Film Mini-Reviews September 2017 – Island of the Burning Damned to The Wolf Man

September was crowded with birthdays, family visits, commitments, and old and new TV shows (including the excellent GLOW on Netflix).  With so much going on, I suppose it’s inevitable that my movie watching “suffered” some.

That’s right, September was the first month where I didn’t watch 50 or more films for the first time this year (or at least the first time I didn’t average out to 50 or more per month).  I think I totaled 37 films in September, and ended with “only” 442 for the year.

That’s quite a few short, and a bit to “make up” if I want to get to 600 this year.  (Which I said I didn’t care about at the start, but now I kinda do.)  At least, 500 seems likely in any case.

So, here’s September…

Night of the Big Heat (a.k.a. Island of the Burnging Damned) *** Lee, Cushing, & good cast in Quatermass-like story of heat-generating alien invasion. Characterization sometimes spotty, but generally entertaining. Feels a lot like a Hammer film or Island of Terror.
Monster on the Campus (Sven) *** Man (& dog) infected by celocanth become evolutionary throwback monsters. Minor Universal monster fun.
Godzilla 2000 (Comet – English Dub) *** CGI spaceship/monster looks dated, but actual G-foe & Big Battle are good & so are human characters.
Godzilla, Mothra, & King Ghidorah (GMK – Comet – English Dub) ***** English dub takes some of the shine off this brilliant, innovative G-film with unusual monster portrayals. Still great.
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (Comet – English Dub) **** Rewatch. I generally don’t like Mecha-G films, but I like this a lot, with clever bio-machine premise & good characters. See notes on first watch this year, too.
Terror Birds *** Engaging group of “kids” run afoul of giant fowl breeding operation & sociopath, with SyFy-style gory results.
Surf Party ** B&W beach party movie with a surfer “gang’ causing trouble for the good surfers. Mostly for Bobby Vinton fans.
IT! (2017) *** New Stephen King adaptation is good enough, but changes some things from the original it didn’t need to. :-/
Human Beasts (Spanish language) *** Naschy film about greed & a mysterious family meanders a bit, has a bit of nudity, killer mercs, & some gore.
Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, The **** Perhaps the 2nd best of the Hammer mummy films has a strong cast, production, & music. Good monster fare.
Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow, The ** Teen Hot Rod, dance & music film was hard to see before Comet & TCM rotation. Watch for Blaisdell monsters.
Medusa Against the Son of Hercules (Sven) *** Carlo Rambaldi water dragon & weird medusa elevate this sword & sandal epic a bit above the usual fare.
After Midnight ** 1980s portmanteu film centered around a college course on Fear. Not bad, but not too memorable, either.
House of the Long Shadows *** Better than people say, but not up to the standard of its great stars, Lee, Cushing, Price. Comet print very dark.
Kidnapped **** Strong Disney adaptation of the R.L.Stevenson adventure classic. Fine cast inlcudes young Peter O’Toole.
Slaughter of the Vampires *** Euro-horror borrows heavily from Dracula. Starts with the slaughter in the title & ends with pretty decent fight.
Blackbeard’s Ghost *** Dean Jones & Suzanne Pleshette & pirate ghost Peter Ustinov vs. crookedd gamblers in Disney family comedy
Horrible Dr. Hichcock, The *** Scream Queen Barbara Steele’s Dr. husband likes the dead better than the living in this Corman-esque flick.
Destination Nightmare *** Karloff elevates this complation from his TV show The Veil about various encounters with death & reincarnation.
Man Beast ** Lots of climbing & walking shots harm low-budget tale with interesting idea. Needed more money for yeti suits.
Cave of the Living Dead ** Detective vs. living dead story looks good & has fun moment, doesn’t quite hold together Needs more vamps.
It Came from Outer Space (Sven) **** Classic Bradburry. Aliens crash on Earth & use human disguises is a cut above the usual alien invaders films.
Awakening, The ** Not quite The Omen, not quite a mummy film, this flick has good ideas & cast but never quite follows through.
Mummy, The (2017) *** Blu-ray looks great & has some good extra features. Fun, but the film could still be more monstrous.
Burn, Witch, Burn! **** Classic story of the “Conjur Wife” with Matheson script, great actors, & strong production. Eerie. Clever.
Mysterious Doctor, The *** WWII tale of a mine haunted by a headless ghost has a good cast of engaging characters & nice twists.
Frankenstein (Karloff) (Sven) ***** Karloff, Colin Clive, & Director Whale kill in this classic monster movie filled with atmosphere & great scenes.
Retaliator, The (a.k.a Programmed to Kill) ** US government turns terrorist Sandahl Bergman into a killer cyborg for the US. What could possibly go wrong?
Queen of the Amazons ** Search for a missing fiance, who’s taken up with an amazon tribe vs. badguys. Way too much stock footage.
GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling **** Interesting & moving doc about the 1980s phenom women wrestlers show. Inspired great new 2017 TV series.
Blood Bath (a.k.a. Track of the Vampire) ** William Campbell as artist who turns into vampire-like sadist serial killer when tortured by sexy ghost. Really.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle *** Solid actioner is similar to original film & nearly as fun, has some great scenes, but too much of a sausage fest.
Witches’ Mountain, The (El Monte de las Brujas) ** Photographer fall in love & takes a trip to the mountains where they encounter coven. Could use better print.
Revenge of Doctor X, The (Venus Fly Trap) ** Mad doctor goes to Japan & decides making a human-venus-fly-trap-human hybrid would be good idea. Silly.
Santo in the Treasure of Dracula (Santo en el Tresor de Dracula) *** El Santo invents a time machine & sends his girlfriend back to be Dracula’s victim. (Oops.) When she returns, they hunt for Dracula’s treasure. And, of course, there must be some wrestling. Enjoyable action/horror film.
Blancheville Monster, The ** Heiress returns to family castle & falls victim to a family history of madness amid spooky goings on. Poe-like.
Demons of Ludlow, The ** Haunted piano brings vengeful ghosts to bucolic (WI) town. Carpentereseque director of Giant Spider Invasion.
Cold, The (a.k.a. The Game) ** 3 crazy millionaires offer young people $1 million to stay overnight, if they can, in “haunted” (WI) resort lodge.
Wolf Man, The ***** Classic that made Lon Chaney, Jr., a star and helped spur Universal monster revival. One of the all-time best.

So, that’s “all” I watched this month.

Will I catch up to my earlier pace?  I’m only 8 behind… But, believe it or not, October has been even more jammed with stuff, including 2 mid-week trips.  But more about that next month, because it’s now Halloween Season! (And who doesn’t love that?)  Maybe TCM’s 24-hour Halloween Marathon will help…  😉

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).