Random Film of the Week: The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

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Not inspired by actual events!

brainBy 1981, I’d seen The Brain That Wouldn’t Die on TV maybe a half dozen times and had started going to sci-fi conventions the previous year, my first being the old Creation Conventions here in NYC. I bring this up because it was at one in 1981 where I met a rather quirky gentleman named Jack Tiger (J.G. to his friends) and ended up working with him on a project that could have been popular at the time, but wasn’t able to get fully off the ground.

Now, I should be reviewing either one of his two low-budget films here or at the very least the film that gained me some temporary employment with the man,  Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror, a film that had neither a Frankenstein and thanks to the censors here, nor much Bloody Terror in it. Now, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen it in decades and really need to do so again, but in its original uncut Spanish version. Also, I’ve only ever seen one of Jack’s films by very happy accident a few years back on TCM when I came home very early in the morning from a lousy party I stayed too long at, and it was on TV unexpectedly.  So, Brain it is because it’s a fun flick and there’s also a small personal connection there you’ll read on and find out about. So, read on, please.

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Jan thought the Doc was kidding when he said she could lose about 100 pounds in a crash diet…

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Review: Promise Her Anything (1966)

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“Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it…”

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My brain wants its time back. My eyes… well they were pleased for a hot minute or two.

The very last thing you see before the end credits to Arthur Hiller‘s bizarre 1966 sex comedy Promise Her Anything is a red neon sign that says one word: STOP, which if it had appeared at the start of the film, would have probably saved me the trouble of watching this earlier this morning. To paraphrase Fight Club, “I am Jack’s flabbergasting 98 minutes.”

Let me hip you to the ’60’s era plot so I can get away with torturing, murdering and burying this one as fast as possible, although I may take my time with the torture part, as the movie is very much like scheduling a 98-minute session with a nearsighted dominatrix who happens to be stone deaf, owns a too short set of whips, keeps missing her target, her safe word is “Mister Mxyzptlk” and if you don’t sign it properly with the quotes, she keeps on madly whipping the air. I’ll first apologize to anyone who’s exactly like that in real life or has that particular fetish, by the way.

Anyway, here we we go: A lovely widow with a baby moves into a Greenwich Village apartment on the same floor as a free-spirited guy who makes mail order adult movies but has intentions of making it big in art films one day. They sort of hit it off (although she has no idea of the work he does), but she gets a job as an assistant to a baby-hating child psychologist and plans to woo him because she sees a good provider in that wealth he’s got. Meanwhile, her neighbor becomes quite a helpful babysitter… who keeps trying to bed his emotionally susceptible newly widowed neighbor while secretly putting her child in the films he’s selling.

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You’re watching this film for the girls, right? Bless your soul.

Well now, that’s kind of unforgettable for a few reasons, isn’t it?

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Random Film of the Week Quickie: The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

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It’s too hot for meatballs, but it’s going to get hotter, Tor.

yucca_MPI first saw this really awful and brilliantly bad sci-fi flick very late at night some years ago and again recently after overhearing someone in a diner hilariously recast the Avengers movies as period pieces set in the early 60’s. Yes, Tor Johnson was The Hulk in that person’s version. While you roll that around in your noggin, be warned that The Beast of Yucca Flats is a pretty horrible movie with only three redeeming factors:

1. It’s only 54 minutes or so long. Okay, it’s a long 54 minutes, so there’s that.

2. If you’re in a foul mood, you very likely won’t be in 54 minutes or so*.

3. It almost makes Plan 9 from Outer Space or Robot Monster look like Star Wars movies (which ones are up to you).

(Thanks, Alistair Knight!)

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Oh, The Horror! Severin Films Remasters The Horror of Party Beach

(Thanks, SeverinFilmsOfficial!)

 

HoPB_MPYes indeed, it’s a hot summertime thing from 1964 and it’s BACK. Well, it’s back on August 28, 2018, but you can pre-order this slice of not too scary sea life NOW.  Now, don’t get me wrong, people. The Horror of Party Beach is kind of bad. How bad? Well, I did a review a few years back noting it wasn’t all that good, if that helps. That said, in retrospect, its heart is definitely in the right place, the film is actually terribly funny and campy as hell, and will indeed make you laugh if your funny bone is in good working order.

I’d prattle on some more, but YOU, dear reader? You have some pre-ordering to do if this spiffy new 2K restoration floats your particular boat. Get the bundle! Or get the Blu-Ray by itself! Or get the DVD if you don’t have a BR player yet! You can also get the enamel pin and/or Beach ball from the bundle separately and make believe you bought the bundle (er, if that’s your thing).

Uh, if you only have a VHS or (eek!) Betamax player, you’re kind of out of luck, sorry!

-GW

Tripping The Blight Fantastic: Four, Right In The Cinematic Trash Heap

F4 MPI’d actually started this post around two months back, but put it aside to work on other things. It was going to be a really lengthy point-by-point peek at why the film deserved to flop out, but I decided to not be so negative until I maybe saw the final product. It’s a good thing I waited because after seeing the film, everything I thought about writing happened and the movie was even worse than my cynical ass expected. But I don’t blame director Josh Trank (Chronicle) all that much because it very well seems the studio had more to do with the film being such a train wreck.

In my opinion, Fox needs to sell back or hand those rights over to a studio that can actually do something constructive with the characters. Too many hands went into what looks like rushed re-shooting and sloppy editing so what should have been another reliable summer blockbuster for fans has turned into a must-see exercise for film students as to what NOT to do. Or a note to creative types with vision to stay far away from licensed properties and a studio system that demands souls and final cut in exchange for some sort of loyalty. While the film is far from unwatchable, it’s not worth the cost of a ticket at all and more suited to cable or network TV. Then again, on a channel with commercials, trying to make sense of the film will be a total nightmare unless scenes are added back in to help things out. Continue reading

READS: VHS Video Cover Art

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If you were around during the 1980’s and owned a VHS player a trip to the video store was probably something done a few times a week in order to check out some good to awful films you hadn’t seen previously or had caught in a theater and wanted to experience all over again. The better video rental shops were part museum, offering up box after box of wildly re-imagined art that didn’t always match what was on those tapes you wanted to rent. From scantily clad ladies beckoning you to pick up that case to painted explosions that guaranteed at least if the film was atrocious stuff would blow up really good, it was a boom time for “B” movie fans. Over in the UK, movie fans got even wilder cover art to ogle from a wide range of artists of assorted talent covering genres from sci-fi and horror to comedy and assorted exploitation flicks.

Whether you’re a fan of the period or just want a great art book to show off to friends, Schiffer Books’ VHS Video Cover Art ($34.99) comes very highly recommended. Compiled by Tom ‘The Dude Designs’ Hodge (a great movie poster artist inspired by this period), the 12″ x 9″ hardcover book is 264 pages of eye-popping artwork. Some of it great, most of it cheesy to an extreme. Here in the US that cheese factor is most likely going to be the appeal to many buyers who may only know some of these films through their western movie posters and/or VHS cover art which was more often than not straightforward studio commissioned art and photos.

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VHS Video Cover Art – May Blooms Up A Killer Book From Schiffer

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Oh, yeah. As someone who grew up in the VHS era and had a rather huge collection of films (long sold off, sadly), seeing a book like this coming in May from Schiffer Publishing gets me all giddy. VHS: Video Cover Art by Thomas “The Dude Designs” Hodge (and yes, that nickname sounds straight outta the eighties) is a 9″ x 12″ hardcover, will feature 264 pages, 570 color photos (and an index, of course) and cost $34.99, a pittance for the sheer amount of nostalgia guaranteed to be on display.

For me, this one is a “shut up and buy it” book if there ever was one. I’ve looked over the first 24 pages and had a huge grin on my face that’s still lingering. This one’s going to do well amongst the collectors out there and any movie fan looking for an excellent gift will want to keep an eye peeled for when this drops into stores in a few months. Color me excited, folks. Between this and those Mill Creek collections I’ve been picking up for dirt cheap lately, my teenage years are coming back full force. Er, without the awkwardness around the ladies and doing stupid stuff for fun part…

Random Films: Bad Movies: It’s What’s For Dinner!

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Okay, I couldn’t help myself. After the cheesy charm of Mill Creek Entertainment‘s 50 movie bundle Sci-Fi Invasion sent me to Nostalgialand, I had to have more. Fortunately, I was able to track down five more of these sets for dirt cheap ($35 shipped for everything) and now never need to go outside again. Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement. Sure, there are all so-so transfers and if I had enough bandwidth, a load of time and a bigger hard drive I could look around the internet and get all of these for no money at all. But I’m a perfect example of someone who can’t use any streaming service at home thanks to jumpy internet as well as one of many who just prefer physical media over downloads. I’m not so fond of this digital future everyone is pushing for because it’s too much trouble and expense to keep up with every trend.

That and many of these tech items that are supposed to be changing the world are ending up to be disappointing failures. Segway, 3DTV and Google Glass owners who got sucked into those technological wonders as early adopters shelling out small fortunes are probably feeling a lot less chatty these days. Unless of course they’re those staunch defenders who claim we all didn’t “get” what the “future” those expensive toys were supposed to bring the world. Now, I’m NOT against new inventions and innovations at all. It’s just that people will be people and think that recreating stuff from movies that should stay in movies and/or thinking people will adopt every bizarre idea as the next big thing has led to a LOT of time and money wasted. Work on saving the damn planet, not just trying to sell us stuff and maybe I’ll be impressed…

Anyway, I have some movies to watch (“SOME” he says? HA!). Not now, but soon, as I’ve a ton of work in my inbox. Um, anyone want to come over and watch too many bad movies? Bring food and beverages, because I’ll probably be feeling far too lazy to cook anything.

Okay, back in a bit…

Sunday’s Cool: It’s A Damn Fine Day For Cleaning…


 

Good Homekeeping Tip #12: Yeah, you should kind of vacuum those rugs more often, people. If not, they tend to spring to life and wreak havoc amongst the citizenry. No important posts today, thanks to me getting some stuff ready for tomorrow’s return of the kitchen killers (aka: the “plasterers”) and my deciding to pretty much veg out and watch too damn many bad movies today thanks to the crappy weather. I sometimes do the rugs here twice a week, by the way. That’s due to a lot of traffic in and out of here more than an OCD or anything. Alrighty – I’ll be back tomorrow in a more productive mood. Or at least I better be, ha and ha-ha…

The Invasion Has Begun (Finally!)…

Sci-Fi Invasion Box SetYeah, yeah. Some of you have this budget-priced collection of mostly crappy sci-fi/fantasy flicks with a few old TV shows no one over a certain age knows about already. But I’m late to the party and loving it, warts and all. I’ll probably drop in a few Random Film of the Week posts on some of these flicks at some point. I spent too much of last night and early this morning scanning through some of the fifty films spread across a dozen discs mostly laughing my head off or having my eyes pop out of my head at some of the wilder films. I’d actually seen some of them long ago on TV but forgot all about them, so being reminded that they existed was probably the most amusing thing.

That said, it’s too bad the video formatting and picture quality is all over the map in this set. The best-looking films are some of the made for TV stuff or the older black and white films and TV shows that were made to fit screens of a certain size. Some of the theatrical features suffer with the sides if images chopped off and/or too grainy/too dark transfers that make them hard to sit through. Still, a few of the gems I’ve wanted to see again are here, so R.O.T.O.R. is going to crack me up all over again and probably be close to the top of the list as a review. or perhaps I’ll do Slipstream, a really offbeat sci-fi flick with Mark Hamill and Bill Paxton I’d only heard and read about but never saw until last night. We’ll see, however. I only made it through two full movies and seven discs worth of watching assorted clips before I keeled over. The entire set is 70 hours, 34 minutes and I’ll probably watch every second. Even those awful Rocky Jones, Space Ranger shows from the 50’s will get a look-see from me. Hey, I have to know what my folks were watching back in the day, right?

Well, at least I won’t be whining about having nothing to watch for a while, right?