Reviews written by registered user
|31 reviews in total|
In the 60's series of five Fu Manchu movies made by Cristhoper Lee as the Chinese fiend, this is the one in the middle, without the direction of Don Sharp (replaced by Jeremy Summers) who made the better two entries. It's still an interesting movie, Fu Manchu tries to ruin his enemy reputation by replacing him with a killer lookalike (done with a complicated facial surgery) and, as usual, planning world domination as the boss of a new international organization. Douglas Wilmer shines as Nayland Smith or the zombie-like killer, Lee is perfect as usual and the always reliable Howard Marion Crawford as Dr. Petrie (a character clearly inspired by Conan Doyle's Dr. Watson) got some good moments too. Sadly, after "Vengeance" trashy Spanish director Jesus Franco took the series for the last two film, the less interesting entries by far.
"800 Balas" is another funny and cool movie from Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia, the guy who did the absolutely wonderful "El Dia de la Bestia", one of the best comedy/terror movies ever made. But I must tell you, people, if you don't speak Spanish, no matter how accurate the subtitles will be, you're missing half of the fun. And I mean Spanish from Spain, literally, because here in Argentina we speak Spanish too but in a complete different form and mood. Spanish people are hilarious when they insult each other (and there's a lot here) using some expressions that just can't be translated, like "me cago en la puta leche". But it's a funny and well delivered film no matter the language. A kind of homage to spaghetti westerns and all those little cheap movies from the 60's done with an excellent cast. Recommended.
Sequel to "The Face of Fu Manchu", "Brides..." is even better if you look movies just to be entertained. It's the kind of silly, funny, absurd, kinky time capsule movie that never loses his charm. Of curse, plot holes and mistakes are a plenty (it's in the 20's but girls looks very 60's) but Lee's terrific performance and a good cast full of familiar faces (even Pink Panther's Cato is here!) helps to sustain interest. Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie are a later version of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but Fu Manchu is the main character here, cruel, sadistic and totally evil, probably the best villain ever, sadly forgotten today due to his racial connotations. The franchise will continue on three more films, but "Face..." and "Brides..." (both directed by Don Sharp) are the real thing. By the way, the 5 films are available now in a box set released in Spain by Manga Films (region 2), but beware: the last 2 movies (by Jesus Franco) are in Spanish without subtitles.
This is the infamous picture that Humprey Bogart hates, but, no matter what the legend says, is still a funny film to watch. Of course, Bogey characterization of Doctor Xavier is odd, to say the least, but the plot actually makes sense, and his few minutes on screen are a must see. It is not a sequel of "Doctor X" (1932), with Lionel Atwill as the mad scientist, but a complete different story about resurrection of the dead using artificial blood, and Bogie, as a thinking zombie-like killer looks creepy and macabre. The brand new DVD restoration is amazingly clear, and offers another rarity: the theatrical trailer, made in a 90 per cent with deleted or alternate scenes, some of them very different to the final print. Don't miss the chance to see Bogey as a boogie man!
One of the many jewels included in the new DVD box set "Hollywood Legends of Horror", Doctor X works far better as an horror film than a romantic comedy ,the other intention of the script. In fact Lee Tracy as the journalist almost ruined the entire picture, acting like a character in a Three Stooges short instead of an horror drama. But Lionel Atwill got a solid presence as Doctor Xavier, Fay Wray (before King Kong fame) as his daughter is delicious, and the rest of the cast is in top form. The sets deserves a special mention, visually stunning, and the two color system adds atmosphere. Of course, you can't see this kind of film with today's eyes, but a more candid approach will make you enjoy Doctor X as it deserves. Classic!
First of all, let me tell you that I'm a huge stooge fan. I consider them one of the most underrated teams in comedy history, only supported by a huge fan base but not for the critics. The stooges are much more than Moe hitting the others or flying pies. But sadly, the last years of his glorious legacy are far from the rambocious, lunatic and uproarious days with Jerome "Curly" Howard or even with Shemp. And this movie is a clear example. Slow paced humor and only a few good jokes aren't enough for sustain a 90 minutes film. The old stooges try to do their best, but even the scrip doesn't help. The martians are fun to watch, Emil Sitka was always a good companion for the boys, but the overall feel is bittersweet. I prefer them in their legendary Columbia shorts, the kind of stuff that influenced Seinfield's trio Jerry, George and Kramer, and many many others.
It's impossible to understand why the makers of "Mark of the Vampire" choose such an idiot twist for an ending, after 45 glorious minutes of atmospheric Gothic horror, amazing sets, and some phenomenal jobs by Bela Lugosi, Lionel Atwill and Carol Borland in a role that was a direct source of inspiration for Ed Wood's Vampira and Morticia Addams. In fact the first half of the movie is even better than the classic "Dracula", visually astonishing, with a plot that caught you completely, but all is ruined with one of the most ridiculous twists ever made in Hollywood. But I must recommend this movie, no matter the ending, to any fan of classic horror films. It's sad to know than almost 20 minutes of footage was cut and lost, with some extra footage and a different finale this movie could easily rank among the greatest horror movies of all time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS!! "The Plague of the Zombies" is another great film from the legendary Hammer studios, sadly the only one they made about this genre. This time the plot refers much more to the real source of zombies (vudú from Haiti) than the usual Romero "living dead" movies, with flesh-eating creatures. Here instead, the zombies are used as slaves and have enough attitude to attack his own master at the end. The story is captivating, and the cast (without any of the usual Hammer stars, except for the reliable Michael Ripper)is in top form. All the charming elements from Hammer are here, the sets, the music, the slow pacing, the suspense. It's not for fans of ultra gore zombies, but a real gem for fans of classic horror. The DVD also features an interesting Hammer documentary, narrated by the late Oliver Reed. Recommended!
"Friday Foster" is one of the best blaxploitation films in terms of time capsule. The clothes, the afros, the music , the cars and the overall feel of an era is really displayed here better than other movies of the genre, but sadly it's not a good movie if you consider the story, the plot, and the action. Half a comedy, half a detective story with less violence or sex than "Coffy", "Foxy Brown", "Shaft" or other similar movies. But the exceptionally good cast deserves attention: Yaphet Kotto (Alien, Live and Let Die) is a wonderful actor here in excellent form, both strong and funny, Carl Weathers, years before stardom in "Rocky", Eartha Kitt (the black Catwoman from TV's Batman), Ted Lande (the bartender from "Love Boat"!), Thalmus Rasulala, Julius Harris, Jim Backus, etc. Far from the best of Pam Grier, but a charming movie to watch.
It's difficult to understand why Universal Studios choose this film as an official sequel to the legendary Bela Lugosi's "Dracula", more than five years after, since "Dracula's Daughter" works better as a female vampire film rather than the follow up to such landmark movie. Is clear to see some lesbian undertones in the story, even for those times, and it was a clever idea to start the film exactly after the Lugosi/Dracula's death, with the same actor (Edward Van Sloan) playing Van Helsing again. It helps to keep the viewer interested, even when the film lacks some of the eerie atmosphere of the original, and the climax is pretty rushed and dull. Gloria Holden was a perfect choice for the role of the Countess, Otto Kruger is convincing as the good doctor and Margarite Churchill as his secretary looks just gorgeous. Worth seeing for fans of classic Universal horror.
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