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Sunday, March 1, 2015

RIP RICHARD BAKALYAN 1931-2015

One of the most recognized character actors in film has passed away.

Bakalyan starred in literally hundreds of TV shows and movies during his very long career. He often played hoodlums and criminals.

His most notable appearances for me include "H.O.T.S.", "St. Valentines Day Massacre", "Bonnie Parker Story", "Cool and The Crazy", and "Panic In Year Zero".

His TV appearances included everything from "The Night Stalker" to "Emergency" and many, many more. He was 84.

GAMERA VS. BARUGON 1966 (MILL CREEK)

This is the second Gamera film, and what a wild one.

This one is shot in color and features out monster turtle coming back to earth after the rocket from the previous movie was hit by a meteor.

A new monster appears named Barugon who shoots freezing chemicals out of his tongue and can also shoot out a destructive rainbow out of his back! All this is well and good, but this is also the film in which Gamera became a friend of children. Why this move was made always has mystified me.

The basic story revolves around Barugon hatching from what thieves believe to be an Opal. The special effects are pretty good and even though I said this was the turning point in Gamera films, this is actually the ONLY film of the original series to not star a child. Gamera saves a child, but that is it, and I think after that....well that is another story for another review.

I could recommend this film for any Japanese monster movie fan as it isn't too bad. Barugon is pretty cool as well. Again, this is presented in the correct widescreen ratio and in original Japanese language with English subs.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Catherine Bach is 61, Lana Wood is 69, and Marki Bey is 68.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

GAMERA 1965 (MILL CREEK)

The first and original Gamera film.

This film was released in 1965 from Daiea Motion Pictures as a competitor to Godzilla from Toho. The film was released in the US with American inserts featuring Albert Dekker an Brian Donlevy. This is a review of the Japanese version only.

A mysterious plane carrying nuclear weapons crashes in the Arctic and the resulting explosion releases a giant prehistoric turtle from the ice.

The fire breathing creature then takes to the air and heads to Japan to destroy Tokyo. Gamera proves to be indestructible as the military is helpless to stop him. He is attracted to fire and energy so scientists devise a plan to capture him inside the nose of a rocket and send him to Mars.

This first feature isn't bad at all, and Gamera is quite a force to be reckoned with. This is a well shot, and well made sci-fi film in gorgeous black and white.

Over the next few weeks all 11 Gamera films will be reviewed here. All are from Mill Creek in their original Japanese language and correct aspect ratio.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Mimsey Farmer is 70 and Stephanie Beacham is 68.

Friday, February 27, 2015

RIP LEONARD NIMOY 1931-2015

Iconic actor has passed away.

At the age of 83, Leonard Nimoy has died. Nimoy, of course needs no introduction as he was best known as Spock on the original Star Trek TV show from the 60's.

He also appeared in many other films including "THEM", "INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1979)", and TV shows such as "BONANZA" AND "NIGHT GALLERY".

Nimoy passed away from complications related to COPD. he may have passed away, but his legacy will always LIVE LONG AND PROSPER.

SHORT TAKES

Had a day off from work which is rare and decided to catch up on a few things.

I got the chance to watch a few films that I hadn't seen in a while. I looked at PANIC IN THE YEAR ZERO which stars Ray Milland as a man who is on vacation with his family when nuclear war strikes. He and his family must then fight for survival. Milland directed this film and does a great job on both ends of the camera. Frankie Avalon and jean Hagen also star. If you haven't seen this yet, I recommend you do.

I also re-watched THE THING WITH TWO HEADS which also stars Milland. This time he is a doctor who is dying of cancer. He has perfected head transplantation and is looking to have his head grafted onto another body. To make matters worse he is a bigot and the only body the doctors can find is that of a death row in mate named Jack played by Rosie Greer. This is an odd, but very entertaining movie. When I was watching this the other day someone came in and saw it on the Tv and asked "what the hell is this?" to which I told them...they looked at it for a few seconds and simply said "Oh my God. The things you watch." that is the general reaction to this film for the uninitiated.

Both films never fail to entertain, but on totally different levels. Both are available on DVD from MGM.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Joanne Woodward is 85, Van Williams is 81, and Rosanna Yanni is 77.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

STUDENT BODIES 1981 (LEGEND)

A slasher parody that has to be seen by everybody.

I first saw this on HBO many, many years ago and laughed my ass off.

Way before "Scream" this little ditty came along and made fun of everything that made horror popular at the time.

A killer called "Breather" stalks and kills young people with such weapons as wooden horse heads and paper clips. There are plenty of sight gags that will make anyone laugh. When this first came out I don't think people were really ready for this kind of film.

Watching this is 2015 makes it even more humorous. The film rips off every film from the time, and the ending is taken straight from "Carrie". If you want a good laugh, see this film and just enjoy it.

It's hard to find now, but it's still available and begging for rediscovery.

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY 1966 (MGM)

The epitome of spaghetti westerns.

Sergio Leone directed this third and final film in the "man with no name" trilogy.

Clint Eastwood is the Good, Lee Van Cleef is The Bad and Eli Wallach is the Ugly. The story revolves around a man who forms a very uneasy alliance with two men to find a treasure in gold hidden in a cemetery.

This is an epic film running three hours, but one never gets bored watching it. There is plenty of action, and Leone is a master in visual story telling. Wallach turns in an unforgettable performance as Tuco who will stop at nothing for the gold.

Van Cleef plays his role perfectly as a heartless killer who has a bad case of gold fever. Eastwood is his usual great self as he coldly plays everyone off of each other and is disgusted by what he sees. The ending is brilliant.

I liked this a lot and think it is one of the finest films I have seen, and don;t forget the stirring score by Ennio Morricone. One note here, the Civil War setting of this film is really bleak and depressing. It captures the mood of the war perfectly.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Marta Kristen is 70,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DEMENTIA 13 1963 (MILL CREEK)

One of the best of it's kind.

Francis Coppola made his directorial debut with this Roger Corman produced thriller about an axe murderer in an old Scottish castle.

Several people are gathered at an old castle for the reading of a will. One of the guests has a heart attack and dies and his wife throws his body into the lake adjoining the castle, so starts this terror tale.

Luana Anders is unforgettable as the beautiful, greedy babe who will stop at nothing to get her share of the money. William Campbell is an artist who seems to be the only one who has his head on straight.

There are several grisly axe killing which are done in a very goo style. I think what I remember most about this film is the top notch music score from Ronald Stein. It has always stuck with me, so much so I used several of those cues on the first film I ever made entitled "Experiment of Death".

This title is available on many different labels so there is no excuse why you should miss out on this classic.

THE BATTLE OF THE LAST PANZER 1969 (MILL CREEK)

very well made low budget war film.

A German Tank Crew fights to survive behind enemy lines in France. They have the usual conflicts between themselves as everyone has a different idea on how to survive.

In the meantime a French woman slowly falls in love with the German lieutenant. Guy Madison is Lofty, the American who is trying to stop the Panzer from getting back home.

This film provides a lot of interesting battles and human conflict. Stelvio Rosi turns in an very good performance as the Lieutenant who learns a bitter lesson.

This is better than I thought it would be, an it is well worth checking out.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Ric Flair is 66, and Maria Kanellis is 33.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BALLAD OF ANDY CROCKER 1969 (MILL CREEK)

Interesting made for TV movie.

Lee Majors stars as a man who has just returned from Vietnam and finds life much different than he imagined it.

His father seems only interested in his medal, his business partners have ruined his business and he sexy girlfriend has married another man.

Slowly Andy starts to see his world come undone and it has a devastating effect on him. The ending of this film reminds me of "The Swimmer" with Burt Lancaster.

Not a bad film, and one that makes you think a little.