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60 reviews in total 
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Young Couples Only (1955) (TV)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing, 27 October 2006

Rick and Ruth are new tenants in an exclusive apartment building. To qualify, they had to be under thirty years of age and provide proof of good health.

Before long, Ruth starts to suspect there is more to the building than meets the eye. The custodian, Mr. Grover, has all sorts of unusual equipment in the basement. Rick discovers him installing a strange antenna and a new "exhaust system" for the air conditioning on the roof. Matters come to a head when Ruth believes she sees a third eye in the back of Mr. Grover's head. They soon start to suspect the building itself is an alien spacecraft and that they are the focus of some strange plot.

This made-for-television movie is comparatively brief and has the feel of a "Twilight Zone" episode. This is natural since the original story was by Richard Matheson, a core "Twilight Zone" writer. "Young Couples Only" is poorly executed and might have better a Zone episode rather than a television movie. Peter Lorre's talents are wasted. His presence seems to be more for name recognition rather than for his skill as an actor.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Above par, 27 October 2006

Jim Gray is a decent, courageous, and law-abiding citizen. When he is framed for the murder of his friend, Neil Denham, he escapes to conduct his own desperate investigation. His plan is to masquerade as the deceased Denham and join a ranch which is plagued by a gang of Mexican bandits led by the "General." He hopes to prove the gang is behind the killing and end its grip of terror over the countryside. In the process, he is joined by "Squint" Sanders whose principal goal in life is to kill Gray in revenge for the murder of Denham. The two must contend with overzealous law enforcement, vigilante-minded ranch hands, and treacherous bandits.

On the surface, Border Devils appears to be fairly typical of low-budget westerns of the period. It is fairly fast-paced and has a rushed and sometimes confusing plot. Nevertheless, the principal cast (Harry Carey as Gray and George "Gabby" Hayes as Sanders) is superb. Further, there are a number of plot elements (which can't be revealed here without becoming spoilers) that are both inventive and entertaining. Particularly good is a scene where Gray and Sanders are in the gang's clutches and must effect an escape. Border Devils is recommended for fans of 1930s westerns. Most other viewers should probably pass on it.

2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
For Musketeers Completists, 9 September 2006

This 1966 BBC production is a fairly conventional adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas story. Content-wise, it is comparable to the better-known 1948 and 1973 versions. Whereas those films have comedic elements, this one lacks any significant humor.

On its own merits, it appears to have enjoyed a respectable budget and fairly good production values. The casting of Brian Blessed as Porthos is particularly welcome. However, the performances are stiff, the fights and swordplay uninspired and unrealistic, the music and cinematography mediocre to poor. Portions of the portrayal of D'Artagnan are grating, particularly in Episode One. There is an over-reliance on dialogue, giving the film the tone of a plodding soap opera rather than a rousing adventure. When compared to the 1948 and 1973 adaptations, its weaknesses become particularly glaring. Nevertheless, dedicated fans of the Musketeers genre should probably give it a chance.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Well made, but dull, 15 April 2006

Narrated by Cameron Mitchell, this is a look at death and the possibility of life after death. The filmmakers visit a strange cemetery in Mexico where mummies are stored in underground tunnels then proceed to Egypt to look at the Cairo Museum and the Valley of the Kings. Next, they travel to India to interview a swami and get his philosophy on death. Finally, they return to the United States. Here, they examine the work of a doctor in Tennessee who believes in the possibility of near-death experiences and an afterlife. The film concludes with a look at the work of a hypnotist who places a woman into a trance and conducts past life regression. This final segment is comparatively lengthy since the filmmakers go to the trouble to check out her claims of her life and death in Corning, Ohio in the nineteenth century. Though there is an interviewer in each case, he is never clearly seen and Cameron Mitchell provides the narrative voice-over.

At the time this was released, the subject was probably not tired and worn out. Further, it is fairly well made when compared to many similar documentaries of the 1970s. Despite this, the film itself is plodding and is made from the point of view of believers in the subject matter. Even those interested in the subject or who are entertained by 1970s pseudoscience should probably pass on this one.

22 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
A passable western, 18 January 2006

Schoolteacher Alice McAndew (Carey) has the misfortune of sharing a stagecoach with prisoner Pudge Elliott (Wynn). When Pudge's friends arrive to rescue him, they don't stop at simply robbing the stage. All aboard are killed except Alice. Her intended fate is far worse. She is hauled into the desert to be repeatedly and brutally raped and left for dead.

The outlaws' plan goes awry when an Apache (Silva) saves Alice from a cruel death from shock and dehydration. He nurses the young woman back to health. Before long, the two start hunting down the killers.

By 1970 standards, this is a fairly extreme western. The rape scene is not lingered on, but is filmed in such a way as to instill shock in the viewer. The film has a few rare humorous elements, but is otherwise a deadly serious tale of revenge. Henry Silva's character has little dialogue and virtually no knowledge of English. The filmmakers rely instead on imagery and expressions to tell the story more than the spoken language.

For me, the film was passable. I personally couldn't find much to fault in the approach taken. Some plot elements are strong, but cannot be stated here without becoming spoilers. The cast is good and consists largely of veterans of the western genre. The minimal dialogue was a good choice. The rape scene is not exploitative. Perhaps it is because this vengeance theme has been done so much that I couldn't really get into the film. For western traditionalists, this might be one to avoid.

Demon Summer (2003) (V)
5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Not recommended, 6 February 2005

Aimless teens on summer break in a small Ohio town can't find any meaningful ways to fill their time. Some consider driving to Chicago; others are content to drink and bully their peers. In a random act of alcohol-fueled arrogance, the bullies rough up a homeless man and steal a strange book. The handwritten text turns out to contain archaic spells designed to summon demonic forces. A night or two later, one of them reads an incantation and is quickly possessed. He turns into a vicious killer and begins to quietly prey on his former peers.

"Demon Summer" is an amateur production with a microscopic budget. The production values are low, but the filmmakers were smart enough to not be ambitious. Little in the way of special props or shooting locations were needed. The acting is especially weak and there is virtually nothing original in the screenplay. On the positive side, the special makeup effects are surprisingly good by low budget film standards. Despite this, the gore is minimal. Makeup effects aside, there is little going for this film, even for die-hard gore-hounds. Not recommended.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Polished and well crafted, but not typical of the werewolf genre, 2 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The review that follows contains what might be considered to be spoilers. Though the identity of the killer is not kept secret by the filmmakers, some viewers might want it to be something of a surprise.

A killer is at large in northern Spain in 1851. Beginning in 1847, he has murdered and mutilated more than a dozen people, mostly women and children. The police manage to cover up most of the killings out of a desire to prevent public panic.

The killer is a traveling vendor, Manuel Blanco Romasanta (Sands). He uses his superior interpersonal skills and his understanding of human nature to insinuate himself into the lives of prospective victims. Some are killed almost immediately while others unknowingly live within his clutches for weeks. Romasanta is thoroughly insane. Believing himself to be a werewolf, some of his assaults superficially appear to be wolf attacks. The authorities even go so far as to place a bounty on wolves even though they know the culprit is all-too-human. A break in the case comes in the form of young Barbára Garcia (Pataky). She strikes up a relationship with Romasanta only to soon realize he is responsible for the disappearances (and probable murders) of her sister and niece. Barbára's sense of vengeance helps move the police onto a course that might apprehend the monstrous Romasanta.

The film is very well crafted, featuring excellent costumes, props, and shooting locations. It is definitely not what many viewers might expect. Though it is superficially a werewolf film, it is really a serial killer film in the tradition of Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Se7en (1995). Viewers expecting an action-packed horror film will be disappointed. The filmmakers focus on drama, character development, and mystery. The crimes are gruesome and there are elements of horror, but the result is really more of a crime mystery. The performances are good and the cadaver effects are convincing.

The film's slow pacing is perhaps its weakest point. Many viewers will not find this to be a problem, but others will find it to be dull. Overall, I recommend this for mystery lovers. Those looking for something like The Howling (1981) or An American Werewolf in London (1981) should probably look elsewhere.

The Trackers (1971) (TV)
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Recommended, 29 November 2004

A mysterious band of killers raids isolated homesteads. In their latest crime, they raid Sam Paxton's place, kill Sam's son, and kidnap his daughter, Becky. Sam is desperate to get the killers and recover his daughter. The efforts of a posse prove ineffectual, but Sam is determined to continue on. He sends for an old Army buddy who is a well known tracker. Unable to come, his friend sends another tracker, Ezekial Smith. Sam, a Confederate veteran, is extremely

displeased when it turns out Ezekial is black. However, the posse is making no progress so Sam reluctantly accepts this help. Ultimately, the pair gradually gain each other's respect as they pursue Becky's trail into Mexico.

Though it has some occasional comedic elements, this is a serious western

featuring a very credible performance by Sammy Davis, Jr. The supporting cast is composed largely of veteran actors with a wealth of experience in the western genre. The result is an effective and entertaining western. This is particularly remarkable given the type of material many viewers associate with producer

Aaron Spelling. The issue of racism isn't sugarcoated. None of the posse

members ever really accept Ezekial Smith and even Sam is very slow to give up a lifetime of bigotry. Recommended.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Shameful, 26 October 2004

This follow-up to Sergio Martino's "The Island of the Fishmen" (1979) is set in the future. Two teenage boys prowl the sewers of post-apocalypse New York and survive by hunting rats for food.

They are illiterate and have only superficial knowledge of the world prior to the great holocaust. The early scenes depict the boys' struggle to escape the ruined city and the warriors who rule it with an iron fist. Once outside, they encounter an elderly man named Socrates who takes them to a pristine tropical island somewhere in the Atlantic or Caribbean. The island is ruled by an evil queen whose oppresses the population and exploits a species of horrible fishmen. The outsiders join a young princess who hopes to overthrow the queen and free her sister and a prince from powerful spells. The film is something of a science fiction/fantasy that is suitable for young viewers.

Sergio Martino has a fairly long resume as both a director and a screenwriter. "The Island of the Fishmen" was set in the nineteenth century and benefited from fairly decent production values and a decent cast. Unfortunately, Mr. Martino didn't leave it at that. "The Fishmen and Their Queen" does not qualify as a sequel. Instead, it is a fragment of a film that fills in gaps through the shameful use of re-edited footage from two previous Martino films: "2019: After the Fall of New York" (1983) and the first fishmen film. The acting is horrible, the storyline is implausible and juvenile, and the final result is boring. Though evidently intended for teenage viewers, the film is so bad on so many levels that it seems to lack appeal for even the target audience. For fans of Martino's original work, this is one to avoid. For parents who think their twelve or thirteen year olds will like this, look elsewhere.

12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
It could have been so much better, 17 September 2004

Oceanlab is an experimental station built atop an undersea mountain in the

North Atlantic somewhere off the coast of Canada. An earthquake strikes,

causing the lab to plunge into an unexplored abyss. Three men are trapped

aboard and they have only seven days of oxygen remaining.

After five days, the Oceanlab team is able to call in a retired naval officer, Commander Blake (Gazzara). Using his deep sea submersible "Neptune II," it

is hoped he can locate and rescue the men before they suffocate. The hope is a slim one; all contact with the lab was lost when the earthquake occurred. The submersible must face the hazards of deep sea travel, aftershocks, and some

very unexpected discoveries on the ocean floor.

The cast is unusually strong with Ernest Borgnine, Donnelly Rhodes, Yvette

Mimieux, and Walter Pigeon all putting in good performances. The special

effects are limited to model work for undersea shots, but the models are decent enough given the year of release. The film starts out well with the opening

score being particularly noteworthy. Unfortunately, once the submersible gets in the water, the viewer is taken for a rather dull ride for the bulk of the film. Suspense is largely absent. In lieu of pacing, the filmmakers subject the viewer to a lot of stock fish footage. While this was decent enough, it was overused and probably better suited to a nature documentary. Ultimately, the screenplay

needed some serious work. There is insufficient substance to make this work

even as a one hour Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episode. "The Neptune

Factor" otherwise possessed all of the elements necessary to make a successful and compelling adventure film.

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