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Thursday, April 26, 2018

HOUSE OF BAMBOO 1955 (FOX)

Sam Fuller directed this excellent film noir.

Robert Ryan stars as Sandy Dawson, a man who leads one of the top crime rings in Japan. He is brutal and relentless. His right hand man is named Griff (Cameron Mitchell) and he enjoys killing much more than anyone else and trusts nobody.

A mysterious man named Eddie Kenner comes to Tokyo under the name Eddie Spannier to investigate the death of his brother who might have been working for Dawson.

Dawson quickly accepts Spannier into his crime ring, but Griff has some misgivings which Dawson doesn't even listen to. Spannier/Kenner also falls for a beasutiful Japanese woman who was Spannier's secret wife, Mariko (Shirley Yamaguchi).

The plot is somewhat complicated, but not hard to follow. Director Fuller has all of his usual touches and he handles this rare color noir perfectly. The performances by all involved are very good with Yamaguchi playing the most low key. I like her but I do with she was more of a standout in the film.

The movie does have a happier ending ending than most films of its kind. The final shootout atop a rotating wheel is something I had never seen since in any film. Very unique.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Claudine Auger is 77.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

NIGHT OF THE GHOULS 1959 (IMAGE)

This one is a guilty pleasure for me.

In my opinion this was Ed Wood's final decent feature. I know much has been written about Wood and his epics "Plan Nine From Outer Space" and "Bride Of The Monster", but this, at least to me is his best.

The story centers around the rebuilt old house that Bela Lugosi mad doctor character inhabited in "Bride Of The Monster". It seems that a series of ghost sighting have been reported in the area.

Lt. Daniel Bradford (Duke Moore) is assigned to investigate after as frightened couple report a ghost sighting. Bradford discovers that a medium named Dr. Acula (Kenne Duncan) has bought the house and is conducting seances.

Acula is a phony who is bilking rich people out of money by making them think they are taking to their deceased loved ones. However, in the end Acula and his female partner (Valda Hansen) who runs around as a "White Ghost", soon find that the dead don't like to be messed with.

The acting in this film is pretty bad, as in all Wood films, but who cares? The film has some incredible imagery and harkins back to a much more innocent time. I haven't seen this movie for many years and when I finally got a chance to see it again, I was just as entertained as the first time.

The cast also includes Tor Johnson (returning as Lobo from "Bride Of The Monster" but much more scarred up), Paul Marco as Kelton, Johnny Carpenter, Bud Osborne, Harvey B. Dunn, and Tom Mason.

Yep, this is a film I recommend for any horror fan who just wants to shut off their brain and have a good time.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Stacy Haiduk is 50.

RIP DON BUSTANY 1928-2018

A man whom I have a hell of a lot of respect has passed away.

Many of you who stop by this blog may know I am an American Top 40 freak. I am obsessed with the charts and countdowns from 1970-1989 and you already know that the late Casey Kasem is someone I consider to be the greatest man ever to work in radio.

Well, Don Bustany was the co-creator of American Top 40 along with Kasem, and the two of them made the countdown what it was. Bustany passed away today at the age of 89.

Don also started American Country Countdown and he was the last of the 4 men who made AT40 what is was before Ryan Seacrest ruined it. Next to my mother, Kasem and Bustany were my musical inspirations.

I hate writing this stuff, especially when it's someone who has really impacted your life in a great way. RIP Don, and thanks for all the memories that still live on today.

Monday, April 23, 2018

RAMBLINGS.....FILM PRESERVATION

In just a few days I will start reviewing 12 of the 14 Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. There were 14 films, but I have already reviewed "Hound Of The Baskervilles" and "Pursuit To Algiers".

The truth of the matter is that if it wasn't for UCLA Film Archives and Hugh Hefner some of these films might not exist at all anymore. The first two films in the series, "Hound" and "Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes" have been well taken care of as they were produced by 20th Century Fox and they take care of a lot of their product.

Universal bought the rights to make Holmes films and they made 12 of them. Over the years they were not taken care of and several fell into the public domain. In 1993 a massive restoration was started on these films and it was discovered that some of them had missing reels, snippets of film were missing and some had vinegar syndrome setting in. A sad tale indeed.

These 12 have been restored and thank god for that, which brings me to what I wanted to briefly talk about. Film Preservation is a hot topic with me as film is a part of who I am. There are literally thousands of movies out there that are beyond any kind of repair and many more are being saved by people who work silently behind the scenes.

Three particular genre films come to mind that have been restored and saved. They are "Manos The Hands Of Fate", "Monstrosity" and "Night Of The Living Dead". These are but a small example, but people have cared enough to make this happen so these little films can be enjoyed by everyone for many years in the future.

I find it shocking that this is even allowed to happen. Film, since the very first movie back in the late 1800's is a reflection of our American culture and way of life. Also, making ANY film is a lot of hard work and even if the movie stinks it does not deserve to be lost forever. The UCLA Film Archive, Museum Of Modern Art, George Lucas Family, Hugh Hefner are just some of the names involved in preserving our movie past.

It's always been sad for me to see film not taken care of and I have seen this with my own work. I made several films back in the late 70's early 80's and the film prints have deteriorated and thanks to so much moving and divorce and other things I lost the original negatives. I hurriedly transferred them to DVD for some kind of preservation, but it is all that is left of those films now and I never show them to the public.

We all live in a great time when movies can be saved, but it is time consuming and expensive. I hope it can continue as I feel we need to preserve our film heritage.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Lee Majors is 79.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

THE BLACK SCORPION 1957 (WARNER ARCHIVE) BLU-RAY

A great upgrade from the old Warner DVD and taken from a much better source.

50's sci-fi has always been and will always be my favorite kind of movie. This is an excellent example of that genre.

Volcanic eruptions in Mexico opens up the ground and out come giant scorpions that ravage the countryside. Richard Denning stars as Hank Scott, an American geologist trying to help Mexico recover along with his friend Artur Ramos (Carlos Rivas).

Hank meets and falls for Teresa Alvarez (gorgeous Mara Corday) who owns a large ranch and whose workers have fled in fear of what they call the "demon bull". The film starts off with the discoveries of people who have been mysteriously killed and builds to a crescendo when Scott and Ramos explore a huge cave full of giant scorpions, spiders and worm like creatures.

The scenes of the scorpions swarming over a wrecked train for victims is unforgettable and extremely well done by effects master Willis O' Brien and his partner Pete Peterson.

The final climactic battle between the army and the last giant scorpion in the Mexico City Arena is something many people have studied for years and still marvel at the perfection..

This Blu-ray from Warner Archive is simply beautiful and right away you can tell is was sourced from better material. I cannot recommend this enough for all giant monster movie fans.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Jack Nicholson is 81, Catherine Mary Stewart is 59, Mark Damon is 85, and Peter Frampton is 68.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL 1952 (TCM VIEWING)

An all around classic film.

Vincente Minnelli directed this classic starring Kirk Douglas as an unscrupulous movie producer named Jonathan Shields who has big ambitions and will let absolutely nothing stop him.

The film is told in three separate, yet interconnected flashbacks about how Jonathan used a star named Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), a writer named James Bartlow (Dick Powell) and a director named Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) to make himself a very powerful man.

The film opens as the above mentioned three people are gathered in the office of a movie studio producer named Harry Pebble (Walter Pidgeon) as they await a phone call from Shields. This is where the tales are related. We discover that Shields has ruined many lives in his pursuit of fame.

The film won 5 Oscars and it's easy to see why. Everything in this film works perfectly. All of the actors turn in excellent performances and of course Lana Turner is a sexy as hell knockout. There are parts of the film that are disturbing, such as the death of Rosemary (Gloria Ghahame) who was Bartlow's wife and then the film has a very humorous scene when Shields and Fred Amiel are stuck looking for costumes for a low budget horror film called "The Cat Man" or something like that. The look on both men's faces when they see the costumes is hilarious.

The supporting cast of this film is filled with people you all know including Leo G. Carroll, Paul Stewart, Gilbert Roland, Vanessa Brown, Sammy White, Ivan Triesault and the unforgettable Elaine Stewart.

Gloria Ghahame took home as Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and it is a well deserved one. One of the best American films ever made. SEE IT!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Dee Hartford is 90, and Ed Leslie is 61.

Friday, April 20, 2018

THE NEST 1987 (SHOUT FACTORY) BLU-RAY

One hell of a horror film.

I hadn't seen this for a long time, and had forgotten what a thrill ride this movie is. A biological experiment with cockroaches has gone horribly wrong and the inhabitants of a small coastal island must now deal with the terror.

Robert Lansing stars as Elias Johnson, the Mayor of a small coastal island who is trying to get more tourists to his island and as a result hires a tech firm to come in and run some experiments on the island. One of them being creating a cockroach that would eat other roaches and the die.

However, this plan goes totally awry and thew roaches mutate in another direction. Enter Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas) who comes to the island to stop the roaches, but instead is thrilled that they are mutating and becoming flesh eating monsters.

In all of the thousands of movies I have seen, never have I seen a more cold blooded female than Treas pulls off in her character of Hubbard. She does one hell of a job and I don't think people talk about her enough.

The gruesome killings in this film are unsettling and well done and you won't soon forget them. The final confrontation between humans and the incredible mutated queen roach is something I have never forgotten. I hate roaches anyway and this kind of a film really has an effect on me.

The Blu-ray looks very good and this film is a very good representation of late 80's horror. Produced by Julie Corman and released thru Roger Corman's Concorde, I can't recommend this enough.

The rest of the cast includes Franc Luz as Sheriff Tarbell, Lisa Langlois as Elizabeth the Sheriff's girlfriend and Mayor's daughter, Stephen Davies, and Heidi Helmer.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Clint Howard is 59, Carmen Electra is 46, Judith O' Dea is 73, and Olga Karlatos is 73.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

JAYNE MANSFIELD

Today would be Jayne's 85th birthday.

She was taken from us on June 29th, 1967 in a tragic car accident, but what a wonderful short legacy she has left fantastic film lovers.

I have seen most of her films many, many times including such gems as "Female Trouble", "Dog Eat Dog", the all time classic "Girl Can't Help It", "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter", "Promises Promises" and "Too Hot To Handle".

Jayne may have died many years ago, but she has done what very few will ever do, and that is leave a lasting film and entertainment legacy that will simply not go away....Thank God.