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Sunday, April 26, 2015

SHORT TAKES.....

I watched a couple of horror films the other day that deal with aircraft. Both have been discussed here before.

HORROR AT 37,000 FEET 1973 (PARAMOUNT) An all star cast headlines this great made for TV horror film. The premise is about an ancient druid curse that comes to fruition during the flight that is transporting part of an ancient monastery.

Roy Thinnes is the man who is bringing this old relic to America. Soon the terror starts as the plane is suddenly stopped in midair and the evil spirit starts to freeze the inside of the plane.

The 10 passengers start acting like idiots and demand a sacrifice. The evil is beginning to control them as well. This is a slick an well made film, that when it first aired scared the crap outta me. it has a lot of great scares an the cast also features Buddy Ebson, Chuck Conners, Paul Winfield, William Shatner, and France Nuyen. See it and find out how TV used to be entertaining.

GOKE THE BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL 1968 (CRITERION) I was first introduced to this film on a rare VHS from a company called DeGregory Video back in the 80's. It has always remained elusive, but since Criterion brought it out we can all enjoy it.

A Japanese airliner encounters a blood red sky, birds crashing into it and a would be bomber, and an alien spacecraft before finally crashing in a remote area. The survivors are a pretty unsavory bunch including a crooked politician, his wife, an arms dealer who is happy for the current Vietnam War. Also on board is a lovely American woman who hates war and is on the way the claim her dead husbands body.

A hijacker is taken over in a very grisly way by the invaders. His head is split open and a strange silver substance enters into his body. He then stalks the rest of the cast and drains them of their blood. The survivors fight amongst themselves and endanger everyone as the alien closes in.

Finally only the a pilot and a stewardess are alive and they think they have killed the alien. The escape only to find all of Japan infested with the monsters. The earth is doomed.

This is one of four horror films turned out by a small Japanese film company called Shochiku. It's really a remarkable piece of work that all sci-fi fans should see.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

THE SET UP 1949 (WARNER)

A classic film noir.

Robert Ryan stars as a washed up boxer who has a last chance to make something of himself in the ring. His wife, played by Audrey Totter is tired of him fighting and she wants him to quit.

His manager has secretly made a deal with a gangster to have the fight thrown in the third round. Ryan has no idea this has been done, actually wins the fight. That's when the gangsters move in and beat the hell out of him.

Director Robert Wise filmed this is real time, and it is the only movie of it's kind like that. The entire movie takes place in Ryan's hotel room and in the boxing ring, then a few shots are one outside of the arena as well. it is a very dark and moody film, and Wise knows how to direct and gets the best out of a top notch cast.

the film is a noir classic that shouldn't be missed. The rest of the cast consists of George Tobias, Wallace Ford, Percy Hilton and Phillip Pine.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Gina Torres is 46.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

SHORT TAKES.....

Watched a couple of films the other day and, again, they have been talked about here before, but deserve another look.

THE CYCLOPS 1957 (WARNER ARCHIVE) Gloria Talbott stars in this thriller directed by Bert I Gordon. She and her party of three other men set out to find her long lost fiancee who has been missing in the mountains of Mexico for three years.

The party are told they cannot fly into the mountains by the Mexican police, but they do anyway and find nothing but trouble. Lon Chaney, Jr. is Marty, a greedy man who wants to find uranium, Tom Drake is the pilot and James Craig is the scientist who loves Talbotts' character.

The man they are looking for is found soon enough. It seems the uranium in the mountains has changed him into a mutated 25 foot giant. The mutated monster captures the small folks and kills Marty. The others must escape or die.

Some of the effects in this film don't work too well, but that is expected in any Gordon production as the money was very limited. If you like mindless 50's monster movies like I do, then this film will work for you.

DRACULA AD 1972...1972 (WARNER) Christopher Lee is back in a modernized Hammer classic about the Count being brought back to life via black magic in 1972.

Sexy Stephanie Beacham and her friends including Caroline Munro (who is simply stunning) are menaced by the revived Count and his helper Johnny Alucard, played by Christopher Neame. Peter Cushing is Van Helsing who must save his granddaughter (Beacham) from the blood sucker clutches.

This is a very well made film directed by Alan Gibson. Lee and Cushing are excellent as usual. The women are all beautiful and we even get to hear The Stone ground sing "Alligator Man". What more could you ask for?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Lee Majors is 76, and Valerie Bertinelli is 55.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

COMMON LAW WIFE 1963 (SINISTER CINEMA)

Oh my, another made in Texas classic.

Eric Sayers is credited as the director of this exploitation gem, but some sources claim Larry Buchanan also directed.

Shugfoot Rainey is a wealthy old man who attempts to throw out his current live in lover, Linda so he can have his niece, a sexy young woman who has come back from New Orleans after making a living as a stripper, can move in.

She goes by the name Baby Doll and creates nothing but problems for everyone. Shug tries to make peace between the two women, but that doesn't work out well. The ending to this film is somewhat shocking and very unexpected, an that is the reason to view this film.

Annabelle Weenick is Linda, Lacey Kelly is Baby Doll. Both of these women easily carry the movie. God, I love films made in the great state of Texas. Recommended!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Jack Nicholson is 78, Catherine Mary Stewart is 56, and Mark Damon is 82.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SHORT TAKES....

Two more films I recently watched as a double feature.

INVASION OF THE ASTRO MONSTER 1970 (CLASSIC MEDIA) AKA Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero. Nick Adams and the luscious Kumi Mizuno star in this classic monster bash. Aliens trick the earth into "lending" them Godzilla and Rodan in order to fight "Monster Zero" who is Ghidrah.

What the aliens really want is Earth to be a slave colony, and they unleash all three monsters upon the earth. This is one of the best Godzilla films of the period. Constant action and lots of monster fights and destruction. Mizuno is gorgeous as an alien woman who actually falls in love with an earthman, and it is her information that she secretly gives to Addams that saves the entire world.

Good Saturday afternoon fun.

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE 1960 (DVD-R) This is a rare film that sadly has been neglected. Ron Randall stars as a man who was set up by others for a murder he didn't commit. He escapes and is caught in a test area with an atom bomb. It goes off and he finds he has a body slowly turning to steel.

He seeks to get revenge on those that set him up and he does so one by one. The police are looking for him and his trail leads to his former girlfriend played by the very sexy Debra Paget, who never looked better than in this film in my opinion.

Morris Ankrum and Greg Palmer are the two policemen on the case. This is somewhat of a remake of the 1956 film "Indestructible Man". It has been sadly overlooked and that is a shame. I keep hoping this will turn up on DVD or Blu-ray, but there is little hope of that.

Anyway, I highly recommend this overlooked classic, if you can find it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

COMING ATTRACTIONS.....

A great group of films coming to Blu-ray and DVD.

Kino is making July a great month with several releases including "Crimson Cult", "Deranged", "Madhouse" with Vincent Price, "Black Sabbath", "House of 1000 Dolls" also with Price and finally "Truck Turner" with Isaac Hayes!!

These all promise to be great releases> I am especially waiting for "Truck Turner" and "House Of 1000 Dolls".

Shout Factory has announced that in August they will be releasing the 1979 classic "The Legacy" starring Katherine Ross and Sam Elliot. This is a long awaited film for me and Shout will be giving it to us in Blu-ray!! No date available yet.

HAPPY 43RD BIRTHDAY TO CARMEN ELECTRA

The actress/model is 43 today.

Still one of the most beautiful women in the world in my opinion anyway.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

SHORT TAKES....

Watched a couple of gems the other day an they have been written on here before, but deserve a second look.

MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN 1960 (SINISTER CINEMA) This is an excellent example of Euro horror. Based on a story in "Flemish Tales", this one really packs a wallop. A young man is drawn to a mysterious windmill where a reclusive doctor lives with his lovely daughter and a lot of bizarre wax figures.

It seems the daughter is dying and the mad doctor kidnaps women an uses them to keep her alive. He then uses them as his wax figures to be put on display to make money to finance his experiments. The deep rich colors are really something to see, an the cast really plays it out well.

The film works on many levels and should be seen by any horror fan. The print from Sinister is beautiful.

VOODOO ISLAND 1957 (MGM) Boris Karloff stars as a TV host whose job it is to expose superstition and voodoo as a hoax. He travels to a mysterious island that a big business man wants to build a hotel on. One of the six passengers on the flight to the island is under a voodoo spell and strange things happen on the flight as well as when they arrive on the island.

The group discovers man eating plants an strange voodoo rites. I first saw this when I was sick an home from school on KSTW TV in Seattle. I have always love this film an always will despite what others say. The rest of the cast includes Elisha Cook, Jr, Rhodes Reason, Beverly Tyler, Murvyn Vey, Jean Engstrom an a very young Adam West.

Director Reginald LeBorg does a good job with some pretty creepy scenes and a great music score. Recommended!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Hugh O' Brian is 90.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

MALATESTA'S CARNIVAL OF BLOOD 1973 (WINDMILL)

If ever there was an odd movie this is it.

A very rare film indeed. It is a very surreal trip into horror that just seems to start. The actions of most of the characters is never explained beyond a simple point.

This bizarre carnival is full of cannibalistic ghouls who love to eat and watch silent movies on the cinema screen, a strange bloodsucking vampire named Blood, a demented dwarf named Bobo (Herve De Villechaize), and of course it's all overseen by the mysterious Malatesta.

Director Chris Speeth really knows how to bring out the oddness of his actors because it shows in every frame. If you are into very surreal films, then this is for you. It's not a bad film by any means, I love it, but it is not for everyone.

I am very glad American Zoetrope helped with getting this long lost gem out to the public once again. Recommended.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Melissa Joan Hart is 39, Eric Roberts is 59, Hayley Mills is 69, Melody Thomas Scott is 59, and Barbara Hale is 93.