King of the Gypsies (1978)

The scene is set at a gypsy camp in the 1940s, as Zharko Stepanowicz (Sterling Hayden in one of his late-career mandatory beard roles), self-proclaimed King of the Gypsies, demands to be given young Rose (Tiffany Bogart), as he’s already paid $4,000 for her so she can marry his son Groffo (Mark Vahanian). Rose’s parents…

Coffy (1973)

After years of small roles in exploitation flicks, Pam Grier finally hit it big with the blaxploitation classic Coffy (1973). Written and directed by Jack Hill, who had directed Grier in low-budget flicks before, Coffy to modern eyes looks far less empowering than it does exploitative. Grier spends a significant amount of time in the…

Yellowbeard (1983)

The infamous 1983 film Yellowbeard, a zany spoof of adventure-packed swashbucklers of yesteryear, is known for its unbeatable cast and unbearable lack of humor. Meant to be a wacky smash-up of classic British and American humor, instead it’s a schizophrenic whirlwind of confusion and mayhem. The bad kind of mayhem, unfortunately, the kind that happens…

It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958)

It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958) is your standard, teen-oriented, low-budget space flick with its narrative roots firmly implanted in the paranoia of the Cold War. It’s the kind of film where all the strings and zippers show, yet still manages to be not only entertaining, but effective. Helmed by Edward L. Cahn, the…

Hollywood Shuffle (1987)

Sketch comedy films, the spiritual descendants of 1930s cinematic musical extravaganzas and 1960s television variety shows, hit their peak popularity in the 1970s. Monty Python’s And Now For Something Completely Different, Woody Allen’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex, and the inaugural Zucker-Abrams-Zucker outing Kentucky Fried Movie captured the free-wheeling irreverence of the…

Firewalker (1986)

Everyone loves a good bad movie, but not every bad movie works as a late-night laugh-a-thon. As the crew of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” explained in Wired‘s oral history of the show, they couldn’t just pick any old bad movie to riff. The films couldn’t be “boring and really, really talky,” and they had to…

Without a Clue (1988)

Before they became the kind of actors one gets when one wants to add a little class to an otherwise iffy production, Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine headlined the Sherlock Holmes spoof Without a Clue (1988), a gentle period comedy that cheekily posits that the fictional Holmes both did and did not exist. Without a…