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Saturday, May 27, 2017

REMEMBERING CHRISTOPHER LEE

Christopher Lee was born on May 27th 1927 in London.

Lee has a career spanning almost 70 years and that is an incredible run.

I was first introduced to Lee in "Horror Of Dracula" and then countless other Hammer horror films throughout my childhood. As with Peter Cushing, a good friend whom he was teamed in many films, I discovered Lee's pre-Hammer works after VHS became so popular.

His deep voice and 6' 5" frame made his a perfect movie villain, and he essayed the role of Count Dracula 7 times. Lee's career in cinema is unmatched by anyone.

Some of my favorite films he appeared in include "Horror Of Dracula", "The Devil Rides Out", "Dr. Terror's House Of Horrors", "Curse Of Frankenstein", "Man Who Could Cheat Death", "Man With The Golden Gun", "Hannie Caulder" and "Dracula A.D. 1972".

Lee died at the age of 93 on June 7th, 2015, just 10 days after his 93rd birthday. He left us with a very rich legacy of films that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Lee Meriwether is 82, Linnea Quigley is 59, and Natalie Neidhart is 35.

Friday, May 26, 2017

REMEMBERING PETER CUSHING...

Peter Cushing was born on May 26th, 1913 and became one of the worlds most popular actors.

I grew up watching Cushing in many Hammer Horror films which were a HUGE influence on me as a child. As a matter of fact Cushing was the first "Baron Frankenstein" I had ever seen in film.

His heroic Van Helsing in "Horror Of Dracula" was also a first for me. Only after these films did I get to see the original "Frankenstein" and "Dracula", but the character Cushing created has stuck with me all my life.

In later years as VHS became the new home entertainment boom, I discovered Cushing in many, many different roles and I have never seen one I didn't enjoy.

Cushing was also a rare actor in that he was a faithful family man who loved his wife and when she passed away he changed a bit as a big part of his life was gone. That is rare, especially among the "actors" today whom mostly sleep around.

People who read this blog will know Cushing's resume as far as films go and everyone has their favorites. My favorites of his long a distinguished career include "Horror Of Dracula", "Island Of Terror", "Asylum", "The Mummy", and "Dr. Terror's House Of Horrors".

Sadly Cushing passed away on Aug. 11th, 1994 at the age of 81 from prostate cancer. On that day the world lost a true acting legend and a damn nice guy to boot. However, his lasting film legacy just proves that Peter Cushing was simply one of the greatest performers in the world.

WAR OF THE ROBOTS 1978 (MILL CREEK)

Director Al Bradley strikes again.

Meliaas Longo, Yanti Somer and Giacomo Rossi Stuart headline the cast in this bizarre tale about alien invaders.

An alien race that is facing extinction kidnaps two Earth scientists to help the race develop genetically. Earth is forced to take action against the humanoid robots.

This film has the same cast as "Star Odyssey" as well as the same costumes and some of the same effects shots. If you watch the two films together it's hard to tell them apart.

Director Al Bradley is also known as Alfonso Brescia and his final film in this trilogy is "Cosmos: War Of The Planet" which again looks exactly like this film.

The Italians really tried to rip off Star Wars, but the budgets on these films are so pathetic that they don't even come close. What does happen though is a very bizarre drug induced trip into space with colorful costumes, laser light shows and sometime stilted dubbed dialogue.

If you like this kind of thing then I can recommend this no problem.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Pam Grier is 68, Stevie Nicks is 69, Ashley Massaro is 38, and Ingrid Goude is 80.

RIP JARED MARTIN 1941-2017

The actor most remembered as Dusty Farlow on Dallas has passed away.

Martin was also in The War Of The Worlds mini series as well as Silk Stalkings and appearances on shows such as The New Mike Hammer and many more.

His movie roles included Aenigma, The Sea Serpent and Mississippi Summer. I am sure genre fans will remember him from roles in such show as Night Gallery and is starring role in the 1970's TV series Fantastic Journey.

He was 75.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

PLANET OUTLAWS 1953 (MILL CREEK)

This is the 1939 serial Buck Rogers edited into feature form for a release in the early 50's.

Buster Crabbe stars as Rogers who is an American soldier who crashes his ship and wakes up from suspended animation in the year 2500.

Here he finds an incredible world, but one still besieged by trouble. Rogers and his co-pilot Buddy who also was in suspended animation find themselves fighting an evil ruler named Killer Kane (Anthony Warde) who wants to rule the universe.

To edit a serial into a feature requires a lot of footage lost and what we have here is almost non-stop action and very little explanation. Perhaps that is a good thing. For being re-released in 1953 I do have to admit that even by 1953 this serial was dated and looks rather out of place.

Don't misunderstand, I love the 30's serials as they have a charm all their own, but I guess I don't understand the reasoning behind this re-release. It's fun to watch, and Buck Rogers is a favorite of mine, but I think I would prefer the entire chapter play as opposed to the re-edit feature.

The rest of the cast includes Constance Moore as Wilma Deering, Jackie Moran as Buddy, Philson Ahn, Kenne Duncan, and Reed Howes. I can recommend this is you're a serial fan. I know I am.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Leslie Uggams is 74, Ann Robinson is 88, and Reiko Ike is 64.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

RIP DINA MERRILL 1923-2017

A very talented actress has passed away.

Merrill is best remembered by genre fans for her performance in "Batman" as Calamity Jane in 1968 in three episodes.

She appeared in hundreds of TV shows over her long career and some of those shows included "Ellery Queen", "Batman", "Mission Impossible", "Night Gallery" and many more.

She passed away at the age of 93 on May 22nd.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Sybil Danning is 65.

RIP ROGER MOORE 1927-2017

My favorite James Bond actor is dead.

Roger Moore was James Bond to me and much better than anyone who ever played the character.

I was first introduced to Roger Moore thru his television series "The Saint" on TV back in the mid 70's and I liked his suave and sophisticated approach to the material and the title character.

Later I saw him in "The Spy Who Loved Me" which turned into my favorite James Bond film. All of the other Bond films he did were great in my opinion, but that one took the cake.

He made many TV appearances and everyone he did with class and style. He was born in Stockwell, England in 1927. He died in Switzerland on May 23, 2017.

RIP 007.

Monday, May 22, 2017

WARRIORS OF THE WASTELAND 1983 (MILL CREEK)

Strange but interesting Italian Road Warrior ripoff.

Giancarlo Prete is Scorpion, a loner who comes upon a woman being chased by a group of crazies known as The Templars. He rescues her and soon teams up with another loner named Nadir.

Both men find themselves defending a small colony of people from the Templars. It seems the Templar leader wants to wipe out all that is left of the human race. George Eastman handles this role excellently.

In case you haven't guessed this movie takes place in the future, in the year 2019 and if this is what we have to look forward to in a couple of years we are in trouble.

Fred Williamson turns in a good performance as Nadir the man who fights with Scorpion and very often has to rescue him for bad situations. The dubbing is awful, as is usually the case. There is plenty of action for fans of this genre.

Anna Kanakis as Alma is a standout and she will catch your eyes every time she appears on the screen. All in all not too bad of an action film. It could have been so much more, but then again, would we really want ti to be "much more"?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Barbara Parkins is 75, Richard Benjamin is 79, Marilyn Joi is 72, and Ashley Renee is 53.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

STAR ODYSSEY 1979 (MILL CREEK)

One of many Italian "Star Wars" ripoffs.

The plot is pretty simple. Earth is attacked by an intergalactic madman and his robot army.

The robots wear silver uniforms and have the same bad blonde wigs on. The alien is on a quest to gather up slave stock for his planet.

One scene shows the aliens getting their slaves from Africa and i know this makes people a little bit nervous. But later it is said that people from other countries are being grabbed for slaves as well, so I guess that makes it better.

One thing I noticed is that in the opening credits the cast is presented in alphabetical order, which isn't true, but hey, I'm nitpicking.

the movie is full of bizarre costumes and gorgeous babes, so what more could you ask for? The print from Mill Creek is ok, but I do wish it was wide screen.

Director Alfonso Brescia, known as Al Bradley here in the states made three films which use the same costumes, effects and cast. Turn off your brain and enjoy this Italian trash.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

ALIEN SPECIES 1996 (MILL CREEK)

Low budget, but entertaining B movie.

Charles Napier stars as Sheriff Nate Culver in this off the wall film about an alien invasion.

Two sheriff deputies are transporting two prisoners to another jail when they happen upon three people stranded on the road side. The three are Prof. Chambers (Hoke Howell), his granddaughter and another young woman.

At the same time aliens have begun an invasion of Earth and while they are destroying everything in sight and taking human and animal specimens aboard their ships the seven people in the police van have an accident and must find shelter in a rain storm.

Unknown to them, the cave they find is being used by the aliens as a headquarters. The monster costumes are very good and the alien spaceships are done strictly by computer and therefore lack a lot, but what can you do with a super low budget?

Napier and Howell turn in the best performances, of course as both are vets at this kind of stuff.

The people vs. monsters in a cave scenes are well done and it appears that is where most of the money went. This is included on many 50 pack movie collections from Mill Creek, and if you get a chance, check it out. It's really no better or worse than anything else turned out in this time period.