Holy cats! It’s amazing how time slips away when you’re busy! It seems like just yesterday it was the middle of September, and now, suddenly, here I am right at the end, remembering I haven’t posted the August reviews. Sorry about that! But not sorry to be busy and accomplishing things like the Tales of the Blue Kingdoms anthology and finishing edits on Frost Harrow 1 – Scream Lover so I can keep posting it here and for my patrons.
Let’s get down to the reviews, then! 38 of them this month, so heading back toward “normal” for me, and I think September will be similar.
Ratings are out of five stars. Here’s what those stars mean to me…
* – This film is not good. Avoid it unless you tolerate dreck well.
** – A flawed film. You may enjoy it if you like this genre or the folks in it.
*** – A good solid film. If you like this genre, you’ll probably like this film.
**** – A superior film within its genre. Thoroughly enjoyable.
***** – An outstanding film on many levels. A great example of its genre.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019 – Rewatch) **** Still a fine US Godzilla effort, but could still use tightening in edit & some story work. Still fun, epic monster flick.
Shaft (2019) **** More comedy than I expected lightens the action with a mismatched buddy picture angle on this seque/reboot. Were those old-fashioned gender roles being lampooned or reinforced? I had a lot of fun with it, though.
Toy Story 4 ***** Woody & company, their new kid, & a very strange new toy go on a family road trip with unexpected encounters.
Man Without a Body, The (1957) *** Cheapie about a dying millionaire who resurrects the head of Nostradamus to take over his business empire.
Whistling in Brooklyn *** Red Skelton as radio detective who’s accused of murder, chased by gangsters, & must prove himself innocent.
Devi’s Daughter, The *** TV movie with great cast about a young woman swept up by Satanists. Jonathan Frid’s character is sadly mute.
Cyborg 2087 *** TV-like production values & overblown score harm Michael Renee more than fellow cyborgs hunting him. Okay.
Elvira’s Haunted Hills *** Elvira & company take on the Corman Poe series, as well as some Euro-horror in this fun, jiggly, spoof.
House of Wax **** Vincent Price classic is great fun even in 2D (& 1 of the best 3D films ever). A clear inspiration for my Dr. Cushing.
Blood of the Vampires ** Filipino flick with family cursed by vampirism that slowly succumb one by one. A bit of a mess with religous end.
Blood Drinkers, The ** Strange color changes in film making muddled plot about vampire trying to resurrect dead wife incomprehensible.
Big Sleep, The ***** Bogart, Bacall, strong Hawks women, & Faulkner-Brackett script highlight classic Chandler noir. Watch it closely!
Uncanny, The *** Peter Cushing selling book about feline conspiracy to publisher Ray Milland frames 3 tales of deadly cats. Solid.
Cozmo’s – Pilot *** Space bar is populated by aliens & actors from Star Trek, Babylon 5, etc. Will roaches go to war? A fun start.
Clairvoyant, The **** Fay Wray helps Claude Rains as a fake psychic who starts having real visions of disasters, which no one believes.
Sapphire & Steel – Assignment 1 *** David McCallum & Joanna Lumley are weird alien/humans investigating a haunted house mystery. A bit slow.
Sapphire & Steel – Assignment 2 *** S&S run into a ghost hunter while investigating a train station “haunted” by dead from the wars. Again a bit slow.
Quatermass (as series) *** The execution is a little wonky at times, but Nigel Kneale’s ideas for the classic character’s final story are strong.
Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein **** Stranger Things’ David Harbour plays Frankenstein masquerading as monster or…? Clever/odd acting send-up.
Freaks **** Browning’s weird masterpiece about a gold digger who marries a freak for his money. Disturbing throughout.
Island of Lost Souls ***** Laughton’s Moreau is a twisted masterwork & great, disturbing makeup bring animals turned to humans to life.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor ***** Documentary bio of the brilliant TV pioneer, Mr. Rogers, who ministers to children without preaching. Great stuff.
Swing Time **** Top-notch Astair-Rogers romantic comedy. Docked one star for unfortunate blackface song. Great dancing.
Mighty Peking Man *** Hong Kong King Kong rip-off end is a hot mess but more fun than it deserves to be. Suit better than Japan’s Kong.
Maneater of Hydra *** Vacationers on nobleman’s island to see botanical wonders die mysteriously drained of blood. Needs good print.
House of the Living Dead ** Woman travels to the mysterious home where people start dying. TV movie-style flick. Would better print help?
Amazon Hot Box *** Modern exploitation homage. Agents sent to jail in banana republic with puppet dictator. Gory, goofy fun. Some tits.
Thirteenth Chair, The *** Lugosi’s detective investigates murder followed by murder at a seance in standard Old-Dark-House-like mystery.
My Neighbor Totoro ***** Father & 2 girls move into a house “haunted” by nature spirits while mother is in hospital. Brilliant & magical.
Ator: The Fighthing Eagle (MST3K) *(***) Take Hercules film, remove good 60s production values, add 80s costumes & hair. Terrible. Funny MST3K, though. The stars in parenthesis are for the MST3K version – but boy is original film awful!
Phantom of Paris, The *** Magician accused of murder fakes death & takes place of actual murderer, heartless Marquis, to prove innocence.
Sapphire & Steel: Assignment 3 *** S&S get trapped in an apartment belonging to time travelers, emulating a modern couple, but it has a monster.
Mad Miss Manton **** Barbara Stanwyck is madcap title heiress caught in murder mystery vs. reporter Henry Fonda & police. Good fun.
Fistful of Dynamite, A *** Rod Steiger’s bandit meets James Coburn’s dynamite-toting revolutionary in messy action epic by Sergio Leone.
HIght School D x D – Season 1 **** Silly sex comedy anime with horny hero mixed with theological battle between devils, angels, & fallen anges. Fun.
Giant Claw, The (Sven) *** The bird is a terrible SFX, yet the acting is so sincere that I never get tired of rewatching this “classic” monster flick.
Vampire Hookers *** Vinegar Syndrome’s blu-ray looks great. Sexy story is silly but fun. “Blood is not all they suck,” overstates the sex.
Reptile, The **** A perfect companion to The Gorgon, features lovely Jacqueline Pearce & a super monster makeup. Great blu-ray.
So, that’s it for August. A lot more coming in September, including some more series and/or serials, which I figure count as much as a movie. And I figure you might be interested in those, too.
See you then!
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