Archive for the '50’s b-movies' Category

Dec

posted by Doktor | December 25, 2016 | 50's b-movies, foreign, Review by Doktor, Walk Thru

Comments Off on A Walk Thru Santa Claus (1959)

Today is Xmas, the most wonderful time of the year: a time when everything is perfect, when all boys and girls are well behaved, when man loves his fellow man (and woman, etc, etc.), when dogs and cats snuggle together in peaceful harmony, when fruit cake is a delicious confectionary treat, the time of the year when one’s soul cannot help but sing at the beatitude of the day. Or is it the worst wonderful time of the year: a time when everything is horrible, when all boys are girls are devils, when man loathes his fellow man (and woman, etc, etc.), when dogs and cats fight viciously for dominance, when fruit cake is a chunk of disgusting, the time of the year when one crawls into the darkest of corners and prays for death?

For René Cardona it was the latter. Granted, it was the late 1950s, a simpler time all around, and Cardona was in Mexico, which was a land in an unparalleled Golden Age, all of which likely influenced Santa Claus, also known as Santa Claus vs. The Devil, to fall on the happy-go-lucky side of the spectrum. Or maybe the world really is a candy cane dream in the waning days of the year. Whichever end of the spectrum your feelings on this matter fall into join me for this month’s walk thru where we’ll see if Santa Claus is naughty or nice.

Open: Crystal & Gold Space Palace

High above the North Pole, way out in space, is Santa’s crystal and gold Space Palace. Within, Santa cackles madly as he arranges his nativity scene but soon remembers that he has to make presents for “good children” of the world. He tells the nativity scene as much, and that he mustn’t be late, to which it replies, “…,” because it’s NOT REAL. Undisturbed by this psychotic episode, Santa heads straight to his Hammond Organ to play a jaunty Xmas ditty. The organ has a built in video feed to “Toyland”, Santa’s sweatshop, erhm… toy factory. (Despite being the late 1950s, a time before trophies for all for simply participating, Santa’s P.R. team suggested the name Toyland. Toyland tested well, especially considering all the laborers are small children).

As Santa mashes away at the keys we watch the equal opportunity enslavement at Toyland. There are children from: Africa (half naked, bones in hair, banging drums—Toyland’s equal in conscripted service but still very backwards where race is concerned), Spain, China, England, Japan, Orient (Arabs), Russia, France (whom get special treatment, i.e. names other than “Hey, You”: Evette and Pierre), Germany, Italy, Caribbean, South America (Brazil and Argentina, the only countries in South America), Central America, USA, and finally, Mexico.

Hey, isn’t Mexico part of Central America?

SHUT UP!

Actually, to suggest this is a sweatshop is my cynicism. Actually, the children aren’t working at all. Toyland is a big room where they’re forced to stay in their ethnic groups and sing traditional songs from their respective homelands.

After all the different groups have finished their lamentations, the children bring Santa a devil toy. The doll has fireworks built into its buttocks which, when lit, causes it to spin around.

Cut to: Hell

In Hell all the devils are interpretive dancers, spinning around wildly like they’ve got a bottle rockets jammed in the buttocks. Wow! Here I was thinking this was going to be a sugar-coated, white-washing but this movie really nails Hell.

Thankfully, after only a few seconds, Lucifer has had enough and calls an end to this dancing tomfoolery, sending all the demons away in a flash, that is, all but Pitch, his chief demon. Lucifer has a special job for Pitch. He is to go up to Earth to cause a mother loving ruckus, Wu Tang Style. Should he fail again (how exactly is he chief demon if he fails all the time?) he will not have hot coals for dinner, he will be served ice cream—chocolate ice cream.

Ah, GAWD! The devil truly is vile.

Cut to: Earth, Mexico City

A cackling animatronic Santa Claus gyrates in a store window, outside of which is a throng of people, mostly children, staring in at all the wonderful things they are too poor to afford. Among the unwashed mass are five children of particular interest: Good Little Boy, whose daddy is rich but negligent, Lupita, whose mother is poor but loving, and three rude boys, the Bad Brothers, whose parents are… ?

Pitch magically produces three rocks from the ground and gives one to each of the Bad Brothers. Without any prompting, and despite the large crowd to witness them, the hooligans throw their rocks through the store window. One hits the animatronic Santa, another slices and hits a Salvation Army bell ringer, the third goes so far off the mark it breaks the Earth’s atmosphere, rockets to Santa’s palace, ultimately hitting Santa in the forehead.

Cut to: Magic Observatory

Santa’s “Magic Observatory” houses the specialized spy gear he uses to look and listen in on anyone on Earth: the Ear-o-scope, the Teletalker (which knows everything), the Cosmic Telescope, and the Master Eye.

First Santa checks on Lupita. She’s wandering around the market with her mother taking in the festivities, dreaming about a dolly of her very own. As luck would have it, one of the vendors is selling dolls, and as she picks one up to hug, squeeze, and love, the vendor is swarmed by customers. Lupita starts to walk away with the doll but before she walks too far off she returns it. Santa is pleased and the narrator remarks, “If you’re good, somehow you’ll be rewarded.”

Ah, there’s the sugar-sweet reality!

Cut to: Good Little Rich Boy’s House

Next Santa invades the dream of Good Little Rich Boy with the Dream-o-scope. Good Little Rich Boy is dreaming of his Xmas presents. Huge gifts so big they dwarf the Xmas tree. Rich people get extravagant presents so naturally Good Little Rich Boy’s gifts are… his PARENTS!?! Awww. Good Little Rich Boy only wants their love, not more things. You’re such a good little Good Little Rich Boy! Again, Santa is pleased, though a little sad. He sighs, “A dream is a wish that the heart makes.”

Ugh. The movie is laying on the sweet so bit thick my cavities were hurting.

The touchy-feels do not last too long, because before Santa’s helpers could roll their eyes, Santa turns his gaze to Lupita.

Cut to: Lupita’s One Room Shack

Lupita is lying on the bed, shivering. Her family is so poor they don’t know how to use the blanket. After watching Lupita twitch uncomfortably for a while, Poor Father finally covers Lupita with his jacket. Pitch appears bedside and blows on the sleeping girl, one hopes to influence her dreams. Although I know this film was made in a simpler time, watching a man in red tights blow on a small girl trying to sleep triggered me something fierce.

In her dream Lupita is the center of a nightmare world thick with smoke-machine fog and populated with creepy adult-sized, dual-faced dancing dolls. The dolls swirl around Lupita. If this is Pitch’s idea of tempting Lupita to steal a doll it’s not working. She can hardly see what is happening; her head is only slightly above the smoke. If she were able to see what was happening it would scare her off of dolls for good.

Cut to: Under a Bed

Santa turns his attention to the Bad Brothers. They’re speaking so softly he has to employ the Ear-o-scope, which in the preceding scenes was the Dream-o-scope, but… whatever. They are making nefarious plans which include breaking their neighbor’s window in order to steal his toys. They “could” be good and get toys from Santa legitimately, but there’s no fun in that. Instead, they decide to write Santa a letter and lie, saying they’ve been good so they can get presents. What they don’t realize is Santa is snooping on them. Disgusted by what he hears, Santa uses the Cosmic Telescope to amplify his voice so he can tell them that he has heard they’re scheming.

Cut to: Montage of Children Writing Letters

Good Little Rich Boy is writing a letter to Santa asking for time with Mama and Papa. Another boy wants a little brother although he’s sitting at the dinner table with three other boys and two girls. A third boy, in bed in the orphanage, wants a Papa, or maybe a Mama. A fourth boy dressed like a businessman, sitting behind a big desk, asks for some toys. (Finally, a child asking for toys. Come on, Cardona! Even in a sappy world children want toys.) Then a little girl asks for a red ball—a big, red ball—and some shoes. Last, and very much least, the Bad Brothers are composing their letter about how good they’ve been and in return they want “everything.” Not only are they bad, their not very bright. Santa JUST told them he knew what they were about. Well, at least their consistent.

All the letters written, the sifting-through-the-letters-at-the-post-office montage starts. Letters to Santa are thrown in a big chimney which shoots them directly to Santa’s Space Palace a la pneumatic tubes, sans the tubes. Santa sorts the letters into one of three boxes according to the letter writer’s standing: a box for the good children, a box for the bad children, and a box marked Paris for the children who want little brothers or sisters.

Paris?

Cut to: Merlin’s Workshop

Santa drops in on Merlin.

Wait. Merlin?

Merlin, we are told via the narrator, is Santa’s most devoted helper. Santa needs Merlin to makes a powder to knock out the children and give them happy dreams. (Remember, it’s the 1950s, and this behavior was not suspicious at all.) Merlin bumbles around, refers to himself in the third-person, by name, reciting the recipe for the sleep powder as he makes it: one urn made of copper, nickel, uranium, plutonium, and platinum; add 8 scoops of rose colored pollen of moon flower; 9 scoops of pollen from Lazy Yawner flower; 4 scoops of red pollen from Morpheus plant; powder from the Papalusa Grata (space butterflies); and finally take the mixture and urn and freeze with the Light Blue Flame of Frozen Fire. Viola, Kiddie Roofie Powder.

Merlin also gives Santa the Flower to Dissapear, incase the knockout powder isn’t sufficient. One sniff to disappear. One sniff to reappear.

Cut to: Blacksmith’s Workshop

Santa drops in on the blacksmith to get the golden key to unlock all doors.

Cut to: Santa’s Gym

Santa hits the gym to work on his gut. He has to make sure he’s slim enough to fit down all those chimneys. His ”work out” consists of 5 seconds on a belt-driven belly shaker machine. Though satisfied after only seconds, he goes to the test chimney and, yep, he’s trim enough to fit, with even some room to spare.

Take that, Science, what do you know!

Cut to: The Sleigh

The children have finished making the toys, or singing, or whatever it is that they have been doing. Now they’re gassing up the reindeer and cleaning the sleigh to make it more aerodynamic for the long space trip to Earth. Speed is of the essence because Santa has to return to the Space Palace before sun up. Fun Fact: sunlight turns space reindeer into dust. Granted, the sun never “sets” in space, but…

SHUT UP!

Cut to: Space

On the way to Earth Santa almost crashes into the moon.

Hey, I thought Santa lived in space above the North Pole.

SHUT UP!

Cut to: Earth

Good Little Rich Boy parents leave him at home alone with the intent of not returning until the morning. The Bad Brothers are lying in wait, ready to whack Santa when he lands on their rooftop. Lupita is watching the people in the street outside her shack’s window.

Santa’s first stop is Mexico City. In fact, he never leaves Mexico for the rest of the movie, but that makes sense because Mexicans are God’s chosen people, why would he go anywhere else? At the first house Pitch pushes the chimney so Santa can’t get into the house. This is no problem because Santa just goes down to the front door and uses the Master Golden Key. While fidgeting with with the door Santa wakes the two boys who live there, necessitating he drug them before he proceeds to put out their gifts. When he finishes he has to use the Flower to Dissapear to transport back up to the sleigh since the chimney is not an option.

Hey, wait a minute. Since when did the Flower to Dissapear do that?

SHUT UP!

At the next stop Pitch lights a fire in the chimney to block Santa’s entry that way. He also heats up the door knob so Santa will burn himself if he tries that work-around again. Pitch does not realize Santa’s watching his machinations from the window and just sneaks in that way. While Pitch is preoccupied keeping the door knob hot, Santa shoots a dart in Pitch’s buttock using the cannon toy he was leaving for one the little boy of the house.

Ho, ho, ho! Yule shoot something out, kid!

Cut to: Good Little Rich Boy’s House

Good Little Rich Boy plays the piano as his mother suggested should he should find himself lonely. Well, he plays for 5 seconds. Then he slumps his way over to the chair in front of the fire where falls asleep thinking about all his toys but how all he wants is his parent’s love.

Tough luck, kid. Although Santa knows what’s troubling you, all he is bringing you is more toys.

Before he leaves, Santa uses his Inception power to pass a message into Good Little Rich Boy’s dream, i.e. he wakes Good Little Rich Boy and says, “Your parents definit— well, they probab— that is, I’m pretty sure your parents like you alright. Don’t think about how they’ve got better things to do than spend time with you. Look at this! Here are some toys!”

Cut to: Neglectful Rich Parents at The Club

Neglectful Rich Parents are served the special, ham-fisted cocktail called “The Cocktail of Remembrance”. The waiter is familiar. Big belly, jolly, long white beard, he reminds Neglectful Rich Mom of someone from her youth. Oh well, bottoms up.

“Oh, Snap! We left our pre-teen child at home alone. We’re horrible parents.”

Ho, ho, ho! Yes. You are.

Cut to the Bad Brothers’ Rooftop

The Bad Brothers are lying in wait for Santa. Pitch is firing them up, not that he needs to considering they are already hatching their evil intentions.

Santa shoots by in fireball form, never setting down, never giving the boys a chance to realize their plan. The boys tire quickly waiting for Santa, whom they don’t realize has already passed them by, and turn in for the night. Inside they find their shoes filled with coal. Wow! Santa can magically drop off gifts to people without leaving the sleigh. Nifty.

Hmmm. That raises the question, why doesn’t he do that at all the stops?

SHUT UP!

Well, at least the Bad Brother will be warm tonight by the fire of the coal. Thanks Santa! Not so fast though, boys. The night’s still young and Pitch is furious at missing another opportunity to cause mayhem. So he sets the Bad Brothers against one another. If Pitch cannot get Santa he will get a grudge match out of the Bad Brothers.

Cut to: Another Stop

While Santa is delivering the toys, Pitch tries to steal the sleigh. Unfortunately he can’t get it started. Even if he could, Santa always locks down the reindeer antlers with The Club. Still, Pitch is determined, so he stows away, lying in wait for Santa’s return. As Santa leaves for the next stop, Pitch cuts the bottom of Santa’s bag, emptying the Kiddie Roofie Powder and the Flower to Dissapear.

Cut to: The Final Boss Stop

Pitch is waiting anxiously because he knows Santa is powerless without the Kiddie Roofie Powder and the Flower to Dissapear. At this house he will finally get satisfaction. Pitch looses a vicious Boxer dog, Dante, on Santa. Santa barely escapes by running up a tree.

With Santa’s trapped, Pitch goes through the house waking everyone, warning them there’s an assassin in the yard. He also influences a couple of the sleeping family members to call the police and fire department.

Back in the tree, Santa calls to Merlin for help. Merlin advices Santa to use a cat toy to distract Dante. Dante chases after the cat, allowing Santa to escape, but just barely. The family, the cops, the fire department, the ambulance, and some random people all show up as Santa flies away. Though there’s no flames, the firemen randomly spray a corner of the house which hits Pitch, dispersing him in a puff of steam.

Though Santa has escaped Pitch’s final trap safely it is almost daybreak and Santa has one final stop! Yet, if he does not head home the toy reindeer will turn into dust.

Oh no!

Cut to: Lupita’s One Room Shack

Meanwhile, the Flower to Dissapear falls to the ground at Lupita’s hovel. It does not matter that it has because it’s never mentioned again. For some reason Cardona just wanted to mention the Flower to Disappear one last time. You’d think Santa would stop to pick it up since Lupita’s shack is the final stop, but whatever.

Besides, the Flower to Disappear fell to the ground several scenes back, nowhere near Lupita’s. What’s up with that?

SHUT UP!

Inside, Poor Father has just made it home. He was out all night but found no work.

Really? Looking for a job, overnight, on Xmas eve/Xmas day. That’s your story? Poor Mother believes him. Moron. This is why you’re family is poor.

Unable to sleep in the presence of such stupidity, Lupita wakes. She tells Poor Mother and Poor Father that Santa left her a gift on the stoop in her dream. She goes out and finds a pretty doll. Somehow Lupita now has a magic connection with Santa which allows her to narrate what he is doing, namely returning home.

Cut to: Space

Once again in fireball mode, Santa rockets towards his crystal and gold space palace.

The End

Moral of the story: Santa Claus was very, very bad.

roadside attractions

  • HEAR! Pitch mispronounce Dante as dan-TEE!
  • WONDER! why Santa’s flight to Earth goes past Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn when the Crystal & Gold Palace is in orbit above the North Pole!
  • MARVEL! that any toys are made in a factory of children who sit around singing all day!
  • FORGET! the rest of the world! Santa only visits Mexico!
  • QUESTION! if we really want Santa to have all the intrusive powers of observation, even if he does bring us toys!
totals

2 blood  

BLOOD

None of the spurting variety, but Pitch does take a dart in the butt.

0 blood  

BREASTS

Come on! This is a film for the childrens!

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Interpretive Dancing Demons, Adult-sized Dancing Dolls, and Vicious Attacker Dog

 

OVERALL 4
dripper

Watch the trailer for “Santa Claus”

trailers

dripper
Feb

posted by Doktor | February 28, 2016 | 30's b-movies, 50's b-movies, 80's b-movies, Review by Doktor

Comments Off on How to Make Love Like a Mad Scientist: 30s, 50s, & 80s Style

The Brides of Science

“Science, like love, has myriad little surprises, as you shall see.” Dr. Pretorius, The Bride of Frankenstein

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and despite my best efforts to thwart the temporary hormonal imbalance it brings, I found Love tugging at my cholesterol caked heart strings . Love was everywhere, down the aisles at the grocery store, in the eyes of the couples holding hands in the park, I think I even caught hints of it in the air, like walking into the bathroom the morning after Oma had her stewed prune casserole. Fie! No matter how much Lysol I sprayed I could not seem to kill it. Love is a pesky bug that even the staunchest of us mad scientists cannot seem to eradicate.

They* say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” (*Whomever “they” are.). If it were only so easy. We mad scientists, while being the most virile of men, do not attract the women the way the square-jawed, muscle boys do. So how was I to get my love?

Chemicals and hypnosis? Feh. Yeah, they work, but I did not want to be that guy.

Tinder, AshleyMadison, and QualityRussianWives.com? Feh. I’m not creepy enough to be that guy.

Science! That was how. I would MAKE love. That is, literally create my special lady love.

I decided to investigate how my forefathers did it: Uropa (great grandfather) Doktor in the 30s, Opa (grandfather) Doktor in the 50s, and Vati (father) Doktor in the 80s. Since they’ve all passed on the the great laboratory in the sky, my research consisted of watching The Bride of Frankenstein, Bride of the Monster, and Bride of Re-Animator. Here is the chronicle of what I learned.

Never Happened Before

How Uropa Doktor Did It: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

This movie was a disappointment. The bride is beautiful, with the most wonderful head of hair, but as perfect a woman as she is she does not show until the last five minutes of the movie. Actually, I am not sure why it is titled Bride of Frankenstein. Frist, as I wrote, she does not show up until the very end. There is precious little bride and way too much of the pointless continuing adventures of the monster. Heck, The Pointless Continuing Adventures of Frankenstien’s Monster would have been a better title. Second, she does not marry anyone. So, she is not even a bride. She is a just a woman creature who was set up on a blind marriage with the monster. In fact, when she sees the “man” she has been set up with she freaks out. I cannot say I blame her. He is a monster—literally. True to the monster boyfriend stereotype, as soon as she shuns him he decides that if he cannot have her no one will. So Love, the laboratory, and some hired help all go up in flames. The End.

Sigh.

While the castle was quite nice, and the lab was to die for, the science: dead wrong. The one thing the movie got right, and spot on at that, was the portrayal of the monster boyfriend. See, ladies, tall, dark, and strong are not all they are cracked up to be.

Arthritic

How Opa Doktor Did It: Bride of the Monster (1955)

I do not know why I thought I could get anything out of an Ed Wood, Jr. movie, but I watched it anyway. I know, shame on me. I did get a good chuckle though.

There’s no bride in this movie. There is one woman. As she is barely a plot device I cannot recall her name, so let us call her Ms. Woman (Loretta King). Naturally she wrecks her car. No good reason other than she was a woman. She proceeds to pass out when she sees a quite random boa constrictor wound around the tree she crashed into. All of this allows her to be captured by Dr. Vornoff’s (Bela Lugosi) man thug, Lobo (Tor Johnson). This is quite fortuitous because Varnoff is always looking for fresh subjects to test his Atomic Super Mutant Radiation Therapy, or ASMRT, on.

For unfathomable reasons, Varnoff dresses Ms. Woman in a wedding gown to prepare her for the procedure. Perhaps the silky materials facilitates radiation particles. Maybe that was the only dress Ed Wood, Jr. had that was clean. So, Ms. Woman is strapped to the table in a flowing wedding gown.

Oh, wait a moment. I forgot to explain what Varnoff is hoping to accomplish with ASMRT. You see, this is the time when we mad scientists were convinced that huge doses of radiation would cause fantastic mutations, transforming the recipients with incredible powers or abilities, rather than cause horribly devastating cancers. In the case of Ms. Woman specifically the ASMRT was going to make her “super strong and super beautiful” as opposed to a steamy puddle of human-goo.

Or perhaps it would do that. Up to this point he was only able to successfully atomic super mutant Nessie (some exposition had him in Loch Ness before he came to America) and a swamp octopus he keeps as a pet to guard his swamp-locked laboratory.

And then, like so many prom night dreams, everything goes horribly wrong. Lobo is in Lurv with Ms. Woman, and while he is enamored of the whippings he receives from his master, he cannot abide by the destruction of his lady love. Despite the fact that she screams and wets herself every time she Lobo, his unrequited love for her drives him to knock out Varnoff, switch Ms. Woman’s place on the table with Varnoff, and, though he can only just manage to put on his slip on shoes, he sets the controls and turns on the machine.

Mostly the ASMRT works. Mostly. Varnoff becomes Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff—with poo-smeared face. He breaks free of the puny restraints and knocks some sense into Lobo. By “knocks some sense” I mean couple super punches puts Lobo down fast as Travis Coates boom stick put down Old Yeller.

Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff takes off with Ms. Woman to do something in the swamp. Lt. Dick, Ms. Woman’s fiancé, pushes a swamp bolder at Atomic Super Mutant Varnoff knocking him into the waiting arms of his pet swamp octopus. A well placed lightning strike hits the struggling mutants setting off an atomic blast.

As the heroes look at the blast, which incidentally is only feet from where they are standing, Capt. Robbins sums up the moral morass of the story with, “He tampered in God’s domain.”

Bride of the Monster is another one that gets the science wrong. Actually, the only “science” in the movie is the wall of test tubes, Bunsen burners, and BLFNAR (blinking lights for no apparent reason). Additionally, there was nothing about brides, not how to make one or win one or even how to use one’s power of hypnosis to force one to your will (see the image for Varnoff’s sweet technique that’s totally wasted). All Bride of the Monster gave us was one test subject made up in wedding dress. That, Mr. Wood, is quite a stretch to add bride to the title.

Bride of the Monster does one thing, which is, warn us mad scientists against trusting our minions to have your back when a lady is involved. So much for mad scientist’s best friend.

Ubterwyf

How Vati Doktor Did It: Bride of Re-Animator (1989)

Now here is a movie with some substance. Firstly, there is not one, but two mad scientists, Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) and Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). I was sure this movie would have some answers for me. And lo, it did! Plus there is plenty of glowing reagent, freak abominations of living body pieces, and hubris that only Jeffrey Combs can embody: “I will not be shackled by the failures of your God.”

Hmmm! Now there’s a mad scientist, mad scientist!

If you love him so much why don’t you marry him?

Shut up, brain, or I’ll stab you with a glass stirring rod.

Anyway…

Like Bride of Frankenstein, in Bride of Re-Animator the two doctors are attempting to construct a woman. Dr. Cain and Dr. West’s creation is more than just random parts, though there are plenty of those, too. What makes her so special is that she starts with the heart of Dr. Cain’s beloved Megan Halsey. Moreover, as a kind of icing on the bridal cake, Dr. West secures the head of Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont), a patient Dr. Cain had recently become emotionally attached to but lost.

What a guy!

Also like in Bride of Frankenstein, bride of re-animator (the woman creature lacks a name) does not show up until later in the movie. Unlike Bride of Frankenstein, she is the actually part of the  plot, so Dr. Cain and Dr. West are working on her throughout the movie. Once she is re-animated she has more than 5 minutes of screen time, too.

Sadly, it turns out that as perfect as bride of re-animator may have been, exposed muscles and metal braces holding her skeleton together notwithstanding, Dr. Cain finds something far more attractive in regular old Francesca (Fabiana Udenio), a woman made the old fashioned way, the temporary hormonal imbalance culminating in the sharing of DNA fluids.

Sigh. All that work wasted. Well, there is the cat fight between bride of re-animator and Francesca for Cain’s love. It ends with bride of re-animator tearing out her heart, shrieking, “Is this what you want?” (See the middle picture in the main image.) That was sweet.

Interestingly, just like monster boyfriends, monster girlfriends suffer from homicidal jealously, or in other words, if bride of re-animator cannot have Cain, no one will.

Maybe Capt. Robbins was onto something with the not tampering in Gods blah, blah, blah stuff.

 


 

So what is the take away? One, monster boyfriends are hateful creatures. Two, never trust your minion when a woman is involved, no matter how much he says he enjoys being chained to the water heater in the basement. Three, even if one does manage to build the perfect woman, starting with the most tender part of one’s most beloved, as it turns out a good old fashioned girl will win out in the end.

What if you don’t have a good old fashioned girl to win? Well, you can do like I did. Netflix and chill, with yourself.

Oct

posted by admin | October 22, 2013 | 50's b-movies, Drama, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

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The Hitch-Hiker
1953 – Not Rated – Kino Lorber

You’re traveling down a lonely road so void of any life it may as well be a painting. Out of a nowhere like a mirage, a figure seems to be standing still, arm out and thumb extended. You decide to be a good Samaritan and give the drifter a ride. After all, what’s the worse that could happen? Next thing you know, your vehicle is void of any signs of life. Only traces of blood in the driver’s side with a bullet casing in the passenger’s.

This is the kind of fear that The Hitch-Hiker induces. Although it’s not a PSA (though it could be an effective one), it illustrates a ‘your worst nightmare’ scenario when picking up a vagabond. The film immediately puts you in a vice and doesn’t let go until it’s finished. It’s what you immediately think of when you hear “Film-Noir”. It’s dark, it’s dirty and it’s white knuckled. Also interesting to note, it’s directed by Ida Lupino and keep in mind that it was unheard of to have a woman direct back then, especially a crime drama as zealous as this!

Emmett Myers has been hitching for some time. The bronze is hot on his trail, but he remains a step ahead as he leaves a trail of victims, told via spinning newspapers on Lazy Susan’s. Which brings us to our unlucky duo, Roy and Gil, on their way to the Chocolate Mountains for a fishing trip… or so they told their wives. They’re in Mexico when we meet them, passing up a cat house and running smack dab into Emmett on the side of the road, giving him a lift. Their trip instantly turns sour at this moment, as he draws a gun on them when Roy offers him a smoke (this could make a great anti-smoking ad). Emmett immediately takes control, ordering them about and showing that he’s a seasoned veteran at this. Holding them hostage with his gun from the backseat, I can’t help but think of that scene from Pulp Fiction where Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face (throughout the movie, I kept waiting for this to happen). He asks them questions about their lives, what they do and ridiculing their answers, proving he is inside their heads and tells them he intends to kill them once they reach their destination. The look on their faces tells you they know their situation and they know they are over a barrel.

hh_2Knowing that a car ride would get boring (after all, there are only so many times you can sing ’99 Bottles of Beer’), Emmett plays games with his pawns. While pulled over to check the map, Emmett showcases his marksmanship by shooting a tin off a rock from several yards away! Look out, Billy the Kid! He does this with Gil standing nearby, which I’m sure browned his britches. Just having learned that Roy is somewhat of a sharpshooter himself, he directs him to shoot the tin out of Gil’s hand. Remember that scene from The Jackal where Bruce Willis has Jack Black hold up the pack of cigarettes? Kinda reminds me of that.

As they travel across the desert fleeing the authorities, they learn they are being looked for in the Arizona desert. However, they were traveling across the Mexican border. Emmett taunts Roy and Gil for lying to their wives about what they are actually doing and this is a subplot that comes to a halt, as it’s never mentioned again after this. We never really learn what Gil and Roy are doing way out that way, other than a few lines of dialogue. It’s acceptable though, as it doesn’t really chew away at the back of your brain, due to the film’s quick and energetic pace. We jump from one muscle tensing dilemma to the next, but it never becomes incoherent.

After a few hair raising close calls with a few locals, Roy and Gil decide they need to flee or it’s curtains for sure. Waiting for Emmett to sleep, they run off into a field and into an opening. However, Emmett was only playing possum, fooling them with his bum eye and nearly runs them down in the car after Gil trips and falls like a woman in a slasher film. Hopefully he didn’t break a heal.

The closer they get to their destination, the closer they are to their impending doom, Gil starts giving up hope. Acting as if he were already dead, Roy has to push him with the small sliver of hope that they can still make it out of this alive. Cops hot on their tail, Emmett switches clothes with Gil (now disguising himself as a doughy, middle aged man) in the final attempt to take a ferry to his salvation. Seems like them Duke boys sure have themselves in quite the pickle!

The Hitch-Hiker
Where was the Jam Handy informational short for this scenario? Based off the actual event in 1950 where a man named Billy Cook murdered a family of five and then was captured after leaving a deputy for dead, makes this movie all that more shocking. It adds a whole other dimension of gut wrenching realism to the film, like another layer of darkness. It’s enough to make anyone paranoid of picking up a stranger. For a short run time of seventy one minutes, The Hitch-Hiker certainly keeps you in suspense and will surprise you. Although the ending does wrap everything up nice and neat, it’s still has a lurid manner throughout the duration and I wasn’t sure what to expect. So take a joy ride with this one and pick up The Hitch-Hiker from Kino Lorber. This is one hitcher that won’t creep you out with stories of Nam or conspiracy theories.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Spinning newspapers, always a classic.
  • Viva La Me-hee-co!
  • Lazy eye.
  • Gil: The human lump of bread dough.
  • Shooting competition.
  • Emmett bossy boots.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Very little, but the shear idea of violence behind this scenario is pretty disturbing.

0

blood

BREASTS

None, unless you count Gil.

7

beast

BEASTS

Emmett is one sick puppy.

4.3 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by admin | October 15, 2013 | 50's b-movies, Drama, Horror movies, Reviews by the Goon, Suspense

Comments Off on House of Wax

House of Wax
1953 – Not Rated – Warner Bros.

They stare at you with lifeless eyes that seem to follow you no matter where you go, wax sculptures are pretty damn creepy. Or maybe it’s how real and unassuming they are and that they could grab you as you pass by. It could be a million reasons, most of them I don’t know, but they get under your skin. I’m surprised more movies don’t feature killer wax people, but maybe it’s because the bar was set a little too high in House of Wax.

A remake of the 1933 film Mystery of the Wax Museum, this film opens up and escalates to speculative and terrifying quickly. Very quickly. Professor Henry Jarrod (played by Vincent Price) masterfully sculpts wax figures that are so lifelike, you would swear that they were palpable. Among his collection, he hails his Marie Antoinette to be his masterpiece. He walks around talking to his sculptures, seemingly having private conversations with them. As this scene goes on, you are becoming more and more aware of how quiant and detached from humanity he is. He seems pretty batty, but most great artists weren’t exactly sane. Jarrod could make a fortune if he were to “sell out”, which his business partner Matthew Burke encourages him to do. But Jarrod is in it for the art, not the money and if we learned anything from Aliens, anyone named Burke is all about the fame and fortune. He starts dumping gasoline all over the place like he has more important things to do, intending to torch it and cash in the insurance policy. Before they can discuss it, like a true pyro, he sets the place ablaze. He was that confident it was a solid plan, that he didn’t even need to think it through. Or maybe he likes to burn buildings down. Either way, Jarrod reasonably becomes enraged and desperately attempts to save his sculptures as they melt like cheese, eyeballs falling out of their heads. After being attacked by Jarrod, Burke fights him and throws gasoline all over Jarrod, leaving him to die in the fire.

how_3Time passes and Burke seems to be living it up. That is, until he’s murdered by a disfigured man, along with his fiance, Cathy. Cathy’s friend Sue Allen happens to find her carcass there with the disfigured man hovering over it and chases her out the window and down the street (cue Benny Hill music). She manages to escape the horror and inform the police. It’s then that they are discovering that Cathy’s body, along with several others, have disappeared from the morgue. Who would steal bodies? With the McRib making a comeback, it would make sense that McDonald’s could be the culprit, but we all know they use former boy band members. Could it be that Jarrod survived and is exacting revenge? Nah, that would be crazy.

Well, I guess it is crazy since eighteen months pass and it seems Jarrod has opened a new wax museum called “Chamber of Horrors” that showcases horrific crimes in history… and current ones, as Burke’s death is displayed there. However, Jarrod didn’t escape unharmed. He’s bound to a wheelchair and no longer has use of his hands. He’s assisted by a deaf-mute, Igor (Charles Bronson). I was kinda hoping he would have a hump on his back, but I guess that’s a different Igor. So, who’s making this wonderful statues? He has hired a top sculptor, Leon, who is basically like the Michael Jackson of sculpting. The movie has slowed down the pace noticeably by this point as Scott, who has grown fond of Sue Allen, decides to take her mind of her recent tragedies and takes her on a tour of the wax museum that showcases horrific murders. Sue Allen can’t help but feel uneasy by the Joan of Arc display, noticing that it bears an uncanny resemblance to her recently deceased friend Cathy, right down to her pierced ears. You can probably tell where this is going, but it’s the journey getting there that makes this movie shocking and fun to watch. Jarrod becomes hypnotically charmed by her and seems to think she would make the perfect model of Marie Antoinette. Finding that Scott also happens to be a sculptor (geez, how many sculptors are there?), he offers him a job based on that reason. Way to play, playa.

But that Joan of Arc sculpture sure has given Sue Allen the heebie jeebies. Bringing the police along with her to the wax museum, they take note that John Wilkes Booth looks an awful lot like a murdered city official whose body is missing. Eh, it’s probably a coincidence.

how_4Taking a Scooby Doo style approach, Sue checks out the museum and takes a closer look at the Joan of Arc sculpture (how infatuated is this woman?). But she accidentally knocks the wig off and sees the blonde hair underneath, coming to the conclusion that it looks like Cathy, because IT IS Cathy! Oh, if it weren’t for you meddling kids. This is actually quite a shocking turn. I suppose next they are going to reveal that Jarrod can actually walk and is only pretending to be handicapped… Well, son of a…

In one of the coolest effects ever, Jarrod finally grabs hold of Sue and she begins to give him a rap on the brow repeatedly as his face shatters away to reveal that he was the disfigured man committing all the murders! Meanwhile this is happening, Leon is rolling over on Jarrod to the police, revealing everything and basically handing him on a platter. Little advice to all you inspiring criminals out there: If you’re gonna go in business with someone, make sure you can trust them not to reveal your plot to the authorities. Cats out of the bag now! The Police and Scott make haste to rescue Sue before she becomes a wax statue and end this movie on a positive note.

House of Wax
Not only is House of Wax the first color 3-D picture to be shot by an American studio, it’s also one of the first horror roles Vincent Price starred in and right away, you can tell he has a knack for it. From the first moment you see him have a conversation with a lifeless sculpture, you can feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. And he does this even before he has the makeup on! There is a good reason he is known as “The Merchant of Menace.” It’s been said a million times and it goes without saying, but I’m going to go ahead and say it: This is without a doubt one of the best horror classics. It’s a true insight into how frightening these actors could play their characters, how special effects could shock you and how dark and violent a movie can be without gore. If you haven’t seen it, shame on you. It’s been sixty years, for crying out loud! Just don’t watch the 2005 remake. It’ll make your skin melt… and it has Paris Hilton.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • We don’t need no water, let the mother burn.
  • Vincent Price, Street Brawler.
  • “Hanging” around.
  • Pre-Freddy Krueger.
  • Braindead Bronson.
  • Is there a sculptor in the house?
  • Bikini wax of death!
  • Wheelchair Psyche.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

No blood, but wax sculptures melt in a way that will make your stomach turn.

2

blood

BREASTS

This was made before boobs were invented.

9

beast

BEASTS

If Charles Bronson as a menacing thug ain’t spooking ya, Vincent Price sure will.

5.3 OVERALL
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Mar

posted by Barry Goodall | March 18, 2013 | 50's b-movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Guest Review, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Killers from Space (a Guest Review by Blake Lindsey)

Killers from Space

Like many of my favorite B-films, Killers from Space is vintage sci-fi. Directed by W. Lee Wilder (aka “The Other Wilder,” legendary director Billy Wilder’s older and less talented brother), written by his son Myles Wilder, and starring a young Peter Graves and the babely Barbara Bestar, the film is a classic “alien invader’s evil plan” flick.
Killers is straight out of the Ed Wood school of film-making: bad modeling, cheesy sets, and over 10 mins. total of stock footage, mostly from early 50s US military sources. It has its charms though, not the least of which is faithfully reflecting its era: cigarette vending machines in the hallways of a hospital; period language (the observation planes during the A-bomb test are designated “Tarbaby 1,” “Tarbaby 2,” etc.); frequent visual references to then-President Eisenhower and the American flag, and even the presence of one of Mr. Hoover’s steely-eyed “G-men.” No atheistic, closet Hollywood Commies made this picture, by God!

Killers from SpaceDuring an atomic bomb test (cleverly code-named “Operation A-Bomb Test”), the observation plane carrying Dr. Douglas Martin (Peter Graves) is pulled down by a mysterious light on the desert floor. Everyone assumes he died in the crash until he shows up a few days later, wandering weak and disoriented around base with a new (but completely healed) scar on his chest. He is subsequently released from the hospital after his identity is confirmed by G-Man Briggs (Steve Pendleton), but he is put on medical leave for the time being, all the while having disturbing visions of eyes. After incidents of odd behavior noticed by friends and his wife, Ellen (Barbara Bestar), and then some treasonous but very amateurish espionage (he left the Classified Information vault door open when he left—really), he flees but is captured and fed sodium amytal (“truth serum”) and it is revealed that he has been hypnotized by aliens residing in caverns under the desert floor not far from the test site. According to the aliens, he died in the crash and they recovered his body, installing a new heart (hence the unexplained scar). He is the only one who believes this, of course, the others suspecting insanity on his part.

Killers from SpaceThe aliens (I call them “Feldmanites”) came to Earth via a “electron bridge” to annihilate its current biosphere and start from scratch. Their own sun is dying, and although they waged genocidal invasions against their own neighboring planets to escape the doom of their home world—Astron Delta— it is not enough. They need Earth for their 1 billion population, and they need to clear its biosphere before taking over (the fact that they are creating a dead planet in order to escape their own dead planet is not explored in the film). They have been collecting and storing electrons from the US government’s A-bomb tests, holding “several billion electron volts” in “nucleo-storage units” to achieve this goal, but their power grid is dangerously overloaded as they have been siphoning electricity from the local power station. The Feldmanites have also been breeding giant mutated insects and reptiles for their “ethnic cleansing” campaign, as we know because the film spends almost 4 minutes of filler time showing us over and over again accompanied by bad audio effects.

Fortunately for our species, Martin figures out that he can foil the Feldmanites’ evil scheme by simply shutting down the power grid at the generating plant for a few seconds, thus releasing all of their stored “electrons” in an unscheduled A-bomb test of his own—death by circuit-breaker. His plan succeeds after some sleepy action scenes at a power plant, and the film closes (appropriately) with stock footage of an atomic bomb exploding as the “nucleo-storage” batteries go.
While this film is low on the 3-B scale and has a plot with some astonishing inconsistencies, it’s very entertaining with its obvious eye fetish and a great period piece if you enjoy early-50s schlock.

roadside attractions

  • Historical stock footage
  • We Like Ike
  • Eye fetishists
totals

-2

blood

BLOOD

I’ve seen more gore in a Disney film; there’s not even a shooting.

0

blood

BREASTS

We don’t get to see the bestar of Barbara, alas; this was the early 50’s when decent, red-blooded Americans didn’t have sex or even drop a button or two

3

beast

BEASTS

Giant mutated insects and lizards; aliens with Marty Feldman’s DNA pattern

1.0 OVERALL
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About the Highway

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