Film Mini-Reviews November 2017 – Thor to Night of Medusa

November continued the trend of fewer movies than in the first 3/4 of the year.  I still watched 31 films (more than 1 a day), for a total of 519 at the end of the month.

It seems likely, now, that I won’t hit 600 films this year, which was never really a “goal,” per se, but at one point seemed possible.  (If I start setting goals for this, I might as well just quit; goals imply pressure for something that should be a pleasurable activity, and even just keeping the list might be more pressure than I want.)  550 as a year-end total, though, is not out of the question.

Tune in next month and find out.

I should mention that during all this, I’ve also been watching a large number of TV series, and recently completed viewing all 8 seasons of Mannix (a fine cop-action show) and Season 2 of Stranger Things (really good).

So, amid the Fall Season, personal projects like that, and life, here’s what I watched in November, 2017.

Ratings are out of 5 stars.

Thor: Ragnarok **** Improv makes it loosey-goosey but action, comedy, & twists make it awesome. Great cast for Thor’s latest.
Monster that Challenged the World, The **** I love this story about giant mollusks killing people on the shores (and beneath) the Salton Sea, CA.
Invasion of the Star Creatures *** Low budget SF-comedy is 60s silly fun. Alien Amazons, plant men, army guys, Indians, & Space Pals Forever!
Four Sided Triangle ** Well cast Hammer SF has woman torn between 2 lovers duplicated,fails to think too deeply about implications.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017) **** Branagh’s version of the classic murder mystery is filled with great cast, great mood, & fun. Very worthy.
Return of Sherlock Holmes, The *** Joshua Kennedy’s take on Sherlock Holmes classic features a woman as Watson & clever low-budget locales.
Barracuda (Sven) ** Low-budget Jaws/Piranha riff is a bit disjointed & probably would be even uncut. A few points for eco message.
Unnatural *** Coincidentally, almost like a better version of Barracuda, but giant polar bear rather than fish. Solid SF/H thriller.
X the Unknown *** Like Quatermass without Quatermass, a superiour science & military vs. blob-like monster film from Hammer.
World of the Vampires *** Mexican vamprie fun with the usual neck biters & an organ of bones that can play vamp-controling music.
Old Dracula (Comet) * Comedy starts okay then meanders as Drac searches for a cure for his (now black) wife’s blood disease.
Justice League **** Great cast of superheroes, inc. Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman makes up for somewhat loose script. Fun.
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (Sven) ***** Comedy-horror just doesn’t get any better. Lugosi, Chaney, & Strange as Iconic monsters vs. goofbally A&C.
Fury, The *** Kirk Douglas & Amy Irving make DePalma’s Carrie-like riff about spies & psychic teens worth watching.
Hocus Pocus **** Bette Middler & her witch sisters are back from the dead to drain the life from children. Funny & creepy, too.
Fifty Shades Darker ** Worst boyfriend in the world uses money, charm, & B&D to overcome his tragic past & win back “his” girl. Silly.
Haunted Strangler, The *** Karloff gets possessed by the knife of the true killer researching a murder for which another man was hanged.
Werewolf and the Yeti, The *** Doesn’t have enough Yeti, but has tons of gory Naschy coolness werewolf, demon girls, bandits, etc. Great fun.
Santa Claus (MST3K) *** The MSTies make this tolerable in many places, but the 1-star Mexican film at its base is painful to watch.
Bride of the Monster (MST3K) **** One of Ed Woods best bad movies. Bela Lugosi has some great lines, plus Tor Johnson & giant octopus. Wow.
Ape, The ** Cheapie, but Karloff shines as he treats a paralyzed girl through experiments involving the escaped title ape.
Hunchback of the Morgue, The *** Naschy is the hunchback, longing for his (dead) love & mixed up with a mad scientist. Beware fiery rat images.
Southland Tales * The director of Donnie Darko put together a great cast & made this awful SF political satire. And it’s LONG, too.
Great Wall, The *** Great Wall army vs. monsters film is gorgeous with great imagination & solid US stars. Fun. Wronfully ignored.
Autopsy of Jane Doe, The **** Unmarked dead woman’s body turns up at a grizly murder scene. Autopsy starts & things get weird. Excellent.
Assassin’s Creed ** Man from future sends soul to the past to find treasure for evil people. Not as good or fun as that sounds.
Lorelein’s Grasp (commentary) **** Good Euro horror about a mythical monster claiming hearts for its own use. Great commentary by Rod & Troy.
Night of Medusa, The **** Joshua Kennedy’s homage to the Gorgon (Hammer) has tormented student channeling the mythical monster.
Reptile, The *** Rewatch. Strange deaths, remote village, inherited house & great reptilian makeup. Minor Hammer classic.
Incredible Shrinking Man, The (Sven) ***** Richard Matheson SF classic about a man who shrinks & is menaced by cats, spiders, etc. Great 1950s SFX.
Night of Medusa, The (with commentary) **** Rewatch with commentary – which really brings out some great trivia & tributes in the film.

And that’s it for November.  What will my final 2017 film total be?  And do you want me to run a mega-post listing them all alphabetically at the end?

Remember, you can support this and all my other writing work, like Dr. Cushing’s Chamber of Horrors, by joining my Patreon for a buck or two a month.  Thanks!

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About Steve Sullivan 385 Articles
Stephen D. Sullivan is an award-winning author, artist, and editor. Since 1980, he has worked on a wide variety of properties, including well-known licenses and original work. Some of his best know projects include Dungeons & Dragons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dragonlance, Iron Man, Legend of the Five Rings, Speed Racer, the Tolkien RPG, Disney Afternoons, Star Wars, The Twilight Empire (Robinson's War), Uncanny Radio, Martian Knights, Tournament of Death, and The Blue Kingdoms (with his friend Jean Rabe).

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