(Not So) Random Film of the Week: Humanoids From The Deep

Humanoids From the Deep MPIt’s pretty much a 60’s “B” flick dipped in the not for the kiddies gore and nudity of early 80’s slasher flicks. But on that level Humanoids of the Deep works. You’re pretty much getting The Horror of Party Beach and Creature From the Black Lagoon with a bit of actual horror, but the film is more notorious for its added in post-production scenes of icky, horny sea creatures molesting a few young actresses after whipping their bathing suits off. That caused a bit of a stir back when I saw this in 1980 with a few friends and I also recall a handful of people screaming and doing an exit dash at the film’s somewhat ALIEN-inspired final scene.

Back then I didn’t like the film all that much because of its extremes and that it felt like two different films crunched together at the expense of the better one. But over time it’s become something of a mash-up of intentional and unintentional comedy, eyeball-rolling “shock” scenes and yes, well-known cast members who didn’t realize they’d be starring in a rather mean-spirited exploitation moneymaker that would garner a loyal fan base. For me it’s more of a great guilty pleasure when I look at it now. Albeit with a big blood red caution buoy in the water if you’re squeamish or easily annoyed by gore and gratuitous nudity in a “roughie” manner.

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Random Film of the Week(end) Quickie: The Pit and the Pendulum (Or: That Funky Cold Medina)

The Pit and the Pendulum 1961So, here’s how MY Saturday night went. I’m sitting in the living room watching “The Price of Fear” marathon on This TV (which seems to be an offshoot of WPIX here in NYC that shows better movies, albeit edited for network standards) and during a commercial break in The Pit and the Pendulum (I know, I know – but I can’t pass up those Vincent Price/Roger Corman films anywhere they’re aired), I heard some loud music booming outside from someone going deaf in his or her car.

A few seconds later I end up nearly falling off the couch laughing because the song playing with its bumpy bass hanging out the window is none other than Tone Loc’s ode to lousy overpriced wine, Funky Cold Medina. Bwah and ha. Suddenly, my Saturday night got a great deal more interesting…

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Random Film of the Week(end): Camel Spiders

Camel Spiders DVD CoverOkay, I was bored, annoyed and in the mood for something stupid to waste about an hour and a half or so. That sort of opening line is usually reserved for someone confessing to a crime of some sort. But it was my excuse for sitting down last night to watch Camel Spiders, a 2011 direct to video “B” flick so laughable and intentionally awful that it made me forget about most of the stuff bugging me.

Initially, just seeing the title made me laugh enough to want to check it out and see if it was as cheesy as it sounded. But it wasn’t until about 2/3 of the way in that I remembered that “Camel Spiders” are real, really large and have a somewhat larger following. Well, I’m sure those so-called fans would run the other way (and right into a wall) if they came across one or more of these eight-legged freaks in real life. Unlike too many of the victims in this dopey film who just stand there and get attacked or approach those puppy-sized pests with curiosity that just gets them killed off quickly… Continue reading

Random Film of the Week(end)*: Dementia 13

(thanks, drbloodsvideovault!)

dementia 13Sure, it’s a quickly made post-Psycho cash-in with the added shock value of a character getting decapitated on screen (a rather nifty cheap effect if you’ve never seen this flick before), but thanks to a creepier tone and some nicely tense lensing by a young director named Francis Ford Coppola, Dementia 13 manages to be a pretty decent little horror film.

Granted, if you pay enough attention past making popcorn and turning your brain off to watch this one, much of the script and more of the dialogue make about as much sense as a cat driving an oil tanker full of Tater Tots down a freeway on the way to the mall. But on its own merits, it’s a fine directorial debut brought in on a shoestring by the director and enhanced by producer Roger Corman to include the aforementioned head removal and some other elements he thought would punch things up a a bit more…

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Random Film of the Week(end), Too: Battle Beyond The Stars

 

BBTS_posterAfter Star Wars was released and hit it huge at the box office, nearly every sci-fi film made afterward during the next decade plus was immediately (and unfortunately) compared to it. This bit of mental short-handing by critics, fans and other detractors with short attention spans may have been correct about most of these films’ characters, visual effects and overall designs being influenced by the art direction and effects found in George Lucas’ movie, but in terms of story, well… that’s where some needed their heads handed to them. That easily digestible tale of mystic good versus mystic evil in an epic fantasy/space opera lite setting was cut from the cloth of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials, assorted WWII movies (The Dam Busters, 633 Squadron and others) and most importantly, a great “little” film by Akira Kurosawa called Hidden Fortress (which SHOULD be a RFoTW, but I haven’t gotten around to seeing it again).

In fact, Kurosawa’s films have formed the basis of a few important American and international film hits, and if you poke around enough, you’ll see (and be surprised) that some of your own favorites started life as Kurosawa projects. Probably his best known film (at least here in the US), Seven Samurai was reworked into a few films over the years as The Magnificent Seven and this particularly cool 1980 sci-fi sleeper produced by Roger Corman and directed by Jimmy T. Murakami. As fun as Lucas’ flick was, as a lower budgeted quickie, Battle Beyond The Stars manages to be its equal in a few small areas and actually surpasses it in at least one surprising manner… Continue reading