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The Ghosts of Angela Webb (2005)
A excellent journey into the unknown! Once again talented director Karl Petry rises above budgetary restrictions to bring us a very interesting film about the paranormal! The story line follows actual events, Deana Demko and Michael R.Thomas are standouts in the film, the rest of the cast is excellent too! Former deceased owners of Angela's house are appearing there, Michael R.Thomas plays a psychic detective who is called in to investigate! Many of the former owners start appearing to him. The film has just the right atmosphere, the cinematography is excellent, directing is expertly done, and the film holds your interest! Mr. Petry has the right creative talent to give us another fine film! A incredible example of independent film making!
Strike Me Deadly (1963)
A Taut Well Paced, Suspense Thriller!
Some spoilers .Highly recommended! Once again we have another multi talented director who transcends a low budget to make a enjoyable film! Stuntman, actor, writer, cinematographer, and director Ted V. Mikels directs his first film, and it is one of his finest! Gary Clarke who also starred in Herbert L. Strock's classic (How To Make A Monster) and Richard E. Cunha's (Missile To The Moon) is perfectly cast as as Jimmy a forest ranger! Also in the cast is beautiful sexy actress Jeannine Riley in her film debut. She later went on to star in the popular television series, (Petticoat Junction). Together Clarke and Riley have the right chemistry! Steven Quinn is very convincing in his portrayal as a psychopathic killer, who Clarke sees killing a man! He later incinerates the dead man's body, inadvertently starting a major forest fire! He then chases Clarke and Riley through the forest trying to kill them with his high powered rifle! This film has a underlying current similar to RKO's 1932 film (The Most Dangerous Game) and (Bloodlust) 1961. In which a psychopath stalks human victims for sport, with the aid of a crossbow! Excellent music by Nicholas Carras who's other credits include (She Demons) and (Missile To The Moon). Fine outdoor cinematography from Basil Bradbury. Director Mikels went on to give us such fine gems as (The Corpse Grinders) not to be mistaken with the (The Corpse Eaters) another fine film about gourmet dining!
The Ironbound Vampire (1997)
the storyline created by the director is imaginatively transferred, under the restraints of a low budget, he succeeds in bringing his artistic expression onto the screen that of the soulless world of vampires that inhabit the new jersey area. a slightly surreal atmosphere that transcends nicely! considering the budgetary limitations, one can only wonder what this talented director, could express with say a twenty million dollar budget?
Not of This Earth (1957)
A Corman Classic !
Or another nice summary, might be "Blood donors needed at Mr. Johnson's house"! One of Corman's finest! Directed by prolific director Roger Corman, Corman rises above the low budget and creates a classic! This is a very enjoyable science fiction horror thriller! I first seen it when I was very young boy a long time ago. I like it and all my friends liked it! A nice intelligently imaginative script from writers Charles B. Griffith and Mark Hanna. Corman directed it at a rapid pace and it works! The plot moves quick and does not become stagnate! The whole cast is excellent.Perfectly cast as Mr. Johnson is Paul Birch! He is a vampire like alien from outer space, he needs human blood to survive! He is from a dying planet called Davanna, basically he is a scout sent to earth to prepare the way for his planet's take over! Mr. Johnson has to wear dark sunglasses to hide his eyes which are white and have no pupils! He also has the ability to incinerate a human's brains by merely taking off his sun glasses, and looking into their eyes! Not the kind of guy you want as a friend!
At the beginning we see Birch's first victim the cute actress Gail Ganley. He also has a nice teleportation machine in his living room, which he uses to transport human specimens back to his planet Davanna. Birch wears a sporty wide brim black fedora and Brooks Brother's suit with black sun glasses. Beautiful actress Beverly Garland is nurse Nadine, who gives Mr. Johnson daily blood transfusion, so she lives in his house. Slowly but surely she starts to suspect Mr. Johnson of being a little "different"!! Garland is a wonderful actress, I always enjoyed her acting she has a magnificent intensity! She helps to make this film a pleasure. Also in the cast is another talented actor Jonathan Haze (The Little Shop Of Horrors)(Teenage Caveman) formally from Pittsburgh PA.,Haze worked for Corman in many films. Haze plays Mr. Johnson's chauffeur Jeremy, together Nadine and Jeremy start to become a sort of a detective team as they start finding out different strange events about Mr. Johnson.
A nice large old house is used for interior shots and adds to the bizarre dark atmosphere! Also in the film, is actor Dick Miller, another Corman regular, who is a more than a capable actor who does another fine job in this role! He adds a nice comedic touch to the film as a vacuum cleaner salesman, who unwittingly becomes another "blood donor" for Mr. Johnson! His body ends up in the cellar furnace! As the doctor that Nadine works for, doctor Rochelle (William Rodrick) he also suspects something is amiss too! So he is dispersed by Mr. Johnson! In what is a eerie bizarre moody scene, we see a umbrella like alien monster that flies or floats through a open window,and goes over the head of Mr. Johnson's adversary, Dr. Rochelle's head! It then proceeds to dissipate his head, then we see blood running down onto the table, fairly gruesome stuff for that period! The unique looking monster was designed by the highly talented Paul Blaisdell! In the meantime Beverly's boyfriend Morgan Jones, as officer Sherbourne is also investigating Johnson. A alien woman goes through the teleportation machine and arrives at Johnson's house, she tells him she needs blood. He breaks into a blood blank and gets "rabid" blood! Towards the end we see Johnson in his car chasing Nadine trying to catch her and trying to rid her of her brains! This is a great memorable scene, as she is running very fast for her life, and he is chasing her in the car you can hear him calling out to her telepathically, now its been a while since I seen the movie so I might be incorrect on some of the words but it is definitely a classic! He cries out, Nadine! Nadine! "Look at my eyes they are alien-n-n-n-n!!" In fact me and a old friend sometimes use to say the line out loud for a long time after we seen the film! You got to like this film, what fun! It was released by Allied Artists who also was the old Monogram Pictures, Allied Artists released a lot of fine gems during this period including (The Indestructible Man) (Attack Of The Crab Monsters)( The Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman) (The Wasp Woman) and many others.I always enjoyed the word monologues at the beginning of these Allied Artist films some where I heard that these were not in the original prints but were added on later when Allied sold the movies to television in the 1960s? I got a video tape of it a while back, and the print was very very dark, are there any excellent prints out there on video tape? This film like John Agar's (Hand Of Death) is a hard film to find on video tape, I would love to have one! My hats off to Roger Corman and all concerned on making a excellent film, most highly recommended!!!!!!
How to Make a Monster (1958)
How To Make A Nice Movie!
Contains spoilers a wonderful Herman Cohen production, and his third film with talented director Herbert L. Strock. This film is a lot of fun, and is very entertaining! Director Strock keeps things moving at a fast pace! And it is a pure delight! Music and story line are excellent and so is the fine cinematography! Robert H. Harris stars as makeup man Pete Dumont, the new owners are taking over the studio, that Pete works for,(American International). Monster makeup man Pete is given the pink slip, as they no longer need his services, because monster movies are out and musicals are in! The egotistical studio executives treat Pete with heartless abandonment! Harris excels in his role as the psychotic Pete Dumont! He begins to lose his mind, and becomes a homicidal maniac,as he methodically kills all who are in his way, one by one! He also does it with the aid of his mesmerizing makeup. Pete tries to bring two young actors, into his madness, and succeeds through the aid of his makeup he uses on them, they become assassins! The young actors are Gary Conway, and Gary Clarke, as Tony and Larry, the teenage Frankenstein, and the teenage werewolf. Tony and Larry are not cognitive of the murders they commit afterwards, while under the influence of the mind controlling drug, that Pete has introduced to his makeup formula! The local police are baffled as dead studio executives start showing up all around the studio! Even a studio guard, is beaten to a pulp by Pete who is in monster makeup, after he starts to ask Pete one question too many! The police captain played by the well liked veteran fifties Si Fi actor, Morris Ankrum. Also in the cast is another Si Fi great Thomas B. Henry (The Brain From Planet Arous) (Twenty Million Miles To Earth) many others, he plays a studio director. One memorable scene shows Gary Clarke in full teenage werewolf makeup, as he throttles a studio executive, while spittle runs down his mouth! Another scene has the powerfully built Conway hiding in a executive's garage as the teenage Frankenstein, he proceeds to break the back of the smart aleck executive. Gary Conway and Gary Clarke are two excellent actors and they do well in this film. The ending is a gem, as Pete by this time is a raving lunatic! After he kills his assistant (Paul Brinegar) with a large ceremonial knife, he then attempts to separate the boys heads from their bodies and add them to his monster collection on his wall! Tony and Larry don't like the idea of decapitation, and try to escape. A fire breaks out and the whole place starts going up in flames! Tony and Larry get out, but Pete is left standing in the middle of the flames screaming about the destruction of his children! The climax turns to color. On the wall of the makeup man's house are some of monster maker Paul Blaisdell's finest creations! This film is just as entertaining as another Herman Cohen and Herbert L. Strock collaboration, (I Was A Teenage Frankenstein) also for American International Pictures. Under the excellent direction of Herbert L. Strock this movie works. Strock also also directed one of the best science fiction movies of the fifties (The Magnetic Monster), for United Artists, when he was called in to replace the first director. Both films are highly recommended!
The Hideous Sun Demon (1959)
A Nice Film.
This one is for you Bob! When you consider that Robert Clarke was working on a very low budget, I think he did a great job! Also considering that Clarke not only starred in the film, but he also directed it. The camera work is excellent the music is good, and the Lizard man costume is one of the seven best monster costumes of the 1950s! The artist (Richard Gianabattista Cassarino) who designed the realistic costume also was the police officer on the top of the tower, at the end of the film.In a reverse theme to the werewolf legend we have the rays of the sun turning Clarke into the Lizard man! There are many good scenes, there is a scene where Clarke as the lizard man, enters into a Railroad warehouse and confronts a resting hobo, as he is standing there in the dark of the warehouse there is some sunlight coming in, and you can see his eyes moving back and forth in the dark mask, it looks real and accommodating eerie. The film has plenty of action, with Clarke running around in that costume under the hot sun,it must have been no picnic! From what I can see Clarke was doing most of his own stunts in that costume, with all things considered this is not a bad film at all!
Son of Dracula (1943)
A Classic Of Its Kind !
An incredibly atmospheric film! One of Chaney's best! Cinematography and direction are excellent! This was a third in the line of Dracula films for Universal. The story line does not take place in the Carpathian Mountains but in the deep south. Count Alucard arrives at his new destination seeking new blood! The six foot two and one half inch massive Lon Chaney Jr. strikes an imposing figure as Count Alucard, both brutal and powerful! Chaney makes a convincing member of the undead! Chaney was a major horror star at Universal, when he was making this film. He would become the fourth legendary horror king in American cinema after his father, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff! All the actors are excellent. Louise Allbritton is very alluring and beautiful, as Katherine Caldwell Thirsting for knowledge about the undead! Her performance is also superb! Robert Paige is stand out in his performance as a man on the brink of madness, as he is slowing going insane! A truly incredible performance! The dark moodiness of the film transcends perfectly! There are many great atmospheric scenes to name just a few, when Chaney materializes on the top of a coffin, that has just risen out of the swamp, and when Allbritton passes though the bars to see Paige. The misty vapor that leaves the coffin and transforms into a bat! And the transformatiom scenes from man into bat are excellent! The film has some film noir overtones, director Robert Siodmak, went on to do the incredible film noir classic (THE KILLERS).The incredible ending is one of the best in Universal horror! This film is a truly underrated classic!