Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fool's Views (7/28 – 8/3)


Pardon the delay. I've had a lot on my mind lately...

Howdy folks,

This week marked the mad dash of banging out reviews for Scream Factory’s awesome “Summer of Fear” as well as a long overdue return to the multiplex to check out a few of the flicks that had been generating some positive buzz. Happy to say that of the four big-screen features imbibed, all were worthwhile and two will likely land in my top 10 list for 2014 (Boyhood and Guardians of the Galaxy).

As part of this year’s ongoing Robert Redford festival, I was given the chance to introduce the femalien to the joys of 1973’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, although I’ll come clean that I only made it 20 minutes into 1960’s Play of the Week version of The Iceman Cometh starring Jason Robards; I’m not a huge fan of the four-hour play anyway, and our young Redford is just so very terrible as Parritt. This guy was on Broadway? Wow. To paraphrase Monty Python and the Holy Grail, he got better.

Also, being as I am in the throes of rehearsals for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s season opener, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club, I thought it might be fun to shine a light on a few of my favorite fellow reviewers’ thoughts for this week’s Civilian offerings (and one semi-horror flick). Follow the links provided and you will find my own sentiments captured with grace, eloquence, and in greater detail than I can afford at present.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.

Enjoy!

Friday, August 8, 2014

CURTAINS (1983) Blu-ray Review



Curtains (1983) d. Richard Ciupka / Peter Simpson (Canada)

This moderately entertaining Canadian slasher flick centers on tyrannical director Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon) as he auditions six female candidates for the lead role in his upcoming film project, Audra. However, Samantha Sherwood (Samantha Eggar), the aging starlet originally promised the part, has checked herself out of the mental institution where she was incarcerated to do “research,” arriving at Stryker’s secluded mountain cabin getaway to size up – and perhaps scythe up – the competition.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

LEVIATHAN (1989) Blu-ray Review



Leviathan (1989) d. George P. Cosmatos (USA/Italy)

Days away from completing its tour of duty, the highly photogenic crew of Tri-Oceanic Mining Corporation’s Shack #7 encounters a submerged Soviet submarine and salvages one of the craft’s storage containers. A couple sips of pilfered noxious vodka later, several members are dead, with their bodies mutating into a strange and messy amphibian organism possessing tendrils, teeth, tails, and a terrible ’tude. With icy deep waters all around, the surviving rock jockeys pit their wits against the carnivorous monsters below and wait for help from the corporate monsters above (personified by oily Meg Foster), though they probably shouldn’t hold their breath.

Sorry, I had to.


MOTEL HELL (1980) Blu-ray Review



Motel Hell (1980) d. Kevin Connor (USA)

“It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s Fritters.” So runs the tagline for this oddball combo of black humor and horror, featuring veteran character actor Rory Calhoun as Vincent, the proprietor of the titular establishment (the “O” on the “Motel Hello” neon sign keeps going on the blink) He and equally wacky sibling Ida (a pre-Porky’s Nancy Parsons) make their living by snaring unsuspecting passing motorists to fill up the skins of their famous, delight-of-the-county sausages. When Vincent takes a shine to potential tasty treat Terry (bland blonde Nina Axelrod), tensions rise between the killer siblings, not to mention goofy brother Bruce (Paul Linke) who serves as the local badge.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

WITHOUT WARNING (1980) Blu-ray Review



Without Warning (1980) d. Greydon Clark (USA)

Despite the emphatic warnings of the local gas station attendant (Jack Palance), a quartet of hormonal teens head out to the ol’ swimming hole for a weekend getaway and find themselves in the middle an extraterrestrial’s private hunting preserve. The result is a don’t-go-in-the-woods thriller that swaps out the requisite blade-swinging psycho with a melon-headed space alien given to flinging blood-sucking parasites at myriad hapless victims (including a young David Caruso in his second screen appearance, sporting some wicked short shorts).


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fool's Views (7/14 – 7/27)


Don't worry, he's really friendly once you get to know him...

My friends!!!

Been doing a lot of writing lately (wait, are we actually caught up????), but still managed to take a break from the smaller screen to the slightly larger one every once in a while. (Had the realization that this summer may mark my fewest excursions to the multiplex in recorded history; 2014’s popcorn crop just hasn’t looked very appealing to these old eyes. Do better, Hollywood.)

However, the home viewing has been an eclectic mix of new and old, as several bouts of martial arts traded time with she-wolves, melting men, golden boys, and giant female gorillas pitching woo. I think you’ll like, and if not, hey, you know there will be plenty more and different coming soon. Stay tuned!

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN (1977) movie review



Incredible Melting Man, The (1977) d. William Sachs (USA)

Combine a can’t-miss B-movie premise (an astronaut exposed to solar flares during a deep-space mission returns to Earth, where he slowly begins to dissolve) with rising makeup wiz Rick Baker, fresh off Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong. Stir vigorously, and voila! Turkey dinner is served. Even as a kid, I knew something was awry with this riff on 1959’s First Man into Space as the trailer solemnly intoned, “He seems to be getting stronger the more he melts!” Um, what????


PROPHECY (1979) movie review



Prophecy (1979) d. John Frankenheimer (USA)

How things went so wrong is anyone’s guess. With usually reliable director Frankenheimer, Omen screenwriter David Seltzer, and a capable if not all-star cast in place, one might expect competence if not brilliance. Alas, after a promising opening, the film descends rapidly into a muddy cloud of social sermonizing (slumlords bad, big business bad, racial prejudice bad) and laughable special effects, never embracing the schlock that it so clearly is. In fact, everyone on hand takes things so seriously that most of the fun is sucked right out of this eco-horror yarn of a murderous mutant creature lurking in the Maine forests, killing off lumber company employees, Native Americans, and unsuspecting campers alike.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Fool's Views (7/7 – 7/13)


This is what I like to call the Lysol Punch...

Skreeeeeeeee-onk!

In the week leading up to and into G-Fest, it was expected that a few kaiju features would pass before our wondering eyes, but duty also called in the form of Severin’s recent Blu-ray releases. Not much to say except thanks to Dan Kiggins, Mark Matzke, and Tery Gallagher for Sharing the Scare.

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.

Enjoy!

GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH (1971) movie review



Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) (1971) d. Yoshimitsu Banno (Japan)

The wildest, most anachronistic feature in the entire G-canon showcases an extraterrestrial life form named Hedorah that lands upon Earth and immediately begins thriving upon our overflowing supply of pollution. This movie is so batcrap crazy, it’s hard to know where to begin. There's composer Riichiro Manabe's wonky, drunken horn-filled score, hippie kids hallucinating, psychedelic dream sequences, animated vignettes, dancing freakouts, housecats covered in sludge, rockin’ “Save the Earth” theme songs, senseless bonfire-centric protest parties, and Godzilla flying (backwards, no less!).