February 2022 Mini-Reviews – Jack Armstrong to Devil Doll

Where has March gone?!  Are you noticing a recurring theme?  (Time is fleeting… Madness takes its toll…)

I mentioned last month that I’d found another series to be crazy about but, you know what?  Turns out that I finished the first season of that series at the start of March, not in February.  So, I think I’ll keep you in suspense about that for another month.  And as I write this, I’ve already finished the original broadcast seasons of that series — though not everything it has to offer.

That’s a Pretty Big Hint (in my book), but I’m still gonna make you wait.  😉

What else did I watch in February 2022?  All sorts of diverse things, including at least one film for my wife’s 1000 Films You Must See project (Hiroshima Mon Amour) as well as some interesting shorts from Monster Kid Radio’s Twitch stream.  Dig in below and find something you like!

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.

Jack Armstrong *** The famous All American Boy radio show is adapted in this fairly standard Columbia serial with heroes vs. mad scientist.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight **** Adaptation of my friend Brian Augustyn’s graphic novel varies significantly from the original, bringing in a lot more characters from the DC Universe, & even in villain final identity & reveal, but still retains the strong original concept. Entertaining & disturbing.
Who’s Out There? (1975) **** Mid-Space-Age documentary about the current state of planetary exploration. Narrated by Orson Welles. Dated but good.
Darth by Darth West **** Amusing mashup short. Recut of the famous cornfield scene from North by Northwest with Star Wars elements added.
It! The Terror from Beyond Space *** Classic space-horror story about a monster from Mars stowed away aboard a rocket to Earth. Foreshadows Alien. Decent monsters.
Castle (S4) ***** Castle & Kate’s relationship grows closer when she gets shot & the ongoing thread of her mother’s murder deepens. Still good fun.
Book of Boba Fett, The (S1) **** Boba’s past & escape from the Sarlac Pit is revealed, but he’s still an amateurish crime boss. Mandalorian & action effects boost it.
King Dinosaur *** Scientists travel to another world to discover giant lizard “dinosaurs” (often stock footage) ruling the planet. Cheap but amusing.
Beast from 20 Zillion Years Ago, The **** Ryan Lengyel animated short about a 2-headed dinosaur battling an octopus monster. Fun & colorful stop motion.
Night of the Beast from 20 Zillion Years Ago **** Sequel to the previous short, the Ryan Lengyel stop-motion animated monster returns to battle a giant escaped “Sea Monkey.” Hoot!
Cowgirls vs. Pterodactyls **** Joshua Kennedy’s western flying dinosaur epic stitches together various tropes with Ryan Lengyel stop-motion to amusing effect.
Unknown Island **** Earliest color dinosaur film has noir feeling combined with some skull island & men in amusing dinosaur suits. I love it!
Fifty Million Years Ago (1925) *** Early animated introduction to the creation of the earth & evolution has some stop-motion dinosaurs, too.
Frankula *** Man in a nursing home is lured to the cemetery by Caroline Munro & a bevy of sexy vampires in this amusing short.
Revenge of the Creature **** The Gill-Man returns, is caught & put on display in Florida, only to escape & cause havoc. Strong 2nd film for the creature.
Deep Blue Sea 2 *** Production values are good in this sequel, but the re-tread story & cast aren’t as good as the original. Fun for shark fans.
Lady & the Monster (1944) *** First film production of Donovan’s Brain adds an extra mad scientist, an inept heroine, & gets a bit lost. But fine moody values.
Brain, The (1962) *** Retelling of Donovan’s Brain directed by Freddy Francis feels more like a 60s Euro-crime film but has some nice touches.
Demon with the Atomic Brain ***** Atomic computer run amok threatens the multiverse in ChrisMihm’s tale with plenty of monsters, SF tributes, & strong heroine.
Around the World in 80 Days (S1) ***** 2022 mini-series retelling the famous Verne story has grim moments, but brings current issues to the tale & pays off beautifully.
Lesbian Vampire Killers *** James Corden’s horror-comedy is over-the-top & less sexy than you might expect. Chumps must stop Vampire Queen’s rebirth.
Polyester *** Divine’s family is falling apart with delinquent kids & a cheating husband in this amusing & over-the-top John Waters comedy.
John Dies in the End *** Wacky SF/mysticism & black comedy are the order of the day for this flick based on the popular counter-culture novel. I had fun.
Hiroshima, Mon Amour **** French New Wave classic about a French actress who falls for Japanese man while filming on location. Emotional. Sometimes bleak.
Man Beast ** Jerry Warren’s 1st film may be his best. Climbers encounter abominable snowman & sneaky guide. Some scares. Close to good.
Snowbeast *** TV movie about a snow monster terrorizing a ski resort town. Good cast. Too much monster POV, not enough seen of monster suit.
White Reindeer, The **** A woman becomes a vampire-like were-deer after bargaining with spirits to be more attractive. Superior eerie film with great visuals.
Devil Doll (1964) **** Hypnotist’s creepy act made creepier by his murderous ventriloquist dummy. Well made, disturbing, sleazy & extra Euro nudity, too.

Having finally watched the Euro cut of Devil Doll, I now know about all the stuff that Svengoolie cut out for family TV.  Is it worth it?  Maybe.  It certainly (as noted) ups the sleaze factor.

Total for the month is 28 films/shows — which is a small number for me, BUT… I failed to mention that my wife and I also watched pretty much every available moment of the 2022 Winter Olympics.  So, add a hundred hours or more to the rest, but nothing to count for genre programming.  😀

Running total for the year is 72, and though March is nearly over as I write, I have no idea how much stuff of interest I’ve watched this month.  Is it more?  Is it less?  Tune in and find out!

Next Month: I finally reveal the new hidden gem of a series that I mentioned last month.  The real question is, will I have finished the show, the movie, and the revival in the next 4 days… And do I really want to, because then I’ll have… None left!!!

Until then…

Stay Safe!  Get Vaccinated!  Tell your family & friends! Let’s End the Pandemic for Good!

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