Thursday, October 29, 2015
While this has never been my favorite of the classic Universal monster movies, due to it's slow-moving action and stagey feel, it's such an iconic film, thanks mainly to the performance of Bela Lugosi, that even all the negatives are swept aside and it's historical significance shines through. Dwight Frye is also quite awesome with his signature laugh as the bug-eating servant of Mr. Dracula, Renfield.
I was happy I got the chance to view this in an actual theater along with it's Spanish version last night and the main thing I realized in this setting is how quiet the film is. I mean besides the opening titles there's no soundtrack at all so the audience got to enjoy the sounds of the retarded Hollywood movie playing next door as well thanks to the piss-poor construction of your modern-day shithole multiplex theater. But even this couldn't take away from the experience of watching on of the most influential horror classics.
Re-release poster from 1947:
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
This is the 25th Godzilla film and pretty much dismisses all the movies except for the very first one(which is what most of these Godzilla flicks of the 2000's have done). It keeps Godzilla as the bad-monster and switches King Ghidorah to a good-monster. In fact all the monsters except for Godzilla are these magical guardians of Japan. Big-eared monster Baragon also shows up even though he gets no title credit, guess it was too long already. The director, Shusuke Kaneko, made all the 90's Gamera films, which are pretty awesome and he does a similar job here with bringing the action and changing the story enough to make it interesting. Sadly it seems some Godzilla nerds don't like anyone fucking with their characters at all and many of them hate this movie because it's not the same exact plot as most of the other films. If you're not a nit-picky jerk though and just a fan of big stupid monsters(actual rubber-suit monsters not cgi-abominations!) fighting and killing innocent people you might enjoy this for what it is.
Monday, October 19, 2015
I picked up a weird nondescript VHS with this title and a badly drawn picture of a dude with his brain sticking out a while back just because I was curious as to what the hell it could possibly be and also because it was only $1. Turns out it's a re-titled version of Al Adamson's 1971 epic BRAIN OF BLOOD so I feel I got my moneys worth. I also feel that this is one of Adamson's better efforts and it's just strange enough to make for a decent time-waster. You get Angelo Rossitto as the evil midget assistant, a big mutant-faced retarded gentleman named Gor, women kept in chains in the basement/dungeon and actual bloody scenes of heads being sawed and brains being worked on by surgeons to help gross you out! There are certainly parts that drag a bit but for an Adamson flick it's not the worst you could do.
There's a bunch of aka's for this besides BRAIN OF BLOOD including BRAIN DAMAGE, THE CREATURE'S REVENGE, THE UNDYING BRAIN and my personal favorite THE OOZING SKULL!
Shown on a double-bill with what I think is that Filipino horror flick also know as THE BLOOD DRINKERS:
Sunday, October 18, 2015
The introduction of the Billy Jack character. The series got super hippie-like/philosophical and political but this first chapter is my favorite. It's your basic exploitation movie tale of a gang of crazy rape-happy bikers who mess with a town where American-Indian/cowboy martial-arts master Billy Jack occasionally hangs out. At first, like all great, kung fu heroes, Billy doesn't want to get involved in the white-man's problems but he ends up right in the middle of all the chaos anyway. One weird thing about this movie is how it starts out with the villains, who we're supposed to hate, being mouthed-off to by a real jackass and shitty driver who smacks right into one of their Harley's and then acts like a smart-ass about it. I mean beating him to a bloody pulp mighta been overkill but this meathead was obviously looking for trouble yappin' off like that. Another strange thing is how the VHS I own of this has a big rated-PG sticker on it when the movie is full of bikers raping young ladies?
Overall this one is a notch above your typical biker flick with most of the characters actually having some depth to them and being fleshed out. It was also the biggest money-maker for AIP studios up until they released THE AMITYVILLE HORROR which explains all the sequels.
Jane Russell who was a big sex symbol back in the 40's shows up as a mom of one of the raped gals and in one standout scene does some super hardcore dramatic acting!(overacting?).
Billy Jack gets his name in the title of all the rest of the films in this series which include:
BILLY JACK (1971)
THE TRIAL OF BILLY JACK (1974)
BILLY JACK GOES TO WASHINGTON (1977)
There was a planned 5th film titled THE RETURN OF BILLY JACK alternately known under the long insane title of BILLY JACK'S CRUSADE TO END THE WAR IN IRAQ AND RESTORE AMERICA TO ITS MORAL PURPOSE, that was never completed.
Re-released after BILLY JACK became a big hit:
The Italian re-titling gets right to the point!:
Thursday, October 15, 2015
The movie CLASS OF 1984 is a totally fucking awesome evil punk-rockers on the loose classic so the idea of doing a shitty sequel to it has always been totally repulsive to me and I've been able to avoid it until now. It was part of an 80's horror DVD collection or I'm sure I would still not bother with it. While it is a pretty awful movie and the "punk rockers" in this are exceptionally lame I will try and look at the few good things it has going for it. The main one is Pam Grier as a killer robot teacher. So this is basically the closest we get to seeing what it would be like if Miss Foxy Brown starred in THE TERMINATOR and that's kinda cool. The second thing is the cast has a couple of of big names. Malcolm McDowell as the principal and Stacey Keach(with stupid white contact lenses on his peepers) as a big jerk. Sadly none of these people are actually the stars of this film and we get a bunch of young people acting like tough gang members. While the idea of High-School kids fighting off insane Terminator teachers sounds like it could be cool on paper it's never all that exciting here.
There is a sequel to this CLASS OF 1999 II: THE SUBSTITUTE( wait, shouldn't that be called CLASS OF 1984 III??) that I feel confident about avoiding.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Kelli Maroney, from NIGHT OF THE COMET, and a few of her friends spend the night in a mall with killer robots(or KILLBOTS as the original title called them). CHOPPING MALL sounds like the title of a slasher movie, which this basically is, except instead of a homicidal killer you get 3 out of control, laser-shooting robots who might rip your neck out, electrocute you or blow your head to smithereens(in the films big money-shot/show-stopper scene). The plot is about as basic as it gets but all the elements are there(blood, boobs & beasts(technically metal beasts in this case but same idea))for a good stupid horror flick. As a bonus the film is only around 70 minutes long so you get in and out nice and quick.
The cast in this is pretty sweet with Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov showing up in the beginning as their characters from EATING RAOUL which makes me want to go re-watch that film again soon and Dick Miller as Walter Paisley which was his character from A BUCKET OF BLOOD as well as a bunch of other things.
Julie Corman was the producer here and her husband Roger's b-movie classic ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS shows up playing on TV.
Monday, October 12, 2015
I've avoided watching this one and most of Dario Argento's more recent films because of all the negative shit I hear about them from everyone. While I can understand being disappointed in the look of this movie and the general blandness of it, especially when compared to Argento's classics like DEEP RED or SUSPIRIA, I didn't think it was terrible. Maybe I just have very low expectations for modern movies but I found this at least mildly entertaining and way better than that terrible PHANTOM OF THE OPERA that Mr. Dario crapped out. It's all pretty basic psychopathic-murderer-on-the-loose stuff with a couple of scenes of mild torture and bloodshed and I was a little disappointed that this wasn't actually a giallo but is just called that in reference to the killer's skin-tone. Pretty sneaky Dario! Overall though it wasn't as painful of a watch as I had been warned.
Apparently the two lead roles here were originally supposed to have been played by Vincent Gallo and Asia Argento which probably woulda been better. Then Ray Liotta was cast which also might have been interesting. As it ended up lead actor Adrien Brody wound up trying to get the release of this movie stopped since he wasn't paid what he was promised. I guess we won't be seeing him in any more low-budget Argento flicks.
This trailer is super generic but that seems to be pretty typical of the majority of modern cinema:
While most Hong Kong action and/or horror movies have at least a couple of scenes of comedy this one is pretty much all played for laughs and I guess that's how Hong Kong moviegoers liked it back then because this was a big hit at the time it was released and spawned 4 sequels (although I guess Part 5 is also considered a sorta-remake.) Whenever I think of those Chinese hopping vampires this is the first movie that comes to mind, though I'm sure they were in many Asian flicks before this. In addition to vampires you also get a sexy seductive ghost-lady, jokes that seem like they should be in an episode of THREE'S COMPANY and lots of goofy Jackie Chan-esque kung fu. A good watch for fans of Asian martial arts, horror and The Three Stooges all mixed together into one absurd experience.
"you know I don't wear no fuckin' cotton drawers!"
DOLEMITE might be the greatest blaxploitation movie ever made. I say this because when people think of the genre of blaxploitation films they imagine this movie. Even people who have never seen this, or even heard of Dolemite, still think of this movie! That's some pretty powerful shit right there! Movies like BLACK DYNAMITE owe everything to this film, in fact everyone who spoofs black 70's movies(MADTV etc.) owes this film, hell even Ol Dirty Bastard inserted himself into clips from this to make his very own music video. Almost every other goddamn line of dialogue in this film is quotable. Maybe the only negative thing I can bring up is that, like many of the black films from this time, they spend a little too long in the nightclub setting. Also Mr. Rudy Ray Moore's stand-up act is not exactly the most hilarious set you could hope to see and it drags for a little bit. Besides this though everything works for an all-time classic example of an exploitation film. The acting is mostly terrible, but not on purpose like those new prefab-"cult" movies, and is a big part of the charm. D'Urville Martin as arch-nemesis, evil-pimp Willie Green actually does the best job out of anyone. The "Hamburger Pimp" character has to be a real junkie or he deserves an Oscar for this performance. The "kung-fu" is hilariously awkward and most of the kung-fu ho's are not exactly beauty queens but if you can't find enjoyment in a film like this you might be a terrible human-being.
The sequel to this THE HUMAN TORNADO is technically slightly better but I have to give it to this one for historical purposes.
The ODB version:
Sunday, October 11, 2015
This movie seems to have been the horror nerds flavor-of-the-month favorite a while back and watching one of those movies can be fairly risky. Also it's a new vampire movie and viewing one of those(with a couple of exceptions, e.g., LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) is almost always a bad idea. While I wouldn't say this is the most ground-breaking, amazing thing I've ever seen I will say it sure looked good. In fact the black and white cinematography is undoubtedly the strongest thing this film has going for it. This raises the obvious thought that in modern films(do we still refer to these things as films since they're not shot on film??) the look of something seems vastly more important than the content. That's not to say this is a completely empty presentation with nothing of interest. You do get a finger bitten off, some neck-biting and the most horror-filled scene featuring an old junkie shooting smack into his ugly deformed tootsies. It's all just a little slow-moving and goth-like for my personal taste and if I think about the plot too hard it seems like a more depressing inversion of the those TWILIGHT movies where we have a cute little vampire gal instead of a dreamy hunky bloodsucker who falls for a mortal. Of course I've never seen any of those mainstream crap-fests so maybe I got it all wrong. I will give props for the use of some cool spaghetti-western tunes here and there. This really just made me want to go watch the original movies but OK.
As a curiosity piece, this being the only Iranian(though shot in California but starring actors speaking Persian) vampire film I can think of, it's probably worth a look, but I really wish trend-setting horror aficionados would stop over-hyping every slightly different movie they come across.
Friday, October 9, 2015
It's amazing that the bloodiest/goriest movies of the 1960's were mainly all comedies. This one is totally comedic including a pie-in-the-face gag, silly sound fx, bad puns and lots of dumb jokes. At the same time it 's almost as gory as your typical HG Lewis flick from the same time period with a woman being beaten to death with chains, rampant cannibalism and dismemberment. Also some real surgery scenes are thrown in for good measure. Apparently it was even gorier when originally released but folks couldn't handle that kinda stuff back in the 60's so all that exists now is this edited version. Which would explain it's short(63 minutes) run-time. It's still a pretty great watch and a completely ridiculous groundbreaking film. As a bonus you also get a rockin'/jazzy soundtrack! Why this isn't shown at every theater in the U.S. as the perfect midnight movie I'm not sure.
Not sure if I've ever seen THE EMBALMER but just for the first two flicks this woulda been a great night of entertainment!!:
Thursday, October 8, 2015
I've been wanting to see this Japanese Toho-produced vampire flick for a long time now and finally sat down and watched it and was pretty disappointed. The movie moves at a snails pace and not a whole hell of a lot happens that anyone would consider exciting. This does emulate some of the duller English Hammer bloodsucker movies being made at the same time. There is some cool creepy atmosphere and it's all like an Asian take on Dracula set in a school. I also got a strong SUSPIRIA-vibe thanks to the setting and artsy-style, which is a little weird since that movie hadn't been made yet. Perhaps Dario Argento was more of a fan of this than I was. Maybe if there was more neck-biting and less talking and lame fights I coulda got into it more. AKA BLOODSUCKING ROSE and THE BLOODTHIRSTY ROSES
This film is actually the last part of a trilogy of Toho vampire flicks. The other 2 being 1970's THE NIGHT OF THE VAMPIRE and 1971's LAKE OF DRACULA. I've heard those two are superior to this one so maybe I shoulda started at the beginning.
Peeking at corpses!:
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Well this certainly is no BLACULA, that's for sure. I guess my main problem with this blaxploitation monster epic is that it's super boring. I mean the monster, created by the uber-bland Dr. Stein, walks around so slowly it's amazing that anyone winds up getting killed by him. The makeup is really bad and there's not much in the way of fx besides a couple of fleeting bloody intestine fondling scenes. Mostly people just get pushed and shoved or hugged to death. Yawn! 60's/70's sexploitation/porn star Liz Renay shows up for one scene to wear a big gaudy wig to bed and get her guts spilled. While this might not be the worst blaxploitation flick out there it's probably the worst black monster cash-in I've seen.
Since I'm such a big fan of the 'Charles Bronson vs. a psycho-killer' flick 10 TO MIDNIGHT I figured I had to check out this 'Chuck Norris in a slasher movie' extravaganza. While I do generally love Bronson more than Norris I'm glad I gave this a chance since it's super-slasher movie-like basically answering the question of what would happen if we threw Norris into the middle of a HALLOWEEN film. There's even a sci-fi element which grants the killer super fast recovery powers which explains things a lot more than any of the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies ever did about Jason's unstoppable ass. They even leave things open for a sequel at the end which sadly never happened. Biker barroom brawls, tattooed boobs, kung fu and Flounder from ANIMAL HOUSE as Norris' bumbling sidekick deputy. This might be my new favorite Norris flick!
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
While pretty much all of Charles Bronson's 80's films are variations/remakes/rip-offs of DEATH WISH this one at least has the decency to throw in a slasher movie plot to liven things up. It's probably my favorite of Bronson's later-era work due to this genre-melding and a pretty engaging watch overall. Real-life killer Richard Speck is brought to mind thanks to the film's nurse-slaughter scene, except I don't know if Speck got bare-ass naked and ran down city streets whilst butchering his victims. This does make for quite the cinematic moment though! The ending echoes DIRTY HARRY with a detective going beyond the law to serve justice. I'm pretty sure not as many ultra-liberal types get upset about this film as old HARRY though. Maybe it's because this feels so bonkers in comparison. Give it a watch if ya dig revenge tales or just naked psycho man-ass on the loose!
In Germany Bronson is "a man like dynamite"??!:
Monday, October 5, 2015
This is my favorite Abbott & Costello flick and it's also probably the classic Universal monster movie that I've seen the most, due to it being played many Sunday mornings on TV back when I was a kid. The cast in this one is pretty sweet with Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man(also briefly the voice of Vincent Price as The Invisible Man). The only one missing is Boris Karloff, who Abbott & Costello would meet a year later in A & C MEET THE KILLER, but we do have Glenn Strange as The Monster(referred to as "Frankie" by Costello in what might be the first time in a film the monster is referred to as just Frankenstein??). While this is obviously a comedy the monsters are kept fairly true to their roots and never completely ridiculed the way I imagine most modern-day comedies would treat them. Memories of watching this film are so ingrained in my head that it's impossible to be very subjective about it but I feel very lucky to have been raised in an era when stuff like this was everywhere for free.
Cool/weird-ass German poster!: