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July 25, 2014, 03:25:11 AM
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Rev. Powell
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« Reply #7785 on: July 23, 2014, 09:41:57 AM »

POINT BLANK (1967): Walker (Lee Marvin) is shot and left for dead by his partner during a heist; he survives and returns to demand the mob return the money he's owed, fighting his way up the ladder until he reaches the top man. There's star power and style to burn in this often overlooked early film from John Boorman, which perfectly balances arthouse cool with gritty action. 4.5/5.
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« Reply #7786 on: July 23, 2014, 11:41:24 AM »

Horrors of Spider Island (1960): On their way to Singapore and following an unexpected plane crash, a troupe of beautiful dancing girls are stranded on a seemingly deserted island. Making matter worse, they soon find themselves the prey of a half-man, half-spider monster with a penchant for strangling.

This monster movie is mostly focused on having its curvy "actresses" show off their bodies as we see the different ladies throughout in various states of undress. There's certainly a voyeur like quality to watching this film as the women constantly find ways to draw attention to themselves and their "ahem"  best assets. The monster transformation is actually well accomplished here and the creepy spider puppet thing is pretty memorable. However, the furry faced spider-monster that used to be the girls' manager disappears for long stretches of the film only to inevitably pop up towards the end. In between, we get lots of scenes of the dancing troupe undressing, dancing in their underwear, and walking around in revealing outfits. For some reason, I didn't mind all the extraneous scenes in this film as much as I have in others. I have to admit I like the look of these women much better than today's skinny models. The monster scenes are pulled off nicely but there's quite a few funny moments here and there leaving one wondering just why the monster takes so long to actually get around to doing something.  The dubbing is quite laughable at times. A fun if somewhat guilty pleasure bad movie. ***1/4 out of ***** stars.

The Wasp Woman (1959): Janice Starlin (Susan Cabot), the head of a struggling cosmetics firm who's become obsessed with regaining her youth and beauty, takes a special wasp enzyme designed for rejuvenation but it has the unexpected side effect of turning her into a bloodthirsty monster.

Actually there's a good suspenseful climax to this film that makes it a slight notch above many other similar low budget efforts from the period but only a notch or two. The cast is pretty solid in this with Cabot doing a great job in the lead and Micheal Mark proving quite good as Dr. Zinthrop, the eccentric, slightly kooky scientist/inventor of the youth rejuvenation wasp enzyme formula.. The rest of the cast do seem believable as concerned work colleagues of Ms. Starlin and there's a few familiar faces from the era from other low budget efforts here in bit parts including Bruno VeSota as the night watchman,  Frank Gerstle as the police sergeant, and familiar character actor William Roerick as Dr. Cooper who suspects Zinthrop is a quack. The makeup isn't always fully convincing but there are times when it's lit and shot correctly that it does prove surprisingly effective. There are a few too many extraneous scenes here of people walking around and doing ordinary things which does slow this down a bit and feels a bit like padding here and there. Still, I'd argue this film is a slight notch above other similar films from its era mostly due to its suspenseful climax and its memorable monster. A film that could probably be remade into a more gory, more convincing monster movie today (or perhaps even moreso back in the pre-CGI 80s).  ***1/2 out of ***** stars.


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« Reply #7787 on: July 23, 2014, 12:17:13 PM »

"Pacific Rim" (2013) Guys piloting giant robots to battle giant monsters bent on world conquest? Oh, hell yes, please! Guillermo del Toro's rock'em-sock'em epic is a tailor made fanboy flick. If this movie had existed when I was ten years old, it would've been like porn for me!! (Hahaha)
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« Reply #7788 on: July 23, 2014, 07:48:52 PM »

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965): In the year 2020,  one spaceship crew races against time to try and rescue another in distress.  Along the way, both crews and their eventual exploration of Venus proves rather difficult as Venus appears to be a prehistoric planet inhabited by many dangers including prehistoric dinosaurs, lizard monsters, man-eating Venus flytraps, volcanoes, and a very dangerous natural setting. Along the way, one of the rescue crew notices a siren-like wail and becomes obsessed with the idea of a beautiful woman making said sound somewhere on the planet.

This Americanized version of the Russian Planeta Bur is apparently pretty true story wise to the original. Scenes featuring Faith Domergue and Basil Rathbone were added here by director Curtis Harrington but they mostly just serve to help explain and advance the plot even if they aren't all that convincingly inserted into the proceedings. The original story is not half bad if a bit fanciful. It's a fun sci-fi adventure romp if a tad bit more reserved and more serious than one usually expects from these stories (you can tell the original was much more serious). Obviously the idea of space exploration is appealing, Robot John proves heroic and memorable in his own way, and the special FX were pretty good for the most part especially the hovercraft the rescue crew flies around in. The dinosaurs, lizard monsters, and flying pterodactyl are less convincing. Not bad but I would love to see the original version of this film with English subtitles. ***1/2 out of ***** stars.

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968): In 1998, spaceship crews explore Venus where they face many dangers including prehistoric critters, volcanoes, harsh environmental conditions and almost meet a race of sexy Venusian women.

This was yet another Americanized film version of Planeta Bur. This one seems a little less true to the original material inserting the actual race of Venusians only hinted at it or briefly glimpsed in Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet. Here these Venusian women who like to wear hip-hugging skin-tight white pants and brassieres made from white seashells spend their time apparently just laying around the rocks near the Venusian ocean, jumping into the waters to eat some fish, or worshiping their gods mainly the flying pterodactyl Terra that our brave spaceship rescue crew shoots down. The Venusian women then want revenge and so pray to their gods to do in the "invaders". All in all, it's pretty silly. However the original Planeta Bur footage remains entertaining and the transitions with the women are surprisingly well inserted into the proceedings. Still the inclusion of Venusian women led by Mamie Van Doren just doesn't work as well as a mysterious race of people only hinted at or briefly seen or heard - the "memory" echo element that seems so much more mysterious and unusual. It takes away some of the mystery and charm of the original. **1/2 out of ***** stars.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2014, 07:51:29 PM by JaseSF » Logged

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« Reply #7789 on: July 23, 2014, 08:37:44 PM »

Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965): In the year 2020,  one spaceship crew races against time to try and rescue another in distress.  Along the way, both crews and their eventual exploration of Venus proves rather difficult as Venus appears to be a prehistoric planet inhabited by many dangers including prehistoric dinosaurs, lizard monsters, man-eating Venus flytraps, volcanoes, and a very dangerous natural setting. Along the way, one of the rescue crew notices a siren-like wail and becomes obsessed with the idea of a beautiful woman making said sound somewhere on the planet.

This Americanized version of the Russian Planeta Bur is apparently pretty true story wise to the original. Scenes featuring Faith Domergue and Basil Rathbone were added here by director Curtis Harrington but they mostly just serve to help explain and advance the plot even if they aren't all that convincingly inserted into the proceedings. The original story is not half bad if a bit fanciful. It's a fun sci-fi adventure romp if a tad bit more reserved and more serious than one usually expects from these stories (you can tell the original was much more serious). Obviously the idea of space exploration is appealing, Robot John proves heroic and memorable in his own way, and the special FX were pretty good for the most part especially the hovercraft the rescue crew flies around in. The dinosaurs, lizard monsters, and flying pterodactyl are less convincing. Not bad but I would love to see the original version of this film with English subtitles. ***1/2 out of ***** stars.

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968): In 1998, spaceship crews explore Venus where they face many dangers including prehistoric critters, volcanoes, harsh environmental conditions and almost meet a race of sexy Venusian women.

This was yet another Americanized film version of Planeta Bur. This one seems a little less true to the original material inserting the actual race of Venusians only hinted at it or briefly glimpsed in Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet. Here these Venusian women who like to wear hip-hugging skin-tight white pants and brassieres made from white seashells spend their time apparently just laying around the rocks near the Venusian ocean, jumping into the waters to eat some fish, or worshiping their gods mainly the flying pterodactyl Terra that our brave spaceship rescue crew shoots down. The Venusian women then want revenge and so pray to their gods to do in the "invaders". All in all, it's pretty silly. However the original Planeta Bur footage remains entertaining and the transitions with the women are surprisingly well inserted into the proceedings. Still the inclusion of Venusian women led by Mamie Van Doren just doesn't work as well as a mysterious race of people only hinted at or briefly seen or heard - the "memory" echo element that seems so much more mysterious and unusual. It takes away some of the mystery and charm of the original. **1/2 out of ***** stars.

Interesting, I much prefer PREHISTORIC WOMEN to PREHISTORIC PLANET. Mamie van Doren, you know?  Smile
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« Reply #7790 on: July 24, 2014, 06:47:26 AM »

Night of the Seagulls (1975) - last in Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead series, and a particular favorite of mine. A young doctor and his wife move to a small seaside village and find the inhabitants very unfriendly. They also see strange processions taking place on the beach at night, and sure enough the residents are sacrificing maidens to those mean ol' undead Templars. This is fairly slow moving and the characters are only adequate, but I absolutely love the atmosphere these films create. Oodles and oodles of the stuff. 4/5.
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« Reply #7791 on: July 24, 2014, 11:18:47 AM »

Yes, I prefer Voyage to Prehistoric Planet for the reasons I stated above. I prefer that element of mystery and not having everything known to the audience plus it is apparently much closer to the original film which I still need to see if at all possible (believe it has been released to DVD in Russia)...

Re-watched the following last night (continuing on the Sci-Fi Classic 100 Pack)....

Kong Island (1968): Former mercenary Burt Lawson (Brad Harris) wants revenge for a double cross that nearly left him dead. His search for his enemy Albert Muller (Marc Lawrence) gets him involved in the attempted rescue of a kidnapped young woman named Diana (Ursula Davis). In reality, it's all a plot by Albert, a mad scientist who's been experimenting with ape mind control technology, to try and capture Burt and subject him to his experiments. Along the way, Burt meets up with another potential target of Albert - a jungle girl living in the wild nicknamed "the sacred monkey" whom Burt names Eva (Esmeralda Barros).

This is pretty out there in terms of a plot (ape mind control, jungle girl, mad scientist also keeping girls in cages) and features a surprisingly high ratio of betrayal with numerous double-crosses by characters out for their own ends. There is a lot of appealing cheesecake on display here though and the actresses are stunningly beautiful especially Adriana Alben whom we see in a bikini early on not to mention the lovely Ursula Davis and Esmeralda Barros. For the ladies, Brad Harris also takes off his shirt and shows off his muscular physique. That said, this doesn't make up for all the dull, dragged out scenes in this film including way too much walking and/or just traveling from here and there, not to mention too many poorly inserted, sometimes poorly chosen stock footage of jungle animals. The gorilla suits are laughably unconvincing too. I'll give this Italian action/sci-fi mish mash 2 stars, one for the lovely cheesecake on display and one for Marc Lawrence's over the top mad scientist. ** out of ***** stars.

Bride of the Gorilla (1951): Barney Chavez (Raymond Burr) is a man willing to go to extreme lengths to get what he wants and what he has his eyes on is the plantation owned by his boss Klaas Van Gelder (Paul Cavanagh) and Van Gelder's lovely young blonde bride Dina (Barbara Payton). Unfortunately for Barney, his actions lead others to place a curse upon him that turns him into a jungle gorilla beast killer that roams and stalks the jungle at night.

The cast for this movie is actually quite good and very talented. Also on hand is Tom Conway as the Van Gelders' Dr. Viet and Lon Chaney Jr. as jungle police commissioner Taro. It's too bad the material they have to work with here is so corny. This is basically a low budget jungle take-off on The Wolf Man only with a less memorable monster and much less sympathetic characters. It doesn't help that the gorilla suit looks ridiculous and it disappears from the action for long periods of time. I think had they actually had the gorilla more involved in outright terrifying villagers and other cast that this might have been a tad more effective. As it is, it's more akin to a man who quickly loses interest in the woman he's won in favor of roaming the jungle at night like a wild man. The guilt theory put forth by Dr. Viet actually does seem to have some merit in some ways in how this is presented. Still I liked the cast and their performances so I'll give it *** out of ***** stars.



« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 11:29:38 AM by JaseSF » Logged

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« Reply #7792 on: July 24, 2014, 06:48:23 PM »

Had some fun watching Gamera this afternoon...

Attack of the Monsters (1969): A trio of children (2 boys and a girl), intrigued by news reports of mysterious sound waves sent to Earth from outer space, star gazing spot a flying saucer!  They later discover it and and the two boys decide to investigate within while the girl being more wary decides to wait outside. After entering the spaceship however, the two boys suddenly find themselves unexpectedly whisked off into space. Along the way they spot and greet Gamera who tries to prevent the ship from leaving our galaxy but even he cannot keep up with its incredible speed. After the ship lands, the two boys find themselves on a strange new planet and suddenly spot another version of Gaos in battle with the planetís guardian, a knife-headed monster with a mean streak named Guiron. Gamera all this time has still been on the trail of the boysí spaceship. Meanwhile, aliens are watching these events unfold with possible evil intentions?

This was tremendous fun. The little kid in me loved every minute of it. Sure the kids are a bit annoying at times (but moreso I suspect to adult ears than to a childís) and the effects aren't always up to par but man do the monster battles ever deliver the goods in this one. They are knock-down drag-out affairs especially those featuring Gamera and Guiron and surprisingly graphic in terms of their brutality yet the film never loses sight of making clear just who is evil and who is good. Like the best pro wrestling of yesteryear, it manages to make the hero Gamera incredibly sympathetic while the villain Guiron comes across as little more than a nasty-tempered brute and a bully who needs to be taught a lesson in manners. There's even a good message as to what the kids think might make the world a better place. Great escapist fun that should appeal to kids (if it is a little graphic and gory at times). ***1/2 out of ***** stars.

Gammera the Invincible (1966): Awakened after millions of years frozen in Arctic ice, a giant flying, fire-breathing turtle monster named Gammera goes on a rampage eating up fire and other energy sources and threatening all civilization. Can the nations of the world actually ban together and execute a plan to stop him?

Well when it's Gammera and monster stomping on screen, this movie is enjoyable enough and even adds an element of intrigue given young boy Toshio's obsession with Gammera and all turtles and who comes to believe Gammera is his friend despite Gammera destroying pretty much everything in sight as he attacks Tokyo. There are way too many added, padded scenes in this Americanized version from Sandy Frank of the authorities talking and discussing, and talking and discussing some more their plans behind desks which really drags this movie down and badly slows down the action and pace of the film. Brian Donlevy's appearance here as General Arnold is embarrassingly bad when it's not downright dull. The original Japanese cast fare much better although I did get a laugh out of the talk show showdown between "scientific experts". The Gammera stuff is fun, the rest is pretty dull and dry. *** out of **** stars.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 06:51:35 PM by JaseSF » Logged

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« Reply #7793 on: July 24, 2014, 10:38:26 PM »

"Never Sleep Again: the Elm Street Legacy" (2010) an insanely in-depth (four hours!) documentary on the entire "Nightmare on Elm Street" series, from Wes Craven's classic 84 original thru 2003's "Freddy Vs. Jason." Featuring lots of behind the scenes clips  from each film and interviews with pretty much every actor, director, studio exec and special effects guy who ever crossed paths with Freddy Krueger. An entertaining treasure trove of trivia for horror nerds!
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