May 2020 Mini-Reviews – Alien Trespass to Night of the Creeps

So… May 2020… The Safer at Home and Social Distancing stuff has been happening a while, and Derek M. Koch of Monster Kid Radio continues in full swing with Social Distancing Saturday, cleverly changing the names of each week to match movie series and/or titles, such as:  Son of Social Distance Saturdays, and Horror of Social Distancing Saturdays.  And, being me, I continue to watch as much of his programming that I can each session.

Full movies, of course, always go on the list, as do complete genre TV series (just finished a couple of new Star Treks; look for those in June), but I also list noteworthy short films and TV episodes, mostly from classic shows that stand on their own and are of particular interest to fans of SF/F/H.  You knew that, right?

The count this month — of all that stuff above — is 73, which is a HUGE number.  And yes, some are shorts, but some are also completed series that took weeks or even months to go through, things like: The Punisher, Star Trek: Discovery, Batwoman, and Supergirl, among others.

So, there’s plenty to check out here, and plenty to see if you like, and plenty more on the way!

Here it comes…!

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.

Alien Trespass **** Loving Hollywood SciFi-Monster tribute film is done with a lot of talent & sincerity, & therefore a lot of fun!
Atomic Brain Invasion ** Some great monster make-up & moments, but the film is uneven & can’t decide on whether it’s tribute or parody. Slow, too.
Terrornauts, The ** “Scientists” are kidnapped by alien space station & put through tests to save the world. Marginal SFX. Not so great.
Amazing Transparent Man, The ** Ulmer-directed invisilble man film is SO close to being really good, but in the end, there’s no hero or anti-hero to root for.
Attack of the Giant Leeches *** Corman studio cheapy has interesting (& sexy) cast plus a fun cheesy monster.
Mirror, The *** Short amateur film in which an old mirror seems to predict catastrophes to the man viewing it. Interesting.
Nosferatu, The *** Short amateur film in the style of the silent Nosferatu works quite well despite a bit more gore than needed.
Super 8 Daze ***** Filmmaker looks back on his days making Super 8 genre films as a kid. Some realy interesting & fun work here.
Horror Hotel **** Witches take revenge on the descendants of those who wronged them. Christopher Lee does a passable American accent.
Unearthed *** Short amateur film of an unearthed mummy revived by exposure to light. Worthy effort.
Night Tide *** Noticeable relationship to Cat People in story of sailor Dennis Hopper falling in love with woman playing sideshow mermaid.
Lone Wolf & Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (#4) **** From a naked assassin woman to a ravine battle against the Yagyu, this episode amps up the sex & violence. Great fun.
Moon Zero Two (MST3K Live Riff) *** The difficult-to-follow MZT is made nearly impossible to follow by extra MST riffing. Had moments but didn’t quite work.
Josie & the Pussycats (2002) **** Story is amusing & the music & cast pretty great in this TV/comics adaptation of girl band rising to the top in cutthroat biz.
Horror Hall of Fame, The **** Vincent Price hosts comedic variety show look at horror stars past & present (for then) with great guests & scholars, too.
Ape Man, The *** A bad experiment turns Bela Lugosi into a half-ape who naturally will stop at nothing to recover. Fun low-budget flick.
Hyena of London, The ** Gothic atmosphere is great, but the soap-opera story is boring & the reveal of “hyena’ killer comes in info dump at the end.
Legend of Lost Cove, The ** Interesting short of pirate treasure being discovered has mid-century atmosphere but not enough to the story to satisfy.
Science Fiction Theatre – “Operation Flypaper” *** Vincent Price stalks an “invisible” thief who steals not only objects but time itself in this episode classic SciFi Theater TV.
Gammera The Invincible *** US version of the giant monster classic has scenes with Brian Donlevy that bring action to a stop. Otherwise cool kaiju.
Horror Express **** Cushing, Lee, & a late appearance Savalas highlight this Euro-horror flick of monster aboard a train. Watch a good print.
In the Company of Wolves **** Moody fairy tale with strong production values & SFX. Good addition to werewolf films.
My Darling Clementine ***** John Ford’s western has Noir atmosphere & a great cast (Mature’s best role) in this history-be-damned OK Coral retelling.
Samson vs. the Vampire Women *** Moody photography as eerie vampire women battle Samson (really El Santo) the masked wrestler. Goofy fun.
Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules ** A Machiste movie dubbed into another “Mighty Sons of Hercules” series entry. Our hero joins sides in between warring tribes of seeming “cavemen” & battles some dragon-like monsters, too. A better print might get another star.
Hail to the King: 60 Years of Destruction **** KaijuCast’s Kyle Yount visits Japan & indulges his love for all things kaiju. A fun, award-winning doc by a great fan.
Bloodlust! ** Robert Reed & friends get caught on hunter’s private island in Most Dangerous Game. Could use more exploitation.
Carnival of Souls **** Chilling, Twilight Zone-like movie of woman who escapes flooded car only to be haunted by strange occurrances.
The Giant Spider ***** Mhim’s “monsterpiece” tribute to giant bug movies has better SFX than orignials & great cast. Brilliant, fun tribute.
One Step Beyond – “Ordeal on Locust Street” *** Lovecraftean story of family seeking cure for hereditary lizard-like skin disease.  Reminded me of The Maze.
Frankenstein (1910) *** Edison’s Frankenstein is short but innovative with interesting creature. Varies wildly from original story.
Attack of the Eye Creatures ** Another Larry Buchanan remake of a superior Corman film. The production values are low & the monsters suitably icky.
Monstrosity *** Weird (but fun) story of an old woman looking to have a mad doctor transplant her brain into the body of a young woman.
The Package **** Very short film about a Victorian man who gets a package from his relative who has vanished while on a weird adventure.
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet *** Gorgo-like story of adventurers who find a baby giant monster & take it back to Japan, only to be followed by its parents.
Dazed and Confused **** Last day of high school in Austin, TX, brings hijinx & weird hazing in this 24-hour slice-of-life. Not as good as Am. Graffiti.
Baptiste (S1) ***** Investigator from THE MISSING returns in story of missing girls, prostitution, murder, & Romanian gangs in Amsterdam.
Dolls *** Stewart Gordon give us an old dark house filled with homicidal dolls & a mad dollmaker & his wife. Good standard fun.
From Beyond **** Stewart Gordon updates Lovecraft again with story of another plane that amps up victims’ sex drives. Great stuff.
Murder of Dr. Harrigan, The *** A “Clue Club” mystery with plenty of suspects in the doctor’s murder & convoluted complications, but still fun B-mystery.
Sherlock Holmes Dressed to Kill **** Amusing Rathbone-Bruce Holmes mystery about a set of music boxes that are worth killing for. A fun entry in series.
“No Ghosts” (Chevrolet short) ** How Chevy builds reinforced chassis with steel, so your car doesn’t become a “haunted house.”
Attack of the 50-Foot Monster Mania *** Really good survey of giant monster films from the start of cinema to about Starship Troopers narrated by Bill Mumy.
Ape, The *** Karloff, trying to cure a girl’s paralysis, gets an “assist” from an escaped circus ape & much ethically dodgy experiments.
Destination Inner Space **** Hostile amphibian from submerged flying saucer attacks undersea base. Reminiscent of IT & THE THING. Great monster.
Vampire Hunters *** Good film short in which friends camping in the woods are beset & turned by attacking vampires. Homage ending.
The Return of Sherlock Holmes *** Joshua Kennedy’s adaptation of the famous detective has a female Watson & passes NYC for London, but still much fun.
Indestructible Man, The ** Chaney has few lines as criminal executed whom doc revives as indestructible murderer bent on revenge. Low budget.
Terror-Creatures from the Grave *** Moody Old Dark House picture about ghosts bringing plague to the inhabitants. Drama up front & spooks/horror at end.
Daydreamer, The *** Rankin-Bass live & stop-motion tale of Hans Christian Anderson as a boy daydreaming stories. Lovely whimsy, a bit slow.
Flash, The (S6) **** The first half of the season drags a bit, with the black-oil guy, but the mirror woman half has some good twists.
Batwoman (S1) *** A strong start is undercut by some bad “idiot characters” writing in mid-season but recovers by the covid19 shortened end.
Supergirl (S5) *** Supergirl continues to be fun. The post-Crisis stories are more memorable than the earlier stuff & Lex Luthor adds creepy.
Kid Who Would Be King, The *** Modern retelling of the Arthur story has schoolboy & his friends taking on mythical roles in fun family action picture.
Sinbad: Beyond the Veil of Mists ** The kids’ fantasy story is okay, but the CGI animation from 2000 looks so primitive & dated that the film is hard to enjoy.
Wild, Wild Planet (Gamma One 1) *** An “alien” plot to kidnap Earth people is a mad scientists plan to create future humans through mutation & experimentation.
War of the Planets, The (Gamma One 2) *** Alien lights infect people on space stations & planets in an attempt to turn humans into their new bodies. Cool stuff.
Gorgo (MST3K) *** It’s probably easier to riff a bad print of this minor Giant Monster classic, but there are still some very funny MST lines.
Crawling Eye, The (MST3K) *** MST gang are hard on this Brit horror creeper about an alien invasion in the Alps, hidden in mist. Creepy semi-classic.
Fallen Angel *** Sleazy playboy promoter maries one girl for her money to leave her for another, but one ends up dead. Laura-like noir fun.
Punisher, The (season 2) ***** Marvel makes me love a character, Frank Castle, that I didn’t much like in the comics & then surrounds him with other characters that I come to care about. They then through them into peril & plot twists with great glee. Superior television.
Star Trek: Discovery (season 1) **** After one of the worst-written pilots I’ve ever seen, this new-ish Trek series settles down & becomes about interesting characters fighting the Federation-Klingon war… Though not everything is what it first seems, which makes it fun.
Lyceum: George Romero Interview **** A public TV-style interview with Romero touches on his works & filmmaking philosophy. Very interesting.
Joe Bob Briggs Night of the Living Dead Cast Reunion (TV doccumentary clips) **** Joe Bob brings together surviving cast members of Night of the Living dead for informative & often funny interviews.
Teenagers Battle the Thing *** B&W story of teens finding pre-human monster in cave, later became part of The Curse of Bigfoot, but this is much better.
Just Beyond the Corner of Your Eye *** Occult expert pursued by podcaster with secret agenda & man who wants her dangerous book. Jakey Ray Neyman Jones.
One Step Beyond: The Riddle *** A man is followed by an old man whom he feels an irrational hatred for in this weird reincarnation tale.
Terror from Beneath the Earth *** A bat-creature living in a cave kidnaps children until tracked down by scientists & cop. Good cast in standard Mihm fare.
Waiting for Gorgo **** A young bureaucrat investigates defense department in basement that waits for return of giant monster Gorgo. Fun short.
Blood Beast Terror, The *** Peter Cushing investigates mysterious killings caused by a half-human moth creature. Like The Reptile, but not as good.
Lady Frankenstein **** When her father is killed by his creation, his daughter carries on her experiments trying to make a perfect lover. Twisted fun.
Castle Freak (Joe Bob’s Drive In) *** Man & family struggling with issues inherit European castle where, unknown to them, his freak half-brother hides in cellar.
Night of the Creeps (director’s cut) *** Alien slugs from outer space infect 50s boy & are revived in 80s by fraternity prank. Cause chaos & gore. Fun & funny.

The count at the end of May is 252, and there’s a good chance I’ll surpass 300 by the end of June — which is a big number and a big change from 2019, when we had lots of issues going on and not so much show watching.  Now, we have a lot more watched shows, but we’re also stuck at home, so…  The only number falling right now is our in-theater viewings.

Next Month: June is busting out all over, with more movie marathons, more Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Picard, too.  Tune in if you can, and… Happy Viewing!  Stay Safe & Healthy!

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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