Film Mini-Reviews, April 2017 – Terror from Beneath the Earth to War Gods of the Deep

May 30, 2017 No Comments »
Film Mini-Reviews, April 2017 – Terror from Beneath the Earth to War Gods of the Deep

Another crazy busy month, yet, somehow I continue on a hefty pace of film watching — more than 50 this month, and even more in May, as it turns out.

April was occupied greatly by watching and re-watching Mihimiverse Films for an article that’s coming out in The Basement Sublet of Horror magazine in time for Monster Bash, at the end of June.

Also at that convention will be the premiere of Joshua Kennedy’s new film — Theseus & the Minotaur — which I had a hand in helping with (story assist and additional dialogue), but that’s a story for another day.

Again, these aren’t alphabetized, because that would take too long and ruin the fun.  They’re not quite chronological, either — same reason.  (I don’t write them down every day, like a diary.)  Maybe I’ll alphabetize at the end of the year — assuming I don’t drive myself mad by then.

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Herewith, the films I watched in April, 2017…

FILM – Rating (0-5 stars) – Comments

Terror from Beneath the Earth *** The people of Phantom Lake are being kidnapped by a subterranean bat-monster. Good fun from Mihm.
Destination Outer Space *** Captain Jackson, from Cave Women on Mars, tries to save the universe from extinction. More fun from Mihm.
Abbott & Costello Meet the Invisible Man *** Good fun with the Invisible Man helping Lou to become a champion boxer and foil the gangsters. Silly.
Incredible Melting Man, The *** Rick Baker’s melting and gross-out effects really make this low-budget SF shocker about a doomed astronaut.
Attack of the Moon Zombies **** Writer-Director Mihm ups his game with acting, SFX, & makeup for this classic 1950s-style moonbase film.
Poltergeist ** Weak remake is less interesting than the original. CGI & color grading can’t make up for style & scares. Why?
Attack of the Puppet People *** Bert I. Gordon tale about a mad dollmaker who shrinks people into living dolls. Well cast & acted. Good fun!
Ghost in the Shell (2017) ** Live action version of the anime/manga classic. Oddly, lacks soul for a movie about human souls in machines.
Rogue *** Surprisingly good film about a giant crocodile in the Australian backcountry & the tour boat he terrorizes. Fun.
Willow Creek ** Found footage film of a couple looking for bigfoot. The couple is fun, but not enough bigfoot.
Exists * Another found footage bigfoot film. This has more bigfoot, but the shaky cam is very annoying. Predictable, too.
Catacombs ** Something wicked lurks beneath the old abby, but the monks & tourists still hang out. Some good moments.
House of Ghosts *** Mihm’s William Castle haunted house tribute, complete with “Fear Shield” & twist ending. A fine tribute.
Giant Spider, The ***** This film by Mihm is equal to all but the very best of the original giant bug movies from the 1950s. Great stuff!
Monster Dog *** Alice Cooper in a Euro-trash pseudo-werewolf picture? What’s not to like? Don’t think about it too much.
Late Night Double Feature **** 2 Mihm films for the price of one. X: The Fiend from Beyond Space attacks a space ship, then kids are pulled into another world by The Wall People. Both features are very entertaining and well done.
Dead Like Me *** Heartfelt comedy-drama about a reluctant Grim Reaper & her misfit friends and family. Worth seeing.
Danny Johnson Saves the World **** A kids’ film with puppets, heart, & surprisingly good performances from Mihm and company. Family fun.
Weresquito: Nazi Hunter ***** Mihm explores the darker side of retro SF-Horror in this film about a monster Nazi hunter. One of his best.
Legend of Tarzan, The **** One of the best Tarzan films of all times, transitions to modern sensibilities without losing feel. Great cast.
Reptilicus *** This is an amazingly cheap Danish-American monster film, but I still love it. New MST3K version rocks, too.
Monster of Phantom Lake – The Musical **** A great musical with amazing original songs based on the fun Christopher R. Mihm film of the same name.
Rodan **** A classic early Kaiju film in color with great monster SFX & city destruction. Watched on Svengoolie.
Monster of Phantom Lake, The *** Rewatch with director commentary
It Came from Another World *** Rewatch with director commentary
Cave Women on Mars *** Rewatch with director commentary
Terror from Beneath the Earth *** Rewatch with director commentary
Attack of the Moon Zombies **** Rewatch with director commentary
Attack of the Moon Zombies **** Rewatch with cast & crew commentary
House of Ghosts *** Rewatch with director commentary
House of Ghosts *** Rewatch with cast commentary
Giant Spider, The ***** Rewatch with director commentary
Giant Spider, The ***** Rewatch with cast & crew commentary
Late Night Double Feature **** Rewatch with director commentary
Late Night Double Feature **** Rewatch with cast & crew commentary
Danny Johnson Saves the World **** Rewatch with director commentary
Weresquito: Nazi Hunter ***** Rewatch with director commentary
Weresquito: Nazi Hunter ***** Rewatch with live audience and the director, while talking about the film
Monster of Phantom Lake – The Musical **** Rewatch for article
Overdrawn at the Memory Bank * Nearly unwatchable TV-made pseudo-cyberpunk dystopia with Raul Julia. Thank God for MST3K!
Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders ** Weak & unmemorable horror/fantasy portmanteu with toy monkey & Ernest Borgnine. Another MST3K watch.
Beast from Hollow Mountain, The ** Too much western and not enough T-Rex, but… Nice color & worth seeing, despite the dino-tongue. Kid stuff.
Logan *** Action packed & really well acted & put together. But Logan’s journey is too bleak to get 4 stars from me.
Dracula vs. Frankenstein ** Stars make this fun. Part 70s a biker film, part monster rally, but somehow that’s its charm. A hot mess I like.
Horrors of Spider Island ** Is this a monster film, or an exploitation film? It’s both! With plenty of pulchritude & a fang-faced spider-man.
Smart Blonde *** Torchy #1. A clever & aggressive reporter (Glenda Farrell) breaks news with mobsters & her cop boyfriend.
Adventurous Blonde *** Torchy #3. A fake murder leads to a real one for Torchy (Glenda Farrell) and her cop beau (Barton MacLane.)
Torchy Blane in Panama ** Torchy #5. Lacks Glenda Farrel & Barton McClane. Still flun detective-reporter stuff – on a boat.
Mad Ghoul, The *** A lesser Universal with George Zucco turning romantic rival into a heart-eating zombie-like monster. Good cast.
Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, The *** Amusing spoof of 1950s low-budget SF, but doesn’t stand much rewatching once you get the (single) joke.
Planet of the Vampires *** Lush, atmospheric, and beautiful, clear inspiration for Alien & other SF horror movies. Thanks Bava!
Caltiki the Immortal Monster *** Blu-ray finally does justice to this minor, low-budget blob-like classic. Early parts better than the later, but fun.
Beast with a Million Eyes, The ** World-domination remise thin enough for low-budget, but still well put together. Blaisdell monster at the end.
Suicide Squad ** Oscar-winning makeup & good cast & production can’t save this hot mess based on a much better comic book.
Independence Day: Resurgence ** GGI filled space extravaganza & returning stars look good, but basically a remake with more stuff, less heart.
War Gods of the Deep *** More Vincent Price fun. A lost undersea civilzation (and monsters) discovered by surfacers. Handsomely done.

 

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