October 30, 2011

Horror Harvest.



The B-Movie Blitzkrieg in association with Mystic Fetus Comic presents a brand new comic that deals with all those classic and not so classic Horror movies of the past and the present: Horror Harvest!  Be sure to swing on by and check it out starting on Halloween!

June 29, 2011

Blitzkrieg Intermission: Drawing The Addams Family House Part 1: The Research


There was a point in my life when I wanted to be an Architect. Even went so far as taking a year worth of classes in college chasing after that career. Well things went in a different, and poorer, direction for me, but I still like to draw houses as a hobby.

But drawing a 3 bedroom/ 2 bath ranch is pretty boring. No one wants to see that. Instead we need to find something different and strange to draw. And what is more strange and different then the Addams Family's Mansion. 

Now this floor plan has been done before...kinda.


The plan of the Addams Family Home by Mark Bennett appeared in the LA Times in 1995, and later in his book TV Sets: Fantasy Blueprints of Classic TV Homes, A book that I myself own. The plan is pretty good, but it does have it's problems. This blueprint is based almost solely on the interior sets. Problem was, the sets didn't match up with the exterior shots used for the show. 


The shot above is a composite shot an an actual house in LA used for the exterior shot, and matte painting used to add the "spooky" elements to the shot, like the dead trees and bent antenna. This same shot was then painted over again to make and even spookier looking version later on in the series, but it still pretty much looked like the above house. Sadly the actual house that was used for these shots has been torn down and no longer exists for us to go to and see.

One of the major problems with Mr. Bennett's plan is that the bay that makes up the base of the tower on the first floor is missing in his plan, even though it can clearly be seen on the exterior shots. Funny enough the bay is present on his second floor plan. There is of course a simple reason for this mistake, and that is that Mr. Beenett was sticking to sets more then the exterior shots and so he drew the foyer as it appeared in the show, which conflicted with how the house looked on the outside.



Above you can see the foyer and front door. Note the flat wall and window on the wall behind Gomez. This feature contradicts the exterior shots as this is where the bay should be. So Mr. Bennett had to combine the elements and used the set as the rule, instead of the location shots. 

Another problem comes in the fact that left side of the house is far to long. If you look at the plan and match the fireplace and bay window on this side of the house you'll find the wall past these two parts is far too long compared to the exterior shot. At least 2-3 times too long in fact. As I don't have the show on DVD, (Passed on them when they were 10 bucks a season at Wal-Mart and have been kicking myself since.) I don't know if this part of his plan was based on something from the show or not. I do know the playroom showed up, but that also has it's share of problems.


This was the kids "playroom" that Mr. Bennett put on the first floor. I actually have see this room in a couple of episodes of this show I caught on TV Land a few years back. It is my belief that this room is actually in the basement of the home. I base this one the brick walls, and how high the base of the window is from the floor. This just looks like a basement room, and I actually think that's is were it belongs on the plan. That would cut a lot of length off the left side, but still not enough I think.



Another source could be the model kit made at the height of the shows popularity in the 60's. Although a quick look over the kit shows that is all squashed and pushed together to make it smaller (and thus cheaper) to produce. So using the model for use in figure out dimensions of the actual house is a pretty bad idea. Although the box does give us a good look at the colors of the house (or at least the color the house was in the minds eye). Which is useful given that the show was in black and white. Doesn't help me draw the plan, but still neat never the less. 

So at the end of the day all I have is the black and white screen grabs of the exterior of the house from the show. I'm still trying to figure out the scale of those photos, but since there isn't any object of known dimensions in the shots it is making it difficult. (Man I wish they hadn't tore that house down). The rear of the house is a complete mystery. Although a member over at Paper models.com made a drawing of what he thought the back of the house would look like, and while it is not set accurate, I do really like and will be trying to use it for my own plan once I get it started.

At the end of the day I will probably be trying to draw both versions of the house. One plan based on the sets very similar to Mr. Bennett's and another based on the exterior of the house using the drawing above as the back. Keep checking here to see the progress.





April 1, 2011

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Today's movie is real bad one...maybe the worst I've ever seen. It was the brain child of this guy named George Lucas. Apparently this Lucas  made a few go-no-where movies in the 70's and 80's. Course Lucas only came up with the story. It was directed by this fella Steven Spielberg, who is best know for directing the 1971 made for TV movie Duel. He probably should have stopped there, but he didn't.

Synopsis: A college professor of archeology, is contracted out by the U.S. government to stop the Nazi's from getting their hand on the lost Ark of the Covenant in 1936.

All you have to do is read what I wrote above and know this movie has some major problems. Alright, a college professor is going to fight Nazis. I've seen college professors before and most look like they couldn't fight off a bad cold, let alone the entire Third Reich. And get this, he fights them with ....wait for it....A WHIP! So I guess he is also into some kind of weird S&M stuff. Oh he's gonna punish those Nazis good...and well they are German, so they might like it. Germans are into weird stuff.

I mean I guess this movie hold together OK, but geez this dude is getting into a fight with someone every five minutes it seems. No one can actually kill the guy,though. I guess having bad aim is required to be part of the Nazis. The ending is also kinda anti-climatic and reeks of Deus Ex Machina. And I was hoping for a big finish, but it wasn't to be found in this movie.I guess that truck chase was big, but it was like way back near the end of the 2nd act!

It's kinda sad...I mean if these two guys could have made a good movie, then I'm sure they'd both have long careers. And I don't think they'd be like some writers or directors who start to lose their touch and stop listening to their fans. Then start mucking with their perfectly fine movies, and making these movies that only they really like, but since they are so rich they don't care if anyone else likes them or not. No, I'm sure they'd have long careers and many many happy fans.

There were a couple of sequels to this movie, but I'd never heard of them before I stumbled on this one. They probably went straight to video. So I popped them in and the next two are just as bad as this one, but the fourth one was alright. Too bad it didn't have more to work with. I might review those at some point too if I can sit through them.

Raiders of the Lost Ark gets a 1 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

March 21, 2011

Prince of Space (1959)

The B-Movie Blitzkrieg is back from a little extended break. It was an unintentional one as I came down sick, and then the events in Japan kept me glued to the TV, not watching bad movies, but looking for any news on the disaster there. And it was that time watching the suffering in Japan that made me decide to do a whole week of Japanese movies.

And all this week as I review these movies I'm going to be putting up links to charities that can where you the reader can help out the victims in Japan.

So if you enjoy today's review, and want to help be sure to text REDCROSS to 90999 to give a ten dollar donation. You can also donate directly at the Red Cross's website at http://www.american.redcross.org

Now on to today's movie: Prince of Space.

Synopsis: When the evil Phantom of Krankor decides to invade Earth it's up to the alien super hero Prince of Space to stop him and raise two adopted kids as his mild mannered alter ego shoe shine boy.

If I could sum up this movie with one single sentence it would be "Your weapons have no effect one me." Because that's what our hero says constantly all through this movie. Thing is he still ducks and dodges when people shoot at him. Apparently these lines about the weapons having no effect were not in the Japanese version of the film. Why they were added to the English dub is anyone's guess.

This movie great. I really love this kind of Japanese cinema. Be they giant monster movies, or the super hero fair like today, they are almost always more fun then their American counterparts. The Japanese have turned these style of a movies into a science, a formulaic science, but a science none-the-less.

Prince of Space gets a 5 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

March 9, 2011

The Wasp Woman (1960)

It was only a matter of time before we got to another Roger Corman movie. He is, after all, the King of B-Movies. Today's offering is The Wasp Woman, a movie that shows the true dangers of trying to be pretty...and that danger is turning into a giant insect. 

Synopsis: When a model and cosmetic company owner finds her sales slipping as she begins to age, she enlists the help of a mad scientist who promises to return her to youth through the use of a Queen Wasp's royal jelly. The treatment, however, has one side effect...it changes it's user into a Wasp Woman.

This movie is a pretty text book B-Movie. Weak plot, actors phoning it in, bad mask and special effects, and a message. What is that message? "Women are nuts." Actually no. It's probably more like "Be happy with how you are.", but it sure does come across like "Women are nuts".  Or the message could be "You have to be pretty, no matter what!" Cause that's the credo our protagonist goes by, but then she turns into a giant wasp, so don't listen to her.

The Wasp Woman get a 3 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time see you on the front line.

-Matt


March 8, 2011

Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)

You know I didn't live through the 70's. I'm still trying to figure out if that's a bad thing or a blessing in disguise. If today's movie Invasion of the Bee Girls is any indication, it was the latter.

Synopsis: A Mad Scientist is transforming beautiful women into killers who seduce men and then make love to them till they die.

A little known fact about this movie is that it was written by Nicholas Myers, the same man that directed what is considered by many to be the best of the Star Trek movies: Wrath of Khan.

The quality of Khan, however, doesn't shine through on this thing. It's more one of those movies that have a weak plot to support seeing boobs constantly. I half expected the pizza boy to show up and some house wife not have the money to pay for it. I'm exaggerating there, but it's not far off.

The why of the killings here is a little fuzzy. It's more of a just cause type thing I think. The message I take away from this movie is that sex is bad. It sends the message that desire to have sex makes men rape random women, and that if you have sex you'll die. I'm sure this movie was written because of the scary nature of sex and STD's that was just coming to the front of the American consciousness in the 70's.  We had just come off the free wheeling 60's and entered a time when sex really could kill you, and the shadow of AIDs was just around the corner.

I think this movie was trying to have a serious message, but it's silly nature makes taking anything away from this movie almost impossible. In the end it doesn't really succeed as a message movie, or a Sci-Fi film. It's only real purpose seems to be to get a cheap thrill out of seeing boobies, which was much harder to do in 1973 then it is now.

Invasion of the Bee Girls gets a 2 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

March 7, 2011

The Sadist (1963)

I picked this movie to watch based solely on one man...and that man is Arch Hall Jr. If you don't know who he is, then I'll tell you. Hall was the "Hero" (if you can call him that.) of the cult movie Eegah! Now Mr. Hall didn't make many movies and so when I saw his name on this one I just had to check it out, and it didn't let me down.

Synopsis: When three school teacher's car breaks down while traveling through rural California, on their way to a Dodgers game, they find themselves at the mercy of a spree killer who torments them while forcing them to repair their car. 


Arch Hall Jr. is suppose to be the star of this movie, but when it comes to making this a cheesy movie he really shines in this movie. His performance as Charlie, the crazed killer, is so over the top that it makes it almost laughable. I mean it's something that has to be seen to believed, but I found it hard not to laugh at some of the lines he spouts out in the course of this movie. It's just great. How I had never heard of this movie before is beyond me.

Apparently this is one of those based on actual events movies. Turns out this movie is based on the spree killings of Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend Carol Ann Fugate. Other movies of note based on the same events are Badlands, Natural Born Killers, True Romance, and oddly The Frighteners.

The Sadist is a little too serious to be a really good B-Movie. If it wasn't for the performance of Arch Hall Jr, this movie wouldn't be any fun at all. As it stands it is still worth a look see.

The Sadist gets a 2 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.


-Matt

March 6, 2011

War of the Robots (1978)

Ah at last we come to the last of what I've come to call the Italian Sci-Fi Trilogy. The other two movies in this trilogy are of course Cosmos: War of the Planets, and Star Odyssey. Now when I say that they are trilogy, I don't mean the stories have anything to do with each other. They don't. But the movies use a lot of the same effects, and costumes so they all look the same. War of the Robots is the middle movie of the trilogy coming out in 1978.


Synopsis: When a Professor and his assistant, who are working on special reactor on earth, are kidnapped by Aliens, a ship is sent out to rescue them and return to earth before the reactor they built explodes.

God bless this movie. It is the typical middle child. It's not nearly as aged and wise as Cosmos: War of the Planets, and not nearly as out there, and wacky as Star Odyssey, but it does try to hold it's own. It's really not clear what movie this film is trying to rip off. Sometimes it seems that is ripping off 2001, at other times it seems to trying to rip off Star Wars. It goes from watching a guy repair a circuit in space for fifteen minutes, to super fast paced gun battles at almost exactly the half way point. I have my own theory about this. I think that while they were shooting this movie Star Wars came out and hit big, and thus they adjusted this movie to this new style of action adventure Sci-Fi about half way through. Lightsabers even show up near the end of this movie.

This movie actually holds together the best of the three movies that make up this trilogy of sorts. The story doesn't get off track too much, characters actually take actions that make sense and there is a reason our heroes go on a daring rescue in deep space other then "just cause." It's sad this movie gets lost among the other two. I mean this is the only one of the three movies that doesn't have a page on Wikipedia. You put in War of Robots there and you get a Doctor Who novel. From a story stand point this is the probably the strongest of the three, even though I still have a soft spot for the super silliness that is Stay Odyssey.

War of the Robots gets a 4 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

March 5, 2011

Hands of Steel (1986)

This movie goes by a lot names: Vendetta dal futuro, Atomic Cyborg, Arms of Steel, and Return of the Terminator, but the version we are looking at today is called Hands of Steel. 

Synopsis: In not to distant future (1997) an assassin fails to kill a top political leader and then goes rogue. He quickly finds himself running from both the law and the men who sent him to kill. But this killer is more then meets the eye and the men who created him will stop and nothing to see him destroyed.

What's kinda funny about this movie is that they try to hide the fact that the guy is a robot through most of the movie, problem is that with  titles like "Atomic Cyborg" and "Return of the Terminator", the titles doesn't make the same effort. Even "Hands of Steel" is telling, but just not as bad. And I mean look at the poster...it's like saying "Hi! I'm a robot." 

You know what else is cool about this movie? It's a "good guy"Terminator story that was made in 1986, 5 years before 1991's Terminator 2 did it. Course it would be hard to make this guy bad because his name is Paco. I mean Paco? Really? And that's even with English dub. You'd think they'd give him a more bad ass name like "Brick Steel." or "Todd", but nope....Paco. 

This movie s good example of cheese in the 1980's. Like many other Italian films for the time it's just a rip off of another movie and I'm sure you all guessed which movie that is....that's right: Short Circuit. Nah, I kid. It's Terminator. I do it give it credit for bringing something new to the table with the killing machine turned good though. 

Hands of Steel gets a 4 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line. 

-Matt 




March 4, 2011

The Day the Sky Exploded (1961)

It's always kinda funny to look at pre-moon landing space race movies. Knowing what has happened, it's so odd to see what people thought might happen in the future. The Day The Sky Exploded is kinda like that, with a single man in an atomic powered rocket making the journey to the moon, instead of the three men in a chemical powered rocket that we know made the journey.

Synopsis: When an manned atomic rocket to the moon malfunctions, the pilot ejects in the capsule sending the atomic motor off into space where it explodes in the asteroid belt sending a life ending meteor hurtling towards earth.

There is some debate on which country lays claim to this movie. The Italians claim it as their first Sci-Fi movie. The Germans, on the other hand, also claim this movie as their own. The truth is probably some where in between, as the film has a lot of both German and Italian actors in it. I'd lean more toward the Italians having the claim though since the original language it was filmed in was Italian.

If this is an Italian film then it's a lot better then their later attempts at Sci-Fi in the 70's and 80's. It's really pretty decent and if it had been made in America it might have been up there with the other great Sci-Fi films of that era. Sadly it wasn't and thus was pushed to the back burner of films. Thing is this movie is actually too good. It is missing the cheesiness and goofiness needed to make a really great B-Movie. After all that's the fun of these kinds of film. That hurts it as a movie to laugh at it's absurdities, but that's also a good thing as it can be looked at as a far more serious film.

The Day the Sky Exploded gets a 4 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

March 3, 2011

Cosmos: War of the Planets (1977)

From the makers of Star Odyssey comes  Cosmos: War of the Planets. Actually it should be said from the makers of Cosmos comes Star Odyssey, because this is actually the first of the Italian space trilogy that all shared sets, costumes, and props. This movie is of course a rip off of a big Hollywood movie, and that movie isn't Star Wars, but 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Synopsis: When a exploration craft is attacked by Alien space craft while investigating a strange planet, they have to crash land. On the surface of the planet they find a group of Aliens that have been enslaved by a evil super computer, and now they are trapped on the planet by it as well. 

The plot of this movie isn't actually that bad. The special effects are pretty good as well. This movie does lack the silly charm of Star Odyssey, and tries to tell a more serious and less swashbuckling tale then that movie does. I actually think that makes this movie not as good. It will never be able to compete with those big name movies, so all it has is it's silly charm and with a lot less of that in this film it suffers a little.

Cosmos: War of Planets gets a 3 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

March 2, 2011

Warning From Space (1956)

I just love Sci-Fi movies from Japan, they just seem more fun. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the dubbing, the over the top creature design, or even more laughable special effects then their American counterparts, but they just make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. And Warning from Space is no different.

Synopsis: Aliens take the form of humans and descend to earth to warn the people that a rogue planet flying through space will soon impact the Earth. 

I've noticed a difference in Japanese movies from this era and their American equivalents. In American film the aliens are usually out to take over the world and humans must fight overwhelming odds to save the planet. This seemed to be exstenstion of the fear brought on by the cold war and the threat posed by the Soviet Union.

In Japan the aliens tend to be good guys here to help, or if  there is an evil alien, then there is a good one as well. It is never the aliens, however, that save the day in the end. It is usually good old Japanese know how that saves the planet from impending doom. I'm guessing it's a difference in culture.

Warning From Space gets a 4 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

March 1, 2011

They Came From Beyond Space (1967)

Today's movie is actually based on a book. No joke. The book in question is called "The Gods Hate Kansas." Since "They Came From Beyond Space" is set in England, I'm guessing that there a differences between the movie and the book, but since I've never read the book I don't know that for sure.

Synopsis: When several meteors crash land in a field in England, the scientist are that are sent to investigate have their bodies taken over by aliens. The aliens quickly close off the area around the meteor, but one scientist is immune to the aliens due to a metal plate in his head and he sets out to find out what they are planing. 

This movie is a lot like invasion of the body snatchers, only in that movie the point of the Aliens was to take over the world, here their motives are a little more benign, as they are only trying to repair their ship and return home.

This movie is just kinda there. I can't say it's good, but I also can't really fault it either. It just sort of exists. There isn't anything to crazy about it, I mean other the aliens coming to Earth in the first place. Although the site of a guy wearing a metal basket on his head to keep the Aliens from controlling his mind is kinda funny, but it's really the only moment of complete silliness in this film.

They Came From Beyond Space gets 3 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 28, 2011

Prehistoric Women (1950)

We covered a movie about prehistoric women last time, with the review of the Wild Women of Wongo, but today's movie is literally Prehistoric Women.

Synopsis: A tribe of all women, who escaped the men of their tribe for being cruel, goes around capturing men to have their way with them. When Engor's band of hunters is captured, only he escapes. He soon returns to rescue his comrades, but himself becomes the slave of the leader of the tribe. 

It must have been easy for the actors on this movie. Not a single word of dialogue is spoken by them. Well unless you count their name and grunts. Apparently cave men were like Pokemon and had to communicate by only saying their name. So we get most of "story" from a narrator who tells us everything that is happening or is said. It's kinda like the Creeping Terror, only this time it was done on purpose and not cause some idiot lost half the audio tracks.

I also find it odd that they wasted color on such a low ball movie. This was the early 50's and color film was still really expensive, and wasn't to used on just any movie. Maybe that's why this one turned out so cheap, they spent all their money on the film and hoped the novelty of being in color would be enough to ensure good box office.

Strangely enough this movie was actually remade by Hammer Studios in 1967. I haven't seen that version, but I'm guessing this one at least stuck in the mind of some people in that Hammer thought they could make money off a remake instead of just making their own original cave girl movie. So maybe color film was enough for people to remember it.

Prehistoric Women gets a 3 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 27, 2011

Wild Women of Wongo (1958)

Beauty is on the inside...that is unless you live in Wongo. The Wild Women of Wongo shows that it doesn't really matter what you look like, as long as you are hot. It is a good lesson on how the world really works.

Synopsis: On the island of Wongo all the women are beautiful, but the men are all ugly. When the handsome son of the king of a neighboring island arrives to seek the help of the men of Wongo in holding back an invasion of Ape Men from the sea, the women instantly fall in love with him. The King's son likewise has never seen women as pretty as those of Wongo, as all the maidens of his tribe are ugly while all the men are handsome. The Women of Wongo soon decide to claim these handsome men for themselves!

The real lesson of this movie is don't be ugly. But really no one in this movie is a hideous beast. The men of Wongo aren't really ugly per-say, they just aren't as handsome as the men from the other island. It's the same for the women of the other island. Even the "Ape Men" aren't that ugly. I guess this is Hollywood ugly, which is different then normal ugly.

This is another one of those movies where it is just an excuse to sit in a theater and watch hot ladies bath and cat fight with each other. Doesn't really get much deeper then that. There are actually two WTF moments in this film. The first is this crazy narration from Mother Nature at the opening of the movie explaining how things got like this on the two islands. Turns out it was a little experiment she and Father Time cooked up. It's just really strange thing to start the film off with.

The second moment is that there is a talking bird giving commentary all through the movie. We are constantly getting cut aways to this bird who comes out will little smart ass quips about everything. He's even on the poster up there, word balloon and all.

Wild Women of Wongo gets a 3 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 26, 2011

She Gods of Shark Reef (1958)

Ah Roger Corman...let his name be praised. If you haven't guessed, he is he man that brought us today's film: The She Gods of Shark Reef!

Synopsis: When a gun smuggling operation goes wrong and the smuggler is forced to kill two guards, he stows away on his brother's boat to escape. But the ship crashes into a reef and the two brothers find themselves trapped on a island of nothing but pretty native girls who make a living by diving for huge pearls. While one brother falls in love, the others eyes are only on the pearls and a way to escape the island with them. 

This movie is really nothing more then an excuse to look at pretty native girls and oiled up buff guys. The plot, if it can be called that, is just there to make sure we get plenty of shots of that. There is a sub-plot about an angry god and how he punishes the native girls, but it's really a back burner thing...and an excuse to get the girls in even less cloths when some are sacrificed to the sharks.

She Gods of Shark Reef gets a 3 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 25, 2011

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

No, it's not the Invisible Man, it's his cheaper cousin The Amazing Transparent Man.

Synopsis: A crazed former Army man, breaks a master safe cracker out of prison. In exchange for his freedom, the safe cracker must steal nuclear material for him in order to make a army of invisible soldier to take over the world. To make sure the theft succeeds, he turns him invisible as well.
This movie is O.K. for an Invisible Man rip off, course it does amount to just a bunch of people talking to thin area while the actor shouts his lines at them from off camera. This is one of those great Atom Age movies. You know where everyone and their cousin either grew 50 feet, turned invisible, or became an unstoppable monster, thanks to good old  nuclear radiation. Now we know it just gives you the power  to die of cancer, but back then all things where possible with the help of the atom.

I'd suggest this movie to anyone that is interested in this area of films and all it's one of kind monster movies. In my opinion the 50's and 60's where the golden age of B-Movies and this film is a good example of exactly those kinds of films. If they wrote a text book on how to make these movies, this one would be right out of it. That isn't to say it doesn't have it's drawbacks. It's slow, and a little on the hard to swallow side at times. The effects where bad even for the time, let alone looking at them now. Course of that is to be expected from a B-movie. It's also more of a prison break and blackmail movie, then it is a Sci-Fi film.

The Amazing Transparent Man gets a 3 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 24, 2011

The Killer Shrews (1959)


"I'm Gonna cuff'em and stuff'em!" I so wish James Best had broke this line out when fighting The Killer Shrews. This movie also has has Festus from Gun Smoke, so if Best had broke out that line then I guess he would have had to have gone "Matthew!"

Synopsis: When a boat captain delivers supplies to a research facility on a lonely island, he becomes trapped with the rest of the researchers. Between him and his boat and escape are hundred of genetically altered giant shrews that are now starving and the only food left on the island are the humans.
This is one of those lesson movies that were big in the fifties and sixties. All kinds of messages about stuff like overpopulation and messing with nature. I will admit that this movie isn't that bad, but half the time I think the lesson might be on the evils of drink, since they are boozing it up about one very fifteen minutes. I don't know about you but if I was fighting for my life against giant shrews that would tear me open and eat me alive, the last thing I'd want to be was plastered.

February 23, 2011

The Screaming Skull (1958)


Did you know that if you die from fright while watching the Screaming Skull, that the producers will actually pay for your funeral? Don't worry though, that's not going to happen cause this movie isn't scary.

Synopsis: When Eric and his new wife Jenni move into the house that was shared by Eric and his first wife, who died at the home, Jenni begins to see and hear the ghostly Screaming Skull and believes she is being tormented by Eric's dead wife. 

If I could describe this movie in one word it wouldn't be frightening, or scary, or spine tingling (wait, that's two words), it would be boring. This move drags like Ru Paul. I zoned out after about the first fifteen minutes of this movie. I had to force myself to pay attention so I could write this review.

On top of being boring, it's also not all that scary. I mean maybe this is like 1958 scary or something. Maybe it didn't take as much scare people to death back then. I mean I remember hearing that people passed out watching The Exorcist, and I just can't imagine that either. I guess it could be the times. It's also just as possible that this movie was never scary to start with.

Screaming Skull gets 2 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

February 22, 2011

Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961)

Ah Japan, how good you are to me. If you haven't guessed today's movie, Invasion of the Neptune Men, is a nice little gem from Japan. This movie starred a very young Sonny Chiba, who went on to star in many a martial arts movie later on in his career, but here is playing the intergalactic super hero "Space Chief."

Synopsis:
When a group of school boys watching for a returning satellite instead stumble upon a landed alien space craft, they are almost taken prisoner by the Neptune Men, until Space Chief arrives to save the day. It is soon clear that the these invaders from another planet mean to take over the world and so Space Chief, and a group of scientist (One of which is Space Chief's alter ego) have to find a way to save the world.

I love these Japanese super hero movies. They are great. They are sort of like pre-Power Rangers. This movie's WTF moment comes when we get some WW2 stock footage to show the Neptune Men destroying the city. The thing is that one of the buildings has a huge picture of Hitler on the side and you are like "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?" I mean this movie is suppose to take place in the 60's, so you are telling me that in the 15 plus years since the end of the war no one though to take that down? Well good thing the Neptune Men blew it up. Other then that, the really crazy moments in this movie aren't really that crazy when you take into account it is a Japanese kids movie.

Invasion of the Neptune Men gets 4 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 21, 2011

The Magic Sword (1962)

I know that looks like He-Man over there,  but this isn't an entry for the live action Masters of the Universe movie. No, this is for the 1962 film "The Magic Sword." Like Manos, this this another film that was riffed on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Unlike Manos, this one is not that bad.

Synopsis: George has fallen in love with the Princess Helene, so when she is kidnapped by an evil Wizard named Lodac, who plans to fed her to his Dragon in seven days, he steals an enchanted steed, armor, and the magic sword in order to rescue her.

This movie is corny, but all movies from this time period were. There are a few moments, however, that make you wonder if you are having a bad acid trip, but really that is where this movie's charm lies. I actually really love this movie. It is one of those sit on the couch and veg movies. It reminds me of one of those Russian folklore movies made about this time as well. If you've never seen one of those...just wait I'm sure I'll review one here on this very blog.

The Magic Sword gets 4 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt
 

February 20, 2011

Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966)

I didn't know anything about this movie before I bought it, the title alone sold me. Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter is exactly that...Jesse James meets Frankenstein's granddaughter. Well the title was almost right.

Synopsis: When a stage coach robbery goes wrong and Jesse James' partner in crime takes a bullet to the chest, he goes into town to find a Doctor for him. Instead, he runs into the granddaughter of the famous Doctor Frankenstein who has fled to America in order to continue her late grandfather's experiments, and she plans to turn Jame's partner into her next monster. 

For such a crazy title this movie is a little on the bland side. The story actually makes a bit of sense, and it doesn't have any of those really "What the..." moment either. In fact the first half of this movie is a pretty straight forward western, and the latter half is a typical Frankenstein movie. It wasn't so much genre mixing as it was cutting two genre movies in half and taping their ends together.

Jesse James Meet's Frankenstein's Daughter gets a 3 out of 5 on the Cheese-On-Meter

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 19, 2011

Yongary: Monster From the Deep (1967)

A giant monster is terrorizing an Asian country, smashing buildings and spitting fire. Your mind instantly goes to Godzilla, but that's not who we are talking about today. No, today's movie is title Yongary: Monster From the Deep. And it's not even from Japan, it's a giant monster movie out of South Korea.

Synopsis: When a atom bomb is tested in the Middle East, it awakens a terrible monster which travels underground causing massive Earthquakes. When the monster surfaces he is right in the middle of South Korea and begins to reek havoc. 

This movie is actually pretty good. Just as good as any Godzilla movie. You're not expecting much coming in, but this movie is full of surprises. In fact the plot holds together a little better then some of it's Japanese counterparts. Anyway I'd suggest this movie to anyone that's a fan of the Kaiju genre and hasn't seen this film.

Yongary: Monster From the Deep gets a 4 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 18, 2011

Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)

Well I'm breaking my own rules. I said I didn't want to review movies that where already done by Mystery Science Theater 3000, but that really limits what I can do. That show had almost 200 episode and they did some of the best B-Movies out there. So, I figured if I was going to start reviewing movies done by MST3K then I should start with the 900lb Gorilla of them all...Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Synopsis:
A couple and their young child become lost while looking for a place called Valley Lodge and instead end up in the house of the Master of the evil cult of Manos, and his servant Torgo. The couple desperately try to escape, but there is no escape from the hands of fate. 

This movie has been called the worst movie ever made several times. It's not. I've seen far worse then this movie. It's bad, but not the end all beat all of B-Movies. Off the top of my head I can think of two movies, Monster a Go-Go, and Curse of the Headless Horseman, that are worse then Manos, and I'm sure there are several others as well. Despite not being the worse, Manos is still a must see for anyone who loves bad movies. Which is easy to do as the movie is in public domain, so there are tons of companies that market a DVD of this movie.

Manos: The Hands of Fate gets a 5 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 17, 2011

The Galaxy Invader (1985)

Alien comes to Earth. Alien kills Earthlings. Earthlings kills Alien. It's a tried and true formula and it's the formula that today's offering, The Galaxy Invader, follows...although with a very small budget.

Synopsis: After meteor falls outside a small town, people in the surrounding area start dying. The locals start try to hunt down the creature, while a scientist with an interest in UFO also tries to find the creature before they can destroy it.

The really funny thing about this movie is that the alien isn't really the star of this movie. The drunken, red neck, abusive father that only seems to have one torn to shreds shirt, is. I mean really this movie seems to be more about proving what a horrible human being this guy is then it is about some alien invader.

This movie is sort of like Beetlejuice, in that the title character really isn't in the movie as much as  you'd think. That is not to say this isn't a good B-Movie (which is far different from being just a good movie.) In fact I'd say this is almost a perfect B-movie. This movie has everything it should. Bad acting, wandering plot, over the top character, and stuff that makes you scratch your head and wonder. That makes for a fun movie to sit down and laugh at it's absurdities

The Galaxy Invader gets a 5 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

 

February 16, 2011

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)


Sometimes the B moves in mysterious ways. This is one of those times. I was sitting around minding my own business trying to decide what movie to review next. As I was channel surfing and thinking this problem over, fate took it out of my hands when I turned to IFC. Wouldn't you know what was on, but the B-Movie 1977 classic "Kingdom of the Spiders." starring none other then William Shatner. I took this as a sign and so here is my review of said movie.

Synopsis: When a local rancher's cows start to die they call in the local Vet played by William Shatner. What they discover is that Spiders have been killing the livestock, and now they've set their sights  on the human population of the town.

This movie is famous, but only because of it's star William Shatner. Star Trek had been off the air for awhile, but TJ Hooker was still a few years off so it was a low point for the Shat man when he did this movie. Although he does it with the Shatner flair that has made him famous.

I'll be honest there are other "Spider Invasion" movies out there that I like better, most notably "The Giant Spider Invasion." Kingdom is, however, about a hundred times better then "Eight Legged Freaks." So it falls someplace between those two extremes. When you take Shatner's overacting, and how serious this movie seems to take it's self despite it's subject matter it does make for a pretty enjoyable watch.

Kingdom of the Spiders gets a 4 out of 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 15, 2011

The Head (1962)

Today's movie, The Head, comes to us from Germany. You don't see a lot of these kinds of movies come from there. In fact this is the first one I've encountered, but that's not to say they aren't very good at it. Out of all the "head in a jar" movies this is one of the best.

Synopsis: When a scientist, who is an expert in keeping limbs alive separated from the body, has a tragic accident, his assistant keeps his head alive so that he can tell him how to remove the head of a hunchback nurse and attach it to the body of a local stripper.

This movie is very much like "The Brain That Wouldn't Die." and oddly the plot of the second X-Files movie is also similar. I think in the case of the latter it actually might have been inspired by it. This movie is much darker, however, then "The Brain that Wouldn't Die". I'm guessing that it's the German coming out in it. The problem with that is it takes a lot of "camp" out of the movie, and that makes it not nearly as fun to watch. 

This movie still gets 3 out 5 on the Chesse-O-Meter, just because it is actually a pretty good movie even if it isn't the laughable campy that I was expecting.

Until next time, see you on the front line. 

-Matt 







February 14, 2011

Atomic Rulers (1964)

Well I'm tired of looking at nothing but white guys in these movies, so off I go to the Land of the Rising sun for today's movie: Atomic Rulers! This movie is actually two movies, Super Giant and Super Giant Continues, edited together to make one film and then released in the states. Although these movies where made in 1957, they weren't released in the US till 1964.

Synopsis: On the Emerald Planet, the council discovers a plot where the nation of Merpol  plans to sell nuclear weapons to the other nations of the world. Fearing that an all out nuclear war will occur on Earth and that the radiation will reach their own world they send their mightiest hero, Starman, to stop the evil plot.

Starman was apparently one of Japan's first superheros. His powers come from a watch like device on his wrist called a Globe-Meter. With this device he has the power to fly through space, detect radiation, and speak and understand any language. Although Starman also is shown using super strength and is impervious to bullets, these aren't listed as part of his powers.

Honestly this movie is just a lot of fun to watch if you don't think about it too much. It's pretty straight forward. Bad guys try to do bad things, and Starman stops them. Of course there is a whole gaggle of kids running around helping Starman, (and getting captured a lot too) like any good Japanese movie of this kind seems to have. Looking at this thing through adult eyes you can say it was a bad movie, but if you look at it from a kids point of view it's just really a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Atomic Rulers gets a 4 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 13, 2011

Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983)

Post Battlestar Galactica wasn't a good time for Richard Hatch. It was one low-key movie after another. Prisoners of the Lost Universe was one of those film. I think they might have been trying to play up the Sci-Fi angle here. People that watched BSG would most likely be fans of Sci-Fi and they'd also know who Hatch was. I could see what they were trying to do here. Course he was willing to do it, he wanted to keep eating. John Saxon also shows up in this thing.

Synopsis:  A news reporter, and a repair man get transported to another dimension when a earthquake hits the science lab and sends them tumbling into a matter transporter. They soon find themselves in a strange world that they must fight their way across in order to find the scientist that invented the machine that sent them there in the first place.

This  movie gets panned pretty hard, but it's not all that bad. I know I've said that about a lot of movies on here and you might start thinking I just like anything out on film. That is not the case. There is one movie, that in my opinion is the worst movie ever made, that I have been avoiding reviewing just because I don't know how I can sit through a another viewing of it. But I digress, we aren't talking about that movie yet.

This flick isn't a thinking man's movie, but it really never was suppose to be. It's just suppose to be a fun, PG rated, Sci-Fi adventure movie. It's suppose to be like Star Wars, but with 1/25th it's budget, and 1/125th it's audience. There is even a point where they play a slide whistle when some bad guys fall from a cliff, so this movie isn't taking it's self seriously. It's worth checking out on afternoon when you just want to zone out and have something playing on the TV.

Prisoners of the Lost Universe gets a 4 out of 5 on the chesse-o-meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 12, 2011

Project: Kill (1976)

Leslie Neilson in non-spoof role? Surely you can't be serious. I am serious, and don't call me Shirley. Although I wouldn't call this movie serious. Oh, it was intended to be, but after seeing it it is hard to take it as so. This is Neilson pre-Airplane, post Forbidden Planet. So it's not a Neilson most people have have seen.

Synopsis: A top agent of a secret government project goes rogue after he finds out that the men he has trained are being used as assassins, rather that for protection of government officials. His former partner is sent to hunt him down before he blow the whistle on the whole project.

This movie is all kinds of corny, but the good kind of corny that makes you chuckle a little when things play out on the screen. The movie takes it's self to seriously and that's almost part of the charm of it.

One of these things in this movie that is kinda strange is there isn't really a clear cut good and bad guy. Neilson's character seems to be doing the right thing, but in the wrong way. It also doesn't help that he has gone cold turkey from his mind control meds and things start going a little wacky with him. His former partner seems to be doing the wrong thing, but in the right way. So by the end you really don't know who was in the right and who was in the wrong, but a lot of movies from this era where like that. You'd have movies like the previously reviewed Stanley, where he is stopping poachers but he is also a maniac. It's just strange is all.

Project: Kill gets 3 out 5 on the cheese-o-meter.

Till next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt 

February 11, 2011

Madmen of Mandoras (1963)

Welcome back to another edition of the B-Movie Blitzkrieg. Today we look at a pretty infamous film, but not in the way most people know it. See most people know this movie as "They Saved Hitler's Brain." The movie we are looking at today is called "Madmen of Mandras". Same movie, different title. Apparently the title isn't the only different in these two films. About twenty minutes of new footage was added to this movie when it was re-released, and re-titled in 1966. Most of the added footage stands out pretty bad I'm told. Lucky for us we have the original here, and don't worry...they do in fact save Hitler's brain in this one too.

Synopsis: When a leading scientist, who knows the antidote to one of the most deadly nerve gases ever created, disappears along with one of his daughters, his other daughter and her husband go looking for him in the Central American country of Mandoras. When they arrive they find a deadly plot of world domination by Nazi's that fled Germany...and yes, they saved Hitler's brain.

I'll be honest, I wish I was reviewing They Saved Hitler's Brain instead of this movie, if only for the crazy title. This title is meant to preserve the twist of seeing Hitler's decapitated head in a jar about two-thirds of the way through this flick. I admit the surprise is better, but when you see a movie titled "They Saved Hitler's Brain" you just have to watch it.

This movie gets a lot of flak for being one of the worst movies ever made, but it's not really. It's no worse then most of the B-Movies made around this time period. If it wasn't for the outlandish plot twist, then this movie would have been lost in the sea of drive-in double feature movies. Oh and I just have to show you people this picture. If this doesn't make you want to see this movie then I don't know what will.


See!!! Isn't that crazy? It's Hitler's head in jar. Sooooo awesome. Anyway, this one gets a 4 out 5 on the Cheese-O-Meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 10, 2011

Stanley (1972)


Snakes...I hate them, but Tim loves them. So much so that they are his only friends. His favorite is a rattlesnake named Stanley, who he takes with him everywhere.

Synopsis: When Native American Tim, finds a local Florida business man is poaching snakes off the reservation to make his snake skin products, Tim takes justice into his own hands and unleashes his army of deadly snakes on them in revenge.

This movie is a rip off of 1971's Willard. Just replace rats with snakes and you got this movie. This movie didn't really creep me out as much as I was expecting. As a person with a fear of snakes, I was hesitant to even watch this film. It didn't, however, deliver the crawling skin feeling I'm so use to on seeing a snake. If it couldn't put the fear of snakes in me, I don't know if it could have done it to a person not normally afraid of snakes.

There was a lot of actual snake killings caught on film in this movie, all of which where rather disturbing. The worse was when we get a close up of a rattlesnake being blown away by a shot gun. It was really blech. Another thought that was constantly in my mind is how the actor who played Tim didn't die during the making of this movie. The rattlesnakes around him are constantly rattling away, looking like they are about to strike and he is just grabbing them and slinging them around and getting in their faces. They must have pulled the snakes teeth or something.

Stanley gets a 3 out 5 on the cheese-o-meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt

February 9, 2011

Nightmare in Wax (1969)


Three movies in three days? I must be on a roll. Today we look at Nightmare in Wax. One of a string of horror movies that have to do with Wax Museums. No idea why people think those are scary. I guess because they are so life like, and that equals creepy. But whatever.

Synopsis: When make up artist Vince is disfigured by his boss and his fiancee leaves him, he set out a plot of revenge that involves turning everyone that has wronged him into living wax statues and putting them on display at the wax museum where he works.

This movie followed in the footsteps of 1953's "House of Wax" which was it's self a remake of an earlier film from the 30's. There really isn't anything to special about this film. It's by no means a film masterpiece, but at the same time you don't have to wonder if it was made by a fertilizer sales man on the weekend. It's clear that this was made by people that had made movies before.

That funniest thing about this movie is how stupid the police are. Every time someone disappears a wax statue of them by Vince appears in the museum a few days later. They even interview him like three times, since he knew all the victims and had grudges against, before they figure it out. At least they don't try to hide who the killer is from the audience, because to do so would be to assume we are as stupid as the police in this movie. And that would be pretty insulting.

Nightmare in Wax gets 3 out 5 on the cheese-o-meter.

Until next time, see you on the front line.

-Matt