August 2020 Mini-Reviews – The Terror to Father Brown (S8)

The summer blitzes by, with most of us hopefully safe and sheltering at home as much as possible  — which make this still great time to watch movies.  The Monster Kid Movie club keeps helping to pad my totals, with at least a half-dozen films on view every week.

Is it possible I watched 67 movies, series, and unique and noteworthy shows in August?  Unless I’ve miscounted, I guess it is.  Astonishingly, that’s more than 2 a day!  (See what you can do if you stay home?)  It it a new record?  I’m not sure, as I haven’t kept track of that.  Might be, though.

Somehow, amid all that I also managed to release DR. CUSHING’S CHAMBER OF HORRORS in print and eBook form.  Go snatch it up for some great Halloween-time (or anytime) reading!

We had some great series finish up this month, including Agents of Shield, Star Girl, and the new season of Endeavour — each episode of which is a movie unto itself (plus a rewatch of a previous one) — and a return of Father Brown, plus the Frankie Drake Mysteries, as well.  (Yeah, I’m a mystery fan as well as a Monster & SF Kid!) Plus Shark Week 2020 (which I still need to put up the individual reviews from).  All these and so much more worth watching in the reviews below.  Check ’em out and find something new to enjoy!

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.

Terror, The *** Despite tiny shooting schedule & practically non-existent script, Corman, Karloff, & co. pull out a spooky period shocker.
Directors, The: The Roger Corman Films **** Excellent profile of the classic b-movie & exploitation director/producer who started many Hollywood careers.
Rob Hampton: 2 Monster Films **** 16mm wonders KING KONG and TEETH show just how much kids can do with ambition & a movie camera.
Manster, The **** American journalist in Japan falls afoul of mad scientist who corrupts him & eventually creates the title monster. Fun.
Terror Is a Man *** Filipino take on the Island of Dr. Moreau has just one monster, a cat-man, but is a worthwhile & creepy B-movie.
Mummy’s Revenge, The *** Naschy plays a dual role as both the mummy & a crazed descendant in interesting Euro horror film with some sex & S&M.
Endeavor: Degüello (S6 – E4) ***** Rewatch.  All the threads come together & a murder from a previous season solved, too, in this mix of mystery, dirty cops, & politics.
Slave Girls on the Moon **** Joshua Kennedy’s wacky space prison epic features Corman & Tarantino tributes & classic exploitation tropes. A hoot.
Science Fiction Theater: Project 44 **** Scientists pick a group for a long space voyage & suffer some sabodate. Extra star for having male-female crew.
Phantom Planet, The **** B&W scifi has surprisingly good SFX & monster, plus weird twist of miniturizing astronaut. A minor B-movie classic.
Golden Blade, The *** Rock Hudson is silly as an Arabian prince seeking revenge, but some good fights & King Arthur-type stuff sells it.
Old Guard, The **** Charlize Theron leads a group of mercenaries who just happen to be immortal. Some standard twists but a lot of fun.
Big Doll House, The *** Classic women in prison exploitation has plenty of sleazy characters (& boobs) as gals try to escape sadistic masters.
Foxy Brown *** Pam Grier does some great blaxploitation action (& nudity) in story of gal looking to avenge her slain cop boyfriend.
Werewolf Shadow **** Naschy’s werewolf meets girls looking for vampire’s tomb, which ends in werewolf vs. vampire woman battle. Great fun!
Hour of the Wolf **** Bergman’s “only horror story” is haunting tale of wife of artist either going mad or being tormented by spirits. Sticks with ya.
Monsterama: Various Horror Bios ***** Elvira hosts series of fun bios: Basil Gogos, Don Post, Ray Harryhausen, The Creature, The Munsters, Bob Burns
One Body Too Many *** Bela Lugosi & Jack Haley (Tin Woodsman) in funny but fairly standard Cat & the Canary comedy. Scooby tropes abound.
Lights Out – Strange Legacy ** A sculptor ends up in a strange house with a lonely woman to encourages his gifts, but… She’s done this with others, too.
Fall of the House of Usher, The (1928) **** Stylish telling of the Poe story in the manner of the German expressionist silents. Beautiful and haunting.
It Came from There *** Modern-retro Outer Limits-style story of scientist who bring a thing from another dimension, only to fall prey to its evil.
Ghost, The *** Barbara Steel’s infirm husband drives her & her lover to murder, but then they are haunted by, greed, guilt & his spirit.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman ***** The 1st Wolf Man sequel is one of the best monster films ever, with great characters & even a memorable song. Brilliant.
Endeavour: Oracle (S7-1) **** Returning from Venice, Morse investigates several murders, including a psychic researcher. Another great start.
Things To Come ***** Wells’ movie of the future has amazing visuals & interesting retro SF ideas & predictions (which don’t pan out). Classic.
Making the Time Machine *** Details of constructing a replica are fascinating & the people interesting, but this doc is just too dry and goes on too long.
Stargirl (S1) **** Tale of a small-town girl who ends up a super-hero & her family & friends hits all the right notes. Good action & adventure.
Agents of SHIELD (S7 – Finale) ***** The finale crams a lot of info & recap into a small space, but this has been an exciting & fun conclusion to the series.
Shark Week 2020 – Josh Gates Tonight **** The Josh Gates aftershows for the 2020 Shark Week were a bit uneven, but had some excellent segments & guests.
Horror of It All, The **** Survey of horror movies from their start through the 70s features a lot of good, diverse interviews.
Crimes at the Dark House **** Based on “The Woman in White,” Tod Savage chews the scenery magnificently in this stolen identity suspense thriller.
Golem: How He Came Into the World, The **** Paul Wegener’s silent classic has Karl Freund’s masterful direction, amazing sets, art direction, & costumes plus chills in this story of a clay man/monster brought to life to protect the Jews from an evil tyrant.
Weary Traveler: A Frankenstein Story, The **** Low budget story of the Frankenstein monster meeting a weary traveler who is more than he seems. Good fun.
Brewster McCloud **** Bud Cort is a man who thinks he can learn to fly in Rob’t Altman’s quirky, surreal comedy with car chases & nude angels.
Shark Week 2020 **** The celeb stuff at the start wasn’t fab, but some of the later Shark Week shows were really fine. See my site for reviews.
Endeavour – Raga (S7-2) **** A restaurant delivery man is murdered amid racial and station house tensions for Morse & Thursday. Another fine ep.
Hercules in the Haunted World **** Bava brings amazing color & sets to this peplum (sword & sandal) tale, making it one of the most fun of all Herc films.
Hercules vs. the Moon Men *** Seeing a nice widescreen print of this certainly made the whole a lot more fun and comprehensible. Standard Herc stuff.
Skull, The **** Perhaps the best Amicus pits Cushing & Lee against the disembodied skull of the Marquis de Sade. Good horror.
Spiral Staircase, The **** A mute girl who works at a spooky mansion is threatened by a mysterious madman that slays local “crippled” women.
Face of Marble, The *** John Carradine is a mad scientist trying to revive the newly dead. Results in vampiric dog & more. Needs restored print.
Strangler of the Swamp, The *** Young woman takes over the ferry business in a swampland haunted by the former dead ferryman. Surprisingly good.
From Beyond the Grave **** Peter Cushing is a mysterious curio shop owner.Try to cheat him & you bring a curse on yourself in this anthology film.
Bela Lugosi – Hollywood’s Dark Prince ***** Strong life & times biography of Hollywood’s favorite — though often least-well-employed — vampire. Great material.
Red Skelton – Lugosi, Chaney, Vampira *** Skelton is goofy, as always, but him interacting with the 3 horror stars – Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney Jr., Vampira is a treat!
Phantom Creeps, The (Full Serial) ***** Lugosi is at his best & there’s enough Mad Science for 3 serials in this one. Lots of fun twisty chapters with great finish.
Devil’s Hand *** Man gets sucked into devil cult to get pretty girl, money, & all that kind of thing & maybe to cure ex-fiance’s ailment? Sure.
Read Me a Story *** Short where an woman’s kids ask her from off screen to read them a story. Very Lovecraftian.
A Lot of Evil *** Short about a man who orders some eldritch supplies online & doesn’t get what he paid for — or does he?
Die, Monster, Die! **** Production values, Nick Adams, & Boris Karloff are very strong in this loose “Colour Out of Space” Lovecraft adaptation.
Dora and the Lost City of Gold *** Perky Polyanna explorer Dora is a fun ride along as she & her friends fight villains to find the Lost City. Good kid stuff.
My Spy *** Dave Bautista is a gung-who spy who teaches (& learns from) a kid struggling with home issues. Fun & funny spy flick.
Endeavour: Zenana (S7-3 Finale) ***** The season 7 finale of Endeavour gives us a new mystery to solve & then brings together all the plot threads from series in a thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
Bloodshot *** Vin Diesel as superhero with micro-machines in his blood, out to avenge the death of his loved ones, or is he? Fun twist.
Vibes ** Cindy Lauper & Jeff Goldlum accompany Peter Falk on the trail of psychic pyramid in South America. Goofy. Some fun.
Phantom from Space ** Alien fallen to Earth is invisible, except when in his space suit. Some fun stuff, but also slow at times.
Tales of Tomorrow – “All the Time in the World” *** A thief is given a time-stopping device in order to purloin the world’s great masterpieces. But why? Interesting idea.
Battle of the Worlds *** Italian space movie has strong, interesting premise, but plenty of slow spots, plus Claude Rains. Ending is best part.
Frankie Drake Mysteries, The (S1) *** Frankie & her gal pals investigate various crimes & get into plenty of action in 1930s Canada. Amusing detective stuff.
Invisible Ghost, The **** Strong performance from Lugosi & a unique plot of killer triggered by “dead” wife make this a good low-budget flick.
Arch Hall Jr. at Monster Bash & more *** Good footage of Arch Hall, Jr. from 2014 Monster Bash, combined in this show with related Trailers from Hell & stuff.
Voodoo Man *** Bela Lugosi drains the life energy of women to bring his “dead” wife back to him. Geo Zucco helps. Good B-movie.
Devil Bat’s Daughter ** Woman has mental troubles because her father was “The Devil Bat.” Loses main character partway through. Only okay.
One Step Beyond – “The Dark Room” *** Cloris Leachman as a young photographer whose home is invaded by her “model,” a man with a mysterious secret.
Sadist, The **** Arch Hall, Jr. is a maniac on the loose with his girl friend in this surprising budget noir with amazing cinematography.
Day the World Ended, The *** Corman brings Richard Denning, Mike Conners, & top cast plus Blaisdell monster to this classic post apocalypse tale.
Father Brown – Season 8 **** Old friends flit through & the usual fun character interactions abound as the father solves mysteries & dispenses wisdom.

So!  Quite an August!  All that and Shark Week, too!  (Watch for that upcoming post, when I remember to do it!)

Running total for the year is 440 films, series, and unique noteworthy programs.  Which is a lot, considering there are a ton of individual shows and things that I don’t count, too.  Have I already surpassed 2019’s total?

I looked it up and, yes, I have.  Way past last year’s total of 393, as a matter of fact.  2019 was a hellish year for the family, though.  Of course, 2020 is hellish, too — but in a very different way.  Let’s hope for a more peaceful and healthy year to come in 2021.  We’ve still got a ways to get there, though — and plenty more films and series to watch!

Next Month: September is in its early days as I write this, and the Monster Kid Movie Club stream is still going great — and a great way to add to your movie-watching totals.  As I write this, the Club is having a day with some silent movies, always a treat!  It’s FREE to join us, and you can subscribe or even advertise (!) if you want to support the project.  Films are all Saturday (monsters) and Tuesday evenings (SF).  With this helping my totals, it’s no wonder I’m on a record pace.  Stay Safe & Healthy!

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!