Line (1988)”

Bloody New Year (1987)

Happy Bloody New Year (a few days late), my Enemaniacs!

You might be wondering, “Geoff, what’s up with all this festive cheer and shit?”  Well, don’t worry, fellas and lady fellas…  I just had to clear some slates before I got buried beneath a load of movies I always want to write about but don’t have a particularly perfect timing to do so.  Besides, this does check a couple extra boxes for me:

  1. Another Vinegar Syndrome release
  2. Another Norman J. Warren joint

So yeah, as you might have picked up by reading this blog over the past couple years, I buy a TON of Vinegar Syndrome releases.  They are a marvelous purveyor of cult classics, nearly forgotten gems, and exploitation.  These are things I am particularly in favor of.  So I had to help clear some of that backlog before I can get to some of the other finds I’ve picked up at various conventions and what have you. Continue reading “Bloody New Year (1987)”

Christmas Evil (1980)

Ah…  Religion, iconography, and moral panic.  Welcome back to B-Movie Enema all you nutty, repressed, goofballs!

When coming to picking a movie that could tie into the Christmas holiday (as well as the general winter theme), I guess I could pick from several that the 80s and 90s offered up.  However, I should probably just go one that was sort of at the forefront of some controversy right at the start of the raddest decade of them all – Christmas Evil.

I will try to frame this as best as I can because people get pretty silly over horror and have consistently over the years.  I’ve mentioned before that satanic panic ran rampant over the late 70s and all throughout the 80s.  Some of that still persists today over the things that were stigmatized during that era.  But what was stigmatized and why? Continue reading “Christmas Evil (1980)”

Tammy and the T-Rex (1994/2019)

Every now and then a movie suddenly finds its audience.  Take The Rocky Horror Picture Show, for example.  Sure, it didn’t find that audience immediately, but within a couple years of release, the mega fans were showing up at midnight showings in costume and so forth.  With the advent of home video and the explosion of home entertainment via cable and a video rental store in almost every strip mall as well as even grocery stores, movies that didn’t do so well in theaters suddenly had a second life.

Then comes this curious little direct-to-video movie called Tammy and the T-Rex.  Aside from it featuring two very young, and very pretty future stars in Denise Richards and Paul Walker, it was relatively overlooked as a low budget teenage romantic comedy.

However, in recent years, it’s been rediscovered… Continue reading “Tammy and the T-Rex (1994/2019)”