Last Update 8/10/20

 

Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)   

Stupid sexploitation film, as you might expect from the title alone.  Low production values and really not much of any real story. Completely forgettable, assuming that you could stand watching it in the first place. Some mysterious alien force turns sexy human women into a kind of queen bee analogue, and they lure men to their death by exhausting them sexually.  Not even prurient. 8/10/20

Revenge of Doctor X (1968) 

Aka Venus Flytrap. This one has a plot that seems to take forever to get started. A scientist travels to a remote island for unclear purposes, never explained. Once there he begins experimenting with carnivorous plants, creating one which eventually uproots itself and begins preying on the villagers. He can't bring himself to destroy it and that ultimately leads to his own undoing. Competent acting, but the screenplay is plodding, the effects silly, and the picture quality is badly deteriorated. 8/9/20

Venom (2011)  

Aka Snaked Fear, a terrible title. A rather silly movie about two people menaced by perhaps voodoo driven snakes. The actors are not remotely convincing. The characters are so reprehensible that I was hoping for their death rather than their survival. The movie is superficially okay and is ultimately just boring and nonsensical rather than actively stupid. The ironic element is that none of the snakes are actually venomous. Forgettable, but watchable. 8/8/20

The Head (1959)  

The convoluted plot in this one includes a mad scientist who keeps a severed human head alive while searching for a woman with a beautiful body so that he can transplant the head of another woman, whom he lusts after, from her own, which is failing. There are a couple of murders and lots of lurking in the darkness. The dialogue is appallingly bad at times and the acting is minimally competent. Not a lost classic. The soundtrack is odd and sometimes interesting. 8/7/20

Halloween: Resurrection (2002) 

This was the eighth film in the series, which gets around the beheading of Myers by explaining that it was someone else wearing the mask. Laurie Strode is institutionalized. Myers gets in and kills her, although this was also subsequently undone. This is the prelude to his slaughter of a cast of new characters who decide to visit the Strode house. The screenplay is sloppy. Odd events that are not justified by the story pop up just to surprise us. The premise that a suburban house would be allowed to deteriorate for decades and not have been looted for that matter is absurd. Itís pretty much cut and paste after that, without the paste. 8/6/20

Torture Ship (1939) 

Supposedly based on a Jack London story, this boring waste of celluloid is about a scientist who has a number of convicts aboard a ship and experiments on them in various boring ways. I donít know if this was badly edited later, but much of the time it is completely incomprehensible. Itís as though whole segments of the film were missing. I only made it to the end because I was too lazy to get up and change the dvd. 8/5/20

The Legend of Sorrow Creek (2007) 

A very mediocre and sometimes actively badly done ghost story that is even worse because the camera was apparently out of focus for most of the movie. I could do better than this. Static imagery, overly talky, badly filmed, and completely uninteresting. Not a hint of an original thought. How can people spend time making something that must have been obvious crap even to the people involved? 8/4/20

Nightmare Castle (1965) 

This is possibly the best of Barbara Steeleís movies, although the dialogue could have used some work Ė like maybe replacing all of it. A villainous man tortures his wife and her lover to death, but they eventually come back from the grave for revenge. These early cheap Italian horror movies were not particularly good, but sometimes they had pretty impressive ideas lost in the low budget. This actually has some creepy scenes. 8/3/20

I Eat Your Skin (1968) 

Aka Zombie. Another extremely boring low budget horror film, this time about non-Romero zombies. The characters are not remotely interesting and nothing much happens for a very long time. When the plot finally picks up, it isnít much livelier. This must have been incredibly dull to make, and was probably shot over the course of a week. 8/2/20

Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor (1993) 

This is a decent pre-CGI monster movie, with minimally competent acting and an okay monster and a standard plot. An experiment with alien DNA goes awry. The opening sequence has an annoying continuity problem. The corridor in front of a lab is covered with blood when the night watchman walks in to his death, but is clean as a whistle when the bosses arrive a few minutes later. The monster is slightly unusual, which is a plus. The acting is indifferent but not awful. The story is predictably predictable. Better than most recent direct to video monster movies I've seen lately, though that's not saying a whole lot. 8/1

The Ape Man (1943) 

Bela Lugosi stars in this one, which bears a strong resemblance to Karloffís The Ape, in that injections of human spinal fluid are sought by the villains. In this case it is because Lugosi has turned himself into a half-ape and wants a cure. Really bad makeup effects and bad acting hamper this right from the outset. Lugosi probably gained ten pounds eating the scenery and his supposed apelike stance is actively funny. A photographer suspects something strange is going on and is soon the next target. Very cheaply made and barely watchable. 7/31/20

The Mad Monster (1942)  

Mad scientist George Zucco turns his assistant into a werewolf to prove a theory that is never really explained and probably would not have made sense it if had been. Most of the scenery is eaten during the first twenty minutes. Zucco plans to create an army of werewolves to defeat the Germans in the war. Heís clearly unhinged and his detractors are clearly doomed. They appear to confer via holograms, which was rather surprising for the time. Zucco also plans to kill those who opposed his efforts despite not being German, which is of course the thrust of the movie.  7/30/20

Monty Pythonís Flying Circus Episodes 27-29 (1971) 

This includes the Argument Clinic, which is one of my favorites. The sentencing of the mass murderer is pretty good. The anthropological tour of England by two nerdish characters is actually quite good but I didnít remember it at all from watching this years ago. The rat tart bit is good. The Icelandic saga sketch is too long and not very funny.

Feeding Grounds (2006)  

A monster movie in which we never really see the monster. Inexpensive to make, excruciating to watch. Really execrable dialogue delivered by really incompetent actors. A group of people traveling across the desert run into aliens who can cause hallucinations and who like eating people. Insultingly bad film with no redeeming qualities at all. Not remotely watchable. Some of the most repellent sex scenes ever filmed. The people responsible seem completely unaware of how to make a movie. 7/29/20

House of the Living Dead (1974) 

Although there are hints of an actual story lie in this one, they donít translate into anything actually watchable. There is a family curse, which the current female family head hopes to end by preventing her son from bearing children, but he has a young woman who seems intent upon marrying him. He is a scientist and he is experimenting with the transfer of human souls from one body to another. Alas, the story is so ponderous that I would have lost interest even if it had been carried off with considerably more skill. 7/28/20

The Ape (1940) 

Boris Karloff is the village doctor who is suspected of unspecified nefarious activities by some of the local people. He is in fact experimenting on ways to restore a crippled young woman to full health. Thereís a circus in town but itís stock footage. You can tell in the closeups that they are not in the same tent as the performers. The cage holding a gorilla is so flimsy that it visibly shakes open and shut at times, and in fact the gorilla eventually tears it off and escapes. On of the circus workers is injured and Karloff kills him to extract a substance he believes will restore the womanís health. But he drops the container and loses it all. Fortunately the ape breaks into his house and he is able to drug it. There are continuity problems Ė the ape is at large again and for some reason the sheriff believes the ape frequents the doctorís house. It turns out Karloff is wearing the apeís skin to commit murders and claim more spinal fluid. Not one of Karloffís best but watchable. 7/27/20

Beneath Loch Ness (2001)   

All of the Scots on this have fake Irish accents, which should tell you everything you need to know about this turkey. The American style ambulance is a giveaway as well. Scene after scene builds up to an anti-climax, and after a while I no longer cared. Characters and situations sometimes arise with no explanation of why they varied from normal. The monster is just a shadow. The scientific content is absolute nonsense. There is no suspense, no mystery, and nothing to hold your attention. It is as though someone made a movie, then deleted all the interesting parts. Some scenes are so silly that you have to wonder if the actors were making fun of the audience. Clearly the writer was.  7/26/20

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) 

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) 

The silent version of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel  is obviously dated, but Barrymoreís ability to change personalities without benefit of special effects and excessive makeup is amazing. The story, of course, is about a mad doctor who creates a serum that occasionally suppresses his good instincts, and a physically altered version of himself descends into debauchery and eventually murder. I had not seen the second title movie before  and I was very impressed with its look, if a bit less so about the story. A visit to a kind of weird museum leads to hypnotism, prophecies, murder, abduction, and other mysteries follow. A bit hard to follow at times, but one of the classics from that era. If you are interested in film history, both of these are must see items. 7/25/20

The Trees Have Eyes (2020) 

This is an intermittently competent zombie flick. Five bounty hunters are tracking a killer hiding in the woods, but he is not the most dangerous thing there. Thereís some gratuitous nudity that looks awkward. The dialogue isnít always bad but the delivery mostly is. Suffers from one of the recurring flaws of direct to video horror Ė all of the characters are dickheads so who cares whether or not they survive? And if it took them all day to trek this deep into the woods, how does the camping party they encounter have beer, chairs, tents, and other equipment? It starts to get actively silly when the zombies show up. Some scenes donít make sense and in some cases the continuity is weird  And if they are that far away from civilization, where did all the zombies come from? A parade of clichťs follows. Entire scenes appear to be missing. Characters are living one minute and obviously dead a minute later.  7/23/20

Monty Pythonís Flying Circus Episodes 23-26 (1971) 

The long skit about making a Hollywood style movie is intermittently funny. The fish pet license is okay, as is the advertising company bit. Thereís a very nice murder mystery sketch involving train schedules. The Hungarian buying cigarettes is short but cute. ďMy nipples explode with delight.Ē The World War I bit is another classic. I never liked the spam skit. The undertaker sketch is, however, very well done and was quite daring at the time. Most of the rest is just silliness.

The Man in the Attic (1953) 

This is a very inferior remake of The Lodger and the Hitchcock version is much better. Jack the Ripper is terrorizing London. A very young Jack Palace makes this mildly watchable, but the earlier version is so much better that it just never seems interesting. The almost complete lack of suspense is a fatal flaw despite some entertaining performances by the supporting characters. 7/21/20

The Manster (1959) 

I clandestinely watched this on tv before I was a teenager because my parents forbid me to see horror movies. I loved it at the time. An American reporter reacts to a serum that essentially creates a Jekyll and Hyde dichotomy. Although hardly a classic this is a surprisingly effective film particularly when the victim literally splits into two bodies after running around for a while with two heads. This was a Japanese film even though the main actor is not. 7/19/20

An Angel for Satan (1966) 

Barbara Steele was the queen of low budget horror movies like this one. This has most of the usual tropes, remote village, rumors of a curse, strange events during the night. Itís in black and white with subtitles and not visually interesting at all. The creepy atmosphere occasionally feels silly rather than scary and the events are relatively low key. The kind of movie you canít remember the next morning. The fact that it is subtitled rather than dubbed probably did not help. 7/18/20

The Trygon Factor (1966) 

Based on an Edgar Wallace thriller. A fake order of nuns conceals an elaborate criminal organization. Stewart Granger is a Scotland Yard inspector investigating a series of robberies and murders. The tone is inconsistent but the story is engaging. There us a masked killer, an elaborate bank robbery, a nutty young man, and a variety of eccentric characters. Granger makes a couple of dumb mistakes but the plot is otherwise reasonably convincing.  7/17/20

South Park Season 23 (2019) 

The first three episodes are supposed to b a spoof of anti-vax groups and dependence on China as a market. The latter goes reasonably well although not particularly humorous. The former has so many mixed messages that the satire, if thatís what it is, fails horribly. The criticism of ICE works well though. The blurbs say this as their best season in years. I thought it was their worst season ever. The first five episodes are dull, unfunny, contradictory, obscure, and sometimes relentlessly boring. Some of the humor feels mean spirited. The sendup of ICE is better.  The seventh episode which simultaneously lampoons questions about sexual identity and male gamer sexism is the first actually good installment in the series. The cable tv repairmen skit is amusing.  7/15/20

Monty Pythonís Flying Circus Episodes 20-22 (1970) 

Attila the Hun as a sitcom is pretty good. So are the killer sheep in the wainscoting. The architecture show and the mosquito hunting expedition not so much, and the guests with the appalling names is just silly. The Bruces is funnier than it should be. The military precision routine is quite amusing but  probably would not be allowed on tv today, I suspect, given its political incorrectness. The murder mystery sketch should be a lot funnier than it is. A very uneven set of three episodes.  7/14/20

Rawhead Rex (1986)

I was in the mood for a straightforward horror movie and I hadn't watched this adaptation of a Clive Barker story in better than thirty years. A farmer topples an obelisk in a field and releases a gorilla like demon that begins to prey on people in rural England. Special effects aren't notable and some of the acting is over the top, but otherwise this is a pretty good, low budget horror film. There's a slight continuity error. A barn door is swinging back and forth in the wind, except that none of the nearby branches are moving at all. The monster is really fake looking. The plot is real obvious. Just what I was looking for. There are even a couple of clever bits of camera work. Surprisingly, one of the cute kids gets killed. 7/13/20

Monty Pythonís Flying Circus Episodes 17-19 (1970)  

Some amusing but relatively minor sketches here. The Bishop is a spoof of James Bond movies, sort of. The architect sketch is okay. The chemist skit, the one in which a man alternates polite comments with insults, and accident prone visitor are good.  My favorite among these is the Ministry of Silly Walks.The rest are mostly forgettable. The difference between British and American humor might be part of the problem here. 7/7/20

Monty Pythonís Flying Circus Episodes 13-16 (1970)

The gas oven delivery sketch isnít one of their best, but itís funny. The Ministry of Silly Walks is much better. The Spanish Inquisition sketch is included here, although I actually never found this as funny as their better work.  The usual animations and other sketches occasionally were amusing but none were memorable. I suspect some of these routines depend on your mood when you're watching them. 7/3/20

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