September 2019 Mini-Reviews – The Meg to Count Yorga, Vampire

Well, I just worked on the August reviews yesterday, but… I figure no time like the present do do September, since it’s now October 1 (as I write this).  I will hold off posting it for a week or so, thlatest FROST HARROW episode time to breathe.

Finally had some time to watch movies in September!  49 films, if I count right — 255 for the year… And as of today, we’re in Halloween Season!  Which should result in plenty of movies for the list next month.  So, let’s get it on…!

Ratings are out of five stars. Here’s what those stars mean to me…

* – This film is not good. Avoid it unless you tolerate dreck well.
** – A flawed film. You may enjoy it if you like this genre or the folks in it.
*** – A good solid film. If you like this genre, you’ll probably like this film.
**** – A superior film within its genre. Thoroughly enjoyable.
***** – An outstanding film on many levels. A great example of its genre.

Meg, The *** Giant shark movie features international cast (& upcoming Batwoman) plus Statham. Some good silly fun & SFX.
Night Creatures **** Peter Cushing & Michael Ripper in adaptation of Romney Marsh/Capt. Clegg story is good Hammer action flick.
Devil Commands, The **** Karloff is (mad) scientist obsessed with contacting the dead. Some great creepy scenes & twist on the usual.
Monster Zero ***** Nick Adams & human story highlight monster flick with fun battles that accelerated Godzilla’s slide into heroic.
Destroy All Monsters (International Dub) **** International dub robs this G-flick of some of the charm of the original dub, but the monster action & story still fun.
War of the Gargantuas (International Dub) ****(*) Dock this a star for the international dub where Tamblin doesn’t even sound like himself. Otherwise great kaiju.
Godzilla, King of the Monsters (2019) director’s commentary ****(*) Five-star commentary by director & crew on this four-star Godzilla vs. arch foes film. These guys get an “A” for effot, though the human story has some misfires, mostly related to keeping a major twist secret from the audience.
Before I Hang *** Sentenced to death, Karloff seeks rejuvenation formula, which makes him kill & forget. Freed, he tries it on others.
Boogie Man Will Get You, The *** Karloff’s mad doctor matches wits (& teams up) with Lorre’s man-of-many-hats for immortality formula & laughs.
Dracula Sucks *** Late 70s porno-horror is surprisingly tame by modern standards & has surprising amount of Lugosi Dracula in it.
IT Part 2 *** Well made 2nd part of the Stephen King adaptation has great production, but a bit long & I prefer old TV version.
Man with Nine Lives, The **** Karloff’s doctor freezes people to heal them, but gets frozen himself. When thawed, petty men get in his way.
Man They Could Not Hang *** Bitchy nurse keeps Dr. from reviving assistant, has Karloff hanged. But he’s revived & returns to carry out revenge.
Werewolf, The (Svengoolie) *** Surprisingly good performances & photography highlight modern man turned scientific werewolf by bad docs tale.
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth **** Jim Danforth’s great dinosaurs & lovely Victoria Vetri overcome silly caveman dramatics & seriously bad science.
Shooting, The (1966) *** Mysterious woman hires Warren Oats to lead her across the desert on an unknown, mission. Bleak 70s western.
Highly Dangerous *** Woman entomologist becomes British spy to retrieve super-insect from behind Iron Curtain. Suspense & comedy.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service **** George Lazenby’s only Bond outing enlivened by Dianna Rigg, good spy story, romance, & superb action.
Diamonds Are Forever *** Connery’s last official Bond is his most camp, but still has some great sequences, plus Charles Gray as Blofeld.
Astro Zombies, The ** Exploitation SF/H. Mad scientist Carradine creates solar-powered zombies that kill women for no particular reason.
Lost City of the Jungle (serial) ** Even Key Luke as the sidekick and Lionel Atwill as the villian can’t save Universal’s last serial, which squanders exotic settings, has standard cliffhangers, has a UN like agency & people talking for recaps, instead of print blurbs.
4D Man, The (Svengoolie) *** Robert Lansing is scientist whose accident gives him the power to pass through solid objects. Fun colorful SF/H.
High School DxD – Season 1 **** Horny teen Issei (E-say) is killed by fallen angel but ressurected as a devil. Joins super-sexy devil clan. Silly fun.
Dungeon of Harrow (blu-ray) *** Comic artist Pat Boyette’s low-budget flick about shipwreck survivors washed ashore on isle of sadistic madman. Sincere & fun, despite cheap boat scene at start. Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome good print, not heavily restored.
Two Arabian NIghts *** WWI buddies captured by Germans pretend to be Arabs, escape, fall for Arabian Princess in comedy romance.
Underdog *** Classic TV show reimagined with live-action humans & CGI-enhanced dogs. Some good kids fun here.
Witchboard *** Ouija board spirit becomes enraged when party-goers mock it & takes revenge. Standard. Some good moments.
Spy Who Loved Me, The **** One of Moore’s best, as Bond teams with Russian to defeat marine-obssessed villain & metal-toothed jaws.
Moonraker *** The most camp of the Bond films still has engaging sequences, despite its attempt to out-space Star Wars.
For Your Eyes Only **** No supervillains here, just good-old fashioned spy drama with a harder-edge Bond, similar to From Russia…
Toxic Shark *** Young beachgoers are attractive & shark is over-the-top monsterous, spraying toxic slime while chomping. Fun.
Shark in Venice ** Stephen Baldwin is flatly sincere & editing can be hard to follow. In the end, too much stock footage for okay premise.
Terror in the Wax Museum *** Great cast overcomes TV-like production values & makes this fairly standard wax museum picture fun to watch.
13 Ghosts (Svengoolie) ***(*) A Castle classic. Family inherits a mansion filled by late uncle with hostile ghosts. +1 star if using Ghost Viewer.
Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins *** Unneeded origin for Scooby (not too bad) as well as a haunted school for Mystery Machine teens’ first meetings.
High School DxD – Season 2 **** Issei’s devil clan must team with angels to defeat rogue exorcists & fallen angels. Lots of lusty sexy stuff, too.
Wolf Man, The ***** Classic monster, classic makeup, classic performance by Lon Chaney, Jr. & great cast. A perfect monster movie.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man ***** The first & still best monster mash-up brings Chaney & Lugosi’s monsters into conflict. Even has a great song!
House of Frankenstein *** Karlof, Naish, Chaney, & Carradine are great, but the story is very episodic & the monsters barely meet. Still fun.
House of Dracula **** Chaney still rocks the Wolf Man & the monsters interact more in this story with fun “mad” scientist & hunchback.
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein ***** Chaney, Lugosi, & Strange play it straight as the monsters while Bud & Lou cut up in greatest horror-comedy ever.
Living Daylights, The **** Dalton’s first Bond still has a bit of Moore goofieness, but his strong performance & action makes this a good bet.
Licence to KIll **** Dalton’s 007 goes rogue to take revenge on a drug dealer. Less super-villians & more action make this great.
Goldeneye **** Brosnan’s 1st 007 outing features a good cast & ususal spectacular stunts. Sean Bean makes an extra fun watch.
Tomorrow Never Dies **** Extra star for Michele Yeoh, easily best Bond girl (with Rigg). That overcomes silly super news-villain plot stuff.
Dracula (Sven with French Score) ****(*) Bela lights up the screen, but after the opera it’s very stagey. Mixed feelings about French score. 1 star less for it.
Sharkenstein ** Absurd premise & Bret Piper’s SFX are laughable, but Greta Volkova is okay. Cheapness even hurts the comedy.
Camp Blood 7 – It Kills * Greta Volkova (Sharkenstein) & gang vacation at Camp Blood to face killer clown. Low-budget, standard slasher.
Count Yorga, Vampire (The Loves of Count Iorga – blu-ray) **** Iconic 70s vampre is a bit low budget, a bit less sexy than it maybe should be, but still worthy of more than 1 sequel. Blu-ray looks great & I understand we need to thank Frank Darabont for the new-struck print. Thanks!

It helped that TCM was playing James Bond films all month.  I watched a lot, though even I couldn’t fit all of them in.  It also helped that I watched the entire Wolf Man (Wolfman) cycle for an upcoming Monster Kid Radio show on the first film, The Wolf Man.

Listen for that, and look forward to a lot more monster films in October!

***

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

About Steve Sullivan 378 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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