Sunday, October 18, 2020

raiders with lasers.


I first reviewed todays 31 days of 'orrah entry way back in 2011 and was shocked and surprised to find a comment from the original director Brett Piper.

The surprise wasn't that someone involved in the movie had read my blog but that just anyone at all had if I'm honest.

Since then it's been less celebrity endorsement and more death threats and indifference but heyho.

Anyway, let's travel back in time to 1986, the year of big hair, even bigger pants and my 'O' levels.

Oh yeah and films opening with horrendously overproduced yet utterly brilliant 'Rawk' ballads.

And the film with the greatest of these banging cock-rock themes?

It has to be....

Raiders Of The Living Dead (1986).
Dir: Samuel Sherman.
Cast: Robert Deveau, Robert Allen, Donna Asali, Nino Rigali, Corri Burt, Bob Sacchetti, Leonard Corman, Zita Johann and Scott Schwartz.

We are the Raiders, of the Living Dead.
And now the hunted, are huntin’ them instead.
Got to destroy, master and the slave, 
We’ve got to drive them, back into the grave!

Bombing down a deserted highway in a sexy as fudge pimp mobile and getting involved in a car chase that would make Bond proud, leather jacketed and mirror shaded Jerry Badman (Sacchetti, who in all likelihood is probably Eric Roberts' son) is following a truck full of nuclear waste down the road.

As one does.

His plan?

To hi-jack it when it stops at a red light, unfortunately the cops giving chase manage to mistake the hi-jacked truck for a completely non-hijacked one and follow that instead.


Detective Kruger (Regali) the badly dressed shmoe in charge of the case is not a happy bunny having managed to lose Eric Roberts Jr. and a load of nuclear waste all within 10 minutes of each other but is soon cheered up by the fact that his superiors want him to storm a nuclear power station that has been taken over by a terrorist with a big bomb.

It's like a gun-obsessed version of Hollyoaks but populated by (even more) sweaty pedo's.

Ordering his top SWAT team (all two of them) to burst in and save the hostages, the terrorist is accidentally tripped up in the ensuing struggle and falls on a big electric thing.

And, by the look on his face dies of excessive spunking.

Which is the way I'd like to go if I'm honest.

Anyway with the crisis resolved, the terrorists body is taken away and injected with something gooey by someone unknown.

Warning: this plot thread WILL NOT be resolved.

She'll never fit all that in her mooth.

With that out of the way let's head back to film good and proper - wrinkly old human/testicle hybrid Dr. Carstairs (Allen) and his shockingly ginger grandson, Jonathan (cutesy child star turned manager for adult film stars Schwartz) are deep in discussion over the fact that they can't watch any of the Doc's 'private' movies because his laser disc player, which is sodden with old man joy jism, is broken and in need of fixing.

And to make matters worse Carstairs is refusing to pay the $175 the repair shop are gonna charge to look at it.

Grumpy old sod.

Luckily Jonathan is a mechanical genius and offers to have a poke about inside the player.

Unfortunately he's also an utter arse, causing the players laser beam to discharge (snigger) vaporising his pet hamster.

I have a friend who tried to
build this after watching this film. He's the same friend who made the Resident Evil mod....

Jonathan quickly phones his 'friend' Michelle (spud-faced dwarf Burt) to explain what he's created (oh and to tell her his hamsters dead) and, reckoning she could use the laser to trim her beard heads over to the house to excitedly chat about all the things they could do with a fully functioning death ray.

Unfortunately killing the director isn't one of them.

Meanwhile across town ace newspaper reporter Morgan Randall (Trail of the Screaming Forehead's Deveau) is cruising the town in his mum's car alongside a shockingly plain woman on their way to the infamous Coulter Farm.

Is it a date?

An assignment?

An abduction?

we're never told, all we know is that a mass grave was found there, oooohh years ago and the local paper is just getting round to covering the story.

Anyways, after skulking about in the dark whilst uttering utterly banal dialogue for 20 minutes our unattractive duo are attacked by, gulp, zombies.

There had to be some in the film, I mean the clues in the title.

Plain Jane is captured by the undead but luckily Randall escapes strangulation by a man who's meant to be the terrorist guy from the start - but is in fact a totally different actor altogether - only to get run down (in a car kinda way, not told his suit is shite) by the not that bad looking (but awful at driving) Shelly Godwin (the hot mum from Wilfrid's Special Christmas, Asali).


Recovering back at her 'pad', the battered and bruised Randall decides that rather than report the ugly birds kidnapping and the immanent zombie invasion to the police, he'd rather invite Shelly out to the cinema in the vain hope that a nibble from his mustardy hotdog will lead to a chance to investigate her gusset later on.

Sounds fair enough.

So after purchasing a sawn-off shotgun, they head out to the local cinema to catch the directors earlier movie Hells Angels on Wheels.

As crazy as it seems it turns out that it was quite fortuitous buying the gun seeing as there's a zombie lying in wait at Randall's apartment when he returns home.

Being a hefty man of action tho', Randall has no qualms about shooting the zombie in the face before legging it straight over to Dr. Carstairs house.


Totally believing Randall's story (or eager for some fresh muscled meat in the house) Carstairs offers Randall free use of his grandson alongside a room for the night.

Which is pretty good timing seeing as his landlady has found the dead body in his room and called the police, who are all rather eager to chat to our hero.

Things take an even more bizarre turn when the Cripinesque state coroner Dr. Kopek (Corman) cheerily informs everyone that the body had been dead for around two years even before it was shot.

A wee bit like the script for this movie then.

"Is that an illegal firearm in your pocket
or are you just pleased to see me?"

As if his day couldn't get any worse Randall now has the cops and the undead out for him.

But our hirsute hero has got buddies of his own to solve the case; sexy (ish) Shelly who doesn't mind lying to the police for him, an old doddery doctor who wants a piece of his prime ass (probably) plus the doctor's geeky grandson (remember?) who's just created a laser death ray.

Oh yes and Michelle the living potato.

"Sorry hen it's an illegal firearm,
but I've got an erection too".

But if only he knew a helpful librarian with a big file marked 'how to find and stop the local zombie plague', that would be really fortuitous.

And not to say a wee bit far fetched probably.

Enter (well maybe back in 1932 when she played Helen Grosvenor in Karloff's The Mummy but now now*) Zita Johann as, you guessed it, a helpful librarian with a big file marked 'how to find and stop the local zombie plague'.

What were the chances of that?

With his misfit band of buddies in tow, Randall heads out to the zombie base out at the abandoned mine to kick some undead arse......but will these raiders of the living dead be able to withstand the horror that awaits them?

With a true-life story almost as convoluted as it's script, jack of all trades Sam Sherman's opus began life in 1983 as a lo-fi horror flick directed by Brett Piper called Dying Day a not-too shady little zombie shocker with a passable cast and OK effects.

Buying the rights to the film, Sherman wasn’t satisfied with what he saw and began tinkerings of George Lucas proportions, first he re-edited it and released it under the title Dark Night before realising it was still shite and shooting new footage with a new cast.

The project was finally finished more than three years later, renamed one final time and  released as Raiders of the Living Dead.


Unfortunately after all his hard work the end result is a wart encrusted testicle of a movie, featuring absolutely no sex or gore but with plotlines that appear then disappear for no reason, sub-thrift shop make-up, nylon clad extras and an annoying carrot topped teen with a home made laser.

By rights it should be fucking abysmal but just like that clap ridden, dirty middle-aged barmaid that took pity on you when you'd failed to impress the laydees with your pulling powers as a teenager  (remember the one? she had a disabled husband and smelled of digestives), by the end of it you've ridden out the scabby bits and (vaguely) enjoyed the smoothly syrupy cheese that followed.

We've all been there.

I've seen the film way too many times for a sane person and still have no idea who or what the terrorists are after or what Randall is investigating, but to be honest that's part of the movies fractured charm.

Go on, treat yourself and if nothing else you can dance along to the theme.

And laugh at the ginger boy obviously.

*Because she's been dead since 1993 obviously....tho' as a teen I had a massive crush on her, which is an excuse for these:

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