Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Horror of Party Beach, Whatever Happened to All the Babes in Connecticut?

....they all got ripped to pieces by radioactive sea-monsters.  In 1964's "The Horror of Party Beach," Del Tenney (Producer and Director) tells this story in which the 30 most beautiful women in Connecticut meet the most horrible fates.  A relative asked Mr. Tenney, who died last February, how he could make such a horrible movie, he replied, "I cry all the way to the bank."  There is a lot of jiggling to rock 'n roll in this movie, which supplies over-the-top gore and bikini clad victims.
The plot:  Minutes after radioactive waste is dumped into the Long Island Sound, it mixes with human skeletons in a shipwreck.  The skeletons then become monsters (above picture).  Lots of teen-aged beach goers clad in swimsuits are partying on a Connecticut beach, and Hank (John Scott) and Tina have a tiff.  Tina swims out to some rocks and is graphically ripped apart by a creature.  Tina's best friend Elaine (Alice Lyon) helps Hank mourn her death (see below picture).  The two are grief stricken, so they go slow dancing and never mention Tina again.  Meanwhile, our creature friends crash a slumber party of pillow-fighting girls, and rip most of them apart and carry off the others.  Why some of the girls are carried off, and not shredded, is not explained but if you have seen enough Roger Corman movies, you can probably hazard a pretty accurate guess.  The monsters then attack three beautiful stranded motorists with annoying NY accents.  Fortunately, this crime scene yields an arm of one of the creatures, and Dr. Gavin (who should have won a Nobel Prize in 1964, and is Elaine's dad) is able to figure out how to track the things and kill them.
Hank, Elaine, and Dr. Gavin then go off in three separate directions to find the lair of the creatures.  Of course, B Movies cry out for a the proverbial "Damsel in Distress," and Elaine literally stumbles onto it.  Will Hank and the good doctor arrive in time to rescue her?  Will anyone erect a memorial's her name...., ah yes...Tina?  Will the Connecticut coastline ever regain it's reputation as the Malibu of the East?  This is a B Movie classic.  Gore, girls, and rock 'n roll...just try to tell me that "12 Years a Slave" is a better movie than "The Horror of Party Beach."  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cold Prey, Norway vs. The Slasher

With the winter Olympics in Russia next month, I will be cheering for Norway, especially if Ingrid Bolso Berdal leads their team into the opening ceremonies.  Berdal (Chernobyl Diaries and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters) stars as Jannicke in this Norwegian 2006 slasher film "Cold Prey" (Fritt Vilt), set in the beautiful mountains of Norway.  Norway doesn't need a crying figure skater, exuding weakness and emotion representing their proud nation.  No....Jannicke (Berdal) only exudes..."No ax-wielding psycho is gonna take me!  Nope...I'm gonna murder him first!"  Gotta love this character!
The plot:  Five typical slasher film characters go snowboarding in the mountains.  Jannicke and her boyfriend, Eirik who are wrestling with a decision to move in together, Ingunn and Mikal, who play kissy-face every chance they get (can you guess who gets it first?), and Morton, the goofy fifth wheel (can you guess who gets it third?) are portrayed very well.  Morton breaks his leg, and the five must find shelter.  They limp to an abandoned ski resort, which has been vacant for 40 years...but why?  Jannicke then builds a splint for Morton, rummages for supplies, nurses Morton, finds pain-killers and explores the premises while her buddies just fool around.  She finds many interesting details while exploring this creepy resort, unfortunately the missing ax from the fire box goes practically unnoticed. Of course, someone else is in the resort, and he and his pick-ax start victimizing the unlucky quintet.  Once they realize what they're up against, Jannicke mobilizes and is determined to kill the homicidal lunatic and leave no one behind.  She even constructs a sled so she can pull Morton through the snow...none of the guys stepped up here.  The ending is horrific, but the best part is that Jannicke kicks some more rear-end in "Cold Prey 2", which is one of the best horror movies over the past 10 years, and will be on this blog within the week.

The ax-psycho's story is revealed throughout this film, and it is an eerie one.  The director, Roar Uthaug, does a fine job combining the snowy scenery into the ominous horror faced by these youngsters.  Berdal is officially on my Top Ten list of modern day actresses! If you read this, Ms. Berdal, keep making movies with an edge and eschew roles in romantic-comedies. 20th century Norway had Roald Amundsen, but 21st century Norway has Jannicke!  If you think I'm overstating this, after you see "Cold Prey 2," you will understand.   

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Moon Zero Two, Hammer's Sci-Fi Western!

The most expensive film produced by Hammer Studios was not a Dracula movie, but a space-western.  1969's "Moon Zero Two" has everything a B Movie fan needs; spaceships, saloon fights, dance hall damsels (portrayed by the 1960's dance team, The Gojos), and lots of space babes!  The hero is gritty and cynical (James Olson as Capt. Kemp) and his love interest (or one of them) is played by the beautiful Catherine Schell (Space 1999) as Clementine.  This is a British film, directed by Roy Ward Baker (The Avengers TV show), but it is true to the American cowboy opera.
The plot:  Kemp owns and operates a two-man salvage company, which clears space debris from navigable routes.  The proverbial evil corporation is trying to shut him down in order to obtain a lunar monopoly on all exploration, mining and space.  They try to hit him with lunar regulations which would require him to upgrade his ship, which he can't afford, and eventually, try to hit him with bullets.  Clementine shows up and enlists Kemp's help to find her miner brother who has been missing for months.  Meanwhile, the corporation hires Kemp to put rockets on a passing asteroid so it will crash into the far side of the moon.  This asteroid is 6,000 tons of sapphire, and the evil corporation intends to rake in a fortune with it.  The corporation is upset that Kemp is helping Clementine as they are in the process of taking over all mining operations on the far side.  Both Kemp and the corporation are being carefully monitored by Murphy (Adrienne Corri), who is the law on the moon, and clad in some very attractive leather boots.  She knows the corporation is corrupt, and is in love with Kemp.
  When the corporation murders Murphy (a very sad loss for us guys), Kemp goes all out to help Clementine, sensing that they have also murdered her brother.  If, successful, Clementine will be a very rich gal, and possibly be able to lay claim to the sapphires which are about to rain on the far side.  The corporation will do anything to prevent that.  Great saloon scenes, including a bar fight in which the gravity machine has been turned off, and several dance numbers by The Gojos keep this flick a western.  Made in 1969, and set in 2021, this was just another film fueling a nation's ambition and desire for space exploration.  How sad it is that in 2014.....this spirit and ambition is gone from our nation's consciousness.  See "Moon Zero Two" and dream, and avoid the modern mindset of failure and small hopes.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Policewomen, It's not Ursula Andress...but...

Exploitation from the 1970s!  Yes 1974's "Policewomen" has all the makings of a Ursula Andress movie. Sondra Currie's performance rivals anything Andress could have done.  Before the Angie Dickinson TV show, Currie's portrayal of Lacy Bond showed a male dominated profession that a woman's "touch" was just what they needed to modernize.  Clad in revealing and/or tight outfits (or swimwear) Lacy Bond was just what the department needed to nab a criminal organization made up of bikini clad criminals.
The plot:  As the movie opens, a daring jail break is in progress.  A dozen female prisoners are making a run for it, and tight-skirted, high-heeled, Officer Bond captures all but two (without the help of any man!).  This draws the attention from the brass, and they summon her to HQ in order to recruit her for an "undercover" mission.  Her Lieutenant, Frank Mitchell (the buff Tony Young) is skeptical that a woman can do any police work, so he puts her through some tests.  She passes them, and in the process, disables a karate instructor (William Smith) with a good swift kick to the gonads.  They then explain the mission to her, and she replies "so you need a woman, pardon the pun, to go undercover."  Lacy Bond (who is better equipped than James Bond) has some great one liners, such as, "If you want your prisoners alive...don't give me an automatic rifle."  Winning Mitchell's respect, Lacy is unleashed.
  The criminal gang is run by the elderly, Maud, who has a compound filled with beauties.  They smuggle gold from Catalina Island to the mainland.  Mitchell and Lacy go to Catalina, and while the beauties do smuggling stuff, these cops go horseback riding, sailing, eat at four-star restaurants, get intimate, and fall in love (all on taxpayer dollars).  Frank recognizes the gang members going out in a boat, and Lacy and him follow.  The five bikini clad criminals beat up Frank, while Lacy hangs behind with a look on her face that says, "What an amateur!"  She then saves Frank, and beats up the five babes.  With Frank in the hospital, Lacy infiltrates the gang.  She learns they are planning the ultimate heist, and is also recognized by the two beauties (now gang members) who escaped in the first scene.

Will Maud discover Lacy is really a cop?  Will Frank learn to love a woman who can beat him up?  Will the tight skirts worn by 1970s policewomen ever come back in style in modern day policing?  If you are annoyed with the political correctness of "Law & Order," or fed-up with the arrogant and stuck-up characters of "Criminal Minds," see Sondra Currie in "Policewomen."  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Prey, France vs. Razorback

If 1984's "Razorback" was for the Pabst Blue Ribbon crowd, 2010's "Prey" ("Proie") is for the Chardonnay clique.  This French film, with subtitles (yes...another opportunity for you to appear smart) is one of the wildest and goriest films you will see.  With lots of razorback carnage, a menacing musical score, and fine acting, this gem from France deserves your attention on Netflix.
The plot:  A farming family in Lemans discover mutilated deer (see below) on their farm.  This family has sold much of their land to the proverbial evil corporation which erected a fertilizer factory on it.  Claire (Berenice Bejo from "The Artist") is a chemist at the plant, and for some reason is worried.  Not only is she pregnant, but she knows she must fix the fertilizer formula (...but why?).  Nathan (Gregoire Colin) is a family friend and doctor who loves Claire (and impregnated her).  He joins Claire's dad and brother, and the owner of the evil corporation for a hunt to kill the razorbacks that attacked the deer.  This hunt doesn't go well, as the hunting dog is quickly eaten and the scoundrels start picking off the hunters.  The hunters find the lake and realize something from the factory is spilling into it.  To their horror, they find the mommy razorback (mutated) dying, and hear it's litter beyond the trees.  Uh-oh....isn't Claire pregnant?  The litter of mutated razorbacks then converge.  All hunting safety rules are then abandoned as the surviving party run in horror.
 Will Nathan survive to marry Claire?  Will Claire's baby squeal and cause havoc?  Are there enough guns in France to fend off this murderous horde?  This is a must-see horror movie.  Wild and at times claustrophobic, "Prey" is not for the squeamish.  Instead of watching Ms. Bejo in "The Artist," watch her in France's answer to "Razorback."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ice Crawlers, It Ain't The Thing, but....

After enduring two really cold days in a row here in Virginia, I searched for a B Movie to capture the mood.  Hence, 2003's "Ice Crawlers" (aka "Deep Freeze"), a monster movie set in an Antarctic oil field.  Heavily influenced by John Carpenter's "The Thing," the makers of this film used many stunts to pay homage to it. For example, knowing what could happen if these monster trilobites reach the main land, a very excitable oil worker destroys all means of communications between the oil base and the main land.  Many have criticized this flick for having rubberized creatures, but I'd rather have that than a million CGI purple "Avatar" smurfs.
The plot:  GeoTech Industries is the proverbial evil oil company, destroying the Antarctic ice. The U.N. is sending a team there to close them down.  Realizing their oil exploration days are over, GeoTech lucks out.  Their two lead scientists, Dr. Monica Kelsey (Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld) and Dr. Ted Jacobsen (David Millbern) discover a dead prehistoric trilobite creature.  This dog-sized monster looks like a tentacled bug and enjoys penetrating into the human body for warmth.  New plan for GeoTech:  Blow up the oil drilling facility, which has drilled through the ice into earth, thus leaving no evidence for the U.N., and pioneer the scientific breakthroughs that discovering a prehistoric creature brings.
  Uh oh, following the dead trilobite up the drill are hungry, ticked-off trilobites.  While the two scientists are discovering the find of the century, Dr. Kelsey goes back to her quarters for a mineral bath.  Unlike Kurt Russell's shack in "The Thing," Kelsey's quarters resemble the honeymoon suite at the Ritz.  This suite is equipped with scented candles, a king-sized bed, stereo, and an aromatic hot tub.  Unfortunately for Kelsey (see picture below), her aroma-therapy bath, and the rest of her life, are interrupted by one of these monsters.
No problem!  Four young scientists have just arrived (all very good looking).  Then the fun begins.  The trilobites start picking off the scientists, usually when they do naughty stuff....these movies, after all, are morality tales.  However, the two clean-cut scientists, Arianna (Karen Nieci) and Curtis (Allen Lee Haff) figure out what is going on and find the explosives.  Will they be able to escape and blow up all the trilobites before more come to the surface?  Compared to "The Thing," one might term "Ice Crawlers" a cheap rip-off. However, this film is a hundred times better than any Sandra Bullock so-called comedy.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Monster From the Ocean Floor, Before There was Selene or Alice or Eden, there was Julie...

Over the past 30 years, strong and heroic female characters have dominated in movies.  Kate Beckinsale's Selene (Underworld), Milla Jovovich's Alice (Resident Evil) and Rhona Mitra's Major Eden Sinclair (Doomsday) have filled the void left by the extinction of masculine males in film.  Need a monster or fiend killed?  Call one of those ladies.  However, this new trend may have had its genesis in a 1954 Roger Corman flick "Monster From the Ocean Floor."  On the surface this movie appears to be a cheap and routine sea monster fable, but with just a small amount of digging, Anne Kimbell's portrayal of a young "industrial illustrator" (she draws washing machines for catalogs) who vacations in Mexico to paint seascapes, may have been the precursor to our recent heroines.
 The plot:  Julie Blair (Kimbell) is painting on the beach while chatting with a young boy.  The boy tells her of a sea monster who ate his father.  Our pretty little artist then thinks what every pretty little artist thinks, "I am gonna kill that thing without the help of a man!"  What a gal!  Then of course she goes for a swim in the cursed cove only to collide with the above pictured submarine and it's flirtatious pilot Stuart (Steve Dunning).  He does not believe the sea monster story and is more interested in his one-man sub.  They fall in love and Steve urges her not to worry "her pretty little chin" over non-existent creatures.  She ignores his advice and interviews eye-witnesses, talks to widows of victims, studies both tracks in the sand and moon cycles.  With all the intelligence she gathers, she heads into the surf with a scuba tank and dagger to save Mexico.  The Mexicans aren't impressed and try to sabotage her, believing sacrificing a "fair one" to the monster will send the thing away.  As Stuart studies idiocy through a microscope, Julie fights off a shark and finds the one eyed creature (get your minds out of the gutter).
  Julie or the creature, which will prevail?  Will Stuart find manhood through watching Julie?  Will the illustrations in the Sears catalog ever be the same?  There was no vacuum of masculine heroes in film in 1954, making Kimbell's performance remarkable.  Enjoy this B Movie, and give yourself permission to watch it over any of the so very lacking movies which were just nominated for best picture.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chrysalis, Ray Bradbury's Film Noir Offering

When Ridley Scott made "Blade Runner," fans of sci-fi and film noir were satisfied on both fronts.  2008's "Chrysalis" works in the same way.  It is a dark detective story which leads to a mysterious laboratory run by the proverbial mad scientist.  The best part of this whole equation is that "Chrysalis" is a French film with subtitles.  What this means is that you can say you saw a foreign film, and your pals will think you are a sophisticate.  Based on a Ray Bradbury short story, written over a half century ago, this film has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the shocking end.

The plot:  "Chrysalis" opens with two seemingly unrelated stories.  #1:  A Paris detective, David Hoffman (Albert Dupontel) and his partner, who also happens to be his pregnant wife pursue some Bulgarian thugs into the sewer system.  I have almost a quarter of a century of law enforcement experience, and I guarantee you that this scenario never turns out well.  The thugs get the drop on them and murder the wife and wound David.  #2:  A mom (Marthe Keller, who played Dustin Hoffman's ill-fated girlfriend in "Marathon Man") and her 15 year old daughter, Manon (Melanie Thierry), are sharing a pleasant conversation while driving home.  Out of nowhere, their car is blindsided by a truck seriously disfiguring Manon.  Fast forward about six months.  The daughter has just finished rounds of plastic surgery which restore her youthful beauty.  At the same time, David and his new partner, Marie (Marie Guillard), hit the streets in search of the thug who killed his wife.

Then the weird stuff happens.  Manon is being maintained at a mysterious lab run by Marthe Keller, who plays Professor Brugen.....a very polished mad scientist.  Brugen has a machine at her disposal that can erase memories.  David and Marie find a dead girl killed by the Bulgarian thugs and discover the girl's twin sister is missing.  Then boom!  These stories collide and the roller coaster starts.  To tell you anymore of the plot would give too much away.

I was shocked I liked this movie as much as I did.  The DVD was dirt-cheap and good reviews for it were non-existent.  The thugs are truly evil, Professor Brugen reminds us of Dr. Frankenstein, the cops (David and Marie) are attractive and we pull for them to overcome the dark forces they are up against and perhaps become an item.  Finally, the ending is shocking, but in a film noir type of way, a happy one.  See "Chrysalis" and impress your friends by telling them you spent Saturday night with a glass of a moody Merlot and a foreign film.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Horror of the Blood Monsters, Love Those Lobster-Monster Movies

The year 1970 played heavy on our social consciousnesses.  Space exploration competed with the Vietnam War and the deteriorating social make-up of our country for our attention.  Not lost on Director Al Adamson was our fear of lobster-like creatures that attack from their river lairs.  "Horror of the Blood Monsters" includes so many B movie props, that we the viewer can't help but be pleased.

The plot:  Vampires are attacking Earthlings at an epidemic rate.  Dr. Rynning (John Carradine) puts a space mission together to visit the far-off solar system which, he believes, the virus originated.  His crew consists of Bob (the grouchy captain), Willie (the silly dweeb), Linda (the shapely babe, played by Britt Semand), and Steve (who eventually beats out Bob for Linda's affection).  This is a stressful trip, not for our crew, but for ground control technicians Colonel Manning and Valerie (Robert Dix and Vicki Volante).  In the midst of activating image stabilizers, initiating countdowns, and coordinating satellite triangulations, the good Colonel and Valerie take plenty of time to demonstrate futuristic sex for us.  The Colonel is not able to satisfy Valerie at first, but he turns up all the dials and switches later on, which seems to do the trick.

Once on the planet, our crew explores.  They find dinosaurs and warring cave-men clans.  One of the clans is human, the other are former humans, now vampires after being infected with a virus.  The crew sides with the humans after meeting a shapely cave-girl.  Willie the dweeb and this neanderthal-woman fall in love.  Together they battle the vampire horde, lobster-monsters, bat-creatures, and radiation to restore happiness to this once doomed planet.

This movie has so much going for it, including monsters, space-babes, romance, and narration by Brother Theodore who plays the king vampire on Earth.  Will Dr. Rynnan find a cure for the vampire virus?  Will our three sets of lovers find lifelong happiness?  Will this far-off planet give peace a chance?  This movie is a lot of fun.  If "47 Ronin" had used many of these plot devices (and left out Keanu Reeves) it may have been a fine film.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kronos, R.I.P. Barbara Lawrence

Just recently, Barbara Lawrence died at the age of 85.  She is most well known for her portrayal of Gertie in 1955's "Oklahoma."  However, classic horror and sci-fi fans will remember her as the heroic movie fan in 1957's techno-sci-fi thriller, "Kronos."  Her portrayal of scientist Vera Hunter was a perfect match-up with the serious Jeff Morrow.  As Morrow played Dr. Leslie Gaskell, a serious scientist bent on saving the world, Vera wanted nothing but to go see a movie.
The plot:  A mysterious meteorite (which looked a lot like a flying saucer) crashes into the ocean.  Because of it's unusual trajectory,  Dr. Gaskell at LabCentral is curious.  What is LabCentral?  It appears to be a four-man agency with authority over government and the Pentagon.  Uh-oh, this mysterious meteorite has also possessed LabCentral's director, who then acts to aid whatever landed in the Pacific. Off to Mexico go Dr. Gaskell and Vera, as the thing landed off the Mexican coast.  Fortunately for Dr. Gaskell, Vera is with him, thus when Dr. Gaskell gets bent on saving the planet, Vera can distract him so they can go beach hopping.  As the two government employees are frolicking in the surf, a 100 foot robot-like thing emerges from the depths.  Too bad for Vera, as they now have to go back to saving Earth.  LabCentral discovers this robot comes from a world whose creatures thrive on eating energy, and they have eaten all of their own.  Thus, off to Earth to eat all our energy.  The robot then walks to all the power plants it can sucking up all of the energy it can (a vampire of sorts).  No one seems overly concerned, as this is just Mexico, but when it begins walking to atomic storehouses near L.A., LabCentral realizes this thing must be stopped.
Will LabCentral find a way to destroy Kronos before L.A. is inconvenienced?  Will Mexico cut off diplomatic relations with the U.S. knowing LabCentral was more interested in their beaches than saving their country?  Will Vera get to see her movie?  The big flaw in "Kronos" is that the monster is not scary.  The makers of this film had their budget cut just after they commenced filming.  With a bigger budget the menacing robot might have had some mandibles and tentacles.  The music in this film is great, classic menacing sci-fi stuff.  The acting is pretty good.  So let us all remember Barbara Lawrence, not necessarily by watching a musical, but by watching "Kronos."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Embrace of the Vampire, The Black Swan meets Buffy

Many of you  who endured "The Black Swan" claimed to have liked it, only to appear sophisticated.  Point of fact, it wasn't a horrible movie, but ballet is not your thing, and Natalie Portman seemed moody and strange.  Today's entry, 2013's "Embrace of the Vampire" is the film for you.  It is the "The Black Swan" with vampires and slayers instead of ballet dancers.
The plot:  Charlotte (Sharon Hinnendael) has just arrived at North Summit College, located in the mountains of British Columbia.  She has no parents, and is on a full scholarship for fencing.  Apparently NSC is a powerhouse in women's fencing, as they have about 40 babes on the squad, and are coached by a handsome Professor Cole (who is probably a vampire, and played by Victor Webster).  Charlotte is informed by a weirdo in a coffee shop that she is the latest in a long blood line of vampire slayers, and she has arrived at NSC to kill some vampire.  Clean cut Charlotte reacts to this information as many of us would, by behaving badly, neglecting academics, drinking, and trolling for boy or girl friends.
Realizing she must now watch her back, Charlotte must defend against naughty coeds, too smooth boyfriends, a faculty advisor who is afraid of light, and gory hallucinations.  Worst of all, her English Literature professor and coach is a 300 year old vampire who wants to turn her into one.  Will she maintain a GPA worthy of a full scholarship?  Will her fencing abilities be enough to fend off bloodsuckers?  Will North Summit College win their sixth women's college fencing title?
 This is the best fencing movie in the last 20 years!  Fans of vampire movies will enjoy this film.  The unrated DVD copy contains a lot of gore, thus this film is not for the squeamish.   Forget "The Black Swan" and see "Embrace of the Vampire."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

She Demons, The Irish Conquer the Nazis

Irish McCalla had a brief film career which included "Sheena: Queen of the Jungle" and today's entry "She Demons."  McCalla, after a short career as an actress and model for girlie magazines became more well known for her ability as an artist, creating over a thousand paintings.  Her 39-24-38 measurements helped make this statuesque beauty perfect for this 1958 film in which she was never overshadowed by the 13 other beauties who also had feature roles.
The plot:  Hurricane Emily causes a yacht to beach on an uncharted island.  Fred, our hero, and Jerrie (McCalla), and two crew members survive.  Jerrie and Fred bicker non-stop as Fred gathers provisions while Jerrie puts on make-up and keeps changing into attractive outfits.  In exploring the island, they come across 13 dancing, scantily clad beauties.  These beauties are played by The Diane Nellis Dancers (other than She Demons, it is difficult to find anything else they did).  While watching them perform, Jerrie and Fred witness Gestapo officers capture the dancers and put them in bamboo cages.  A menacing Gestapo officer then whips one of the dancers to death as a warning for the others never to attempt an escape again.
The evil Colonel Osler is using these captive beauties for their skin and glands in order to restore his wife of her beauty.  Osler's wife was disfigured years ago.  Unfortunately for The Diane Nellis Dancers, the experiments leave them with fangs and claws.  As Jerrie and Fred fall in love, they are captured by the Gestapo.  Colonel Osler realizing that his wife will always be deformed, tries to romance Jerrie.  Will Jerrie and Fred escape and live happily ever after?  Will The Diane Nellis Dancers ever be restored to their former beauty?  Will the USAF bomb this island out of existence (oh yes, a subplot I have neglected here)?  Why aren't modern actresses  referred to by their measurements, anymore?
This is a fine movie.  McCalla and The Diane Nellis Dancers play well to the camera.  Rudolph Anders is superb as the evil Colonel Osler.  All the acting in this B movie tops Keanu Reeves' performance in "47 Ronin."  This is a must see for all you B movie fans.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Storage 24, Lava lamp, Bearskin Rug, Baseball Cards, Homicidal Alien....

Divorce, bankruptcy, eviction, hording disorders, and hiding contraband are all valid reasons to rent a storage locker.  They are also contributing factors to horrible nightmares.  So why not have a horror movie set in a storage facility?  Highest marks for Noel Clarke (who also stars) and Davie Fairbanks for picking up on this and writing 2012's "Storage 24."  The moral of this movie is a bit of logic I have been espousing for years, if you are gonna put your junk in a storage facility, just bring it to the dump instead.  This way, you won't get your face bitten off by an alien with mandibles.
The plot:  A mysterious plane explodes over London, strewing debris all over the city.  A weird box containing a monstrous ET lands inside a storage facility.  The crash landing breaks open the box, releasing an irate monster.  Trapped inside the facility are several Londoners.  Charlie (Noel Clarke), his buddy, Shelley, and her two friends.  Awkward, even without the creature, as Shelley has just broken up with Charlie and both have converged on their rented locker to claim their possessions.  Scary enough without our friend from another world, but he is hungry and starts hunting them down after eating the facility's employees.  Now, these warring parties must work together to survive and kill the ET.  Creature plot twists, and ever more scary, affairs of the heart plot twists converge to make their experience most horrific.
Noel Clarke gets an A+ on two fronts: coming up with the idea for this film and his acting. Clarke's portrayal as a sniveling, self-absorbed loser who turns into a hero is one that has us really caring for his plight.  The alien is cool, and the supporting cast does a nice job.  Laura Haddock, as Nikki, emerges as a head-strong woman refusing to be a meal for the ET, has us cheering for her as well.  After watching the previews for the new Hercules movie, I can guarantee all of you that "Storage 24" on Netflix will be a much more rewarding experience, and a lot less expensive.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mission Stardust, Space Babe Tamed by Earthling

The Italian reaction to "Cat-Women of the Moon" was, "we have to top this!"  Hence 1967's "Mission Stardust" featuring the Swedish beauty Essy Persson (Cry of the Banshee, Sadist) as Thora, the alien spaceship commander.  Every decade should have a Cat-Women type of movie and this film holds up well to it's predecessor.  In the 1960's, American film may have attempted to show a liberated woman in control.  However, Italy is a bit old-fashioned, as Thora ultimately gives in to her more carnal desires when introduced to a lower form of species (male Earthlings).

The plot:  A space mission to the moon is headed by Major Perry Rhodan (Lang Jeffries).  It's purpose is to extract a highly atomic element not found on Earth.  Arkin, a master fiend, has a spy in the crew with the goal of stealing the element and holding Earth's superpowers at his will.  The ship is pulled off course by a mysterious force and is landed on the dark-side of the moon where they encounter Thora's massive ship. Once on the ship the domineering Thora reminds the Earthlings how inferior they are and informs them her race could die off if a cure for a disease is not found.  Major Rhodan does what any male member of an inferior race does in these instances, he grabs Thora (who is clad in a leotard which allows her bra to breathe, see picture below) and plants a long juicy lip-lock on her.  Now the two races decide to work together to find the cure for this disease (gotta love those Italian sci-fi movies).  Major Rhodan returns to Earth with his crew, and Thora to visit an African doctor who has a cure.  Waiting for them is the evil Arkin, and his femme fatale staff (Lisa Halvorsen and Ann Smyrner) who want the alien technology to rule the planet.

This is an exciting campy movie which culminates with Thora under attack by the machine-gun wielding Smyrner and Halvorsen.  Of course, Major Rhodan arrives to save the day, much to the furor of the 1960s women's liberation movement here in the States.  In an era where NASA and our government have reduced our space program to an expensive community outreach program, it is a lot of fun to see a movie made when space travel still captivated our imaginations.  One can only hope that we return to those days when a movie like "Gravity" would have been laughed out of the theaters.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

The 10th Victim, Ursula Andress as #1 Assassin

Ursula Andress has emerged as a favorite of this blog.  Past entries on "Loaded Guns" and "Stateline Motel" proved extremely popular.  Fans of this blog will be perplexed to find out that the "Swiss Bombshell" was actually the third choice for the role of Caroline Meredith in today's offering.  Ann-Margret and Sue Lyon were asked, before Ms. Andress, to star in the 1965 classic, "The 10th Victim."  Her leading man?  Marcello Mastroianni plays her next victim in this futuristic bit of social commentary.
The plot:  In a futuristic society, violence has been reduced with a government program called "The Big Hunt."  In this hunt, contestants play for big money, and if they survive ten hunts, all of their financial worries will cease.  Hunters are given all the information on their selected victims, while the victim has no knowledge of their hunter.  Each contestant is expected to kill five victims, and also, take the role of the victim for five hunts, and then kill their hunter.  As the movie begins a poor sap is hunting Caroline (Andress).  She turns the table on her stalker and kills him with a .38 caliber bra. In Italy, Marcello kills a German Baron by placing bombs in his boots.  Both Caroline and Marcello now have nine victories.  The computer has selected Caroline to hunt Marcello.  Upon being advised that he has been selected as a victim, Marcello is uncaring.  His expensive mistress (Elsa Martinelli) and ex-wife are bankrupting him.  When Caroline arrives in Rome, she is disappointed to find out that Marcello doesn't intend to put up a fight.
The plot is thickened as The Ming Tea Company (Caroline's sponsor) will provide her with a big payday if she kills Marcello at the Temple of Venus, as the Ming Tea Dancers perform in the background.  As she attempts to lure him to this temple posing as an American journalist doing a story on the sexual behavior of Italian men, she falls in love with him.  Marcello figures out that Caroline is his assassin and sees a way out of bankruptcy.  He convinces his sponsor (a liquor company) to grant him a payday if he kills Caroline, while drinking their beverage, at the temple.
Will Caroline's love for Marcello be enough for her to forego a big payday?  Will Marcello see her love for him, and forego his big payday and live happily ever after with the "Swiss Bombshell"?  Will The Ming Tea Company drop Caroline as a spokesman if she doesn't kill Marcello?  This is a campy movie offering plenty of social commentary.  To say there is sexual tension between Caroline and Marcello would be a gross understatement.  Ms. Andress plays to the camera very well in a tight but slinky, hot-pink outfit.  Also, if you had to endure Mastroianni in "La Dolce Vita" you deserve the guilty pleasures this film offers.  Besides, if you tell your friends you watched a Mostroianni film, you will be looked at as a "sophisticate."