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Thursday, November 27, 2014

HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!! THE GIANT CLAW 1957 (SONY) BLOOD FREAK 1972 (SOMETHING WEIRD)

What would Thanksgiving be without these two classic films???

The Giant Claw...Jeff Morrow stars with lovely Mara Corday in a tale about a "bird as big as a battleship" that is flying around and causing havoc. Turns out this is a giant buzzard that has come from an anti-matter galaxy to lay an egg on Earth..funny..sounds like Obama..oops I forgot...no politics.

Anyway the "bird as big as a battleship" causes general havoc by stopping all transportation on ground and in the air. The buzzard is the craziest looking thing you will ever see in a 50's sci-fi film. Also on hand are Morris Ankrum, Edgar Barrier, and Robert Shayne.

This is perfect for Thanksgiving, for as you watch it you can also eat it, if you know what I mean. Check it out and see if I'm right.



Blood Freak 1972.....Another great turkey day extravaganza!! Steve Hawks stars as a man who is given a drug then eats a tainted turkey and turns into a turkey headed monster that gobbles and has to drink the blood of drug addicts to live!! This is actually the only pro Jesus, anti drug gore movie on record.

There are scenes in this film that defy description. One scene has a man get his leg cut off and then screams for a full minute before dying. Another has the beautiful female lead seduced by our turkey headed hero and as they have sex she says..."I wonder what our children will be like."

If you have yet to see this gem I think it's about time you did. This shot in Florida classic never fails to entertain on turkey day, or any other day. recommended!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER 1960 (TIMELESS)

I have written about this little film before, but I love it so much I figured I revisit it.

Robert Clarke stars as a test pilot who, while testing a new jet, breaks the time barrier and ends up in 2024, where the population has been reduced to a small group of sterile people and a small group of mutants.

He falls in love with the daughter of the leader and they see him as the only hope to keep their race alive. In the meantime Clarke wants to try and see if he can return to his own time. After much struggle he manages to escape and actually get back to Texas of 1960, but there is a neat twist at the end.

This has been available for years thru Sinister Cinema, and their copy is very nice, but Timeless and Shout Factory turned this out on a set with three other wonderful films and the quality is top of the line.

I have always liked this film and that may be because it looks like very few films do. I mean the interiors are all very odd and triangular. This was filmed by director Edgar Ulmer at the Texas State Fair. Yes, it is low budget, but again, this is a fun film and one that I will always hold dear.

The rest of the cast includes Arianne Ulmer, Vladimir Sokoloff, Darlene Tompkins, John Van Dreelan, Neil Fletcher, Ken Knox and Boyd Morgan.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

THE SPIDER WOMAN 1944 (MPI)

One of the best of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are again Holmes and Watson respectively in this very good entry in the series from Universal.

A bizarre string of "Pajama Murders" is gripping London and Holmes fakes his own death to bring the killer out into the open. It turns out that a woman is using spiders to drive her victims to suicide.

The scene where one is planted in Holmes bedroom is creepy and very well done. It is the one scene I will never forget. Gale Sondergaard is the Spider Woman and she does an excellent job of it. She would go on to reprise this role two years later in an unrelated film.

The climax has Holmes tied to a Hitler replica in a shooting gallery. Good fun from Universal. The rest of the cast includes Dennis Hoey, Gene Roth and Mary Gordon.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Christina Applegate is 43, Kathryn Grant is 81, and Noel Neill is 94.

Monday, November 24, 2014

THE KILLERS 1946 (CRITERION)

A few days ago I reviewed the remake of this from 1964.

Two hired killers come to a small town to kill a man called "The Swede". They are played by Charles McGraw and William Conrad. These two are cruel an they show it by taking over a diner waiting for "Swede" to come for dinner as he does every night.

When he doesn't show up, they find out where he lives and head for his apartment. They find him an kill him. The odd thing is even after warnings he puts up no resistance. An insurance investigator played by Edmond O'Brien looks into the case and is startled to find that "The Swede" whose real name in Ole Anderson was once involved in a very complex crime involving a payroll robbery.

This is an excellent example of film noir. There is plenty of dark an moody photography and a cast to die for. besides the above mentioned people the cast also includes Burt Lancaster in the role of Ole, a man with a very dark past. Ava Gardner as Kitty, the woman who is the undoing of Ole, Albert Dekker, Virginia Christine, Sam Levene and Jack Lambert.

The presentation from Criterion is perfect and the film never looked better. Any fan of film noir will enjoy this tight and well made film. Recommended!! Note: Actress Virginia Christine also appeared in the remake in 1964.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Debra Lamb is 51, and Beth Phoenix is 34.

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!