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The Third to Last MegaMeta Category Recap: Worst Cover

Alright, alright, alright, here's the cover recap. Sheesh. And also, for those of you who have come to the awards in the past few years, Worst Cover is one of my favorite animated Smithee intros. There's something about the Portsmouth Symphonia that tickles my soul and brings tears to my eyes.

Anyhow, if you want to win worst cover, you can do so in a myriad of different ways. You can describe the movie you wanted to make and not the movie that is actually in the box (ET: An action pact adventure about one alien trying to take over the world and the Government Agent sworn to stop it!). Or you can tell the whole story on the cover so the watcher doesn't have to see the movie anymore (ET: A touching story of a stranded alien and the boy he befriends. Young Elliot has to hide his new alien friend from government officials until the alien can contact his people who show up and take him home.) You can even hire an artist and cover blurb writer, tell them vaguely what your film is about and let them have at it (ET: [line art picture of a small Alien looking thing and a young nondescript boy] Director Steven Spielberg [list all the movies Spielberg has done up to this point] brings you a tale of suspense and heartwarming friendship between a stranded alien and a lonely boy. [list Drew Barrymore ahead or even instead of Henry Thomas because Drew Barrymore has famous connections]. Enough babble, onto the nominations!

From the intrepid 2002 we bring you Hands of Steel
From the inspiring 2003 we bring you The Terror
From the dazzling 2004 we bring you Black Friday
From the reclusive 2005 we bring you The Monster that Challenged the World
From the terminal 2006 we bring you Ninja Queen Boxer

As if this intro wasn't long enough, I fear this category will be rather wordy. Fortunately, or not, most of them wont be my words since I'm typing the cover blurbits out.

Oi. OK, Hands of Steel AKA Vendetta dal Futuro (which, if you go to the link, IS the cover we have. This is fortunate as this cover has cheesy drawn art and look! You can see the cheesiness!) starts off not so impressively with one of those action painting drawing deelies of our hero looking at his cyborg arm in...some sort of expression. To me he looks surprised as if he woke up one morning, looked down at his arm and "HOLY COW! WTF?!? Cyborg arm!" As a neat little side note into the blast of the past, the cyborg arm comes complete with a fancy LCD calculator watch. Remember those from way back in the 80s? Man, that was nerd cred right there. The cover blurb tells us:
FALCON CREST'S DANIEL GREENE stars in this sci-fi stunner set in the bleak futureworld of 1997. The Earth is bleached and battered by toxic gasses and acid rain...The human race teeters on the verge of extinction...only one lone scientist to give mankind hope.

Paco Querak (GREENE) is a superstrong half-man, half-machine cyborg, hired to terminate the scientist. He must out smart and out battle him in a true test of brawn - But Paco sympathizes with the scientist. JOHN SAXXON (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) co-stars as a ruthless programmer determined to finish the mission: his goal could mean utter disaster.

When metal meshes with man...when the planet reels under ecological horror...the fate of the world may rest in HANDS OF STEEL.

Here's where Matt usually uses a laser pointer to point out things but I'll do my best. One: The entire back cover blurb is written in that annoying "futuristic" "Sci-fi" all small caps writing (oh, like Starfleet Font [scroll down]) which looks like the entire back is screaming at you. Then you get to the all caps and my head explodes. Two: definition of a cyborg [cybernetic organism] - "a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device." So the cover is a tad redundant there with the half man/half machine cyborg thing. Three: OK, yeah the movie was released in 1986 but the blasted out world of 1997 made me and most of the audience members giggle. It's not the cover's fault but it is funny. Sometimes things like that happen.

The Terror also has a picture for a cover over at imdb, but it's not exactly the cover we found. Ours has Jack and...Jill? Well the female lead anyway pretty much front and center in that same pose as the link and a creepy face in the lower left hand corner. And also what looks like the opening to Citizen Kane but much less classy in the background. That's not why the cover won though. This is:
The Terror

[also in caps but, thankfully, in a smaller type font - here is the legaleese]
All rights reserved as to package design and content. Unauthorised duplication is a violation of applicable laws and a fedederal crime punishable by heavy finess and/or imprisonment. MMI Passion Productions division of PMC Corp. Willmington DE.

Riiiight. You might want to hire a proof reader before getting all huffy about your package design and content rights though. I'm just sayin. Then again you can choose not to and "wreckeded" your whole movie cred with that cover. What exactly is the woman doing to Jack...setting him up as a Kelly Girl in the dark labyrinth of the castle? Proof! Reading! Also: Boris 'one r' Karloff. The dude started acting in 1919, so 44 years, a Frankenstein's monster and a Mummy later, it's not like the audience doesn't know who the fella is. Spell the name right. It's a "fedederal" crime punishable by heavy "finess" not too. What is heavy finess anyway? Can I 'authorise' one for people who spell worse than I do? Lastly, pick up a Rand McNally and learn the spelling of your home town, MmmKay?

Black Friday at least can spell and use an eye friendly font but I can't show it to you since imdb has nothing at all for a cover pic. This is sad because I rather like the look of this one with its deep and secret agenda blue tones going on. These blurbs are also killing me. So! Much! Typing! Anyhow. Black Friday wants us to know that the "Warrior has been chosen" so it's boldly displayed on both front and back covers. Grand, but nobody does any sort of choosing in this flick, except maybe one incidental fella who gets a donut in the background. We also have one of those martialy artsy pics of Mr. Daniels with a katana on the front cover, which is cool but not in this movie. Not even the donut fella has a sword. No swords appear in this movie whatsoever. Onto the back cover blurb!
The Warrior Has Been Chosen
It's a bare knuckles battle for survival when high powered attorney Dean Campbell (Gary Daniels) finds his family and his home taken hostage by fugitive nuclear terrorists. With Central Chemical Operations agents surrounding his house, the government is relying on Dean to show them the complex layout of his custom built mansion. But as negotiations fail and the terrorists' threat increases, the agents must decide whether or not to destroy the house, and everyone in it, from the air. With little time remaining, Dean must choose between working with a government he does not trust or saving his family on his own terms.

Cool movie, wish I had seen it. Daniels actually sets them up the bomb and is playing the government agency because he's all cranky at the Central Chemical Operations. His family? Not there. We're not even sure he has a family...maybe they are in Canada? Maybe they are dead? Hard to tell. Anyway, they certainly aren't in the house. Neither are any terrorists, nuclear or otherwise. It's all Daniels trying to expose the evil CCO and their plans to detonate chemical nastiness in a populated area. Daniels also never works with the CCO either, unless getting continually shot at by CCO agents is some new definition of working with.

I Choose You, Pikachu!


The Monster that Challenged the World! I can not type or read that without thinking in a cheesy 50s Sci-fi announcer voice. The Monster! That! Challenged! the WORLD!!!! Dun-dun-dun! So anyway, the imdb cover is not the same as our cover, which means you don't get to see the pulpsci-fi rag like cover art of our slug creature gripping a maiden in distress in its little slug appendages while shooting lasers out of its slug eyes. All of which never happens. That's sort of a pity, the movie could have been livened up a bit with laser slug eyes. The back cover tells us:
"Incredible! Chilling! A land of literally creeping terror!" -Los Angeles Times
Creeping dread! Crawling terror! Oozing fear! The local beaches go from fun-filled swim-fest to horrifying slugfest when a horde of gargantuan vampire snails ooze their way into the water supply-and threaten to suck the life out of mankind! Packed with nerve-jangling "suspense and excitement" (Variety), this slimy sci-fi thriller delivers "superior monster action" (VideoHound's Movie Guide) that'll pull the most hardened sci-fi cynic out of his shell!

Lieutenant John Twillinger thinks he's seen it all - until an earthquake under the Salton Sea unearths a horrifying nest of prehistoric killer crustaceans. Giant, terrifying and with a hunger for human flesh, the beasts begin feeding on the locals, unleashing a shocking reign of murderous mollusk mayhem. Can Twillinger do anything to stop their spread? Or will the human race be forever left in the snails' slimy wake?

[and for fun, here are some fun facts!]
* This terrifying monster masterpiece was inspired by the true story of prehistoric shrimp eggs that were reconstituted after millions and millions of years!
* The original title for this mesmerizing monster flick was The Jagged Edge
* The bulk of the underwater scenes was shot off the coast of Los Angeles, at Catalina island; the close-ups were filmed later - in a tank filled with water and plastic sea weed!

I want to start with the fun facts. 1. Sea Monkeys. 2. Heh. I don't think "The Jagged Edge" has an authorative sci-fi-y ring to it as The Monster! That! Challenged! the WORLD! I'm glad they went with their second choice. 3. And they didn't do too bad with the underwater shots either. Zombie Lake could learn a lesson or two here.

This movie was about a whole pack of 10 foot snails that are shaken out of their hibernation in the Salton Sea by an earthquake (*ding* Truth!). The snails (not slugs, not crustaceans and not mollusks, although snails do belong to the molluscan class) booger about, decide they are hungry (or annoyed) and go eat them some swimmers. Not because they crave human flesh, but because the swimmers are there and the giant snails are hungry (or annoyed). Also, they don't suck blood but rather munch on the whole swimmer. Naturally, a scientist captures a larva (or whatever baby snails are called) to study while the Navy depth charges the rest of the brood to death. The larva (naturally) escapes and slimes its way to a set of dams and lochs which supply the region with water and apparently lead to the sea. Or something. As far as I can figure, the Salton Sea is about 80 miles from the coast and 40 miles from Mexico so that's an impressive irrigation system indeed. Of course they catch up with the giant 10 foot shell lumbering snail fairly quickly and kill it off. Wala! No more giant snails, so that whole "snails' slimy wake" has a bit of an apostrophe problem as it was only ever one snail. And also, it didn't really menace the world as much as it wreaked some havoc to southern California, but that doesn't sound as cool as Challenging! the WORLD!

I'm at four pages in Word and blathering! Fortunately, I'm on the last cover. Shall we?

Ninja Queen Boxer was extremely hard to look up because it's Asian and I have the worst time with Asian movies. I had to resort to the alternate title badmovie found; "Kung Fu Queen" to find anything on imdb, as Ninja Queen Boxer, Peter Yang Kwan and Judy Lee all got me nowhere. And that's everything on the cover right there...I have no idea how badmovie found the alternate titles he did. Anyway, on the cover we have a kick ass blond Caucasian woman in a red bikini top and heart themed red boxer shorts posing in a "I'll kick your ass" kick boxer pose. The tag line reads "She's beautiful, seductive, and deadly!" and should also probably add "and not in this movie". There were no Caucasian people in this movie whatsoever, although there were probably swords. Maybe the sword from Black Friday made it into this movie while boxer babe was in Black Friday? Possible. There are also no Ninjas, Queens or boxing. I can not testify as to the presence or absence of boxers, boxer briefs or tighty whities.
The Back Blurbit: Judy Lee, a powerful and deadly martial arts master, is the female equivalent of Bruce Lee. Stronger and tougher than any male adversary, Judy must wage war on an evil prostitution ring, deep in the heart of a vile underworld. It's a challenge she can't turn away from, but it could mean her death if she fails! Running Time: 92 minutes.

Nice movie but this movie it was not. This movie is about a fella who organizes a worker's revolt in a garment factory against the crime boss that killed his family. Maybe. Well, close at least. No prostitution anyway. He meets Judy Lee (who apparently doesn't have a character name. Notice that in the description? Judy Lee this, Judy Lee that...and speaking of Judy Lee, she seems to really go by Ling Chia most of the time), he dies, she carries on against the crime boss who may or may not have done something to her family as well. Lots of Kung Fu fighting, lots of talking and to boot, the running time is about 15 minutes off. Is there anything they got right on the cover?

Y'all still here? Whew, that's almost more than I can say for myself. That was a lot of lot of writing. Hopefully it'll jar your memories, or at least queue you up for noticing these small details. May the best Worst cover win!


You typed up the entire covers?

Wow, this was a marathon write-up. You da woman. You did all that writing, and never once called the readers 'kittens.'

That seems very sad to me.
But...they are your kittens! I don't yet have a Smithee appropriate Promotions Ninja general crowd collective noun. This makes me sad, for what shall I yell at them come ballot time?
Wow. That's gonna require some thought. I mean, I'm totally up for sharing kittens, and all, but it probably doesn't go with the whole ninja thing. The relationship between kittens and ninjas is a complex one, fraught with peril.