Reviews written by registered user

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16 reviews in total 
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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

This is probably the best (or at least unique) of Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s film.

What sets this film apart is that the first third of the film, dealing with reincarnation, is genuinely interesting, with fairly good dialog, acting and a genuine sense of atmospheric strangeness. The dream sequences are unique for their time and are quite effective.

Sadly, once the film moves to Africa, the film grinds to a halt. Only the downbeat ending lives up to the promise of the first part of the film, but this film shows that Wood did have his moments.

Probably the best part of the film is its unique score by Les Baxter. The music combines Baxter's trademark exotica with a genuine vein of unhealthy, yet bittersweet, romanticism that is truly singular and very effective. It might be interesting to some to know that Baxter used two cues from this film in his landmark exotica album PORTS OF PLEASURE.

7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Masochist's Delight Or, The Worst Comedy Ever Made In Italy, 17 January 2000

Mario Bava made many GREAT movies in his career, but this isn't one of them! This film is horrible -- the script stinks, the photography is bad (very unusual for Bava) and the staging of scenes is inept -- there is nothing good about this film.

I usually defend composer Les Baxter, but his score is also rotten, and the original Italian music is even worse... And finally, can there be a worse comedy duo than Franco & Ciccio? Not in this universe!

7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Original U.S. Release Had Sensitive Les Baxter Score, 16 January 2000

When this wonderful Bergman film was released in the United States, Les Baxter was commissioned (with Bergman's approval and input) to write a score to add some emotional warmth to this somewhat cool film. The original Swedish version has only a few minutes of music, and virtually all of that is just source music. Baxter's new score proved very effective, and this Bergman film was probably seen by more Americans than any other of his films.

Sadly, the versions now available in the States are missing Baxter's music which adds a very nostalgic, bittersweet quality to the film that is desperately needed. Even Bergman was pleased with Baxter's efforts and wrote him directly, complementing the quality of Baxter's work.

It's too bad that Janus Films doesn't locate the Baxter score and reinstate it onto the soundtrack. This would probably become the most popular of all of Bergman's films if this lovely and heartfelt music was returned to this wonderful film.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Solid Little Western, 16 January 2000

Edward Bernds THE STORM RIDER is a pleasant, unpretentious little western that revolves around the tried and true formula of the conflict between free-range ranchers and those who posted barbed wire. There's a surprising amount of action, romance, tragedy, heroism and even a little philosophy bandied about in this compact story which benefits from good actors, a literate script and a certain atmosphere of foreboding claustrophobia. The interesting story is well presented and composer Les Baxter creates a striking score of orchestral variations on the old English ballad "Greensleeves" which is uniquely different from most of the other Western scores of the '50s, with its heavy overtones of loneliness and an elegiac bittersweet quality.

This is a quiet but effective little western.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Horror Film Of Great Visual Beauty, 14 January 2000

When Roger Corman produced THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER in 1960, he changed the way that people looked at horror films. While Britain's Hammer Films is credited (rightfully so) with making the first really attractive color horror films, it was the American director Roger Corman who would use color not only for mood and atmosphere, but also for great dramatic and psychological effect.

The first and, along with 1961's PIT AND THE PENDULUM, the best of Corman's Poe adaptations, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER is a gorgeous, lavish looking film. Corman assembled an unbeatable team of creative collaborators in cinematographer Floyd Crosby, writer Richard Matheson, production designer Daniel Haller and composer Les Baxter. All of these gentleman made tremendous contributions that, together, set Corman's films apart from all previous horror films.

Though made on the most modest of budgets, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, looks, sounds and feel expensive. The actors are very, very good, while the mobile, fluid, opulent photography of Floyd Crosby traverses the plush and mysterious sets of Daniel Haller, while the exquisite music of Les Baxter bathes the film in lush decadence. Corman's film is truly an enveloping experience that needs to be seen in a theatre or appreciated in the Widescreen letterboxed edition that is still available.

If you can catch this film, by all means do, it is one of the turning points in modern day horror films and proved to be very influential.

8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Another Terrible Horror Film From Gordon Hessler, 14 January 2000

German/British director Gordon (Scream and Scream Again) Hessler once again proves that, even given exceptional talent in front of and behind the camera, he can only make the most unappealing and repulsive of films. He has all of the late, great Michael Reeves "talent" for showing the ugliness in this world without any of the intellectual power Reeves brought to the material to make such films facsinating and honorable.

With the exception of Terry (Monty Python) Gilliam's creative titles and the unique and misunderstood music added to the American release by Les Baxter, there is nothing else worthwhile about this abominable film.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Not Bad, with a wonderful score by the great Les Baxter, 12 January 2000

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the movie, it's quite engrossing and Lynda Carter gives a surprisingly good performance as the alcoholic driver. Much better than the usual Lifetime made for cable movie, and very nicely directed.

This features the last film score by movie music icon Les Baxter, and he gives the film a lot of support, very emotional, yet restrained. It's too bad most TV films can't have music as good as this.

Overall, a worthy effort, well directed, acted and scored.

The Raven (1963)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Fun Corman Classic, 11 January 2000

I was lucky enough to have seen this film in a theatre as a wee babe, and it has always remained a favorite. It's too bad they don't make horror pictures like this nowadays, kid's would love this.

The cast is unequaled, the script is very funny, and the production design and cinematography are overtly beautiful with spectacular color that you just don't get very often these days. Corman certain could make his films look great.

Composer Les Baxter should be commended for creating such a great score that is both funny and scary, a tough thing to pull off, and Baxter does it with style. Who can forget the magicians' duel, with it humor and beautiful effects, especially those gorgeous rays of light eminating from the wizards' fingers. A classic sequence of comic horror.

12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Best of the Beach, 11 January 2000

William Asher's Beach Blanket Bingo is probably the best, and certainly the most entertaining, of the AIP beach party movies. For once, the script is actually funny, not just stupid, and the presence of Buster Keaton, Timothy Carey and, of course, Harvey Lembeck as Von Zipper, adds a lot to the camp value and a very young Linda Evans adds her own exotic beauty.

Annette looks great, Frankie even seems to have a tan and the late, great, John Ashley adds to the fun.

This isn't Shakespeare, but the script is clever, and this probably has the best songs in the series, with the great Les Baxter actually having a hand in the songs and their arrangements in addition to his usual scoring duties.

By all means catch this one if you like the series, and if you aren't familiar with it, I would recommend starting here. You won't be bored!

Saiyûki (1960)
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
China's Monkey King makes it to the West, 11 January 2000

This excellent Japanese animated fantasy is an adaptation of the old Chinese Legend of the Monkey King. Having seen the original Japanese version of this film, I don't have any problems with what American International did with this film, they have removed most of the religious references, but the story is still more or less intact, and AIP hired good talent for the voices.

The American score is by film music great Les Baxter, and this is probably the most symphonic score written for an animated film at the time of its U.S. release as Alakazam The Great. Gorgeous stuff, and the movie is lots of fun for both children and adults, who will enjoy a lot of humor added to keep parents awake.

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