Reviews

3,513 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Firewalker (1986)
6/10
So, gentlemen. We meet again.
13 May 2021
Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett, Jr. Play Max Donigan and Leo Porter, two bumbling adventurers (described in press material as "soldiers of wacky misfortune") hired by the lovely but kooky Patricia Goodwin (Melody Anderson of "Flash Gordon" fame) to venture into Mexico in search of a major cache of gold. Naturally, they run into danger almost all the time, but usually find a way out of it; pursuing them will be a scary, eyepatch-wearing Indian known as "The Coyote" (Sonny Landham of "Predator").

At the time, this was at the least a respectful attempt by Norris to do something different. Although a positively goofy movie (that sometimes plays rather flat), it's hard to truly dislike. It is fun seeing Norris try his hand at comedy, in a story that is a combination of humour, adventure, travelogue, and Indian mysticism. What makes the difference is the ever-reliable Gossett, who's very good as a "straight man" who helps to bring out the best in his co-star. Anderson is appealing as the gal who gets the plot rolling; solid co-stars include Will Sampson ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") as a wise old Indian / exposition provider, John Rhys-Davies ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") as a jovial former comrade of Max who's built his own little empire in the wilderness, and Ian Abercrombie ("Army of Darkness") as a money-hungry barfly who provides information.

The movie gets off to a really, amusingly dumb start as Max and Leo, on the run from bad guys, manage to find the one body of water in a desert - into which they crash their vehicle. The scene sets up this supposed nemesis of theirs (Richard Lee-Sung, "Armed Response") whose role never amounts to much. One hilarious highlight has Max, Leo, and Patricia masquerade as two priests and a nun, who bungle their way through trying to give a wounded person the last rites.

Excellent on-location shooting in Mexico and a decent score by Gary Chang help to make this mildly enjoyable overall. Of course, this being a Chuck Norris movie, it wouldn't be complete without at least one major scene of him using his famed martial arts skills.

Six out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
"There's a word for you, but I don't think I even know what it is."
11 May 2021
Folk singer Holly Near ("Slaughterhouse-Five") plays Tara Nicole Steele, the plump teenage daughter of a very rich couple; her mother Astrid (Oscar winner Jennifer Jones ("The Song of Bernadette"), in her penultimate film role) is a former stag star who married well. At her "coming out" party, Tara Nicole meets a charismatic rock star named Bogart Peter Stuyvesant (Jordan Christopher ("Brainstorm")). After he has deflowered her, she becomes part of his group of followers. This group also includes ever-wonderful Roddy McDowall ("Fright Night"), singer Lou Rawls ("Leaving Las Vegas"), and sexy blonde Davey Davison ("The Strangler"). Then she is understandably thrown for a loop when Bogart also hooks up with Astrid.

The brainchild of noted screenwriter / director Robert Thom (whose other writing credits include "Wild in the Streets", "Death Race 2000", and "The Witch Who Came from the Sea"), this comes off as very dated 52 years later. It's very much a product of its time, and a lot of the characters, performances, and "hip" dialogue are an acquired taste. It blends surrealism, a wealth of imagery (the collages are by Shirley Kaplan), an admittedly cool rock soundtrack, some breathtaking sky diving sequences, and a lot of philosophical musing as Bogart and his gang talk about their perception of American ideals.

A highly offbeat, fairly interesting fable, complete with pretentious narration by Near, this is obviously not to all tastes, even as it attempts to illustrate both culture clashes and the generation gap. Some fans of Ms. Jones may be dismayed by her appearance here (she definitely looks uncomfortable), and shocked at hearing her utter some rather colourful lines. Still, she looks quite glamorous, and gets to play a flashy character with a fondness for jewelry.

The film does have its amusements, but definitely doesn't play as well nowadays. People who lived through this era may find more value than the contemporary movie watcher.

Six out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
"Curse your trousers! Curse you! Curse *everything*!"
10 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
An unnamed psychopath (Tod Slaughter) murders Sir Percival Glyde in 19th century Australia, then makes his way to London to assume Glydes' identity. He thinks that he will enjoy the mans' abode and fortunes tremendously, and is even more delighted to learn that Glyde was arranged to marry the equally rich (and young, and lovely) Laura Fairlie (Sylvia Marriott). He won't stop at anything to keep up the charade, and that includes committing various murders.

It's a ton of fun to see the wonderfully hammy Slaughter in his element in this B level Victorian melodrama. Not that many actors can play pure evil as deliciously as he does; he often commits crimes while cackling to himself, and is just such a cad that he's hilarious. He even makes time with a comely maid and then does away with her when she presents him with unfortunate news. Mr. Slaughter might as well have been constantly twirling his moustache throughout.

He's well supported by a cast including Hilary Eaves (as Laura's sister), Geoffrey Wardwell (as the young art teacher who truly loves Laura), Margaret Yarde as the unsmiling head servant, Rita Grant as that aforementioned maid, Elsie Wagstaff as Mrs. Catherick, and David Keir as the family lawyer. But the one performer who gives Slaughter some competition in terms of juicy acting is Hay Petrie as the ultra-weaselly asylum head who is always trying to get more money from the false Percival.

Producer / director George King, who also did another Slaughter classic, "The Face at the Window", gives this some good atmosphere for the modest budget, and keeps the story moving forward adequately. "Crimes at the Dark House" wraps up in a tidy 68 minutes, and has some gems of dialogue such as the memorable "I'll feed your entrails to the pigs!".

Based on the novel "The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins; the novel would be adapted again under that title by Warner Bros. In 1948.

Eight out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
San Quentin (1937)
7/10
Worth watching for fans of Bogart and O'Brien.
9 May 2021
Two Warner Bros. Mainstays during this time, Humphrey Bogart and Pat O'Brien, are front and centre in this standard but enjoyable prison-set melodrama. Bogie is "Red" Kennedy, a lifelong punk who gets collared by the police and sent to the title location. He arrives shortly after an ex-Army officer, Jameson (Pat O'Brien), has been hired to be the new Captain of the Guards. Jameson, who knows how to handle people, is interested in reform, and over time he manages to earn Reds' trust and helps inspire him to want to change. But the scheming of others only leads them to a different fate.

Although the story is not a great one, it's decently entertaining, and the film only runs a trim 71 minutes, so there's not much in the way of filler. (Other than a romance between O'Brien and leading lady Ann Sheridan (playing Reds' sister); her character is a nightclub entertainer and does have one musical number.) The presentation benefits from director Lloyd Bacons' straightforward approach, and a variety of colourful characters among the convicts. Among others, you'll see such top-notch character actors as Joseph Sawyer (a standout, as the jovial 'Sailor Boy' Hansen) and Marc Lawrence. Barton MacLane is also a standout as Druggin, a gruff man who has to step aside to let Jameson take his job. He's the type that swaggers a lot, throws his weight around, and doesn't bother trying to get to know the inmates on any level.

Jameson is different. He subscribes to the belief that there are basically two kinds of inmates: the hardcore criminals who will never change, and spend most of their lives in prison, and the reachable ones who want to do their time peacefully and quietly and hopefully learn from the experience. It remains to be seen if Red will truly belong to the latter group.

With efficient acting in all the major roles, "San Quentin" is good, if not inspired, entertainment, with an especially fun climax involving a break from a roadside work gang.

Veda Ann Borg has a small but delicious role as a participant in Sailor Boys' escape plan.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Man Bait (1952)
7/10
Quite watchable, if nothing special.
9 May 2021
Filmmaker Terence Fisher made his first film for Hammer with this fairly routine noir-ish thriller that was quick to capitalize on the presence of sultry budding starlet Diana Dors ("The Long Haul"). A true femme fatale she really isn't; she is actually spurred into action by a sleazier, more morally bankrupt individual named Jeff Hart (Peter Reynolds, "The Delavine Affair"). She plays Ruby Bruce, an employee at a bookstore who catches her boss, John Harman (George Brent, "Dark Victory"), in a moment of weakness as he acts upon his attraction to her and gives her a quick kiss.

This leaves him open to later being blackmailed by the conniving Hart. Then, he must take it on the lam when he's suspected of murder. Fortunately, his wartime nurse turned co-worker Stella Tracy (Marguerite Chapman, "The Seven Year Itch") is in love with him, and is more than willing to give him all the assistance that he needs.

Written by Frederick Knott, based on a story by James Hadley Chase, this entertains in capable if not spectacular fashion. At least Fisher keeps the film moving along sufficiently, and he gets solid performances out of much of the cast. Dors may have been a real selling point (and she is amazing to look at), but in terms of just acting, she's easily outshone by the pretty Chapman. Brent is fine as a character so stoic that he barely bats an eye or sheds a tear upon learning of his wife's death. They're well supported by Raymond Huntley (Hammers' "The Mummy"), an excellent Reynolds as the true antagonist of the piece, Eleanor Summerfield ("Laughter in Paradise") as his gal pal Vi, Meredith Edwards ("The Great Game") as the requisite police inspector character, and Harry Fowler ("The Pickwick Papers") as amiable young bookstore employee Joe.

One good thing this viewer can say about this story is that at least it wasn't completely predictable. It builds to an effectively fiery finish.

Jimmy Sangster, who began his screenwriting career for Hammer a few years later with "The Curse of Frankenstein", was the assistant director here; Michael Carreras was the casting director.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Top notch British horror of the 1970s.
8 May 2021
Written by Robert Wynne-Simmons (with some additional material by the director, Piers Haggard), "The Blood on Satan's Claw" is one of the finest examples of British "folk horror" that you're ever likely to see. It's a remarkably sinister, atmospheric production that does an admirable job of playing in the sandbox popularized by Hammer Films. From beginning to end, it achieves a true uneasy feeling, and is an intoxicating mixture of ambiance, sex, and gore.

Taking place in rural England of the 17th century, it shows us that landsman Ralph Gower (Barry Andrews, "Dracula Has Risen from the Grave") unearths a very strange buried body while plowing a field. It's somewhere between human and utter beast, and this things' unholy presence soon has a terrible effect on the local children. They begin praying to this dark master, sacrificing some of their number to it while waiting for it to be completely reborn.

One of the best horror efforts from the under-rated company Tigon (which certainly isn't as well known as its contemporaries, Hammer and Amicus), this is a thoroughly entertaining film. It's full of meticulous period detail, and a very literate, antiquated script by Wynne-Simmons. It gives the meatiest role to a judge played by Patrick Wymark ("Where Eagles Dare"), who must get over his tendency to dismiss witchcraft as a thing of the past. But it also gives a great opportunity to the alluring Linda Hayden ("Taste the Blood of Dracula"), who relishes the chance to play a purely evil young woman and who also does a full frontal nude scene for those who are interested. The cast is full of good actors, though: Michele Dotrice ("And Soon the Darkness"), Wendy Padbury ('Doctor Who'), whose demise is a creepy highlight, Anthony Ainley ("The Land That Time Forgot"), Charlotte Mitchell ('The Adventures of Black Beauty'), Tamara Ustinov ("Blood from the Mummy's Tomb"), Simon Williams ("Jabberwocky"), James Hayter ("The Horror of Frankenstein"), Howard Goorney ("Bedazzled"), Avice Landone ("The Adventures of Barry McKenzie"), and Robin Davies ("Shakespeare in Love"). Sadly, this would be one of the final roles for Mr. Wymark, who died at the young age of 50 from a heart attack. Milton Reid ("The Spy Who Loved Me") appears uncredited as a dog handler.

Macabre fun all the way, with a solid finale, a devilishly entertaining score by Marc Wilkinson, and excellent cinematography by Dick Bush.

See also "Witchfinder General" and "The Creeping Flesh", two other superior genre films in terms of Tigons' output.

Eight out of 10.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The In-Laws (1979)
8/10
"I have flames on my car!"
7 May 2021
Over 40 years later, "The In-Laws" remains an ingratiating comedy that successfully delivers plenty of laughs, as well as some riotous action. With a blissfully unpredictable screenplay by Andrew Bergman, and top direction by Arthur Hiller, this also gets lots of mileage from the brilliant odd-couple chemistry between the straight-laced Alan Arkin and the wonderfully wacky Peter Falk. They'd always wanted to work together, each having an instinct about how well they could play off each other. Aided by a superior supporting cast full of familiar faces, "The In-Laws" is one of those breathless madcap farces that starts slowly and builds and builds to its grand finale.

Arkin plays Sheldon (or Shel / Shelly, as Falk calls him) Kornpett, a New Jersey dentist whose daughter (Penny Peyser) is marrying the son (Michael Lembeck) of Falk's cagey, mysterious character Vince Ricardo. Vince has a big scheme going on at the moment, and Sheldon has to abandon his ordinary life when Vince keeps dragging him into his affairs. Understandably, Sheldon is more than a little miffed since this will involve Sheldon frequently being shot at, and otherwise being put in peril.

Among the recognizable people in the supporting cast: Arlene Golonka, James Hong, David Paymer, Ed Begley Jr., Paul L. Smith, Carmine Caridi, Rosanna DeSoto, and Art Evans. But the guy who manages to steal the show away from the two stars is a priceless Richard Libertini as a Latin American dictator with a Señor Wences fetish and some of the best lines. In playing the requisite "straight man", Arkin generates hearty chuckles as this ordinary guy who is obviously way out of his depth. The viewer will sympathize with his frustration while guffawing at the various predicaments facing our heroes. It's his reactions that often sell these scenes. Falk is simply a delight as the rogue who gets the ball rolling in terms of plot.

Overall, this is a winning comedy - bright, upbeat, and energetic, and culminating in one of those movie endings that is guaranteed to put a smile on ones' face.

Remade in 2003 with Michael Douglas in the Falk role and Albert Brooks in the Arkin role.

Eight out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Nothing special, but nothing disagreeable, either.
5 May 2021
Two dirt bike enthusiasts and their wives go on a vacation in the wilds of North Carolina. Part of their purpose is to search out a cache of antique guns once stored by a great-grandfather in the title location (which some locals say doesn't exist). Wouldn't you know it: the foursome anger some local criminals with their mere presence, and the bad guys do everything possible to scare them off. Things come to a head for a reasonably exciting, reasonably violent conclusion.

With the ever-engaging Christopher George ("Grizzly") on hand as the lead, this promises to deliver some fun, and it does. The brainchild of Florida-based drive-in legend William Grefe, its plot elements (dirt biking, the Civil War) were some of the filmmakers' real-life personal interests. He perfectly captures the beauty of the settings, even filming in Panavision in order to get that extra wide screen. With echoes of "Deliverance", "Whiskey Mountain" is entertaining, although some viewers may feel that it simply isn't exploitative enough. As it is, there is precious little skin shown, and the violence is never very gory.

Led by the always reliable character actor John Davis Chandler (a Grefe regular), the bad guys are a sometimes comical and frequently stereotypical bunch of backwoods boors who are at least slimy enough to have the viewer enjoying their demises. That's exploitation legend William Kerwin, recognizable for his appearances in films by both Grefe and Herschell Gordon Lewis, as the character Homer. Preston Pierce ("Girls for Rent") is the amiable Dan, 70s cult movie starlet Roberta Collins ("Death Race 2000") is the sullen Diana, and Linda Borgeson (in her only feature film appearance) is the comely Jamie. Incidentally, it's interesting to note that Borgeson somewhat resembles Georges' real-life wife Lynda Day George. Robert Leslie ("The Intruder") is a hoot as a senile old man.

Overall, "Whiskey Mountain" is rather mild as far as this kind of entertainment goes, but it's impossible to dislike; as crude as it can be, it *does* show its audience a fairly good time, with a flavourful score by The Charlie Daniels Band serving as appropriate accompaniment.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Three's Company: Jack Looks for a Job (1977)
Season 2, Episode 2
7/10
"Naked" is dirty. "Nude" is art.
4 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
'Jack Looks for a Job' is good fun, in the classic 'Three's Company' tradition. This often hilarious episode details what happens as Jack determines to find some sort of part-time job that won't conflict with his school hours. His two gigs during the episode: working as a model for $10 an hour (he arrives at the studio to find out that the gig involves nude modelling for a mens' magazine), and attempting to sell $300 encyclopedia sets door-to-door.

Some of the brightest moments involve Jack and Janet, as Jack tries to do a dress rehearsal for his encyclopedia-selling spiel, and Janet deliberately distracts him by aggressively coming on to him. Knowing Jack, he'll only tolerate seconds worth of this before giving in and tussling with her. Meanwhile, Mr. Roper intends to enter a contest where he can potentially win a Hawaiian location by sending in labels from baked bean cans (and coming up with a good slogan).

There's some true hilarity when it comes to the ridiculousness of the spiel. The salesman is required to utter "My, what a lovely three-piece living room set" almost every time. Both Jack and his boss Morris Morris (that great character actor John Fiedler of "12 Angry Men" fame) utter the line to Mrs. Roper, earning a dumbfounded (and priceless) reaction from her both times. The end result of Jacks' first sale is just uproarious.

The sexy Sally Kirkland of "Anna" fame makes a nice guest appearance as a female nude model who greets Jack cheerfully. Supposedly, when he accidentally bursts in on her while she waits in a dressing room, she was actually nude at the time.

'Three's Company' always knows how to send its fans away with a smile, with a lively finish as Janet and Chrissy tease Jack about appearing in the mens' magazine (when, in fact, he walked away before any pictures could be taken).

Seven out of 10.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Star Trek: The Original Series: Miri (1966)
Season 1, Episode 8
7/10
"I never get involved with older women, Yeoman."
3 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
The Enterprise discovers the existence of an isolated planet identical to Earth. A landing party beams down to learn that the adult population has been decimated due to a plague. And the children remaining are still in danger, since they all end up contracting the disease as they enter puberty. Kirk and the others find out that as adults, they begin to show signs of the disease. With time running out (they only have a week), Bones and Spock have to work overtime to create a possible vaccine.

While not a great Trek episode overall, it is fairly entertaining. This viewer can fully understand the common criticism that the children can be annoying, especially with their repeated refrains of "Nyah, nyah, nyah" and "Bonk, bonk, bonk". Kirk definitely has his work cut out for him, trying desperately to get through to these kids and make them understand that he's trying to HELP them. Meanwhile, the source of the episodes' title is a girl (guest star Kim Darby of future "True Grit" fame), on the verge of womanhood, who clearly gets a crush on Kirk.

With Michael J. Pollard ("Bonnie & Clyde") hanging around to add his typical goofy, eccentric presence, 'Miri' is generally agreeable, and gets particularly fun when the characters such as Kirk, Spock, and Bones go about sniping at each other. Although the budget obviously allows for scant use of locations / sets, the filmmakers do their able best to create an apocalyptic feel; the sets and costumes are definitely adequate. The makeup effects are basically decent.

All of the performances are solid, especially from the adorable Darby and an appealing Yeoman Rand. It's such a shame that Grace Lee Whitney ended up being written off the show. In time, she could really have emerged as an iconic team member.

While this made for a reasonably good time, this viewer has been assured that there were definitely better episodes to come during the first season.

Seven out of 10.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Walking Dead: Vatos (2010)
Season 1, Episode 4
8/10
"What'd you do before this?" "Delivered pizzas. Why?"
2 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Rick and others have made it to Atlanta, where they have discovered that Merle has managed to escape by sawing off one of his hands. They follow his bloody trail, hoping to catch up to him, but encounter a seemingly hostile group that act like a gang. This bunch also wants their hands on that cache of guns that was left in the street a while back. Back at the camp, Jim (Andrew Rothenberg), has begun to behave erratically, digging a bunch of holes in the ground for some unknown purpose.

For the balance of this episode, the writing centers more on the toll that this situation is taking on various characters, not just Jim. Andrea (Laurie Holden) and Amy (Emma Bell) have a quiet moment at the outset that culminates in tears as they realize that the world they knew for so long is gone. We actually don't see that much of the zombies, or much blood and gore, until the final few minutes - where things go to Hell quite quickly. (This marks the first episode where we actually first see zombies munch on human flesh.)

Robert Kirkman himself wrote the sensitive, intelligent script, coming up with some key emotional moments, as well as a bit of suspense. The actors all do well under capable direction by Swedish-born Johan Renck, a music video director whose other TV credits include 'Breaking Bad' and 'Chernobyl'. The script has some nice, human, humorous points such as Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) being asked about the watch which he is always seen winding. Among the more interesting developments is the fact that this hostile other group can't be taken at face value.

Overall, a solid episode that illustrates the balance that this series was able to maintain between dramatic, character-driven moments and purely visceral ones.

Eight out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Edmond (2005)
7/10
Are any of us where we really belong?
2 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Screenwriter David Mamet, in adapting his stage play, takes us on a deliberately discomfiting journey along with a character who is both easy to understand, in one sense, and impossible to completely sympathize with. That makes this appropriate cinematic material for the late, celebrated cult filmmaker Stuart Gordon, who sometimes told stories where the sense of morals could be skewed. With the balance of the film taking place mostly during one long night, it ends up asking some serious questions of all of us and the world in general. What DOES it all mean?

William H. Macy is exceptionally good in the lead role. Edmond Burke leads a dull nine-to-five life, working in an office building. One night after work, he decides to visit a fortune teller (Frances Bay) who simply tells him "you are not where you belong". That night, he makes the fateful decision to turn his back on his wife (Rebecca Pidgeon, a.k.a. Mrs. David Mamet) and his life, and wanders the seedy underbelly of the city. In the process, he becomes both victim and victimizer. And yet, as time goes on, he actually begins to be more content with how things have unfolded.

A steady parade of familiar faces turn up, some of them quite briefly. Standouts are an appealing Julia Stiles as a waitress / actress, and a typically fine Joe Mantegna as a stranger in a bar. But make no mistake: this is Macy's film, and he really takes the bull by the horns here. Edmond is determined to "let it all out" for the first time in his life, and the character is obviously going to be a major bone of contention for some viewers. Admittedly, it can be difficult following the progress of this kind of person when they can be prone to say and do vile things. But Macy makes this man compelling, and believable. (He was also in good shape for a man of his age.)

If you're a fan of Macy, Mamet, or Gordon (and are particularly interested in checking out Gordons' non-horror work), then check this one out. You'll find that it's an experience not easily forgotten.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
King of the Ants (I) (2003)
7/10
Not bad, but not entirely successful, either.
1 May 2021
Warning: Spoilers
As part of this viewers' intention to check out the non-horror films by the late filmmaker Stuart Gordon, he checked out the 2003 effort "King of the Ants". Being that it is a Gordon film, it is at least more interesting than the majority of product from The Asylum. What gives it an edge over similar, trite vengeance plots is that the avenger in this case is a true anti-hero, not somebody we ever sympathize with or like very much.

Sean Crawley (Chris McKenna, "Art School Confidential") is a young man who will take just about any odd job to pay the bills. A new acquaintance named Duke (George "Norm" Wendt) refers him to corrupt building contractor Ray Mathews (Daniel Baldwin, 'Homicide: Life on the Street'). Sean is paid to shadow an accountant at City Hall (an uncredited Ron Livingston of "Office Space" fame), and ultimately kills the guy. Since Ray and his associates feel that they didn't really get what they wanted, they opt to mess up Sean rather than pay him. And by that, I mean they feel it will be more amusing to turn Sean into some sort of utterly damaged, drooling basket case rather than kill him outright. But they underestimate the guy: after Sean survives his extended ordeal, he eventually gets it into his head to seek some vengeance.

The films' second half is not as strong as the first, in large part because it's too hard to watch as Sean attempts to be the new man in the widows' life (she is played by a radiant Kari Wuhrer ("Eight Legged Freaks")). But "King of the Ants", which derives its title from the comparison made between human and insect lives, deserves at least some respect for having the courage to have this immoral creep at the centre of the story. Although he reacts in a somewhat human way after the murder, he basically killed the victim because he wanted to.

McKenna is a passable lead, but at least he's surrounded by a number of familiar and reliable faces. Wendt is amusing to watch in one of his change-of-pace roles; we're used to seeing him play much more likeable types. Lionel Mark Smith (a David Mamet regular) and Vernon Wells ("Commando") are cast as Mathews' thugs; Ian Patrick Williams (a Stuart Gordon regular) has a bit as a man at the mission.

Although not a horror film in the conventional sense, "King of the Ants" does feature horrific elements (like some amusing hallucination scenes) and the kind of in-your-face violence for which Gordon is known. Overall, it's visceral, and fairly compelling, with victims-to-be who are really not all that worse than our lead character.

Scripted by Charlie Higson, based on his own novel.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Naked Zoo (1970)
5/10
Not one of Bill Grefes' best.
29 April 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Steve Oliver of 'Peyton Place' stars here as Terry Shaw, a struggling writer and gigolo. One of his lovers is older woman Mrs. Golden (a slumming Rita Hayworth ("Gilda"), in one of her final film appearances). She's married to wealthy, wheelchair-bound Harry Golden (top character actor Ford Rainey ("The Sand Pebbles")).

Their affair comes to an end when Harry discovers the two of them together, but unfortunately the film does not end there. It then spends a fair amount of time indulging in sleazy, swinging, and surreal early 70's drug and dance sequences, and it remains to be seen whether the reprehensible Terry will ever pay the price for the vile things he does.

Overall, this is not as much fun as the typical output from Florida-based exploitation filmmaker William Grefe. It's good for some mild entertainment as a trashy melodrama, but it's rough going when the character with whom we're required to spend so much time is such a worthless jerk. It tends to run the gamut of entertainment value, ranging from being boring to fairly amusing to generally agreeable.

Rita shows some appeal in this late-career role, managing to retain some of her dignity. Oliver is good in the sense that he really makes you hate his character. Rainey is solid in his brief time on screen. The supporting cast, like Ms. Hayworth, has some appeal even if they don't possess her degree of talent: Fay Spain as the victimized Pauline and Fleurette Carter as the enticing Nadine have real showcase roles. Frequent Grefe collaborator / boxing legend Willie Pastrano appears here as a glasses and suit wearing character named Henry. Other familiar faces (at least to those familiar with Florida-made genre and exploitation titles) include John Vella ("Sting of Death") and Jeff Gillen ("Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things"). Joe E. Ross of 'Car 54, Where are You?' fame has a cameo as Terry's agent; exploitation legend William Kerwin ("Blood Feast") turns up near the end as a uniformed cop. (Another Grefe collaborator, pop star Steve Alaimo, sings the songs on the soundtrack.)

All in all, this is the kind of thing one may stick with just in the hope of making sure that the despicable Terry receives his comeuppance before the end credits start rolling. But there are better (or at least more entertaining) Bill Grefe films out there.

Also available in an even more exploitative version, when the distributor took Grefe's finished film and added more nudity to try to spice it up.

Five out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Zotz! (1962)
7/10
It's not polite to point.
27 April 2021
Filmmaker William Castle has great fun with one of his silliest stories, based on a novel by Walter Karig. The ever-likeable Tom Poston plays Jonathan Jones, a professor of ancient languages who comes into possession of a mystical coin. It gives him highly amusing powers: by pointing at a living thing or object, and uttering the word "ZOTZ!", he can cause A) sudden pain, B) VERY slow movement, and......C) silent death. He's not above using said powers for self-gain, but must do some quick thinking when enemy agents "Josh Bates" (Carl Don) and Igor (notable tough-guy actor Mike Mazurki) want to get their hands on this valuable object.

"Zotz!" is good, light-hearted, and slapstick-heavy entertainment, a purely comedic change of pace for a director who'd made his name with gimmicky horror movies and thrillers. While "Zotz" does seem like a pure nonsense word, apparently it IS an actual surname used in foreign locations. There are some real laughs to be had here; the good thing is that for a movie that recycles the same gags over and over, they're a hoot every time. When "sudden pain" is dealt out, people bend over and clutch themselves. And when "slow movement" occurs, the actors involved do a priceless job of acting in slow motion. One of the highlights happens when Jones finds a way of embarrassing his professional rival, Horatio Kellgore (the always great Jim Backus).

Poston, who reteamed with Castle the following year for the Hammer film "The Old Dark House", is as endearing and funny as he's ever been. He's very well supported by Backus, Cecil Kellaway as the amiable dean at the college, Fred Clark as a military general who doesn't take Jones seriously, the lovely Julia Meade as the colleges' new languages professor (and requisite love interest), the enchanting Zeme North as Jones' nubile niece, old Marx Brothers foil Margaret Dumont as Kellaways' wife, James Millhollin as a disbelieving psychiatrist, a hilarious Jimmy Hawkins as Kellgores' jargon-spewing son, and Louis Nye as a man peddling a homemade weapon to the Pentagon. Don and Mazurki are classic comedy villains.

"Zotz!" really hits the spot if one is looking for good, goofy comedy. This viewer had a fine time with it.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Hoffa (1992)
7/10
The man who was willing to pay the price for power.
26 April 2021
Writer David Mamet and director Danny DeVito (the latter taking a break from the dark comedy genre) here attempt a portrait of the legendary Teamsters leader who remained firmly on the side of the working man. Jack Nicholson, giving one of his best film performances, is believable as James R. Hoffa, a man so devoted to the rights of his people that he was willing to "deal with the Devil", and develop associations with organized crime figures to get things done. This was a passionate and yet complex figure, whose ultimate fate remains shrouded in mystery (with Mamet devising one possible explanation for what happened).

Somewhat sentimental in its approach, with a grandiose score by David Newman, this is given slick, stylish treatment by DeVito, who creates some visual tricks at select moments. Its main point is to show how this incredibly forceful personality, with his fair share of both assets and flaws, just completely galvanized blue collar workers across America. In that sense, it does its job well. And it moves along rather well, for even as it clocks in at two hours and 20 minutes, it remains easy to watch, with some compelling passages.

It's not unreasonable to say, however, that Nicholson's performance essentially IS the movie. Although, as time and his career went on, he could often easily slide into "wacky Jack" mode, he was still thoroughly capable of immersing himself in a character and leaving eccentricities far behind. DeVito himself plays a fictional character who became a steadfast companion to Hoffa throughout the years. They receive exceptional support from a cast just full of familiar faces: Armand Assante, J. T. Walsh, Robert Prosky, John C. Reilly, Kevin Anderson (as Hoffas' nemesis, Bobby Kennedy), John P. Ryan, Frank Whaley, Natalija Nogulich, Nicholas Pryor, Paul Guilfoyle, Karen Young, and Cliff Gorman. Nicholson's daughter Jennifer has a bit as a nursing nun in white; Bruno Kirby has an uncredited cameo as a nightclub entertainer.

Overall, it is this great cast that helps to smooth over any flaws in the script or the film. This viewer has not yet seen Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman", but comparisons between the two films is sure to be interesting.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Frankenstein (1931)
9/10
It may thrill you. It may shock you. It may even horrify you.
25 April 2021
Rightfully regarded as one of the top horror films of all time, this initial Universal adaptation of the legendary story has much in it that quickly became iconic. Henry Frankensteins' insane ranting, Boris Karloff's impressive performance as The Monster, Jack Pierces' incredible makeup, the overwhelming atmosphere, Frankensteins' vast array of lab equipment, etc. One will note the short running time, like the vast majority of Universal genre product during this era. In adapting the Mary Shelley story - or rather, the stage adaptation - the writers cut to the "meat and potatoes" of the tale. It moves forward at a breakneck pace, and truly does offer a lot of fun - even if it doesn't necessarily "thrill", "shock", or "horrify" modern audiences.

Colin Clive is an amazing study in intensity as Henry Frankenstein, the ambitious young scientist who dares to play God by creating his own man-made being. Unfortunately, thanks to the bumbling of his hunchback assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye), the Monster ends up with the warped brain of a criminal. And yet, there is an essential childlike innocence about the Monster. Witness the memorable scene (excised for a number of years) where a little girl is drowned when the Monster attempts to "play" with her.

The acting is on point, for the most part. John Boles just sort of takes up space as Henry's friend Victor, but Mae Clarke is luminous as Henry's worried bride-to-be Elizabeth. That wonderful character actor Edward Van Sloan is a delight as the esteemed professor Waldmann who knows that nothing good can come of Henry's activities. Frye is fun to watch as Fritz, who makes his big mistake in taunting the Monster with fire. Frederick Kerr, adding comedy relief as Henry's cranky father the Baron, Lionel Belmore, as the Burgomaster, little Marilyn Harris as the young girl Maria, and Michael Mark as Maria's father Ludwig, comprise an excellent supporting cast.

Admittedly, this COULD have used a music score, as it would have added to the impact of key scenes, but there's still so much to enjoy here. Karloff in particular gets one of the more memorable entrances for a movie Monster that you're likely to see in films of this kind. James Whale does a fantastic job as director.

Followed by a series of sequels, beginning with "Bride of Frankenstein" four years later.

Not to be missed.

Nine out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Typically amusing murder-mystery entertainment from Universal.
24 April 2021
Warning: Spoilers
In this, the fourth of the "Inner Sanctum" series of psychological thrillers, series star Lon Chaney Jr. Plays Alex Gregor, a man with a popular "mentalist" radio show. When a skeptical drunk (a hilarious Arthur Hohl) belittles the act, Alex wishes the man dead ... and indeed the man does actually die. Guilt-ridden, Alex goes to stay at the wax museum operated by his lady friend Valerie Monet (Tala Birell). There he gets caught up in more macabre events as Valerie goes missing and Alex is afraid that, once again, the powers of his mind have resulted in death.

"The Frozen Ghost" is typical shenanigans for these short & sweet movies, with an "it's all a plot" type story, and another situation where it seems that every major female character has designs on Chaney (also including Maura Daniel (Evelyn Ankers), his partner in his act, and the young and enchanting Nina Coudreau (Elena Verdugo), Valerie's niece). The story IS pretty straightforward, with director Harold Young giving the proceedings adequate atmosphere without any major stylistics. It's all easy enough to watch, with Lon doing a typically engaging job. His whining to the obligatory police inspector character (a very good Douglas Dumbrille) about believing to be guilty of the audience members' death is a hoot.

Every cast member gets an A for effort here, especially utility supporting player Martin Kosleck, a top character actor who specialized in villainous roles. Here, he plays a plastic surgeon-turned-sculptor who acts blatantly suspicious at every conceivable junction. Even in light of the fact that Ankers and Chaney did NOT get along in real life, that didn't stop the studio from putting them together fairly frequently, and they DO manage to work well together onscreen. Young Verdugo is a delight, but the true highlight of the film has to be the performance of Dumbrille, who in some ways is your standard cop-on-the-case character, but who also takes time to quote Shakespeare, offer art critiques, and compulsively straighten crooked paintings.

"The Frozen Ghost" may not exactly be anything special, but if you're looking for an amiable little thriller with a trim running time of BARELY over an hour, it fills the bill.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
"They're in the sewer." "Where they belong."
23 April 2021
Warning: Spoilers
The almighty John Saxon ("Enter the Dragon") stars here as Norman Hopper, a Vietnam veteran plagued by nightmares. At one point in 'Nam he'd rescued two comrades (Charlie, played by Giovanni Lombardo Radice of "Cannibal Ferox", and Tom, played by Tony King of "Report to the Commissioner") from imprisonment. But the two of them had caught some virus that turned them into cannibals. Now, back Stateside, even after all this time, Charlie and Tom remain the same, and Norman worries about his newfound desire to bite people. Soon, the three of them, with a nurse (May Heatherly, "Pieces") in tow, are on the run from the law.

The "apocalypse" aspect of the title doesn't really come into play, except to show that in this film, cannibalism is a disease that won't stop spreading. Each infected person passes on their tendencies to any person they bite but don't kill. All in all, though, this is good fun, a gory and cheesy dose of agreeable nonsense that wastes little time in getting to the good stuff. (There is a brilliant fire gag near the beginning.) "Cannibal Apocalypse" naturally takes the idea of "the horrors of war" to another level, with decent action and plenty of amusing acting / dubbing. Despite medical authorities' best efforts to cure Charlie and Tom, it's all for naught. A sequence where Charlie puts the bite on a fellow theatre patron, is chased away by angry citizens, and ends up cornered inside an empty flea market takes up a fair chunk of the running time.

Saxon may have ended up badmouthing this one after all was said and done, but that doesn't mean that he's not fun to watch. Lombardo Radice and King do quite a bit of scenery-chewing, as does Wallace Wilkinson as a grumpy police captain who is faced with an onslaught of violence. Elizabeth Turner is pretty but not much else as Hoppers' wife, while Cinzia De Carolis is a hoot as an oversexed young neighbour who has designs on Norman. Laura Dean from the film version of "Fame" has a bit part as a jogger.

A rare foray into this sub-genre by the prolific and under-rated Antonio Margheriti, whose many credits include other classics like the "Gamma One" spaghetti sci-fi flicks, the murder mystery "Naked You Die", the Vietnam War picture "The Last Hunter", and the cheesy cult favourite "Yor, the Hunter from the Future". The urban setting helps this one to stand out from other Italian entries into cannibal cinema.

It's all comfortably predictable, with plot twists most people should be able to see coming.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Obviously not your typical romantic comedy.
21 April 2021
Filmmaker Paul Aaron ("A Force of One", "Deadly Force") began his career with this odd spin on the romantic formula. Written by Henry Olek, the premise has a gay female real estate agent, Stella (Meg Foster), and a gay male designer, Albert (Perry King), living as housemates. He turns out to be an illegal alien, and she gets the bright idea to marry him so he won't be faced with deportation. One night, after some drunken birthday celebrations, they end up in bed together and thereafter develop romantic feelings for each other.

This certainly had the potential to be a total misfire, and could still easily be seen as problematic to a number of viewers. But it actually works fairly well, at least in its first half, before succumbing to corniness and predictability in its second half. Some audience members could probably do without the character of Stellas' previous lover Phyllis (Valerie Curtin, '9 to 5'), who's clearly unbalanced. But the characters of Stella and Albert are treated as healthy, happy, balanced individuals. This admittedly wouldn't be as successful if King and especially Foster weren't so good in their respective roles. You really do like these two, despite everything.

Available now on Blu-ray in its original R-rated form (with some brief profanity and nudity), this was unsurprisingly quite controversial 43 years ago. Even today, it's not going to be to all (or very many) tastes. But curious movie watchers may still want to give this a look, if only for the performances (including Peter Donat ("The China Syndrome"), as a prominent orchestra conductor who was Alberts' previous romantic partner).

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Admittedly, a hard movie to just automatically dismiss.
19 April 2021
Tom Green has an irreverent comic sense, I'll give him that. He's the sort of entertainer who will do just about any outrageous thing in the name of laughs, or throw just about any idea at the wall to see what sticks. His brand of comedy is OBVIOUSLY not for all - or even most - tastes; it's the brand of comedy that the viewer will either embrace or utterly loathe. As we can see, he is NOT afraid to repeatedly traffic in bad taste.

He co-wrote, directed, and starred in this "epic" as Gord Brody, a virtually unemployable goofball at 28 years old. He doodles all the time, with the vague hope that one day he will be a successful cartoonist. Forced to move back into his parents' (Rip Torn, Julie Hagerty) house, he throws the old mans' life completely asunder. The movies' title derives from Gord accusing the old man of molesting his younger brother Freddy (Eddie Kaye Thomas of the "American Pie" series). Gords' love interest is Betty (Marisa Coughlan), a paraplegic in the medical profession with a side interest in rocket science - and an obsession with administering oral sex to Gord.

With such "highlights", or absolute low points (depending on your sensibilities) as Gord flogging animal penises, the constant maiming of a neighbourhood kid (Connor Widdows), and Gords' flamboyant delivery of a woman's baby, "Freddy Got Fingered" is often ridiculous, but not exactly boring, at least in this viewers' humble opinion. Granted, a fair amount of the gags here tend towards being tiresome. Still, this viewer would be lying if he said that he never laughed at all. It's worth it just for Torns' go-for-broke acting as a comic nightmare of a father, and for occasional amusing nonsense such as the "backwards man" and "Daddy, would you like some sausage" gags. Greens' real life romantic partner of the time, Drew Barrymore, has a cameo as a receptionist, while Harland Williams actually has one of HIS straighter roles as Gords' put-upon friend. Some of the humour is plenty predictable: you just KNOW that when Gord receives advice such as "get inside the animal", he's going to interpret it in the wrong way. What wasn't expected are some occasional moments that almost register as human. But there's always more insanity around the corner.

"Surreal" would be one appropriate adjective for a movie such as this. Green really does have it inhabit its own warped vision of "reality".

Five out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
"You shoot one of my soldiers, I shoot one of your gorillas."
18 April 2021
"The Black Gestapo" is visceral Blaxploitation cinema that drives its point home with a vengeance. It may ultimately be simplistic storytelling, but it works. In record time, the viewer sympathizes with the hero, and dislikes all of the antagonists, waiting and eager for their comeuppance. The violence is brutal, the level of exploitation high (with some of the actresses, including the notable Uschi Digard, baring their breasts for the camera), and the music oh so enjoyably funky.

Rod Perry ('S. W. A. T.') stars as General Ahmed, who's started a People's Army to give an assist to the folks in Watts. When nasty white mobsters begin to throw their weight around, he reluctantly agrees to let his second-in-command, Colonel Kojah (Charles Robinson, 'Night Court'), bring in more men to become a protection squad. Wouldn't you know it: once Kojah ascends to power, he and the men he trains become just as bad as the creeps who were oppressing the people before. They have no problems resorting to crime (namely, drugs and prostitution) to generate funds.

Admittedly, the button-pushing "The Black Gestapo" *does* work best in its first half, when Kojah and his associates are striking back at thoroughly despicable heels like sleazy mob enforcer Vito (Phil Hoover). Indeed, Vito's comeuppance is one of the unqualified highlights of the film. Exploitation veteran Lee Frost ("The Defilers") directs with verve, and also appears on screen as top white mobster Vincent, who cradles a toy dog in his arms and sports a toupee. Frosts' frequent collaborator Wes Bishop makes his custom appearance, this playing a mob flunky named Ernest. Perry is good as the impassioned Ahmed, a determined hero if ever there was one, but he's outshone by Robinson (a long way from the role of the lovable Mac on 'Night Court'), who looks like he's having a whale of a time. The foxy Angela Brent does well as the victimized Marsha, a nurse and Ahmeds' former flame.

Good fun in general, "The Black Gestapo" wastes little time and wraps up in a succinct way. The main problem is that not all of the story threads are paid off within this time, so it becomes less than completely satisfying. One may assume that the filmmakers might have intended to give this a sequel at some point.

Seven out of 10.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Garfield (2004)
6/10
"Jon! Odie's on TV, and he's wearing lederhosen!"
18 April 2021
Warning: Spoilers
The long-running comic strip finally got a belated big screen adaptation in 2004, with digital animation bringing the cheerfully fat & lazy orange tabby to "life". Bill Murray voices Garfield, whose existence is thrown for a loop when his owner Jon (Breckin Meyer) adopts a second pet, a sweet (if not that bright) mutt named Odie. Although the canine is a major nuisance to Garfield at first, Garfield *does* become attached to him - to the point that Garfield embarks on an ambitious rescue when Odie is dog-napped by "Happy Chapman" (top character actor Stephen Tobolowsky), a local TV host and slimy worm desperate to break into the big time.

Although the script isn't exactly inspired, "Garfield" the movie has enough good spirit and humour (Louis the mouse, voiced by Nick Cannon, is particularly funny) to make it passable. Anyone who's a veteran fan of the strip may wish to watch one of the vintage TV specials or series instead, but less judgmental younger viewers will probably be reasonably entertained. Although this movie has been rather excoriated over the past 17 years, in truth it's not really what this viewer would consider "terrible". The CGI may be, well, rather cheesy (and this Garfield doesn't resemble the cat from the strip that much), but it's hard to be that critical about it when this is just meant to be straightforward family entertainment. Very little here could be seen as problematic for your younger viewers, with the exception of a "shock collar" that Chapman want to put on Odie to make him perform. But fear not: this slimy antagonist is not going to go unpunished.

Make no mistake: this is Garfields' show, with not a lot for the human characters to do. Even if comic legend Murray has expressed regret over taking this project, his enthusiastic vocal performance is a highlight. Meyer is likeable as Jon, who in this film is not the total loser that he is in the strip. Jennifer Love Hewitt adds plenty of PG-rated sex appeal (often dressing in some striking outfits) as Liz, the veterinarian on whom Jon has always been sweet. Tobolowsky is appropriately odious as the kind of bad guy who you'll love to hate. A number of familiar performers (Debra Messing, Richard Kind, David Eigenberg, Alan Cumming, Brad Garrett) voice the other four legged characters.

This viewer has been a fan of the strip and specials for a long, long time, and he had a decent time with this one. At the very least, it has an appropriate amount of energy, one musical number wherein Garfield parodies Billy Joels' "New York State of Mind", and a fairly painless short running time.

Six out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
He's got a cross with your name on it.
17 April 2021
Handsome, grizzled Anthony Steffen is the title mysterious avenger in this rock-solid example of the "Gothic Western", or a Western with supernatural leanings. It's often rightfully compared to Clint Eastwoods' "High Plains Drifter", which came along four years later. But it's good enough to merit a viewing from any movie lover with an interest in the Spaghetti Western genre. Co-written and directed by Sergio Garrone, it's got atmosphere to spare, a deliberate pace, some real tension, and a music score by Vasili Kojucharov and Elsio Mancuso that would make Ennio Morricone proud.

Django arrives in a small town, clearly with an agenda. Before each victim is claimed, he plants a cross in the ground - a cross with their name and date of death on it. Local bigwig Rod Murdok (Paolo Gozlino) rounds up as many henchmen as he can to ensure his own survival, while having to contend with a weaselly brother, Jack (a memorable Luciano Rossi). Euro-cult actress Rada Rassimov plays Alida, a weary young woman who'd actually been paid by Rod to marry Jack; she becomes attracted to the stranger.

Steffen has an excellent presence, as Garrone and company set him up as this rather mystical figure. Gozlino is likewise terrific. He has a great face for a villain in a Western film. Rossi is such a despicable worm that the viewer will love to hate him. Rassimov is good as the only major female presence in the story. A capable supporting cast includes Carlo Gaddi as Murdoks' main enforcer, and Jean Louis and Victoriano Gazzarra as two of Django's intended victims.

Garrone begins the story in a truly striking way, shooting Steffen from above as he slowly makes his way into town and puts that first cross into the ground. Best of all is the suspenseful finale, which attempts to cast some doubt as to whether Django is truly otherworldly or still a flesh-and-blood human being. The story is pretty straightforward, and the filmmaking simply superb. This viewer feels that this film should create some chills for any and all interested viewers.

Eight out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A decent pair of tales.
15 April 2021
Warning: Spoilers
'The Miracle at Camafeo'. Scripted by Rod Serling himself, based on a story by C. B. Gilford. Harry Guardino plays an insurance investigator who comes to the Mexican village of Camafeo. He's come here because he's been tracking down a con artist (Ray Danton) whom he hopes to expose as a fraudster. Danton has pretended to be crippled by a bus accident, and intends to be miraculously "cured" at the shrine in this village. Well, the outcome to this tale is never really in doubt, but it does work as a true case of poetic justice. It works largely because Guardino is so good, and is so well supported by the lovely Julie Adams (who plays Dantons' wife); she's not exactly happy about being party to his sleaziness. There is a wonderful subplot about a blind boy (Tomas Trujillo).

'The Ghost of Sorworth Place'. Scripted by Alvin Sapinsley, based on a story by Russell Kirk. An amiable Richard Kiley (who'd played a MUCH less sympathetic character in the original 'Night Gallery' TV movie) is a traveller who comes to a remote estate in Scotland. There, he meets attractive young widow Ann Loring (an enchanting Jill Ireland), who hopes to be rid of her husbands' ghost. He feels compelled to help her. Naturally, things don't work out quite the way that either of them anticipate. The cyclical quality to this story is the most interesting thing about it, although it's commendable that everybody involved goes for subtlety and restraint. There's no overwhelming amount of atmosphere, and no special effects to speak of. Both Kiley and Ireland give creditable performances, and they receive able support from Mavis Neal Palmer and Patrick O'Moore as area locals who attempt to warn Kiley about the situation into which he's entering.

Overall, this isn't a great episode, but is a solid one.

Both segments directed by Ralph Senensky, a TV veteran whose credits include 'Star Trek: The Original Series' and 'The F. B. I.'.

Seven out of 10.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed