Film Mini-Reviews August 2017 – Horror Rises from the Tomb to Monstrosity

Another month, another 50 or so movies.  After 8 months, I guess that’s normal — though the way I’ve viewed films has changed some; I’m tending to watch more complete movies rather than “settle” for just dropping in and out of the ones playing on TV.

Would there have been more films without Twin Peaks, Game of Thrones, and The Defenders?  Quite possibly, but we do a fairly heavy genre TV show rotation in our household — and I watched a bunch of Dark Shadows, too.  After watching for 8 months, keeping track is a bit of a drag, but I’ll keep at it for at least the rest of the year.

FILM – Rating (0-5 stars) – Comments

Horror Rises from the Tomb **** Rewatch with very good commentary by Rod Barnett & Troy McGuinn. Worth the blu for the commentaries.
Trailer Park Shark *** A great early “Orson Wells” shot & good characters & clever dialogue punctuate this shark thriller cheapie.
Konga *** Cheesy ape suit, but Michael Gough chews amazing scenery as ape becomes giant & menaces London.
Toxic Shark ** Hot women & buff men almost make up for minimal plot with chemical-shooting shark terrorizing resort.
Dark Tower, The *** Solid action picture condenses Stephen King epic into 90 minutes. Idris Elba rocks. Trailer reveals too much.
Atomic Blonde **** Charlize Theron kicks ass as a tough spy at the end of the Cold War. Amazing fight-chase scene near end.
Santo y Blue Demon contra Dracula y el Hombre Lobo ** Santo & Blue Demon vs. Dracula & the Wolf Man, the title says it all in this fun luchadore romp, though the stars look a bit anemic & the villains keep passing up chances to kill the heroes.
Follow Me, Boys! ** Disney film on the life of Fred MacMurray as a Scout leader. Loses a star for overlong & predictable schmatz.
Incredible Journey, The *** Disney: 2 dogs & a cat try to find their way home across country. Much more compelling & fun than it sounds.
Charlie the Lonesome Cougar *** Disney managed to get amazing performances from animals, & this one is “pet” at a logging camp. Well shot.
Empire of the Sharks *** Waterworld on a budget as heroes rescue their friends from shark-controlling dictator. Better than expected.
Curse of the Undead (Sven) *** Vampire gunslinger comes to town, falls for the rancher girl, & runs afoul of authoroties & a priest. Good fun.
Kong Island (King of Kong Island) ** Mercenaries, kidnapping, a jungle girl, & apes controlled by a mad scientsts, yet… Not that interesting.
Dr. Heckyl & Mr. Hype * Oliver Reed is an ugly doctor & a charming deadly Hyde, but this unfunny comedy-horror is for Reed fans only.
Sharkando 5: Global Swarming **** Long ago, the Sharknado series passed throwing in the kitchen sink. They throw in everything & are still fun!
Deja Vu **** Denzel Washington & a good SF-Cop cast search for a bomber, or maybe stop the crime before it happens.
Torture Garden *** Amicus portmanteau made more Hammer-like by James Bernard music. Some good pieces & a scary piano.
Brotherhood of Satan ** Well made, Children of the Damned-like take on Satanism. Narrative is too jumbled up & trippy to be a classic.
Veneance of the Zombies *** Naschy wears 3 makeups in this zombie revenge film. Fun but suffers from the usual Euro-horror plot lapses.
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who *** Stretching out the charming original Seuss story does it no favors, but can’t kill the gentle soul & message.
Phantasm – Ravager *** Latest (last?) Phantasm film is a mish-mash of ideas, like the previous ones, but still has enough fun for fans.
Night Monster (Sven) *** Bela Lugosi would have been better as the mystic, but this Universal horror-mystery is still worth catching.
Weird Science *** John Hughes sexy scifi comedy is dated but still amusing. Namecheck the cool cast for extra fun.
Haunted Honeymoon ** Gene Wilder – Gilda Radner Old Dark House movie has its moments, but isn’t as fun as it should be.
Doctor Who and the Daleks *** Much shorter than the original story on the show, but somehow slower. Cushing helps, but comedy doesn’t.
Doctor Who and the Daleks (rewatch) *** Rewatch withcommentary for interview.
Monster Club *** Good anthology film with the monsters as the “good guys” in each story, mostly & masks subbing as makeups.
Rat Race **** The humor is often lowbrow, but the characters are funny & I laugh my ass off when watching this mad flick.
Invisible Ray, The **** Boris & Bela are frienemy scientists, but Boris goes mad & starts bumping people off with deadly glowing touch.
Lady in White, The (1988) ** After nearly being killed, a child sees the ghost of a murdered girl & tries to find her killer. Too bombastic score.
Teenage Monster ** Kid contaminated by meteor grows up into hairy teen monster. Sociopathic “victim” using monster makes it fun.
How to Make a Monster *** Fired makeup artist turns actors into real monsters & takes revenge on studio heads. Pretty cool but odd. too.
Blood of Dracula ** Hypnosis turns a delinquent girl into a vampire-like killer with serious makeup problems. Ends non-graphically.
Creature with the Atom Brain *** Police must cope with series of murders committed by atom-powered zombies controlled by vengeful gangster.
Murders in the Rue Morgue **** Bela Lugosi flawed classic, but Bela is wonderful & has some truly creepy moments. Too bad studio cut it down.
Tremors 2 – Aftershocks *** Not as good as the original, but sitll has some fun & funny stuff, and continues the Tremors “saga” for the fans.
Count Dracula’s Great Love (Naschy – dub) *** As with all Naschy flicks, this has ideas & weird energy, but confusing storylines make Dracula hard to follow.
Sully **** Clint Eastwood’s biopic hilights the stress of the investigation after Cpt. Sully’s plane landing on the Hudson.
Humanoids from the Deep *** Monsters, gore, & sex plus Doug McClure & Vic Morrow… What’s not to like in this Corman produced classic?
Monstrosity (The Atomic Brain) blu restoration *** Great restoration of quirky, sparse film with brain transplants, semi-nudes, cat women, dog men, & immortality.

Next Month: More movies and the build up to one of my favorite times of the year: Halloween Season!

About Steve Sullivan 420 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).