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

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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'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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.