June 2018 was a pretty big month with 45 movies from start to finish. This isn’t too surprising, as Ray Harryhausen’s Birthday (June 29) is there to pump up the total a bit. It’s been my tradition for years to watch as many of Ray’s movies as I can manage on his birthday. 4-6 is the usual total — 5 this year. It’d be higher but life… keeps… getting… in… the… way! In any case, I started the month watching Fire and Ice for discussion on the Time Shifters Podcast, (Give a listen!) and finished it with a favorite Universal cheapie on Svengoolie (what else is new?).
As always, the Ratings are out of 5 Stars.
Fire and Ice *** Ralph Bakshi & Frank Frazetta make episodic fantasy epic that’s short on script & budget but strong on visuals.
Frank Frazetta: Painting with Fire **** Doc on life & work of the great Frank Frazetta. Filled with admirations, art, & anecdotes. Wish it were widescreen.
Fire and Ice – with Director Commentary *** Bakshi does a good job of talking about the production of the film & problems faced & overcome, budget, etc.
Torchy Plays with Dynamite *** Jane Wyman does a good job replacing Glenda Farrell as Torchy, & so does crew in with both crime & rasslin’.
Ocean’s 8 *** Sandra, Cait are delightful & the crew is good, too, in this caper & revenge flick carrying on the Ocean tradition.
Deadpool 2 *** Lots of fun stuff in this sequel, great action & NSFKids sequences. Lacks the verve of 1st & has heroine cliche.
Leslie Howard: The Man Who Gave a Damn **** Affectionate documentary about the life of English actor who starred & Gone With the Wind & died in WWII.
Mole People, The (Sven) **** Aw3esome mole-monsters vs. John Agar & co. vs. underground lost civilization in this 50s classic. Great fun.
Conflict *** Bogart murders his wife to court her sister & then starts finding traces of his wife who may not really be dead.
Two Mrs. Carrolls, The *** Bogart as (mad) painter who poisons his first wife when his muse runs out of juice & then sets eyes on Stanwyck.
Untold, The ** Lance Henrickson & co. search for plane crash survivors & proof of Bigfoot, or both. POV & action blur ruin it.
Adventures of Hercules ** Lou Ferrigno dubbed again goes after thunderbolts to save world. Handsome production; cheesy “homage” SFX.
Giant Gila Monster, The *** 50s’ monster classic is about as good as you can do with zero budget. Good, sincere acting. Mihm inspiration.
Beast from Haunted Cave, The ** Apollo from Star Trek is a wilderness guide trapped by gangsters & a monster at a ski resort. It’s no Key Largo.
Ghoulies ** Trying to gain supernatural powers unleashes hordes of small beasties on couples staying at mansion. Fun SFX.
Mexican Vampire Cinema: A Brief History **** Great survey of Mexican vampire films, especially in the Golden Age of the 60s or 70s. Low budget production.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind **** An emotionally fab film that doesn’t make a lot of logical sense, but great acting & scenes & SFX. Lots ‘o views.
Terror of Mechagodzilla *** Evil aliens pit giant dinosaur (Titanosaurus) & Mecha-Godzilla against Godzilla. Some good stuff in final Showa.
Incredibles 2, The ***** Elasti-Girl takes center stage in this fabulous Incredibles sequel reuniting original cast with director Brad Bird.
From Hell It Came *** A 2-star film that I love. Slain native is reincarnated into killer tree, uprooted by scientists, that seeks revenge.
Ghoulies 2 ** Ghoulies invade Dark Ride & cause chaos at carnival with new, evil owner. Lots of pre-CGI monsters. Goofy fun.
Man Made Monster (Sven) *** Chaney Jr. is sympathetic as sideshow act who becomes electrical killer under “care” of Lionel Atwill. Classic.
Tales from the Darkside: The Movie *** Amusing portmanteau film with child-eating witch frame. Mummy, killer cat, & gargoyle tale (lifted from Kwaidan).
Little Nicky ** Goofy film with Adam Sandler as son of Hell compeating with his bros to replace aging Satan. Stupid fun.
Central Intelligence *** Kevin Hart is high school hero who teams up with outcast turned CIA agent Dwayne Johnson to solve spy issues.
Spy *** Melissa McCarthy takes over as a field agent when the spy she managed is killed. Funny espionage stuff ensues.
El Vampiro y el Sexo *** Sexed up version of “The Treasure of Dracula” starring lucha superstar El Santo. Time travel, vampires, nudity.
Twilight People ** Man stranded on island falls in with beautiful assistant of Dr. Moreau-like scientist. Fights in jungle. Sad makeups.
Disciples ** Good cast & values can’t save confusing mishmash of 2 Satanist groups & demons vying for supremacy.
Invasion of Astro Monster (Monster Zero) **** If this is on, I will watch it. Classic monster battle advanced Godzillaverse into future & made it all more childlike.
Vampire Doll, The (Bloodthirsty Trilogy #1) **** Not really Dracula (as sometimes advertised), but a 60s (modern) vampire tale with Japanese twists. Nicely done.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom *** It’s the dinos that elevate this from a 2-start picture, with the story & storytelling being a hot mess. Good cast.
Night Walker, The (Sven) ** William Castle directs Barbara Stanwyck in her final feature (TV after this). Are her nightmares real or dreams?
Endeavour “Muse” **** Another good outing for young Morse with a missing Fabrege egg, rogue artists & models, &, of course, criminals.
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter ** Better than I remember it being, though I like Billy the Kid vs. Dracula better. An honest drive-in level effort.
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla *** 1st MechaG film is better than I remembered, despite “magnetic G” sequence. Otherwise good kaiju & alien stuff.
Bloodworx ** Students get sucked into “allergy drug” testing. Hallucinations & superstrength power gore-fest with little point.
Mother of Tears ** Standard Argento mix of great cinematography, nudity, & gore. An evil resurrected witch wreaks havoc on folks.
Igor *** Kids animation with Mad Scientist society & monster competition. Igor creates a monster wannabe actress. Oops.
3 Worlds of Gulliver, The **** Giants & Liliputians with Gulliver caught between them, thanks to Harryhausen size-changing magic in family flick.
Mysterious Island (1961) **** Giant crab, bird, bees, & nautilus battle highlight this great Harryhausen Jules Verne film for kids of all ages.
Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The ***** Harryhausen masterpiece. Gryphon, centaur, living statues, homonculus, super cast, production & Rozsa score.
Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The **** Dinosaur freed from ice by atomic tests started the Kaiju craze & much more. Harryhausen’ts great 1st solo film
Ray Harryhausen Special Effects Titan ***** Film luminaries from Spielberg to Cameron wax poetic intermixed with Ray interviews & film footage. Great stuff.
Leech Woman, The (Sven) *** Women lose out as they lose their looks, so why not stay young by killing sexist men? Fun fem revenge shocker.
Next Month: A family reunion, Shark Week, an injury to the ear, and cutting loose from cable… What effects will all that have on my viewing?
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