Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Giant From the Unknown, Finally a Good Giant Film

We haven't had a good Giant film in a long time....decades!  Steven Spielberg's Big Friendly Giant film is the newest one, and is a mere insult to anyone with a brain.  So let us return to 1958, when evil conquistadors were still on everyone's mind (...or was that Communists?) and take a look at "Giant From the Unknown."
A California mountain town is being terrorized by someone or something.  The cattle and stray hikers have been ripped apart by some fiend.  Sheriff Parker (Bob Steele), who never met a constitutional right he didn't harpoon, suspects Wayne (Ed Kemmer).  Wayne, a geologist, studies rocks in the mountains and hangs out in the areas of the mutilations.  Wayne's luck changes when his old archaeologist professor, Professor Cleveland (Morros Ankrum), and his sultry daughter, Janet (Sally Fraser) hit town.  After the sheriff yells at them, they befriend Wayne.  Of course Wayne and the statuesque Janet fall in love.  Cleveland believes the remains of an old Spanish conquistador lay in those mountains.  Seems this conquistador was a giant and was known by the Indians as The Diablo Giant.
As Wayne and Janet get closer and even exchange spit, the trio head into the mountains.  Uh oh, the giant isn't dead and has been awakened from suspended animation by a lightning strike. After our giant rips apart some more townspeople, it gets a glimpse of Janet in her state of nudity.  This is too much for the centuries old maniac, and he sets off to abduct the nubile beauty. The massive giant lets nothing stand in his way of his new found lust.  As posses and other poor saps are destroyed by this thing, Wayne must put aside his interest in rocks and don his knight in shining armor persona.
Will our giant be destroyed by his forbidden love?  Will the precocious Janet learn to keep her clothes on when camping in cursed grounds?  Will the Department of Justice impose a consent decree on Sheriff Parker?  Save yourself some hard earned cash and avoid the newest Spielberg garbage.  Instead, enjoy a classic story of boy meets girl, complicated by a lustful monster story.  "Giant From the Unknown" is available on YouTube.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Frozen Dead, Elsa vs. The Third Reich

Zimbabwe born Kathleen Breck is a lovely B movie actress. In her role as Elsa Tenney in 1966's "The Frozen Dead," she will lose her head and conquer the Nazis in the process.  Eisenhower and Patton couldn't totally rid the planet of the Third Reich, but a very heroic and cute Ms.. Tenney came at them from a different angle. Perhaps Ms. Breck's role doesn't possess the stature of Elsa Lanchester's role of the bride or Simone Simon's feline role, but those two actresses didn't defeat Hitler's war machine, either. Also, Ms. Breck's performance dwarfs Mila Kunis' in her trash-epic, "Jupiter Ascending."
Dr. Norberg (Dana Andrews) is an escaped Nazi scientist who is living in England, continuing his experiments.  He plans to revive thousands of high ranking National Socialists who were frozen just after the war.  Believing Dr. Norberg is ready to start these resurrections, General Lubeck (Karel Stepanek) arrives to supervise.  He is also an escaped Nazi living in England under false identity. Worse news, Norberg's niece, Jean (Anna Palk) and her friend Elsa arrive a week early from their university holiday.  Never good to surprise a mad scientist...as Elsa will now find out.  Needing a fresh human head to carry out the last stages of the experiments, the Nazis strangle pretty Elsa and take hers.
Now living in a wooden box in Norberg's laboratory, Elsa is no longer pretty, and a bit angry.  A side effect to this experiment is that Elsa has telepathic powers.  This becomes uncomfortable when Elsa begins communicating with Norberg's failed experiments, who are locked in a dungeon beside the lab.  Even worse, Elsa begins communicating with Jean, who believes her friend left abruptly.  As the disembodied head is hooked up to other body parts, some her own...but not all, she begins to plot.  Jean, meanwhile, has contacted the cops and has brought out much suspicion on Norberg's lab.  Norberg's Nazi friends believe Jean is now a liability and plan her demise.  I have left out the handsome Dr. Roberts (Philip Gilbert). Roberts was summoned by Norberg to assist in his experiments, but falls in love with jean (yawn!).
Can Elsa save Jean from the Nazi thugs?  Are the frozen dead Nazis a mere metaphor for the evil that always seems to revisit civilization throughout history? Okay....let's not go there. This is a weird one, and the ending is quite haunting.  "The Frozen Dead" is totally a B movie, but it has scares that will give you nightmares.  Available on YouTube, enjoy "The Frozen Dead."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rush Week, Booze, Dope and Bimbos....and an Ax Fiend

Booze Dope Bimbos....Beta Delta Beta, actually. The nickname is well deserved. During rush week at Tambers College, our fraternity will demonstrate why they keep getting de-certified by the college administration.  Oh yes...in addition to bad behavior, usually involving naked bimbos and cadavers, an ax murderer will chop up the sexiest coeds at this college. In 1989's "Rush Week" we will see lots of murders, naked coeds, and lots of gratuitous scenes concerning either a shower or nudes posing with corpses.
BDB is back. Lude, insensitive, and criminal, can a fraternity change it's stripes. No.  Hunk Jeff (Dean Hamilton) is the chapter president and his boys are steeped in pranks.  Oh yes, some shapely babes have gone missing (code for 'chopped up by a battle-ax').  Most notably, Julie.  Julie (Kathleen Kinment, once married to Lorenzo Lamas).  She is a model and met her demise after a photo shoot in which she posed nude with a med school cadaver.  The subsequent victims followed the same path. On the case is school reporter, Toni (Pamela Ludwig).  Assigned to do a story on rush week (yawn), she decides to investigate the missing coeds, instead. The pretty Toni quickly receives cryptic threats, but she pushes forward and develops some great suspects.
Uh oh....Toni falls in love with her #1 suspect, Jeff. A handsome guy, but he seems to disappear before each murder.  Oh well.....one must overlook certain homicidal behavior when love comes knocking.  Besides, this photographer (John Donovan) is a better suspect.  The models are all murdered moments after their photo-shoots.  Then there is the college dean (Roy Thinnes). He is a bit puritanical and doesn't appreciate pornography or beautiful coeds.  As Toni snoops, the killer begins stalking her.  After Toni confesses her love to Jeff, the handsome senior gets really weird.  Being the aggressive cub reporter that she is, Toni draws the attention of an amorous Jeff, the Dean, and the photographer...and they all converge on her.
Will Toni be able to get her story and live to write another one?  Are our suspects too easy, and might Toni be in for the surprise of her life...or death?  Is our fiend a bloodthirsty killer or a crusader against drugs, nudity and pre-marital sex on college campuses? Directed by Bob Bralver, who did stunt work in "Road House," "Rush Week" is a lot of fun and available on YouTube.  Made several years after "Animal House," BDB makes the Delta House seem like a house of worship.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Me Myself and I, Our Greatest Fear

What are we most afraid of?  Ignore the polls which suggest drowning and public speaking scare us the worst. Nope, not being mauled by a grizzly or dying in a plane crash, either.  The one thing that can do us the most harm, and indeed frightens us tons more than the previous referenced fears...ourselves.  Meosha Bean, who appeared on this blog last January (click on this link Meosha Bean ) has created, and stars, in a new horror short...."Me Myself and I."  In this film, Ms. Bean takes the fear we have of ourselves and moves it from an abstract point of view to something more literal.
A very pretty young lady (Bean) leaves  a small grocery store late at night.....perfect beginning for a horror film.  In a dimly lit parking lot, she gets a glimpse of a figure.  This is very unsettling to our protagonist.  It's not Jason Voorhees, Feddy Krueger, or Michael Myers.....nope, that would be too easy.  She is drawn to this figure and follows it.  But wait!  The it is actually a her.  Even better, could this her be...well, herself?  Eerie and unsettling...our attractive damsel gets closer for more answers. No more plot, as this feature runs just under seven minutes, and spoilers won't be found on this blog.
Ms. Bean is sensational as the star of this horror short written by Kinte Fergerson.  Sure, staying in the abstract would have pleased the fans of artsy-fartsy films at film festivals.  Fortunately, Mr. Fergerson and Ms. Bean did not allow a theme of "How do we really view ourselves?" to hamper this movie from delivering jump-out-of your-seat scares. To view this film on YouTube click this link Me Myself and I

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Red Headed Corpse, Love....Poe Style

Shot in Turkey, this Italian production is heavy on Poe influences.  1972's "The Red Headed Corpse," seems to have taken a plot from a romantic comedy, and altered it to make it a deranged voyage into the taboo and macabre.  What does every pseudo-man want?  A beautiful woman who doesn't speak, fawns all over him, wants sex constantly, and never questions him! Yeah...right!  This always works out.  Not!  Unfortunately for our protagonist, this dream girl develops a voice and some selfish wants. What follows is....well...madness.
John (Farley Granger) is a struggling artist.  One day he comes across some hippies.  These free-spirits smoke a lot of pot and give John a gift....a beat-up, damaged, red-headed, nude mannequin. After John spends some time with a prostitute, Mala (Ivana Novak), he gets an idea.  John returns to his flat and restores the mannequin.  To his mild surprise, the thing comes to life as a subservient sex-toy (Krista Nell).  Now this woman has lots of sex with John, and John uses her as a model for his paintings.  Now his paintings are fetching lots of lira.
Uh oh, our subservient babe turns into something a lot less obedient (Erika Blanc).  Instead of a magnanimous love slave, our red-head now wants every man within 100 kilometers.  She seduces every warm body she sees, and grows cold and antagonistic toward John.  Even men who see her in John's paintings track her down, and she is all too happy to reward them for their efforts.  John, upset that his gal has a will of her own....and a hundred other lovers, hits the bottle.  He created her....and now he has another idea.  Has our red-headed free spirit gone too far?  What has John decided to do to her? Is she even real?
Perhaps a ghost story? Or maybe a murder mystery?  Or a study into the crazed mind of a struggling artist who has fallen into insanity?  Directed by Renzo Russo (I love that name), this is a fine thriller. Erika Blank turns in a most seductive performance, and steals the show.  Like Edgar Allan Poe, our protagonist just can't deal with a beautiful babe who happens to be alive. So, for all of you that got stuck paying money to see "Mannequin" because your girlfriend wanted to see it....see "The Red Headed Corpse," you deserve it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Darkwave: Edge of the Storm, Trouble in Paradise

It just didn't go as planned. Nope, but for fans of scifi and horror, this is no surprise. New Earth...so much promise. Whatever angst and apocalypse our original Earth faced, the new place promised to be a utopia, I'm sure. Yeah, right. Hence, a science fiction short which is sure to win awards at festivals, 2016's Darkwave: Edge of the Storm . Directed and created by Darren Scales, this 24 minute short packs so much.  In a supreme compliment to a short film, I am eager to see the 90 minute full length feature leading up to it, and the 90 minute full length feature which this film sets up. Or even better, a BBC series.
Sarah (Nathalie Cox), her husband David (Robin Kirwan), and son Ben (Ben Shahin-Scales) are on the run...but from who or what? They are also searching....but for what? New Earth has broken down and the government is pursuing them, and anyone else who doesn't toe the line.  All seems hopeless to our protagonists....but wait! They come across a burnt out communications outpost.  As David gets the satellite dishes back online, Sarah is able to make contact with someone (I won't tell you who, but he's played by Shane Rimmer).  Both David and Sarah find out a little more about their frightful predicament before the outpost goes down again.  And Ben?  You'll see. What follows is an ambitious and epic story line featuring great scifi f/x.
 Lots of spaceships, apocalyptic landscapes, outer-space drama, and fine acting help make 'Darkwave' a wonderful scifi tale.  Darren Scales wasn't intimidated by a 24 minute time frame for this film, as a detailed description of the plot would suggest this film runs 120 minutes.  Visit their website (the link is included above), and be sure to find a way to see "Darkwave: Edge of the Storm," which will be released online on September 16, 2016.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Snow Creature, Horror of the Beauracracy

1954's "The Snow Creature" is a brutally honest horror film.  We are used to shrieking at the sight of machetes, gore, lunatics, and mutations in our horror films.  Truth be told, the horrors we face every day in actuality may be a bit more frightening. For instance...running into a nine-foot tall beast from the Himalayas...who hasn't done that? Dealing with government agencies who insist your paperwork isn't in order...eek!  Misinterpretations of customs regulations causing your experiments to cease....that gets me all too often.  So let us take a look at this horror film directed by Billy Wilder's brother, W. Lee Wilder.
An ill-equipped expedition heads into the Himalayas.  Dr. Frank Parrish (Paul Langton) is a botanist, who will quickly become a cryptozoologist.  Uh oh....trouble!  Soon after they begin their climb, the Yeti abducts the wife of Frank's guide.  The Sherpa know Yeti as 'the marauder of women.' As the wives of the Sherpa are usually homely, Frank insists on pursuing his quest to find Himalayan plants. The chivalrous guide, Subra (Teru Shimada) leads a Sherpa mutiny, and now Frank's expedition is a search and rescue effort. After the Yeti kills a pursuing Sherpa, the newly arranged posse corners the beast in a cave.  By luck, a cave in kills the Yeti's child and mate, and allows Frank to capture him alive. Frank has a bright idea (I guess he never saw "King Kong"), bring the Yeti back to Los Angeles and display him in a museum. What could go wrong?  Government regulations and over burdensome Customs regulations....another eek!
While customs officials at LAX try to figure out if the Yeti is a man or beast, the Yeti escapes from his refrigerator cage.  'The marauder of women' is then loose to maraud aspiring actresses and other California beauties in L.A. This is a welcomed change for the Yeti, who up to now has been limited to chunky Sherpa wives.  He eludes capture, but Lt. Dunbar (William Phipps) of the LAPD is determined to save L.A.'s women, and end the Yeti's reign of terror. As the U.S. Customs Department remains insistent on proper classification, Lt. Dunbar plods on.
Will our Yeti receive proper government classification?  Will proper classification increase the fees which Frank will have to pay for his find?  Will our marauder of women find love and fulfillment in L.A.? A minor B movie, "The Snow Creature" is a lot of fun for all of us who have been hampered by government regulation. Available on YouTube, enjoy "The Snow Creature."