August seemed to just zip by… Starting with the end of the 2021 Olympics (delayed from 2020) and finishing with me on a shark binge for my new novel, Monster Shark on a Nude Beach. Thus, the life of a writer/artist is influenced by the things around him.
This was a month in which I watched a lot of Body Snatcher movies — and even read the original book — for an appearance on Monster Kid Radio. Plus, of course, I spent what time I could watching movies with friends on the Monster Kid Movie Club— always fun. Let’s see what cool stuff I turned up…
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.
Unforgotten (S4) ***** Ongoing cop characters’ lives are more complex, the historic decapitation murders suspects interesting. Strong emotional finale.
2021 Olympic Games **** Despite the pandemic, the competitions at the games were very good. (We watched over 80 hours, easily.) As always, there were some surprises & some very dramatic back stories. Kudos to all the athletes. Only downside was NBC’s DVR settings & descriptions often did NOT match the off-hours competitions, causing us to miss more than a few things we wanted to see. Streaming’s not the same.
Falcon in San Franscisco, The (1945) *** Falcon & buddy Goldie Locke get sucked in by a rich waif who insists she’s being held against her will. Murder & fun ensue.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation (S1) **** Sequel to original series as imagined by Kevin Smith has the usual MotU trappings with some new twists. Action fun. Just 5 eps.
Disenchantment (S3) *** Princess Bean and her friends get into more fantasy fixes with family, cohorts, & enemies. Amusing but never really innovative.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (’56) ***** Classic original tale of town where suddenly everyone you know is not what they seem. Still creepy today. ’78 version is great, too.
Invasion, The (2007) *** In Kidman-Craig version, the body snatchers are a virus who transform you into someone else. Okay but annoying editing at times.
Body Snatchers (1993) *** 90s version of the tale feels like the ’80s in many ways. More nudity. Body snatching occurs on a military base. Studio-style ending.
Falcon’s Adventure, The (1946) ** When scientist who’s created synthetic diamond formula is killed, the Falcon naturally becomes suspect & must solve the mystery.
Falcon Out West, The (1944) *** When a rich businessman dies of snakebite at a dinner, the Falcon goes wests to solve the mystery & nearly becomes a victim.
Juggernaut ** Boris Karloff is scientist willing to kill an old man to finance his experiments, but it doesn’t work out. Might be better with good print.
Wellington Paranormal (S1) **** Taika Waititi’s “reality style” comedy about “incurious” cops in New Zealand investigating the supernatural. Hilarious deadpan.
Creation of the Humanoids (Sven) **** Thoughtful SF about humans being slowly replaced by their robot servants. A bit slow in places, but explores serious ideas.
Black Cat, The (1934 – Sven) ***** Stranded young couple gets trapped between Karloff’s Satanist & Lugosi’s Doctor out to revenge himself for past wrongs. Classic.
Son of Sinbad ** Arabian hijinx produced by Howard Hughes has beautiful production & girls & fun Vincent Price but slight & forgettable story.
Harem Scarum *** Elvis Presley sings & dances himself both into & out of trouble in Arabian setting where he is wrongly accused of assassination try.
Jungle Cruise *** Emily Blunt & Dwayne Johnson run all over the jungle (& boat) in this hot mess of an adventure film with supernatural elements. Basically, the handful of writers should probably have left out one subplot/villain & made a better picture. Stars still entertain. 3D?
Charro! *** Elvis Presley is a former outlaw who is framed for a crime by his old gang before becoming a sheriff to bring them in. Standard.
Jaws 2 *** There’s a new shark-like killing machine back to gum things up in Amity Island. A lot of good ideas, but not great direction.
Jaws 3 *** The kids from Jaws are grown up and working at a marine park invaded by a massive Great White Shark. Originally in bad 3D.
Black Friday **** Karloff gives professor friend a criminal brain to save his life & creates Jekyll-Hyde situation. Great cast with Lugosi under-used.
Dark Shadows (Set 12) **** Both the Quentin’s ghost & werewolf storyline really start cooking in this set as the ghosts show themselves to the Collins family.
House of Horrors (Sven) *** Unpopular sculptor finds the Creeper, Rondo Hatton, washed up & uses the brute to kill his critics. Standard Universal shocker.
Lois & Superman (S1) **** Strong cast, especially Lois & Superman, with some interesting twists & strong villains make this a great Superman re-boot series.
Blue Gardenia, The **** Woman loses her boyfriend & gets picked up by sleazy photographer (Raymond Burr) who ends up dead. Did she do it? Noir fun.
Swim *** A family gets stranded by a sudden storm in a swamped beach house surrounded by hungry sharks. Like CRAWL with sharks.
Golden Arrow, The *** Blond Tab Hunter is an Arabian bandit prince in Antonio Margheriti’s Italian fantasy with enough fun moments to keep it going.
Arabian Tights ** A group of friends get stinking drunk & join the foreign legion only to end up in an Arabian harem in this short. Ah, colonialism!
Jupiter’s Darling *** A great underwater ballet with Esther Williams near the start, a great deep-water swimming sequence with her double near the end & Howard Keel’s booming singing voice are the standouts in this oddball musical of Carthage conquering Rome.
Eyes in the Night **** Blind detective helps friend whose step-daughter’s boyfriend is just the 1st murder. Fun scenes, dog, & a bit of Mantan Moreland.
Return to Glennascaul *** Orson Welles drives a car & hears the creepy tale of a man who drives two women to their mansion late one night. Classic short.
Shadows on the Stairs ** Fractious boarding house residents get mixed up with crime, spies, mystery, & murder. Denoument loses a star for this one.
Godzilla Raids Again *** The Japanese version of this has no “banana oil” & a lot of heart to it, though it’s just a shadow of Gojira, its predecessor.
Shark Academy (rewatch) ***** I rewatched this while working on my new book, MONSTER SHARK ON A NUDE BEACH. Still a great Shark Week series.
Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla ** This is not a good movie, but I will watch it when I see it because of Lugosi. The Martin/Lewis immitators are annoying. But somehow, the more I see this, the more endearing it becomes. Not enough to get another star though. Yet.
Savage Girl, The (1932) ** Low-budget jungle girl movie has all the tropes you’d expect: stereotype natives, drunken comedy relieve, shrieking girl. Ugh.
Beast Must Die, The (Sven) *** I keep watching this flick, though I’m not crazy about it. None of the characters are likeable & direction seems flat, & dog werewolf.
Jaws: The Revenge (Jaws 4) ** Not as bad as I rememberd it being, but the shark “science” is laughable & the shark looks fakest yet, plus bad edits at climax.
JAWS ***** The original remains the greatest adventure-thriller of all time, and possibly Spielberg’s best film. Great cast, writing, editing, et al.
Deep Blue Sea **** Genetically engineered mako sharks run rampant after an accident at their ocean facility & trap their makers. Good sharky fun!
So, that’s the wrap up for August, 2021. 39 films/series/shows for a total of 428 for the year, a pretty good clip, especially with the Olympics still eating into my time. The pile of shark films, two of which I almost forgot to count, were a lot of fun, too. I even reevaluated the Jaws sequels, and enjoyed them all — on one level or another — though nothing can touch the original. As I write this, it’s only the 19th of September, but I’ve already racked up about 30 films for the month. So, we’ll see what kind of total September brings!
Next Month: September… and I get a year older…. and have a traditional Godzilla Day to celebrate, plus continue piling up films watching with my online friends in the Monster Kid Movie Club. Why not join us?
Get Vaccinated! Tell your family & friends! End the Pandemic Now! Please!
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