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Saturday, May 31, 2014

GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH 1991 (SONY)

I have reviewed this movie before but this is one of my favorites and it is now out on Blu-ray.

Time travelers from the future warn Japan that Godzilla will eventually destroy their nation, so they hatch a scheme to rid the world of the King Of The Monsters. They travel to a small island in 1942, during WW2 and make sure Godzilla dies there before becoming a radiated monster.

They let three little creatures out and when the time travelers believe there will be no more Godzilla, their plans become very clear. The little creatures are radiated and become King Ghidorah, who will destroy Japan and stop it from becoming an economic leader.

The plot is very convoluted, but it is fun to watch and I think it look very good on Blu-ray. Ghidorah has always been my favorite Japanese monster and this is a great showcase for him. I can't see any Godzilla fan not wanting to see this, and I picked mine up at Hastings when they had a huge shelf full of them, now they have sold out of every Godzilla film they had, so I guess that proves others enjoy these great little films from the Land of the Rising Sun.

It's out on a double feature with "Godzilla and Mothra Battle For The Earth" which will be reviewed here shortly. Recommended.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Clint Eastwood is 84, and Brooke Shields is 49.

Friday, May 30, 2014

BLACULA 1972 (MGM)

Excellent blaxploitation film.

William Marshall is an imposing African prince who is cursed by the original Dracula to life as a vampire for eternity. In the 1970's two interior decorators buy everything in the vampire's castle and ship it to Los Angeles and then Blacula comes to life and begins stalking victims.

He soon finds a beautiful woman named Tina whom he knows is the reincarnation of his former lover Luva. Tina is played by the very sexy Vonetta McGee, and the two quickly fall in love.

Blacula wants nothing more than to be reunited with Tina/Luva and she actually wants to be with him as well. During the final confrontation between Blacula also known as Mamuwalde, Tina is shot and killed and our anti-hero decides to kill himself by walking into the sun.

This is a very well made film that keeps you on the edge of your seat and has some very good shocks. The rest of the cast includes Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasalala. Elisha Cook, Jr., and Charles Macaulay as Dracula.

MOUNTAIN MEN 1980 (SONY)

Well made western.

Charlton Heston and Brian Keith star in this classic film about two grizzled men who trap beavers, guzzle booze and sleep with Indian squaws. The two are in search of an ideal land where there are so many beavers they'd never have to worry about making money again.

Keith and Heston make a good pair for this film as they both look the parts they play. Heston falls for a squaw named Running Moon and then finds himself in constant war with an Indian Brave named Heavy Eagle.

The Grand Teton scenery is well worth seeing andd is a big plus in this film. It is also the final film of the great actor Victor Jory who plays Iron Belly.

If you like shoot them up westerns, then this may nor be your cup of tea, but if you like realistic portrayals of Mountain Men then you might like this. I would recommend it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Clint Walker is 87, Michael Pollard is 75, Ruta Lee is 79, and Jennifer Ellison is 31.

Friday, May 23, 2014

FRANCIS GOES TO WESTPOINT 1952 (UNIVERSAL)

This is the third in the series.

Donald O' Conner is Peter Stirling and this time old Pete is sent to West Point and Francis joins him.

This entry is better than the second one and there are more laughs to be had as Francis gets Pete in and out of trouble as well as coaching the football team to victory.

The cast also includes Lori Nelson, Les Tremayne, William Reynolds, Gregg Palmer, David Janssen, James Best and a very young Leonard Nimoy in a small bit part as a football player.

I can easily recommend this film for a few laughs and just a good time in general. The plot is like all the others, not complicated. This is just simple entertainment.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Joan Collins is 81.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

THE DEMONS 1973 (REDEMPTION)

Another Jess Franco classic presented totally uncut on Blu-ray.

Anne Libert and Britt Nichols are two sisters who are in a convent. It is soon discovered that their mother was a witch and the Grand Inquisitor wants them to be questioned.

Lord Justice Jeffries gets one of the girls into the dungeon for an Inquisition and she is tortured, but refuses to admit anything. She escapes with the help of a sympathetic man, but is soon recaptured. her sister learns of this and sets out to free her.

The film is full of the usual Franco imagery such as the sadistic torture of women and men and lots of copious nudity and lesbian love making. However, there are some great scenes of the real witch kissing men and having them turn into skeletons which I always thought was pretty cool.

This cut runs two hours and is the most complete print I have ever seen of this film. Franco fans will want to check this out out, and the two leads are very easy on the eyes. The movie looks fantastic in Blu-ray and I look forward to more titles from Redemption.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Barbara Parkins is 72, Richard Benjamin is 76, Marilyn Joi is 69, an Ashley Renee is 50.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

FRANCIS GOES TO THE RACES 1951 (UNIVERSAL)

Arthur Lubin again handles the directing chores for this fun little comedy from Universal.

Donald O' Conner again stars as Peter Sterling, a young man who has a very odd friend in Francis the Talking Mule. This is the first sequel and Francis helps Peter collect money by betting on the races and this gets old Pete into a lot of trouble.

Gangsters get involved in Peter's affairs and the trouble snowballs until Francis intervenes once again. The cast includes Cecil Kellaway, Piper Laurie, Jesse White, Vaughn Taylor and Hayden Rorke.

This film made enough money to garner another sequel, but it is a rather pedestrian entry in the series and probably the slowest of all seven films.

I like the film as it is very soothing because of what it is, but for fans thinking there are a lot of belly laughs, they might have to look elsewhere.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Darla Crane is 48.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

UFO INVASION....

This is a video taken outside the house I live at by Jennifer Jordan. Pretty interesting stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0aGWfjbFP0

TOUGH GUYS DON'T DANCE 1987 (SHOUT FACTORY/TIMELESS)

Oh God, oh man, Oh God, oh man, Oh God, oh man.

I consider this film Mandatory Viewing.

Norman Mailer write the novel and directed the movie. Ryan O' Neal stars as a man named Tim Madden, a man prone to blackouts who wakes up one morning to find himself implicated in a web of murder.

Tim is a loser from the word go and is very bland. His father, Dougy, is played by Lawrence Tierney one of my favorite actors of all time. Dougy is the only person Tim trusts an the two of them have a very special relationship...but I will get to that later.

Tim finds the head of a blonde in a sack where he usually keeps his stash of weed and thus starts the trail of trying to find where it came from and how it got there. Police Captain Alvin Luther Regency is as crazy as everyone else so it is a good this the character is portrayed by Wings Hauser. It is a performance you'll not soon forget.

There are scenes in this film you'll never forget and that includes the head in the bag, Tim finding out that the police Capt. is having an affair with his wife and so much more. The special father and son "relationship" I mentioned is the best night time father and son fishing scene ever filmed. Tim and his dad get rid of all the bodies by dumping them in the lake. The fog surrounding the lake adds a very good sense of noir to the proceedings.

Parts of the film are hard to follow, but stay with it as all becomes clear in the end. There is so much to like about this film. It was released in 1987 and it tanked badly. Budgeted at 5 million it barely made one million back. That is simply because it was way ahead of it's time. I don't think the modern movie goer would like it either as it doesn't involved superheros, but if you like great classic cinema, this is for you.

The rest of the cast includes Isabella Rossellini as Capt. Regency's wife, Debra Stipe as "Patty Lareine" a sex siren if there ever was one, Penn Jillette and Clarence Williams III. A true modern film noir classic!! Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

David Hedison is 87, Constance Towers is 81, and Joan Staley is 74.

Monday, May 19, 2014

EXPOSED 1983 (SHOUT FACTORY/TIMELESS)

Interesting and off beat miss fire of a film.

Nastassja Kinski is a young Wisconsin woman who travels to New York and becomes a fashion model. When she arrives she has her money stolen from her and everything seems to go wrong.

Soon she makes her move to be a fashion model which she does and then she falls for a man whose motives aren't exactly clear, and then finds herself involve with a terrorist.

This is an off beat movie that really doesn't makes things too clear, but Kinski is always a lovely creature to behold. Rudolf Nureyev is the man whose motives are unclear and remain that way until his shocking death which catches the auience by surprise.

Harvey Keitel is the terrorist and why he does what he does is also somewhat a mystery. I do wish the film had been a little better constructed, but I would still recommend it for Kinski no matter what. Ron Randell known to genre fans for sych films as "She Creature" and "Most Dangerous man Alive" has a small role as Kinski's father.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Nancy Kwan is 75.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

THEY 1974 (MILL CREEK)

AKA Invasion From Inner Earth.

Filmed in Wisconsin, this regional sci-fi film concerns the end of the world via an alien invasion. Several people in a remote cabin deep in the woods discover that aliens have invaded the earth and are causing plagues to wipe out mankind.

They accidentally contact the invaders with a shortwave radio, but cannot keep communications open. They eventually all meet their demise except two of them, and I am not really sure what happens to them as this has one of those incredible "what the hell just happened?" endings.

Bill Rebane directed and he shows the invasion via quick shots of crowds of people running in terror from what looks like smoke bombs of various colors. The acting is ok, but there really is no action and that is not a good thing with this kind of film.

The ending has the two surviving people, a young woman and one of the scientists in the cabin suddenly change into children an running thru what I can only assume to be a "Garden of Eden", but then again I could be way off base here.

I was first introduced to this movie in the 80's on KCPX on a Sunday afternoon on "Sci-Fi Theater" and I coulddn't believe what I was seeing. This was even promoted on VHS with the starship Enterprise from Star Trek on the cover!!

I have seen much worse films, but I do wish this had been a little bit better.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Dwayne Hickman is 80, Alana Stewart is 69, Jimmy Snuka is 71, and Diane McBain is 73.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

NIGHT OF THE GENERALS 1967 (SONY)

Good, if a little overlong thriller.

In 1942 Germany a prostitute is sadistically murdered and it is learned that a German General might be responsible. Major Grau, played by Omar Sharif is a man who believes in justice and he sets out to catch the killer.

There are three suspects at first, but they are whittled away to one after an investigation that spans nearly 25 years. Over time the investigation is hampered by the war, a plot to kill Hitler and much more. As time passes Grau begins to suspect General Tanz and his suspicions prove true, but Grau is killed in cold blood by Tanz before he can do anything. This scene caught me totally off guard and works very, very well.

This is a well made film that keeps your attention, but as I stated above it is a long one at 2 1/2 hours. The cast also includes Peter O' Toole as Tanz, Donald Plesence, Charles Gray, Christopheer Plummer, Coral Browne and the sexy Joanna Pettet.

I would recommend this to any fan of WW2 films or mystery lovers.

Friday, May 16, 2014

THIS IS NOT A TEST 1962 (SOMETHING WEIRD)

Time to re-visit this classic.

A highway patrolman stops people on a lonely mountain road after hearing of an impending nuclear attack.

Slowly more and more people show up so he decides they would have a better chance of survival if they hid inside of a semi truck trailer. Some of the people don't want this and rebel.

There is also a killer on the loose that the Deputy tries to apprehend, but to no avail. This is a tight little film with a cast of unknowns and it works quite well. You know immediately that all of these characters except a couple are probably going to die, and that is how the film works on you.

Seamon Glass is Deputy Dan Coulter and the only other name is Ron Starr as Clint Delany, a psycho killer who actually turns out to be more sane than most people.

I first discovered this little gem on Nightmare Theater on KCPX TV is Salt Lake City many years ago. I cannot recommend it enough. This is a bleak and well made film with a very downbeat ending.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Megan Fox is 28, Danny Trejo is 70, David Boreanaz is 45, Debra Winger is 59, and Yvonne Craig is 77.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

FRANCIS THE TALKING MULE 1950 (UNIVERSAL)

One of the best comedies ever made.

Donald O' Conner stars as a soldier who discovers that a mule can speak, and when he tells the Army he is sent to the psycho ward. After release he again runs into the mule and finds out the the Japanese are making an attack later in the day. This makes him a hero but lands him in the psycho ward again.

The laughs come fast and quickly in this great little film about the worlds only talking jackass (well next to out President of course). Universal never expected this to become the major hit that it was and it spawned 6 sequels!

Patircia Medina is a lovely woman who turns out to be a spy and John McIntire is a General whom Francis actually speaks to as well. The voice of Francis was provided by actor Chill Wills and every time I hear it I smile. These films were and still are comedy classics that always manage to make my day better if I need a lift.

Universal has finally turned out all 7 films on 3 disc set, and it is one of the best sets to come out this year. I will be reviewing all of the films here shortly. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ANZIO 1968 (SONY)

Uneven but good war film.

Robert Mitchum stars as Dick Ennis, a war correspondent covering the war from the actual front lines. He goes with the US army to Anzio and sees one of the bloodiest battles of the war first hand.

The soldiers he meets are an odd lot, but always willing to serve their country. Peter Falk is very good as Cpl. Jack Rabinoff, a man who always has something up his sleeve. Arthur Kennedy is Maj. Gen. Jack Lesley who is outsmarted by the Germans and forced to be reassigned after the mission.

This is a good accounting of the battle and if you watch a lot of movies you'll see some very familiar faces in here including Arthur Franz, Mark Damon, Earl Holliman, Robert Ryan and many more.

The film runs two hours which is a little long, but if you like WW2 films you'll enjoy this. The final battle consisting of just four American soldiers is a little unsettling. Recommended!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Leon White is 59, Yutte Stensgaard is 68, and Kenji Sahara is 82.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

THE VISITORS 1972 (SHOUT FACTORY/TIMELESS))

This is cited as the first movie to deal with the Vietnam war in a serious manner.

James Woods and Patricia Joyce are a couple of young people with a child who are enjoying a quiet Sunday when suddenly two friends of his from the war show up at his remote home.

Steve Railsback and Chico Martinez are the two friends. It seems Woods testimony sent both to prison for a while. They raped and killed innocent Vietnamese women and Woods didn't participate.

The tension slowly builds until the last 30 minutes of the film when all hell breaks loose. Woods and Railsback get into a violent fight after Railsback rapes Woods girlfriend. Joyce is also raped by Martinez and then both men drive off.

The lives of Woods and Joyce are destroyed after all of the violence and the movie ends abruptly. This is the kind of film that keeps you thinking andd leaves you with a very empty feeling like the win has been knocked out of you.

Directed by Elia Kazan, this is a film I would recommend to anyone who likes cinema. I had never heard of this film until Shout Factory/ Timeless turned this out a while back. It's a great movie that has disappeared between the cracks, an I am very glad it is here for all to see.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Zohra Lampert is 77, and Melinda Plowman is 73.

Monday, May 12, 2014

AMY HESKETH INTERVIEW.........

This is another interview I conducted with Amy Hesketh a while back about the movie BARBAZUL. It has taken a while to finally get this published.

The location work was beautiful. Where did you film this?

We shot the film in the Altiplano (High Planes) and valleys of the province of La Paz, Bolivia. The main location was a hacienda previously owned by President Ballivian, situated in a small village called Chivisivi.

It was amazing shooting there, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We had to bring all of our food and supplies, there was no bread in the village, so I made bread every day for the cast and crew. We all took turns cooking and washing dishes. At the end of the ten days, we were about ready to kill each other.

The music is mesmerizing and really works well with the story. Was this approved by you? I mean, did you hear the music as you were putting the film together?

Yes, the music was create for us by the very talented Brad Cantor (Hologram Sounds). It went through a lot of evolution as we went along with the editing.

How did Jac prepare for his role as one of the most calculating killers I have ever seen?

He became Barbazul; charming, and yet abrupt and sometimes rude. He was hard to handle while we were shooting. It was great for his performance. But he scared a couple of the actresses. Which he apologized for after we were done and he was out of character. He’s a really nice guy in real life.

I noticed that you put yourself in the most painful role again. Is this called suffering for your art?

Barbazul being my second film, I didn’t really want to put someone else through the suffering that role entails. So, I did it myself. It was pretty awful being wrapped in plastic. Now that I’m directing my fourth film, I’m more confident in what I can ask others to go through for a role.

How long did it take you to put the story together and how long was filming?

I wrote the script over about 6 months. Shooting took 17 days. I was frightfully efficient on this one. The pace was so grueling, especially in Chivisivi (6AM-midnight every day), that some of the cast and crew referred to me as a slave-driver. I’m sure they meant that as a compliment.

What are some other projects you have lined up?

I’m directing my fourth feature, Olalla, in which I also star. It’s based on the Robert Louis Stevenson story of the same name, about a family of genetic, decadent vampires. It’s pretty creepy and bloody.

One last question....How did Mila feel about her death scene. I know it made me very uncomfortable.

Mila was so amazing in her death scene in Barbazul. It’s difficult to ask someone to do something like that. And this was her first film. I was amazed by her dedication.

One more last question...was the ending your idea?

Yes. I felt like turning the traditional story of Bluebeard on its head a little. I wanted him to feel as though he had achieved everything, and free of consequences…

THE LOST EMPIRE 1985 (PMG)

The debut of the directorial skills of Jim Wynorski.

Three women travel to a distant land and compete in games set up by a madman who is intent on conquering the world.

The women, Angel played by Melanie Vincz, White Star played by Raven De La Croix and Heather, played by Angela Aames are sexy as ever and there is amply opportunity to see them in all of their glory.

The women arrive on a mysterious island ruled by Dr. Sin Do, played by Angus Scrimm, who is determined to rule the world. The games begin and the women show they cannot be beaten.

The plot isn't much, but this film shows why Wynorski has become an exploitation film making legend. His use of gorgeous women in extreme and bizarre situations cannot be topped. Raven De La Croix has to be one of the most beautiful women ever to appear in a film, and Wynorski uses that to every advantage.

I am glad to finally see this film out on DVD. If you are a true fan of exploitation films, this is one you don't want to miss.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Ving Rhames is 55, and Bob Burns is 79.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Holly Valance is 31, and Yvonne Furneaux is 86.