As bad as the 1990s top of the barrel was, sometimes you just have to scrape the bottom of it to realize how much worse it could have been. So here’s a look at three I crossed paths with recently.
THE RIFT (1990)
In the tradition of Leviathan, Deep Star Six, and other underwater alien life form flix of the late 80s/early 90s, The Rift is standard b-movie goodness…and the biggest budget flick in this triple blog. It also stars 80s hottie Jack Scalia, who had one failed television series after another that I never watched back then. Yet he still somehow became a household name for me….
Also present is horror/sci-fi icon Ray Wise as part of a crew that takes a submarine to look for a lost submarine!
The most excitement we get for a majority of the film is Scalia shirtless and a guy in some awesome 80s short shorts. But when the crew finally discovers an underwater cavern, zany old school special effects abound as snake-like and lizard-like creatures attack! There’s also a giant, tentacle butt hole on the ceiling of the cave. Awesome.
There’s some ooey gooey gore, blood, explosions, and toy model submarine footage, but the disappointment with The Rift is that there’s just too little monster fun. It’s simply a creature feature that takes way too long to feature creatures.
The epitome of the shot-on-video era (although pretty much 10 years late), Goblin looks like a guy got a camera, put neon light bulbs in all the rooms in his house, and let his friends run around being chased by a big guy in a costume. As amateurish as it all is, Goblin exploits the hell out of disgusting effects, for every time the goblin kills someone, he reaches inside them, yanks out their innards, then plays with the stuff like it’s Play-Doh. My guess would be that the director had a friend who worked at a butcher shop, because it pretty much looks like real innards being fondled.
The Goblin cast looks like a bunch of 80s hair band rockers denying that it was 1993 and that Nirvana had already taken over – made me so nostalgic for my college days on Long Island. A group of friends gathers in a house to eat pizza and watch horror movies when the goblin just kind of pops up in the kitchen!
He would look pretty cool if he weren’t saturated with light, which leaves him looking like a better-than-average Halloween costume. But at least he massacres the fuck out of everyone, including impaling a guy in the ass, drilling an eye to mince meat (most likely real mince meat), and sickling a chick’s pussy before fisting out her guts. That being said…there’s no nudity.
All the sloppy action is set to a heavy metal soundtrack probably recorded in the director’s garage with his high school band buddies. Along with the cast trying to remember their lines and marks, there are two times that an actor’s line delivery is accidentally repeated from two different camera angles, and even a lawnmower fight that the goblin supposedly wins even though he seriously gets tripped up fumbling with the machine.
Despite its low quality, Goblin delivers one great line from one of its male characters: “Quit acting like a bimbo in a b-movie!”
THE PARASITE (1997)
This low budget film isn’t a scarefest, nor is it the kind of movie that would even get a cult following, but for a one time director, it’s a pretty damn well made indie with a pretty cool premise and quite a good performance by its one time lead actor.
A college science professor is totally anti-parapsychology until he finds himself a victim of it after allowing a psychic he meets at a party to use mesmerism – a powerful form of hypnotism – on him.
Before long, the professor begins suffering from blackouts, dark sex dreams, and eventually…visions of murder. But are they just dreams and visions? As his life begins to spiral out of control, the professor discovers the horrific truth of what’s really happening to him.
Despite The Parasite (metaphorical parasite) having a limited budget, it delivers a concept that is quite chilling. I think its biggest dilemma is that it walks a shaky line between horror and thriller. The plot mostly revolves around the idea of having a psychic stalker of sorts and of losing control of your own actions, but several gory horror dream sequences are inserted even though they are unnecessary to the story.
The teases offer glimmers of horror hope, but this is essentially not a horror film, which left me wanting more.