Random Film of the Week: Corruption


 

As mad scientist flicks go, Corruption is something of a forgotten classic in its own crazy manner. You get the great Peter Cushing out of his usual period piece horrors playing a successful plastic surgeon in a more modern 60’s setting, some surprisingly shocking (by mid 60’s standards) content and a laser gone haywire in a finale that may elicit some chuckles from forward thinking Star Wars fans. If you’ve ever wanted to see Cushing go full-tilt, over the top into scenery chomping territory, this one won’t disappoint one bit. While there are some slow expository moments here, the overall film is an interesting slice of horror that while not wholly original, ends up being pretty memorable on a few fronts.

(Thanks, groovemaster!)
 

After the swingin’ credit sequence, we meet Cushing’s Sir John Rowan and his pretty younger fiancée Lynn (Sue Lloyd) at a pretty raucous party. While the good doctor struggles with the mingling, Lynn, who just so happens to be a model, is in the middle of an impromptu photo shoot when Rowan rushes up to stop the snapping away before his squeeze loses all her clothes. Before you can say “Watch out for that hot studio lamp!”, Rowan accidentally knocks said lamp over and it lands on poor Lynn, burning half her face. Ouch! Fortunately, she’s engaged to a very capable plastic surgeon, right? Unfortunately, conventional surgery won’t work this time, so Rowan decides to use Lynn as a guinea pig to try out a little something he’s been working on in secret.

If you’ve seen Georges Franju’s Les yeux sans visage (Eyes Without A Face), you can probably guess things up to a point, For everyone who hasn’t, Répétez après moi, s’il vous plaît:

“What could POSSIBLY go wrong?”(dot dot dot) Continue reading

Advertisements

Planet of the Apes Back on the Big Screen: Not Hard to Fathom At All

Image from impawards.com

Image from impawards.com

 


I think I’ve mentioned this before, but in case you haven’t read that old post, 1968’s Planet of the Apes was the very first movie I saw in a theater. That said, I’m not sure I’ll go to this Fathom Events screening thanks to my backlog keeping my plate full. But to anyone seeing this for the first time or for the first time on a big screen, my glass is raised that your sense of wonder gets the same kick mine did those many years back. If YOU do end up going and are reading this, feel free to drop on by and leave impressions. It’s always fun to hear how modern moviegoers see the classics.

Blu-Ray Review: Spider Baby

Spider Baby Arrow CoverJack Hill’s amusing and mildly disturbing 1964 horror classic Spider Baby finally gets the feature-packed Blu-Ray treatment is deserves courtesy of Arrow Video and MVD and it’s a must for fans of the formerly forgotten flick that became a cult classic. “The maddest story ever told” still holds up today as quite the viewing experience as well as on original little low budget flick that still packs quite a kick in a few places.

The story of the Merrye family’s twisted offspring and their strange caretaker Bruno is, for all the creepy, unsettling antics taking place, quite an emotional tale at heart. Three siblings Virginia (Jill Banner), Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn) and Ralph (Sig Haig) live with Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.) in a decrepit mansion well off the beaten path with a few other relatives. Thanks to inbreeding among the family, all suffer from a genetic condition that makes them regress mentally into primitive states that make them more than a little dangerous to be around. Bruno does his best to keep his unbalanced charges in line, but after a mailman (Mantan Moreland) is killed and distant relatives arrive to claim the mansion and surrounding property for themselves, things take a turn for the darkly comedic worse. Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: Retaliation

Retaliation BR_CoverRetaliation (Shima wa moratta), Yasuharu Hasebe’s follow up to his 1967 yakuza flick Massacre Gun is another gem from the director worth a look. Packed with great Japanese actors throwing themselves fully into their roles as gangsters and plenty of full color violence, the film’s only “weak” point is a plot where you can often see what’s coming a mile away. But Hasebe’s technique shines here as the director pulls off some great shots and keeps you hooked in right from the beginning.

Akira Kobayashi plays Jiro Sagae, a gangster fresh out of prison after an eight-year stretch for murdering a rival yakuza. He’s followed from jail by Jo Shishido’s Hino, the brother of the man he killed who’s been planning his revenge for years. As Hino attacks Jiro, Hino’s girl (who’d been following him) rushes in and interrupts the battle, forcing Hino to put off his vengeance until later. Jiro eventually goes to see his aging and indebted to another crime boss Godfather who sends him to pay his respects to his former rival. That Boss makes Jiro an offer he can’t refuse in the form of busting up another gang trying to buy up farmland in a tiny village so a factory can be built. Jiro gets a ragtag group of assistants from a failed actor, a card shark, a pair of singers and amusingly enough Hino, the man who tried to kill him at the beginning of the film.

Continue reading

Movies I (Still) Need To See #1: The Power


 

As I watch a wee bit too much of TCM when I’m not doing anything constructive, I’ve ended up with a mighty long list of films I need to see before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Not all of these films are important or even good, mind you. But I feel it’s my civic duty to entertain myself as much as possible. Or, to quote The Police: “When the world is running down, you make the best of what’s still around”. Anyway, I figure I may as well kick of another series of articles about films I haven’t seen yet in the hope that some of you get the idea and start bucket-listing flicks you’d like to see. Anyway, kicking things off is The Power, the George Pal produced 1968 sci-fi thriller that I’ve only seen in the 1967 MGM Lionpower promo feature that pops up from time to time on TCM.

The Power (1968) MP 

That footage made me laugh because the film predates David Cronenberg’s 1981 classic horror/sci-fi hybrid Scanners by 13 years and almost comes off as an influence in a few ways. Granted, Cronenberg’s films stand up well enough on their own. But this oldie looks like it would make a nice companion piece to the newer film (and should certainly be better than the pair of non-Cronenberg directed Scanners sequels that sunk whatever franchise rights the first film had. Not that it needed a sequel in the first place, mind you. Anyway, that’s the first film I could think of, NOT the first one on my list of films. That’s just how I roll, people… randomly. Which, by the way, is a habit I’m trying to break. Back in a bit…

2001: A Space Odyssey Gets a New Trailer. Time Travel Seems To Work After All!


 
Well, if you’re a very lucky resident of the UK with an interest in the classics, you get to see Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece as it NEEDS to be seen – in a nice theater with a huge screen for a short run starting November 28. This trailer is quite nice even though it sort of gives away a lot of stuff to people who’ve seen this one many times. On the other hand, it’s also mysterious and unsettling in a “What the heck is this film about?” manner that may pull in a few younger viewers yet to experience this ultimate trip. Fat chance of this coming out here, as I have no idea who would go see this other than people like me who don’t mind hoofing it out to a theater just to see something already viewed multiple times (to the point of knowing certain lines of dialog and timing almost perfectly. “Ham, ham, ham, ham…”) Eh, given that I’d have to travel far to see this anyway (we’re down to two faraway theaters of questionable quality in this borough, boooo!), in a goofball way, it’s almost worth the airfare to London. But that’s not going to happen, ladies and gents…

Ro, No You Didn’t NBC… But I’ll Try To Keep An Open Mind…

Ro-NO-you-dont-NBC 
So… this is actually happening and let’s just say my skin is crawling (and NOT from fear). Granted, the cast seems solid and veteran TV director Angiezka Holland is an excellent choice (her work on AMC’s The Killing, HBO’s The Wire and other shows shows she’s a master at her craft), but the original film is so (and still) perfect at what it does that even the best intended reworking will fall short by comparison. I may catch this when it runs, but why the hell is it playing on Mother’s Day? Yeah, I get the inherent humor here, but ha-ha, I know some people won’t like the idea of this being a way to end an otherwise fine holiday. Eh, my mom will probably watch it just because she was around to see the Polanski classic and I think she liked it a lot.

(Yeah, it LOOKS creepy… but sadly, by network standards ONLY) 

The mini-series format and network not cable airing bugs me as well, but given that network TV has been approaching mild levels of cable-like content for a while now, I’m sure that this will deliver where it counts. That said, I definitely don’t like some saying this isn’t a remake because of the Parisian setting and whatever else has been changed from the book and original film. Zoe Saldana’s got a similarly skinny frame and has a variation on the haircut Mia Farrow had, it’s still the same plot (despite a few changes here and there) and if they show the baby in this one, it’ll destroy the ending of the film because it ruins the mystery completely of what the spawn of the devil would look like. That and you can’t top the dream sequence from Polanski’s classic one bit.

As noted in the title, I’ll try to keep an open mind, but there are a few strikes against this one already for me. Hopefully, the cast and director can save this one enough that even the more ardent fans will want to check it out. I’d imagine though, if it DOES do well, we’ll either see NBC trot it out yearly (eek) or get a sequel fast-tracked for next year (double eek). That idea didn’t do well for the original film at ALL, by the way…

TCM Wants To Feed You With Classic Horror & Sci-Fi This Weekend…

Ha! Someone at Turner Classic Movies has a wicked sense of humor, that’s for sure. Granted, I’d still LOVE the job of hosting that Underground feature one of these days (I have a ton of ideas on how to make it sing and soar), but unil then, I’ll deal with the channel doling out its library in its current form. Anyway, FRIDAY night and into early Saturday morning (East Coast time), it’s Soylent Green followed by Night of the Living Dead (a film I really, REALLY need to do a RFotW on, even though it’s been reviewed about a million times or more already). Yeah, I’ve seen both of these many times already, but both are movies that have a way of luring me back in for just one more peek almost any time I find them playing. I bet you’re the same way too, right?

Yeah, I thought so…

Random Film of the Week(end): Planet of the Apes (2001)

POTA_MPThanks to reports from around the internet and a few periodicals about all sorts of problems during the pre-production phase and more issues during the rather speedy shooting schedule to meet a July release imposed by 20th Century Fox, I certainly didn’t want to see the otherwise reliable Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes remake, but my mother sure did.

I was camping out at her place during that summer after a breakup and on the day the film opened, she pretty much rolled up on me and said we were going to the movies, so off we went. The funny thing was 33 years earlier, she took me, my older brother and sister to see the original film (my first movie experience), so I guess she was trying to jog my memory a bit out of the funk mode it was in. Well, that worked to a point as we both ended up not liking this remake much at all.

Of course, I ended up heading back to that theater a few days later to make sure I was sure I didn’t like the film… Continue reading

Peanuts’ Citizen Kane “Rosebud” Strip Is Still The Greatest Spoiler Ever Told

If you’ve NEVER seen Citizen Kane, STOP reading this post NOW. Seriously. of course, you can keep reading and ruin the experience, but that’s your problem I say. You’ve been warned.

Rosebud 1968

As a regular reader of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts for decades, even as a kid I was always floored by how deep the simply drawn cartoon was. I started reading it in the late 60’s, but I only vaguely recall some of the strips from back then. However, in 1973, one particular Sunday page stood out and as that post title notes, is what I consider the best movie spoiler I’ve ever read. Now I hate most spoilers thanks to a few favorite books and films being ruined for me intentionally over the years. But this one stood out because I didn’t know what the heck Citizen Kane was and reading this strip made that title stick in my mind and later, do some digging on the movie and its place in history. I don’t recall seeing it on TV here in New York at all, so all I had were the memories of others I occasionally asked about the film…

Continue reading