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More Hidden Gems That Will Rock Your World
By: Mickael
It’s easy to be overlooked. You may be earnest. You may be eager. You may even be hard working and intelligent. None of that guarantees success. To achieve success, you have to toot your own horn sometimes. You have to let others know that you have arrived. Last week, The Deacon talked about rattlesnakes using their noise-making appendage to warn potential threats to stay away. Peacocks use their bright plumage to attract a mate. These are examples from natural selection telling you that publicity works. No matter how great you think you are, in order to receive the recognition that you believe you deserve, you sometimes need to speak up.

Marketing your work can be troublesome. Maybe it’s too expensive, or maybe it’s just not a skill that you have. The films on today’s list of hidden gems all deserve to be recognized. They deserve to be considered “popular”. Due to a lack of publicity, companies going out of business, or issues with distribution rights their popularity has suffered. Eventually, all of these films found a cult following of sorts but in order to make this list, they still need to have fewer than 5,000 user ratings on IMDb. That’s our measuring stick for “hidden”, fewer than 5,000 users rating it online after many years of release, in an era where even a film seen by fewer than 100 people and made only $600 somehow has 2,400 ratings within a month of its release. Here you go, another set of hidden gems to add to your collection!
#6: Knightriders (1981)
Writer and director George Romero had already achieved success and notoriety for films like Night Of The Living Dead (1968), The Crazies (1973), and Dawn Of The Dead (1978) when he inexplicably took a detour off of the Horror Highway to pursue this character drama. The film stars Tom Savini (From Dusk Till Dawn), Ed Harris (The Abyss), Ken Foree (Dawn Of The Dead), as well as a whole gaggle of Romero regulars. They play a renaissance fair troupe that puts on motorcycle duels between medieval knights, led by Harris' King Billy.
 
When not battling each other they have to face off against redneck cops, the lure of stardom, and their own delusions. While the story itself may barely be able to sustain this movie’s two and a half hour runtime, there is plenty to feast on here. The action sequences are fast and feel appropriately dangerous, with some motorcycle stunts that feel like they had to genuinely harm the stuntmen involved. George Romero probably kept a cooler of their remains to use as special effects in Creepshow the following year.
Speaking of dangerous motorcycles, some poor British fellow seems to have bought a possessed one. The one and only feature film directed by Dirk Campbell, this low-budget horror comedy shows what happens to a motorcycle gang when they interrupt an occultist’s satanic ritual by way of crossbow murder. Likeable schlub Neil Morrissey plays a motorcycle courier who unwittingly purchases the cursed bike and fixes it up.
 
If the set up sounds funny to you, the delivery is easily twice as good. This film escalates and becomes increasingly hilarious as the bike transforms and attacks anyone who gets in the way of its revenge. From surreal dream sequences to disgusting murders, this film is not shy to offend. It’s got that British charm through and through, even when it’s purposely trying to gross you out.
#4: Lady Terminator (1989)
If you prefer your possession films the old-fashioned way, this Indonesian action / horror movie is sure to please. An evil queen possesses a young female anthropologist, who then hunts down and attacks men in their most vulnerable place. The whole production has a very Godfrey Ho feel to it, but with a weird sexuality that, thankfully, Richard Harrison and Pierre Kirby never shared.
 
If you like cheesy special effects, extreme weirdness, and plenty of blood and sex, then Lady Terminator is definitely for you. This is a film that is more about spectacle than story, so it’s best suited to be shown with a group of friends rather than devoting a lot of personal time to it. Indonesian action movies are like the Charlie Sheen of films, they’re always better at a party.
#3: Nun Of That (2009)
Maybe you like your women a little more demure, a little tame. Well too bad, because Nun Of That is an irreverent action comedy that shows us what happens when a good nun dies a nasty death. She’s given membership into the Order of the Black Habit, a supernatural group of vigilante nuns that strike back against evil and oppression from beyond the grave.
 
From Jesus’ musical intro in Heaven to its bloody finale, this film is equal parts John Woo and Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. It’s hard to say whether you’ll love this film or hate it, but for a low-budget attempt at a comedic action musical, it offers plenty of fun. If this movie had been made in 1975, we’d definitely still be talking about it. In this post-Grindhouse era, where every Indie filmmaker is paying homage to anything-sploitation, it can be difficult to find the films that are actually fun instead of just poorly made copycats. Speaking of which…
#2: Body Rock (1984)
Lorenzo Lamas stars as Chilly, an emcee and street artist who runs with the Body Rock Crew. They’re breakdancing and rapping graffiti artists that want to make some money and get out of the ‘hood. So, Chilly decides to try and charm his way into a deal with a representative who made a fortune turning street artist Maurice Bizarre into the toast of the upper class.
 
Eventually, Chilly finds success but loses touch in the process. Accused of selling out, Chilly has to figure out whether his friendships are worth more to him than money and fame. It’s actually kind of like Knightriders but with parachute pants instead of motorcycles, mullets instead of helmets, and dance battles instead of jousts. While this film may seem derivative of Breakin’ and Beat Street, it actually stands on its own as a piece of 80’s musical cheese that is deserving of your attention.
#1: Beast In Space (1980)
Alfonso Brescia is a prolific Italian director of such films as Super Stooges vs. The Wonder Women (1974) and Poppea: A Prostitute in Service of the Emperor (1972). Often credited as “Al Bradley”, he is most known for directing cheap Sci Fi films in the wake of Star Wars; Cosmos: War Of The Planets (1977), Battle Of The Stars (1978), War Of The Robots (1978), and Star Odyssey (1979). The Beast In Space, while clearly inspired by American space operas, takes a different approach to the genre by being for adults only.
 
It’s kind of like Star Trek, except every character is Captain Kirk and you get to see all of the boning. I don’t consider this a Sexploitation film though, because while there are graphic depictions of sex, where one character’s weapon is his dong and a woman’s Spidey-sense is located in her titties, this really is a Sci Fi film first and foremost. The sex and nudity could be viewed as gratuitous, but it actually makes the movie stronger because this is not merely an outer space movie with unnecessary pornographic sequences interspersed. This is a full-fledged low-budget Italian science fiction film with a pornographic villain; a computer that makes everyone horny. So, just a normal computer, then?
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Which of these hidden gems is your favorite?
Knightriders
I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle
Lady Terminator
Nun Of That
Body Rock
The Beast In Space
Quiz Maker
 
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