Onna batoru koppu (1990)

What if RoboCop was a champion tennis player killed by terrorists?

Then she’d be Lady Battlecop and spend 81 minutes battling Team Phantom and the NASA-made mutant Amadeus, who does wrestling moves but also has psychic abilities because why not?

If RoboCop himself can be based on the look of Japanese shows — along with no small debt to Judge Dredd, let’s be completely honest — then Japan can take back the favor and take us to Neo-Tokyo and made this little movie that has a great theme song about women being made for tennis so they never give up, which is weird and one wonders, if 11th century France, what did women think their value was before that? And isn’t the value of a woman more than just tennis?

Going off on another tangent, why did NASA invent Amadeus? And why did the Vatican invent Mikos Stenopolis in Absurd? What was the point? Did we need a murderous psychic man in space? What did the Catholic Church want with a man who could survive eating his own intestines?

These are the kind of things that dominate my mind on a day filled with snow and sitting inside watching the roads get covered again. That said, Lady Battlecop has a great costume.

GREGORY DARK WEEK: Street Justice (1990)

Good Lord, this movie.

Wings Hauser is a typically out of his mind Wings Hauser, playing Sergeant Arliss Ryder, who is transformed into a cyborg killed machine and joins Captain Bill Quinton’s (Alex Cord,  AirwolfChosen Survivors) Strike S.Q.U.A.D. (Scum Quelling Assault Urban Division), a special team of cops who have all been implanted with similar technology that makes them immoral criminal killing machines that also want to have sex with anything and everything — all created by candidate for mayor and secret BDSM* fan Jim Miller (played by one-time Watergate burglar and jail rat eater G. Gordon Liddy).

I mean, I’m already in. Can it get better?

You better believe it.

Sy Richardson (Repo Man) plays Sgt. Joker, a constantly laughing cop who must molest every criminal, while Brion James is Reverend Mony, a street preacher who screams about the evils of sex and roasts a pimp alive as part of a sermon. Cops jerk off their guns when they’re not murdering perps and all is well in this insane slice of Gregory Dark-directed madness.

I can’t believe this movie exists and I am beyond happy that I have watched it.

You can watch this on YouTube.

*The two worlds of late night cable softcore cross over as the dom is played by Roberta Vasquez, who was Pantera in Andy Sidaris’ Picasso Trigger, as well as his films Guns, Do or Die, Hard Hunted and Fit to Kill. A former California state trooper, she was also the Playboy November 1984 Playmate of the Month. This proves that the worlds of light and shadow can come together to make, well, soft focus lovemaking.

Frankenstein Unbound (1990)

Three Brian Aldis novels have been made into movies. Brothers of the HeadAI (yes, the Kubrick started and Spielberg ended movie) and this one, which was the first movie that Roger Corman had directed for two decades.

This is probably the best cast that Corman ever had, with John Hurt as the future scientist, Raul Julia as Dr. Frankenstein, Bridget Fonda as Mary Shelley, INXS singer Michael Hutchence as Percy Shelley, Nick Brimble as Frankenstein’s Monster and Jason Patric as Lord Byron.

So it stands to reason that he should make a movie where a man goes back in time — thanks to a military weapon and a computer car — to the time of the Shelleys and the real monster. Or monsters.

This is also the last movie Corman directed. It’s also the only movie where a future man faxes Mary Shelley her novel that she’s written before she writes it.

Catman in Lethal Track (1990)

Godfrey Ho.

The Bruno Mattei of Hong Kong.

Making a superhero movie.

It’s about time.

Using the name Alton Cheung, this is the story of Sam and Gus, two dudes just trying to chill and discuss Gus joining the FBI. So when they decide to stip a robbery, of course a radioactive cat scratches Sam and gives all the powers of a cat, which basically entails the ability to scratch up all of the furniture in your house and the need to knock over every drink on the coffee table.

His enemy? Father Cheever, a ponytailed religious zealot who wants to start a utopia.

Look, there’s also another movie about a girl dressed as a man fighting pirates that has nothing at all to do with this movie, sometimes playing all over the story we came here for. Also, who dressed Catman? He’s all in like vinyl dress clothes, like some business guy dressing up for BDSM night at the goth club but he couldn’t find the right sunglasses but found his stepson’s Cyclops mask and said, “I’ll be damned, this completes the look.”

It doesn’t.

There’s also another movie in this series, Catman in Boxer’s Blow, and I have to tell you, I don’t know if I can make it through it. Trust me, I’m going to try.

International Gorillay (1990)

Look, sometimes even I just don’t know. Back in 1990, Salman Rushdie was targeted for death and it was all people talked about and his bok The Satanic Verses was available everywhere and got way bigger than it would have been otherwise. I mean, my parents bought a copy.

Three brothers — a cop and two low level bad guys — lose their sister to the outbreak of violence in the protests over the book, so they decide to avenge her and Islam’s honor by hunting down and killing Rushdie. They’re the good guys.

Rushie is a Bond supervillain who wants to destroy so that he can build casinos, nightclubs and brothels around the world. He’s also hiding in the Philippines where the Israeli Army guards him but can’t stop God, as three Quaran appear in the sky and lighting strike him to Hell.

So what did Rushdie himself think of a movie where three goofballs dress as Batman to come and kill him? After it was banned in the UK, he asked for that to be overturned, saying “As a writer, I am opposed in principle to the use of the archaic criminal laws of blasphemy, sedition and criminal libel against creative works, even in the case of a film which quite plainly vilifies me.”

It’s also 2 hours and 48 minutes out of your life.

Luckily, the always dependable White Slaves of Chinatown have it on their YouTube page.

Karate Rock (The Kid with Iron Hands) (1990)

Fabrizio De Angelis may not rank as high as his Italian moviemaking brethern, but the guy made all three Thunder movies and that alone makes him a star in my world even before you factor in Killer Crocodile, the Karate Warrior series and the fact that he wrote Zombie Holocaust, which became Dr. Butcher M.D.

So hey — what if he remade The Karate Kid and brought son of Italian movie star Antonio Sabato Jr. in for the Daniel-san role? He’d make me deliriously happy, that’s what. He plays Kevin Foster, who has to leave behind Oakland and his dad, police officer John Foster (David Werbeck!) asks his friend Billy to look after him.

As soon as the kid with the iron hands comes to town, he ends up hooking up with karate champ Jeff Hunter’s girl Kim (Natalie Hendrix, whose acting biography is filled with roles playing reporters and news anchors). They win a dance contest and so instead of a fistfight, they end up having a car race through the Tunnel Of Death. And then the goons destroy Kevin’s friend’s Jeep. And then, and only then, does he get his ass handed to him and challenged to a martial arts battle.

There is no rock. There is little karate. I was mesmerized for every single minute of the 86-minute run time of this movie. It’s also shot nowhere near where it’s set and is instead made in Savannah, Georgia.

Camp Cucamonga (1990)

This movie knows my weaknesses and exploits them.

TV movies. Summer camp romps. Movies with stars of network television.

Marvin Schector (Cheers star John Ratzenberger) has opened up a new summer camp, a place where his daughter Ava (Jennifer Aniston) has a job for the summer and meets cut with a tough kid named Roger played by Brian Robbins from Head of the Class. His wife is played by Dorothy Lyman, Naomi from Mama’s Family and man, this article is going to turn into me geeking out over what shows each of these people come from.

Well, let’s see:

Chad Allen is from My Two Dads.

Candace Cameron Bure is from Full House and I once had a job ghostwriting her tweets about tuna, so I have that going for me.

Josh Saviano (Marilyn Manson) and Danica McKellar are from The Wonder Years.

Jaleel White is Urkel.

And Sherman Helmsley is from Amen and The Jeffersons.

I can see why Breckin Meyer is in this and why Mr. Dewey from Saved by the Bell (Patrick Thomas O’Brien) and Playboy February 1988 Playmate of the Month Kari Kennell and Melanie Shatner — who is in Bloodstone: Subspecies II and III — were in this, but G. Gordon Liddy?

Director Roger Duchowny also made episodes of That GirlThe Brady Bunch and The Love Boat, which probably helped in the filming of this movie. It was written by Bennett Tramer (KidcoWithout Warning, many Saved by the Bell episodes and yes, the inspiration behind the name Ben Tramer in Halloween) and Rich Melcombe, the creator of the Grudge Match syndicated series.

I mean, if you want a great summer camp comedy, there’s always Meatballs. If you want to spend some time with your favorite TV characters, there’s Camp Cucamonga.

Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again (1990)

The adult side of Archie isn’t new — despite what series like Riverdale would have us think — as this movie has the comic book hero coming back home fifteen years after graduation. In England, where they’d have no context for the comic, it was called Weekend Reunion.

Dick Lowry also directed several of the Kenny Rogers Gambler movies and The Jayne Mansfield Story so you know the quality that you’re getting into here.

Archie (Christopher Rich) is now a lawyer about to marry his fiancee, while Veronica (Karen Kopins) has been married four times, Betty (Lauren Holly) has become a school teacher, Jughead (Sam Whipple) is a psychiatrist that fears women and Reggie (Gary Kroeger) is still a jerk.

While this pilot for a series wasn’t picked up, Archie Comics published an adaptation of that had Stan Goldberg and Mike Esposito art in the flashbacks to look like the classic comics and Gene Colan drawing the modern versions of the characters. It also has a cover by John Byrne, who didn’t often draw comedy characters like Archie and his friends.

You can watch this on YouTube.

The Apartment Complex (1990)

This movie knows how to get a great cast together: Chad Lowe as its hero, along with Patrick Warburton, Tyra Banks, Amanda Plummer and R. Lee Ermey as some of the tenants that he’s watching over.

The last man in his place disappeared and now, after being accused of murder, it feels like Lowe’s Stan Warden is facing the same future. There’s also a fun script, written by Eerie, Indiana and Strange Luck creator — and the man who directed one of the original Fear Street TV movies — Karl Schaefer.

It’s also goofy in all the best ways — the owner’s name is Dr. Caligari, it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s brother Iggy, certain apartments are just missing — and seems like it could have been a series.

I’ve seen some bad reviews on this, but maybe it just hit me right. Or maybe I always cut Tobe Hooper — yes, he directed this! — a break. I wasn’t expecting much and ended up walking away finding somethingh mildly fun.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

New Line was doing so well with Freddy that they thought that they could do the same with Leatherface, not realizing that while he’s the most out front member of the Sawyer Family, there is an entire brood to tell the stories about.

The final film to get an X before NC-17 was created, I will say that this movie brings the gore, even after the battle between the MPAA and New Line. I mean, the movie starts off with Leatherface taking off a woman’s face, so know what you’re getting into. Yet this was submitted eleven times for a review and most of the gore was lost; this was after the original script by David J. Schow (who also wrote the scripts for The CrowCritters 3 and 4 and many other movies) had a naked man being literally sliced into two pieces. I assume the MPAA had more issues with seeing a nude man than the gore.

Directror Jeff Burr got fired early in the film’s production, but when no one else wanted the job, he was back on. He’s already made another sequel, Stepfather II: Make Room for Daddy, and would also made Puppet Master 4 and 5 as well as Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings. He started his career with From A Whisper To a Scream and also directed The Werewolf Reborn!Frankenstein & the Werewolf Reborn! and Mil Mascaras vs. the Aztec Mummy.

The original trailer for this might be better than the actual movie — that’s Kane Hodder as Leatherface! — but you can’t deny a movie that has Ken Foree and Viggo Mortensen in the cast. And hey — Caroline Williams shows up in a cameo as Stretch, now a reporter.

The problem with the Chainsaw sequels — actually, this goes for nearly any sequel to a major movie — is that the first two movies are wildly different takes on the form and really hard to outdo. At least Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation tries to do something really out there with the conspiracy theory wildness.

So what I’m saying is that after this, perhaps the movies aren’t as good. Probably they’re not good at all.