Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Land of the Minotaur - 1976

Also known as "The Devil's Men"

I'm sort of glad I'm sticking to the basic idea of having a 1976 marathon.  I didn't really intend to keep it going nor did I intend to start it to begin with, but it gives me a fun time searching, and it does make the movies easy to compare.  IMDb has a total of 2,956 titles that come up when I click on the year 1976 link.  Isn't that insane? That's 8 movies coming out ever single day of the year...

The Devil's Man would be a fitting title, more accurate.  Now, sure, there is a minotaur thing in the film.  But what I mean is a statue of a minotaur.  It does breath fire out of it's nose, however it doesn't move nor does it ever get shown actually killing anyways.

What this is, I formulated in my head as I was watching it, is a mystery movie without the mystery and a horror movie without the horror. Which leaves it in general as a suspense.  But wouldn't it be better if the suspense had some mystery or horror to back it up?  Yes, I will go ahead and answer that for you.  Yes it would be.  So you as the audience will know what's going on from early on then you'll just have to wait for the end.

Donald Pleasence plays a priest, and he is in town to help out with some recent disappearances that have been going on.  Peter Cushing is Baron Corofax, a mysterious and ruthless individual who later turns out to the be cult leader.  That's not a spoiler - they tell you that at like minute 30.  Also, we are well aware the minotaur statue is basically satan and that the culty religion has been sacrificing people to the minotaur statue.

I wanted a live minotaur, obviously.  I wanted some 70's costume which was shrouded in black and looked positively badass.  Now, the statue thing is pretty neat I'll say.  But we're never shown it actually killing anyone, and all it does therefore is sit there and have fire shoot out of it's nose.  It does "speak" meaning we can hear the voice of supposedly satan while the camera lingers on the minotaur.  However, normally it speaks through Cushing as the leader or it speaks through some children.

It goes as expected.  It's very over long and dialogue heavy.  Not much happens for a lot of the movie, and this is a classic example of a movie I wanted to like but couldn't.  Despite the great casting of two actors I like, and despite the obviously decently budgeted look.  I don't know.  Could clearly have been a case of:  it wasn't what I was looking for.

I will give it a 2.5 straight down the road rating.  Hm.  You know what, make that 2.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Slime City - 1988

I may have explained how much I like the bizarre subgenre "body horror" at some point on here.  I really like the appeal of stuff where the main characters or other characters have disgusting, terrible things happening to their bodies.  Melting, decomposing, growing weird appendages, etc.  It's sort of a minor obsession of mine you could say.

This movie was very same mind-frame as the winner Street Trash.  Both of them I liked, and I would actually say I liked Smile City a bit more.  I think one thing I didn't expect from this movie - I definitely didn't expect to like it this much!  Made on a minuscule $50,000 budget, it's low budget as fuck and desperately handicapped in every way, yet somehow works anyway.

Alex moves into a new apartment building in the beginning of the flick.  He is one of only a few young people living in a mostly elder occupied apartment building.  He goes about, and soon meets his sexy sultry young neighbor Nicole and her lover Roman.  Roman eventually feeds Alex some bizarre looking green stuff he says is "Himalayan yogurt" as well as a green drink he says was made by an alchemist.  Soon enough, Alex sleeps with Nicole, and starts having intense body-transforming things happening to him.

The movie moves at a good pace, and nothing too boring or stupid happens.  It's low in scope, there's not a lot of characters or anything in the flick to begin with.  Alex and his gf Lori have a falling out, as well as Alex and his friend Jerry.  Once Alex is affected by the green yogurt stuff he starts melting and leaking yellow puss everywhere.  Pretty soon he discovers if he kills someone, he will stave off the melting, and it gives him a sort of euphoric high.  Then, the cops are on his trail, and also his dependency on the yogurt and on his neighbors grows.

There's even some small subplots thrown in, and Alex is a likable and interesting character.  The music I thought was pretty good too, I remember liking it.  The movie looks like shit, but I do wonder when I watch stuff on Amazon Prime.  Amazon Prime is not a great place to watch things in high quality.  Plus it was pan and scan format and I wonder if this was sourced from a VHS.  Most likely, if my eye does not deceive me.

For what it was, I liked it a lot!  The effects were fucking great, and they're present for most the movie.  I also didn't know exactly which way the movie would go, which characters would die, etc.  It does a decent job of keeping you interested.  For an amateur first attempt, it was damn good.  I give it 3.5 stars.  It would be a fun "friends" movie to put on while everyone is smoking and drinking and attempting to touch a breast or crotch.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Amazing Transparent Man - 1960

Okay, so I guessed way off on the year to this movie.  This is very old looking, and the effects could have been done in the 40's (which is what I guessed) so I guess maybe that's a small disparagement to this movie.  However, I did actually like this movie....so... Well yeah.

The Amazing Transparent Man was not the first movie to attempt or be about an invisible man.  HG Wells Invisible Man came out in 1933, and there had been other films since then to dabble in the genre.  This particular invisible man is sort of a combination between a Frankenstein construct and the invisible dude idea.

Dr. Peter Ulof is a German scientist brought to the US and forced to do invisible experimentation because evil man Paul Krenner is holding Ulof's wife hostage.  Thus, Ulof begins experimenting on escaped criminal Joey.  Joey is your average sort of antihero, I'd say well written and well acted.  His motivations are explained and he's given time to show that he is in fact not a thoroughly good or evil guy.  He seems like the type who mostly wants to be good, but has bad leanings.  Paul also has the beautiful Laura, as well as Julian who act as his security to make sure Ulof and Joey do as they're supposed to.

The experiment begins.  We watch in awe as a guinea pig is turned invisible in front of our eyes, and soon enough Joey is going to be turned invisible so that he can begin running thefts from various banks. Joey goes to a huge bank vault and robs the money.  Soon enough though, the guinea pig dies, and maybe Joey has been pushed to the point with radiation sickness and also maybe the invisibility tools will begin to wear off...

I liked this movie.  It was not even an hour long, and moves at a fantastic pace.  It is never dull.  Also the effects and the acting, and the dialogue are all pretty good.  It doesn't swing for the fences by any means, and it's accessible, but it also doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel by any means.  I will say that being only 57 minutes it did feel like I have to wonder.... Does this even qualify as a full movie?  It was 1960, most films at this point were not this short.  Even horror monster movies in the 50's were usually around the 90 minute mark.  So it's an odd idea to think of, and I'm not too sure what to think of this.

But I won't worry about it too much.  I'm just happy that on my Strange Tales boxset, there was finally a movie I liked and felt classic in all the good ways.  Still it wasn't like a great film by any means.  I give it an above-average 3.5 stars.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Suckling - 1990

Oh my fucking god.  It took director Francis Teri half a year to raise the money needed for this movie?  Was he working for minimum wage at a car wash?  Cause this surely, surely has a budget of about $600.  Right?

When and why exactly did the comedy self-aware aspect become hateable in movies for me?  I guess the late 80's early 90's would be the answer to that is The Suckling is any indication.  This movie I honestly had to turn off about an hour in cause I was tired and drunk and the movie was just making me angry and fall asleep at the same time.

Terrible actors, terrible dialogue, again an okay looking monster, but all in all a fucking ridiculous and utterly painful mess of a flick which makes you constantly wonder how much longer there could possibly be.  That's what we he right here.  Ooooooh yeah.

Sometimes your movie marathon will have a five star, Blood Rage slasher.  Sometimes it will have an amateur as fuck, zero star The Suckling.  I guess that's just like life.  The Suckling is life, in other words.  Which is why I guess I will elevate it to 1/2  star.

The Great Alligator - 1979

Mini review of crazy marathon weekend.  I also watched about 5 MST3K episodes but I won't include those.  The Giant Alligator, huh?  Sergio Martino, director of many a cult film, also directed this mostly-ripoff of Jaws and now, almost 40 years later, I review it here.......

The Great Alligator, surely a decent premise, failed for more for an almost inexplicable reason.  I was trying to justify why Jaws is good, yet this movie is bad while I was biking recently.  Yes, I think about shitty 1979 animal attack movies while I bike, what of it?

The Great Alligator is similar in many ways to Jaws.  You've got a relatively tame looking fake water-based animal that appears very little and kills people.  Also, whereas Jaws takes place in the wide ocean, this movie takes place in a smaller lake area and also more at night then Jaws.  Isolation, darkness, etc, and yet this isn't as good?  In short, I did honestly wonder why Jaws is good and this is not so good.

Now I will say this movie isn't terrible.  It's just not classic or rewatchable.  I guess it's a mix of uninteresting characters and dull dialogue, mixed in with slower pacing and a overly ridiculous monster which is never quite explained.  Also maybe it was just me but I found the weird spiky water-wall to be a bit distracting (watch the movie to understand what I mean).

I dunno.  It's a weird one, I'll call it divisive because some others might enjoy it more.  It did have Barbara Bach from The Spy Who Loved Me in it, and she was cool.  No other notable actors as far as I know.  I guess it can have 3 stars for being something that may be more enjoyable if you're drunk, with friends, or getting your dick sucked while you watch it.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Creature from Black Lake - 1976

Mini review number 2 finds another 1976 movie and another bigfoot movie, having been underrepresented here for quite a while.  This movie was okay.  I'm fast forwarding a lot here obviously, but yeah it was just decent.

Two dudes are investigating bigfoot in Oil City.  Why I remember the name of the town is anyone's guess.  They're average guys, believe in the monster, and go from spot to spot trying to ask the locals what the deal is with the monster.

Eventually the local drunkard tells the story while at the same time the two guys get mixed up with the sheriff and the sheriff's daughter.  You can guess at the "plot intricacies" here.

Not particularly well done, nothing stuck out except how bland it was.  Not the worst movie ever, but just so thoroughly middle of the road I have virtually nothing to say about it.  A few deaths, a decent bigfoot costume, and okay enough acting.  Nothing special.  2.5 stars.

Blood Rage - 1987

Filmed in 1983 and released in 87, this is the beginning of a series of Thanksgiving day mini reviews.  I am going to bulk marathon horror films and do a mini review for each.  I also saw Thor: Ragnarok.  I give it 3 stars mostly for style and Jeff Goldblum.

Blood Rage was fucking awesome.  I googled "Thanksgiving horror movies" and this was on most lists.  I probably missed some line of dialogue about it being Thanksgiving, cause I don't remember anything about the holiday in this flick.

Oodles of blood, good acting, fantastic 80's music, and a mildly confusing story make this an instant classic.  Nudity is there, the pacing is there, the blood is over the top.  I'd say since it was filmed in 83 it was actually quite ahead of it's time since it feels late 80's.

It's an obvious entry into the 80's horror slasher genre, and it's pretty scant and thin, but delivers.  Basically two twins are both crazy-ish, one in an asylum, and he escapes and is homicidal.  He impersonates his bro, but his bro also is maybe a killer...?  I wasn't sure, it doesn't matter, and basically just watch the nude girls and the kills, which are plenty and plenty.

I give it 5 stars for an underrated, fantastic 80's slasher to the very definition.