A near-future fascistic USA is focused on an annual cross-continent murderous road race. Scattershot but sprightly, this exploitation effort (a Rollerball mockbuster) juggles media satire, cartoony splatter, 1984 riff, and car-chase comedy. Full of ideas, though, and hugely influential. A remake – spawning several DTV sequels – followed.
A disaffected software engineer rebels against his employer. Generally focused office comedy, good on the minutiae of cubicle life and on the personality types found in any large organisation. Almost a documentary in places, plus strength in depth in casting and performances. Recommended.
An average soldier wakes from cryosleep to find himself the cleverest man in 26th-century America. Shambolic but consistently funny satire, held together by an intrusive voiceover and weakened a little for sometimes mistaking sneering at the working class for satirising commercialised stupidity.
A now-disaffected Giselle and family have to work together when a magical accident means Andalasia overlaps with upstate New York. Patchy, padded belated sequel stuffed with duff songs and no real reason to exist. Maya Rudolph has fun as a baddie this time out, and that’s about it.
A misanthropic stage psychic is the victim of a home invasion. Grubby little comedy-thriller with a focus on making Les Dennis as authentically unlikable as possible. Some good lines sneak through, there’s an okay end-of-the-pier vibe to it, and a genuinely WTF ending that makes this a passable one-time watch.
An accordion-playing musical parodist finds that fame has its price. A solid comedy made with affection, effectively satirising the pop biopic genre while both lauding and appreciating the specific pleasures associated with its subject. Strength in depth in cameos too, plus some niche gags along the way.
A murder occurs during a performance of The Mousetrap: an investigation begins. Ever-so-slightly pleased with itself mashup of allsorts – The Real Inspector Hound, Noises Off, Agatha Christie, even a Brian de Palma moment or two – that’s nevertheless brisk, funny, well-played, and looks great.
A small snowbound town comes under attack: a siege develops. Sprightly comedy-horror with a whodunnit element. A strong cast of comic performers helps, as does a deft script. Based on a video game: maybe the best adaptation of a game yet.
Assassin Fallon is lying low in Malta, but trouble follows from London. A superior sequel, its simple story a set-up for an escalating series of well-shot and choreographed fight sequences balanced with slapstick violence. Deliberately cartoony, foregrounding a keen stunt team and solid location work throughout. Recommended.
A boy magician quests with a warrior to retrieve a magic ring and avenge his father’s murder. Family-oriented sword and sorcery on a budget: sets, footage, and music recycled from other Corman productions, plus half an eye on wider 80s fantasy tropes. Dayglo and unabashed, mind, so tolerable for the undemanding. A sequel followed in 1989.