March in Wisconsin… In like a lion… Out like a totally different lion. LOL
But it was a pretty awesome month for movies, filled with fun from the Saturday and Tuesday meetings of the Monster Kid Movie Club, the wrap-ups of WandaVision (Season 1 — Will there be more?) and Battlebots 2020, the much anticipated Zach Snyder’s Justice League, and the long-awaited release of the kaiju clash of the titans, Godzilla vs. Kong. What more could anyone ask? (Well, maybe some time to sleep!) All in all, it was a pretty great month to be watching stuff! Check out the details below, as we rocket through the list.
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.
Supernatural (1933) rewatch ***** Rewatch with commentary. The film is great. The commentary is heavy on Hollywood backstory. I’d have liked more story insight.
Body Stealers, The *** Skydivers disappears in mid-air in a mysterious alien plot. Tigon’s B-movie cross betewen Bond, Quatermass, & The Avengers.
Night of the Blood Beast *** Low-budget monster flick anticipates some of Alien, though the monster is pretty goofy. Well acted & taken seriously, though.
Devil Doll, The (1964) Sven *** Very creepy story about a hypnotist who uses his powers to control women & a walking doll that may be possessed. Odd ending.
Color Out of Space **** Strong modern adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft story is visually interesting & has only a few stumbles. Great cast & direction.
Bride of the Monster (MST3K) **** Probably Ed Wood’s best film has fun Lugosi stuff & low production values. Easy targets for generally fun MST3K riffing.
Queen of the Amazons ** Woman searches for fiance lost on safari, finds Amazon Queen & romantic triangle/quadrangle plus traitor. Plenty stock footage.
Lisa & the Devil **** Moody Bava film about tourist, Lisa, who gets wrapped up with strange rich folks, one of whom (Telly Savalas) may be the devil.
WandaVision (season) ***** What starts out as interesting homages to TV sitcoms turns into a superhero action drama & key part of the Marvel Universe.
Revolt of the Zombies ** “Sequel” to White Zombie does some world hoping before ending up in Ankor with mad scientist creating hypnotic slaves.
King of the Zombies *** 3 guys crash in the jungle & end up with mad scientist creating zombies. Mantan Moreland shines as only person with sense.
Revenge of the Zombies ** Carradine’s Nazi scientist tries to create zombie super soldiers in horror-comedy. Good end. Moreland not given enough to do to.
I Bury the Living **** Richard Boone manages a graveyard & accidentally causes future clients to die. Moody & chilling, like a long Thriller TV episode.
Frankenstein Island * Baloonists crash on island inhabited by amazon women & monster-making descendant of Frankenstein. Not enough monsters.
Thing That Couldn’t Die, The (Sven) *** Decapitated head turned up while dousing takes over ranch inhabitants & forces them to do bad stuff. Minor Universal fun.
Cosmic Man, The *** Carradine’s shadowy Cosmic Man comes to check out Earth & Bruce Bennet’s scientist. Low-budget Day the Earth Stood Still.
Invasion from Inner Earth (THEY!) * Unseen They come from the inner earth & spread plague & discord in snow-bound Wisconsin. Incoherent mess with bad ending.
Phantom Lake Kids in the Unseen Invasion, The (commentary) **** Director Mihm’s commentary explains a lot about his process & how he created this “pandemic movie” during the lockdown. The film itself is a fun combination of Scooby Doo & Three Stooges type action.
BattleBots 2020 season ***** Despite the pandemic, BattleBots puts out a great season with plenty of surprises & upsets in the final tournament. Robot fights!
Ghost Rider ***** School bus safety PSA short has an actual story arc about a new kid in school who falls for a ghost girl killed in a bus accident.
Spooks Run Wild ** East Side Kids (later Bowery Boys) run into Bela Lugosi at his haunted house.
Belt ah Ashbah (Ismail Yassin in the Haunted House) *** Egyptian “heirs in a haunted house” movie concentrates on its funnyman lead (in pith helmet) & also has gorilla. Kinda fun.
Shadow House **** Shrewish woman & milquetoast husband (John Feidler) creep through haunted house looking for treasure. Creepy short.
Legacy of Blood (Will to Die) * John Carradine’s will gathers his self-involved annoying heirs who must stay in his house & die 1 by 1. Boring. Not much gore.
Death at Love House *** Kate Jackson & Robert Wagner research at late star Lorna Love’s house & are “haunted” by weird events. Decent TV movie.
Mystery of the Wax Museum (Sven) ***** Lionel Atwill recreates his burned wax museum amid strange murders & inquisitive reporter. 2-strip Technicolor gem. Great cast.
Atomic Man, The *** Sincere spy drama with a dash of SF as spies try to steal atomic secrets & create bomb & victim is slightly unhinged in time.
Frozen Alive *** Scientist creates method for freezing & reviving people, but when wife is killed becomes suspect & subject of own experiment.
Irish Luck *** Frankie Darro’s bellhop-sleuth tries to clear woman of murder accusation with help of his pal Mantan Moreland. Slight but fun.
Batman vs. Superman (Extended) **** The extended version gives more motivation to the main characters. I liked the origina, but I think I like this more.
Underwater (2019) *** Kristen Stewart’s Ripley-like mechanic helps aquanauts escape doomed station & underwater Cthuloid monsters. Standard.
Invisible Man, The (1958 – S1) **** The Brit TV series is a combo of SF & spy stuff. Sure, the plots are a bit formulaic, but generally it’s a lot of fun.
Invisible Man, The (1958 – S2) **** Occasionally, there’s a clunker in this SF spy series, but there’s a lot of fun & pretty good invisible SFX, too. Worth seeing.
Zach Snyder’s Justice League ***** Yes, it’s long. Very long. But it also gives all the characters, especially the new ones, their due. Actions is great. Actors, too. Nice.
Hot Fuzz ***** Both a perfect cop action film & the perfect parody of a cop action film. Plenty of laugh-out-loud fun & scorching bloody action.
Man Who Knew Too Much, The ***** Jimmy Stewart & Doris Day’s son has been taken by assassins to keep them silent. Good Hitch suspense remake. Great scrore.
Creation of the Humanoids **** Very chatty, but SF premise is strong as humanoid robots start replicating humans, but to what end. Good production design.
Night the World Exploded, The *** Low budget but sincere SF with element from beneath earth’s crust becoming explosive in air, threatening world. A bit slow.
Little Shop of Horrors, The (1960) **** Roger Corman’s horror-comedy classic about a flower that feeds on human blood & bodies.Shot in 3 days. Goofy fun.
Phantom from 10,000 Leagues, The *** A mutated turtle lurks undersea, protecting an isotope from scientists & spies alike. Nice monster. Sincerely made. A bit slow.
Giant Gila Monster, The *** Teens, cars, music, & a deadly giant lizard. What more can you ask in a low-budget monster movie? Fun in the Blob tradition.
Killer Shrews, The **** Low-budget monsterpiece about giant shrews & scientists who created them trapped on an island. Good creeps for the kids.
Creature from the Haunted Sea *** Recent rewatch. Sure, it’s slow & daffy at times, but if you can get into the Bond & parody mindset, there’s goodness to mine.
Crawling Eye, The **** Recent rewatch. I don’t believe in half stars, so this is either 3 or 4 depending on my mood. Today, Cthuloid eye monsters rate.
Beast from Haunted Cave ** Gangsters trying to find a safe spot to hide with their loot run into a creepy cave & spooky monster. Uneven but interesting.
Tom & Jerry (2021) *** The classic cat & mouse go to NYC & get caught up in a hotel preparing for a posh wedding. Pure entertaining kid stuff.
Tarzan the Ape Man ** Remake of the 1932 classic falls short on every level. Tarzan meets safairi looking for elephant graveyard. Cliché & sexist. Color.
Algol: The Tragedy of Power (1920) **** A “demon” from the stars gives a man the secret of free energy, with which he takes over the world & ruins his life. German cool.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (US version) **** US swtiches a few scenes & adds some stuff, but promoter still kidnaps Kong who then runs into Godzilla for series of battles.
King Kong Escapes *** Japanese version of the big monkey has to face off against Mecha-Kong as evil Dr. Who tries to enslave him. Fun.
Godzilla vs. Kong ***** Full-out monster bash almost from the opening in this new US film reviving the classic rivalry. Plot? Who cares? Enjoy the ride!
Son of Kong ***** Denham and crew return to Skull Island and discover a smaller, more benevolent Kong who battles beasts & elements. Great
Another fun-packed month, made even better by the Godzilla-Kong match up and associated movies at the end of the month — which reminds me, I need to rewatch GvK before it leaves HBOMax. A solid 53 films, exceptional shows, & seasons for the month, and 179 total for the year 2021 to date. Already up about 40 more to go in April, with more than a week left.
Next Month: April is winding down — already! But so far it’s been filled with more Monster Kid Movie Club films and fun, a few more kaiju, and a bunch of fun surrounding the great Roger Corman’s 95 birthday celebration.
Until then… Vax up! Mask up! Stay Safe! Stay Well!
Let’s BEAT this pandemic!
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