Saturday, October 27, 2012

October Movie Challenge 2012 (10/26)

Remember, if you would like to make a pledge toward Scare-A-Thon 2012 (benefitting FRIENDS OF CHILDREN) at any time, drop me an email at to let me know how much you would like to pledge per film. Your donation is tax deductible, 100% of goes directly to aid the kids, and seriously, even a penny per film helps. Thanks in advance!

Revenge of the Zombies (1943) (1st viewing) d. Sekely, Steve (USA) 61 min.

Holy carp, apparently the Nazi zombie subgenre goes back much further than Ken Weiderhorn’s Shock Waves. Here we have John Carradine’s wicked scientist laboring away among the natives, even going so far as to revive his own wife in the service of creating an opening salvo of undead soldiers. (The fact that this was made while the war was actually going on I find all the more impressive. I mean, I would have been worried that the Nazis might actually be cooking something like this up.) As an added bonus, Mantan Moreland shows up to offer his particular brand of stereotype reinforcement.

Cry of the Werewolf (1944) (1st viewing) d. Levin, Henry (USA) 63 min.

While I was excited to find another “classic era” werewolf movie, this one feels pretty thin in both the fright and amazement departments. You’ve got a Gypsy princess (Nina Foch) afflicted with the lycanthropic curse, forced to kill a museum owner to protect her family secret, which of course sparks an investigation that threatens to expose the family secret. Some truly chintzy transformation scenes, cross dissolving from one completely dissimilar image to another so clumsily that at one point it actually arrested my cup’s journey from the table to my mouth to shout, “Terrible!”

Zombies on Broadway (1945) (1st viewing) d. Douglas, Gordon (USA) 69 min.

Wannabe Abbott and Costello comedy team Wally Brown and Alan Carney star as press agents who offer a mobster a faux zombie for his club opening, who then insists they provide the real article. So, the quaking duo head off to the island of San Sebastian where they encounter occultist Bela Lugosi (as well as Sir Lancelot and Darby Jones from Val Lewton’s I Walked with a Zombie). Silly but entertaining enough.

Late Bloomer (2004) (1st viewing) Shibata, Go (Japan) 83 min.

A ballsy, experimental film whose unconventional narrative overcomes any aesthetic shortcomings. Masakiyo Sumida stars as a character called Masakiyo Sumida, a severely disabled individual who against all odds seems to live a very full life. He drinks, he carouses, he attends rock concerts, he watches porn, he flirts with female caregiver Mari Torii, and cultivates a great deal of goodwill among his circle of acquaintances. But underneath his twisted exterior lurks a soul in pain, and that pain must be expressed. It’s easy to look at a disabled person and think, “Poor thing,” but the truth is this is not a thing, this is a person, a person with all the lightness and darkness that anyone has. Similar to Crispin Glover’s It is Fine. Everything is Fine!, Shibata presents a unique look at the serial killer subgenre, one that plays upon our knee-jerk “victim” response to the physically impaired. Maybe the find of the Challenge.

Love Object (2003) (1st viewing) Parigi, Robert (USA) 91 min.

Introvert office drone Desmond Harrington falls for sexy new temp gal Melissa Sagemiller, but lacking the courage to ask her out, he orders a lifelike sex doll “Nikki” (which strongly resembles his officemate) to play out a fantasy S/M relationship with it behind closed doors. Problems start when Sagemiller asks him out and Nikki starts getting jealous. With Udo Kier and Rip Torn in the cast, this is a very polished and well-executed look into a damaged mind.

Total Movies: 84
First Time Views: 84
Money Raised for Friends of Children: $866.04


  1. Yeah, Cry of the Werewolf is not a lost classic in any sense of the word. Let me know when you get around to The Mad Monster or The Undying Monster (if you haven't already).

    1. I can't remember offhand whether I've seen MAD MONSTER, but I know I've seen UNDYING MONSTER. I didn't mind it, but it was a far cry from the other John Brahm efforts that were on the same DVD collection, THE LODGER and HANGOVER SQUARE. (Have you seen those?)

    2. I have, actually. Got them all from Netflix in turn. As you say, The Lodger and Hangover Square are definitely a cut above.