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Revenge of the Virgins (1959)
The first nudie western.....?
You can almost smell the mould from the basement they undoubtedly found this one in. At first glance, this film looks like another one of the many low-budget westerns cranked out in the thirties and forties, even though it was made sometime later. It "borrows" its basic idea from THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE, i.e. a small group of people go prospecting for gold and fall victim to their own greed. A new twist is that they're prospecting in "injun country," and are being watched by a small all-female tribe.
This brings us to the real point of this movie. All of these Indian maids are TOPLESS. REVENGE OF THE VIRGINS was made at a time when independent film producers were just starting to put nudity into their product. Because this is such an early example, it is a very tame one. It's hard to imagine now that people would actually leave their homes to see a few brief, black and white shots of darkly-photographed breasts - but they did.
For all of you fans of cheap movies,this one is narrated by Ed Wood regular Kenne Duncan, reuses the music from THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS and is directed by Pete Perry - who gave us the amazing KISS ME QUICK!
The Manster (1959)
If you saw this as a kid, you haven't forgotten it.
In the early seventies there were two late night horror movie shows where I lived: NIGHTMARE THEATER on channel 7 and SUSPENSE THEATER on channel 8. My dilemma was that both programs were on simultaneously(around midnight on Fridays),and I always had to decide which one I wanted to watch. On one particular Friday I chose the NIGHTMARE THEATER movie, opting to check out the other channel during the commercials. During one of those breaks I switched over just in time to see the infamous "eye-growing-on-the-shoulder" scene. A while later I looked again and saw that eye growing into an entire head! I left it on that channel until the show was over. I have no memory of what the other movie was.
Like watching a train wreck!
Before they started distributing the innovative animated shorts produced by UPA,Columbia Pictures had their own cartoon department. The output of this department is rarely seen today. Watch this cartoon, or any of the studio's other Lil Abner shorts, and you'll know why. THEY ARE FAR AND AWAY THE ABSOLUTE WORST CARTOONS I HAVE EVER SEEN! Sure, there have been a lot of cheaply made cartoons over the years. The problem here isn't that the films were cheap - they seem to be made by people who had NO IDEA WHAT THEY WERE DOING! Cels were shot out of order. Backgrounds panned in the wrong direction. One scene had a big piece of adhesive tape prominently stuck on the background! Had these artists ever SEEN a cartoon before? Did the residents of Dogpatch make these things? I feel kind of bad writing these words. I know that even the most ineptly produced animation is the result of a lot of people working really hard for a lot of hours, but I couldn't believe what I was seeing. You won't either.
Hot T-Shirts (1980)
Thin on plot, but nobody seemed to mind.
I saw this in New Westminster, British Columbia on a double bill with THE HAPPY HOOKER GOES HOLLYWOOD. It was the first(but not only)time I attended a movie with no women in the audience.The story involved young women living in a small town. The girls who were born in the town were constantly feuding with the ones attending the local college. They decide to settle their differences by forming teams and staging a wet t-shirt competition,just like real women would do. The theater I saw this at - The Paramount - is now a lap-dance club.
Will I ever grow up?
I must have been about eight years old when I saw this on TV in the sixties. I was hesitant to watch it because I was home alone and the title seemed kind of scary. I watched it anyway and my initial reaction was that it seemed really odd. When I saw it again (and again and again)as an adult, I came to realize that a good deal of that oddness can be attributed to the low budget of the film(minimal cast,cheap sets,crude monsters and tacky - but distinctive - music). The box office appeal of the two voluptuous "galaxy gals" who were spearheading the invasion was also lost on me as a kid, as were the references to early television and the then-fledgling space program. Still, the overall kookiness of the whole thing really appealed to me at that tender age and it still does(I have a VHS copy my friend "The Alien" recorded off TV). Since, as I type this there is only one other comment for this film, there must be an awful lot of people out there who haven't seen it. The story involves a pair of dimwit army privates who discover that Dr. Poona and Proffessor Tanga(really!), two amazonian women from another world are in the early stages of planning an attack on the earth, aided by their army of "vege-men." Because their story is so fantastic(and they're so stupid)our two G.I. Jokers can't get their superiors to take action, so it's up to them to save the day. Sub-Three Stooges slapstick and brain-damaged dialogue can be found throughout,and it can't be over-emphasized that this is a very cheaply made movie. That said, I really enjoyed this film as a kid and I like it now.
Big Meat Eater (1982)
Local folks make good.
I was able to attend the invitation-only midnight world premiere of this at the Van East Theatre. Several of the cast members were in attendance, but I was unable to spot Big Miller, who played the title character. He was based in Alberta, but used to come to Vancouver to sing on local telethons.It was originally to be called THE BUTCHER OF BURQUITLAM, which is what the town it took place in was called in the film. The area where the two British Columbia cities of Burnaby and Coquitlam meet is sometimes referred to as "Burquitlam." In reality,however, BIG MEAT EATER was shot in and around the town of White Rock. The music was provided by a variety of local artists, including UJ3RK5 (pronounced U-JERKS)who were a bizarre "art band" active in the Vancouver punk/new wave scene at the time. I wish I could remember more about the movie itself. It had to do with a butcher who hires a big,possibly homicidal guy to be his assistant. Some space aliens(portrayed by a pair of deliberately obvious toy robots)are attracted to the shop because the left over meat, which the butcher disposes of in acid, makes an ideal fuel for their space craft. They refer to the substance as "balonium." A friend of mine worked in a local animation studio creating subtitles for the aliens' dialogue. As I recall, the film was low-budget, goofy and cheerful. It looked like the folks involved were having fun.
The Creeping Terror (1964)
It's all good fun(until Mom and Dad sees what we did to the carpet).
After hearing about THE CREEPING TERROR for many years, I wasn't disappointed when I finally saw it. I really liked the fact that,as ridiculous as the monster looks, the director was obviously very proud of it. There was no long buildup to its appearance - no shadowy brief glimpses of it. Within a couple of minutes of the film's beginning, the monster was out and about - in broad daylight yet! I also enjoyed the fact that its victims were all so cooperative, the way they were obviously pushing themselves down the monster's gullet. It was also nice of that group of soldiers to stand so close together so the monster could gulp them all down at once. This all may seem sarcastic(or stupid), but that is honestly not my intention. Watching THE CREEPING TERROR reminds me of my childhood when my friends and I would play make-believe in the back yard. Back then nothing had to be realistic or logical. Our imaginations were able to fill in the gaps. A few other films give me the same nostalgic feeling,such as EEGAH!, INVASION OF THE STAR CREATURES, RAT PFINK A BOO BOO and THE LEMON GROVE KIDS. I've recently started describing films like these to my friends as "backyard movies" and THE CREEPING TERROR is the backyardiest movie of them all.
An interesting glimpse at what was to come.
Comic artist Richard Corben started making this animated short as a solo project while working at a studio in Kansas. His employers and co-workers found out about it and assisted Mr.Corben in completing and releasing it. As I understand, it played primarily at film festivals and science fiction conventions, gathering some awards along the way. It was at a sci-fi convention in the early eighties that I saw it. I thought it was pretty inventive and was interesting in that it showed the beginnings of the unique style he would develop over the decades that followed. It was also in NEVERWHERE that Corben introduced Den, his most famous character. For another look at Den,see HEAVY METAL.
The Giant Claw (1957)
It clawed its way into my heart.
I used to watch a lot of monster movies as a kid(I still do!). My father could never understand this obsession, but on very rare occasions he would stay up late and watch them with me. He would also tell me about an experience he had in the fifties. In those days movie theaters in our town were required by law to be closed on Sundays, but they would have shows at midnight(when Sunday was technically over).It was on one of these occasions that my Dad attended what must have been a showing of THE GIANT CLAW(it may have been RODAN, but he doesn't recall it being a Japanese film). His assessment was pretty much like mine was when I finally saw this film. Overall it was typical of the medium level of science fiction films from that era - not as good as FORBIDDEN PLANET or THIS ISLAND EARTH, but better than THE INCREDIBLE PETRIFIED WORLD or TEENAGERS FROM SPACE - kind of on a par with IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA or THE MOLE PEOPLE. Or, at least it would be if not for the presence of the ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS extra-terrestrial giant bird attached to the claw referred to in the title. I understand the producers contracted out the construction and filming of this creature and were horrified(for the wrong reasons) when they saw the results. Viewing this film almost makes me think that the people responsible were deliberately trying to make the beast look funny. In other films with cheap monsters, attempts were usually made to hide the problem(with lighting or by keeping the creature's screen time to a minimum). Not so with this film. The screeching giant turkey is really the star of the show with plenty of closeups of its bulging eyes and twitching nostrils. I really can't tell if I'm laughing AT it or WITH it.
I couldn't believe it!
To somebody viewing KONGO these days, the film is surprisingly gruesome,morbid,sweaty,dirty,sexy,intense,dark and weird. The fact that MGM produced it makes these things even MORE surprising. What REALLY shocked me,though,is how outrageously RACIST this movie(or at least the characters in it)is. I'm too embarrassed to even give any examples of what I'm talking about,even though I'm not using my real name.