Reviews written by registered user
|806 reviews in total|
*1/2 out of ****
Very notable for featuring the first all-black cast for a horror movie. A newly married couple inherits a house from a woman doctor, unaware that an ape-man once obtained by the doctor whilst over in Africa, exists within a hidden room. When a small gong is rung, a wall panel opens to set the monster free. The doctor was working on a formula to aid mankind, but when her creature drank it, he became savage and killed her. The beast looks something like Anthony Quinn underneath a dime store caveman wig and beard. This at just about an hour's length is worth watching at least once because of the unique casting for those times, but it's kind of flatly directed.
*1/2 out of ****
I love the film BLACULA (1972), but this Blaxpoitation flick is a dull misfire that had potential to be entertaining in an offbeat way early on, but then blows it. Bernie Casey is a laid back and soft spoken scientist whose experiments with a formula for liver preservation cause him to turn into a light-skinned albino who likes to go around killing people, especially hookers. There are some fun moments, like 'Hyde' beating up a group of thugs on the street, and later mowing down a chick with his rolls royce. The first transformation scene involves a female patient who Casey uses as a guinea pig, and her makeup is quite creepy, featured in a quick sequence that sends a chill through you -- but that's about all; most of this then turns into slow-moving tedium, unfortunately. Also features Rosalind Cash, known for her role opposite Charlton Heston back in THE OMEGA MAN (1971). The best I can conclude about DR. BLACK, MR. HYDE is at least it's not quite as bad as BLACKENSTEIN (1973).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**1/2 out of ****
Early German thriller from Fritz Lang ("Metropolis"), spotlighting a young Peter Lorre as a crazed child murderer. He selects innocent young girls and discreetly walks off with them, leaving the police force baffled as to trying to apprehend him and bring him to justice. So a concerned vigilante mob consisting of average citizens and hardened criminals take matters into their own hands in trying to catch the killer without interference from the law.
My basic summation above sounds far more interesting than the way this overrated film plays out. I just re-watched this for my third (but final) time, on a Criterion DVD which offered the original German language version with English subtitles. The movie has a troubled history of having different prints at varying lengths, and this one was way overlong at around 109 minutes. I first saw M at the Film Forum in NYC, around the late 1990's. (It may have been a shorter English-dubbed version). At that time I recall being impressed at least with the intense ending, which highlights an emotional and sympathetic performance by Peter Lorre, where he is thrown at the mercy of a kangaroo court and actually pleads for the audience to consider his compulsions from his own warped perspective. It was based on that memory that I picked up the Criterion DVD release at the time it came out, which I may have spun maybe only one other time after I first bought it. However, I found this newest viewing to be dull and prolonged, with endless scenes of police procedures and discussions. Peter Lorre's screen time was precious little, and he only got to shine at the end for the last 15 minutes or so -- which was a good scene, but not worth enduring the rest of this tedium.
There was not much in the way of "directorial flourishes". There are some nice suggestive visual setups at the opening to allude to Lorre's crimes, but that was about all. Just too much contemplating, searching, investigating, talking, meandering, to take up the most inflated guts of this film.
0 out of ****
Really bad '50s monster yarn that doesn't at least have the courtesy of being "so bad it's good"; instead, this one just bores the crap out of you. There's supposedly a gigantic monster roaming about in a small Texas town, which is actually just a normal sized, seldom-seen lizard photographed against some tiny and unconvincing miniatures. Terrible lighting, dismal acting, with much dialogue seemingly ad-libbed. Don Sullivan is a real drag as the lead "teenager" Chase, who drives hot rods and seems to be everyone's hero, coming off as more dependable than the dense sheriff. To top it off, Chase plays guitar and sings a really cringe-worthy feel-good song with lyrics like "And The Lord Said, Laugh Children Laugh! Laugh, Children, Laugh!" (repeated over and over) -- not once, but TWICE -- even at the local teen 'sock hop'. Wow, what a groovy song, man - dig that cuh-raaazy beat! Just unendurable.
**1/2 out of ****
Another silly but fun Roger Corman cheapie. The middle-aged owner of a cosmetics company (Susan Cabot) obsesses over her advancing age, but finds hope in an old scientist's latest experiments utilizing anti-aging enzymes taken from wasps. He has been successful in making cats and guinea pigs younger by injecting them with the extract, so the vain woman eagerly insists on being his first human subject. But as she grows more youthful in appearance, so too does she periodically transform into a bugged-out queen wasp in a Halloween mask and insect mittens, attacking nearby people while buzzzzzing away. There's a little too much padding on display here and there between the good stuff, and some of the other acting is below par, but the very pretty and lively Cabot in the lead does a very good job, and whenever she's affected by the wasp serum, it's a cheesy good time.
** out of ****
Fairly ordinary 1860s Western tells a fictional account of how the Pony Express Mail Delivery System was founded, helped along by Buffalo Bill Cody (Charlton Heston) and Wild Bill Hickok (Forrest Tucker). A young Heston's determined and self-assured characterization makes for some enjoyment early on in the picture, though the second half becomes somewhat routine with typical "Cowboys and Indians" confrontations. Forrest Tucker doesn't invest as much in his Hickok personage. The leading women are Rhonda Fleming and Jan Sterling, both of whom are rivals who are sweet on Buffalo Bill. Sterling's is the more engaging of the two, and we can't help but feel sorry for her as the young tomboy whose infatuation for Heston goes unrequited.
**1/2 out of ****
The first thing one must know before viewing this film is that it's got nothing at all to do with Frankenstein; American producer Sam Sherman concocted this title along with a fake opening Frankenstein credits sequence because he was supposed to deliver a Frankenstein movie but couldn't get it in on time. In actuality, aside from its misleading name, this is a pretty good Spanish movie about werewolves, originally called "La Marca del Hombre Lobo" ("The Mark of the Wolf Man"). It was written by Jacinto Molina, who wound up having to star in the movie himself when veteran horror actor Lon Chaney Jr. was unable to do it. Molina changed his name to Paul Naschy, and this would become the first of many adventures featuring his popular character Waldemar Daninsky, who in this first film is bitten by a werewolf and cursed to endure the transformation from man into beast during the full moon.
This is a very eerily-lit, moody and atmospheric horror experience, full of Gothic ambiance and old ruined castle settings. The only reason it just misses a good solid three star rating is due to its sometimes lagging pacing, but nothing more. Naschy is very effective as the sympathetic victim who turns into a very fierce and ravenous wolf man. He is helped by a young friend who cares for him by locking him away in an abandoned old castle. In the meantime, he secures the services of an eccentric husband and wife duo who claim to be doctors who'll cure Waldemar; but who actually turn out to be blood sucking vampires with evil intentions of their own! The female vampire is played by the alluring Aurora de Alba, and the way she seduces the young male friend is one of the sexiest makeout/biting sequences I have ever seen in such a genre film. I would gladly submit to her vampiric intentions.
*** out of ****
Heartwarming Made-For-TV modern time story of an old staunchly conservative cattle rancher (Charlton Heston) who is reunited with the son he disowned (Peter Strauss) after his boy deserted the Vietnam war. The two haven't seen each other for fifteen years and Strauss has been living in France, but is persuaded to come home to the Texas ranch by his mother (Nan Martin) when he learns that his dad is dying of an undisclosed illness. Father and son are both stubborn men, and their reunion as they attempt to come to terms is both emotional and involving. Strauss attempts to explain his reasons for desertion, an act that has also made him an outcast in the eyes of most of the local townsfolk. All the performances here are first rate, especially by Heston, Strauss, and Martin, and make up for the rather familiar nature of the story.
** out of ****
Known by various names such as "The Monsters Of Terror", "Assignment Terror" and "Dracula Jagt Frankenstein", this is a Spanish-German-Italian monster concoction featuring American actor Michael Rennie in his last desperate movie role. Rennie plays the leader of a group of aliens from a planet called Ummo who target Earth as the perfect place to re-populate their dying world. Along with his female assistant (Karin Dor, who starred in Hitchcock's TOPAZ!) he sets out to destroy man by reviving all of the Earth's historic monsters: Waldemar Daninsky, the Werewolf (Paul Naschy), a male vampire, a mummy, and a Frankenstein-like creature (all of whom look ridiculous except for the werewolf). Naschy also scripted this bizarre hodgepodge, influenced by the old Universal monster classics (and, presumably, HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in particular). The highlight is when Naschy's heroic wolfman battles other monsters. If you're a fan of those old films it's worth watching just for the nostalgia, but be forewarned it's a messy ride and will vary depending on what copy of the movie you happen to watch. This review is from a German-dubbed widescreen DVD called "Dracula Jagt Frankenstein" with English subtitles, but there are edited variations under different names (among them: the inferior English "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" copy, which utilizes Michael Rennie's own voice but is missing footage, and is not to be confused by the 1971 Al Adamson movie of the same name). As of this writing there is no acceptable English-dubbed version. You have to wonder what Michael (THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL) Rennie was thinking while he had to act in this.
**1/2 out of ****
Two scientists (Albert Dekker and Jack Kelly) treat a young female patient's medical trauma with an injection that has a profound effect. The woman's black hair becomes luminously blonde, she gains an irresistible sexual magnetism, but she also becomes an impulsive thief and killer possessed with the instinct to get whatever she desires at any cost. Mari Blanchard is ideal in her role as the gorgeous femme fatale, who has also gained an immunity and cannot be stopped even by her own doctors who've created her. Albert Dekker (popular to fans for his title role of DR. CYCLOPS) spews a lot of hokey dialogue in his remarkably self-assured manner. The younger Jack Kelly is his assistant hovering on falling under Blanchard's spell. Another fun 1950s 'B' .
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