Film Mini-Reviews, June 2017 – Crimson Altar to Spider Island

July 22, 2017 No Comments »
Film Mini-Reviews, June 2017 – Crimson Altar to Spider Island

It seems fairly clear now that I watch a lot of films every month — so it may not be accurate to say that June was another “busy” month for film viewing.  Half a year into this project, I may just have to accept that about 50 films a month is “normal.”

Not that I’m complaining.  There are far worse ways to spend one’s time than watching movies.  And this month, I watched some great movies (Wonder Woman) and also had the unique experience of watching some movies at Monster Bash 2017, including Revenge of the Creature with Q&A by the original Creature, Ricou Browning, and the premier of a film I actually worked on, Joshua Kennedy’s Theseus and the Minotaur (a finished rough cut, though still missing a scene or two).

Exciting!

For those keeping track, my running total through June 30th is 316 complete films watched, which I guess is a slight dip from last month, but still puts me on pace to watch 600 movies this year.  Not that I have any actual goals for this experiment — we’ll just keep going and see where it ends up — but it is interesting…

Here’s my list for June, 2017.  As always, these are in rough order of viewing and not alphabetical (as arranging them alphabetically would be actual work)

FILM – Rating (0-5 stars) – Comments

Curse of the Crimson Altar *** Solid Tigon supernatural mystery flick with great work by Karloff, Christopher Lee, Barbara Steele. Worth it.
Loves of Hercules, The (MST3K) *** Jonah & the Bots do their best, but this Jayne Mansfield peplum flick features one of the worst Hercules ever.
Curse of the Crimson Altar (w/ commentary) ** The film is pretty great, but the commentary track should have been done by someone who liked the film.
Wonder Woman ***** DC finally gets it right & WW becomes one of the best & most faithful superhero films of all time. Great fun, too!
Dead Eyes of London ** Giallo style crime drama mixed with horror. Well produced but a bit disjointed & relies on a not-shocking twist.
Ghost, The ** Barbara Steele shocker reminds me of other, better ones, but “it’s not what you thought” end is meh for me.
Bloodlust (MST3K) *** Cheap remake of Most Dangerous Game with Mr. Brady as star. Even MST3K can barely save this one.
Night the World Exploded, The ** A sincere science-thriller-disaster attempt with silly science. Kathryn Grayson & co do all right despite budget.
Alpha-Omega Man, The *** Another Joshua Kennedy tribute doing a pretty fine homage to Heston & co. on a small budget. It’s biggest drawback is it hews so closely to the original, but it’s still a fine homage with Kennedy doing a great Heston.
Bride of Frankenstein, The (Sven) **** Sven distracts from one of the all time great horror films. Give Karloff & co. another star if watching original.
Mummy, The (2017) *** Tom Cruise action-horror flick does well as a set-up & pretty well on its own. A fun ride with good monster SFX.
Batman, The Movie **** Adam West (RIP) & Burt Ward classic with bright colors & great villains. A camp classic with great scenes.
Mummy’s Tomb, The *** Universal classic has lots of recap footage, but it’s ruthless with its returning characters & much fun.
Angry Red Planet **** Perhaps my favorite Mars with monsters film & I don’t even mind the weird solarize SFX on Mars. Good fun.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children **** When Tim Burton finds the right subject, magic happens & Eve Green & her mistfit band of kids make magic.
Enchanted Island ** Love among the cannibals should be more fun, but at least this Dana Andrews South Seas soap looks lovely.
Island of Lost Women ** No monsters, but Alan Napier makes a fine mad scientist hiding on an island with his 3 beautiful daughters.
From Hell It Came ** Sure, it’s a goofy movie about a possessed tree monster seeking revenge, but I still really enjoy this flick.
Slipper and the Rose, The *** A musical by the Mary Poppins team featuring Richard Chamberlain as the prince? Yeah, & it’s pretty good.
Frequency *** Don’t think too much about the time travel aspect, just go with it & you’ll have a fun, action-suspense ride.
Furious 7 **** A big, crazy, stunt-packed action film with a huge cast of huge stars & a lot of heart. Farewell, Paul Walker.
Black Cat, The (1990) ** More Suspiria than Poe, another crazed 80s-style Euro horror flick in bright colors. Not enough. Caroline Munro.
Boy Who Cried Werewolf, The (Sven) ** Sincere try at a modern werewolf tale with decent makeup & production, but too much day-for-night cheeze.
Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (MST3K) ***** A near-incoherent 1-star fantasy film, but Jonah & the bots’ riffing is brilliant & rapid fire. One of the best.
Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2 (MST3K) **** An even worse sequel to WotLK with no returning characters. Riffing is good, but not quite up to the original.
Model for Murder ** Silly softcore murder “mystery.” Plenty of attractive young people.
Love Machine, The (2016) ** Plot about a shrink who turns attractive young women into killers through “therapy.” Silly softcore.
Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies **** Low-budget flick about snowboarders trapped on resort mountain with people turning into zombies. Lots o’ fun.
Arrival, The (1996) *** Charlie Sheen as radio astronomer fighting an alien invasion. Somewhat dated SFX, but still highly entertaining.
Equalizer, The **** Denzel plays someone you definitely don’t want to mess with in this action-revenge flick with lots of heart.
Reptile, The *** Solid Hammer outing with a creepy reptile-monster makeup. Great to double up with The Gorgon.
This Island Earth (Svengoolie) **** SciFi classic about aliens brain-draining earth to save their planet. Great mutant design & production.
Return of the Vampire **** A sequel to Dracula in all but name, fun Bela performance & great female “Van Helsing” character. Classic.
Revenge of the Creature (Rewatch at Monster Bash) **** Is there anything better than watching a Creature movie followed by a Ricou Browning Q&A? No. There isn’t.
Sampson vs. the Vampire Women *** Actually an El Santo film re-titled for US release, this is fun but occasionally slow, even the wrestling scenes.
Theseus and the Minotaur (World Premiere) **** Even without a final scene or two, this is still a lot of Joshua Kennedy mythological peplum fun with stop-motion monsters, an evil despot, and bold heroes. Full disclosure — I did some script work on this.
Mummy, The (2017) *** Rewatch. Really, a very solid monster-action film. I don’t know what folks are complaining about.
Goliath and the Vampires *** Good peplum saga with our muscular hero fighting people controlled by a hidden master fiend. Colorful fun.
Mighty Joe Young (with commentary) **** Second only to the original Kong in giant ape films, Harryhausen & co. do some great character animation.
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (color version) **** Harryhausen gets the saucers in early & keeps ’em coming in this classcic aliens vs. Earth saga.
Seventh Voyage of Sinbad ***** One of Harryhausen’s best, with classic monsters & skeleton fight. One of the great fantasy films of all time.
Sinbad & the Eye of the Tiger *** Harryhausein creatures are mostly various sized animals, but still fun, despite Patrick Wayne’s Sinbad (Ugh!).
Two Worlds of Jenny Logan, The *** TV movie: Modern women flashes back to 1899 & falls in love with a doomed artist. Time travel romance.
Horrors of Spider Island ** Rewatch for research. Harmless exploitation-horror picture.

Next Month: More movies!  More rewatches, including debrief viewing(s) of my work on Joshua Kennedy’s Theseus & the Minotaur (as he prepares the final cut).  Will I continue at the 50-movies-per-month (average) pace?  Tune in and find out!

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