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Thursday, July 30, 2015

CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES 1972 (FOX)

The fourth and most brutal of the Apes saga.

In a future world about 20 years after the ending of the "Escape" film, the US is under a totalitarian government that condones ape slavery after a plague wipes out all cats and dogs.

Ricardo Mantalban is Armando, a circus owner who has control of an ape named Caesar. Caesar has the ability to speak since his parents were Zira and Cornelius. When this is discovered the government takes any steps necessary to find him and kill him because they now he will eventually lead a revolution that will end mankind.

Armando is taken into custody and eventually killed which enrages Caesar. Slowly over time he organizes the apes into an unstoppable army that proceeds to destroy a city and slowly take over.

This is definitely the most violent of the movies and yet it still appeals to families which is what Fox was afraid of when it was released. they thought families wouldn't enjoy it as much as the previous three films, but alas, they were wrong.

The stellar cast includes Roddy McDowell as Caesar, Don Murray, Natalie Trundy, Hari Rhodes, Severn Darden, John Randpolph, H. M. Wynant and the very sexy Asa Maynor.

If you enjoy the Apes series, then you'll love this one. Recommended.

RAMBLINGS.......

Every once in a while life throws you some curves, and it has thrown a few my way lately.

I am currently looking for a new place to live as well as some medical problems, which makes for a bad combination. Due to this the blog will be somewhat sporadic for a while.

I haven't had a lot of time to watch movies as of late, but will still try and post reviews here and coming attractions when I can.

I very much appreciate everyone who stops by, comments and enjoy what I do. This blog is simply a labor of love and nothing more.

When things settle down a bit, I will be back full blast, but I have no idea when that will be. One other thing I wanted to mention is that today, July 30th marks the one year anniversary of the passing of one of the best friends I ever had. John Conrad Fredriksen passed away from brain cancer on this date last year.

John was a contributor to this blog and an author who penned many books on war history as well as two books on the entertainment field. Those books were "Honey West" and "Man Into Space." he was working on the "Bible" of 50's sci-fi when he was diagnosed and it was never completed.

John's memory will always be with me, and that is another reason I do this blog, and will continue to.

THE H MAN 1959 (MILL CREEK)

This has been reviewed here before when it was available from Columbia. But now Mill Creek has put this out on a pretty cool set of six sci-fi films.

People have been turned into green blob monsters due to fall out from radioactivity, and now they are looking for new victims in Tokyo.

There are some pretty graphic scenes of people dissolving after coming in contact with the green goop, an those are not soon forgotten. Neither are the scenes on the thought to be abandoned boat.

There is also a pretty heavy gangster subplot which makes the movie even more interesting, at least in my opinion. This film obviously inspired by "The Blob", but of course done in a very different style. The print looks fantastic and is in the correct aspect ratio. If you get a chance I highly recommend you see this Japanese sci-fi gem.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Jamie Pressly is 38, Vivica A. Fox is 51, Edd Byrnes is 82, and Monique Gabrielle is 52.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES 1971 (FOX)

This is the third film in the very successful franchise.

Zira, Cornelius and Milo escape from the future earth before it is ended at the end of the second film, and they find that they have landed on Earth in 1973 by hitting the same time warp encountered by Taylor and other earth astronauts.

At first all are treated as animals and put in a zoo until Zira shocks them by actually speaking. Dr. Milo is accidentally killed by a gorilla, and soon Zira and Cornelius become honored guests. This all changes when the government discovers that Zira is pregnant and the her baby might be the one who leads a revolution to overthrow the human race.

This is one of the best of the series and even today can really make you think. Bradford Dillman and Natalie Trundy are two scientists that befriend the two fugitive apes. Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowell are Zira and Cornelius respectively. I really recommend this entry.

The ending is a sad one, but fitting and open for the fourth segment. The rest of the cast includes William Windom, Sal Mineo as Milo, Eric Braeden, Jason Evers, Albert Salmi, Asa Maynor, and John Randolph.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Elizabeth Berkley is 43, and Lisa Gastoni is 80.

Monday, July 27, 2015

NIGHT THE WORLD EXPLODED 1957 (MILL CREEK)

I reviewed this a long time ago when it was available only as a DVD MOD from Columbia. Now it has been officially released on DVD from Mill Creek.

A scientist perfects a machine that he claims can predict earthquakes. The scientist, David Conway (William Leslie)predicts that a massive quake will strike California in 24 hours, and he is proven correct.

Soon earthquakes are happening everywhere and it become obvious that something is causing more than just the usual run of ground movements.

Conway and his assistant Laura Hutchinson (Kathryn Grant) set up base in the Carlsbad Caverns to try and find out what is happening. By accident they discover a rock which grows and expands then explodes. This turns out to be the culprit. They name it Element 112.

From then on it is a race against time to stop Element 112 from destroying the entire world. This is a fun but sometimes talky film. However, it's not a bad way to kill 64 minutes. I liked it, and the Mill Creek print is beautiful and in the correct aspect ratio.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

THE 27TH DAY 1957 (MILL CREEK)

Interesting 50's sci-fi film.

An alien contacts five people and brings them on board his spaceship and gives them all containers with three capsules.

Gene Barry and Valerie French are two of the people given the capsules. They hide out from authorities once the alien broadcasts who has the items.

A Chinese peasant woman commits suicide rather than be captured by her government, a Soviet guard is held prisoner and tortured for the secret of the capsules, which he doesn't know anyway. The US government is anxious to find out the use of these capsules.

This film is a well made and sometimes overlooked film that has a very important message. Three superpowers are set at odds against each other by an alien race that needs to relocate and they have given the human race a chance to destroy themselves. A very good message if you ask me.

The film is well acted and the direction is good. Mill Creek has turned this out on a set with five other great films from Columbia Pictures. Those will be here at a later date. I highly recommend this film. The rest of the cast includes Arnold Moss as the alien, George Voskovec, Paul Birch, and Frederick Ledebur.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Susan George is 65, Celeste Yarnall is 71, Suzanna Leigh is 70, and Lorna Gray is 98.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

HELL UP IN HARLEM 1973 (MGM)

A great film from Larry Cohen.

Fred Williamson stars in this great film about a gangster named Tommy Gibbs who, at the very beginning of the film is shot by members of a rival gang that want a list of corrupt police and city officials.

He is forced to take time off to recover, but manages to reorganize his gang and take on his rivals with brutal violence and bloodshed. There is plenty of action that really never lets up.

The District Attorney is determined to have Gibbs killed in order to protect himself from prosecution, but Tommy doesn't die easily. There is a lynching of the DA that is very violent and one of the longest chases ever as Tommy chases a gangster from NY to LA!!

Larry Cohen makes this film entertaining, but you really find nobody to really care about in this film, which is probably for the better anyway. If you like "Blaxploitation" films you will like this. I know I did.

Friday, July 24, 2015

THE DEVIL'S RAIN 1975 (DARK SKY)

This is a very well done horror film in my opinion.

A satanic leader named Corbis is seeking a book that has the names of people who sol their souls to Satan, and he intends to get the book from a family whose been keeping the book from him for 300 years.

Ernest Borgnine is the incredibly evil Corbis and William Shatner is Mark Preston whom Corbis eventually captures and changes him into an eyeless follower.

Tom Skerritt is Mark's brother, Tom, who then comes searching for him with his wife Julie (Joan Prather). Tom enlists the aid of Dr. Sam Richards (Eddie Albert). Julie is offered as a sacrifice for the devil cult while Tom and Sam find they have way more than they bargained for in fighting Satan.

The ending has almost everyone in the cast melting and it's a very downbeat and twisted ending at that. I have read a lot of very bad reviews about this film and I don't understand why. It's a well made thriller that starts out well and never lets up.

The rest of the cast includes Ida Lupino, Keenan Wynn, John Travolta and Lisa Todd as Lilith, Queen Of Delights. I love the print from Dark Sky, it's the best I have ever seen this film looking. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Jennifer Lopez is 46, Lynda Carter is 64, Linda Harrison is 70, Mark Goddard is 79, Torrie Wilson is 40, and Heidi Kristoffer is 33.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

COMING ATTRACTIONS.....

Well, it is now official....

Synapse has announced MANOS THE HANDS OF FATE will be released on Oct. 13th along with another favorite film of mine called MOSQUITO starring Gunnar Hansen.

These are two of Synapse's most requested titles and both make their Blu-ray debut on the above mentioned date.

Kino is releasing QUEEN OF BLOOD on Blu-ray as well as YONGARY: MONSTER FROM THE DEEP. No street date has been determined yet, but I will have it here as soon as I know.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Charisma Carpenter is 45, Lydia Cornell is 62, and Erika Blanc is 73.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

THE CORPSE GRINDERS 1971 (IMAGE)

I hadn't seen this film in almost 15 years and accidentally stumbled on the disc at my local Hastings store.

This is a shot in Las Vegas horror film from director Ted V. Mikels. A cat food company called Lotus has run into financial problems and start using human bodies in their mixture.

This has a side effect of making the cats turn into flesh eaters who randomly attack people. A doctor and his nurse/girlfriend investigate and get into deep trouble.

Mikels films are not for everyone, but I like the majority of his output. What I really like about this film is the heavy use of colored gel lighting. This and "Creepshow" were the inspiration for my use of colored gel lights in my film "Tales Of The Damned".

This is a fun film and one I can recommend whole heartedly. I remember back in the days of VHS, this film has the reputation of being a really gory film. Not true.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Mary Collinson is 63, Tisa Farrow is 64, Shawn Michaels is 50, and Erica Gavin is 68.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

RIP PAUL LUKATHER 1926-2014

Word has just reached me about the death of actor Paul Lukather.

Lukather got star billing in the 1962 horror film "Hands Of A Stranger: and second billing in the wonderful film entitled "Dinosaurus".

He made only a handful of films and also appeared in such TV shows as "Outer Limits", "Bat Masterson", "Get Smart" and many more. His death was not reported anywhere, which is sad. I couldd find no cause of death. He was 88.

RIP THEODORE BIKEL 1924-2015

Another great character actor has passed away.

Theoore Bikel died of natural causes on July 21. He appeared in many TV shows including one of my favorite "Twilight Zone" episodes entitled "Four O' Clock" in which he planned to turn everyone evil into miniature people. Some of the movies he appeared in were "African Queen", "The Defiant Ones" and "My Fair Lady".

Bikel was also a master of languages and a songwriter as well as a member of MENSA. He played guitar, mandolin, and Harmonica. A very talented man who has left us a great legacy of film and TV as well as music. He was 91.

CRIMSON CULT 1968 (KINO) BLU RAY

This film finally gets a long awaited digital release here in the US.

When his brother disappears a man sets out to find him and this leads him to a country house where he last stayed. Mark Eden is Robert Manning who soon discovers that his brother was involved in a bizarre cult worshiping a witch that was burned at the stake many years before.

Christopher Lee is Morley, the owner of the house who claims to have never seen Manning's brother, and is hiding a very dark secret. Boris Karloff is Professor Marsh whom manning confides in. Barbara Steele is Lavinia, an evil witch who has green tinted skin and was burned at the stake. Her scenes all appear in weird dreams that Manning has when asleep.

Virginia Wetherall is Eve, the young woman whom Manning falls for while searching for his brother, and she is very easy on the eyes. This is a fun film with a rather bizarre but fun ending and is a good bet for any horror fan.

Kino has done a great job with the Blu-ray transfer. The only thing is that the original music is replaced, but that is a very little thing and hardly a reason not to watch this classic. The disc has a 47 minute interview with the late Christopher Lee that is very interesting and almost worth the price of the disc alone.

No horror fan should be without this film in their collection. One of the best releases of the year at this point. Check it out.

Monday, July 20, 2015

RIP ALEX ROCCO 1936-2015

One of the greatest character actors of all time has passed away.

Rocco passed away on July 18th at the age of 79. Rocco started his long career in 1965 in the Russ Meyer film "Motorpsycho" and never looked back. He appeared in hundreds of TV shows such as "Batman", "Kojak", and "Get Christie Love".

His movie career blossomed with such films as "St. Valentines Day Massacre, "Bonnie's Kids", and the unforgettable "Detroit 9000". His most famous role is that of Moe Green in "The Godfather".

Rocco was a talented actor who could take any role and make it interesting. Even if the movie wasn't very goo\d, his acting made it a standout. They don't have actors like Alex anymore. He died of cancer.

CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER 1960 (MILL CREEK)

Not too bad of an adventure film.

Robert Alda and Debra Paget star in this film about the daughter of Cleopatra who is doomed to die inside of a pyramid at one point in the film until her lover finds a way to rescue her.

There is a mixtures of action, intrigue and plenty of fights and dancing girls. It is interesting to note that Rosalba Neri is also in this film in a small role.

The film does drag in a few spots, but the presence of the always sexy Paget makes it all worth while. The print from Mill Creek is ok, but again, I do wish it was in the proper aspect ratio. If you haven't seen this film and like sword and sandal films, you might like this.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

Diana Rigg is 77, Camille Keaton is 68, and Lola Albright is 90.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

ISLAND OF THE DINOSAURS 1967 (BCI)

Little known Mexican film.

Four people travel by plane for an expedition and are blown off course. The plane crashes on an uncharted piece of land inhabited by dinosaurs and cave people.

Armando Silvestre is Molo, a caveman who lives on the island and leads a tribe. He is thrown out and finds his way to where the four explorers are and falls for a young woman named Laura.

This is basically a Mexican version of "One Million BC" from 1966. The film contains tons of stock footage from "One Million BC" made in 1940 as well as numerous other films. However. This is still a fun film from Mexico andd should be enjoyed by people who like these kinds of films.

Alma Delia Fuentes is rather fetching as Laura, the woman who elects to stay with her caveman lover at the end of the film. If you haven't seen it, I would recommend it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO....

James Brolin is 75, Audrey Landers is 59, Burt Kwouk is 85, and Brigette Skay is 75.

Friday, July 17, 2015

URSUS IN THE LAND OF FIRE 1963 (MILL CREEK)

A fun sword and sandal film.

Ed Fury stars as Ursus in this fun tale about an evil and cruel king who rules an empire with an iron fist after he places himself on the throne with the former King's evil niece as his queen.

Ursus is captured and escapes. He decides to bring down the evil ruler and has to face several trials and tribulations in order to get it done. There are plenty of fights, sword battles and feats of strength.

This is a very goo film, but the one drawback is that is really, really needs to be in scope. I do wish Mill Creek would have gives this film, and others the proper aspect ratio as one third of the image is missing! Oh well, you takes what you can get for the time being.

If you like peplum films, you will enjoy this, no matter.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO.....

Donald Sutherland is 80, Diahann Carroll is 80, P.J. Soles is 65, Phyllis Davis is 75, and Catherine Schell is 71.