Category Archives: Horror: Shapeshifters

Films about humans or monsters that can, well, you know, change their shape. Doctor Jekyll, please stop coming over here from Mad Science; you have enough lab rats as is.

Night of the Cobra Woman

Date:
1972
Stars:
Joy Bang

Marlene Clark

Roger Garrett
Writers:
Kerry Magness Andrew Meyer
Director:
Andrew Meyer
WRC Score:
0/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
August 13, 2023

A young researcher seeks out a rare cobra venom in the Philippines.  What she finds instead is BOREDOM!  PURE, UNADULTERATED BOREDOM!

Oh wait.  That was me.

What she found amounts to the Night of the Cobra Woman.  Or, honestly, nights.  With a woman who’s turning into a cobra.

Which sounds like it might be interesting, doesn’t it?

Now where was I?

Oh yes.

BORING!  ABSOLUTELY!  WITHOUT A DOUBT!  BOR! ING!

I can’t stress that enough.

Night of the Cobra Woman is a film without purpose.  It moves from one plot point to the next without a course or wind to guide it.  Without this purpose it ends up with a boring story, boring characters, and a bored audience.

There’s a very real sense that huge chunks of the narrative are missing, perhaps never even put into script form.  This is a terrible, terrible movie, without a hint of style or substance to save it.  (0 points.)

This film is probably the worst I’ve seen since… well, it hasn’t been that long, sadly, but let’s let the comment stand.  I had no idea how good I was having it before watching this.  I wish I had never seen this flick and will not make the mistake of watching it a second time. (0 points)

Bad movie connoisseurs beware of this turkey.  It may well test your limits.  I know it did mine.  I neither recommend nor not recommend out of fear of encouraging someone from having a horrible time.  More than I just already did, natch.

The Ape Man

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1943
Stars:

Bela Lugosi

Louise Currie

Wallace (ugh) Ford
Writer:
Barney A. Sarecky
Director:
William Beaudine
WRC Score:
1.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
October 15, 2011

Not a lot to say here. I watching this movie for the express purposes of watching the sequel, Return of the Ape Man.

Which was dumb of me, as Return of the Ape Man is as much a sequel to The Ape Man as The Return of Dr. X is to Dr. X. Or Kingu Kongu no gyakushû/King Kong Escapes is to King Kong.

Now that I’ve listed at least four flicks more worth your time than this one, let’s go to the next page to see if Lugosi leaves any furniture left or if he chews through them all before the ad for war bonds pops up.

Las garras de Lorelei

Also Called:
The Loreley’s Grasp

When the Screaming Stops

Date:
1974
Stars:
Tonny Kendall

Helga Liné

Silvia Tortosa
Writer:
Amando de Ossorio
Director:
Amando de Ossorio
WRC Score:
2.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
August 3, 2012

Las garras de Lorelei tells the story of a hunter gets called into a German town in order to protect a girl’s school from a killer with a thing for human hearts.   What he doesn’t know is that he’s pitted against a monster.  One that has been doing this sort of thing for centuries…

Also known as The Loreley’s Grasp and When the Screaming Stops, Las garras de Lorelei is a borderline decent Monster Movie.  What holds it back is bad gore and more questions regarding plot than real answers.  As a spoiler-free example, just where in myth does the Lorelei appear as a beautiful woman who changes into a scaly horror?

For whatever faults it has, Las garras de Lorelei never quite moves into Bad Movie range for me (1 point).  That, of course, might be a subjective thing.  I rather liked the flick, in fact(1.5 points).

Not that you could tell this from reading the Whale version of this review.

Seriously, this is about as nice as I get towards it.

Funny what trips the compassionate switch and what doesn’t…

Overall Score: 2.5 total points out of a possible 4

The Neanderthal Man

Opening Thoughts

2016-neaderthal man-Note-000Walking into this one, I thought I was watching a rip-off of Monster on Campus.  To my vast amusement I find that this is the earlier film.  So beyond these comments and a brief one in the Viewing Experience, you won’t find a comparison to that… I hesitate to say “worthy”.  Let’s be polite and say “better film”, then move on.

You will notice as you go through the Viewing Experience a shift in tone.  I wrote and condensed while I watched, as has been my wont.  I find this gives a better window on my thoughts as I experience things than I have afterwards.  I tend to see things more… favorable in the moment.

This will become even clearer in the Thoughts After the Film.  I’m writing this opening before doing that section, and I find myself growing more and more angry with this film as I go.  Not for the first time does this second thought process provoke a negative response.

Now you might ask yourself, why is Cullen so angry?  Click on the next page, and let’s find out together.

Kind of.  Sort of.  Take it as a figure of speech and let us move on.

The Ape Man

Date:
1943
Stars:

Bela Lugosi

Louise Currie

Wallace (ugh) Ford
Writer:
Barney A. Sarecky
Director:
William Beaudine
WRC Score:
1.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
October 15, 2011

The Ape Man tells the tragic story about a young scientist (played by sixty year old Bela Lugosi) who has accidentally turned himself into the title creature.  As no one will help him with finding a cure, he and his ape servant will go out and do the job themselves.  And if people die in the process?  Meh.

As one can judge by the proceeding paragraph, The Ape Man is a standard Horror fare.  But it has an extra problem, and I don’t mean co-star Wallace Ford.

Wait, I do mean Ford.  Why can’t movies kill his characters off in the first five minutes?  Why, God, Why?

But beyond that, how can you respect a film that has no respect for itself?

You can’t, really. The Ape Man is a transformation flick without a single transformation, a by-the-numbers job that hits a checklist of clichés before striding out the door. It comes close to mediocre, with a definite uptick in entertainment (at least for me) in the late quarter. However, the last three minutes (while mildly amusing) bring it low. (.5 point).

Most of The Ape Man left me with not enough to like though (1 points), but that’s a judgement call. I kept comparing this to the Boris Karloff vehicle The Ape and the numbers sort of slipped after that. Lugosi almost makes it worth while with his acting, but really, it isn’t near enough.

Overall Score: 1.5 total point out of a possible 4

The Neanderthal Man

Date:
1953
Stars:
Robert Shayne

Joyce Terry

Richard Crane
Writers:
Aubrey Wisberg

Jack Pollexfen
Director:
Ewald André Dupont
WRC Score:
1/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 14, 2011

A professor taps his primordial side in the hopes of proving that prehistoric man was superior to the modern version.  The results are The Neanderthal Man, an ape-like savage trapped in a world he doesn’t understand.

Oh, and he also creates sabretooth tigers.  Because who wouldn’t if they could?

The Neanderthal Man might have been a decent Horror flick.  Trouble is, it’s weighted down with a variety of problems.  A bad script, mostly, though there is a sabretooth tiger prop that tests “Seeing is believing” to its limits (the curious can click here without threat of spoilers).

Because of this problems, I’m giving The Neanderthal Man a bad mark, though it’s a close one.  Were we to be anal about the scoring, it be more .75 that .5.

But I’m not going to do that.

Because my scoring would become even more anal and obscure than it already is.

While at certain points I found myself involved in The Neanderthal Man, I find myself disliking the film the more I think about it. (0.5 point). Bottom line? If you need to see a professor turning into a caveman movie, seek out Monster on Campus instead.

Overall Score: 1 total point out of a possible 4

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