Well! It’s the end of the line! and we crash out in a ball of flames so spectacular that it damn near made J.R quit the industry all together and led to several actors never working again. HUZZAH!
Seriously; this films an absolute train wreck, no ifs or buts about it. it’s a FUN movie. dont get me wrong I enjoyed the absolute crap out of the sheer BALLS of this production. But i’d be lying if I said that it was a desperatly flawed production that literally could have been so much more. Having watched the table read for the script that ultimately got thrown out for this film. I’d be lying if I said I didnt want to see that version moreso than this one. But…im glad we at least got the opportunity to see what might have been via the wonderful work that J.R and Makeflix have done to bring this set to life.
It’s miraculous that that this film exists quite honestly given EVERYTHING that went on behind the scenes and given the amount of stress that was ultimately put on J.R I totally understand why he stepped back from directing for a time after this. but being able to see it years later. while it IS bad, no doubt about it. I can at least appreciate it for what it stands for. this was a film that was made from nothing. it’s goofy, cheesy and those title cards and credits will be the death of me. but it got MADE. J.R got it over the line and it got into Video stores. thats amazing. so I hope despite my negative criticism of the film in the review below. that you still at least keep that in mind.
Since these reviews went live Makeflix have also announced that all of these movies in the SOV six pack will be recieving solo releases in the near future. while I dont have an exact ETA, my advice has always and will continue to always be. Keep an eye on Makeflix. they’ve got some great stuff in the pipeline.
Now this. This charts the point where I feel that J.R and what was left of the cast and crew realised the SOV six pack project was well and truely on a hiding to nothing. Not only did the budget get DRASTICALLY cut to a little under $1250 PER PROJECT. but it was still the middle of a freezing Ohio winter and deadlines for these projects were rolling closer and closer.
Its understandable after the work on Chick Boxer and Maximum Impact pretty much lost J.R most of his crew, a chunk of his cast and at least a writer or two that the cart was now pulling the horse and not the other way around. I dont doubt J.R’s proficiency as a director one bit. These films would have never seen the light of day if he wasnt short of legendary in the directors seat. But it’s clear to see at this point that the project was running away with itself and things were starting to reach a head.
I mention in my review that I had a similar experience to J.R when it comes to this movie as I to made the stupid STUPID mistake to go and make a movie outdoors with a skeleton crew in the middle of a freezing winter for about a week with minimal to no supplies, and honestly the stress and the weather damn near drove us all away from ever doing anything film releated ever again. So I can only IMAGINE what J.R was dealing with when not only was he dealing with that level of craptitude but that he also had Home Cinema Video breathing down his neck to deliver a finished product. I mean, I can only compare his experience to mine, and I at least had the relief of not having to work to deadlines.
Anyway; Galaxy of the Dinosaurs is a cheap but cheerful affair. it really did give me “Red Dwarf” vibes based on the script, and I think this movie may actually be my favourite script purely from a tone and dialogue standpoint out of any of the movies featured in the six pack.
Given that Maximum impact was recorded in the same block as Chick Boxer its not surprising to hear that the film suffered similar issues to Chick Boxer. now it’s not a technical disaster like Chick Boxer is, but it DOES suffer from the issue of it being recorded around christmas time. So even though the “Professional” film makers had all piled into this project to get the job done. they were still having to deal with the uphill battle of having to contend attention wise with chirstmas and everything that came with it.
That not only mean dealing with actors who were too busy shopping to remember their lines, but they also had to deal with crew who had the same issue and plummeting tempratures across the board. it really was a terrible time to decide to make 2 movies back to back. But…these guys did it. It means that, no matter how bland or just…not quite there this film is. they still managed to power through and deliver an end product thats actually not that bad. looking back on the set i’d say that Chick Boxer was the definite low point of the set in terms of production quality. but if we plotted a graph it would show a “V” shape almost. and Maximum impact would be on the other side of that sharp dip. the films that came after this. in their own way are entertaining (if not technically lacking) but this movie? I can at least applaud it that its TRYING to be good. J.R and crew hadnt thrown in the towel, they wanted to make this work and despite its GLARING flaws. I think I have to applaud a film that tries over one that doesnt every time.
I had a rather pleasent surprise while these reviews were going live. JR Bookwalter the man himself was doing a live stream Q&A for a new release for makeflix and I dropped in to ask a question about whether he’d ever consider getting back into directing (his answer was “never say never!” so here’s hoping for the SOV 12 pack in 2024!) but while watching he mentioned in passing that he’d actually been checking out a couple of these reviews as they dropped! which…well I was honestly quite beside myself as, while I have had the odd director, DOP, Cam Op or in one specific case producer drop by to tell me about how their movie sucked, or that they were grateful for my honesty. i’ve never had someone say that live, on video. TO ME.
Anyway; I mention that because this was the review he referenced specifically when he said he’d seen a couple of the reviews I’d done. and…if you’ve seen my review of this in advance of reading this post. you’ll know that I was not a fan of this movie…didnt care for it at all…hates a strong word but I do believe I said this movie was “The kind of film you take to a bad movie night when you dont like anyone in attendence.” which was then quoted in a tweet by J.R Bookwalter himself. POSITIVELY I might add!…but still. he hates this movie. I…didnt care for this movie. most people i’ve shown this film to (Because im an evil fuck) hated this movie. this is not a good movie. the poster and title is about as good as it gets.
In my minds eye I imagined Chick boxer to be a kind of gritty “Rocky” type flick. y’know, a young girl is bullied or harrassed or…I dunno SOMETHING happens. and she decides to “Get tough” cue several training montages and eventually said weedy girl is now a martial artist taking on the scum of the streets vigilante style, with the papers and police not really knowing what to make of her. almost like what was done in “Robot Ninja” but without the super hero costume and the scene where a guy removes and inserts weird tubes into his arm.
Instead we got…well I’ll let the review do the rest of the work.
Zombie cop is problematic but it is my favourite film in the SOV six pack. There isnt really much more I can say about that. Honestly, I thought the film was going to go one way and it surprised me very much by going in a different direction. based on the title and rough plot outlines I saw floating around online before I got into this one. I was thinking that the “Zombie” element of zombie cop was going to be played on a lot more. I was expecting visual gags of him losing limbs or having to fight the urges to eat brains to get justice served, or other things like that. hell I was astounded at the restraint of the writer/director for not doing a scene where our hero ends up in the same shape as the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I was envisioning something a bit more in line with “Dead Heat“. But instead this is kind of closer to “Robocop” with just a dash of Voodoo magic thrown in for good measure. the zombie aspects definitely present, but it’s more Aesthetic than anything else. it isnt really played on too heavily and instead a more action driven narrative is played up which I really wasnt expecting and honestly I was quite delighted in the direction it chose as I think the risk of it falling into campy oblivion by doing comedy zombie tropes would have been all be inevitable otherwise.
On a technical level this is possibly one of the best SOV movies I’ve ever seen. it’s proficient, professional for the most part and has some quite big set pieces which, given the budget, were quite the spectacle. is it perfect? no. but is it bloody good fun? absolutely.
So! after a gentle breaking in to the career of J.R Bookwalter with “Robot Ninja” and “The Dead Next Door” we now finally begin our trail down the “SOV Six Pack” a box set that, in all honesty I had zero intention of buying because I didnt know it existed until a rather helpful soul on a VERY small discord I hang out in threw a link to Makeflix while also pointing out the six pack as being a pretty decent deal for the cost (it was part of the black friday sales for that year, retailing at $50 + shipping) given that the cost of this set was usually closer to $80 at the time. I figured I’d literally blind buy this thing just to see what the crack was with it (because black friday brings out the excessive side in all of us) so! I ordered it expecting a flimsy case containing 6 Blurays with a feature and a couple of extras on each disc, and what I got instead was an ASTOUNDING piece of value for money.
this is going to sound like an advert (and I assure you I did pay for my copy. no freebies) but the design of the six pack box was nicely handled. with a clean signature from J.R himself on the back of the packing, each bluray comes with some gorgeous new cover art (As seen on each of the thumbnails in these reviews) and they’re all just…BRIMMING with extras, multiple commentary tracks, multiple making of’s trailers, marketing materials. and to top it all off this set came with full scores as CD’s AND posters of some of the new art work which, as soon as I move to a bigger property WILL get framed! (because who doesnt want a chick boxer poster on their wall!?)
Anyway! this set is a phenominal job not just on packaging and contents but on presentation as well…barring Chick boxer (which really didnt get a particularly smooth ride from an archive standpoint) all these films have been totally from the ground up remastered. they look ace. im genuinely really impressed with the work that’s gone into this set. and if it wasnt sold out i’d be telling you to go and grab it right now!
What I CAN say is that apparently single releases for all 6 films are looking likely to come out either at the end of 2021 or the start of 2022 so do keep your eyes peeled because these are films you dont want to miss!
And kicking things off is “Kingdom of the Vampire.” a film that wasnt particularly my cup of tea. But, I can at least appreciate the craftsmanship that went into producing it. this is a film where the film makers are learning to shoot SOV and it’s great to see how quickly those skills get honed.
Continuing our journey through the life and times of J.R Bookwalter, we’re following up 1989’s “The Dead Next Door” with “Robot Ninja”, quite possibly my all time favourite Bookwalter film. I just, REALLY enjoyed this one. it feels big, daft and aggressive and it just gives off this tone that I find quite honestly wonderful to sit through.
And, as I mention in the below review, I am just…Captivated by the restoration work done on this thing. having jumped from a VHS transfer to the new widescreen fully remastered version, it’s crazy to me at just HOW much attention to detail and love has gone into bringing this “Direct to video” campy action horror film into the realm of full HD. Theres an extra feature on the Bluray release of this that goes into detail around the work involved in restoring this and Its astounding honestly. J.R often says this is a film he wishes he never made (I mean…he says that about almost all of his films…) but honestly? I think the world is a better place WITH Robot Ninja in it
Season 9 was one of those seasons that feels “Right” to me. I mean that very much in a spiritual sense. theres no real metric that can be used to measure whether something is objectively “good” or “bad” but what I mean is that to me, it feels like all the pieces fit together perfectly, it feels like each review contrasts or compliments the other. with every season I do I often feel like there’ll be at least 1 or 2 episodes out of the two(ish) dozen I make where I either dont feel I got a grip on exactly HOW I wanted to present the review, or I’ll feel like technically I was a bit off the mark.
But this season, every review I feel like I got exactly what I wanted out of it, we had some stinkers, we had some hidden gems. but, to me, it feels like the work I’ve put in to slowly reshaping the series somewhat (Work that first began waaaaay back in Season six) has finally matured into a format that, for now at least, im pretty happy with. I feel a lot more confident about this run of reviews than I have with any other previous run, and I feel a lot happier with my work load management and attitude towards how I run the process. genuinely, the last 12 months worth of writing and releases have been some of the most enjoyable I’ve done in the 4 and a bit years of working on the channel.
Personal highlights of this season for me were “Nutbag” a film that genuinely caught me off guard for just how amazingly bad it was. this is one of the few times where BBFC suggested edits have actually massively enhanced what would otherwise be a fairly drab affair, Deathrow Gameshow a film that totally surpassed my expectations, and I feel utter remorse that I didnt crack this one open much MUCH sooner as it’d been sat on my “To Watch” pile for WAY too long. My special video essay on a recent Bootleg Video Nasty haul was a definite highlight for the year and got quite a few people talking about their own experiences with Nasty’s which was nice. and the opportunity to collaborate with old friends like Raymond and new faces like G.G Graham were frankly an absolute delight.
This season for me will probably be fondly remembered as a time capsule of a 6-8 month period where things, while still rather grim beyond the walls of my house, were alright. and I hope that comes across in these reviews.
Finally! the middle classes answer to “Driller Killer” in all it’s mundane dullness. I feel like such a stooge in hindsight after releasing this review. A little context (And a mild spoiler about whats coming up on this channel in future months.) I hadnt seen “Driller Killer” before reviewing this movie. and, for all intents and purposes I hadnt really planned to watch it for a while because the majority of people i’d spoken to about it told me that Driller killer was a bit boring and the kind of movie that you’d only watch once and move on.
Anyway; decided for the upcoming 10th season of my reviews that I was going to watch “Driller Killer” to get it over and done with. and apart from the fact that I really enjoyed it WAY more than the people who told me it was rubbish made out. I was mortified to discover that “Driller Killer” appears to more or less be the groundwork for this movie. as in; the themes, narrative and a decent chunk of the plot seem to more or less be copy/pasted from “Driller Killer” into “Living nightmare” the only significant difference is whereas “Living Nightmare” follows a bunch of middle class yuppies as they deal with the day to day issues of owning an apartment the size of a bowling ally. “Driller Killer” aims more to cover people in poverty and on skid row.
In fact; the only significant difference other than the class in this film and Driller is that in this film the madness is put more down to ghosts/the paranormal, whereas in driller killer the madness is based on the circumstancial rot that poverty induces. other than that they follow eerily similar beats, and I really wish i’d known that going into this one.
As it stands I wrote this review back in Jan/Feb of 2021 and then didnt see Driller killer until June 2021 at least a week or two after this review dropped, it took me till about 50 minutes into Driller to very quickly realise i’d totally missed a trick with this review.
So. to clarify, not only is this film generally rubbish and not worth watching, it’s also a little bit theivey and you should go and watch “Driller Killer” if you want a similar experience thats actually much much better than this film.
This ones going to be short and sweet. and it’s going to be another soapbox post unfortunatley; in part because I feel like I said everything I needed to say about this movie within the review itself and in part because the circumstances around this reviews publication once again fell fowl of youtubes copyright notice systems and Im going to treat this post as a kind of mini vent. So if you just want to know about the movie itself you’re probably best skipping the text on this one and just jumping straight into the video below.
This is now the 3rd film review that i’ve had unfairly worldwide blocked by Studio Canal/Lionsgate. I appreciate that the rules on fair use are kind of sketchy and could go either way. but if push came to shove, in a court of law I fully believe that my review of this film would constitute fair usage under critique and criticism. Given that I use less than a 5th of the films total footage throughout the entirity of this films review, AND that i’ve transformed the footage in such a way as to effectively create a new work from it. I feel it totally unecissary that SC/L had the video worldwide blocked. In fact after my last review featuring a title of their range got worldwide blocked under similar spurious takedowns I decided to blacklist them as they clearly dont need me and I dont want the hassle of dealing with them.
Unfortunately “Steel Dawn” is distributed by Lionsgate in ONE single terratory. and thats enough leverage for them to fully worldwide block my review. A cursory glance on google shows that the film is distributed by multiple licensee’s so to see Lionsgate so blatently abuse the copyright system in this instance. While unsurprising, is yet another reminder to me that copyright is an absolute minefield in terms of navigating the rights and wrongs, and corporations and companies seem more than happy to abuse it in any and every way they like.
I will say, on the whole I find the youtube contentID system to be imperfect but mainly fair. most major companies take fair use on board and will largely only take monetization or block in countries they specifically distribute to. and even then counter claims on the grounds of fair use will 8 times out of 10 result in a released claim.
However; it’s companies and individuals abusing those copyright tools and remaining unpunished for doing so thats the hang up I have with youtube and is something that desperately needs reviewing. A few weeks ago one of my commentary videos was issued with a DMCA takedown notice by a total randomer. not only did the commentary video contain ZERO copyrighted works in it. but it was one of the few videos where we’d actually been able to completely isolate the audio. it literally couldnt have been our totally 100% homegrown content anymore if it physically tried. nevertheless I still had to spend around a month and a massive loss in my watchtime and views fighting that takedown, which was then released with no issues after the timer ran out on the claim.
I find it totally ludicrous that its this easy for people to issue these takedown notices and equally upsetting that big companies and corporations feel they can bully creators by creating artificial narratives on what reviews can stay up, which have to be pulled down and that the big companies get to set the severity level that a channel gets dealt depending on whether they choose to cover their content or not.
Every upload I do feels like im playing a game of buckaroo where the losing item loaded on triggers a hand granade. and it really totally sucks when you spend over a week producing a detailed review only for it to end up worldwide blocked because corporations are abusing tools while all the creators can do is hope that things dont end up litigeous and pray that the clock runs out on claims in order to meet scheduling demand. things need to change.
So…anyway; Lionsgate blocked this review worldwide. So I ended up having to strip all of my edited visuals out (more or less…the packaging shot and the “Who Wrote this/Who directed this” sequences have been left in.) and replace it with a title slide because youtube is spineless and I didnt have a choice in the matter. I’ll shortly be uploading the full visual version to my backup account on Breach.tv (A fantastic site thats sadly super underrated and needs way more love) and when I do I’ll link the full visual version here too so you can see what you were missing.
Not that you were missing much, this films totally unmemorable and a bit rubbish.