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The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
One of R Corman's finest
First of all, how often do you get to see Jack Nicholson at bottom billing, and enjoy a movie. Little Shop of Horrors is a classic farce summing up everything Corman has done to this point. The characters are deliciously over-the-top and ingeniously played by the cast. And the movie throws in one-liner after one-liner, keeping you laughing hard enough (intentionally) you don't notice the little things that bother you in other Corman movies. My favorites include "If hit by a truck call your physician." and "it grows like a cold sore on the lip". The chase scene at the end is something to make the Zucker and Abrahams families proud. So lets all grab a bottle of Dr. Phlegm's cough syrup and drink a toast to the one of the great underground movies that Roger Corman got right. I didn't mean to.
The Harvesters (2000)
... but I watch the learning channel!
OK someone is playing with my brain... in the cheap horror movie package deals I can usually snag for 5 bucks - this one was advertised as "a lesbian Nazi and her gang of misfits...". Oops, what I got instead was a neo-Christian morality flick about the horrors of organ donation and adoption. Not that I was disappointed per say - but definitely not what advertised. (I will have to get "THE Harvesters" somewhere and see what I was supposed to get.) Though this movie did not have the spit and polish of a modern Hollywood blockbuster, it had some very good points. Luby and Lee were OK with the confines placed on them in a "Christian" movie, and even though I figured out the plot way too early in the movie, it was still a fresh idea and kept me intrigued. However they did go a tad overboard with some of the stereotyping including the paranoid next door neighbor, the computer hacker, the evil front man, and the "good" German surgeon.
With all that what I ended up watching was a semi-decent made-for-TV medical thriller. Now to initiate the search for the Nazi lesbians...
Young woman running through forest probably being chased by something comes to a lone cabin isolated in the woods. After banging on the demon clad door knocker it opens to b greeted by Grandpa Munster as the professor in his cardboard crypt - bad puns and all. Taking all the cues from "Tales from the crypt" and none of the screen play - creepytales girls night out really fails to deliver even on camp. The acting ranks lower than late night infomercials, and it had all of the camera work of the Blair Witch Project with none of the intent. Add to that some Jay and Silent Bob wannabe's, The Professor's crypt remade to be a wood shed (the covered up the windows and removed the Spencer's $19.95 discount knocker) and a Rabid Scooby Doo mask and we have 3 stories that absolutely do not deliver on anything ... horror, camp, or gratuitous boob shots. The sad thing is I really have to give the producers credit on 3 really unique story lines that really could have gone somewhere. Sadly - we are waiting for the professor to finish his cocktail for another bad pun.
To steal the first part of a otherwise stupid professor quote "Nothing can make you more blinder than love" except for those in the editing room to think this would actually be worth putting your name on.
ooh aah - look at the camera - smile - ooh aah
I am really having a hard time determining how bad this movie is. Of course it has the stiff acting and low budget effects that I expected, but even with the less than stellar production value - I found myself wanting watch more of the movie and turn it off at the same time. Ms. Steele is cute, a plus for wanting to continue to watch and her acting wasn't all that horrible. But I definitely would have spent more time casting her boss (who must have just graduated from high school a semester early.) and the caveman psychiatrist who uses hypnotism just to get a cheap feel on his female clients. I also would have decided whether this was to be a possession or a vampire movie and stuck with that theme so maybe we could have avoided the male hero being attacked by giant Jawas in the park as squirrels watch sedately gathering nuts. Also a hint to movie personnel - when going into bondage scenes - even light bondage as this movie was - at least tie the rope to the chair, it make the scene that much more effective.
Not the stinker of the movie I expected - but I am also glad I did not pay more than a buck to watch it.
The Monster Maker (1944)
Not another monkey
What is it with monkeys and pre-1960 monster movies? This monkey really doesn't even have a major role, but we will cast one just to make this movie more authentic?? Besides that fact, this was a decent little intrigue flick. Taking an obscure at the time disease, and showing close-up of random medical literature (that has nothing to do with anything in the movie by the way) add the element of truth every movie needs to cause fear. Control this rare disease with an elixir of pititary (yummy!) and you have a monster. Add to it some real clever at the time plot twists and this movie is better than most.
And for people like me that love the corny gems hidden inside old movies this one also delivers on the 2 well known axioms of dating. First the way to a woman's heart is by poisoning her dad. Second - if you want to keep a woman faithful - make her ugly. Besides every woman needs a good workout on a badmitton course. You even get multiple scenes of Markoff wandering around in his suit like a fat Ricky Ricardo, giving the other cast members the Bela Lugosi patented "look into my eyes" treatment.
One of the forefathers of the current day medical thriller - this movie delivers not only on the sci-fi camp I love but by also being a completely watchable movie. Just trust the fact that there needs to be a man in a monkey suit for some reason.
They Came from Beyond Space (1967)
So that is what happened to all the metal milk jugs
Mister... there is a giant black and yellow biohazard drum in your living room. Oh wait that is an elevator.
Don't look at the pointy rocks - if you do, some jazzed up version of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra indicates you have been possessed by aliens. Really - I am not kidding. And if you have to fight these aliens you can do it to the triplet-tum of a tenor drum. The music makes this movie loosely based on "The Gods Hate Kansas" absolutely a lesson in why sound tracts should match the movie. There was no connection at all. Add that to some time lapsed photography of my grandmothers fluorescent kitchen lights, abundant use of every tried and true sci-fi sound effect, and winning dialogue like "and I also happen to be in love with you!" and this movie belongs in the running for your underground cheese collection you can't admit that you watch - much less own.
Evil Sister (1996)
But honey... she's been locked up for 15 years
This movie tries to be a run of the mill slasher movie, and would be well on the way to mediocrity if only the quality of the picture was better. Filmed in an unknown American trailer park, this movie made great use of a walk in pantry, some wal-mart lawn chairs, and Hank Jr's flag collection. There was plenty of gore and gratuitous nudity as you come to expect in this type of slasher movies, but it came off as trashy and amusing, instead of seductive and intense as I hope was the original intent. They also had to throw in some emergency scenes such as the sacrificial killing to get some additional nudity to keep the attention of the few still watching, and the wicca nurse to explain what is going on - because there is absolutely no way you would get that information from the earlier plot.
There are some unexpected plot twists that does keep this from being horrible, despite the poor quality of the filming, acting, editing, and just about everything else, so there are a few worse things to do with 90 minutes of your life, such as trying to type a review of this stinker at 3 in the morning without using profanities. Ah well such is life.
The Wasp Woman (1959)
Oh to be 18 going on 45 again
The healing power of royal jelly! When a executive of a beauty parlor starts injecting the bee's wax produced by the good Dr's not-so-happy wasps, she turns younger (you'll just have to take the movie's and a push-up bras' word for it). But at a terrible cost that everybody suspects but don't seem very excited to do anything about - until the end.
I almost couldn't believe this was Corman! It had everything Roger was famous for, over-stereotyped characters, cheesy monsters, dialog that pertains to nothing close to the plot, and the underlying moral value that all good movie goers should leave the theater feeling happy about. But I watched the entire movie saying to myself "ya know it really ain't that bad". This movie is much more spit and polished than most of Corman's stuff, and really sets it apart. Honestly, I do not think I would be as big of a Corman fan if this was the first movie of his I had seen, it would not have been bad enough. My only complaint is the same I have with a lot of movies of this era - it ends just in time to make sure there is enough tape at the end to film the dramatic pause, making sure the audience gets the film's moral.
This is one of the better made Corman films in my opinion, so ironically probably one that I will re-watch the least.
The Night Owl (2005)
What Would Lillith Do?
Ah, the magic of biblical apocalypses. Eve and Lily - step-sisters are the re-incarnate of their namesakes, wife 1 and 2 of Adam of Genesis fame. So when these two lovely young ladies along with 2 of their friends isolated themselves for a week at a lagoon-side lake house - with a hunky young handy-man who isn't named Adam, all Hell breaks lose.
This would be a very decent home-made movie. The plot is acceptable, if not exactly mind consuming. And the music was awesome, it fit well with the movie and didn't distract even with all of the plugs to the bands interspersed through out the movie.
The problems however took all the potential entertainment value out of the movie. The pace was ungodly slow. I completed an entire pedicure with a paper-clip during the movie waiting for something to happen. Even at the end of the movie where stuff did happen - it still seemed to occur in slow motion. The acting as in all teenage horror/thriller flicks was horrid and cheesy. I could accept that and wouldn't comment on it except there was potential scattered throughout the movie. And please - if the unknown actresses are to do their own stunts - teach them to drive a stick. Finally, was I suppose to be frightened of the invisible sting rays? Even with a low budget, non-experienced special effect movie crews, I found them more distracting than anything else. Rubber toys on strings would be more effective.
I am sad to see none of the actresses/actors have many other credits to their name. I would to have seen them gain more experience and do more than take up space.
The Driller Killer (1979)
One pointless scene after another
The title does not inspire confidence that this is going to be a hidden gem. "This movie should be played loud!" so we can crank church music, almost made me turn it off then. But I managed to make it through this and I will agree, this belongs with the moniker of a video nasty, but not for any exceptionally shocking or gory moments, this movie was just that horrible.
Was this a exhibitionist movie overlayed on some decent documentary film of the homeless of NY? Did he get some interesting footage of some drunk puking in his sleep and say "I gotta make a movie around this!"? Or should I mention the shocking scene of some random character brushing his teeth.
Is this a promotional movie for the worst punk rock band in the world? I kept wanting them to break into Peter Gunn, so they wouldn't sing.
Most commenter's claim this is a brilliant show of a man losing all mental facilities. I disagree totally, watch "The Shining", "The Sadist" or even the sticker "Anatomy of a psycho" if you want a case study. This was unbelievable from the beginning. Myself, I would have gone psycho almost at the beginning after being woken up by the bimbo with a drill. And I am still trying to figure out why I should be concerned with the eye of a buffalo.
And never mind the logistics of the power capacity of a battery operated drill, we will just have to accept it. This drill also has an eggbeater and nail gun attachment!!!!! Man technology sucks now a days.
Ferrara may have come out with better things (I'll admit I haven't seen much of his stuff), but I hope this is not one of his best.