Category Archives: Size: Whale

The LOOOONG reviews on this site. Rich in Spoiler goodness!

Frankenstein

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1931
Stars:
Colin Clive

Mae Clarke

John Boles
Writers:
Garrett Fort

Francis Edward Faragoh

Director:
James Whale
WRC Score:
3.5/4

(-_-)b
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
March 3, 2012

The film that made Boris Karloff and destroyed Bela Lugosi. Or at least that’s the way the Horror film historians would have it. Whether this is the case might not be as clear-cut as they might think.

Intended to be his follow-up to Dracula (1930), Lugosi was less than thrilled with the idea of playing the monstrous creature.  “I was a star in my country” he reportedly said, “and I will not be a scarecrow over here!” And a heart-throb at that. Had he had his druthers, the character certainly would have had a different portrayal to it than Karloff’s, and not necessarily as successful a one at that.

Whatever he thought or intended with the role, others factors might have kept him off the project in any case. Before camera rolled, Universal Pictures fired intended director, Robert Florey, and gave the reigns to James Whale. Let me underscore that a little. Whale had the option of doing any picture he wanted, and he chose Frankenstein. He had full control of casting, too. Odds are good, I think, that Lugosi’s number would have been up even if he loved the role.

What might have been: A poster advertising Bela Lugosi as Frankenstein’s Monster

All that said, even if things had run smoothly, there’s no real indication this film would have been much of a career highlight. According to the Wikipedia article on the movie (where I lifted the above quote), Florey had a different interpretation of the story, to say the least. In it, the monster “was simply a killing machine without a touch of human interest or pathos.” As far a cry from source author Mary Shelly‘s literate creation as… well, as any movie based on her novel, including this one.

Would that have connected with audiences the same way this film did and does? Any thoughts on the matter only amount to so much guess-work. It’s hard to imagine, though that the peculiar alchemy of film making present in this Frankenstein could have been bested. Mainly because it really hasn’t been equaled in any production that come since.

But come. Leave the modern-day behind and let us drift back nearly a hundred years. There are funerals to attend, graves to rob, the dead to rise and a wedding to curtail. A word of warning before we begin. Classic or not, I will have my fun with the film as this review goes on.  I just can’t go after the “bad” movies without having a go at the “good” ones.

Besides,  I try to entertain as best I can, and dry reads simply don’t do it.

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Blood Beach

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1980
Stars:
David Huffman

Marianna Hill

Burt Young
Writer:
Jeffery Bloom
Director:
Jeffery Bloom
WRC Score:
3.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
January 31, 2014

I used to see the movie poster for Blood Beach a lot back in the glory days of the video rental chains.  As posters go, it’s simply the best.  And that tag line: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – you can’t get to it.  Even if you don’t know it’s referencing Jaws 2‘s own tag, it’s still great.  Really makes you want to see the film.

Never did rent it.  By the time I got money of my own, it was long gone from the shelves.  Replaced by other films of dubious worth.  I won’t say I missed it, exactly, but I didn’t forget about it.

I mean, with that poster how could you?Blood Beach 000

Closest time I came to watching this in the years between then and now was when it was playing on a UHF channel back in Chicago.  It was like Channel 60 or maybe 66. One of those two.  And not on cable; antenna all the way.

What those youngsters out there need to know is that the UHF signal quality via antenna back then was often trashy.  Fuzzy picture, sometimes dropped reception, the works.  Sometimes you’d even lose the picture right before the film ended, which was happened to me with the deliriously bad The Pit (1981).  Which was a shame, as the ending makes the film.

Anyway.

With Blood Beach the reception was almost good enough to see something.  Not great, but enough to get the gist.  Especially the monster.  That really stuck in my memory.

So between the poster and that one viewing, I really, really, really wanted to watch a good copy of this film.  Which has never, ever happened.  No DVD release as far as I can tell.  Film’s been lost for a while

Then, as fate would have it, technology comes through for me.  Not only could I buy the flick, I can download it direct to my computer.  Isn’t that great?

Well, a little yes, a little no.  But that starts on the next page…

The Undertaker and His Pals

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1966
Stars:
Warrene Ott

James Westmoreland

Marty Friedman
Writer:
T.L.P. Swicegood
Director:
T.L.P. Swicegood
WRC Score:
0.5/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
August 10, 2012

Few people stop to think about it, but Comedy and Horror live next door to each other.  In fact, they go about the same sort of jobs.  One that tries to get a certain response out of the audience.  Laughter from Comedy, screams from Horror.  They’re so close, in fact, they are almost brothers.

(Tragedy, incidentally, is on the same street, working a similar beat, pretending he doesn’t know either of these jokers.)

You’d think the two of them wouldn’t get along, that they’d be polar opposite.  Never friends.

Yet now and then the two of them have parties together.  Sometimes they’re even fun parties.

However, more often than not (say 90% of the time), these parties are a tedious affair.

Here’s the thing.  When Horror is bad, he can be quite the card.  People can laugh at him and walk away relatively pleased they met him.  In fact, odds are very good that this will happen, unless he’s really, really dull that day.

But Comedy?  No.  When he isn’t funny, he’s nothing.  He’s a bore.  Nobody likes Comedy when his jokes drop flat.

Which leads us to The Undertaker and His Pals.

Godmonster of Indian Flats

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1973
Stars:
Christopher Brooks
Stuart Lancaster
E. Kerrigan Prescott
Writer:
Fredric Hobbs
Director:
Fredric Hobbs
WRC Score:
1.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on March 8, 2010

From the moment I heard of Godmonster of Indian Flats (here after called Godmonster) I knew I had to see it. A movie about a Giant Mutant Sheep? Oh God, it had to be a sight to see!

I even came close to buying it one day.  Had the DVD in my hands. And then slipped it back on the shelf.

Always wondered if that was a mistake. Always doubted the wisdom of that choice.

Then I rented the movie from Netflix and found out I hadn’t wasted my money.  For once.

Of course, I wrote a review of the film, and with that thought about it no more.

Until I decided to reboot my site.  To rework and sort of condense things.

Boy, do I wish I had that disk now.

No, not really.

On the following pages waits my viewing of the film.  Back in the day (as now) I wrote it while watching the film for the full effect of the experience.  Six years on I’ve done a wee bit of pruning to streamline things.  A practice I find a little questionable (I sure as hell couldn’t make myself do this for a lot of the reviews I’ve rebooted) but what can you do?

My big fear is that I make this sound better than it is.  I sure as hell couldn’t make it any worse.

Slugs

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1988
Stars:
Michael Garfield

Kim Terry

Philip Terry
Writers:
José Antonio Escrivá

Ron Gantman

Juan Piquer Simón
Director:
Juan Piquer Simón
WRC Score:
0.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
February 4, 2012

I don’t want to hate movies.

Really.  I don’t.  I’m like a normal person in many ways.  I enjoy being happy and relatively pleasant.  Sometimes I even like speaking kindly to people, though I make sure to keep that to a bare minimum.

Sad to say, though, is that some flick really dig at the tender bits beneath the fingernails.  They dig and dig, then they dig some more.  And when you ask ever so politely for them to cut it the hell out, they bring out the lemon juice to squirt up and in.

Slugs makes those flicks look like they aren’t even trying.

So I look at that score, that 0.5, and I frown.  I frown a lot.  It should be a ZERO, I think.  Maybe even a minus one.  After all, the story breaks down so bad towards the end, and it wasn’t doing all that great to begin with.

And yet Slugs does hold together tolerably well in places.  As I believe a zero score has to be scraping the ground beneath the bottom of the barrel, it squeaks by.

Just.

With the greatest of reluctance.

So why is it I dislike this movie so?   Let’s go to the next page, shall we, and watch as one man goes from being relatively well pleased to actively shouting at the screen.

Don’t know why I do that.  They never listen…

The Ghoul

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1933
Stars:
Boris Karloff

Cedric Hardwicke

Emest Thesiger
Writers:
Rupert Downing

Ronald Pertwee

John Hastings Turner
Director:
T. Hayes Hunter
WRC Score:
2.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
November 12, 2011

Most won’t care, but here’s my mindset going into this one:

Five years and two review formats ago I had just completed a review on Octaman, and that flick hit me like a hammer. I didn’t want to review movies after that. I didn’t want to watch movies period. What I wanted to do I didn’t know, but not that.

Well there was a little problem. NaNoWriMo looms once again, and experience taught that little gets done in the way of extra writing during that. While this site had gone fallow in the past (and no doubt will again), at the time I wanted to keep a run going.  Thus I’d worked on a nice buffer of posts. Up to Octaman.

Which, if you notice the note, hit in the midst of November.

You know what the problem is with a buffer of posts? It decreases with each update.

Thus, to keep up the buffer, I needed a film. One that I could count on not to hurt me too bad.

Which was the reason behind picking this film. While not considered a true classic, The Ghoul has never had the stench of badness that some films possessed. Plus it had Boris Karloff in it. How bad could it be?

Don’t… don’t start, okay? Let’s turn the page and see what we shall see…

Profondo rosso (Whale)

Opening Thoughts

Also Called:

Deep Red

The Hatchet Murders

Date:
1975
Stars:
David Hemmings

Daria Nicolodi

Gabriele Lavia
Writer:
Bernardino Zapponi
Director:
Dario Argento
WRC Score:
3.5/4

(-_-)b
Note: 
First posted in a different form on November 12, 2011

When I speak of Dario Argento I speak from a great well of ignorance.  Not as great as, say Lucio Fulci, who I’ve only seen one film, but it’s fairly good sized.

So when I tell you that I think Deep Red is his best film, you should know that it’s a praise on the shakiest of legs.

However, of the films of his I’ve seen (which include the glorious messes such as Suspira (1977) and Inferno (1980)), this is my favorite.  Not that I’ve watched it a lot in my life; this marks my second viewing.  The first happened to be, as I recall it, on a pan-and-scan copy.  And a horrible print at that.

Anyways, let us proceed.  As (almost) always, the next section was written as I watched, with thoughts along the way.  There has been some condensing (most of the murders are touched on but not described), so you might not get the feeling that this is a gory, gruesome movie.  Let me assure you, it is.  A trifle fake looking in places, but gory nonetheless.

Octaman

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1971
Stars:
Pier Angeli

Kerwin Mathews

Jeff Morrow
Writer:
Harry Essex
Director:
Harry Essex
WRC Score:
1.5/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
October 29, 2011

Sometimes with these Opening Thoughts i talk about myself or this site.  It’s not the preferred course.  The preferred course is talking about the film in question.  Giving interesting tidbits and the like.

With Octaman, unfortunately, I sort of wish I had nothing at all to say.

Why is that?  Well…. here goes.

Octaman happens to be the last film of Pier Angeli, an actress who came close to marrying the one and only James Dean. Her career wasn’t exactly the brightest, but it’s still a shame it ended so early, with her being only 39.

This is also the last theatrical work for Jeff Morrow. Here is a name that will be popping up later in this Review site’s life (assuming I survive more pictures like this one). He stared in such classic films as This Island Earth, Kronos, and… um… The Giant Claw. Closer in line to today’s feature, he appeared in The Creature Walks Among Us.

Odd coincidence, no? But that’s not all, for there’s one more lasts for us to mention. This is the last film of its writer/director, Harry Essex. Like Morrow, Essex had a hand in such classic movies as It Came From Outer Space and… ah… Man Made Monster. Well I liked it.

More importantly, though, Essex wrote the original Creature from the Black Lagoon. Thus he cribs from his own past glories.

Now wasn’t that cheerful?

There is one more point of historic noting that must be attended to. This is the first film of Special Effects master Rick Baker. From here he would (in time) go to create creatures for movies like King Kong (1976), Star Wars, and the classic American Werewolf in London.

I know about the dates not matching. This movie was made in 1972 but not released until 1976. F

Why?  Let’s find out!  Turn to the next page, where a  misnamed monster laboring to leave the water’s depths…

Note: The IMDb has failed me with names for this film. Thus only the few names given there will be reported here.

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.

Curtains

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1983
Stars:
John Vernon

Samantha Eggar

Linda Thorson
Writer:
Robert Guza Jr.
Director:
Richard Ciupka
WRC Score:
3/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
October 1, 2011

I picked this up due to seeing the trailer.  It looked like it had potential.  Which it does.  It has a great deal of potential.

It just doesn’t make it.  Close enough, though, but…

Hey.  Why don’t we just check it out for ourselves.  This one’s a bit more rambling than usual (despite the short length), so beware of that.

Oh, and least I forget, here is a couple of notes:

One: It may help to preview the following essay on Slasher movies I’ve prepared. It covers my beliefs on what the sub-genre is and how a good Slasher flick should run, with various terms. If you know what a Final Girl is, you might not need it. Otherwise, feel free to click here and catch up.

Two: Rule of thumb here, I write the upcoming Viewing Experience first and everything else after that.  (In fact this part of the review was ironically the last one worked on.)  While I mop up afterwards, it’s sort of my thoughts as I watch.  Things don’t always mess neatly there and elsewhere.  Sort of like this film.

Blathering done.  Let’s get to business.

The Flying Serpent

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1946
Stars:
George Zucco

Ralph Lewis

Hope Kramer
Writer:
John T. Neville
Director:
Sam Newfield
WRC Score:
2/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
September 9, 2011

I pick each movie I review on this site with the same thoughtful, considered method.  It’s called “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Sometimes it works nicely.  Sometimes it bites me in the butt.  And Sometimes it takes a giant bat and beats me over the head, screaming “WHY WON’T YOU LEARN?  WHY WON’T YOU LEARN?”

In short, I gotta find a new system.

In this particular case I picked The Flying Serpent for one reason and one reason only: Quetzalcoatl.  I’ve been a big fan of his since watching the classic (CLASSIC I TELL YOU!) giant monster movie Q (1982).  The chance to see him in an earlier performance?  Why, I couldn’t pass that up.

Maybe I should have.  Might have had more fun that way.

A couple of things about The Flying Serpent.  It is benefited by the presence of one George Zucco, an undeservedly less Horror Giant in comparison to Karloff and Lugosi.  While not one of his better outings, it’s always good to see him.

Speaking of Lugosi, this is an unofficial remake of the second greatest Dracula’s The Devil Bat (1940).  Six years existed between this two films.  So the next time you hear something about Hollywood no longer having any creativity, you can point and laugh.

Cause Hollywood never had much creativity to begin with.

In any case, let’s pay the city of San Juan, New Mexico a visit, shall we, and see a man about a plumed serpent.

Dead & Buried

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1981
Stars:
James Farentino
Melody Anderson
Jack Albertson
Writers:
Ronald Shusett

Dan O’Bannon

Director:
Gary Sherman
WRC Score:
3/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
September 3, 2011

Dead & Buried.

I’d heard about it for years.  What I’d heard about it escapes me now, but it was enough so that when I had a chance to jump at watching it five years ago I did.

Now sometimes these longed for films turn out to be a bit of a disappointment.  For the most part, that’s not the case with Dead & Buried.  The flick has its issues, but for the most part it and I are on good terms.

Which is why I’m going to put forward a wee bit of advice.  See Dead & Buried before reading this review.  I know, I know, that’s bass ackwards, but humor me.  I think it’s worth it, and besides, all of my snideness will still be here when you get back.

That said, on the next page begins my own little viewing experience.  Written as my poor little self watched.   And cringed…

Fire and Ice

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1983
Performers:
Randy Norton

Cynthia Leake

Steve Sandor
Writers:
Roy Thomas

Gerry Conway
Director:
Ralph Bakshi
WRC Score:
3/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on August  14, 2011

It’s a well known fact that Hollywood goes by trends.  If Movie X does well at the box office, then you can expect a whole bunch of Flick Ys to com trotting out in the near future, hoping to catch the same lightning in a different (yet not too different) bottle.

Hence the existence of Fire and Ice, hoping to catch a little Conan the Barbarian Magic.

And they tried very hard indeed. Character designs for this flick were by Frank Frazetta, who’s art adorned many a Conan volume.  One of the writers, a rascal by the name of Roy Thomas, worked for years at Marvel Comics adapting and (if I’m not mistaken) coming up with new stories for the barbarian.  Short of a Ouija board and an honest to God medium I don’t know how you could have done better.

In fact, of the imitators, it probably had the best chance of hitting the mark.  The question remains: did it?

Let’s see.  On the next page, walls of Ice move ever closer the good lands of Fire…

Il gatto nero

Opening Thoughts

Also Known As:

The Black Cat

Demons 6: De Profundis

Date:
1989
Stars:
Florence Guérin

Urbano Barberini

Caroline Munro
Writer:
Luigi Cozzi
Director:
Luigi Cozzi
WRC Score:
0.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 19, 2011

Two minutes, I knew Il gatto nero was a mess.  Not ten minutes into this movie and I wanted to watch something else. And worse?  The movie itself was giving suggestions as to what to seek out.  Such wonderful, wonderful suggestions.

But, as you’re reading this you know that I did indeed watch all of Il gatto nero. Watched it all and wrote a review for it.

I’d like to tell you this was due to some sense of duty.  Some need to warn the world.  Some inner strength that all great reviewers have.

This, though, would be a lie.  The only reason I finished this review is because I couldn’t find the movies I really wanted to watch.  Despite searching.

For hours.

And hours.

God damn it.

Amusingly, now that I’m rebooting my site, I can find the movies I wanted to watch quite easily.

Il gatto nero?  Not so much.

Big tears streaming down my face.

In any case, I hope that my extreme anguish is your great pleasure.  You sadists.  The review begins on the next page.

The Neanderthal Man

Opening Thoughts

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

Walking 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

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1940
Stars:
Boris Karloff

Maris Wrixon

Gene O’Donnell
Writers:
Curt Sidomak

Richard Carroll
Director:
William Nigh
WRC Score:
2/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on April 11, 2011

Boris Karloff.

Now there’s a name, in more ways than one.   While not the first to play the role, he is in many ways the definitive Frankenstein’s Monster.  The one every other Monster actor gets compared to and found lacking (and yeah, I’m including Curse of Frankenstein‘s Christopher Lee in this).

He made three movies portraying the role before moving on (the original, Bride of, and Son of, respectively), but by that time he was already type cast as “Monster”.  The type of monster, though, tended to change from film to film.  As the forties rolled in, when he wasn’t playing mad killers he was playing mad scientists.

Which, now that I think about it, are almost the same thing.  Except with more technobabble.

A perfect example of the mad scientist typecasting appears when one glances at his output in 1940.  Karloff made eight films that year, and half of them had him playing scientists of dubious methods, if not intent.  In Black Friday he was a surgeon performing the world’s first brain transplant, resulting in a man who was part average Joe, part gangster. In The Man with Nine Lives he was a research scientist who discovers the secrets of cryogenics and had no qualms murdering to continue his work.  In Before I Hang he plays a scientist who, through a poorly timed pardon, becomes the next Jekyll-and-Hyde.  Then in The Ape, he…

Wait a moment.  Why don’t we turn the page and find out ourselves?  It is today’s feature, after all.

Paura nella città dei morti viventi

Opening Thoughts

Also Called:

City of the Living Dead

Gates of Hell

Date:
1980
Stars:
Christopher George

Catriona MacColl

Carlo De Mejo

Writer:
Lucio Fulci
Director:
Lucio Fulci
WRC Score:
3.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on March 19, 2011

Here we go, back into the world of Italian Horror.  Last time I had the pleasure (if I might sully the word pleasure) of witnessing The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Tomb, a film that makes you wish someone would gather up every last copy of it, set it on fire so that you might foul the ashes.  This time, it’s a work by the Gore-Hound’s best friend, Lucio Fulci, the guy who brought us zombies fighting sharks and women who scuba dive in the nude.

Classy pictures, don’t you know.[1.]

Paura nella città dei morti viventi was my first Fulci movie, and, frankly, my expectations were quite low.  That might explain the high marks I gave it.

2016-City of the Living Dead-Side Note-001Then again, there are quite a few stylish touches in the film and, after watching too many screaming dead teen movies beforehand it was nice to see someone who seemed to know what they were doing, horrorwise.

In any case, let’s go see what’s to see in a city of the living dead.

The Food of the Gods

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1976
Stars:
Marjoe Gortnor

Pamela Franklin

Ralph Meeker
Writer:
Bert I, Gordon
Director:
Bert I. Gordon
WRC Score:
3/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 15, 2010

2016-link-box-002

H. G. Wells’ Food of the Gods, or, rather The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, is a satirical novel detailing the invention of a substance that causes gigantism in various organisms, including, in time, Humans. It concludes with the start of a great war between the giants and the regular folk, one the giants seem destined to win.

Which isn’t even hinted at during the course of this flick.

In fact, if anything part of the book could be honestly said to be adapted here, it’s the first part, where a village finds itself forced to deal with giant wasps, chickens, and yes, rats. Of which little actually seemed to interest Wells.

And all of which interest Bert I. Gordon, King of the Superimposed Giant Monsters.

On the matter of if this was a good thing or not, I will let the reader decide for themselves. Me, I’ve never been able to finish the book. The movie, however, I love dearly, despite its problems.

And what problems are these? Well, turn the page and we’ll start the ball rolling.  A farm house in the woods has become the home of something… horrible…

Empire of the Ants

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1977
Stars:
Joan Collins

Robert Lansing

John Davie Carson
Writer:
Jack Turley
Director:
Bert I. Gordon
WRC Score:
2/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 9, 2010

It’s easy to mistake Bert I. Gordon as a one note man, filming variations on the same story for the entirety of his career. This neither accurate or fair: Only nine of his twenty-four movies dealt with over-sized animals and/or people threatening the world. It’s just that those nine tend to loom large, as it were, over the rest of his output.

Empire of the Ants marks the last time Gordon went to this particular well, as well as the last time he–now how to put this kindly?–“adapted” a story by H. G. Wells. As the poster implies, it deals with over-sized ants. It’s also the only film that dares stand antenna to antenna to the Sci Fi classic Them!.

How does it do in comparison to either the Wells story or Them!? Well, let’s just say that Gordon should have stuck with Giant Grasshopper movies and leave it at that.

I loved this movie as a kid. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Which only proves I never had much taste in movies.

As an adult, I haven’t had much use for it. I get kind of riled up towards the end of this particular review over certain aspects of the flick, but I don’t hate the movie.

Really.

I’ll prove it to you. Turn to the next page and see for yourself.

The Nightmare Never Ends

Opening Thoughts

Also Called:

Cataclysm

Satan’s Supper

Date:
1980
Stars:
Cameron Mitchell
Marc Lawrence
Faith Clift
Writer:
Phillip Yordan
Directors:
Phillip Marshak

Tom McGowan

Gregg C. Tallas
WRC Score:
1.5/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 29, 2009

This was my fifth official review, if I recall correctly. At the time I was struggling with how to format things (which of course never happens here any more ha ha ha thank God I hid the archives) and finding my “Voice” as it were.

Looking back that’s a lot of crap to have to sit through. Cathy’s Curse. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave. The Oasis of Zombies. With only Horror Express to get me through. A review which I botched, I should add.

It’s a wonder I’m still doing this.

Or that I’m sane at all.

Anyway.

My first encounter with The Nightmare Never Ends was long before I knew what the Internet was, back where there were these things called “Video Rental Stores”. Nowadays you can just jump onto YouTube or some such and watch “fine” “quality” “movies” like this one. Then you had to rent what was called tapes, and to decide what tapes to rent, you had to read the back of their boxes. Crazy, right?

This particular box gave a synopsis that covered the entire plot. Down to the ending.

Needless to say, I didn’t rent the movie. I mean, telling the whole story on the back? That reeked of desperation, is what that did.

Then, maybe twenty years later, I purchased a movie collection that just happened to have this film in it.

Still not sure how I feel about that.

On the next page we begin our look at The Nightmare Never Ends. Trust me. This will be far more entertaining than the actual film. At the very least, it’ll beat the hell out of reading the back of a box.

It! The Terror From Beyond Space

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1958
Stars:
Marshall Thompson
Shirley Patterson
Kim Spalding
Writer:
Jerome Bixby
Director:
Edward L. Cahn
WRC Score:
3/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 20, 2012

Note: From here, the film will be referred to as just It!

It! is more known for its descendent that for any worth it has on its own. How’s that for a sentence full of it.

Up until 1979, It! was just one in a long list of Let’s-Go-To-Mars-Oh-Wait-Bad-Idea flicks. Oh, a good (if far from perfect) example of the sub-genre, don’t get me wrong. As we shall discuss later on, scriptwriter Jerome Bixby did a commendable job on the story, and this might have been a crown jewel in his career had his name not been attached to another… ah… err… good story.

That said, Mars was one of our nearest neighbors. Until the spoil sport scientists ruined things in the Sixties, it was a ripe place for invading intelligence to come from, or, more relevant to this discussion, intrepid explorers to head to and discover ancient and crumbling civilizations. From this period we get movies such as Angry Red Planet, Flight to Mars, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

Hey, I never said they were all good movies, now did I?

Discovering just how lifeless Mars was killed the sub-genre and no doubt consigned It! with its fellows to the category of Might-Have-Been-Had-the-Universe-Been-Run-Right.

Only unlike its fellow films, It! had a different destiny. For in 1979 a little known flick called Alien came out and, due to its many similarities, It! moved up from mere footnote to predecessor to one of the most influential Science Fiction/Horror films of all time.

Just how influential It! actually was to the later film is a matter of conjecture. Whatever the truth of the matter, the mere hint of a connection no doubt sends many a viewer out to find it. I should know; I was one.

Turn the page and see if it warrants any or all praise it gets.

The Black Cat (1934)

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1934
Stars:
Boris Karloff

Bela Lugosi

David Manners
Writer:
Edward G. Ulmer

Peter Ruric
Director:
Edward G. Ulmer
WRC Score:
4/4

(-_-)b
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 18, 2013

Our film today is The Black Cat, a 1934 Universal Horror classic. It is also an important historic film as well. For no matter what its merits on its own terms, this film is the first time Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi worked together.

Depending on who you ask, the two were either great rivals or amicable professionals. According to Wikipedia, Karloff once told interviewers that there was some initial friction between the two. Only after being satisfied that the other actor wouldn’t upstage him did Lugosi settle down to the business at hand. Which suggests the former.

Of course, the same article quotes the normally very nice Karloff as saying that Lugosi “never learned his trade.” So who knows?

Whatever the truth, this entry into the Horror Hall of Fame takes place during Karloff’s first big creative peak and Lugosi’s, well, only peak. While flaunting the name Edgar Allan Poe, its story has nothing to do with the great writer. However, as with Poe, it does deal with madness, revenge, and death.

I hope you’ll join me on the next page as I poke fun at actors with more talent in their little fingers than Paulie Shore did in his…

What? You were expecting me to compare them to me? I wouldn’t dare shame them so.

Take that as you will…

Jaws of Satan

Also Called:

King Cobra

Date:
1981
Stars:
Fritz Weaver
Gretchen Corbett
Jon Korkes
Writer:
Gerry Holland
Director:
Bob Claver
WRC Score:
2/4
Note: 
First posted in a different form on September 10, 2012

Opening Thoughts

Here’s the skinny.

I pick movies to cover at this site by whim and whim alone.  Sometimes because I’ve never seen it before, sometimes because I’ve loved it for years.  Sometimes because I heard the flick was good, sometimes because I heard it was God awful.  I’ve even done reviews because of bad promises I made in the past.

With Jaws of Satan I picked it out because I didn’t have any J titles in my index.

This?  This is a dumb idea.  I knew it was a dumb idea when I did it.  I’d picked out a B title not long before it and wasn’t so much burned by the act as chard to a cinder.  We’ll talk about it another time.

In the case of Jaws of Satan, I’d already seen it in my far distant youth.  Seemed to like it, actually, though I couldn’t recall a detail.  Which, as we will see in the pages ahead, is a telling detail to say the least.

Shall we continue to the next page?

Friday the Thirteenth: Part 2

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1981
Stars:
Amy Steel

John Furey

Adrienne King
Writer:
Ron Kurz
Director:
Steve Miner
WRC Score:
2/4
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on January 18, 2014

And here we go again, back to Crystal Lake.

With this film we finally meet that loveable lug Jason Voorhees. He isn’t quite right yet — no hockey mask — but that won’t slow him down much I’m sure. At least, not any more than death did.

Before we begin, let me reiterate a few germane points. To start with I am not a fan of Slasher flicks, nor am I a fan of this particular series. Should the score above be higher than 2 points (I am writing this before viewing) it should suggest something. Whether it’s about the quality of the film or how my tastes have declined in my old age I will leave to the reader to decide.

It seem silly bringing this up if your reading these reviews chronologically, but once again, if you have no idea in the world what I meant by Final Girl, might I suggest boning up on the topic with my little essay on Slasher flicks before hitting the next part of this series? It might help.

Then again, as incoherent as my writing sometimes gets, it might not.

That all said, on the next page there’s a new camp opening, with new councilors come to test the knives of the killer.

And the patience of the viewer…

Friday the 13th

Date:
1980
Stars:
Betsy Palmer
Adrienne King
Jeannine Taylor
Writers:
Victor Miller
Director:
Sean S. Cunningham
WRC Score:
2/4
Note: 
First posted in a different form on May 29, 2012

Before we start, let me tell a couple of things. First off, I’m not a fan of Slasher movies. At all. Don’t get me wrong, I watch them. But when I go into them, I go in expecting the worst. Meaning I’m putting money on not being entertained. When I am, I tend to be most pleased.

Second of, of the Slasher flick series, Friday the 13th happens to be my least favorite. This particular film, the very first in a long, long series, is atypical for reasons that will become clear as we go on. That I liked it as much as I did comes as no little surprise to me.

And yeah, I remember that I gave it a mediocre rank above. That’s my point.

Finally, let me make the following declaration: Final Girl. If you have no idea what that means, you might find the following essay helpful in finding out where I’m coming from here. Or not. Depends really.

In any case, let’s take a little ride in the Wayback machine to the last campground anyone with any sense would ever want to go to… Or perhaps just turn the page.  Safer that way, really. After all, anyone who goes to Camp Crystal Lake is of course doomed…

Bigfoot

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1970
Stars:
John Carradine
Joi Landsin
Judy Jordan
Writers:
Robert F. Slatzer

James Gordon White
Director:
Robert F. Slatzer
WRC Score:
2/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in a different form on June 10, 2012

Here’s a movie that used to appear all the time on television, back in my fabled youth, that now has seemed to have vanish into the ether. Not that having vanished is necessarily a bad thing, mind you. It’s just that I’ve been a-looking and now that I’ve found it, I’m gonna watch it.

(Well, as this is a reboot review, I’ve already watched it.  But you know what I mean.)

As the name implies, this movie is about the fabled Bigfoot, cousin to the yeti. The last time we dabbled with his kind left a mark, of sorts. That was The Snow Creature, first of the Yeti/Bigfoot pictures. Such fond memories it inspires. At least in the writing of the review, if in no way the movie itself.

Shall this one bring similar “pleasant” memories? As we are on a streak of writing these openings before I actually watch the film, you already know the answer to that. But perhaps the journey to that destination will amuse. It is always my hope.

Before moving to the next page, though, it would be remiss of me not to mention that this will be John Carradine‘s first “appearance” here at Welltun Cares Reviews. As Mr. Carradine was the hardest working man in Genre films (kinda sorta) we will no doubt see more of him in future.

That said, head off to the next page for an extensive look at a film that frankly doesn’t rate it.  Par for the course around here, when you think about it…

Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1936
Voices:
Lou Fleischer

Jack Mercer

Mae Questel
Writer:
None Listed
Director:
Dave Fleischer
WRC Score:
3.5/4

(-_-)b
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
January 7, 2013

Here’s another oddity from the olden days of this site.  It was written after a half year hiatus from updating this site, and done mainly because it was short.  That I happened to like the cartoon helped.

As with The Contraption (which, ha ha, was written months later than this), it opened oppertunities.  it said I could review what I wanted on this site.

Needless to say, with the aformentioed short, it wasn’t something I did often.  Actually, The Contraption was the last time I did review a short, come to thibk about it.

Oh well.

Anyway, here is the review for Popeye m. Sindbad the Sailor, more or less as I wrote it three years ago.  It holds up fairly well, I think.

Head to the next page, see if you agree.

The Snow Creature

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1954
Stars:
Paul Langton

Leslie Denison

Teru Shimada
Writer:
Myles Wilder
Director:
W. Lee Wilder
WRC Score:
1.5/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
September 17, 2011

What does Frankenstein (1910), The Werewolf (1913), and The Snow Creature have in common?

Besides being all in black and white, I mean.

Well, all three of them happen to be firsts. They are, in order, the first Frankenstein movie, the first Werewolf movie, and the very first Yeti movie.

Okay, okay, there also movies you wouldn’t associate with one another on a bet unless you were desperate for an opening to a review. Must there always be such bitterness between us?

Silliness aside, The Snow Creature didn’t just kicked off not only a spate of similar films in the fifties. It also started an entire sub-genre of films dealing with the Yeti and his cousin Big Foot. This sub-genre is, sad to say not very well-regarded.

There is a reason for this: Yeti/Big Foot movies aren’t very good.

But that’s a discussion for another day. What about our feature film? As you can see above, this particular reviewer didn’t care for it that much. If his reasons valid?

Let’s turn the page and see.

The Contraption

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1977
Stars:
Richard O’Brien

Charlotte Cornwell
Writer:
James Dearden
Director:
James Dearden
WRC Score:
3.5/4

(-_-)b
Note: 
First posted in a different form on September 26, 2014

Here’s an interesting change of pace: a Whale review for a Minnow movie.

The Contraption is a short film shot in 1977.  It has only one set, one actor (the second is but a voice over) and only one line of dialogue.  It used to pop up on cable channels a lot back in the Eighties, and it’s one of those films that if you’ve seen it once, you never forget it.

So why the long review?  Well this particular review is an artifact from an earlier time.  Back before the first reboot, if you can believe it.  Back then they were all Whales, with not a real Minnow in sight.

See, the reason I started this site was to talk about Speculative Films.  To really go into why I thought this film worked and that film didn’t.  Thus the long review.

As The Contraption is rather short, I don’t see much purpose in doing a Minnow and a Whale for it.  Thus let this serve as the Minnow: seek this short out.  Good direction, good acting, and an ambiguous story makes this a great piece of Horror (2 points)  I like this one a great deal (1.5 points).  It comes RECOMMENDED.

And that as they say is that.  What follows on the next page is a full on look at The Contraption.  It starts with a rather vanilla (and short!) Viewing Experience, followed by the accustomed Thoughts After the Film.  It should be fun.

Which might not be that appropriate, now that I think about it…

Overall Score: 3.5 total points out of a possible 4 (-_-)b

Daikaijû Gamera

Opening Thoughts

Also Called

Gammera the Invincible

Giant Monster Gamera

Gamera

Date:
1965
Stars:
Eiji Funakosi

Harumi Kiritachi

Yoshiro Uchida
Writer:
Nisan Takahasi
Director:
Noriaki Yuasa
WRC Score:
1.5/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
September 14, 2009

Daikaijû Gamera/Giant Monster Gamera is one of a whole slew of movies cashing in on the success of Gojira/Godzilla (1953). Like its fellow cash-ins. it really doesn’t hold a candle to what it copies.  That said, Gamera is the only Daikaijû to have a successful series of films, thus making him Big G’s only real rival.

The giant turtle has done well by himself in recent years, what with an excellent trilogy in the Nineties and the potential new series being tossed around in the wake of, again, Godzilla’s success.

While I can’t say I enjoy Gamera movies the same way I enjoy Godzilla movies, it’s always good to see him still in action.  Which sort of surprises me that I’m so down on this movie.  Oh, I don’t hate it, don’t get me wrong.  I just don’t really care if I see it again.

Perhaps the rest of this review might shed some light on this.  Or not, as the case might be.

First things first.  This write-up assumes a basic knowledge of Daikaijû Eiga. If you don’t have one (and asking what the hell Daikaijû Eiga is a good sign you don’t), a basic knowledge can be provided by headed over to my little essay on the subject. We won’t gossip about you while you’re there.

Well, not too much, any way.

Also, I wrote the following review based on watching the subtitled Japanese version of Daikaijû Gamera/Giant Monster Gamera. Specifically the translation released by a company called Neptune Media. Since that time another company picked up the title; thus there might be a difference in subtitles and overall flow of the story. This I mention only as a heads up; the differences should be minor.

On the next page we begin looking back at the so-called friend to children everywhere. Just how friendly was he, really?

La tumba de los muertos vivientes

Opening Thoughts

Also Called:
Oasis of the Zombies

Treasure of the Living Dead

Oasis of the Living Dead

Date:
1983
Stars:
Manuel Gélin

Henri Lambery

France Lomay
Writer:
Jesús Franco
Director:
Jesús Franco
WRC Score:
2/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
July 6, 2011

A little history here.

La tumba de los muertos vivientes/Oasis of the Zombies (or Treasure of the Living Dead, or Oasis of the Living Dead, or whatever you want to call it) marks the first time I (knowingly) watched a Jesús Franco. As such, I’m going to leave it alone for the most part for its part in the reboot.

Ha ha, just kidding; I reworked the whole thing to spite myself. Oh unnecessary work, will you never lose your appeal?

Anyway. First time through, the IMDB had two listings with different names and I didn’t want to hassle with putting name to actor. Now that it’s been straightened out, I’m willing to do the work.

Might as well as I’m doing extra time here…

The reason for the multiple listings is, no doubt, because of there being multiple versions of the film. Not as many as our previous subject, just two, but that can be enough. Especially on the internet.

For the record, this series covers the French version.

On the next page we being our journey across the sands to a land of undead horrors. Big smiles all around.

La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba

Opening Thoughts

Also called:
The Night Evelyn Came Out of
the Grave

Date:
1971
Stars:
Anthony Steffen

Marina Malfatti

Enzo Tarasio
Writers:
Massimo Felisatti

Fabio Pittorru

Emilio Miraglia
Director:
Emilio Miraglia
WRC Score:
0/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
July 6, 2008

I distinctly remember vowing never to see this movie again.

Why, you might add?

To keep this page free of spoilers, an aspect of La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba really, really, really made me mad. Rereading the review for this reboot, I could see just where Past Cullen lost all his happy thoughts and went ballistic.

So had me my druthers, I’d just chop the old review up into bits, then post them in their respective plays.

Except I can’t. As it is the second movie I reviewed for the site and by that point the format I kinda stick to these days hadn’t gelled just yet. Thus a rewrite is in order.

Thus I’m watching La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba again.

It’s not all gloom and doom. They say every seven years we become new people, down to the cellular level. It hasn’t been that long yet; it hasn’t even reached six years even. But maybe in that time I’ve become who likes this kind of film.

I hope not. But it could happen.

Another hope spot: the film I watched all those years ago is but one of nine different versions. Three years ago I learned that I happened to own one of the other versions. One with an extra sixteen minutes. Perhaps this version will be better.

Of course I’m sitting here screaming sixteen more minutes of this film! in my mind.

At least I hope it’s my mind…

That silliness a side, turn the page (metaphorically speaking) for La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba, the rewatch.

The Dark Crystal

Opening Thoughts

Date:
1982
Voices:
Stephen Garlicl

Lisa Maxwell

Billie Whitelaw
Writer:
David Odell
Directors:
Jim Henson

Frank Oz
WRC Score:
4/4
Note: 
First posted in a
different form on
March 27, 2015

The Dark Crystal, for me, is one of those movies. The kind of film you watch over and over with the same love and affection you had the first time you say it. Sort of like Casablanca, the original Star Wars, and Blood Freak.

Okay, maybe not Blood Freak. But you see my point. It’s a favorite around these parts. From childhood.

I’m not at the “quoting long sections of the flick” stage, but damn close.

You’d expect a different sort of treatment of this film compared to the rest, but that wouldn’t be fair to such films as Cathy’s Curse and Night Evelyn Came from the Grave and…

Wait, why am I being snarky again?

A quick word about this film. The Dark Crystal is the creation of Jim Henson and Frank Oz, creators of the Muppets, as well as Brian Froud, writer of the classic book Fairies. It’s intended to do God’s work, aka give kids a good scare while telling an entertaining story. Whether or not kids actually found it frightening (I was watching classic Horror flicks when the chance arose by that point), it succeeds in creating a unique looking world filled with interesting creatures.

Some have said the story is a collection of clichés, but come on. It is a fairy tale. Fairy tales stick to the familiar tropes hot and heavy any…

Oops. Slipped into review mode already.  That starts on the next page, where we learn if a grown up nerd can actually poke fun of something he’s adored for years without his inner child bursting into tears. It’ll be a blast.

Um.  Maybe.

Imma gonna need a lot of Kleenex for Inner Child Cullen, ain’t I?

Friday the 13th (2009)

Opening Thoughts

Date:
2009
Stars:
Jared Padalecki

Danielle Panabaker

Amanda Righettie
Writers:
Damian Shannon

Mark Swift
Director:
Marcus Nispel
WRC Score:
2/4

It’s not surprising that the Father of the Modern Slasher film was remade. What is surprising, to a degree, was how long it took to get made at all.

See, originally Friday the 13th was a Paramount exclusive. It went through a healthy (or perhaps unhealthy is a better word) amount of sequels, then petered out in the late Eighties. At some point the rights to its… um… protagonist Jason Voorhees went over to New Line Pictures. And about that’s all that went over. The bulk of the mythology, such as it was, remained with Paramount.

Thus making an honest remake a wee bit hard.

But the potential for mountains of money can move any obstacle in Hollywood, and towards the end of the first decade of the 2000’s Paramount and New Line worked out a deal between themselves to bring this ever so necessary remake into the world.

Thrilling. I know.

This was one of the many, many remakes I managed somehow to miss when they were in theaters. Don’t know how that is, exactly. Beyond having better things to do with my time, a dislike of Slashers and most modern Horror flicks, a complete absence of a social life, and so on and so forth.

So why am I reviewing it now?

A video store closed near me and the disk was on sale. What other reason did I need?

This particular version of the film is the “Killer Cut” of the film, or at least that’s what the box told me. As I’ve seen the original and its first sequel in recent memory, expect a few digs on how the remake simply doesn’t compare. Then after that, we’ll see just how true that is.

Our getaway to Crystal Lake begins with but a turn of the page.  So to speak.

Cauchemares

Opening Thoughts

Also Called:
Cathy’s Curse
Date:
1977
Stars:
Alan Scarfe

Beverely Murray

Randi Allen
Writers:
Myra Clêment

Eddy Malton

Alain Sens-Cazenave
Director:
Eddy Matalon
WRC Score:
2.5/4

(-_-)p
Note: 
First posted in
a different form
on July 18, 2013.

On the subject of Cauchemares I have very little to say.  Which is an odd thing to say at the start of a long-winded coverage of a flick.  Allow me to explain.

What I know about this movie amounts to very little.  One of many Canadian film that came out of the Seventies, it came and went from the theaters back in 1977.  It might have been a tax write off.  It might have been a lot of things.

Beyond that, its history is a mystery to me.

Coming at it from a personal angle finds me in a similar bind. About the only thing I can say is that this was the first movie I picked for this site, back in June 29, 2009.  No reason for it.  Just looked interesting.  Or, at least, interesting enough to watch.

A reason that has proven time and again in this blog’s life as about the worst one possible to watch any film.

As implied above, this meat of this coverage of Cauchemares, comes from my second and in all likelihood last viewing.  The first part covers my viewing experience and synopsize the film.  The second gives whatever meager thoughts the film inspires.  It might be an odd way of doing this, but it works for me.  Hopefully it will work for you.

Odds are great what follows on the next page will be the most fun you’ll ever have with this particular flick…