March 2022 Mini-Reviews – Things Happen at Night to Legend of Vox Machina (S1)

Oy.  It has been a week.   A whole year of a week.  Ugh.  No more.

And because this is the last day of the month, no fancy banter this time.  Just the mini-reviews.

And the revelation that the series I discovered to become one of my favorites was/is Veronica Mars.  Great show all the way through.  A hip, modern, Nancy Drew and more.  I wish they’d do more.

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.

Things Happen at Night    ***    A family’s haunted house is plagued by a playful poltergeist in this 1948 amusing British supernatural comedy.
Vampire and the Ballerina    ***    Dance group takes up residence in a lovely landscape by the castle of a vampire, who preys on them. Less sexy than you’d think.
Veronica Mars (S1)    *****    Teen detective Veronica tries to solve a friend’s murder & other cases while working through the dramas of high school. Excellent.
Spyder’s Web (E1-2)    ***    British series light parody of spy genre with mysterious Spyder hiring a charming man to help her. Good cast inc. Veronica Carlson.
House of the Gorgon    ****    Veronica Carlson’s final feature film is Joshua Kennedy’s homage to Hammer’s Medusa film. Martine Beswick & Caroline Munro, too.
Ghoul, The (1975)    ***    Veronica Carlson stranded in creepy mansion with Peter Cushing, John Hurt, & titular killer. Familiar. Oblong box meets Psycho.
Horror of Frankenstein    ****    Ralph Bates takes over as Dr. Frankenstein in Hammer’s attempt at a reboot. Sly references & Veronica Carlson lift it above others
Legends of Tomorrow (S7)    *****    Another hugely fun season of Legends of Tomorrow has the team replacing members & then facing doppelgangers of themselves.
Dracula’s Daughter (Sven)    ****    Moody atmosphere & strong production values & great acting make sequel a standout as Drac’s daughter tries to shed family curse.
Castle (S5)    ****    Castle & Beckett are a couple now, with plenty of murders to test their “secret” relationship & new boss’ patients. Still entertaining.
Flight to Mars    ***    Early color SF with astronauts discovering civilization on Mars only to find Martians want to conquer Earth. Familiar but well done.
Creeper, The    ***    Woman in the aftermath of breakdown seems insane for thinking a cat-like killer is stalking her, but… She’s right. A bit of a monster.
Tale of the Fox, The    ****    Feature-length stop-motion retelling of fairy tales featuring a roguish Fox gaining what he wants by outwitting the other animals.
Dark Shadows & Beyond – The Jonathan Frid Story    *****    Top notch documentary biopic about unassuming Shakespearian actor Frid who unexpectedly became an sex symbol after being chosen to play the vampire Barnabas Collins in the groundbreaking daytime soap Dark Shadows, changing his life forever.
Voyage to the Planet of Teenage Cavewomen    ****    Joshua Kennedy’s “Italian” space movie of astronauts discovering cavewomen on a planet about to crash into the Earth. Amusing.
Cave Women on Mars    ****    Christopher R. Mihm’s astronaut heroes get mixed up with feuding Martian cave women & must teach the meaning of love. SF fun.
Son of Dracula (Sven)    ****    An exceptionally dark Universal classic has Chaney Jr. as Drac spreading his curse to admiring Goth woman in Louisiana bayou.
Monster Hunter    ***    Mila Jovovich & Tony Jaa are great fun to watch as woman warrior gets dumped in monster-filled alternate universe. End a dull thud.
Veronica Mars (S2)    ****    High school crimes & mysteries proceed in modern Nancy Drew style with charming characters, bed hopping, & surprise twists.
Méliès Mystery, The    *****    Biopic of the film & special effects pionere George Melies who was often immitated & never equaled & quest to find his lost films.
Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy    **    Classically bad Mexican monster movie where 3/4 of the run time is flashback to 2 previous movies. Titular fight short & at very end.
Flying Saucers Over Istanbul    ***    Lots of “unnecessary” belly dancing in this Turkish flick where women from outer space come to Earth to find mates. Made me smile.
Tales of Tomorrow: Read to me Herr Doktor    ***    Episode of the classic SF TV show. A robot is programmed to read to a man but learns as it reads & demands more from life.
Cybernetic Grandma, The    ****    Czech stop-motion short about a child who goes from the human world into the care of a robotic nanny. Charming & chilling.
Invasion of Astro Monster    *****    Classic Godzilla flick where G & Rodan must battle Monster Zero (Ghidrah) &  Planet X aliens to save Earth. Nick Adams.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla    ***    70s Godzilla discovers mechanical impersonator & must defeat the robot & its alien masters alongside King Caesar. Fun.
Ghoul, The (1933 – Sven)    ***    Karloff worships Egyptian gods & comes back from dead to wreak vengeance on his heirs. Moody but undercut by ending.
Jurassic Park    *****    Strong Spielberg classic about cloned dinosaurs running amok at amusement part. Great music, SPFX, action & suspense.
Star Trek Discovery (S4)    ****    Our galaxy is threatened by a planet-destroying menace from beyond. Discovery crew must find & stop menace. Classic Trek stuff.
Veronica Mars (S3)    ****    Veronica is in college now, but the cases keep coming with a campus rapist, a mysterious murder, & usual hunky guys. Sudden end.
Manos: The Hands of Fate (RiffTrax)    ****    Mike & his crew have fun with this famous “bad” film, but it’s not as much fun as the MST3K version & I miss bot silhouettes.
Thief of Bagdad, The (1924)    *****    Douglas Fairbanks leaps, tumbles, & charms as Thief in this top-notch production, a fantasy classic great on every level.
Unknown Island    ****    Richard Denning vs. Barton MacLean in this 1st ever color dinosaur flick with shades of Kong, men in dino-suits, & film noir.
Hercules in the Haunted World    ****    Bava’s Hercules epic has our hero on a quest to rescue his love in the underworld. Magic, monsters, & trademark Bava color.
Destination Inner Space    ****    The gill-man monster suit is among the highlights of this low-budget undersea shocker with hints of The Thing & classic SF.
Manos: The Hands of Fate    **(***)    Mike & his family get lost in Texas & end up at the mercy of weird Torgo & the satanic Master & his brides. I love it, but you may not.
Clash of Empires aka Lord of the Elves aka Age of the Hobbits    **    The Asylum attempts to cash in on Lord of the Rings with this “historic” story of humans rescuing “hobbits” (dwarves) from evil cave men. The scenery is lush & it has Bai Ling & Christopher Judge, but little else to recommend it.
Veronica Mars – The Movie    *****    A super-successful Kickstarter brought Veronica Mars back from cancellation for this smart mystery that ties up loose ends.
Legend of Vox Machina, The    ***    It’s a D&D game (based on a real gaming group (?) done as anime with swearing & some nudity. Amusing, not groundbreaking.

Total for the month is 39 films/shows.

Running total for the year is 111 films/shows.

Next Month: More films, but I’m too worn out this week to preview them for you.  They’re sure to give you some surprises and fun.

Until then…

The Pandemic is NOT over for the most vulnerable! Let’s End It for Good!
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