Last Update 12/31/16

 

Kill Command (2016)

The stupid title almost made me pass this by. An elite commando unit is sent to an island to battle a team of artificial intelligences. The latter turn out to be more deadly than they should have been. This is not a great film, but that said, it is surprisingly good for something that is clearly low budget. The cast is competent but uninspiring. The special effects are better than I would have expected. The story typically has a lot of unanswered questions. Why is no one monitoring the exercise? Why has no one noticed that the base staff have all been killed? It has the feel of a more expensive movie, but unfortunately the dialogue is less than scintillating. 12/31/16

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Remake of one of my favorite movies. I learned to read with paperback westerns and the genre has always had an appeal for me. A rapacious man and his thugs take control of a small town, so the citizens decide to hire seven mercenaries to fight back. The anti-capitalist rant early on is irritating and the villain is more than slightly over the top. Somehow it never acquires the stature of its predecessor, although it's not a bad movie. My biggest complaint is that the script never takes time to bring the seven heroes to life, so the death of half their number never has much emotional impact. The gunfight scenes are well done but I thought rather unremarkable, and one has to wonder why the villains didn't use the Gatling gun until after most of their men had been killed. The villain is remarkably undeveloped, and it is never even clear just why he wanted control of the town. His evilness is sometimes over the top. Disappointing. 12/29/16

Blood Beach (1980)

Low budget doesn't mean you can't tell a good story. This is a minor classic about a creature that lives beneath a beach, sucking down victims who step in the wrong place. The print hasn't aged well and some of the night scenes are really too dark. When a woman disappears, her daughter returns to search for her, aided by her ex-fiancť, a nosy police detective, and his more sensitive boss. When a teenager is attacked from below in the middle of the day, the authorities begin digging up the sand to find out what is going on. The performances aren't stellar, but they're competent. The special effects are minimal -  we don't see the creature until the end - but acceptable. Despite its flaws, direct to video film makers today could take some pointers from it. The biggest plot flaw is that access to the beach is never cut off. 12/25/16

Don't Breathe (2016)

Several people recommended this one to me. Three burglars break into the house owned by a blind man. He's not as easy a victim as he appears. It's a little hard to sympathize with a bunch of thieves, but there was obviously no easy way around that problem. It's also difficult to believe that they would believe that a man who received a six figure wrongful death settlement would keep the money in cash in his house. There's some very nice camera work, that helps build the suspense. The blind man wakes up, kills one of the three almost immediately, and then locks the house so that the other two cannot escape. Although the focus is rather narrow, the film succeeds quite well within its limits, although I find it difficult to believe that the police would not have discovered that the blind man had kidnapped the woman who accidentally killed his daughter.. 12/19/16

Rogue One (2016)

The prequel to the original Star Wars movie is out, and I liked it a lot better than The Force Awakens. It's the story of how the rebels acquire the plans to the Death Star, and we know from the outset that for the characters, it's not going to be a happy ending. That said, despite a great deal of action, a number of characters are reasonably well developed, including a new robot that got most of the best lines. The planetary landscapes and imperial architecture are wonderful to see and the cast is excellent. The script was to some extent predetermined by what we already now, but it still managed to be fresh and interesting. With a computer recreated Peter Cushing and a cameo by a young Carrie Fisher. This is great fun. 12/16/16

The Sand (2015)

A typical group of unexceptional actors pretend to be obnoxious teens partying at a beach where they have all surrendered their cell phones for no good reason except to help the plot along. There is even less effort at character development than usual. Anyway, they are all asleep or passed out the following morning. They notice that a bunch of their friend have disappeared, leaving behind only blanks and such. Then the beach sucks one of them down right in front of their eyes. Conveniently the only car isn't working either. How, I wonder, did all the others get there? There aren't a lot of surprises but it's still a lot better than several dozen horror movies I could name. The sequence when they are trying to get the cell phones out of the trunk without touching the ground is actually pretty well done. Special effects are minimal and not special. The creature's abilities are also variable. It can't go through shoes or wood but it can go through a metal drum? Ok, but not a classic. At least there was an attempt to think through the consequences of the situation. 12/15/16

Phantasm Ravager (2016)

Fifth and hopefully last in the Phantasm series, given how much it has deteriorated. It won't make any sense at all if you haven't seen the earlier films, and not much more even if you have. Reggie, survivor of the Tall Man and his deadly spheres, isn't sure whether or not he is back in the real world or not, although it looks like it. It feels more like a bunch of random scenes than an actual story, and continuity is really bad. It also alternates with scenes of our hero in a medical facility because he has Alzheimers. There are dreams within dreams, sequences that don't make sense, random encounters, and Reggie is far too old to be playing the romantic hero. Unremarkable special effects. Pretty sad, actually. 12/10/16

Dr. Strange (1978)

This was the first effort to bring Dr. Strange to the screen. An overwrought demon called the Nameless One sends Morgan LeFay back to Earth to kill the ancient one and/or his successor. Strange is a psychiatrist who is not prepared to be introduced into the conflict, but he wins through. This was supposed to be the pilot for a television series, so the ending has LeFay surviving and apparently on the prowl again. Presumably she would have been dealt with during the ensuing season that never came to be. Peter Hooten is uninspiring and the Nameless One is clearly Dormammu, although he never uses that name. Various plot elements are glossed over. The dialogue is less than inspiring and the soundtrack is terrible. This is more of a novelty than an entertainment. Special effects are almost nonexistent. This was dull enough that I can understand why the show was stillborn.12//1/16

The Return of Dracula (1958)

Francis Lederer takes over as bloodsucker in chief in this little known movie. Dracula kills a man aboard a train in order to take his place visiting American relatives who have never met their cousin. He sleeps all day and keeps a coffin in a cave, but no one really notices anything strange about him for a long time. This is not nearly as bad as it might sound and it is rather surprising that the movie is so obscure. 11/27/16

Gappa (1967)

This Japanese monster movie is pretty close to a remake of Gorgo (1960). An expedition finds a dinosaur egg on a remote island out of which hatches a reptile. They take it back to Japan with them and install it in an amusement park. But the parents are alive as well, tower over skyscrapers, are immune to rockets and gunfire, and they want their kid back. Key lots of scenes of them kicking down buildings, incinerating airplanes by breathing fire at them, and eventually reuniting the family. This one even has the cute little kid who sides with baby dinosaur, which was also a feature of the earlier movie. This wasn't really awful, although some of the dubbing is quite funny and the special effects are subpar even for a monster suit kicking buildings movie. 11/25/16

Modern Family Season 7 (2015) 

Although this is a comedy Ė and a very funny one Ė it sometimes addresses serious issues surreptitiously and this seasonís opener is a good example, dealing with interpersonal relationships. The show has a really impressive grasp of how a family works, or at least how it should work. Haleyís romance goes through its usual troubles, her sister is off to college, and everyone else is caught up in their own cycle of events. The show remains surprisingly fresh, perhaps because there is such a large group of characters. Lily is still charming. I binge watched this over the course of three days and was thoroughly entertained.  This is a remarkably durable comedy, probably largely because of the size of the cast, although the writing is of high quality with remarkable consistency. I think what impresses me most is that they manage to get genuine moments of human warmth mixed in with the jokes. The final two episodes this season were excellent. 11/19/16

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange was my absolute least favorite of the Marvel superheroes. The rules are so arbitrary that I never enjoyed the stories. That's almost equally true of the movie, although I thought the performances were quite good and the special effects are spectacular. I even went to see it in 3D, which I rarely do. I was a little disappointed in Dormammu, but I don't know how they could have done much better. The distortions in the mirror world were superb. Cumberbatch is also very good in the role. I did wonder how many times the cast broke out laughing while doing all the elaborate hand movements that actually didn't do anything they could see. Worth a visit to the theater and probably worth paying extra for the 3D. 11/18/16

Independence Day Resurgence (2016)

All the elements of the first movie were here again, including several of the original cast members, but this time it just doesn't fit together. The humor is strained, the plot is repetitive and contrived, none of the characters are developed at all, and there are small but numerous plot holes. The aliens are back with a bigger ship than ever and they wreak havoc before the intervention of another alien race, not to mention some unlikely human resourcefulness, foils them again. Their queen is killed and they pick up stakes and move on less than two minutes before destroying the human race. Some nice special effects, but nothing to get excited about.

The Gateway (2015)

A nurse moves into an apartment and discovers that her shower curtain conceals a gateway to another reality, and a scary one. The first few minutes aren't bad, but then things start going downhill at a breakneck pace. The nurse has changed professions and is now working for Whalesavers, which means she accosts people in public and lectures them about whaling. It's pretty much nonsense from the get-go with awful acting and an awful script, mediocre though occasionally interesting special effects, and a lot of dream sequences. I hate dream sequences. I only managed to get halfway through and I was actually ready to quit long before that but too lazy to get up. 11/9/16

Attack on Titan (2013)

This subtitled Japanese movie - actually a television series - is rather odd. 2000 years from now, mindless giant humanoids appear on Earth and begin eating everyone. The last survivors build a walled sanctuary too tall for the titans to breach. But after a century of peace a supergiant titan appears and knocks the wall down. The defenders, for some reason, only have small bore cannon and rifles. Not that it matters since the titans can instantly repair their bodies. The story really doesn't make much sense. The titans are apparently transformed humans and they have a single vulnerable spot on the backs of their necks. We never learn where they actually came from. The subtitling is moderately bad but not terrible. The special effects are better than average. The musical soundtrack is so inappropriate that it draws attention to itself. A second volume in the series is scheduled to appear around the end of the year. I did get tired of reading several straight minutes of uninteresting dialogue more than once. Oh, and why does everyone have a dirty face all of the time?11/7/16

Cell (2014)  

It is no surprise that a good many of Stephen Kingís good stories have had mediocre screen versions -   in fact some of the tv adaptations are better than the theatrical ones. This wasnít one of the better novels, so I didnít have a lot of optimism, even though John Cusack and Samuel Jackson Ė two of my favorites Ė are the stars. The novel made so little impression on me despite my intense fondness for King that I cannot even suggest where the adaptation differs. A signal broadcast through cell phones turns everyone who hears it into a homicidal maniac. This is essentially a zombie story but it is completely uninvolving, not remotely suspenseful, and often boring. Unfortunately, I thought the same about the novel. What a waste of considerable talent this is.  11/5/16

Dam Sharks (2016)

You can tell from the opening scene - a woman dives from a cliff and a shark grabs her in mid-air - that this is going to be a bad movie, but it's not really an awful movie, and that's a good thing. The acting is generally well done and some of the characters are even somewhat interesting. Right from the outset, I wondered what the sharks were doing in fresh water - a river - but logic rarely plays a major role in these things. Most of the characters are attending a management togetherness conference, which is satirical but not completely ridiculous early on. It gets more irritating than funny as the movie progresses. The sharks are building a dam in large part out of human bodies. The scene with the diver being cut in half was stolen almost cut for cut from Lake Placid. The disparity between the funny scenes and the serious ones also begins to wear. The plot is no surprise. In fact, there really isn't much of a plot. I did like the line" "God, it's like a bad movie." Yup. Jason London, whom I have considered mediocre in the past, actually does humor quite well. Interesting that the sharks can travel through the water with their fins exposed but there are no ripples. The sharks are unbelievably powerful at times, and very weal at other times to suit the story. Mildly amusing. 11/4/16

Terrordactyl (2016)

The first thing you notice about this really bad movie is that they didn't even try to make it good. The CGI is bad, even for CGI, the acting is lackadaisical, the dialogue is puerile. and the plot is one prolonged clichť. There's a meteor shower, except the meteors are actually the eggs of prehistoric flying lizards. They don't even attempt to explain that. The two protagonists are complete idiots, apparently by intention, which doesn't help. The creatures attack an entire city, but there are no sirens for a long time and only token ones then, no police cars, no one rushing around except the protagonists, and nothing in the story makes sense. Even the camera work is jerky. And how can a hovering flyer catch up to a speeding car? Worthless. 11/3/16

The Wailing (2016) 

This is a very long, subtitled Korean horror movie in which a foreigner arrives in a small community, after which some of the residents begin murdering one another in violent, inexplicable fits of rage. Some of the scenes are very confusing. Is the madwoman psychic or not? Why is she always throwing stones? Did she make up the story she told the police?   Or was it all a dream? A comically inept police officer finds himself in the middle of all this and when his daughter is in danger he has to draw on courage he didn't know he possessed. There are some translation errors as well. A mushroom specialist is not a dermatologist. You have to wait mor than two hours before it all starts to make sense and that's entirely too long. 10/30/16

Planet of the Sharks (2016)

The world has been flooded and people live in floating villages, in one of which this movie is set. Sharks now jump through the air to pick people off their catwalks and platforms, and the people for some reason donít go inside to avoid being eaten. All the sharks on Earth have merged into a single pack under a single leader. A small group of survivors have built a device that might reverse global warming and save the day, but it has to be deployed within days. I can suspend disbelief as well as anyone, but this movie requires it to be surgically removed. I only made it half way through. 10/25/16

Elementary Season 4 (2015) 

Sherlock and Watson have lost their job with the police department, but get it back thanks to the intervention of his father.  There are some minor revelations in the early episodes but nothing really changes. There are also bits of really bad dialogue here and there. The father, plated by John Noble, plays the son of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow. Does that make Crane Sherlock Holmesí grandfather? He plays a sort of villain in both roles, although his motives are frequently unclear in this appearance and viewers are likely to have altering opinions of him as the season progresses.  This was a very solid season and I think the episodes involving Fiona, the autistic woman, were particularly excellent. There are several excellent episodes and no really bad ones. I was, however, annoyed by the hint that Moriarty was back, delivered at the end of one episode, and completely refuted early in the next.  10/23/16

Dogman 2 (2016)

This is the sequel to a cheaply made, visually unimpressive, but oddly entertaining movie about the critter in the woods. We finally get to see the creature this time, in the opening sequence, but it looks more bearish than doggish. The female police officer from the first is a bartender now. The costumes look positively silly later on. The acting also seems to have generally declined in quality. Very disappointing because the first showed some signs of actual promise. 10/23/16

The Bloody Vampire (1962)

Another badly dubbed vampire film in black and white. The daughter of a vampire hunter poses as a maid to investigate a mansion believed to be owned by one of the undead. Some of the scenes that are presumably supposed to be scary are actually rather funny. Dismal special effects and acting. The picture is often blurry, the lighting is inadequate, and overall this isnít even bad enough to be fun to watch. 10/22/16

The Vampireís Night Orgy (1973)

The usual subtitled nonsense, difficult to follow, lacking in sense, and with low production values throughout. A busload of travelers divert to a small town when their drive dies of an apparent stroke. Alas, everyone in town is a vampire. There is no orgy, no sexy content at all, washed out color, and a completely inane story line even though the basic idea isnít too awful. There are good European horror films, but this isnít one of them. 10/21/16

Witches Mountain (1972)  

A photographer and a writer are traveling through Spain when they agree to spend a night in a castle. They hear rumors that a coven of witches is active nearby and they decide to investigate. Bad move. There is some nice scenery but the print has deteriorated to the point where itís wasted. Thereís a surprisingly good soundtrack and predictably bad dubbing. Possibly because of the dubbing, itís very difficult to figure out exactly what is happening, and after thirty minutes or so, I lost interest completely. 10/20/16

The Bat (1926)  

I had already seen the 1959 remake with Vincent Price, but this version is new to me. Itís a silent, based on the play by Mary Roberts Rinehart. There are some remarkably good visuals in this story of a man who disguises himself partially as a giant bat in order to commit a series of murders. The identity of the killer was quite clever for its time. Even without dialogue or sound effects the story is quite easy to follow and reasonably suspenseful. This was also remade as a sound film as The Bat Whispers, which I have also never seen. 10/19/16

The Shiver of the Vampires (1971)  

Aka The Vampire Happening. A couple on their honeymoon make a bad choice about the castle they plan to stay in on their wedding night. It is infested with vampires. No surprises, no real suspense, not much of a plot, no acting to speak off, silly dubbed dialogue, bad camera work and a washed out print. There are a whole lot of Europeans vampire movies that make one shrug and wonder why anyone bothered in the first place. This is a prime example. 10/18/16

The Girl in the Photographs (2015)  

This is labeled Wes Cravenís final film, but he was executive producer and it is doubtful he had much direct involvement. The protagonist is a young woman who begins receiving films of other young women who appear to have been murdered, but are they real or staged? Early on, a woman is followed home from a movie one night, but her stalker is already in her house when she comes inside. How does that work? There are two men involved, but even so? The police are too skeptical and unsympathetic to be entirely credible even after the seventh picture has appeared because they claim they canít match it to any crime or missing person, which also seems implausible, particularly since we find out moments later that the deaths DO match several missing persons. There are a couple of really obnoxious characters in this one, which is technically well done but not as suspenseful as it should be. The implausibilities grow more intrusive as the movie goes along until it reaches a point where I no longer believed in the characters or situation. The ending is downright insulting. 10/17/16

The Forest (2016)  

Natalie Dormer, who was Margery on A Game of Thrones and Moriarty in Elementary plays twins in this odd little horror film. There is a real forest in Japan where people traditionally go to commit suicide and Dormer goes there to track down her twin, who disappeared in the area a short time before. This is quite well done technically, but its horribly slow to develop. And when it does get going, Iím not sure I believe that the protagonist would be quite as stupid as she appears to be. There are a couple of creepy scenes but most of it is quite routine. Horror movies where there are no rules are rarely interesting and anything goes in this one. Terrible ending which doesnít even clearly explain what has happened. 10/16/16

South Park Season 19 (2015)  

The opening episode this season attempts to poke fun at PC extremes, but instead it actually makes the arguments against PC weaker by distorting it into a paper tiger. As someone who is often critical of what they were trying to satirize, I have to say they failed miserably. The episode comes across as cranky and defensive rather than funny or satiric. Even within the context of the episode, the story doesnít make sense. The second episode takes a poke at super patriots and Trump in particular, but even this one suggests that it is a reaction to PCness, which is nonsense. The Yelp episode is, however, very funny. The safe space episode is uneven but generally amusing, and pointed. The intelligent ads is also quite well done. This season is much more of a single continual story than the previous ones and that means it tends to harp on one note too much. 10/15/16

The Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman (1971)

Another visit to the land of badly dubbed foreign films, and this one is a contender for worst movie ever made although it has a few effective moments. The protagonist is traveling in Europe and accepts an invitation from a man who is secretly a werewolf. As if thatís not enough of a problem, she inadvertently wakes up a female vampire as well.  As usual, the dialogue is sometimes not appropriate to the situation, clearly just filler.  The two monsters donít like each other much. I didnít like the movie much either. 10/14/16

Terror Creatures from the Grave (1965)

 A cross between ghosts and zombies in this one. A man who died from the plague has unfinished business with several people who are still alive. You can pretty much guess what happens after that. Barbara Steele is in this one Ė she was a regular in European horror movies for many years. The print from this is in better condition than a lot of similar films from that era, and parts of the film are quite watchable if you ignore the bad dubbing and sometimes inane dialogue. The film claims to have been inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and there are bits and pieces of Poe sprinkled through it. 10/13/16

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens (2016)  

More of the same silliness with lots of Star Wars references and a couple of good lines. But 90 minutes is a lot of effort for two chuckles. The sharknados are back, this time transforming into sandnados, cownados, lightingingnados, etc. The usual cast romps through nonsensical dialogue and generally unconvincing special effects. There is no real acting here, and the story doesnít even make sense within its own context. Probably the final installment in the series. 10/12/16

Blood of Draculaís Castle (1969)  

Be sure you have a good realtor. The couple in this bad movie buy a large mansion that is already home to a couple of vampires. The story is about what youíd expect but the soundtrack is amazingly awful and inappropriate, a peppy easy listening selection that is completely out of the mood of the story, as though it had been picked at random by someone who didnít know what the film was about. The special effects are spectacularly awful. Almost bad enough to be funny but even John Carradine canít salvage this one. 10/11/16

The Vampire Bat (1933)   

Faye Wray, Melvyn Douglas, and Lionel Atwill star in this early thriller about a village plagued with attacks by giant bats. Or are they vampires?  Itís actually neither. The kindly doctor is conducting experiments involving blood and isnít squeamish about where he gets it. The outstanding cast helps support a fairly routine story that really doesnít have much suspense or mystery about it. This is another one that remains worth watching despite the lapse of time. 10/10/16

Satanic (2016) 

Despite reasonably good production values and a good cast, this is a rather dull horror film that does nothing new or even particularly surprising. Four young adults are visiting scenes of murders when they rather implausibly decide one day to follow home the rather weird owner of a Satanist shop. They very inefficiently trespass on his remote property, carrying flashlights and talking loudly. They interrupt the excommunication of one men, a young woman, who contacts them the following day. It takes a little longer before we detest the entire cast, but it eventually follows that pattern. Continuity glitch. A character who has never been in a house before knows where the bathroom is before entering the house. Anyway, the cult woman commits suicide in front of them and tells them that they will all follow her. Lots of creepy things happen, but itís all kind of random and they all die at the end. No suspense at all, because there is no chance they can win. 10/9/16

The Horrible Sexy Vampire (1970)  

More horrible dubbing of a story that was probably not deserving of anything better, delivered by flat speakers while people pretending to be actors act completely unnaturally. Washed out color, lousy photography and lighting, uninteresting seats, and a silly plot complete the usual mix. It opens with a traveler being strangled by an invisible presence Ė cheap special effects Ė while showering at a motel. His wife is similarly killed a short time later. The woman has an odd mark on her neck, but the man does not. The coroner announces that it is his opinion that the killer was not a human being Ė despite no evidence to the contrary. He refers the police to Bram Stokerís novel. ďAre you good on the subject of vampires?Ē Possibly because of the dubbing, events donít make sense. The police search a castle that has nothing to do with the murders as far as they know. They question another man apparently at random. Sometimes the dialogue doesnít even relate to whatís going on, and sometimes the sequence of events doesnít make sense either. A third of the way through, ALL of the characters are killed by the vampire baron and a fresh set has to be introduced. And why would the new police inspector reserve a rental convertible in the middle of the winter? And why go immediately to a cemetery that has no connection with the case? I have no idea where the title comes from, since heís not and the brief nude scenes arenít sexy either. 10/8/16

The Last Man on Earth (1960)

Vincent Price stars in the first screen version of Richard Mathesonís I Am Legend, in which vampires have killed or replaced all but one human. Theyíre pretty wimpy vampires Ė he outfights a bunch of them without weapons on at least two occasions. There are a few flashbacks showing how the plague spread but only in glimpses. Depressing ending, but I knew it was coming. Vincent Price is the only reason to watch this, even though Matheson co-wrote the screenplay. 10/7/16

The Strain Season 2 (2015)   

The vampire plot continues with decent special effects and acting, and individual episodes that are pretty good, but the story doesnít entirely hang together. Where is the rest of the world while NYC is being infested? The kid actor Ė a new one this year Ė is terminally stupid, almost literally, and repeatedly. There are attempts to spread a counter-virus falter, the Master gets a new body, the ancient vampires have to replace their squad of killers, and the others battle just to stay alive. Special effects are good. Despite some lingering problems with plot and background, I thought season 2 was considerably better than season 1. I still wondered how a private citizen can impose a tax on restaurants, where the rest of the country is, why people who are clearly uninfected are now allowed to leave, and how life can be so normal when vampires are all over the place. And if no one has fed or watered the inmates in the prison for several days, why are they all just fine physically. Three regulars die during the late episodes, one of whom took me completely by surprise. 10/6/16

The Devil Bat (1941)  

Bela Lugosi uses a giant bat to attack his enemies, and provides them with a distinctive aftershave lotion to lure it to the proper victim. Heís mad because he thinks a group of his apparent friends have conned him out of money he is owed for his discoveries. The bat is an unconvincing puppet but the story is generally watchable. A pair of reporters manage to kill the creature, so Lugosi has to make another one. He is under suspicion by then and itís only a matter of time until his role is known. Holds up quite well. 10/5/16

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

Aka Hannah, Queen of the Vampires, still another badly dubbed vampire movie. I have to wonder how these things were even made because surely no one found them creepy or entertaining. This one is particularly dark and I donít mean metaphorically. There were several points where I couldnít figure out what was going on because I couldnít see anything.  An archaeologist travels to a remote island and opens the vault containing a vampire queen despite the warnings of the local people. The story is very hard to follow, particularly early on, because there is virtually no dialogue. Terrible camera work as well. 10/4/16

Prime Evil (1988) 

This one opens during the Black Plague and involves a Satanist cult, but someone didnít do their homework. Monks canít excommunicate one another. Catching the plague is not a form of atonement, so it couldnít expiate anyoneís sins. The story jumps to the present where the cult still exists. The cult members are immortal so long as they kill a relative every thirteen years. A fairly confusing series of characters get introduced very quickly and itís not sure who is who or how they are interrelated. Although novelists Ed Kelleher and Harriet Vidal wrote the screenplay, the dialogue is mostly corny and artificial, and the acting is even worse. And why would someone with a background in criminal law be offered a job on Wall Street, particularly someone who has recently been in prison? Dramatically bad camera work adds to the mess, and the sound is metallic and echoes a lot. ďDonít you want to get poked?Ē is typical of the dialogue. 10/2/16

Atom Age Vampire (1960)  

A woman whose face was disfigured in an accident agrees to undergo an experimental treatment to regenerate her flesh. The treatment succeeds, but naturally there is a catch. The acting and the dubbing are both overwrought as the scientist falls in love with his patient, risking the wrath of his assistant, who loves him. It turns out that the scientist has also mutated Ė demonstrated by some really primitive special effects Ė and needs to drink the blood of the living to continue to look normal. The story is really stupid overall. This is one of those movies that should be allowed to die. 10/2/16

The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee star in this Hammer Dracula film. Dracula returns in the 1970s, masquerading as a real estate developer after having been recalled to existence by satanists. His grand plan this time is to release bubonic plague on the world to kill off the human population. Van Helsing theorizes that Dracula wants to end his own existence and take everyone else along with him. This is much less overt than modern films but it still has its creepy moments. Hammer films were generally well made despite their low budgets, with acting that was always at least competent, and the two stars are, of course, in a class by themselves. Also known as Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride.

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