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9/10
A great bit of adult-oriented animation
20 September 2021
This is an Italian parody of Fantasia. Like that latter movie, it has several animated sequences scored to famous classical pieces; unlike the Disney movie, it is aimed at adults with sexual frankness and bawdy humour sprinkled throughout. The animated sections are linked by live action segments involving an animator and a Felliniesque orchestra. Those latter parts are uneven at best with the high points of the movie all coming from the animation. The most successful part for me was an evolution episode set to Ravel's Bolero which is a very direct parody from Fantasia, this segment flows brilliantly with the music and the animation is ace. There are many highlights though and this is a must for fans of animation, especially of the more anarchic 70's variety. Genuinely funny, very inventive and great to look at.
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5/10
Not very good but worth a watch for 50's sci-fi nuts
20 September 2021
A very cocky astronaut becomes the first man into space but his tendency to showboat backfires on his second mission when he loses control and hits a cloud of meteor dust which turns him into a one-eyed mutant maniac meatloaf man. This one drags a bit in places and takes its time getting going but it does have just enough late 50's schlock charm to ensure it is watchable. There wasn't quite enough monster action for my liking, although we do get to see the mutant being pulled over by police for speeding! Could and probably should have been better but like most late 50's rubbish, its still worth a spin.
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Digital Man (1995)
3/10
I have history with this
20 September 2021
On September the 10th 2001 I was recovering from a 24 hour virus whilst on holiday in Dubai. I spent the day in the hotel room and when not sleeping I solely watched CNN. I remember there being a news item about the assassination of a Northern Alliance leader by the Taliban in Afghanistan (could there be trouble brewing?). The next day I felt a lot better and planned to go out. My holiday companion wasn't very interested in watching a news channel so switched it over to watch a crappy sci-fi action movie instead. So, to reiterate - 24 hour news channel on all day September 10th, news channel switched off September 11th and crappy movie put on instead. Everyone remembers what they were doing when the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001 - I was watching Digital Man on account of my holiday friend. As it turned out we discovered the news when we were picked up by another friend to visit one of the city attractions - the Emirates Twin Towers, which at that very moment had ascended to the second highest twin towers in the world. It was a very weird day. So, yes, despite having CNN on ALL DAY the day before, I missed the biggest news event of my life in order to watch a pathetic cyborg -on-the-loose sci-fi/action toss-fest. As I watched it last night for the second time I did actually wonder if maybe something of historical importance was happening again. Nothing happened.
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The Lodger (1944)
7/10
A quality production
20 September 2021
I haven't seen the Hitchcock original, although I have seen the 50's version Man in the Attic, starring Jack Palance, a film I liked. This 40's version of the novel is an equally fine movie, with an entertainingly creepy lead performance by Laird Cregar in the role as the lodger (Jack the bloomin' Ripper to you and me). The foggy London streets create nice atmosphere and the support cast all also contribute nicely. All-in-all, a quality production.
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8/10
Thoroughly poptastic
20 September 2021
I do love a girl group and for a couple of years or so in the early 60's they were all the rage. This cool little doc looks back at the era and interviews a few of the principals. Even better than that it contains a bunch of priceless clips of the groups from back in the day, including choice cuts from the likes of The Angels, The Blossoms, The Supremes, The Exciters, Martha & The Vandellas, The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, etc etc. Its thoroughly poptastic stuff and very informative. Also, interesting to see so many of the participants say they were wary of Phil Spector in a doc made 20 years before his arrest for murder.
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7/10
An impressive example of this kind of thing
20 September 2021
This early entry in the slasher genre goes under many a.k.a's such as Communion, Holy Terror, The Mask Murders and Alice Sweet Alice. Its considerably more restrained and character-driven than these types of movies were to become, while it ties things up with themes of Catholicism and the concept of child killers. From the horror side of the fence, there is a pretty creepy killer in plastic mask and raincoat going around murdering people and there are some good fright sequences. Its on the whole an impressive example of this kind of thing.
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Coward of the County (1981 TV Movie)
7/10
Pretty good for a film based on a Kenny Rogers song!
20 September 2021
I could sense that what you all were hoping for - but were too reticent to actively request - was a TV film based on the lyrics to a Kenny Rogers song. The story follows the lyrics very closely, while still managing to be a pretty good movie (which would have been more challenging with a film based on Islands in the Stream, so count your blessings). It's a mixture of coming-of-age and romantic-drama set during WWII. Its easy to get onside with the title character and it ends with a quality bar-room punch-up with Kenny and the coward finally going radge! The message of the movie says that pacifism is very noble but when it comes to some people the only option is to knock hell out of them. All together now 'promise me son not to do the things I've done, walk away from trouble if you can!' etc.
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5/10
Another typical WIP flick
20 September 2021
This is the third film in the loose women-in-prison trilogy, preceded with The Big Doll House and Women in Cages. And you know what? This one is just more of the same. Blah de blah de blah. Whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing is entirely down to your appreciation of this sub-genre.
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6/10
Fairly standard 80's horror from South Africa
20 September 2021
I guess one of the primary interest factors with this one was that it was made in South Africa during the Apartheid years. I have heard some detect a racism in it but I am not so sure - the one racist character was the police chief who everyone thought was an idiot. If this had been American, nothing would be said. In actual fact, it is trying to pass itself off as American to help its commercial appeal, setting its action in Miami. But you can tell this sure isn't Florida - unless the Sunshine State resembled a third world country in the late 80's! It would have been better if like Dust Devil, they had just set the movie in Africa, as it would have given it a more distinct flavour. Anyway, this horror is about a Nigerian demon who goes around decapitating folks when it is unleashed in 'Miami'. The voodoo angle is quite effective and there are some well-staged sequences, including a fun/ridiculous finale replete with chainsaw. Generally, it's a fairly standard bit of late 80's horror but the context is everything.
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The Night Stalker (1972 TV Movie)
9/10
One of the all-time best TV movies ever
20 September 2021
I actually remember watching this on the TV back in the late 70's - it has the distinction of being the only film I was too scared to finish watching. I got up to the bit where the protagonist watches the vampire through a door crack in his house and that was it for me, I was so terrified I went off to bed! This is recognised as one of the all-time best TV movies ever and is now a stonewall cult classic. Its about a reporter who investigates a series of strange killings in Las Vegas that appear to be the work of a vampire. Darren McGavin is brilliant in the lead role of Kolchak the journalist. The suspenseful scenes remain very good and 70's Vegas makes for a great backdrop for a modern vampire tale. This comes highly recommended and a must-see for fans of vampire cinema.
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Alternative 3 (1977 TV Movie)
8/10
Old school regional British telly at its best
17 September 2021
This faux documentary was made by Anglia (the regional TV station home to Sale of the Century and the rotating little knight on a plinth) and was initially scheduled to be broadcast on April Fool's day 1977 but was ultimately put back 'til June. Regardless its broadcast resulted in Anglia being inundated with calls from concerned viewers demanding further information on the outrageous claims being made. It takes the form of a fake news report detailing the mysterious disappearance of a number of people, the investigation then leads to climate change and the moon landings. More detail would reveal too many spoilers. It is a fascinating watch, which was pretty well executed. Conspiracy buffs and sci-fi fans should get a kick out of this one.
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3/10
Low rent grindhouse for sure
17 September 2021
This is an example of proper 42nd Street grindhouse z-grade schlock. It's a pretty sleazy tale about a couple of serial killers - a male strangler who targets young women and a female slasher who kills old male jakies. The story is nothing but a succession of murder scenes and that is really about it. It is proper low rent stuff with no synchronised sound meaning there is a lot of (tedious) voice-over narration from the Strangler. Its sheer scuzziness does generate a fascination of sorts but its complete lack of production values and talent ensure that it has some serious inbuilt limitations.
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6/10
2 Become 1
17 September 2021
Well this chopsocky flick sure has a memorable premise. Two actually disabled martial artists - a thalidomide man with no arms and a man with useless withered legs - team up to get revenge on the evil master who maimed them. The Spice Girls sung a song called '2 Become 1' and I believe its just possible that Geri and the gang got the idea for their number one single after taking a time out from their girl power based activities to unwind to a VHS tape of The Crippled Masters. What Posh and all the rest of them conveniently chose to ignore, however, is that there is a pretty obvious inbuilt exploitative angle to this one, although this also ensures that it is a very distinctive kung fu movie overall which I'm sure Sporty in particular enjoyed, being the one most likely to appreciate the martial arts element in this movie seeing as she regularly wore trainers and tracky bottoms. While Baby may have found the story a little formulaic, she would no doubt have weighed that up with the consolation that the action is elevated a lot by the tricks the crippled masters pull off in their fights, which are highly impressive and comedic at times also. I get the feeling going by the exuberance of their song that the Spice Girls not only found this way above par for a 70's Hong Kong-Taiwanese martial arts co-production but that they also used it as inspiration to go on and conquer the pop world in a general sense.
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1/10
Laughter-free zone
17 September 2021
1992 was the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing on American soil and there were three prominent movies made to cash in on this - 1492, Conquest of Paradise and the film generally regarded as the most historically accurate of the three, Carry On Columbus. They were all crap I think, with the Carry On one being voted the worst British film ever made in 2004 by film professionals. Its not entirely unfair, as it really is a hopeless pile of garbage. It makes Cannon and Ball's Boys in Blue appear like Police Academy and the other Carry On films appear...better. The script is dreadful and the acting performances dire. It truly is alternative comedy, i.e. An alternative TO comedy. So, hop onboard the good ship Asinine on its voyage to the laughter-free zone.
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7/10
Intelligent 60's sci-fi
17 September 2021
For what its worth this was (seemingly) Andy Warhol's favourite movie. I really have no idea why but it has to be said that this little sci-fi number is not bad at all. Unlike most 60's sci-fi films, it has an excellent script with an abundance of intelligent dialogues, much of it about the nature of being human. The story is set after a nuclear war where man relies on robots in order to survive. These machines have reached such a highly sophisticated level that some sections of humanity feel threatened, such as the Order of Flesh and Blood, who are a racist group who attempt to keep these synthetic beings in their place. While this one is very stagy and of limited budget, the interest is in its literate screenplay. The ideas trump the budgetary limitations and chat-based theatrical trappings. For those who appreciate ideas-driven sci-fi this is well worth a whirl.
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8/10
A very original genre effort
16 September 2021
One common trait that often makes a cult movie is the combining of disparate genres, such as a sword-and-sandal flick that is also a biker film or a creature feature which is also a musical. This cult item is a detective film which goes into sci-fi territory. A series of murders occurs in NYC with all the perpetrators remaining at the scene and calmly replying 'God told me to' when asked why they did it. This leads to a serpentine mystery involving an enigmatic Christ like figure, religious sects and alien interventions. It's a bold combination of elements which has some proper intelligence in its screenplay. The acting is way above par too and the whole thing is a very original genre effort which defies clear categorisation. Definitely recommended by yours truly.
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Schizo (1976)
7/10
Very good Pete Walker shocker
16 September 2021
Pete Walker was possibly the leading British exploitation director of the 70's. He made several interesting pictures including House of Whipcord and Frightmare. Schizo is another. It is basically a psycho thriller about an ice skater who seems to be stalked by an ominous older man. A string of brutal murders follow. It's admittedly a bit predictable if you have seen many of these types of movies but it is genuinely suspenseful at times and does have some effective gory scenes, while it also has Walker's trademark nihilism effectively woven into the mix. Definitely worth a look.
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Beyond the Bermuda Triangle (1975 TV Movie)
4/10
Half-hearted Bermuda Triangle TV movie
16 September 2021
Back in the 70's people believed anything - Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, UFOs, Basil Brush - you name it. Everyone believed in The Bermuda Triangle back then as well, so its not in the least surprising that there was a TV movie about this subject. It has to be said though, it's a pretty half-hearted effort. Not a whole lot happens and it relies far too much on the unexplained. I usually don't mind the unexplained in movies but you've got to earn it. This film doesn't do enough, meaning I wanted sea creatures, aliens or even a cameo appearance from Barry Manilow singing 'Bermuda Triangle' but we don't really get any of that.
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6/10
A very decent bit of 60's sci-fi
16 September 2021
This Japanese sci-fi film manages to impressively combine alien invasion, possession and vampires. It sports some impressive and colourful effects too. Its story has a passenger plane crash in the wilderness and then the survivors encounter aliens who turn their victims into merciless vampire killers. There is a lot of Japanese people shouting at each other and its pacing does wane here and there, however, this does qualify as a very decent bit of 60's sci-fi with a more serious tone than its title might suggest.
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Between Time and Timbuktu (1972 TV Movie)
5/10
For fans of strange sci-fi
16 September 2021
This strange TV movie shows the kinds of out-there stuff that was commissioned for television back in the day. Its about the winner of a fizzy drinks contest who gets the chance to go into outer space. He winds up being duplicated into infinite copies, each of whom finds himself in bizarre situations on different worlds. The scenarios were taken from the stories of Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote classic novels like Slaughterhouse Five. Pretty ambitious stuff, although I didn't entirely connect with it. For fans of strange sci-fi, it is worth a look.
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6/10
Plan 9 From Outer Space meets Beach Blanket Bingo
16 September 2021
If you can imagine Plan 9 From Outer Space meets Beach Blanket Bingo you would be part of the way to understanding this movie. Frankenstein isn't in it and the Space Monster pitches up for the last five minutes to ensure the title isn't such a criminal example of false advertising that you feel an urge to write a letter to Esther Rantzen. A space mission to Mars is manned by an android named Frank - some aliens shoot lasers at his ship forcing him to crash land back on Earth with his face frazzled and internal circuitry ruined, leading him to start acting a bit demented. These aliens have fled their planet after an atomic war and now seek females in order to re-populate, seeing as it's the early 60's they head on down to the beach and the local pool parties and abduct the bikini clad girls! Their leaders are a queen who resembles a fancy-dress Cleopatra and her henchman, who is like a cross between Dr Evil and Criswell - he is so outrageously camp he makes Charles Hawtrey appear like Oliver Reed. And for some reason they have a raging Space Monster in a cage. All this nonsense is padded out with truly biscuit-taking levels of stock footage and scenes of dancing and scooter-riding accompanied with groovy rock 'n' roll. Naturally, it all comes highly recommended.
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5/10
Admirable nonsense
16 September 2021
I really hate spiders. I hate the way they look. I hate the way they move. I hate how alien they are, you can't relate to a spider - at least you can have a bit of a laugh with an ant. I particularly hate that they have the audacity to come in my house - they sure as hell weren't invited! And to top things off, their personalities suck! If you don't hate spiders, well you should. Which brings me to this movie. Why on earth would I watch it you no doubt wonder? Well, there are two reasons really. (1) you only know if you are exploring cinema correctly, if you occasionally have to suffer a bit. (2) this is a Bill Rebane movie, the man who directed the anti-classic sci-fi biscuit-taker Monster a-Go Go, amongst other z-grade nonsense. So, I am figuring, how in hell could a Bill Rebane movie ever be scary? The story here has a meteor crash land in mid America somewhere and alien spiders emerge from the crater, with one being as big as a Volkswagen (that's because it seems to actually BE a Volkswagen with legs on it). In all honesty this was a good, dumb creature feature. Its old school, so there is no CGI here - they actually built a gigantic spider! I actually admire them for this, even though I sort of can't believe I am saying these words. I would have rated it higher if it hadn't been so annoyingly scary. So, yeah, spiders even made a Bill Rebane movie terrifying, therefore, this proves they are evil.
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8/10
Top drawer horror omnibus
16 September 2021
I love old school horror anthologies. Even if there is a lame comedy relief segment, you always know that in fifteen minutes there'll probably be one about a haunted mirror. Amicus were the kings of the sub-genre, they were a lower budget British rival to Hammer. They probably didn't have the funds to set their stories in the 19th century meaning that they are all set in contemporary settings for their time. This means that most of their horror anthology stories seem to be played out on shag pile carpets. This one is amongst the best they ever made. For one thing, there actually isn't a comedy segment and for another it has an excellent cast with Sir Ralph Richardson playing a scary monk, Joan Collins great as always as a murderous wife and Peter Cushing in a touching performance as a nice old man. There is a homicidal Santa, a recurring nightmare, a skeleton biker, a vengeful zombie and the revenge of the blind. The stories are well conceived and macabre. Top notch fun basically.
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7/10
Very funny Beatnik parody
16 September 2021
This very funny comedy-horror from Roger Corman was shot in five days. Its about a loser busboy with no artistic talent whatsoever who improbably impresses the local beatniks when he suddenly starts producing life-like clay statues. Turns out his masterpieces are in fact people he has murdered covered in a thin layer of clay! What really elevates this one is its hilarious digs at the Beat Generation - with pretentious poetry, over-earnest folk music, organic breakfasts and clueless art appreciation all part and parcel of the fun. Nice also to see Dick Miller in a rare lead role. I dig this scene Daddy-O!
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5/10
Fairly standard WIP flick
16 September 2021
Well, one thing you can always say about women-in-prison flicks is that they always pass the Bechdel test! This one is a follow-up of sorts to The Big Doll House, even if the returning Pam Grier is playing a clearly different character this time round, namely a sadistic warden! The overall tone of the movie is a bit more nihilistic and gruesome than the earlier, slightly goofier movie; though its probably marginally better overall. All the usual tropes of the sub-genre are present here but that also means it is as limited as these films can be as well.
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