November 2019 Mini-Reviews – Joker to GLOW Season 3

November was another Big Month for my movie/series viewing — 48 films and complete series, if my math is right.  Any month where I have 30 or more movies I count as a good one.  First year I began this, I think I averaged around 50 a month, which was amazing.  I’m always glad when I can get back into those kind of stratospheric numbers.  End of the month total was 359 for the year, which means I’m averaging over 30 a month for 2019, which is amazing considering how slow the first half was.  Well, “slow” compared to my “usual” voracious movie consumption.

November is also the month I finally started my long-delayed Paul Naschy werewolf series re-watch, in which I’m viewing all the Waldemar Daninsky series in the order in which they were released.  (Hi to all Naschy fans & family out there!)  I haven’t completed those viewings yet, partly because I’m waiting for one of the later ones, Beast and the Magic Sword, to be released on blu-ray, which is supposed to happen in December.  So, you can look forward to more of those films in December, at least.  (Also, you may notice that I started watching Daninsky films before I began doing them in order.  One I watched for an upcoming podcast, Curse of the Devil, and the other Dracula vs. Frankenstein just finally got a blu-ray release as Assignment Terror.  So chances are, I’ll be watching that one again, for the third time in 2 months.  (I watched both names it was released under in November.)  Will it be even more fun in HD?  Stay tuned to find out!

For now, let’s see if the auto-post feature on my site works better for this set of reviews than for the last.   I’m scheduling this for 12/7/2019 around 12:01am.  Will it go without me prodding it off the virtual publishing cliff?  We’ll see!

And now…

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.

Joker **** Phoenix is amazing as he becomes the Joker, but not too many suprirses in this grim dystopic Gotham City story.
Terminator: Dark Fate **** Return of Sara Connor & early twists liven up this sequel/reboot to classic SF-Action-Horror franchise. Worth it.
I Walked with a Zombie ***** Lewton classic sends nurse to Caribbean island to tend plantation owner’s wife who is a zombie. Great chiller.
Hardgore (Satanic Sickies Box 1) ** Nymphomaniac is sent to asylum for, but it’s just a front for satanic/supernatural rituals & sex. Explicit sex. Gore not too convincing, which is fine in a sex film. Near electrocution by vibrator made me laugh. Alpha Blue print okay.
Chamber of Horrors *** Murderer goes after police & people who caused the loss of his hand, including wax museum-owning amateur detectives. Film has wacky Fear Alerts before “scary” scenes that aren’t really scary, but film is amusing.
Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1970 Naschy) *** Naschy film with space alien Michael Rennie gathering wolfman, mummy, Frankenstein monster to conquer Earth.
Nude Vampire, The (La Vampira Nuda) ** Beautiful & mysterious Euro film about immortal woman, cult that worships her, & scientists studying her. Weird.
Asylum **** Peter Cushing, Barry Morse, & Herbert Lom are standouts in this creepy anthology set in a strange asylum.
Play Only with Me (Grindhouse Hostage) ** “Grindhouse Hostage Collection – Woman’s jealosy over man’s affairs leads to sex and gun “play.” Mostly porn.
Virgin Hostage (Grindhouse Hostage) ** Grindhouse Hostage Collection – Bank robbers break into women’s apartment & have sex with them. Just porn.
Doctor Sleep **** Sequel to THE SHINING has a fine cast & production values. Good suspense, but plays out fairly standard.
STAR WARS The Phantom Menace *** Not a patch on the original 3 films, this “1st” in the series still has some fun moments, but it’s mostly a film for kids.
Curse of the Devil (El Returno del Walpurgis) Naschy #6 *** Naschy’s 6th (surviving) werewolf film starts with a curse on a medieval knight before coming to more modern times. Curse turns knight’s descendant into a werewolf who, along with a loosed madman, terrorizes countryside.
Blue Balloon, The (Grindhouse Hostage) ** Mortified by being drugged & having rough sex, woman becomes prostitute. Far more porn than grindhouse flick.
Kink Kong vs. Godzilla (Japanese) **** Japanese version of classic monster battle has undertones of sattire on TV & advertising. Criterion bonus blu-ray.
Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror (La Marca del Hombre Lobo) Naschy #1 **** Naschy’s 1st werewolf film finds Valdemar Daninsky bitten by resurrected werewolf & then trying to save his friends from that fiend & 2 vampires posing as doctors. US title is goofy, but film is a howl.
Assignment Terror (Lost Monsturos del Terror) Naschy #2 1970 *** Known also as Dracula vs. Frankenstein (etc.), the Sinister Cinema print of this version is superior – very clean, which makes the plot much more coherent. Aliens summon up classic monsters to learn how to conquer Earth.
STAR WARS Attack of the Clones *** Big improvement over PM, this episode still has some wooden dialog & performances, but more great scenes.
And Now the Screaming Starts *** Amicus gothic about the viriginal wife of the estate’s heir, a woodsman, & a vengeful ghost. Plenty of screaming.
Black Gunn *** Jim Brown is a nightclub owner who seeks revenge after his brother is killed for trying to steal from the mob. Fun.
Take, The ** Billy Dee Williams as undercover cop pretending to be on the take… maybe. Okay, but lacks blaxplotiation edge.
Night Gallery – Season 2 ***** My intro to Lovecraft & Serling himself this season. Pickman, Cool Air, The Caterpillar. Some of the best NG!
Satan Met a Lady ** Maltese Falcon, minus the Falcon, Sam Spade, Cairo, & Fat Man. Plus Bette Davis & Warren Willams. Meh.
Mr. Mercedes – Season 3 ***** Great characters & accurate courtroom/law work elevate adaptation of King book. Terrific! Where to next?
High School DxD – Season 3 *** The devils spend time “vacationing” in hell & fighting wars with rogue gods. Plus plenty of boobs, of course.
Fury of the Wolfman (Naschy #3) ** A better print would help this messy Daninsky story with werewolf mixed up with crazed doctor in hidden asylum.
Ford vs. Ferrari ***** Caroll Shelby & Ken Miles drag Ford into the switning 60s in their quest to win the 24 hours of Le Mans. Great.
Werewolf Shadow (Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman) Naschy #4 **** 4th film in the Naschy werewolf series begins with his resurrection (again), involves him with 2 women searching for a vampire’s tomb, which, naturally leads to the vampire woman running amok. Plot a bit patchy but lots of fun.
Adventures of Don Juan, The ***** Erol Flynn is the title character in one of his best swashbucklers, with humor, a bit of satire, & great swordplay.
Dr. Jekyll & the Werewolf (Dr. Jekyll y el Hombre Lobo) Naschy #5 **** A woman who’s husband is murdered by bandits is rescued by Waldemar Daninski. She takes him to her friend Jekyll, who proposes a unique cure, by turning him into Hyde. Many story elements, sex & sadism, monster fun.
Angel Above, Devil Below (Satanic Sickies) ** Teen reading from Satanic book gets her love box possessed in horny Exorcist twist. The quim talks, too. Silly porn.
Curse of the Devil (rewatch) Naschy #6 *** With better transition scenes, this would be classic, but as it is, it has a lot of interesting Naschy ideas.
Rites of Uranus (Satanic Sickies) ** More faux occult rituals, but not a lot of that compared to the hardcore sex, including some anal. Another curiosity.
Werewolf & the Yeti (Naschy #7) **** Waldemar Daninski travels to Tibet for a new origin & run in with demon women, bandits, & the title yeti. Fun.
Raven, The **** Lugosi is fiendish as doctor crushing on a patient. Karloff is gruesome & pathetic as Lugosi’s hench-victim.
Invisible Menace, The *** Karloff is the real treat in this “mystery” about sabotage on a military base & a newly wed couple for comedy.
Jessie’s Super Normal Regular Average Day *** Jessie does a lot of dope with her friends & has trippy experiences/dreams with topless nuns with chainsaws. Doesn’t make much sense, at least not on 1st viewing, but stars are engaging, so it’s a fun trip.
Bluebeard’s Ten Honeymoons *** George Sanders accidentally kills one woman to steal, then makes a career killing lonely women for their money.
Emanuelle in America *** Photographer/journalist Emanuelle (Laura Gesmer) & her hidden camera research sexual proclivities of the rich from US to Europe, but end up finding not only a horse & other kinks, but also a Snuff Film ring. Explicit. Weird.
Goofy Movie, A *** Heartwarming story of Max Goofy’s 1st romance, father-son relationship strains, & bonding over common roadtrip.
Mulan (animated) **** China’s national heroine dresses as a man to spare her father from the army & battles both huns & sexism.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (animated) ***** Great characters & excellent blend of hand-drawn & CGI animation bring Disney’s adventure to Atlantis to life.
Kim Possible (2019) *** Live-action KIm Possible movie has a good cast & captures much of the fun of the animations. Sequels possible.
Robin Hood (Disney) ** Animation isn’t bad. Voices are good. But whole film lacks a strong storyline, rehashes usual legends with animals.
Frozen 2 *** Animation is beautiful, songs & acting good, but the plot lacks focus & elements don’t hold up to scrutiny. Kid stuff.
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A ***** Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, whose quiet compassion changes the life of a conflicted journalist. Brilliant on all levels.
Attack of the 50-Foot Woman *** Cheesy SFX can’t stop this melodrama of a mal-treated wife who grows to giant size (via Aliens) & gets revenge.
Parks & Recreation (Season 1) *** Political comedy/parody about pit where man fell & broke his legs & public servant who wants to turn it into park.
GLOW (Season 3) ***** “GLOW is now a (repeat performance) Vegas show & focus shifts onto the lives of the women & crew. Great Stuff

So, that’s the wrap-up for the penultimate month of the year.  Lots of 5-star films in the bunch — including a few currently in theaters.  Plus, some 5-star TV shows that you can binge if you have the services they’re on.  Oh, and I’ve kept watching Parks & Recreation and Season 2 is starting out at a 5-star pace.

I expect this month, December, will bring more movie watching, more Naschy, and more TV series — as we’re trying out BritBox which brings me not only the Father Brown series I was watching on PBS, but a whole other Father Brown series that I didn’t know about from the 70s!

Stay tuned!

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!

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