Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Seduction of a Nerd (1970)

Director: Don Joslyn

Starring: Julie Newmar, Wally Cox, Victor Buono, Claire Kelly, Angelique Pettyjohn, Thordis Brandt, Valora Nolan

More info: IMDb

Plot: Clyde King, a toy store employee whose hobbies include making wooden toys and stalking women, is coveted by the female owner of one of the biggest toy companies in the world. She is enchanted by King's hand-carved toys, and she delegates the recruitment of the toy-maker to her second-in-command, Lyle "Skippy" Burns. However, King will not join her company as she reminds him of his mother. She becomes the subject of bizarre fantasies in which "Mother," the toy company owner as imagined by King, brow-beats and humiliates him. Discovering King's predilection for leaving the toy store to stalk women, Skippy first tries to entice Clyde into signing an employment contract by supplying him with women, even going as far to dress himself up in drag as a prostitute. But every time he sets King up with a woman, the encounter ends disastrously, so Skippy finally decides to kill him.

My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again? Nope.

#61 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

TSoaN (originally titled, UP YOUR TEDDY BEAR) is one of those rare flicks that has a name cast, little to no budget, a weak story, poor film making and flat out dull. DEATH DIMENSION (1978) comes to mind and this one's just as bad. The ONLY thing I really liked about it was seeing Wally Cox in a starring role.

The neatest thing he does is yodel...and he's really good! Not only that, but he whistle yodels. It's hard to describe but he's doing the same vocal jumps but with whistling. If it were made today I'd swear it was digitally manipulated. Cox is uncanny.

What else do you get? Julie Newmar slumming it. It's hard not to see her without that 60s Batman TV show Cat Woman outfit on. Gllrrrrowlllrr! She's OK but there's nothing any one of the cast can do to save this stinker.

Then there's Victor Buono. Man, does he ham it up. I can't blame him. It's the material that demands it. He does an admirable job if you can stomach that sort of thing. His bit in drag is a jaw dropper. He gets to do some potentially funny slapstick. I say potentially because there are several scenes where, if it were cut right or if there was some damn coverage shots and at least one other angle, it would have totally worked and Buono would have come off looking like a peach.

It's not like you need my dorky ass to keep you from hunting this one down. It's a turkey. There's barely a laugh...but you do get to see Angelique Pettyjohn naked...again...

The Big Bird Cage (1972)

Director: Jack Hill

Starring: Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Anitra Ford, Candice Roman, Teda Bracci, Carol Speed

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Women so hot with desire they melt the chains that enslave them!

Plot: The girlfriend of a radical guerilla leader named Django (Sid Haig), buxom bad girl Blossom (Pam Grier) and her man devise a plan to liberate the inmates of a local women's prison when Django's mercenary friends itch for some female companionship. With the help of a nymphomaniac inmate (Anitra Ford), Blossom and Django go up against a tyrannical warden (Andres Centenera) to stage an explosive breakout.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

#58 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

The words, "Written & Directed by Jack Hill" mean an awful lot in B-movie circles. He wrote & directed SWITCHBLADE SISTERS (1975) for cryin' out loud so this cat knows how to make an entertaining movie on a small budget. His characters are fun, the action is good and the pacing healthy and there's rarely a dull moment.

The last picture I watched, WOMEN IN CAGES (1971), the lovely Pam Grier didn't fare so well. There's a world of difference in her acting between these two flicks. Her performances are as far apart as what you'd get from George Luca$ and Quentin Tarantino. She's a hoot in CAGE, though. But the real star performance was Sid Haig. He's hilarious. When he pretends to be gay (all of the guards are) to get a job at the prison, I about lost my shit. He plays stereotypical movie gay a little too easily and I loved every minute of it.

Hill's Women in Prison story is different than what the genre typically spit out. Even though the 'revolutionary' aspect was hokey, I dug it because that idea and the picture didn't take itself too seriously. And the Philippines location shooting is gorgeous. William Loose's score was fun. There were more than a few spots that reminded me of the music he wrote for Russ Meyer's pictures.

I don't know who the guy is that voices the trailer but I absolutely love that man's work. He's got that Orson Welles intensity thing goin' on that just cracks me up every single time. Classic.

I think this may have been the inspiration for the "Greased-Up Deaf Guy" on FAMILY GUY.
Seriously, she's covered in chicken grease.

One of the better entries in the Women in Prison genre, THE BIG BIRD CAGE is an entertaining flick and a great little picture to kill 96 minutes. It's at the beginning of the spat of WiP films that flooded the market in the 1970s/80s and it's a prime example of how a talent like Jack Hill can produce so much with so little.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Women in Cages (1971)

Director: Gerardo de Leon

Starring: Judith Brown, Roberta Collins, Jennifer Gan, Pam Grier

More info: IMDb

Tagline: White skin on the black market!

Plot: When sadistic women's prison warden Alabama (Pam Grier) isn't harassing her female inmates in her torture chamber, she's maniacally seducing them, forcing them to bend to her every sexual whim. Soon after ditzy ex-stripper Jeff (Jennifer Gan) is sent to Alabama's prison for a crime she didn't commit, she finds she's no exception and must face the tyrannical warden.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nope.

#57 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Man, there was a LOT of beating going on in this my living room. OH! But seriously, for a Women in Prison flick, it's not that shabby. There's plenty of nudity (not enough Pam Grier for my taste), torture, shower scenes and action to fill 78 minutes. The pacing's pretty good and there's more plot than most in this genre. The acting, including Grier, is poor but that's not why you watch movies like this. Most of the flick takes place in a jungle prison but once they escape, it's much more enjoyable. The scenery is gorgeous and the picture opens up quite a bit with the plot that leaves you with a very satisfying conclusion.

Superchick (1973)

Director: Ed Forsyth

Starring: Joyce Jillson, Louis Quinn, Thomas Reardon, Tony Young, Timothy Wayne Brown, John Carradine

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Supercharged Girl! Always Ready For Action... Of Any Kind!!

Plot: Tara B. True is a flight attendant who makes a weekly swing through New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. In each city, she has a man: Edward, older and wealthy; Johnny, a beach bum with gambling debts; and, Davey, a rock musician on the cusp of success. Tara is a free spirit, faithful to each man in her own way, and so stunning that she dresses in a wig and ill-fitting uniform while she's working so men won't harass her constantly. The low-life whom Johnny is in debt to figures out a way to use Tara to help him execute a daring in-flight robbery. But will Tara stand by helplessly, or is Superchick ready for action?

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Yup!

#56 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

I'm impressed. I went into this thinking it's just another dumb low budget exploitation picture and it turned out to be quite a bit of fun. My only regret is not having friends over to enjoy it. This is definitely one of those party flicks you throw on. It's a gas!

The acting is all over the place, the villains are slapsticky and broadly played, the action is hokey, the dialogue is priceless and Jillson sells the titular role like she's Mary Tyler Moore.

SUPERCHICK is such a movie of it's time that it's like watching a time capsule. The hip clothes and dialogue are worth the price of admission, let alone that Ed Forsyth manages to bring everything together in a movie that entertains. Oh, and that theme song gets played over and over. It's kind of like Superchick's hero theme and even though we hear it a bazillion times, it's so much cheesy fun and it made me smile every time. It's the kind of theme that makes you want to throw your fist in the air and yell, "GO, SUPERCHICK, GO!"

Hey, kids! It's 70s porn icon, Miss Candy Samples!

Superchick is just that - a super chick. She does everything...but girls. I won't hold that against her though. She's got guys on the side, a job that jets her all over the country and she's one of the strongest-willed broads of the silver screen. It was refreshing seeing a female character like this. She's forever content and sure of herself. She's willing to try anything for kicks without thinking about it. If it looks like fun, it must be and it's worth a shot. She's sexually aggressive but with a playfulness and not any emotional scars.

Look out! Nip slip! (Oh, shit. I just now saw the double pun in that.)

Here's an interesting bit of trivia. Jillson later became an astrologer. So what, right? Yeah but she was the one that Nancy Regan used and made Ron, then President, base some of his decisions on her readings. Who knows if it's true but it's a frightening thought just the same.

Before they showed her face, I could tell that was Uschi Digard.
I'd know those glorious cans anywhere.

When it comes down to it, there's really not much of a plot. It's just a little slice of what it's like to be Superchick and it goes down nice and easy...even if we never really see Jillson nude (see below). This is one picture where the trailer gets it right.

Eve (1968)

Directors: Robert Lynn & Jeremy Summers

Starring: Celeste Yarnall, Robert Walker Jr., Herbert Lom, Christopher Lee, Fred Clark

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Original Flower Child

Plot: Adventurer and treasure hunter Mike Yates is hoping to find a cache of Incan treasure lost in the Amazon jungle. While looking for his missing partner, he stumbles across a beautiful jungle girl named Eve. Later on, he comes across Eve's grandfather, who is being swindled by a man and a young woman who is pretending to be his granddaughter Eve. Will Yates be able to expose the swindle, beat the swindlers to the lost treasure (with the help of the real Eve), and reunite Eve with her grandfather before the final credits role?

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

#55 on Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

I'd say whoever can get Herbert Lom, Christopher Lee and Fred Clark in the same low budget picture deserves a round of applause because those three actors elevate this beyond it's monetary limitations, especially Lom. Who's Fred Clark? You know, this guy...

And here's Lom sportin' a stache!

Sadly, Clark died the year this picture was made. Without these guys there's not an awful lot to look forward to. The other actors do fine although the lead, Robert Walker Jr, didn't fare as well but then that wouldn't be an easy thing to do in such acting company. If they had someone that didn't look so goofy and out of place it wouldn't have been so bad.

Yarnall as the titular character was exactly what you'd think in a picture like this. I know this is just a silly movie and all but they could at least have found someone that, if you squinted long and hard, you'd kind of see how somebody might think she grew up in the jungle.

The movie as a whole is your average pulp jungle adventure that doesn't offer much outside of having Lom, Lee & Clark. You could do far worse with your spare 95 minutes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Carrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, P.J. Soles

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Take Carrie to the prom. I dare you!

Plot: Carrie (Spacek) may be ostracized, but the shy teen has the ability to move objects with her mind. So when the high school "in crowd" torments her with a sick joke at the prom, she lashes out with devastating -- and deadly -- power.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Absolutely.

#39 on Drive-In Delirium Volume 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Man, it's been a good twenty years since I've seen this and I was surprised at how well it's stood up. It easily belongs in the top 10-20 horror films of the 70s. The performances are solid across the board. They all did a fantastic job but there's one star that needs to be mentioned and that's director Brian De Palma. Wow. What a piece of work. He's flashy but he doesn't interfere with the story with it. He enhances it. That opening sequence with bits in slo-mo is brilliantly handled. He pulls no punches. And the climax! HOLY SHIT! He's not afraid to kill anyone, is he! It's an expertly handled classic horror film that is masterfully crafted from top to bottom and a thoroughly enjoyable film. I won't be waiting another twenty years to revisit it, that's for sure.

Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961)

Director: George Pal

Starring: Sal Ponti, Joyce Taylor, John Dall, William Smith, Edward Platt, Frank DeKova, Paul Frees

More info: IMDb

Tagline: SIGHTS NEVER BEFORE SEEN - Adventure never before experienced!

Plot: A Greek Fisherman brings an Atlantean Princess back to her homeland which is the mythical city of Atlantis. He is enslaved for his trouble. The King is being manipulated by an evil sorcerer who is bent on using a natural resource of Atlantis to take over the world. The Atlanteans, or rather the slaves of Atlantis, are forced to mine a crystalline material which absorbs the suns rays. These crystals can then be used for warmth. The misuse of science has created weapons out of the crystals that can fire a heat ray to destroy whatever it touches.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.


Don't you just LOVE Paul Frees' voice over in that trailer? I've been a huge fan of his since I was a small child.

Atlantis is the large continent in the center.
Who knew this fictional place was that big?

ATLANTIS is an OK adventure somewhat in the Sword & Sandal/Jules Vern vein. Some of the acting is weak, good (if unmemorable) score by Russell Garcia and the picture is too front-loaded with a stale love story and drama. Once we get to Atlantis (25 minutes in) things brighten up a bit and this is where the fun starts.

I need this statue in my house.

Remember this guy (John Dall, left) from Hitchcock's ROPE (1948)?
I do. He's a blast!

Visually, it's a great looking picture and overall it's not a bad film. It's more of a kid's adventure, Saturday afternoon kind of flick. I kind of dug it. If you go into it with that in mind (as you should with all of these type of adventure pictures), you'll be just fine. Lower your expectations to middle of the road and ATLANTIS will be very kind to you. Not a bad way to spend 90 minutes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Battle in Outer Space (1959)

Director: Ishiro Honda

Starring: Ryo Ikebe, Kyoko Anzai, Koreya Senda, Minoru Takada, Leonard Stanford

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Moon is Captured! The Earth is Next!

Plot: When an international space station is destroyed in a mysterious attack, a team of United Nations scientists, led by professor Adachi (Senda) and Maj. Ichiro Katsumiya (Ikebe), discovers that a race of malevolent aliens are plotting to take over the planet. With the fate of mankind hanging in the balance, Earth's most powerful nations band together to defeat the sinister spacemen and ensure the future of humanity.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.


I dig goofy stuff like this. BATTLE isn't a sci-fi classic by any stretch but it is a good deal of fun. For some reason I thought this was from the late 60s, but that it's from '59 makes it even more impressive. Japanese genre film makers LOVE their models and so do I. Sometimes they look great and sometimes they don't. Either way, I'm happy. BATTLE features a shit ton of model work.

It's about 50 minutes before we get to the moon where most of the action takes place. There's a pretty lengthy and ambitious battle between the Earth team and the unknown aliens. Sadly, we only get a glimpse of the aliens and they're in space suits. I really wanted to see what kind of adversary we had. Anyway, the fight is a good one and of a large enough scale that I can't think of another science fiction flick that had a space battle that big until STAR WARS (1977) nearly twenty years later.

After the moon fight I thought the picture was over. Nope. Earth must arm itself for the inevitable second wave of flying saucers. Months of preparation later, there's another fight but this time it's in the skies of Earth. We win. Now it's over. It's 90 minutes of escapist fun. The script writers won't win any awards for their effort but the special effects team should have. It's not often during this period that we got a sci-fi flick like this, taking place in space with actual ship-to-ship combat. Neat-O!

Daughters of Darkness (1971)

Director: Harry Kumel

Starring: Delphine Seyrig, John Karlen, Danielle Ouimet, Andrea Rau, Paul Esser

More info: IMDb

Tagline: These are the Daughters of Darkness... They are waiting for you - They thrive on BLOOD

Plot: A newlywed couple are passing through a vacation resort. Their paths cross with a mysterious, strikingly beautiful countess and her aide.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Nope.

#105 on Drive-In Delirium Vol. 2 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT

This is not the erotic early 70s European vampire horror/thriller to watch late at night when you're sleepy...but I stuck it out. This is also not the vampire flick to watch if you're expecting any of your typical vampire action, either. Noop. This one's a slow burn but it's a sexy, attractive and intriguing slow burn. I pretty much dug everything about it except it mostly takes place in the sole location of a hotel, as beautiful as it may be. When you combine that with 100 minutes of a dialogue-driven horror film, it starts to wear you down - especially when your body is telling you to put down the bottle of wine and razor blade and go to sleep. I liked it but I would've liked a little more oomph to help me through the tough spots.

April Fool's Day (1986)

Director: Fred Walton

Starring: Jay Baker, Pat Barlow, Lloyd Berry, Deborah Foreman, Deborah Goodrich, Tom Heaton, Thomas F. Wilson

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Last one out's... a goner.

Plot: A group of nine college students staying at a friend's remote island mansion begin to fall victim to an unseen murderer over the April Fool's day weekend.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? I guess it wouldn't kill me.

It sure was nice that April 1 came on a Friday this year! What an opportune time to watch this 80s classic. It was the first half on a double bill with CARRIE (1986) and it made for a fun night. I'm not going to spoil anything for those who haven't seen it. AFD is a fun flick from start to finish. They play with the conventions of horror films so you're not exactly seeing anything new...almost. Charles Bernstein's score is much better than a low budget 80s slasher film deserves. There are a lot of laughs and some great kills. I'm sure I could find some gaping plot holes if I gave it another spin but that'll have to wait a few years. And even though it feels a bit long at 89 minutes, it's got enough going on that you're not likely to get bored. Besides, you want every one of these dipshits dead and you've got to see how that happens, right?

Tobruk (1967)

Director: Arthur Hiller

Starring: Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Nigel Green, Guy Stockwell, Jack Watson, Norman Rossington, Percy Herbert

More info: IMDb

Tagline: 83 men started the mission! Only 4 survived!

Plot: September 1942 - With Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps on the march through Egypt, a British special forces unit, composed of German Jews who serve with the British despite the mutual resentment between both, kidnap a Canadian officer who is an expert topographer and who is held prisoner by the Vichy French in Algeria. The officer, Donald Craig, must negotiate a company of British and German-Jewish commandos through 800 miles of the Sahara to aide a pending amphibious landing against Tobruk's massive fuel storage base - a mission that sees one impediment after another, and which discovers an undetected German armored force ready to win the battle of Egypt.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

I'm a huge fan of WWII flicks, especially those made in the 60s & 70s with big name actors and lots of widescreen action. This one is based on true events and, like all films of this ilk, there's likely very little truth in it. But I don't really care. I'm not watching these for a history lesson (unlike the Nazisploitation movies), I want big action and stars I really dig and TOBRUK delivers.

There's something about the African theater of the war that looks great on the big screen. The desert landscape is so unforgiving and it makes a nice backdrop in these films. It's hot, dry and very deadly so the players have another obstacle to overcome in addition to the enemy. Everyone holds their own but my favorite of the cast is Nigel Green. He's just a British badass that can do no wrong in my book. I've yet to see a picture of his I didn't like (and I've seen an extraordinary amount of his films).

The only real beef I've got is the big battle at the end. It's 25 minutes long and it's at night which means it's not going to be as easy to see. Now, if they're going to fuck with history as much as they supposedly did, why not change the time of day. I realize that changes some of the actions taken but the combination of the length and the darkness played its toll on my weary eyes that night. I'm sure that seeing this on the big screen, as intended, would make all the difference in the world. Regardless, badass actors killing Nazis in Technicolor scope is A-OK with me.

Evil Roy Slade (1972)

Director: Jerry Paris

Starring: John Astin, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Pamela Austin, Henry Gibson, Dom DeLuise, Edie Adams, Milton Berle, Pat Buttram, Pat Morita, Ed Begley Jr, Penny Marshall, Billy Curtis

More info: IMDb

Tagline: He's the Most Wanted and the Most Hilarious Outlaw in the West.

Plot: The meanest villain in the West falls for a pretty schoolteacher and tries to change his ways, but a determined (and egomaniacal) singing sheriff is out to capture him.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Sure as shootin'!

Goddamn this is funny! It's been a few years since I first saw this and it hasn't lost anything. The closest thing I can compare it to is BLAZING SADDLES (1974) but made before BS. The slapstick, silly humor is outrageous. There are a ton of gags and they're thrown out fast and furious. It's like the comedian Henny Youngman, the king of the one-liners. He wouldn't stop with the jokes - not all of them were zingers but he'd just keep going and it wasn't long before you were howling with laughter.

I've always adored John Astin. I grew up watching THE ADDAMS FAMILY reruns in the 70s (which, BTW, is WAY better than THE MUNSTERS) and he just cracks me up. Like Bill Murray, he's one of that very few that make me laugh just by looking at him. Dick Shawn's another one. Damn, that man is hilarious! If you like BLAZING SADDLES, you'll probably dig SLADE. It's goofy as hell and it makes me laugh like a little kid.