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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA 1962 (UNIVERSAL)

Another Hammer classic.

Herbert Lom stars as a poor music writer who has his music stolen by Lord Ambrose, played by Michael Gough. He tries to stop the theft but is badly burned in a fire and retreats to the catacombs and becomes a reclusive music player and sometimes a killer.

Heather sears is the young woman he kidnaps and takes to the sewers of the opera house to train her to be the best opera singer ever. The movie doesn't follow the plot of the original story, but this is still classic Hammer horror and Lom's performance is top notch.

Edward de Souza is Harry Hunter, the man who discovers the Phantom's secret. All in all a good bet for horror fans.

BIRTHDAY WISHES TO.......

Geoffrey Lewis is 78, and France Nuyen is 74.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SHOTGUN 1955 (VCI)

Well made western with a nice solid script.

Sterling Hayden is a Marshall who tracks down the men that killed his friend during a gun battle. Along the way he meets up with a feisty woman named Abby played by Yvonne DeCarlo and a bounty hunter played by Zachary Scott.

Together they track down the killers as the heat build between all three of them. Hayden does well with the role of a take charge kind of guy while Scott has some of the best lines when he talks about how people act. DeCarlo and Hayden quip back and forth a lot and their hatred soon disappears as they have to fight for their lives again Apaches.

Leslie Selander does a good job with directing and the Arizona scenery is simply beautiful. Recommended for Western fans.

POLL RESULTS

The last poll I conducted asked what your favorite studio was that made horror and sci-fi films and Universal and Hammer finished tied at the top of the list followed by American International.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Peter Bogdanovich is 74, Edd Byrnes is 80, Paul Anka is 72, Richard Johnson is 86, and Monique Gabrielle is 50.

Monday, July 29, 2013

DEATH DREAM 1974 (BLUE UNDERGROUND)

One of the finest horror films ever made.

Bob Clarke directed this classic film about a young man who dies in Vietnam, but then returns to his family because his mother wished he would come back.

A variation on "The Monkey's Paw" stars Richard Backus as Andy, the soldier who died for this country and now wants others to return the favor. John Marley is the father, Lynn Carlin is Andy's mother and Anya Ormsby is his sister.

When he comes home all he does is sit in his room and only ventures out at night to get the blood he needs to stay alive. The horrors of the returning dead is equal to the disintegrating family unit which the Vietnam war destroyed in the 70's. This film touches on all points and that is what makes it so effective.

The ending is a shocker, and one I will never forget. Bob Clark knew how to make effective films of any genre and it is a shame that a few years ago he was taken from us by an illegal alien who was driving drunk.

However, he left us a legacy of great films and this is one of the best horror films ever made. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

David Warner is 72, Robert Fuller is 80, Tina Krause is 43, Sharri Jones is 24, and Scott Steiner is 51.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

COMING ATTRACTIONS......

It's now official...

The Peter Cushing classic CORRUPTION will be released on Oct. 8th by Grindhouse Releasing. It will be a BluRay/DVD combo pack with tons of extras.

This film will be released UNCUT for the very first time in America. It is available for pre-order at Amazon. Easily one of the best releases of the year for horror fans and Peter Cushing devotees.

OUTLAW WOMEN 1952 (VCI)

Very interesting western.

I hadn't seen this film for about 30 years until just the other day when I got the movie from VCI.

Marie Windsor plays a woman named Mae McLeod who runs a town of nothing but women and she only lets men in to gamble so they can be cheated out of their money. They all live a pretty decent life until a gambler comes to town and wants to take over.

Ron Ormond and Sam Newfield directed this Cinecolor gem that also stars Allan Nixon, Jackie Coogan, Jacqueline Fontaine and Tom Tyler as ell as Richard Rober. I really enjoyed this film as it offered something very unique and it was interesting as always to watch Marie Windsor strut her stuff.

This is recommended for western fans or movie lovers in general who are looking for something a little different.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Elizabeth Berkley is 41, and Charles Cyphers is 74.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

SCREAM BABY SCREAM 1969 (TROMA)

Bizarre shot in Florida thriller.

Not a bad little obscure thriller directed by Joseph Adler from a script by Larry Cohen.

It seems an artist is disfiguring people with a new drug that makes the skin pliable so he can have a world full of freaks to make painting out of. Some of the make up here is very well done and very creepy. When I first saw this film many years ago it left it's mark.

The opening scene is a classic and even though there are some slow spots in this film it makes up for it in a very well done climax that will not disappoint. It is a depressing ending however. Lensed in Florida, this horror film is recommended for fans of the genre.

The acting is ok and the jazz score fits perfectly. Low budget but fun in a twisted sort of way.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Maureen McGovern is 64.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A DARKNESS AT BLAISEDON 1969 (DARK SKY)

Another interesting Dan Curtis TV horror.

Kerwin Matthews is Jonathon Fletcher, a researcher in psychic phenomena, is hired by a woman to investigate the evil goings on in her newly inherited mansion.

Matj Dusay is the lovely woman who hires Matthews and the ever dependable Thayer David is on hand as the handyman who knows the house is haunted by an evil spirit that will not leave.

This film has all the earmarks of a Curtis production including an excellent music score. This was a pilot for an unsold series that was to be entitled "Dead Of Night". The pilot didn't sell but it is good to see this even if it isn't as good as "Dark Shadows" or "Kolchak The Night Stalker". It is included on the Dark Sky DVD of "Dead Of Night" which I reviewed a few days ago.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Susan George is 63, James Best is 87, Celeste Yarnall is 69, Suzanna Leigh is 68, and Lorna Gray is 96.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS 1970 (FOX)

A bizarre extravaganza.

Russ Meyer directed this film for Fox. Three beautiful women go to Hollywood to find fame as a rock band called "The Carrie Nations" and they find drugs, sex and sleaze leading to the death of one of them.

Meyer did an excellent job directing, but at the time I don't believe the studios were really ready for his kind of movie making. Dolly Reed, Cynthia Myers and Marcia McBroom are the three women who make up the band and find nothing but trouble on their way to the top of the charts.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock makes an appearance, which I think is too cool and yet the most unforgettable thing in this film is Robert Lazar as "Z Man" who turns out to be the oddest person I have ever seen in a movie. Lazar claims this role killed his career, and he may be right.

The rest of the cast is rounded out by Erica Gavin whose death scene is unforgettable, Edy Williams, Michael Blodgett, and Charles Napier. Cynthia Myers passed away in 2012 so now the "Nations are down to two. All three of these women are very attractive but my favorite is Marcia McBroom...what a gorgeous woman.

I would recommend this Roger Ebert scripted film to anyone who wants to see great movie making and a bizarre story and great music all wrapped into one neat package. Not your usual film by any means.

DEAD OF NIGHT 1977 (DARK SKY)

Another excellent Made For TV horror.

Three stories are told and the first one stars Ed Begley, Jr. as a young man who buys a car and finds it actually takes him back to the past, where he accidentally changes something, which in turn benefits him later. This is based on a short story by Jack Finney and is very well done. The episode is entitled "Second Chance".

The secomnd story is a bizarre one entitled "No Such Thing As A Vampire" which stars Anjanette Comer as a woman who believes she is being victimized by s vampire. Her husband, played by Patrick Macnee calls in a young man to help find the vampire, and there sets up one of the best twists I have ever seen in a story. Horst Buchholz and Elisha Cook round out the cast in this wonderful story by Richard Matheson.

The third and most frightening is entitled "Bobby". It stars Joan Hackett as a mother who wishes her son back form the dead with disastrous results. This is easily the best of the three and it is one of the most terrifying things you'll ever see. In this sad day and age you could never do anything like this on TV as the modern viewer is too stupid and too desensitized from all the reality TV to really appreciate the horror involved.

However, true horror fans who remember the 70's and TV terror will want to see this. Highly Recommended!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

THREE DESPARATE MEN 1951 (VCI)

Very well made Lippert western.

Sam Newfield directed this film starring Preston Foster, Jim Davis and Ross Latimer as three brothers who are set up on false charges after two of them rescue the third from a necktie party.

They find themselves being hunted by a former friend as they spiral deeper and deeper into a life of crime. All three leads are very good in their roles and this is one of the best Lippert westerns I have ever seen.

It has a tight story, lots of action and some very tragic circumstances for a pair of lovers. Virginia Grey, Sid Melton and Monte Blue round out the excellent cast in this above average B western.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Lynda Carter is 62, Linda Harrison is 68, Mark Goddard is 77, Torrie Wilson is 38, and Heidi Kristoffer is 31.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SCREAM OF FEAR 1961 (COLUMBIA)

Good Hammer mystery film.

Susan Strasberg stars as a young woman confined to a wheelchair who comes home after a terrible accident and finds that her father is missing. Soon she starts seeing his dead body show up all over the huge estate.

Strasberg is very, very good in the role of Penny and Christopher Lee is the family doctor that helps her out. As the story unfolds it seems like nobody is really who they say they are, and the movie has dozens of plot twists and turns.

Ann Todd plays Strasberg's step-mother, and Ronald Lewis is the chauffeur who has his own dark secrets. Well directed by Seth Holt from a script by Jimmy Sangster, this is recommended viewing. Too bad they just don't make many movies like this anymore.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Charisma Carpenter is 43, Ronny Cox is 75, and Lydia Cornell is 60.

Monday, July 22, 2013

BRIDES OF DRACULA 1961 (UNIVERSAL)

Unsung Hammer horror classic.

A young woman on her way to a teaching job spends the night at a chateau and finds a young man in a room wearing a shackle. She steals the key from her hosts bedroom and lets the man loose...unknown to her she has just loosed the terror of the undead on the populace once again.

David Peel is the young vampire and Martita Hunt is his every suffering mother whom he changes into a vampire after he bites her. Yvonne Monlaur is Marianne, the sexy young woman who lets the evil loose.

Peter Cushing is Van Helsing and he does battle with the vampire in some terrific sequences that will always stay in my collective mind.

This film has everything Hammer and horror fans expect..moody lighting, a great music score, a fine cast and good tight directing by Terence Fisher. It is somewhat overlooked in the annals of horror, but this is a fine film with everything going for it. Recommended!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.......

Orson Bean is 85, Shawn Michaela is 48, Bobby Sherman is 70, Tisa Farrow is 62, Erica Gavin is 66, and Mary and Madeleine Collinson are 61.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

SHANKS 1974 (OLIVE)

One of the most bizarre films ever made!

This is the final film directed by William Castle. Marcel Marceau stars as a mute puppeteer named Malcolm Shanks who uses a scientists invention to control dead bodies.

Marceau is excellent as the mute and he has a dual role as both mute and scientist. He and a young girl he is friends with have a party inside the mansion where Marceau worked with the scientist and they are interrupted by a motorcycle gang who eventually rape and kill the girl, but Marceau gets his revenge.

There are plenty of other unique set pieces in this film and you really feel for Marceau because of the way he is treated by the people he lives with. These are two of the slimiest people you'll ever see in a film and their roles are essayed by Tsilla Chelton and Philippe Clay who are also excellent mimes.

Bill Castle has a small role as a grocer. The film is set up like a fairy tale, but very very grim indeed. The music score is by the great Alex North and it is one that fits the film perfectly. Highly Recommended film for everyone to see at least once.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Ali Landry is 40, and if he were still with us, the king of all monster makers, Paul Blaisdell would be 86.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

WAR GAMES: WCW'S MOST NOTORIOUS MATCHES 2013 (WWE)

Ahh yes the glory days of pro wrestling.

This 3 DVD set looks at the history of the "War Games" which is a match where there are two rings enclosed by a steel cage. These were the brain child of Dusty Rhodes, who gives some pretty interesting insights between matches on this particular idea of his.

It started back in 1987 and they would wrestle this kind of a match almost every night during the summers of 1987 thru 1989. It was a series of matches that will never be captured again. On the disc you see such superstars as Dusty Rhodes, Arn Anderson. Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Sting, Tully Blanchard and many, many more.

if you like pro wrestling of old then you'll really like this set. I know I did. Recommended!