Film Mini-Reviews – March 2017: Way… Way Out to Back Page (1934)

Yeah, I meant to post this at least two weeks ago… And then my computer died… And then I got sick… And… Here we are.  Better late than never.

The trend of me watching about 50 films a month seems to be continuing, so maybe that is my normal pace.  We’ll know at year’s end for sure.

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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FILM – Rating (0-5 stars) – Comments

Way… Way Out ** Silly sexist 60s sex comedy with Jerry Lewis & Connie Stevens as on the moon. See Project Moonbase instead.
Barbarians, The (Barbarian Brothers) * Good production values can’t save bad 80s acting & derivative story. Might be better uncensored?
Seven Magnificent Gladiators, The ** 80s peplum with production values & muscle but dreadful dubbing. Is there an sexier uncensored version?
Terror in the Haunted House ** Predictable B&W thriller but well shot, produced & acted. The subliminal scare gimmick adds only comic value.
House of the Damned *** Low-budget but well produced, acted, & especially shot. Haunted Hill with a touch of Browning. Sudden ending.
Werewolf of London *** Stylish universal with interesting cap-wearing werewolf, Henry Hull. Great Warner Oland stuff, too.
Dunwich Horror, The *** Corman’s Lovecraft tale overcomes its buddget shortfalls with style, Dean Stockwell, and fun supporting players. Despite trying hard and being creative, though, it remains a mere shadow of the original story.
Woods, The ** Girl is sent to a witchy school run by sentient trees? Not as interesting as that sounds. Is DVD better than TV?
Fantastic Planet **** Deeply strange animated SF classic. Cooler in French than dubbed. Love to TCM & late Robert Osborne!
Monster of Phantom Lake, The *** Clever 1950s style monster movie is a bit long in places, but still a joy. Starts the Mihimiverse & Canoe Cops.
It Came from Another World *** Pseudo sequel to Monster from Phantom Lake continues the fun 50s style with an alien brain take over.
Cave Women on Mars *** What’s more 50s than astronauts finding a lost tribe of women on Mars? Finding 2 warring tribes! Fun & silly.
Late Show, The **** Art Carney & Lily Tomlin in a 70s noir featuring a middle-age detective, murder & a missing cat.
Kong: Skull Island **** Big action fun with the big monkey. A good set-up for upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong film. Great popcorn flick.
Queen Crab *** Stop-motion monsters highlight this sincere low-budget monster movie from the makers of Triclops. Nice end.
Phantom of the Opera *** Universal’s color remake of their classic focuses on the pre-monster phantom. Great music & Claude Rains.
New One-Armed Swordsman, The *** Standard one-armed sword-fu movie with plenty of gore re-sets for a new hero. Silly Shaw Bros fun.
Werewolf in a Women’s Prison ** I can see why Nic Brown likes this nudity & gore fest. And it is fun, if you like that kind of thing. I kinda do.
Valley of Gwangi **** Harryhausen’s classic cowboys vs. dinos film looks great on blu-ray. Some color correction? But few extras.
Bridge of Spies **** Excellent Cold War drama of a US lawyer fighting hard to bring everyone on both sides home from captivity.
Midsummer Night’s Dream, A (1968) ***** Shakespeare in modern times with Dianna Rigg, Helen Mirren, & Judy Dench?! If only the print were better!
Long Live the King (Kong) **** Documentary short on behind-the-scenes but filled with celebrity reminiscences. Fun trip down memory lane.
Hard Ticket to Hawaii ** Playboy Playmates find diamonds & a deadly snake in this awesome, silly, 1980s semi-nude actioner.
Jackie Chan: My Stunts **** Interesting behind-the-scenes doccumentary & how-to, where Jackie shares some of his stunt secrets.
King Kong (2005) **** Film is too long, but longer version has better dino-vs-setup balance. Naomi Watts is radiant. CGI Kong good.
Uninvited, The **** Great spooky film with Ray Milland buying a haunted house. Some good twists & a great score & camerawork.
Dudes & Dragons *** Comically inclined low-budget D&D movie with some fun & funny stuff, and a star from Mythica.
Doctor Blood’s Coffin *** Handsome melodrama, well acted. A bit slow but with a fine mad doctor payoff. Transplant issue quaint, now.
When Time Expires ** Clever but goofy premise and good acting in this time-travel film about a parking meter. Not much happens.
Arthur and Merlin ** This good-looking film doesn’t seem to have much to do with Arthur or Merlin or history or myth. Unmemorable.
Panga ** Standard break a taboo & summon monster film, elevated by Christopher Lee. Decent monster, but seen little.
Dracula (Lugosi) French Score **** The French version score smooths over some dull spots, but isn’t entirely suited to this classic. Lugosi rules.
Doctor Faustus *** Lavish film production of the classic story with Burton & Taylor is interseting (& wordy) but barely exciting.
Risen *** Reverent film about a Roman Tribune’s search for the body of Jesus. Points off for (fake) Shroud of Turnin ref.
Goliath and the Dragon *** Peplum fun with Broderick Crawford’s evil guy against not-Hercules. Danforth stop-motion dragon, too, in US.
Portrait in Terror ** Killer vs. Madman to get the painting, with a high body count in between. Fun Ronald Stein score. Giallo-like.
Conqueror of Atlantis, The *** Above-average peplum with Heracles & Arab strong man vs. Amazon Queen of evil Atlantis. Fun.
Deliver Us from Evil *** Cop vs. evil. Exorcism at the end bogs down, but there are some chilling moments, plus Olivia Munn. Not bad.
Culling, The ** Lost child leads teens to family/cult for sacrifice to evil spirits. Pedestrian slasher with a bit of supernatural.
Angels of Darkness *** Modern take on Carmilla with a lonely “cutter” teen and her secret friend. Languid retelling of the classic.
Terror Overload ** Low-budget “truck stop” shock anthology shot on vid. Mostly for fans of gore effects, nudity, and Rachel Grubb.
Kong: Skull Island **** Rewatch in the theater. May have liked it even better the 2nd time.
Silent House ** Young woman is terrorized and mind-fucked in a house being renovated by her dad & uncle. Shaky cam, ugh!
Virus ** Predictable SF story with some pretty good practical SFX. It’s an electronics virus, not an ebola-style one.
Deluge *** SFX of NYC falling, highlight this sometimes dark story of what happens after civilization falls. Worth seeing.
Back Page ** Big-town newspaper reporter becomes woman editor of small-town paper and faces corrupt oil interests.

Next month (April) is nearly over as I write this, and it features a lot of re-watches courtesy of an article for The Basement Sublet of Horror about the films of the Mihmiverse.  Get ready for it!

About Steve Sullivan 414 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).