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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.

Monday, February 23, 2015

THE NASTY RABBIT 1964 (MILL CREEK)

One of the strangest films I have ever seen.

Arch Hall, Jr. stars as a young singer who also is a spy working in the US to stop Russia from infecting the US with deadly bacteria via a rabbit.

This was supposed to be a comedy, but it really doesn't come off very well. The rabbit actually has a few lines!! Arch Hall Sr. (AKA William Watters) is also in this film as well as Liz Renay.

Pat and Lolly Vegas sing a song or two and actually wrote the song "The Spy Walt" for this film. They, of course went on to greater fame forming the 70's band Redbone and had several hits including "Witch Queen Of New Orleans" and "Come and Get Your Love".

This is a very harmless way to kill 90 minutes, and I can think of much worse ways. Watch it and decide for yourself.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Peter Fonda is 75 and Linda Cristal is 81.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

SAM PECKINPAH....

Feb 21st was not only the B-day of my mother who passed away in 1989, but also of her former employer Sam Peckinpah.

Sam taught me a LOT about making movies. I miss both of them very much. My mom was one of only two people who could make heads or takes out of Sam's writing which he did all by hand.

Sam died one day after my 22nd b-day on 1984. There are not people like Sam anymore, because Hollywood has become a political correctness wasteland of filth and garbage. The left wing communists would never give a person like Sam a chance to make movies now.

Sam was a great teacher. He is still missed. So is my mother.

MAGIC SERPENT 1965 (RETROMEDIA)

Interesting Japanese film.

In ancient Japan, a good lord is killed and his throne is taken over by an evil emperor. He remains in power for many years until a young man appears one day and threatens to kill the despot.

This is a great mixture of Japanese monster films and Samurai films. The serpent shows up at the beginning and then at the end at it battle a giant frog and a creepy black widow spider.

It will remind you of the Majin films quite a bit. It is well directed and acted and if you like movies such as this then the Retromedia disc is the one for you. Check it out.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

James Hong is 86, and Karin Dor is 77.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

WHITE COMANCHE 1968 (MILL CREEK)

Western that has taken a lot of criticism isn't as bad as they say.

William Shatner plays twin brothers. One is a renegade Comanche Indian an the other is a quiet man who is always at war with his brother.

Notah, the Comanche leader raids a stagecoach and kills everyone on the stage except a beautiful young woman played by Rosanna Yanni. He rapes her and leaves her for dead. Johnny Moon, his twin fins the woman and brings her back to town.

The hatred between the two brothers slowly build until they meet in a duel on horseback. This is a strange western with some bizarre shots, but all in all not as bad as people say.

Shatner is ok in the role of the twin brothers. Some of the dialogue is stilted, but that hardly qualifies it as a bad film. If you like westerns you should at least try and see this film. Believe it or not Warner Archives is releasing this on a Blu-ray disc!

Yanni always looks hot as well as Perla Cristal who plays Notah's love whom he ignores. Joseph Cotton is the sheriff and does his usual stalwart job of acting.

Friday, February 20, 2015

FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE 1965 (MGM)

The second in the trilogy of film starring Clint Eastwood as the "man with no name".

Eastwood turns in another fine performance under the direction of Sergio Leoni. This time he is hunting El Indio and his gang when he meets Col. Douglas Mortimer who is also looking to capture or kill Indio for the bounty.

They decide to work together and split the reward. Mortimer is played by Lee Van Cleef, he and Eastwood make a great team.

As they close in and finally corner the killer one of them makes his real intentions known which provides the film with a good little twist. There are plenty of gunfights and laughs along the way in this well paced film that shouldn't be missed by any spaghetti western film fan.

It's sad that this was not released in the US at the time it was made in 1965. This and "Fistfull Of Dollars" was delayed until after the release of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" because US film studios were afraid they wouldn't be moneymakers for them.

Forty plus years later they are now absolute classics of cinema. See this film and decide for yourself.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Gail Kim is 39.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DAUGHTER OF HORROR 1955 (SINISTER CINEMA)

A magnificent one of a kind film.

A woman wakes up from a nightmare in a skid row hotel and a narrator tells us we are going to take a journey into an insane mind.

There is no dialogue as the woman encounters an abusive husband, a wino, a fat rich man (Bruno VeSota), crooked police and much more. This is shot in a great looking film noir style and it really hols your attention.

Jazz great Shorty Rogers appears in a jazz sequence and the music is very good. I love the way the film unfolds into madness. Ed McMahon is the narrator and after finding this out an really listening to him, you can tell it's him.

If you get a chance you will want to check it out. As I stated above, this is a one of a kind film that really should be seen. This is also the film that was being shown in the theater in the 1958 film "The Blob". Highly recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Smokey Robinson is 75.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

BLOOD DEMON 1967 (SINISTER CINEMA)

AKA Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism.

That original title really blows my mind! This is one of my favorite Euro horror films of all time.

Christopher Lee is Count Regula, a man who has killed 12 virgins. he is sentenced to be drawn and quartered, which he is, but he does vow revenge on his executioners.

Cut to 35 years later and he is back seeking his 13th virgin, which happens to be the daughter of his intended victim many years ago. Lex Barker is the man whose father was the Judge that passed sentence on the Count. Both are taken to the castle and put thru some pretty terrible experiences.

Lee actually looks dead in this film, and the look is pure gothic. Gorgeous Karin Dor is the woman Lee wants to kill to gain immortality. There is some pretty startling imagery in this film including a forest full of corpses hanging from trees and body parts growing out of trees and out of the ground.

Very well done and creepy to boot. If you're a fan of Euro horror, or horror in general, you might want to check this out. The print from Sinister in uncut.

JOHN CONRAD FREDRIKSEN....

Today would have been his 62nd b-day.

John was interviewed on this blog about his wonderful book entitled "Man Into Space" which was about his favorite show when he was a child.

John was a one of a kind friend who was always fun to talk to and be around. He passed away last July 30th from brain cancer and I miss the hell out of him.

He will always be remembered by me as a man who could talk ancient war history and then switch gears and talk of one of our favorite films...Robot Monster. Did I say I miss him?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

George Kennedy is 90, Vanna White is 58, Julie Strain is 53, Skin Diamond is 28, Lisa Comshaw is 51, and Juice Newton is 63.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

AMERICAN TOP 40 THE 70'S

This weeks broadcast takes us back to Feb. 26, 1977.

This was a time when Natalie Cole said "I've Got Love On My Mind", Boston was taking a "Long Time", Abba told us about the "Dancing Queen", The Jacksons said "Enjoy Yourself" and Bread was "Lost Without Your Love".

Great music and a great show from the best year ever in pop music!! Listen to AT 40 the 70's hosted by Casey Kasem this Saturday on WMGN 98.1 from Madison, WI. The show starts at 8pm Mountain time.

RIP LOUIS JOURDAN 1921-2015

Well known French actor and star of the film "Gigi" has passed away.

Louis Jourdan had a very wide and varied career. he appeared in such films as the one mentioned above as well as "Amazons Of Rome", and the 1977 thriller "Dracula" which was very well received.

Jourdan also appeared in such TV shows as "Columbo" and "Charlie's Angels" just to name two. He is also well know for his role as Arcane in the films "Swamp Thing" and "Return Of Swamp Thing". Both movies would have been less without his aristocratic performance as the suave villain.

He was 93.

RIP LESLEY GORE 1946-2015

Another person I knew has passed away.

Lesley Gore the singer songwriter has passed away at the age of 68. Gore was best known for her songs entitled "You Don't Own Me", "It's My Party", "Judy's Turn To Cry" and many more.

She was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and began her career at the age of 16. I last saw her in 2006 and she was a wonderful as ever on the stage. A great and gracious lady whom I will never forget. A big loss for the music industry.

CATCHING UP....

I was gone for a few days and have some catching up to do.

Trying to catch up on movie watching included several films I have talked about before on here. I took a look again at The Dark from 1979 starring Cathy Lee Crosby and William Devane. I love this little film about an alien invader who shoots laser beams out of his eyes and rips people's heads off.

It seems the makes changed the film midway from a zombie to an alien, but never the less I like the film a lot and always have. Dick Clark produced along with Edward Montoro. You should check it out.

I also looked at Tormented, the 1960 Bert I. Gordon film starring Richard Carlson as a man who lets his former lover fall to her death so he can marry another woman. However, the ghost of his victim begins to haunt him. This is by no means a bad movie as some claim. There are some interesting moments here including a disembodied head yelling "Tom Stewart Killed me!!!".

Again, I like this little thriller, and I do recommend it.

Lastly, I took a look at Devil's Partner from 1962. Ed Nelson stars as a young man who arrives in a small town after his uncle dies. Turns out Ed isn't really who he says he is an people start dying in mysterious ways. The ending is pretty cool in this unique horror film which also stars Edgar Buchanan.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO

Paris Hilton is 34, Hal Holbrook is 90, and Jim Brown is 79.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

THE POPPY IS ALSO A FLOWER 1966 (MILL CREEK)

Unusual spy film.

An all star cast appears in this unique film about trying to stop the Opium trade coming in from Iran

In an effort to stop it a group of narcotics agents inject a radioactive compound into some opium hoping that it will be traced back to the original distributor in Europe.

The cast includes such stars as E.G. Marshall as an agent who hides under the bed of co-star Angie Dickinson, Rita Hayworth as a drug addict, Gilbert Roland, Eli Wallach, Trini Lopez, Omar Sharif, Grace Kelly, Stephen Boyd, Senta Berger, Yul Brynner, Jack Hawkins and many more.

Interesting to note that Terence Young worked for free and the other big name stars were paid a dollar for their work. This is a film any film buff will want to see. it's available on a lot of PD sets, so check it out if you want. Not too bad.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Meg Tilly is 55, and Andrew Prine is 79.

Friday, February 13, 2015

FROM HELL TO BORNEO 1967 (MILL CREEK)

George Montgomery stars in this off beat adventure film.

Montgomery is a wealthy mercenary who is living in solitude on an island in the Philippines who suddenly finds his island being invaded by pirates and smugglers.

Torin Thatcher is the leader of the smugglers and Julie Gregg is his love interest. This is a very bizarre film made even more so by a musical number involving ducks!! Yep I said Ducks.

This isn't a classic, but it will hold your attention, and after the "Duck Dance" as I call it, you will always remember it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Kim Novak is 82, Carol Lynley is 73, George Segal is 81, Roberta Vasquez is 52, and Barbara Shelley is 83.