August 2021 Mini-Reviews – Unforgotten (S4) to Deep Blue Sea

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!

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!