Film Mini-Reviews May 2018 – Killer Klowns to Ice Bridge

May 2018 was another pretty standard month of film viewing.  30-50 films per month seems to be my thing, and I watched 41 flicks in May.  Might have been more, but we also went on a 10-day vacation to celebrate our 30th Anniversary (and my wife’s 35th college reunion).  Part of that time we spent on Mackinac Island, which has no cars, little TV, and (in our case) internet only in the hotel lobby.  Very relaxing… But not great for running up a big movie count.  😉

June is looking like it’ll be fairly similar, as a chunk of our time has been binging TV shows (including me trying to catch up on multiple years of Archer and Expedition Unknown — both shows I’ve recently  “discovered”).

As always, ratings are out of 5 stars.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space **** Chiodo Brothers’ horror comedy tour-de-force is goofy fun end-to-end. Were clowns really scary before this?
Mexican Spitfire Sees a Ghost *** Dual-role mix-ups as Spitfire & family masquerade as servants to win clients in house “haunted by bootleggers.
Mexican Spitfire’s Elephant ** More dual-role mix-ups as smugglers plant a ceramic elephant on Spitfire’s eccentric relative. Real elephant, too.
Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event ** Confusion over the birth of a kitten results in pregnancy mix-up & usual dual-role confusions in Spitfire flick.
Sex Devil ** Not a 70s Euro film, as I hoped, but merely a porno recut into softcore. Half-devil girl & her sexy friends have sex.
Black Sleep, The *** Rathbone tries to revive comatose wife with Lugosi, Chaney, Carradine, Tor Johnson abetting. Abrupt ending.
Avengers: Infinity War (rewatch) ***** Heard more of the jokes. Got more of the references. Admired more of the filmmaking on 2nd viewing. Wow.
Island Claws *** Strong TV actors lend credibility to tale of crabs attacking islanders. Stop-mo could have helped giant crab ending.
Anatomy of a Psycho ** Execution of his brother sends one man over the brink while his sister tries to marry son of the accuser. Okay.
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (Sven) *** In some ways, the weakest of Harryhausen’s films, still has great saucer attack sequences that set SFX standard.
Requiem for a Vampire ** Euro horror has 2 fugitives “seduced” by vampires & is beautifully shot. Nudity & violence can’t overcome thin plot.
Haunting, The (1999) ** Remake of the classic haunted house tale starts out psychologically interesting but relies on unscary CGI in end.
African Treasure (Bomba 7) *** Standard Bomba the Jungle Boy vs. diamond smugglers fun kid stuff with some good action, stunts, & swimming.
Bomba and the Jungle Girl (Bomba 8) ** Bomba searches for his parents/heritage, runs into a hunter girl, good & evil natives. Fewer stunts than usual.
Safari Drums (Bomba 9) ** Safari filmmakers try to convince Bomba to help them. Anti-cruelty message undercut by (stock?) animal fights.
Golden Idol, The (Bomba 10) ** Evil Arab & other killers want disappointingly small idol. Bomba fights. More stock (?) animal fights are hard to take.
Killer Leopard (Bomba 11) ** Dogged by leopard, Bomba helps heiress trailing crumb husband who would rather hunt rhino. Stock animal fights.
Lord of the Jungle (Bomba 12) ** Bomba protects elephants from herd culling by gung-ho government men. Lots of elephant footage & fake conflict.
Freaks **** Tod Browning got real freaks to star in this controversial meditation on alienation, greed, & what it means to fit in.
Mark of the Vampire *** Bela Lugosi & Luna the Bat-Woman are great in eerie Browning flick until the crazed Scooby-Do ending spols it.
From Beyond the Grave *** Peter Cushing holds together this portmanteau horror film. Segments on the elemental & the door are standouts.
Gappa the Triphibian Monster (a.k.a. Monster from a Prehistoric Planet) *** Not the best SFX, but the Gorgo-style story is cool (humans, bad!) & I loved it as a kid. A unique kaiju offering.
Blob, The (Sven) **** Sure, Steve McQueen may not look like a teen, but who cares as this classic, low-budget monster movie rocks!
Thirteenth Chair, The ** Bela Lugosi as hard-nosed inspector trying to crack a murder at a party in Tod Browning mystery. Stagebound.
Fast Workers ** Robert Armstrong & his buddy hang out with loose women who cheat on them both in Tod Browning buddy film.
Warning from Space *** Star-shaped aliens assume human form to warn the Earth of collision with a rogue planet. Better than expected.
Kong: Skull Island **** Rewatched on cable, this film still has great characters (& actors) plus end-to-end monster fun.
Attack from Space ** Superhero Starman takes on a band of nazi-like (Japanese) space aliens. 10 minute slaughter at end is worth it.
Assignment: Outer Space ** The SFX are the real star in this Margheriti film about cosmonauts saving earth from a runaway atomic spaceship.
Attack of the Killer Donuts *** This is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from the title. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, this is it. Fun.
Attack of the Killer Shrews ** Shrew-inspired cheapie has its fun moments, but mostly points out how good the original Killer Shrews really was.
20 Million Miles to Earth (Sven) **** Just another Harryhausen classic about an ever-growing space monster brought from Venus to plague Earth.
GOG **** 3rd & final OSI film pits scientists against mysterious murders & 2 robots, Gog & Magog, in a secret installation.
At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (Coffin Joe 1) *** Low-budget Brazilian film, Made atheist funeral director, “Coffin Joe,” slays those in the way of begetting a son.
This NIght I’ll Possess Your Corpse (Coffin Joe 2) *** Hypnotic “Coffin Joe” returns to beget a son, tortures more people, but very similar to the 1st film. Amped nudity & violence. Great Hell sequence.
Nancy Drew, Trouble Shooter *** Standard 1939 girl detective fare with Nancy solving a mysterious murder to clear her dad’s friend. Good fun.
Nancy Drew & the Hidden Staircase *** Nancy solves a murder to help two sisters save their home to donate it to a hospital. Good comedy-mystery.
Murder, She Said (1961) **** Margaret Rutherford’s Miss Marple takes a job as a maid to prove she saw a muder on a passing train. Superior.
Solo **** Another good Star Wars prequel, with attention to filling in details of Han Solo’s backstory. Could merit sequels.
Captain America: The First Avenger **** Surprisingly faithful to the original Simon-Kirby origins & forms a strong backbone for the Marvel Cinematic U.
Independence Day *** Sure, the science is goofy, but the SFX hold up well & there’s plenty of fun action in this alien invasion flick.
Ice Bridge: Mackinac Island’s Hidden Season **** Lush photography highlights Mackinac Island’s winter season, when the tourists leave & the island is isolated.

Once again, I need to thank Turner Classic Movies (TCM) for programming cool stuff, including the Bomba, Nancy Drew, and Mexican Spitfire marathons.  I have a huge film collection, but I really enjoy watching a well-curated channel like TCM.  It’s like, sure, I know how to cook and can cook well, but isn’t it fun to go out to eat,  now and again?  You bet!  Thanks, TCM!  (Though you need to bring back your monthly printed magazine!)

Next Month… The Summer Film Season really takes off, plus my annual end-of-month Ray Harryhausen’s Birthday film-watch marathon.  Stay frosty!

Remember, you can support this and all my other writing work, like Dr. Cushing’s Chamber of Horrors, by joining my Patreon for a buck or two a month.  Thanks!

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).