Holy Cats! Where has March gone?! Well, I know it’s mostly gone to virtual Gary Con and a bunch of personal stuff, including getting our first Pfizer vaccination. (We had little reaction and hope it’s the same with the 2nd shot!) Oh, and I also upgraded my site security after some attempted hacks and (finally) added an SSL certificate, so hopefully none of my friends and fans will get “Danger! Danger!” warnings anymore while trying to access my site.
In any case, I had prepped to release this set of mini-reviews much earlier in the month, but somehow now it’s the 29th, and here I sit, trying to cram both this and a recent set of interviews into the site before the end of the month. How have things been going for you?
Got to finish a number of good series this month, including Legend of Korra and Star Trek: The Animated Series as well as seeing some cool things for the first time like Cowgirls vs. Pterodactyls and a 1st time Lugosi view (that I thought I’d seen, but hadn’t), One Body Too Many.
The number of movies/shows for the years continues at an impressive rate. Will it come close to last year’s record total? Only time will tell.
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.
Avatar The Legend of Korra (S4) **** Korra & her friends must battle the Earth Nation’s new Emperor & Korra’s own insecurities. Not as good as S1 but ends well.
Black Scorpion, The **** Giant Scorpions threaten a Mexican village & then the city in giant bug epic with strong cast & animation by O’Brien & Peterson.
War of the Colossal Beast (MST3K) **** MSTK crew riffs Bert I. Gordon’s follow up to Amazing Colossal Man as the irradiated giant returns to stomp cities. +1* for riffs.
Cowgirls vs. Pterodactyles **** Joshua Kennedy’s humans vs. dinos epic shot on a shoestring & produced over years is a bit messy, but a whole heap of fun.
Safety Woman – 2 shorts *** 70s superhero Safety Woman takes on “Harm Hides at Home” & “In Danger Out of Doors” in these safety shorts. Fun camp.
Disappearance of Flight 412, The ** TV movie about Air Force crew being grilled by “black hat” government agents after seeing a UFO. No real SFX dull melodrama.
Brain Machine, The ** Intriguing idea about machine that can read minds & thus be used to control people. But really boring & nearly incoherent.
Sherlock Holmes & the Woman in Green **** Strong entry in the Rathbone-Bruce Holmes series about women murdered whose severed fingers then turn up in the possession of prominent men. Shows off the main characters well, though some dislike bumbling Watson persona.
Bulldog Drummond Escapes *** Ray Milland is fun as Drummond, who falls for an heiress in trouble who first steals his car. Pleasant entry in the series.
Expanse, The (S5) ***** Our heroes are split into numerous groups as the Belters start a planetary war. Stront SF content & great characters continue.
Star Trek the Animated Series (S2) *** The second series of animated Trek has some good moments & fine episodes, but it’s very short & ends on a bit of a dud.
Saint Strikes Back, The **** George Sanders is delightful as The Saint, freelance crime solver out to save woman fallen into a gang out of revenge. Superior.
Beast & the Magic Sword, The ***** Naschy’s werewolf epic spans 500 years & continents as Waldemar Daninsky travels to Japan to end his family curse. Great.
Creep Behind the Camera, The **** Story of sociopath “Vic Savage,” who made famously bad film The Creeping Terror by scamming & abusing everyone.
Dungeon of Harrow, The (B&W) *** Low-budget tale of men shipwrecked on island combines Poe, with De Sade & Most Dangerous Game. Gains gravity in B&W.
Night Fright (B&W) ** Making this Agar flick B&W does make it seem less cheap, though it’s still slow & some scenes remain too dark to see monster.
Manos – The Hands of Fate (B&W) *** In B&W, this classic bad film doesn’t seem quite so bad. Still has strong camp value & all the usual silliness. Not a bad view.
Count Dracula & His Vampire Bride (B&W) **** Last of the Christopher Lee Hammer Dracula films (Satanic Rites…) somehow fell into the public domain under this alternate title. Looks good when converted (by Monster Kid Radio) into B&W. Shades of grey don’t harm it, but I still prefer the original.
Black Scorpion, The (Sven) **** (Rewatch) Animators Willis O’Brien & Pete Peterson ran out of money, or this giant bug classic would have been even better.
Horror of Party Beach, The *** Fin-headed monsters are wonderfully cheesy & the film is uneven, but still… Lizard-like marine zombies want our women! Fun.
Creeping Terror, The ** 2K transfer makes this Vic Savage bomb look great, but it’s still plagued by voice over narration & very cheesy monsters.
Voyage to the Sky **** 1937 French science short takes us to the moon & the galaxy with good SFX. Moonscapes look accurate. Rest is still fun.
Golden Eye, The *** Charlie Chan investigates a tapped out Gold Mine that suddenly produces again. Fun story & Mantan Moreland always a plus.
Guardians *** Russian super-team out of touch since Cold War is revived to fight supervillain with usual world domination. Predictable fun.
Scarlet Clue, The **** Chan, #3 son. & Birmingham investigate secrets sent through radio station troupe. Ben Carter-Mantan Moreland comedy bit, too.
Mara Maru *** Erol Flynn is wastrel ship captain hired to recover a sunken treasure by Raymond Burr. Action & betrayal follow. Preachy ending.
Huckleberry Finn (1939) **** Reverent but not too faithful adaptation of the Twain Classic. Good cast & production. Ending not from book but works well.
Crimson ** “Star” Paul Naschy isn’t in the film nearly enough. Gangster shot in head gets brain transplant. Silliness, violence, nudity follow.
Flesh Eaters, The **** Low-budget shocker about flesh eating microscopic parasites, bred by Nazi, infesting ocean. Well put together & fun monster.
Torture Ship *** Doctor fills ship with convcits to try experimental cures for their criminality. What could go wrong? Good mad doctor cheapie.
She Demons *** Irish McCalla & friends are stranded on isle where escaped Nazis are turning women into title monsters ’cause… Mad scientists.
Head, The **** Mad scientist saves living head of not-quite-mad scientist, then transplants woman’s brain onto strippers’ body. Euro-horror fun.
Monstrosity (The Atomic Brain) *** Old woman hires mad scientist to give her a new body & hires lovely housekeepers as candidates. Mad science fun. Cat woman.
Venus Flytrap ** Filipino-Japanese mish-mash with mad scientist creating a plant-man. Even topless pearl divers can’t enliven this turkey.
Invisible Man, The (Sven) ***** Claude Rains is pitch perfect as scidentist driven mad by his own invisibility formula. Classic of suspense-horror with humor, too.
Jessica Jones (Season 3) **** Jessica & Patsy get mixed up with mindreader, cops, & serial killer in emotionaly wrenching season. Strong storyline & acting.
Curse of the Faceless Man *** Faceless statue dug up in Pompei is somehow still alive and attached to the treasure found with it. Doesn’t need the voice-over.
Great Escapists, The (Season 1) **** Richard Hammond (Top Gear) & Tori Belachi (Mythbusters) are shipwrecked & invent things to escape. Fun science-comedy.
Black Sabbath ***** European edition of this Bava classic has stories in different order & unexpurgated Telephone tale. Misses Karloff’s own voice.
How to Succeed with Brunettes *** Navy training film teaches midshipmen how to behave on dates with ladies. Good general politness advice. Amusningly dated.
Duck and Cover **** Classic short film from the atomic scares of the cold war. Turtle teaches kids that all you have to do to survive nuclear attack.
Blondes Prefer Gentlemen *** Navy training film about dating & party etiquette, a Goofus & Gallant type aproach. Amusing despite being dated & a bit sexist.
Black Dragons *** Lugosi is a butler secretly killing 5th Column Industrialists in wartime US. BUT… There’s more than one twist near the end.
Zontar – The Thing from Venus *** Remake of Corman’s It Conquered the World isn’t nearly as good, but has decent acting & monsters. Super cheapo.
Varan the Unbelievable *** US version of the Japanese movie adds scenes of uncaring military scientist & his Japanese wife that add zilch to giant monster.
Creature from the Haunted Sea *** Corman comedy about cold war antagonist (& spy) trying to recover sunken treasure that turns out guarded by sea monster.
Beast of the Yellow Night ** Filipino Jekyll-Hyde tale about man who sold his soul to the devil & then turns into bloodthirsty monster. Uneven.
Invisible Man Returns, The (Sven) **** Vincent Price takes over as a new Invisible Man trying to clear himself or murder, but slowly going mad, too. Strong entry.
Black Raven, The *** Raven is both an Inn & it’s suspicious proprietor, Geo. Zucco when stranded travelers are all suspects in murder. Good mystery.
Miss Scarlet & the Duke (Season 1) **** Miss Scarlet is a female detective in Edwardian England. The Duke is her frenemy Scotland Yard detective. Good series with strong characters examining traditional male-female roles but also with good mysteries Y arc. Looking forward to season 2.
Ultraman (Season 1) ***** Classic spaceman comes to earth to fight giant monsters show. Fun costumes, FX, & Science Patrol (SSSP) characters. The series gets stranger as it goes, showing more of its descent from Ultra Q. Not to be missed by kaiju (rubber suit monster) fans.
Planet of the Female Invaders *** Space women kidnap people to their planet to discover how to better invade Earth. Odd mix of comedy & drama. Pretty fun.
Planets Against Us (…Around Us) ** Dead scientist returns to Earth to sabotage things because… UFOs? Some good stuff, but needs protagonist & more plot.
Piranha **** Classic post-Jaws killer fish thriller has a strong cast, great, suspenseful direction by Joe Dante, & plenty of victims. Fun, too.
Supernatural (1933) **** Carole Lombard is possessed by the spirit of a serial killer to take revenge on the evil spiritualist who turned her in. Unexpected.
Blancheville Monster, The *** Heiress returns home to her Old Dark Castle to find sinister goings on & disturbing dreams… or are they? Decent Euro horror.
Theater of Death (1967) *** Christopher Lee leads a theater troupe renowned for their Grand Guignol & suspects in recent killings. Well made but flat.
Zombies of Mora Tau *** Voodoo zombies are underwater to protect ship of lost diamonds from adventurers seeking them. Creepy interesting adventure.
Tintorera *** Exploitative real shark killings are the low-light of this strange film about swinging love relationships, vacationers, & shark hunter.
Late Night Double Feature, The ***** Mihm’s two-fer movie gets better with each viewing. Monster takes over space ship crew. Creatures in the wall kidnap boy.
Eerie Tales (1919) ***** The Devil, a Prostitute, & Death (Conrad Veidt) come alive in a bookshop & enjoy creepy stories in cool silent anthology flick.
Tales from Parts Unknown **** Dr. Gangrene hosts this 2020 low-budget horror anthology with strong production & acting & some fun chills, thrills, & a monster.
Panico *** Mexican anthology has woman pursued in forest, men going mad in canoe, & cataleptic scientist about to be buried (best bit).
House of the Dead, The (1978) *** Anemic & odd modern horror anthology redeemed by interesting yarn of 2 famous detectives & murder. Predictable antho end.
One Body Too Many *** Lugosi is only a butler, but Jack Haley is funny as insurance man turned impromptu detective to solve an old house murder.
The total for the month is 65, bringing the yearly total to a very respectable 127 films/series/notable shorts in 2 months. I have no idea if this trend will continue after we’ve all been vaccinated and life returns to some semblance of normal. But, until then, I’ll be staying in and bathing my eyeballs in entertaining video products. Is 60+ reviews per month the new normal?
Next Month: March is almost done! And there’s Justice League out, WandaVision finished, and Godzilla vs. Kong yet to come (as I write this)!
Until then… Stay Safe! Stay Well! Mask up! Vax up!
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!