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Monday, June 30, 2014

EARTH VS. THE SPIDER 1958 (LIONSGATE)

Fun 50's sci-fi.

A huge tarantula is discovered living in a cave outside a small town. It is sprayed with DDT and thought to be dead. It is put on display at a high school until it can be transported out to a research facility.

Some loud 50's rock n' roll wakes the monster up and it goes on a rampage thru the town and heads back to it's cave. This is the very simple plot formula for this fun little movie.

Now, throw in a teenager looking for her missing father and a lost present that he had when he was attacked by the huge spider an you have a typical 50's horror film. Rock music, teens and a giant arachnid.

The cast includes Ed Kemmer, June Kenney, Gene Roth and Hal Torey. Bert I. Gordon directed. Recommended!!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

TOURIST TRAP 1979 (CULT FILMS)

very odd horror from the late 70's.

A group of four young people find themselves stranded at an old gas station run by a man named Slausen, played by Chuck Conners.

It seems that Slausen used to run an old gas station that people used to visit until a new highway was put in. The young people soon find out that the mannequins that Slausen keeps around are dangerous and seemingly alive.

To top everything off a madman is running around and killing people by putting plaster on their faces among other things. We soon discover that, of course, it is Slausen who also has telekinetic powers and controls the mannequins.

Tanya Roberts is one of the young people an she is a highlight dressed in short shorts and a tube top. She is killed along with almost everyone else. Jocelyn Jones is Molly, whom Slausen wants to keep as a bride. In the end she is not killed, but driven insane in a bizarre finale to a bizarre movie.

Tanya Roberts is a highlight in her short shorts and tube top...oops, did I already mention that? A Strange movie that is both creepy and scary that I would recommend to any horror fan.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Gary Busey is 70, and Maria Conchita Alonso is 57.

Friday, June 27, 2014

THE MAD MONSTER 1942 (TREE LINE)

Re-visiting a great little PRC classic.

George Zucco is Dr. Lorenzo Cameron, a mad doctor who has succeeded in experiments to turn people, mainly his dimwitted handyman, into a werewolves.

The handyman is played by Glenn Strange. The werewolf make-up is interesting and not bad for a PRC film. Zucco uses his creation to seek revenge on the doctors who discredited him and cost him his career. Anne Nagel is his daughter Lenora.

There is a scene where the monster kills a child and even though it is off screen it is somewhat disturbing. The film runs 74 minutes but could have been trimmed to 65 as there are, believe it or not a few scenes that drag. Still, overall, a good little movie that I watch every now and then and always enjoy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

RIP JACQUES BERGERAC 1927-2014

Talented actor Jacques Bergerac has passed away at the age of 87.

Bergerac just celebrated his 87th birthday a few weeks ago when I was off line, it was May 26th. The French actor was best known for his roles in such films as GiGi and Hypnotic Eye.

Bergerac also appeared in the original Batman TV show as "Freddie The Fence" in two episodes as well as appearing in many other shows such as "Get Smart", "Beverly Hillbilly's" and "Daniel Boone".

His last appearance was in 1969 on the Doris Day Show. He quit show business and headed the Paris office of Revlon for many, many years.

KING KONG ESCAPES 1967 (UNIVERSAL)

A very fun Japanese monster movie available on Blu-ray.

Total escapist entertainment. Hideyo Amamoto is Dr. Who, a dangerous and mad genius who has created a huge Mecha Kong in order to extract "Element X" from the earth. His plans don't go as he wanted as "Element X" causes Mecha Kong to malfunction. So what to do next? Travel to Mondo Island and kidnap the real Kong and have him dig it out.

Meanwhile a submarine crew consisting of Commander Carl Nelson played by Rhodes Reason, Lt. Susan Watson, played by Linda Miller and Lt. Commander Jiro Nomura land on the island and Kong is smitten with Susan. Kong fights a dinosaur and a huge water snake to protect Susan and her friends. The three leave Mondo Island after their sub is repaired and report their findings to the UN.

Dr. Who learns of this and takes Kong back to his headquarters where the monster is hypnotized into digging for the dangerous element. Who kidnaps Nelson, Watson and Nomura and the Kong destroys the base in anger and escapes which forces Who to send Mecha Kong after him.

The two giant monsters battle in Tokyo, and the battle is fun all the way. It comes to an end on Tokyo Tower with the real Kong coming out the victor.

I love this film!! As a child I loved the monsters and as an adult I also very much appreciate the sexy Madame X, played by gorgeous Mie Hama. I will watch anything with Mia, which I have. The film is gorgeous on Blu-ray, and if you're a Japanese monster movie fan, I think you should add this to your collection.

Highly Recommened fun.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Robert Davi is 63.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES 1959 (TREE LINE)

One of my favorite 50's horror films.

People in a backwoods small town swamp community find that their territory is being invaded by giant bloodsucking leeches that may or may not have been created by radiation from the nearby Cape Canaveral.

Ken Clark stars as Steve Benton, whose main job is to confiscate the illegal trap lines set by poachers. he investigates several deaths and rumors but comes against a stone wall led by crooked sheriff named Kovis, played by Gene Roth. Bruno Ve Sota is a store keeper married to an ultra sexy vixen. He is Dave and she is Liz Walker. Yvette Vickers plays the part perfectly, and every man in the small town wants Liz for his own.

This is a great mixture of white trash and horror and not to be missed by ANY horror fan. The leeches are just men in weird suits, but it still plays very well, and yes, there are several images that will stick in your mind forever after watching this. My first into to this film was when I was 6 and watching Creature Features on KHQ from Spokane, Washington.

One of the best of it's kind produced by Roger and Gene Corman.

RIP ELI WALLACH 1915-2014

One of the most prolific actors in history has passed away.

Eli Wallach was 98. His career spanned over 60 years. He first started in 1951 on an episode of "Lights Out" entitled "Rappaccini's Daughter".

He is best remembered for roles in "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" as well as "The Magnificent Seven". I will always remember him for his role as "Dancer" in the film noir classic "The Lineup."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

June Lockhart is 89.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

POSEIDON REX 2013 (ANDERSON-DIGITAL)

Interesting low budget sci-fi film.

Brian Krause co-produced and stars in this film about divers hiding treasure in a secret place, setting off explosives and releasing a huge monster called a "Poseidon Rex" free from it's watery tomb.

The monster proceeds to make snacks out of a lot of boaters and is a double threat because it can also travel very fast on land as well as swim the oceans.

Krause does a very credible job as well as his supporting cast which includes Anne McDaniels, and Candice Nunes. Mark Lester directed this and does his usual good job.

I had actually never heard of this and saw it sitting on the shelf at a Hastings store and figured why not give it a try. It is recommended for sci-fi fans and I don;t think you'll be disappointed. It is low budget, but the effects are descent enough.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

KING KONG VS. GODZILLA 1962 (UNIVERSAL)

A creature feature classic now on Blu-ray.

This was the first time a Godzilla film was in color and I do have very vivid memories of it.

A pharmaceutical company captures King Kong and attempts to being him to Japan while at the same time Godzilla has been discovered in an iceberg and is also making his way to Japan.

This sets up a classic battle between to monster movie greats. When they meet it is more like a wrestling match, but oh so fun to watch. They destroy everything around them in a battle that ends with Kong swimming away and Godzilla no where to be seen. In the Japanese version, which I have seen a couple of times, Godzilla wins.

The cast includes familiar Japanese actors such as Kenji Sahara, Mia Hama and lovely Akiko Wakabayashi. The presentation on Blu-ray from Universal looks fabulous and it highly recommended for any monster movie fan.

My fondest memory of this film is when it came on TV and I was all excited to finally see this film. My mother told me that I had to keep my grades up to stay up late and see this film. Well damn, I didn't pass a certain test and I couldn't stay up and watch this film. My world was over....lol

Universal has turned this out as well as "King Kong Escapes" which is set to be reviewed here in the near future.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Bruce Campbell is 56, Lindsay Wagner is 65, and Kris Kristofferson is 78.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

THE THING 1982 (UNIVERSAL)

One of the greatest alien invasion films ever made.

A shape-shifting alien invades a small Antarctic outpost an the horror begins in this John Carpenter remake of the 1951 film which sticks really close to the novella by John W. Campbell.

Kurt Russell is MacReady, a no nonsense leader who tries to fight the monster. You never really know the true shape of the Thing, but you see many incarnations of it thru the people and animals it takes over and duplicates, and the special effects work by Rob Bottin will never be duplicated.

All of the characters are totally believable and the movie really brings the viewer into what is happening.

When this was released it flopped at the box office and I believe this was due to the fact that another rather inferior movie called "E.T" came out at about the same time and ruined the public's image of nasty aliens. That is sad as this is the far superior film. Over the years fans of horror and sci-fi have made this into a bona fide classic and that is the status it rightly deserves.

The rest of the stellar cast includes Wilford Brimley, T. K. Carter, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Richard Masur and Donald Moffat.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Mariette Hartley is 74, and Ron Ely is 76.

Friday, June 20, 2014

GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND 1972 (KRAKEN)

Aka Godzilla. Vs. Gigan.

Very bizarre entry in the Godzilla series. An alien race of cockroaches assume human form and begin building an amusement park for children. Of course this is all a ruse for a planned invasion and one woman discovers the truth.

Soon there is a small group of earthlings battling the aliens who bring along King Ghidorah and Gigan, a monster with a buzzsaw in it's stomach. Godzilla and Anguirus show up and battle the monsters and the aliens to the death.

This is an ultra low budget affair and it really shows, but it is still a lot of fun. More fun than when I first saw it years ago. To be honest my main gripe is when Godzilla and Anguirus actually talk to one another when they discover something is wrong. That always bugs the hell out of me and I have yet to understand why the filmmakers did that.

The Blu-ray presentation is excellent and Kraken should be commended for putting this out in such a good format. This is recommended for Godzilla fans and again, while it isn't the best, it sure isn't the worst either.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Robert Rodriguez is 46, Martin Landau is 86, Candy Clark is 67, and Brett Halsey is 81.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NIGHTMARES IN RED WHITE AND BLUE 2009 (LORBER)

Not too bad of a documentary about the evolution of the American horror film.

This interesting documentary looks at the popularity of horror films from the Edison days to the present. There are hundreds of clips from some of these films and comments from such people as Roger Corman, John Carpenter, George Romero, Larry Cohen and many, many more.

the film is presented in a way that never slows down and the comments by many of these people are very interesting. My only problem is that there are certain people in this film that get overly political when talking about these films. To me, there is nothing political about them. They are movies and that is that.

This is packaged along with a documentary I reviewed a couple of days ago entitled "American Grindhouse". Both are very good if you're a horror and exploitation fan. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Ray Lovelock is 64, Daria Nicolodi is 64, and Rosalba Neri is 75.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE 2010 (LORBER)

Another look at a great documentary.

Elijah Drenner directed this top notch look at the history of exploitation films from the silent era to the 1970's.

There are many clips from films and it is broken down into several chapters including one of my favorites...blaxploitation films.

Everyone from Joe Dante, Jack Hill, David Hess, Fred Olen Ray and many more are interviewed about the subject. It is an enlightening documentary and one that ANY fan of exploitation films will not want to miss.

This is a short review, but one needn't talk much about the subject as it is self explanatory.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.......

Barry Manilow is 71, James Shigeta is 81, Peter Lupus is 82.

Monday, June 16, 2014

THEY LIVE 1988 (SHOUT FACTORY)

Reviewed this a while back, but now comes the Blu-ray from Shout.

One of John Carpenter's absolute best.

Roddy Piper is a homeless man named Nada who is looking for work in a large city and stumbles upon a pair of glasses that allows him to see that aliens have actually taken over. He can see the aliens and their subliminal messages when he wears the glasses.

These aliens, along with the wealthy elite of America have used our planet to grow and increase their power. Nada, after one of the longest fight scenes in movie history finally convinces hie friend Frank (Keith David) to put on the glasses. After that the two go on a quest to destroy the aliens an their hold on the world.

Piper and avid play off of each other very well and they make a formidable team. The ending is very well done with both protagonists dying, but not without success. Meg Foster is Holly, a woman who works for the aliens and whom Piper is drawn to for reasons I cannot figure out.

Piper has some memorable lines in this film. When he has first discovered the glasses and he puts them on, he goes into a store and a woman bumps into him and acts like a snob. Piper's character says "You know, you look like your head fell into the cheese dip back in 1957". This line and many others always makes me laugh.

The Blu-ray presentation from Shout is the best the film has ever looked and it sounds fantastic. The rest of the cast includes George "Buck" Flower andd Raymond St. Jacques.

Highly recommened.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.......

Joan van Ark is 71, Vilmos Zsigmond is 84, Suzan Farmer is 72, and Dagmar Lassnder is 71.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

RIP CASEY KASEM 1932-2014

I can barely write this one.

I knew it was coming, and I was as ready as I could be. Casey Kasem, the single greatest radio personality in the world has passed away at the age of 82.

Kasem was a strong and guiding force with me when I was much younger and inspired me to do a small radio show with a good friend of mine in Livingston, Montana.

In 1970 Casey started American Top 40 along with Don Bustany and it grew from 8 stations when it first aired on July 4, 1970 to over 600 at one point during the late 70's. I always listened to the show when I could and it gave me the taste in music I have today.

Very seldom does a man come along that has such an impact on me as Casey. He was simply the best and there will never be another. I could make this a very long write up because Kasem had been a part of my life since I was in my early teens. He was the voice of "Shaggy" in Scooby Doo, my favorite cartoon and he also acted in some movies that I consider some of my favorites including "Incredible Two Headed Transplant" and "The Dark".

I was in an Arby's when I heard Kasem for the final time on the radio. He was doing his final countdown and I just sat and listened to what he was saying. It was sad to hear him hang up the microphone.

He was a great man an this blog will always be dedicated to him and American Top 40

GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS 2000 (SONY)

Godzilla has a rather interesting foe in this well made monster bash.

A new weapon that creates black holes is experimented with as a way to destroy Godzilla. It leaves a temporary rip in the time/space continuum which allows some weird monsters to escape and lay their eggs in the city of Shibuya. These eggs hatch and become mosquito-like monsters.

The monsters prey on humans for their life energy and kill a young Japanese couple in a very disgusting and disturbing way. They soon all grow into one giant monster called Megaguirus that attacks Godzilla for his energy.

A huge battle between monsters and mankind ensues. The special effects are top notch in this effort an the Megaguirus is a pretty cool monster in and of itself. The Blu-ray really stands out in this film and if you are a Godzilla fan I cannot see why you wouldn't have this in your collection.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Herschell Gordon Lewis is 85, Judy Pace is 72, and Joy Bang is 69.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

SOUND OF HORROR 1966 (ALPHA)

Re-visiting one of my faves.

A group of men are treasure hunting in caves in an isolated part of Greece. The explode several caves and unbeknownst to them, one of the explosions release an invisible, shrieking dinosaur that stalks them and kills them one by one.

Yes, the invisible dinosaur is a way to save money on the budget, but it works very well. James Philbrook is the leader of the expedition and it is interesting to note that this is the film debut of 29 year old Ingrid Pitt and 22 year old Soledad Miranda.

Both add a lot to the film, but the monster is, of course the main attraction. The shrieking noise it makes is very bizarre and makes for a goo time watching this late at night.

The killings by the beast are well done for a film like this an the ending is pretty good as well. Not a bad film at all and one I would recommend to any horror fan.

Friday, June 13, 2014

FRIDAY FOSTER 1975 (MGM)

A fine blaxploitation film.

Pam Grier stars as A photographer named Friday who goes on an assignment to photograph the arrival of the richest black man in America. When he arrives three men attempt to kill him and this plunges Friday into a web of murder and a vague plot known as "Black Widow".

Thalmus Rasulala is Blake Tarr, the man who is almost murdered. Friday quickly tries to uncover the plot, but finds herself getting deeper and deeper into trouble.

This is based on the comic strip that ran in many newspapers from 1970-1974. Grier is always a pleasure to watch and her supporting cast includes Yaphet Kotto, Godfrey Cambridge, Eartha Kitt, Jim Backus, Ted Lange, Scatman Crothers and Tierre Turner.

With a top notch cast like this and some great action, great music an a fast pace you cannot go wrong with this one. Recommended for action fans, blaxploitation fans an Pam Grier fans.

RIP RUBY DEE 1922-2014

Stage and screen actress passes away.

Ruby Dee was 91. She is best known for her roles in films like "Raisin In The Sun", "It's Good To Be Alive", "Buck and the Preacher" an "The Stand".

She was married to Ossie Davis who preceded her in death in 2005. I will always remember her in certain films, and "The Stand" was one of her best.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

FIVE GUNS WEST 1955 (MGM)

Obscure but fun Roger Corman western.

This was Roger's first directing job along with "Monster from The Ocean Floor".

Five Confederate convicts are given pardons so they can partake in a dangerous mission. The mission is to capture a traitor and the gold he is carrying thru Indian territory.

The cast is headed by John Lund and also includes Mike Conners, Jonathan Haze, Paul Birch, Dorothy Malone, R. Wright Campbell, Larry Thior and James B. Sikking.

As you can tell it has a lot of the usual Corman players in it and that is what makes the film so entertaining. It has some good action and if you're a Corman fan you won't want to miss it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO......

Shari Eubank is 67.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

RIP VERONICA LAZAR 1938-2014

You may not remember the name, but she starred in several films you'll never forget.

For fans of horror she will always be remembered for her roles in Dario Argento's "Inferno: and "Stendahl Syndrome" and of course the immortal Lucio Fulci classic "The Beyond" which is a film I will never forget.

She was 75 and will be missed.