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Sunday, November 23, 2014

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON 1954 (UNIVERSAL)

The Creature turns 60 this year!

It's hard to believe this classic thriller is 60 years old. It doesn't show it's age at all. Richard Carlson and Richard Denning lea an expedition to the Amazon in order to find the remaining fossil parts of a long dead "man fish". What they find is a living specimen that is staling them.

Harry Essex wrote the fantastic screenplay and Jack Arnold directed. The acting is perfect and the monster is never forgotten. As a matter of fact it is one of the most iconic in cinema history.

Julie Adams went down in history as one of the sexiest leading ladies ever in her role as Kate, the woman on the expedition that the creature lusts after. This was followed by two sequels, which are good as well, but this is the best. For 60 years the creature has entertained all of us monster movie fans and will hopefully continue to do so for many, many years.

The rest of the cast includes Whit Bissell, Nestor Paiva and Antonio Moreno.

RAMBLINGS.....

Well, we are now into the Holiday season and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means that reviews of my two faves for this time of year will be appearing as they always do on turkey day, and they are "Blood Freak" and "The Giant Claw".

Also coming up starting Sat. Dec. 6th I will be starting my top 50 countdown for the year 2014.

Coming soon are a lot of very cool titles..

Dec. 16th Film Chest is releasing a Digitally Restored version of "Don't Look In The Basement" which is one of the best 70's horror films I have seen.

Feb 10th, 2015 sees the release of Lucio's Fulci's "The Beyond" in a three disc Blu-ray set from Grindhouse Releasing. There are a ton of surprises connected with this release, and it is something all Fulci fans will have to have.

Feb 24th will see the release on Blu-ray of "God Told Me To" from Blue Underground. This disturbing film was directed by Larry Cohen and it will be great to see this in a Blu-ray version.

And finally, here where I live on Dec. 4th a theater here will be running the original 1959 "Santa Clause" from Mexico that K. Gordon Murray brought to the US and made tons of money on. This is something I can't wait to see.

THE MUMMY'S SHROUD 1967 (ANCHOR BAY)

Not too bad of a Hammer thriller.

This was the final Hammer film that was shot at Bray Studios which ended a 16 year association.

In the 1920's an expedition finds the tomb of a child prince and bring it back to London, or should I say they attempt to. Before they can leave Egypt they discover that a mummy is killing members of the party one by one. It seems that by reading the words on the burial shroud, a mummy who protects the child prince come to life and kills the desecraters.

watching the Mummy open it's long dead eyes with the dirt falling off of the eyelids is a classic scene, and the mummy is a scary looking thing that kills in many ghastly ways.

Andre Morell is the leader of the expedition who dies first, and the rest of the cast is top notch as well and includes John Phillips, David Buck, Michael Ripper, Elizabeth Sellars, Maggie Kimberly and Dickie Own as the Mummy named Prem.

This is a fun film an very good for cold Saturday morning viewings. Recommended!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Franco Nero is 73, Robert Towne is 80, Tom Neyman is 79 and on this day in 1887 Boris Karloff was born.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

MESSIAH OF EVIL 1973 (MILL CREEK)

Another revisit. This film is actually a perfect example of how to make a good horror film.

A young woman goes to a seaside town to look for her missing artist father and finds the town to be very peculiar. Her father is no where to be seen, but she does find notes in his home.

Marianna Hill is the beautiful woman caught in a web of terror in a town inhabited by people who are staring up at the sky and slowly turning into flesh eating ghouls.

There are a lot of haunting images in this well made thriller. Hill finds several other people including Michael Greer and his two female companions played by Joy Bang and the incredibly gorgeous Anitra Ford. The nightmare images I just mentioned include one where Ford walks into a grocery store and sees a group of people eating the raw meat, they see her and begin to chase he and she finds she cannot escape the store.

The other scene I will never forget involves Joy bang as she enters a theater with only three other people. As she watches the movie the theater slowly fills up with pasty faced ghouls. Slowly she notices this, but it is too late and she cannot escape. These above mentioned two scenes are guaranteed to scare the crap out of you.

There are many other shocking things in this movie and I cannot recommend it enough. A prime example of how to do horror the right way. The rest of the cast includes Royal Dano, Elisha Cook, Jr., Charles Dierkop and Bennie Robinson as an albino trucker you'll never forget.

ABGRY RED PLANET 1959 (TIMELESS)

Revisiting an cool 50's sci-fi film.

Ib Melchior directed this nifty sci-fi film about an expedition to the Red Planet which ends in isaster for all involved.

Gerald Mohr, Les Tremayne, Jack Kruschen and Nora Hayden are the four people sent to investigate and explore Mars. Once they land they find the martian landscape very odd looking and hostile.

They fight living plants, a huge bat-rat-spider monster and are spied upon by a bizarre looking three eyed Martian who is watching their every move. When they find a city across a lake and make an attempt to reach it they are attacked by an enormous amoeba that eats one of the crew members.

Nora and Gerald survive the trip and when they get back to earth they find a tape on the ship with a recorded warning from Mars telling them never to return.

I like this film a lot. The "Cinemagic" effects that make Mars look odd are pretty cool, and the monsters are very good, at least I think so.. If you haven't seen this I recommend you do so.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Scarlett Johansson is 30, Jamie Lee Curtis is 56, Robert Vaughn is 82, and Margaret Markov is 66.

Friday, November 21, 2014

SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM 1973 (MGM)

Sequel to the classic "Blacula",

This sequel isn't as good as the original, but it is good in it's own right.

William Marshall is back as Blacula, the cursed African prince who is brought back from the dead this time by a young man during voodoo rites. Blacula immediately feeds off of him and makes him a vampire slave.

Pam Grier is Lisa Fortier, a young woman who practices voodoo and might actually be able to help Mamuwalde stop his vampire tendencies. Meanwhile the vampire count grows in the house where the prince resides. Soon it is full of the walking dead ghouls.

The attempts to make Mamuwalde human again fails and all hell breaks loose until Lisa uses a voodoo doll to bring the vampire's reign of terror to an end. This isn't too bad of a film, but no way comes near the original. The cast is very good and also includes Don Mitchell, Michael Conrad, Lynne Moody and Barbara Rhodes.

This is coming to Blu-ray soon.

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF TIME 1967 (BRENTWOOD)

Low budget, but good remake of "The Time Travelers".

Scott Brady plays Stanton, a very gruff and hard nosed business man who has taken over his late father's business and now is cutting all expenses for everyone. This includes a time travel experiment. Before he decides to take all of their cash away Stanton wants to see the project actually work.

This causes the team to over due things and they are hurtled thru a time warp. They first travel to the far future where a race of aliens are fighting for survival during the final days of an all out nuclear war on earth, then they are flung into a prehistoric world where Dr. Gordon (Abraham Sofaer)falls into a volcanic pit and dies.

The trip gets even more bizarre when Stanton is killed when he actually crashes into another duplicate time travel device going the opposite way in time!! The last two remaining members of the team, Kate White and Mark Manning, played by Gigi Perreau and Anthony Eisley respectively, manage to get back to the present day, but then they find they have arrived a few seconds off and everyone appears to be standing still, including duplicates of themselves.

This in my opinion is a fun film. I first saw this on TV in the 80's on CBN and never forgot it, and I was glad to see someone put it out on DVD, but I hope it gets a Blu-ray treatment someday. It makes great watching on an early Saturday morning.

David Hewitt directed and wrote the screenplay. Recommended!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

THE BLOODY VAMPIRE 1962 (MILL CREEK)

Interesting Mexican horror film.

This movie centers around Count Frankenhausen, a vampire who is attempting to destroy everyone around him and take over the world. It also looks like his arch enemy Count Cagliostro has developed a way to destroy vampirism forever.

The two families have been at each other for man, many years. That sets up the film, but before you can say "VIVA", Cagliostro disappears until the end of the film and we focus on the efforts of the evil Count to claim a young woman as a new bride.

The opening of the film has a very haunting and well done vision of a coach driving in slow motion in the fog with a skeleton driving it. Three people watching say that they cannot hear the sound of the horses while it passes. This is very well done and effective.

The Count also turns into a huge bat that at first sight is almost unbelievable and a little scary. I have never seen a bat so big as this one, and it is highlighted a lot in the climax.

Needless to say this is a fun film and it does have some great imagery. And Frankenshausen actually survives to fight another day! This was followe by the much better "Invasion Of The Vampires".

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Mia Hama is 71.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

THE HIRED GUN 1957 (DVD-R)

Good little B western

Anne Francis stars as a woman accused of killing her husband. Jud Farrow breaks her out of prison and takes her to the safety of her uncle's New Mexico ranch.

A bounty hunter named Gil McCord is hired to bring her back for hanging. He goes undercover and gets a job at the same ranch and waits for the time to bring Ellen Beldon (Francis) back for her justice.

Rory Calhoun oes an excellent job as Gil, the bounty hunter who is somewhat sympathetic towards Ellen. He takes he back for hanging andd along the way he begins to suspect someone else killed her husband.

The Lone Pine locations add a lot to the film, and it has a lot crammed into it's 63 minute running time. The rest of the cast includes Vince Edwards, Chuck Conners, John Litel and Robert Burton.

A rare little western. If you get a chance see it.

CASE AGAINST BROOKLYN 1958 (WARNER ARCHIVE)

Another tight little film noir.

Darren McGavin stars as a rookie cop who is hired by the District Attorney to go undercover and get information on the mob that a reporter claims in running the entire city.

Brian Hutton plays McGavins partner, Jess, who has a bad case of nerves and gets himself killed by another cop who is himself on the take. After this, McGavins' character gets angry to the point where he himself swears vengeance on the mob. He goes out on his own and this causes his wife to be killed by a boobie trapped phone meant for him.

The ending is very downbeat, as is usual in this kind of film. All of the actors do a great job, and you really get caught up in the story. This film doesn't get too much exposure which is sad because it is a standout of the genre.

The rest of the cast includes Margaret Hayes, Warren Stevens, Peggy McCay, Tol Avery and Nestor Paiva.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Alan Young is 95.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

THE BIG COMBO 1955 (OLIVE)

Revisiting one of my all time favorite movies.

One of my all time favorite films is finally on Blu-ray from Olive!! The Big Combo is a top notch film noir directed by Joseph Lewis. Cornell Wilde is Detective Diamond, a man who is obsessed with arresting a top gangster named Mr. Brown who seems to have half of the city on his payroll.

Brown is played to the hilt by Richard Conte and I consider it to be one of his best acting jobs ever. Brown's woman, played by Jean Wallace wants out but has no real way of leaving him. Diamond is in love with her as well and wants to get her out, but is foiled at every attempt.

Brown's right hand man is played by Brian Donlevy who tries to overtake Brown and is killed in a very effective scene involving a hearing aid and total silence. It is one of the best scenes in any film noir. Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman are two very loyal hitmen who work for Brown, an they find loyalty is never rewarded long.

I cannot say enough goo things about this film. it has an excellent script, tight direction, top of the line actors and photography by John Alton an a rousing score by David Raskin. There hasn't been a film made in the last 20 years or more that can stand up to this cinema classic. The Blu-ray looks fantastic and no deserves better than The Big Combo. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!