Monday, April 30, 2012
Rebecca Balding of The Boogens (1981) stars as a college student who needs to find some housing, pronto. She takes a room along with a couple other students in a house owned by an old woman (Yvonne DeCarlo) and her son. The house is actually the same one that is in the classic Spider Baby (1968). People start getting killed soon after. Cameron Mitchell (in like his millionth zero budget horror movie) and Avery Schreiber (all those Doritos commercials) play two cops trying to figure it all out. The great Barbara Steele is also on hand in a very creepy role. There's not a whole lot going on in the plot but the ending is pretty cool. The film was actually shot in 1977 but was unreleasable, so it was re-shot in 1980 - only 12 minutes of the original film was used! A movie being watched on TV in the film is actually part of the original movie.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I've seen almost every mummy movie made, up to the year 2000. This Brazilian film is one of the most obscure. It was directed by Ivan Cardoso, who made other movies featuring vampires. The great Jose Mojica Marins (aka Coffin Joe) has a very small role at the start as a dying man who has a map to the tomb of a mummy. A scientist who digs it up has also perfected an "immortality" serum that he already has injected into his helper, Ygor (of course). Injecting it into the mummy is the next obvious step. Ygor is kind of like Peter Lorre - bald headed, bug eyed and maniacal. He and the mummy bro up and he uses the mummy to kidnap women after killing their boyfriends. The women are all taken to the same room where for some reason they are insane, naked and fighting each other. The mummy is your usual run of the mill bandage-head. Some of the movie is filmed like old newsreels to give it more of that old film feel. It's not a great movie but it is what it is. Cardoso went on to make the much better The Scarlet Scorpion (1990).
Bud Spencer (who made umpteen movies with Terence Hill, including the Trinity series) stars in this sequel to The Sheriff and the Satellite Kid (1979). The amazing thing about these two movies, to me, is that his co-star is the little kid from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Cary Guffey! Guffey plays an alien, H7-25. If you saw the first movie, you'll remember the great low-budget effects, hilarious events and usual fights. This movie isn't quite up to par with that one, but it's still pretty great and has even more of a sci-fi plot. Borrowing from Invaders From Mars (1953), evil aliens make a base on Earth where they begin controlling people that can help them take over. Unfortunately for them, the place they pick to do it is the same town where Spencer has just become sheriff. The movie starts off with the usual fight scenes, Spencer beating up lumberjacks, The Brothers Dynamite (a gang of hoods who threaten to blow everything up if they don't get protection money) and a gang of miscreants in weird cars who wear masks. Later, Spencer beats up a bunch of alien robots, who start repeating the same phrases over and over ("You're an alien-schmalien!" being one of the stranger ones). One of the aliens is played by the very prolific Italian actor/stuntman Giovanni Cianfriglia (over 100 movies to his credit). Some of the movie was shot at Six Flags Over Georgia. Unfortunately, the English dubbed video of this on YouTube becomes un-synced halfway through so the sound doesn't match the action. Director Michele Lupo made two more movies with Spencer before retiring.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Dennis Quaid stars as a psychic who gets nabbed and taken to a clinic where they "count boners". Max Von Sydow and Kate Capshaw (the poor man's JoBeth Williams) work there. They are doing research on using psychics to go inside of, and interact in, other people's dreams. Christopher Plummer is a government bad guy and Eddie Albert plays the President of the United States, who is having a lot of bad dreams. George Wendt (Norm on the TV show "Cheers") has a role where he doesn't do much except look kinda like Damon Packard. There's a little kid, and whenever there's a little kid in these movies I refer to the kid as an "Opie", named after Ron Howard's character in "The Andy Griffith Show". This "Opie" has bad dreams and the dreams have the best thing about this movie - the Snakeman! Mostly a cool puppet, also stop-motion animated, it's scary and awesome. Sometimes you want to ask, "why did that character do that?", but that's okay, try not to think too hard. It's fun, pretty fast moving and definitely better made than a lot of others. Director Joseph Ruben had previously directed Quaid in the Meatballs rip-off Gorp (1980). His next movie was The Stepfather (1987).
Friday, April 27, 2012
This Mexican movie was in Spanish, so I'm not sure exactly what was going on. Some people, including Kitty de Hoyos (who was the lead in the horror movie La Loba the same year), get down in some caverns. A guy got killed down there by something with a big claw. Scientists show a projected film that includes the usual footage from One Million BC (1940) that you see recycled in these movies. There is also footage of some (puppet?) dinosaurs. They are all kind of goopy, but the Brontosaurus has the goopiest neck. If dinosaurs were really like that, they wouldn't be able to keep their heads up at all. The people who go down in the caverns get assaulted some more by the claw, which belongs to a cyclops-thing. There's a lot of blood when necks get gashed, but the movie is in black and white, so it's not as disgusting as you would think. A guy takes a break to sing a song. There's also a big bat monster that can swim underwater, and there's an underwater scene that looks exactly like the one with Julie Adams in Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954). There's also a part where it's eyes are the only things on the screen, which is kind of weird if you pause it. Pretty fun, even though I still have no clue what anyone was saying.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Robert Walker stars as Edgar Allan Poe. This is the story of Lenore, the character talked about in the famous poem "The Raven". Lenore is Poe's first great love, but is nearly buried alive when everyone thinks she has died. She is pulled out of the casket in the grave, but her hair has turned white from fright. That's not all...she has also gone crazy. Poe takes her to an institution run by Dr. Grimaldi (Cesar Romero). He has some people locked up just to get their money and is doing some experiments with a new drug on his unfortunate patients. Poe is always snooping around. He gets some of the drug and has what he thinks are hallucinations of snakes. There's not much going for it and it's really not all that interesting. The end is probably the best part. You could put this movie into two genres: Edgar Allan Poe movie and/or snake horror movie. If you are a completist of either of these, then obviously you won't want to miss it. With Carol Ohmart (Spider Baby (1968)) as Grimaldi's wife.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Millie Perkins (whose first role was as Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)) stars as Molly, a very disturbed woman who castrates and kills men with a razor blade. She hallucinates, has flashbacks about her father and is topless a lot. The story is not very convoluted but the script by Robert Thom (Death Race 2000 (1978)) is very good and the movie is compulsively watchable. I think one reason for this is the way different sequences are filmed - it helps put you into Molly's mind. I definitely did not expect the final revelation about Molly's father. The two people's names I recognized in the credits were George "Buck" Flower (for once not playing a bum and looking pretty clean cut as a police detective) and Roberta Collins (from those 70's Roger Corman women-in-prison movies). Director Matt Cimber started off in 1968 with the Jayne Mansfield movie Single Room Furnished. In the 80's he made two movies with Pia Zadora, Butterfly and the entertaining Fake-Out, then went on to make two adventure movies with Laurene Landon. He stopped directing for over 20 years, but he's back in business now and has a new movie due out in 2013!
Sunday, April 22, 2012
This Filipino movie stars 2' 9" actor Weng Weng (yes, a midget) as Agent 00. He fights various villains so cardboard that you can almost see the corrugation. It's humorous seeing him running around and jumping and stuff like that. He does his own stunts too, they probably only had to pay half the usual amount of insurance (yuk, yuk, yuck). Sometimes Bionic Man music plays. Our little spy also slides across the floor a lot (with such force that someone must be giving him a push). He's basically up against guys who kidnap a scientist so they can get the N-bomb formula (oh geez) and they also smuggle drugs inside loaves of bread. When we find out they want to give it to kindergarteners, well, they lose any sympathy we might have had for them. One of Weng Weng's best lines comes when the cab he's in runs out of gas: "Jerk! Now I have to walk on my little feet!" The dubbing is pretty bad, sure. The main villain is a slightly bigger midget and the two adversaries have one of the shortest (hahaha) martial arts battles ever. It's kind of tedious but also just ridiculous enough to keep you watching. I mean, any movie where a dwarf flies around with a jet pack has at least that going for it. Weng Weng returned as Agent 00 in The Impossible Kid (1982).
Saturday, April 21, 2012
A creepy balding guy (Bo Brundin) tries to get "$65" for his rent by taking it out of the purse of a sleeping woman. She wakes up and screams. Unfortunately for him, she has a spoon on her bedside table, which she uses to gouge out one of his eyes. Now he goes around with an eye patch and his (mostly female) victims are on the unfortunate end of knives, hammers and clotheslines. He takes out all their eyes and uses them in his "art" (turns out he's a bad sculptor as well). He passes them off as "50¢ fake eyes" that he resells for a dollar. He rants a lot and says stuff like, "I am twisted!" A subplot with a female art student goes nowhere. The big climax takes place in a meat packing plant. If you can handle looking at plastic eyeballs drenched in ketchup, I think you'll be okay getting through this. Incredibly, this was directed by the same guy that made Snowman (1978), that movie where Mel Torme crashes his plane in Utah and has to survive on his own. Brundin's next role was in Jerry Lewis' The Day the Clown Cried (1972).
Friday, April 20, 2012
Ray Danton stars in the title role. We find out he's really good at yoga in the opening segment, which means he can hold his breath a long time. This helps him out when things get tough later on. Marisa Mell (of Danger Diabolik fame) is a red-haired adversary and Margaret Lee plays his blonde assistant-type who almost takes an electric bath. The plot has some bad, bad men putting "Syncron 2" in the chewing gum supply at a bowling alley in Michigan. This makes some girl gyrate like crazy to the jukebox, but it can also make grown men fight if their drinks are spiked with it. It's obvious the whole earth is in trouble unless Superdragon can save the day. There's kind of a strange non-ending though. Semi-entertaining weirdness from director Giorgio Ferroni, best known for his 1960 epic Mill of the Stone Women.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Pretty decent Paul Naschy horror movie. As the pharaoh (and horrible person) Amenhotep, Naschy tortures and kills women until he is poisoned by one of his underlings. He's buried alive and many years later, his tomb is disturbed by an archeologist (played by Euro star Jack Taylor). An ancestor (also Naschy) resurrects the mummy by killing more women. Then the mummy goes on his usual rampage as he tries to resurrect the soul of his favorite concubine. Euro favorite Helga Line plays the unfortunate vessel for the soul. There's some good gory effects and atmosphere and we get to see the mummy walk around in some sewers. This was the fourth (and last) Naschy film directed by Carlos Aured.