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Mr. Hiccup (1983)
Could be the funniest cartoon ever
Incredibly hilarious cartoon. I had no idea this is Italian since I don't recall any spoken word in these cute, very short cartoons. The length makes sure that neither older or younger viewers will get board before the ending of the cartoon. I caught these in the mid-80's totally by accident on the USA Network but haven't seen it since. And I was already an adult in my mid-20's when I caught this, and it STILL struck my funny-bone. I would love to have a DVD with all the episodes on it. Simply brilliant, and one of the few "children's" cartoons that I could watch today with as much enjoyment as if I had seen them as a youngster.
The Omegans (1968)
I really loved this..would love to have a DVD
In the early to mid 1980's I caught this on Cable a couple of times. I believe it was broadcast several times on AMC before they went commercial and also started editing the movies they played. Though I don't recall any nudity in this film-I believe it was equivalent to a PG-13 nowadays. The few films I caught of Billy Wilders lesser know brother i've enjoyed, even though most of them were considerably low-budget. In this movie Wilder makes the most of the mood and atmosphere of his jungle locations and I think does the best job of any of his films i've seen. This is I guess essentially a revenge move with the mood or attitude of a horror movie. Not a revenge film of the 'guns are blazing" or "shoot-em-out" variety, but more of a revenge film in the case of a mystery. I started to watch this because by the description it sounded like a horror move-and i'm a big fan of horror. Well, although it isn't, it does have a bit of a Sci-Fi element to it. The "Omegans" of the title are actually some kind of odd life form which lives in the jungle waters, if I remember correctly. We never get a look at them, but they are secondary to the story anyway. Like I said, there is a bit of a horror element to the movie-I quite enjoy the aging makeup job on Ingrid Pitt as the radioactive waters begin to take control on her body. Yeah, I find this pretty unique as it flirts with several film genres without falling safely into any of them, And I seem to remember the color was quite impressive to boot. I would love to be able to get this on DVD since it seems it won't be on TV anytime soon..
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Unnecessary-go to the original instead
There was a time when remakes were perhaps more welcome. This was the time when VCR's didn't exist (or anything that followed) and it was unlikely that regular commercial TV would ever play even an edited version of the original "TCM". You couldn't buy or rent copies of moves-this wasn't all that long ago folks. So, perhaps the ability to validate remakes had a much stronger argument than it does today.
There just isn't anything new, exciting, or different in this from the original. If something "works" in this remake it was already done better in the original. Hey, you can go online, go to a video store, whatever and get the original. So why bother with this?
I think the only folks who would watch this more than once were those too young to have seen the original. But to them I say-go discover the original first. In this case , since this isn't an effects-heavy movie (where there would be a big difference between the 1970's and 2003's technology)-there simply is no reason to go to this version. Almost nothing is changed from the original anyway...
Even the questionable sequel's are more fun than this..Yes, even "TCM-The Next Generation"..
However, even worse I fear is the upcoming follow-up "TCM-The Beginning"..please spare us......
Inspector Clouseau (1968)
If you're more a fan of the 1st 2 Panther movies, you may like this..
Most peoples opinion of the Pink Panther series is that as long as Peter Sellers was alive the films were classics. The ones made with leftover footage of Sellers, not so good, and the ones without Sellers ("Son Of PP", The Ted Wass "Curse Of PP", the Steve Martin remake)stink.
Well I am NOT of that opinion. Sure, it's nearly impossible to watch ANYONE else pretending to be the good Inspector, or a relative. But for me the best Panther films are the first 2 60's gems, "Pink Panther" and "A Shot In The Dark". Once Blake Edwards resurrected the series in 1975 with "Return" and "Strikes Again" the films got more and more silly and preposterous. I mean Clouseau' boss Dreyfus in an insane asylum or as the "Phantom Of the Opera" ruined the films for me long before most fans cried foul.
The thing I loved about the original 2 films were that, silly as they were, they were within the realm of possibility. That wasn't the case after "The Return of The Pink Panther", which I recall actually seeing in the movies on it's original release.
Perhaps that's why i'm much more forgiving of films like "Curse Of The PP" (the Ted Wass vehicle) because they didn't get as far out as the 1970's entries in the series with Sellers.
After finally catching the much maligned "Inspector Clousea" I have to say, although missing Sellers all the same, this is actually my 3rd favorite entry in the series right after the original two, and much better than the Steve Martin remake.
Of course one of the things for me that adds to it is the entire 60's vibe-I feel this is simply the most enjoyable time period to place this type of farce in. There's allot of 60's-isms that just fit in with this type of comedy. There's a reason Austin Powers tapped into the 60's thing for much of it's humor.
Arkin doesn't imitate Sellers (unlike Steve Martin) and plays Clousea a bit understated, but for me it works much better-again as one tries to image these things happening within the realm of real life. It's just too bad we don't have Herbert Lom as Dreyfus or a Henry Mancini music score (though there really is nothing wrong with the movies score at all as it is).
At this point in my life i've see the original Panther" and "Shot In The Dark" multiple times, but "Inspector Clousea" only twice making it my very favorite "Panther" movie to pull off the shelf and watch on my DVD burned from a cable TV showing of the flick.
Go into it with an open mind (especially those who somehow may not know the other movies in the series very well) and you could easily enjoy this very much..Far from a failure in my book..
Occhi dalle stelle (1978)
Corrected running time
For some reason, in the late 70's and early 80's the local CBS affiliated station in New York kept playing this movie in it's late-night slot on Friday or Saturday nights for several years, usually at 2 a.m. or some such time. It's a fitting movie for that time slot since it's really hard to follow and quite odd (see the other reviews for specific story info). Anyway, after catching it numerous times in those days just before cable TV (And even after it hit but before they offered much all night programming), I kept catching this little oddity. After not seeing it for many years I decided to see if I could find it on DVD. Well, it is only available (from every search i've conducted anyway)in a pretty lousy grainy print on the budget label "Brentwood Video" as part of a 4-pack of movies (4 movies on 2 double sided discs)called "Alien Worlds" if anyone is interested. It's usually available for around $10-but even much less if you shop around. The other 3 movies on this set are readily available in numerous other collections of public domain movies, so no need to comment on them here. But I haven't seen "Eyes" available anywhere else. Though hardly a "restored" version in any way, this print runs exactly 92 minutes, so for once IMDb's stated running time of 90 minutes is not correct. Even with the 92 minute running time it's not unusual for a movie dubbed into English from another language to also have some of the running time trimmed. It seems to be a common budget-conscience practice to sometimes save money by not bothering to dub some scenes at all if they are not considered to be important to the story. Would a longer version make in any less confusing? Who really knows-unless you've seen it in it's native language... By the way, my attempts to watch this during the day don't work and I end up just turning it off. There's something about watching this in the middle of the night that just fits this movie..or maybe it's just from my earlier experiences, who know??
Curse of the Voodoo (1965)
Actually pretty good moody mystery thriller
I got the chance to purchase this movie at a very reasonable price several years ago. I knew little of the film, except that it was an old black and white British thriller from 1964, I had never seen it. This one just didn't show up on the Saturday night "Creature Features" that I loved as a kid growing up in the late 60's and early 70's. Now I was expecting a short semi-cheesy exploitation Horror film, perhaps similar to "The Woman Eater", a British black and white quickie about a living tree discovered by a mad scientist on an expedition who brings it back home to his laboratory where he "feeds" it female victims. I was way wrong in my expectations, and I wasn't aware at first that this was the same director (Lindsay Shonteff) who brought us the very eerie "Devil Doll" film. So at first I was very disappointed that this wasn't really a Horror movie at all. I watched it and then put it back on the shelf for a couple of years. Something made me pull it down and watch it again. THEN I "got" it. This isn't supposed to be a Horror movie at all, despite the title. The closest thing i can compare this to is perhaps an extended episode of the original "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" or the "Alfred Hitchcock Hour" TV shows. Now I love those shows. And if someone had prepared me that this film was like that I would have gone into it with proper expectations set. And i'm sure I would have enjoyed it the first time around. One can watch this wondering if the things that our protagonist thinks he's seeing and hearing are really a result of the curse placed on him in Africa or perhaps the hallucinations of a fevered, sickly mind, since he is also ill after his African travels. At least that's how I perceived at least the middle section of this movie, and I like films that can work on more than one level. Like I said, if only someone had prepared me for the type of film this was, chances are I would have gone into it with proper expectations and would have dug it the very first time. If however, you are looking for something more in the Horror genre, from this same time period, this director's "Devil Doll" is much more of a true Horror film (also featuring Bryant Haliday the same main actor featured here). That film has some incredibly eerie moments that, at times, come near to an almost "Carnival Of Souls" vibe. So if this isn't your cup of tea you may still want to check that one out. I'll give this one a solid 7 stars, but considering that the early reviewer of this film had different expectations and gave it such low ratings as a result, i'll raise it 8 stars.
Gallery of Horror (1967)
Actually can be quite a lot of fun
I too originally caught this sometime between 1969-1971 on WPIX NY on Saturday night's "Chiller Theatre" as a youngster, where it played under one of it's alternate titles "Return From The Past".
The first time it aired that I recall was a few weeks before Xmas that year. Naturally, I had never heard of it-even being a big fan of horror movies and "Famous Monsters" magazine. At that young age I didn't notice the low budget sets and I did like the movie right off the bat, as well as already being familiar with John Carradine and Lon Chaney. Though I must say that there is something about this film I really enjoy still to this day, though it may be from my nostalgic memories of the time coloring my opinion. Now, this hasn't aired in this part of the country very much at all in the last 30-some odd years, so your chance of seeing it I guess is pretty slim. Yeah, there's no real action. Some of the acting is questionable. The castle used in all the tales is from a Roger Corman movie (as well as the horse drawn carriage scenes). The endings can sometimes be predictable (except perhaps the last twist of the last tale "Count Alucard"), but I still love it. "The Witch's Clock" tale which also has John Carradine starring,is actually a pretty good story (with the constant echoed tick-tocking of the old clock after it's re-started being very effective). This is certainly not for fans of newer post 70's films, but for us older fans perhaps horror from the 1940's to 1960's this can be enjoyable. I watch this film as if it's a stage play-the very minimal background sets certainly give off that feeling (especially in the Lon Chaney tale as well as the outdoor mob scenes in "King Vampire"). But, hell, it can be allot of fun if you're in the right frame of mind. I believe Lon Chaney only made one other movie after this-the truly awful "Dracula vs Frankenstein" by hack Al Adamson-if you think this THIS is bad, try watching that sometime (or any Adamson film, for that matter)! There's something odd about the mood of some of director David L Hewitt's better films that I quite like. "The Wizard Of Mars"-another film of his from around this same time with many of the same cast has a quite odd mood as well. I wish that would come to DVD. Hewitt's better know film-"Journey To The Center Of Time" looks a bit more like a mainstream movie, but I enjoy it less than these other 2 films of his. I wonder what ever happened to Mr Hewitt? Anybody out there know?
Anyway, my main reason for adding this at this time is because it's been announced that, yes, the DVD of this is finally being released Jan 17 2006, for those who care (and, yes, I have already pre-ordered my copy). I hope they use a good, restored print. I actually have 2 videocassette versions of this (one of them in widescreen that looks pretty decent). Certainly not a film for all. But for those who caught this in their youth and enjoyed it, quite a fun film.
Paice Ashton & Lord documentary
I only caught this once, many years ago-sometime in the early 80's where it played on the USA Network back in it's very early days. I'm fairly sure this has never been available on videotape, certainly not on DVD. I'm not sure that it's even a full-length feature-it may be only around an hour from what I remember. Anyway this is a documentary about a very short-lived group formed by the only 2 original founding members of Deep Purple to stay with the group from it's inception in 1968 until 2000 or so, keyboardist Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice. After Purple's break up in 1975, Lord and Paice formed a group with vocalist Tony Ashton as well as 2 other musicians on lead guitar and bass. The music was very unlike the heavy Deep Purple formula, and the very noncommercial sounding Tony Ashton made sure that this stuff probably wouldn't get much radio play. For fans of Purple it's very interesting to see how different Jon Lords musical interests really are. This music is closer to 70's style rhythm and blues with perhaps a bit of jazz and rock thrown in, all sung with the late Tony Ashton's boozy sounding cigarette soaked vocals. It seems the idea was to document the start of a band that would be around for awhile. But sadly this wasn't to be. The groups initial start is seen here, along with the auditions for the guitar and bass player and rehearsals of material from the groups first album. The documentary doesn't seem to go far beyond the start of the bands very first tour. Late in the film a voice over announces that the group did, sadly break up. But this fact is announced simply in a voice over that sounds like it had to be added simply because the band ceased to exist before the final film was released and the filming had actually stopped quite a bit before this actually occurred. In reality the band made one studio album, did one brief tour (which is pretty much where this film ends)and started work on a second album, which for some reason was never finished and the band broke up. I've never seen an explanation of why the group broke up after starting to record it's second (never finished) recording and have always wondered what actually happened during this time. However, it's never explained in this film. Not bad at all but it does raise more questions as to the specifics of the groups break up than it answers...