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.


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...


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.


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!).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

HALF HUMAN (1958) movie review

Half Human (1958) d. Kenneth G. Crane / Ishiro Honda (USA/Japan)

Following the international distribution template set by Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Toho sold off the rights to their 1955 abominable snowman film Ju jin yuki otoko (which also starred Gojira’s Akira Takarada and Momoko Kochi) to producer Robert B. Homel. Homel took it upon himself to lop out nearly 50 minutes of footage and insert a 20-minute framing story featuring paleontologist John Carradine in his office booming out endless pages of exposition to fellow incredulously dull and dully incredulous scientists Russell Thorson, Morris Ankrum, and Robert Karnes.

QUEEN KONG (1976) movie review

Queen Kong (1976) d. Frank Agrama (UK)

With all the ballyhoo leading up to the release of Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong in late 1976, it was no surprise that other studios decided to ride the wave of free publicity, with numerous low-budget giant primate movies hitting screens beforehand, including Hong Kong’s Mighty Peking Man, South Korea’s A*P*E, and this bizarre mishmash of British sex comedy, parody, and monster flick. (News of the innocuous UK trifle raised the ire of Laurentiis, who sought to stop the film’s release by claiming it infringed upon his intellectual property. Money talks, the injunction was granted, and Queen Kong went largely unseen for many years until Fred Olen Ray’s Retromedia released it to DVD in 2003.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fool's Views (6/30 – 7/6)

The days of summer are here.

Back again!

Having spent the last couple installments building up to it, the Views this week culminated in the viewing of Jake West’s exhaustive, 7+ hour examination of the Video Nasty era, watching trailers and commentary from fellow fiends about the films on the chopping block. It’s probably my favorite home video release of the year, an essential purchase for genre aficionados.

Rewarding myself for having gone the distance, I sallied out to Jon Kitley’s and kicked back a quartet of quirks from around the globe (Spain, Canada, England, Russia), then returned home to kick off summer with a revisit to a certain croc-infested Maine lake to see if the water had gotten any better on second go-round. With killer rats, sexy witches, and trash-talking Betty White on the menu, it’s hard to go too far wrong.

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


WAX (2014) movie review

Wax (2014) d. Victor Matellano (Spain)

On the one hand, this love letter to horror cinema delivers several cult figure cameos (Tombs of the Blind Dead’s Lone Fleming, Paul Naschy’s voice), some gooey eviscerations, and a welcome scenery-and-flesh-chewing showcase for Spanish horror icon Jack Taylor (gussied up as Vincent Price in House of Wax). The rest of the time, however, we’re trapped with smart aleck Jimmy Shaw (working his Brad Dourif features overtime) wandering around a supposedly haunted wax museum – where he has been challenged to remain until dawn – with an array of videocameras recording every snoozy, snarky move he makes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BURN WITCH BURN (1962) movie review

Burn, Witch, Burn (aka Night of the Eagle) (1962) d. Sidney Hayers (UK)

Terrific screen version of Fritz Lieber’s novel Conjure Wife (first seen as the 1944 Lon Chaney vehicle Weird Woman and then remade in 1980 as the little-seen Witches’ Brew), adapted with verve by the dream team of Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont. Peter Wyngarde stars as a professor who seems to lead a charmed life, only to find out that he does . . . literally. Seems his beautiful bride (Janet Blair) does a little dabbling in the magical arts, and when practical hubby finds out and demands she dispense with her tools of hoodoo, his luck changes and not for the good.