August 2019 Mini-Reviews – Godzilla, King of the Monsters (Rewatch) to The Reptile

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!


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

About Steve Sullivan 411 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).