Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beerfest (2006)

Director: Jay Chandrasekhar

Starring: M.C. Gainey, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Cloris Leachman, Jurgen Prochnow, Cameron Scher, Owain Yeoman, Tom Tate, Allan Graf, Chris Moss, Bjorn Johnson, Kevin Heffernan, Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Collin Thornton, Will Forte, Mo'Nique, Donald Sutherland, Willie Nelson

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Prepare for the ultimate chug of war.

Plot: After the death of their grandfather Johann von Wolfhause, the brothers Jan and Todd Wolfhouse travel to Munich to fulfill a family tradition, spreading the ashes of Johann during the Oktoberfest. Their contact brings them to a secret beer competition, the Beerfest", where they are offended by Baron Wolfgang von Wolfhausen and the German branch of their family that accuse their great-grandmother of being a prostitute and their grandfather of stealing an old recipe of the best beer in Germany. Jan and Todd returns to USA humiliated and decide to organize a beer team to dispute the next Beerfest. They join Landfill, Barry and Fink and train long the year to participate in the competition. When they find the lost recipe hidden in a dummy, they feel that their German relatives told the truth. But the team is ready for the tough dispute.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!! (but with beer this time)

There's something to be said about lowered expectations.  I went into this one ready to dismiss it as a bad comedy but I ended up laughing my ass off at this near 2 hour flick.  It's funny as shit.  I loved the Jurgen Prochnow (as Baron Wolfgang von Wolfhausen) DAS BOOT (1981) references as well as all of the sexual shit with Great Gam Gam, (hilariously played by Cloris Leachman), and Landfill's (Heffernan) saga and unexpected comeback) and countless other bits.  It's not like most comedies where there's a laggy section.  This one's funny for a solid 110 minutes which is a feat itself to be able to sustain the funny for that long.  This movie is hilarious and I'm going to start looking out for more of Chandrasekhar's work.  I wasn't bowled over by SUPER TROOPERS (2001) like a lot of people were but I'm keen to now watch it again and anything else I can get my hands on.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Born in East L.A. (1987)

Director: Cheech Marin

Starring: Cheech Marin, Paul Rodrizuez, Daniel Stern, Kamala Lopez, Jan-Michael Vincent, Lupe Ontiveros, Urbanie Lucero, Chastity Ayala, David Perez, Neith Hunter, Larry Blackmon, Tito Larriva, Geoffrey Rivas, Eddie Barth, Jason Scott Lee, Carol Stoddard

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Comedy Bordering On Insanity

Plot: Rudy (Marin) is an American of Mexican descent who is caught up in an immigration raid on a factory. Deported to Mexico as an illegal immigrant, he has no way of proving that he is in fact an American citizen, and is forced to rely on his cunning to sneak his way back home.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I honestly thought this was going to be a dumb comedy but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's got some genuinely hilarious moments, a great social and political message and heart.  Rudy is a great, likable character and Marin brings a lot of life to him and the picture.  The scenes with Javier (Rodriguez) and the Jesus painting that's covering up the phone and answering machine are hilarious.  I liked that Rudy gives in to his situation in Mexico with Jimmy (Stern) and how he works hard to earn the money he needs for Jimmy to smuggle him across the border.  Jimmy takes advantage of Rudy and Rudy knows it but works extra hard rather than try to cheat Jimmy in some way.  And then there's his relationship with Dolores (Lopez) which was handled nicely.  Probably my favorite scene was the prison tattoo scene.  Great comedy.  And how about Marin's singing and guitar playing?  I was impressed except for the title song which is annoying (I don't care for Bruce's original version either).  It's a good flick but there are several things that go unanswered as if there was a lot cut.  I'm OK with having bits going unresolved because we don't have to know everything and sometimes it's alright to have a funny bit put in a film just because it's funny, whether it gets fully explained or not but then this picture felt like there might have been more to it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roller Blade (1986)

Director: Donald G. Jackson

Starring: Suzanne Solari, Jeff Hutchinson, Shaun Michelle, Katina Garner, Sam Mann, Robby Taylor, Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray, Erin Michael, Michael Cofield, Pat McClung

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Skate or die!

Plot: The city of Lost Angels...the Second Dark Age.  From the rubble of the failed industrial world comes a mystical cult of sensuous she-warriors.  Risen from the ruins of dead technology, they embark on a savage quest to defeat the evil army of a demonic warlord.  Their mission: to save his helpless victims from fiendish torture and torment. This is the dawn of the age of ROLLER BLADE.  Wielding their mythic weapons of martial arts and psychic healing power, this sisterhood of curvaceous crusaders battles to rebuild a battered land.  In this realm of blood and lust, automobiles are rusting hulks and roller skates are the only escape from ruthless ravagers.  Witness the clash of two forces in a cataclysmic duel that explodes in an exciting climax of raw power and passion.  Experience the ultimate futuristic fantasy adventure on wheels.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity! 

From the director that also brought you THE ROLLER BLADE SEVEN (1991), RETURN OF THE ROLLER BLADE SEVEN (1992), LEGEND OF THE ROLLER BLADE SEVEN (1992) and ROLLERGATOR (1996) comes a sci-fi, action film called...

G.I. Samurai (1979)

Director: Kosei Saito

Starring: Sonny Chiba, Jun Teo, Moeko Ezawa, Ryo Hayami, Noriko Honma, Koji Lizuka, Masashi Ishibashi, Toshitaka Ito, Haruki Kadokawa, Takuzo Koadono, Hisroshi Kamayatsu, Goro Kataoka

More info: IMDb

Plot: A squadron of Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers find themselves transported through time to their country's warring states era, when rival samurai clans were battling to become the supreme Shogun. The squad leader, Lt. Iba, sees this as the perfect opportunity to realize his dream of becoming the ruler of Japan. To achieve this, he teams his troops up with those of Kagatori, a samurai daimyo who also aspires to become Shogun. Are either of these power-hungry warriors to be trusted?

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!!

Think about this for a minute.  A bunch of  Japanese National Guard types on weekend maneuvers are mysteriously transported back in time 400 years to feudal Japan.  They've got modern weapons including a tank, gunboat and a helicopter and they're going up against men with swords and arrows.  It kind of sounds ridiculously retarded, doesn't it?  Director Saito and pals pull this off almost without a hitch.  The almost part belongs to the soundtrack but everything else is absolutely fantastic. I last watched this in 2006 and I was worried it might not hold up a second time but it did.

The action is superb.  The big battle sequence near the end feels like it goes on forever and it's amazing how they were able to sustain an enjoyable and exciting war battle for so long.  It's incredible and it's got tension.  I was really worried how some of the character's fates would pan out.  There's also some great use of slow motion.  One more bit of praise before I get to the fucked up part.  There are a few scenes that are completely silent and they last a lot longer than most people would allow, and they're brilliant.

The score (by Kentaro Haneda) mostly works but it feels like it belongs to a different movie but that's not what's so strange; it's the songs.  You've got blues, country/folk and ballads that feel like they were dropped in just because the director said he wanted songs there and someone did it just to piss him off.  It's not as offensive as the first time I saw it so maybe it'll grow on me and the director is more brilliant than it seems but they're still awkward and don't fit and laughably so.  This isn't a deal killer by any stretch but it's the one thing that I would have to change if given the chance.  I can't stress enough how entertaining this flick is and you'll be shocked that they're able to maintain the awesome for 139 minutes.  Great ending, too, by the way.  Loved it.  I have it as part of the Sonny Chiba Collection that has 4 movies which includes the longest cut of G.I. SAMURAI.  Amazon has it right now for $3.86 and free shipping (for Prime members).  It's a friggin' steal at even double the price.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss (2010)

Directors: John Das & Rachel Jardine

Starring: Mark Gatiss, John Carpenter, David Warner, more stars, directors and writers from classic horror films

More info: IMDb
Plot: Mark Gatiss examies the history of horror from the early, silent days through the Universal pictures, post WWII, the Hammer Studio & British horror, European horror to 70s American slasher pictures.


My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

When you include Gatiss's follow up to the three-part documentary with European horror, you get a total of four and a half hours of horror movie history.  That's a sizable amount of time devoted to just one subject but it's still half as long as it should be in order to really satiate your appetite.  I liked how Gatiss visited the filming locations of some of the classic pictures, some of which are lesser known like THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED (1969) and the excellent WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976).  It got me thinking about taking a few vacations.  He also talks to some of the film makers and actors (or descendants of) that made these films.  For the layperson, there is a lot to gleen but for the horror-phile it's mostly stuff you already know which can be part of the fun.  It's like sitting down with your mates and talking about the greatest hits while listening to the film scores and watching some clips.

I was very pleased to see that Gatiss spent a good chunk of one episode dedicated to the horror films of the Hammer Studio.  Like Gatiss I feel that their output is underrated and they produced some of the best horror for nearly twenty years.  They deserve more respect than what is usually attributed to them.

No mention of JAWS (1975)???  Gatiss pretty much ends with HALLOWEEN (1978). Why didn't he go further?  Probably time restraints as the other two preceding episodes were also 60 minutes.  But then he makes a point to say that he doesn't think there's much worth mentioning beyond 1978 as the genre got worse and there hasn't been anything ground breaking since.  He throws a bone by mentioning some films he thinks that rise to the top like RINGU (1998), THE ORPHANAGE (2007) and THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE (2001) but he thinks the horror output from America and Britain over the past 35 years isn't worth mentioning.  This is my only point of contention with Gatiss.  The show is about the history of horror and it shouldn't have ended without going into a little more detail about the flourishing slasher genre of the 80s, the importance of Wes Craven poking the genre in the arm with SCREAM (1996) and the resurgence that happened afterward, not to mention the more gruesome horror films that followed like HOSTEL (2005) that brought about torture as horror.  Like them or not, they are a part of the genre's history and they should at least get recognized.  Then, on the other side of the coin, it's Mark Gatiss's show and he can do what he he did.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  There are a lot of movies that get spoiled so beware if you want to see these films with virgin eyes and without the endings or twists ruined for you.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Convent of Sinners (1986)

Director: Joe D'Amato

Starring: Eva Grimaldi, Karin Well, Gabriele Gori, Jessica Moore, Maria Pia Parisi, Martin Philips, Gabriele Tinti, Katalin Murany, Beba Balteano, Aldina Martano

More info: IMDb

Plot: Young Susanna is raped gruesomely by her father. Although she does not feel a calling as a nun, her mother gets rid of her to a convent, where she begins as a novice. Even here she fails to find any peace, as sexual intrigues and excesses are part of everyday life at the nunnery. The mother superior likes Susanne and forces her love on the innocent novice, thereby attracting the jealousy of the assistant, who cooks up a devious plan. Susanne however, falls in love with her father confessor. The Church has to intervene with an exorcist.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity!

Really?  They couldn't even spell 'virgins' correctly?

This family picture starts with Susanna's rape by her FATHER!!!

Once she joins the convent things really heat up!

The Ladykillers (2004)

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Starring: Tom Hanks, Irma P. Hall, Marlon Wayans, J.K. Simmons, Tzi Ma, Ryan Hurst, Diane Delano, George Wallace, John McConnell, Jason Weaver, Stephen Root, Lyne Odums, Walter K. Jordan, George Anthony Bell

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The greatest criminal minds of all time have finally met their match.

Plot: An eccentric, if not charming Southern professor and his crew pose as musicians in order to rob a casino, all under the nose of his unsuspecting landlord: a sharp old woman.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

I hate to give up on a Coen Brothers movie (I suspect INTOLERABLE CRUELTY (2003) might be next) but I can't bring myself to watch this one again.  It makes me sad.  I saw it opening weekend at the theater and now again last night.  The original British THE LADYKILLERS (1955) is a hilarious classic.  I'm not opposed to a remake and the Coens got a lot right in how they transplanted a London comedy to the Deep South.  The Mississippi location is great.  Tom Hanks is great as the Southern Gentleman but then he's both smart and stupid and I'm not 100% on board with that choice.  Guinness nailed it in the original.  The character of Lump (Hurst, who is COMPLETELY unrecognizable as Opie in SONS OF ANARCHY) is almost completely unnecessary and I could have done without Garth's (Simmons, who is very funny in the role) irritable bowel syndrome. But Irma P. Hall as Marva owns this flick.  She's fantastic.  And I LOVE the painting of her dead husband of twenty years, Othar, and how his expression changes periodically.  THAT is fucking hilarious and you just know the Coens had to have seen the same thing done in the amusing, THE UNDERTAKER AND HIS PALS (1966), where they also used it to great effect.  George Wallace is a comedy genius and his semi-double take when Marva shows up at the sheriff's station at the beginning is one of the all-time greats.  Check it out below at around 1:35 in.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mean Nuns (1986)

Director: Makis Antonopoulos

Starring: Eva Beneta, Mary Garitsi, Liana Hatzi, Kaiti Delli, Katerina Loannidou, Aleka Makri, Aris Tsiounis, Thania Zoga

More info: IMDb

Plot:  Beats me.

My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again? No.

AKA Agries Kalogries

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity!

I didn't understand a lick of it.  It's all Greek to me.  Ahahahahahaha.  Get it?  It was made in Greece?  Ugh.  I really hope this is the last Nunsploitation picture I have to watch that doesn't have any English language option.  This is getting brutal.  Sometimes you can get the gist of what's going on even if you don't understand what's being said but this one was impossible for me.  The Internet claims it's a Nunsploitation picture.  Look at the VHS cover.  But what it comes down to is nuns and priests not doing much more than talking, exercising,

Kill the Irishman (2011)

Director: Jonathan Hensleigh

Starring: Ray Stevenson, Vincent D'Onofrio, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken, Linda Cardellini, Tony Darro, Robert Davi, Vinnie Jones, Tony Lo Bianco, Paul Sorvino

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Based on the true story of Danny Greene the man the mob couldn't kill

Plot: The true story of Danny Greene, an impoverished but charismatic young Irish-American who rises to power as president of the longshoreman's local union and is charged with corruption but evades serious jail time by becoming an FBI informant. With fearless nerve he joins forces with a Mafia gangster to rise to power in Cleveland's underworld, gaining the reputation of a Robin Hood-like figure with nine lives as he escapes countless assassination attempts.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

As a big fan of Ray Stevenson, I'll watch anything he does so this is a no brainer.  That it's also got Paul Sorvino, Christopher Walken, Robert Davi, Tony Lo Bianco and Vinnie Jones is just five layers of icing on the cake.  It's got that GOODFELLAS (1990) vibe in the opening and then it becomes its own thing.  It's not exactly compelling.  It lacks that certain something that grabs you by the short and curlies and doesn't let go.  That's not to say it isn't interesting or good.  No, it is.  The cast does a fine job and the pacing of this thing is fast.  There's little bits of action all through it and Stevenson as Greene is very likable and fun.  I liked the use of actual 1970s local news coverage used throughout the picture.  It's just one more layer the film makers used to evoke the time period and that this shit was really going down.  In 1976, there were 36 bombings in Cleveland!!!  Can you imagine how that would go down today?  A lot's happened in forty years.  IRISHMAN is a good action thriller timepiece that's worth your attention.  The biggest crime here is that i just realized I haven't seen GOODFELLAS, one of my all time favorite movies, since I started this blog in 2007.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Convent Rope Hell (1984)

Director: Katsuhiko Fujii

Starring: Maya Ito, Asami Ogawa, Miki Takakura, Hiroshi Unayama, Hiromi Yamaguchi, Shingo Yamamoto

More info: IMDb

Plot:  A recent member at a convent, Sister BDSM (that's what I'll call her until I know her real name) finds that she's been betrayed by her sisters and is offered up to a bondage fiend who likes to rape and torture young women and uses his remote controlled vibrator for nefarious means. 

My rating: 6.5

Will I watch it again? Only if some English subs show up

AKA Catholic Nun Rope Hell & Dan Oniroku: Shuudojo Nawa Jigoku

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity! 

How's this for an opening shot?

It! (1967)

Director: Herbert J. Leder

Starring: Roddy McDowall, Jill Haworth, Paul Maxwell, Aubrey Richards, Ernest Clark, Oliver Johnston, Noel Trevarthen, Ian McCulloch, Richard Goolden, Dorothy Frere

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Bullets can't kill it! Fire can't burn it! Water can't drown it! How can we destroy IT before IT destroys us?

Plot: After one of their store houses burnt down, museum director Grove and his assistant Pimm find everything destroyed - only one statue withstood the fire mysteriously undamaged. Suddenly Grove is lying dead on the ground - killed by the statue? Pimm finds out that the cursed statue has been created by Rabbi Loew in 16th century and will withstand every human attempt to destroy it. Pimm decides to use it to his own advantage.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Sure.

While I've seen some Roddy McDowall films I didn't care for, he was at least enjoyable, but this is a picture I dig so there you go.  It's a fun story with predictable results but what's not predictable was the wild 'bring in the Army' ending.  THAT I really liked.  It's a fun ride with Roddy trying to work his way into and out of his predicament.  The monster effects were pretty cool, too. 

It's on a double feature DVD with THE SHUTTERED ROOM (1967) which isn't as good but is worth watching for the American accent Oliver Reed sports. I'll give IT some more play someday but not the other.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Rape of a Nun (1983)

Director: Yiorgos Mylonas

Starring: Liana Thanou, Nikos Tsachiridis, Giorgos Matargas, Efi Mavridi, Cleio Mysiri, Ankie Grelson, Kostas Kontoyannis, Pavlina Jones, Lefteris Giftopoulos, Bibi Avouri, Paris Labrakos, Dimitris Banos

More info: IMDb

Plot: A young girl is forced by her father to become a nun. But soon she finds out that dark secrets are hiding behind the convent walls and that she's there to serve lustful human masters and not God.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity!

OK, this watching Nunsploitation movies without any English dub or sub is getting old.  I'm finding I need to completely understand what the hell is going on.  Halfway through this picture it goes from being all about nuns to not being about nuns at all and I have no friggin' idea why.

The Shuttered Room (1967)

Director: David Greene

Starring: Gig Young, Carol Lynley, Oliver Reed, Flora Robson, Judith Arthy, Rick Jones, Ann Bell, William Devlin, Charles Lloyd Pack, Bernard Kay

More info: IMDb

Tagline: There are some doors that should never be opened.

Plot:  In a small island off the American coast, the Whateleys live in an old mill where a mysterious bloody being creates an atmosphere of horror. After her parents get killed by lightning, young Susannah is sent to New York by her aunt Agatha, who wants her to avoid the family curse. Years later Susannah, now married, persuades her husband to spend a holiday in the abandoned mill. Once on the island, Susannah and Mike soon find themselves exposed to the hostility of a gang of thugs led by Ethan, Susannah's brutal cousin.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Here's an OK British thriller that's not all that thrilling.  It takes place in New England but the locals all seem like they were air lifted from The South.  They're Rednecks but without the deep Southern drawl but it's there, even with Oliver Reed which takes time getting used to.  It also has a STRAW DOGS (1971) vibe when it comes to the attempted rape scene, the difference here being that Mike (Young) can handle himself in a fight and he isn't afraid to do so.  The reveal at the end is pretty weak and for Susannah's (Lynley) family it seems like the worst option the characters (her parents and aunt) could have chosen.  I was mostly on board with the picture until the final few minutes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nun Story: Frustration In Black (1980)

Director: Nobuaki Shirai

Starring: Rie Akagi, Masato Furuoya, Yukie Ishii, Eri Kanuma

More info: IMDb

Plot:  I have no idea.  Some nuns get tortured and raped.  One of them sneaks out of the convent to have sex with her friends in a van and later she gets gang raped.  Stuff happens and it ain't pretty.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity! 

As you can see by the images, the print I watched was VHS quality at best.  To make it worse, there was no English language option for audio or subtitles.  Sometimes you can get by without understanding what's being said and sometimes you can't.  I'm definitely missing something by not knowing exactly what's going on but there's quite a bit of rape and torture which is par for the course in Japanese sleaze cinema in the 70s and into the 80s.

Shogun's Shadow (1989)

Director: Yasuo Furuhata

Starring: Ken Ogata, Sonny Chiba, Norihito Arai, Toshihiro Asari, Seizo Fukumoto, Miyuki Kanou, Masaki Kyomoto, Hiroki Matsukata, Takeshi Maya, Hiroyuki Nagato

More info: IMDb

Plot: Iemitsu, Tokugawa Shogun III, hates his eldest son Takechiyo; all his love is given to his younger son Tokumatsu. One day, he orders Takechiyo to an initiation rite in Yedo (today's Tokio). Takechiyo lives far away under the surveillance of Hotta Masamori, head of the Skura clan, where he was also raised. Hotta does suspect some kind of treachery, but he can not ignore the direct command of the Shogun. Therefore, he starts on his travel with Takechiyo and seven accompanying samurais. A large army under the command of Iba Shoemon, a vassal of the Shogun, attacks their night camp in the vicinity of a copper mine. Hotta dies in this first battle, but Takechiyo and the samurai manage to escape. They are chased by the army, and several skirmishes between the small force and the larger army follow.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I digs me some Samurai flicks and this is a good one.  It's funny because I don't think I've seen a bad one yet.  Anyway, There's a ton of action from every direction.Ken Ogata is great as the middle aged samurai, Igo Gyobu, sworn to protect the rightful heir, Takechiyo (Ippei Shigeyama).  His evil adversary is Iba Shoemon (Chiba).  Their showdown is epic and feels like a Western gun duel but with swords.  It's even in the middle of the dirt road in town just like in an American Western.  You'd think the picture would end there but it doesn't.  At first it's a little weird how it keeps going but there's more to the movie than swordplay and killin' folks.  The music score by Masaru Sato is really good even though the orchestral style he chose feels strange for a film like this.  There are three moments (the first doesn't happen until halfway into the picture) where you get 80s hair metal songs as performed by Japanese artists.  We laughed our butts off.  They come out of nowhere and make no sense for this 17th Century flick but it's fun in a bizarre way. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Other Hell (1981)

Director: Bruno Mattei

Starring: Franco stoppi, Carlo De Mejo, Francesca Carmeno, Susan Forget, Franco Garofalo, Paola Montenero, Sandy Samuel, Andrea Aureli, Dolores Calo, Tom Felleghy, Simone Mattioli, Pupita Lea Scuderoni

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Some things are better left unknown

Plot: A priest investigates paranormal activity at a nuns' convent where a deep, dark secret is about to resurface in the guise of murder! Could the devil be behind this, or is that just what Mother Superior wants everyone to believe?

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity!

Bruno Mattei wasn't the kind of director who made quality pictures.  His were low to modest budget exploitation genre films - Women in Prison, Nazisploitation, horror, action, etc. You watch his films not for their artistic merit but for the gore and nudity.  THE OTHER HELL is no exception.  This Nunsploitation offering is more of a horror thriller with the priest trying to figure out what the hell is going on at the convent and who is to blame.

Missile to the Moon (1958)

Director: Richard E. Cunha

Starring: Ricahrd Travis, Cathy Downs, K.T. Stevens, Tommy Cook, Nina Bara, Gary Clarke, Michael Whalen, Laurie Mitchell, Leslie Parrish, Henry Hunter, Lee Roberts

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Man reaches Moon...a strange and forbidding race...a giant fiendish creature.

Plot: Escaped convicts Gary and Lon are caught hiding in a rocket by scientist Dirk Green, who forces them to pilot the ship to the moon. Dirk's partner Steve Dayton and his fiancĂ© June stowaway on the ship by accident. On the Moon they discover a race of space-women who want to inhabit Earth.  Will they all make it back safely?

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe.

I love these low budget sci-fi cheesefests.  It's a loose remake of the superior CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON (1953) and it's not as fun but it's still worth watching.  It's got everything you love from these types of pictures from the 1950s - earnest acting, cliches all over the place, stock characters, cornball dialogue and creature effects that wouldn't fool a four year old (I'm looking at you, giant spider hanging from a rope!).  The funny thing is, it works for what it is, light entertainment.  I love it in movies when we travel anywhere in outer space only to find the joint is colonized by hot babes.  Talk about your male fantasy realized.  The queen is always bad news and wants to do harm to the men who come from Earth but there are always a few horndogs in the bunch that want some Earth man action.  PROMETHEUS (2012) didn't invent stupidity, it just capitalized on it at every turn.

This picture gets it right.  I love the enthusiasm here!  I was surprised to see such a low score on IMDb.  It's a lot more fun that what most people will lead you to believe.  It's only 78 minutes.  It's not gonna kill ya.

It just occurred to me that PROMETHEUS is nothing more than a 50's low budget sci-fi flick trapped in a bloated 21st Century Hollywood budget. Now it makes much more sense.  It's dumb on every level except for special effects but it's nothing more than expensive cheese.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Satanico Pandemonium (1975)

Director: Gilberto Martinez Solares

Starring: Enrique Rocha, Cecilia Pezet, Delia Magana, Clemencia Colin, Sandra Torres, Adarene San Martin, Patricia Alban

More info: IMDb

Tagline: From Bride of Christ to Slave of Satan

Plot: Sister Maria (Cecilia Pezet) is a saint among nuns, full of holiness and team spirit. She knows how to fix cows with intestinal difficulties, and she even treats the black sisters with kindness and respect. However, one day as she's walking in the picturesque hills surrounding her convent, she spies a strange naked man (Enrique Rocha) who suggestively offers her an apple. Well, we were not born yesterday and we know what that means! Then the young nun is tempted by visions of forbidden sexual fantasies to cross over to Satan.

My rating:6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Part of the Nunsploitation Project (July & August 2013). Click here for more naughty nun insanity!

I actually expected more from this one.  Perhaps it's because I've known of it for twenty years or that it's one of the best know Nunsploitation pictures.  It's got a great title and tagline.  One aspect I did like was that Satan (Rocha) shows up in various forms to tempt Sister Marie (Pezet).  That was an interesting take on the genre that we haven't seen much of. 

Stalag 17 (1953)

Director: Billy Wilder

Starring: William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger, Robert Strauss, Harvey Lembeck, Richard Erdman, Peter Graves, Neville Brand, Sig Ruman, Michael Moore, Peter Baldwin, Robinson Stone, Robert Shawley, William Pierson, Gil Stratton, Jay Lawrence, Erwin Kalser, Edmund Trzcinski

More info: IMDb

Tagline: These G.I.s are doing their best to outsmart the Nazis and plan a Christmas Eve escape.  There's only one of them is a German spy.

Plot: No one has ever escaped from Stalag 17, a POW camp for American airmen near the Danube. Maybe that's because there's a spy in barracks four. The German guards seem to know everything that's happening before it happens. Most of the American POWs suspect Sergeant J.J. Sefton, whose wheeling-and-dealing rates him special privileges from the camp guards. When Lieutenant Dunbar arrives at the prison camp, and is accused of blowing up an ammunition train, the American prisoners must expose the stoolie before he informs the Germans where Dunbar is hiding, AND get Dunbar out of the "inescapable" camp before the SS arrives to take him into custody.

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

This flick is insanely good.  I've seen it close to twenty times since I was a kid and it never gets old.  Billy Wilder crafted a picture filled with drama, comedy and suspense that all work so well together.  The performances are fantastic.  I don't know who Holden was up against for the Best Actor Oscar but I'm willing to be he deserved that award.  He's terrific.  I love that the camera doesn't blink.  The actors get opportunities with some A-1 dialogue to really show their chops.  The humor works perfectly for me.  I love these characters so much that it's not over the top, it's who they are and they're doing what they can to deal with captivity.  I'm speaking of course of Harry (Lembeck) and Animal (Strauss) (both reprising their roles from the play).  It's a perfect storm of story, direction and acting. The tunes and Franz Waxman's score are fun and effective. And the ending is spot on.  I can't think of a better WWII POW flick than this one.