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Author Topic: The little known movie review depot  (Read 91682 times)
Jimmy
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« on: January 30, 2008, 08:07:43 AM »

This is not really a marathon, but I've decided to start this topic to place my review.

Here you will find many genre of movie, but all of them will have one point in common : they are not well known. I will try my best in each of those review to find the original poster and the trailer.

The focus is more on the film than the DVD, but everytime it will be possible I will add the DVD distributor (if it is not OOP) and some comment on the DVD extra (if the DVD countains just one movie).

My rating system will be simple : 
 Grin = perfect
 Smiley = Not so bad
 Hmmmm ! = Not bad but not good either
 Yawning = Boring
 Yuck ! = A waste of time

I hope that you will like it and, as always, your comments and sugestions are welcome.  Wink
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2008, 08:42:18 AM »

MOVIE / DVD INFO:

          
    Original DVD cover              My DVD cover                           Theatrical poster

Title: The Undertaker and His Pals
Year: 1966
Genre: Horror Comedy
Director: T.L.P. Swicegood           
Rating: R
Length: 1h03
Video:  Full Frame 
Audio:  English(Mono)
Subtitles: No subtitles

Stars:
Warrene Ott     
James Westmoreland (credited as Rad Fulton)   
Marty Friedman     
Sally Frei     
Rick Cooper       

Plot:
Talk about killing your appetite!  Two small town restaurant owners cook up a macabre scheme with the local undertaker to make a fortune.  Their new menu is a hit - people are literally dying to get into the joint.  However, two detectives soon suspect that the main ingredient isnt FDA approved.

My Thoughts:
For my fist review in this new topic I wanted to talk about a good little known movie and after some research in my collection I've found one that I've not seen for ages. This is a movie who was used as a second and third films features at the drive-in by Ted V. Mikels (The Corpse Grinders) at the end of the sixties. So this certainly not the most popular and known movie.

This was one the first movie to used a mix of gore and humor (it was made 3 years after « Blood Feast » the first gore movie). It's evident that for appreciate this genre of film the expectation must be low, since this is not Citizen Kane. The beginning of the movie is in B/W (more brown and grey, but I've no idea what is the english expression for that) and the colour appear only after the first murder, I find that this idea is brilliant. Like I've said this is comedy and there are a lot of funny moments. By exemple : the restaurant menu who change everytime the trio had a new victim (leg of lamb after they had killed Sally Lamb, chicken breast after Ann Poultry,...), a poursuit who look like an old silent movie (piano and fast speed for the victim and organ and slow speed for the killer) and many more. Two actors are far more better than the rest of the cast : James Westmoreland (Don't Answer the Phone!) and Ray Dannis (The Corpse Grinders).

Evidently the movie is far from perfect since this is a low budget production. Some member of the cast are awfull (the actor playing the first victim dad is the worst) and we have the precense of the usual continuity time shifting (one poursuit at the end start at night and everything became sunny and bright very rapidly). The movie is cut too and it's evident, but those cuts has been made by Mikels before the film was released so it's impossible to see it complete.

This is a good little film, but the original DVD is OOP and cost 40$ and more for  a new copy. It doesn't worth that so don't buy it for this price, but with some research it's possible to find it in some budget collection. My copy was released in 2002 by one Canadian label and this one too is curently impossible to find. Sorry I really feel like I tease you too much.   

Rating :  Cheesy
Movie Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkHX9DODXwg
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2008, 04:37:45 PM »


My rating system will be simple : 
 Grin = perfect
 Smiley = Not so bad
 Hmmmm ! = Not bad but not good either
 Yawning = Boring
 Yuck ! = A waste of time


I love this rating system  Laugh

 Cheers
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Rick
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2008, 04:52:22 PM »

I love this rating system  Laugh

 Cheers
Me too! I'll be using it in the next marathon, unless Jimmy claims copyright Laugh
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Jimmy
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 06:38:06 PM »

I love this rating system  Laugh

 Cheers

I was searching for a clearer system than the usual one with number. It's sometimes difficult to really see the diiference between 3 or 3.5
The smileys is a simple way to show my reaction.

Me too! I'll be using it in the next marathon, unless Jimmy claims copyright Laugh

Feel free to use it as you wish
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2008, 09:34:33 PM »


My rating system will be simple : 
 Grin = perfect
 Smiley = Not so bad
 Hmmmm ! = Not bad but not good either
 Yawning = Boring
 Yuck ! = A waste of time



I love this rating system  Laugh

 Cheers
Ooh, very nice!  Ok
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...James
Jimmy
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2008, 01:03:02 AM »

MOVIE / DVD INFO:


Title: Cataclysm
Year: 1980
Genre: Horror
Director: Phillip Marshak (Dracula Sucks)
             Tom McGowan (Wilbur and the Baby Factory)
             Greg Tallas (Espionage in Tangiers)       
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h28
Video:  Full Frame 
Audio:  English(Mono)
Subtitles: No subtitles

Stars:
Cameron Mitchell (Knives of the Avenger)
Marc Lawrence (Marathon Man)
Faith Clift (Horror Express)   
Richard Moll (House)   
Robert Bristol (Hangar 18)
     
Plot:
Charles Moll (A.K.A. Richard Moll), star of the hit 80's "Night Court," plays acclaimed author James Hanson who is trying to uncover the truth behind the belief in God and the Devil. Will James' effrontery to defy superstition put him and his devout Catholic wife in danger of losing their souls to one of the Devil's own henchmen?

My Thoughts:
This title probably told you nothing and for a good reason, it was only used for the theatrical release. This movie was released on VHS and DVD with those two titles : The Nightmare Never Ends and Satan's Supper, but it was also include in an horror anthology (Night Train to Terror) in a re-edited form. The version that I've used for my review is « The Nightmare Never Ends ».

The first thing that we can see before without starting the movie is the fact that 3 directors work on this, usually this is not a good sign. The three directors are not unknown if you have listen some genre films. Marshak has directed 2 good adult films (Blue Ice and  Dracula Sucks),  McGowan has directed « Wilbur and the Baby Factory » and produced « Cherry, Harry & Raquel! » and, finally Tallas is the director of « Prehistoric Women » and « Espionage in Tangiers ». The other important crew member is the writter, Philip Yordan who received an Oscar in 1955 for the script of « Broken Lance ».

But all that didn't make a perfect movie. The big problem with it is that it has too many pointless subplot unresolved and a lot of characters who appear to die just 2 minutes after their introduction. The actor are not really good : Faith Clift always use the same tone of voice (like if she was reading all her line and has some difficulty with the language), Mark Lawrence (who was a veteran actor) is very anoying as an old Jewish man, Cameron Mitchell over-act like he always do and the others minor characters are not better. The special effect are not really good and usually I don't have a problem with that, but please a red light who kill someone is not really impressive (even more if this light is a demon attack).

But not everything is bad. The concept of the movie is good : The Devil is a person who exist just like us and he was and will be always there (he is not a red demon with one fork). The end is good too
Spoiler (hover to show)
Richard Moll give a good performance as a Nobel prize winer author who has written a book about the death of God (does the nobel fondation give their "trophy" for those genre of books? I don't think so!).

Rating :  Hmmmm !

Movie Trailer : None Available,but...

I've found the complete version of « Night Train to Terror », but I don't know if the quality is good or if the anthology worth it. I have only a modem conection and the idea of listen one film on the net with 56K speed is not really a good one. But if the film is good let me know, maybe I will try to find it.

You could see it there : http://flickbyflick.com/showflick.asp?moid=598
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 01:13:41 AM by AESP_pres » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2008, 01:19:48 AM »

My rating system will be simple : 
 Grin = perfect
 Smiley = Not so bad
 Hmmmm ! = Not bad but not good either
 Yawning = Boring
 Yuck ! = A waste of time

What a smart idea, that's a 2 pointer.
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Jimmy
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2008, 08:57:29 PM »

MOVIE / DVD INFO:

                       
              Dvd cover                                                    Theatrical poster

Title: The Horror of Party Beach
Year: 1964
Genre: Monster Movie
Director: Del Tenney (Zombies)           
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h18
Video:  Widescreen 
Audio:  English(Mono)
Subtitles: English

Stars:
John Scott (No other credit)   
Alice Lyon (No other credit)
Allan Laurel (No other credit)
Eulabelle Moore (Brenner – TV series)
Marilyn Clarke (Kolchak: The Night Stalker – TV series)

Plot:
A drag race between hot rodders and bikers winds up at a swinging rock-and-roll beach party where the Del-Aires perform some rockin' tunes. Nearby, a barrel containing radioactive waste is unloaded from a passing ship, and plunged to the bottom of the sea, splitting against a jagged rock. When a peculiar black liquid oozes out covering a human skull, a vicious monster slowly twitches into life, and "The Horror Beach Party" is born!


My Thoughts:
The teens beach movie (Beach Blanket Bingo, Beach Party,...) were successfull in the sixties and the monster movie was always popular (and they continue to be). Del Tenney has decided with this movie to mix this two genres together. Before that he has directed 2 serious horror movie : Zombies (64) and The Curse of the Living Corpse (64).

The best things in this films (everyone who have seen it will agree with me) is the music and the party at the beach. The band in the movie was called the Del-Aires and they were a local New Jersey club band. They did release some single and they were popular in the club scene untill 1964 when the group split after a seven years career. The beach party got all the good ingredients : teenagers (older looking, but that's usual), good looking girl, a biker gang and a fight between the hero & the biker leader. Everyone in the cast perform corectly, no one is really bad and it's surprising since they are not really professional actors (many of them are just local habitants of Stamford, Connecticut). The story is not really original (toxic waste are dump in the sea and create a monster who will go on a rampage), but the script goes on a straight line and doesn't add any useless sub-plot.

On the less good side. The monster is a member of the silly and awfull monster club and since I can find a good way to describe it, I give you a picture. The first time you see it you could do nothing but laugh.

The only black character in the movie is a servant woman and she's a running sterotype (her name Eulabelle, she only exist to serve her boss and her reaction when she hear about the monster attack is to call it voodoo).

This is good little movie, not really an horror films but certainly a fun one. The DVD release by « Dark Sky Films » in 2006 countain a good commentary track by Del Tenney.

Rating :   Cheesy
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 07:40:47 PM by Jimmy » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2008, 10:51:50 PM »

MOVIE / DVD INFO:



Title: Guyana: Crime of the Century
Year: 1979
Genre: True story
Director: René Cardona Jr. (The Bermuda Triangle)           
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h47 (the time on the cover is not good)
Video:  Full Frame 
Audio:  English(Mono)
Subtitles: No subtitles

Stars:
Stuart Whitman (Night of the Lepus)     
Gene Barry (Turn Back the Clock)   
John Ireland (Salon Kitty)   
Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane)     
Bradford Dillman (Piranha)       

Plot:
Nearly thousand people – even tiny babies and children – lay dead and rotting in the morning sun in the South American country of Guyana, all victims of cult leader Jim Jones, who had ordered the mass execution of his followers in the 1978 incident called by many « The Crime of the Century ».

My Thoughts:
November 18, 1978. Almost everyone know what happen at this date, I remember to have heard about it on the news even if I was only eight years old at this time. This day is the day where the bigger Cult massacre happen, maybe I'm wrong but I'm sure that nothing have been worst to this day. 913 members of the cult, 3 members of the media, 1 defector from Jonestown and the Congressman Leo J. Ryan had been killed this day in Guyana. This movie was made very rapidly after the event (february 1979). Enough of that you don't read that for receiving an history lesson.

Contrary to what we may think this film is respecfull and tastefull (remember that this not the U.S. version who use the real photography of the dead people). Stuart Whitman gave a great performance as James Johnson (Jim Jones), it's very easy to understand is power and control on his people and he is always credible. Gene Barry is also good in the rôle of Leo Ryan. The film is made in Guyana and they had used the real photography of Jonestown to recreate it for the movie, these 2 facts add a lot to the production value. They present some fact who didn't happen as they show in the film (no proof that Jones was killed, the mass suicide happen more calmly and some others), but it's understandable since the film was made very shortly after the event.

The only negative point is the fact that the movie start too rapidly. By this I mean that the story start when the congregation is on the move to Guyana. I know about the story of this cult, but I think that an introduction of its history who had made the film clearer for an average viewer.

My second experience with Cardona and like my precedent (Bermuda Triangle) it was a good one. I can't wait to receive my next one « Supervivientes de los Andes » based on the 1972 crash of an Uruguayan rugby team on the Andes Mountains.

The DVD is OOP but it's easy to find it on Amazon marketplace for a low price.

Rating :   Smiley
Movie Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwmbzrPepqk

For more information about this event and the cult
http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/mass/jonestown/index_1.html

Note : the 1980 American teleseries « Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones » is available too on DVD.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 07:41:57 PM by Jimmy » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2008, 08:00:23 AM »

MOVIE / DVD INFO:

               
                DVD Cover                                            Theatrical poster

Title: Who Wants to Kill Jessie?
Original Title: Kdo chce zabít Jessii?
Year: 1966
Genre: Comedy
Director: Václav Vorlícek (Tri orísky pro Popelku)           
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h20
Video:  Widescreen 
Audio:  Czech
Subtitles: English

Stars:
Dana Medrická (Tag der Idioten)     
Jirí Sovák (Marecku, podejte mi pero!)
Olga Schoberová (Limonádový Joe aneb Konská opera)     
Juraj Visny (Objídzdka)     
Karel Effa (Perinbaba)   

Plot:
In this zany Czechoslovakian comedy, a scientist invents a machine that projects a sleeping person's dream on a screen. The trouble begins when she tries the contraption out on her husband and discovers his dreams are filled with cartoon-like characters doing outrageous things. Naturally, the scientist is quite shocked. Believing that such frivolous fantasies just won't do, she tries to manipulate his dreams. Disaster soon follows when the machine malfunctions and the dream characters become very real.

My Thoughts:
I like this film and it's one of my best luck buying. This is a good comedy, in fact it is more amusing than any comedy produce now. Just to watch a cow dreaming that it was relaxing in an hammock and listening a band who played classical music for her at the beginning sell it for me. But the fun start really when the dreams of the Professor become real. 3 characters get out of his dream : 2 bad guys and the heroine. The bad guys are one cowboy and one superhero (they represent the capitalist world, it's my interpretation) and the heroine is a sexy blond (a little bit like Barbarella). The bad guys create one big mess (they destroy an apartment, start a fight in a school, ...) and the girl will try to retrieve the professor (this create a jealousy problem with his wife). They will be arrest and trying in a court of Justice (why the court had 3 judges?). I don't tell the rest but it continue like it for the rest of the film. Now, the more important, the professor dream about a comic book so the 3 characters are not really human and that make the funiest part. They don't talk! Everything they say appear in a bubble and they have written sound effect too (like the old Batman teleseries). That doesn't seem to have many sense, but this film is really good. I can evaluate the talent of the actors since I, obviously, don't understand the czech language, but miss Schoberová (the dream heroine) is certainly pleasing for the eyes.

Thats what is good with the DVD, we can see and try every genre of movie that were never release in the North American market. I recommand this one, It isn't that expensive (25-30$) and it's really an original concept.   

Rating :   Grin
Movie Trailer : No Trailer 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 07:42:45 PM by Jimmy » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2008, 10:49:19 PM »

MOVIE / DVD INFO:

                                                  
     DVD Cover                                                              Theatrical Poster   

Title: Invasion USA
Year: 1952
Genre: Cold War exploitation
Director: Alfred Green (The Jackie Robinson Story)           
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h14
Video:  Full Frame 
Audio:  English(Mono)
Subtitles: No subtitles

Stars:
Gerald Mohr (The Black Rebels)     
Peggie Castle (Beginning of the End)   
Dan O'Herlihy (Halloween III: Season of the Witch)     
Robert Bice (It! The Terror from Beyond Space)     
Phyllis Coates (The Incredible Petrified World)       

Plot:
A handful of strangers are suddenly thrown together as America goes face-to-face against the Communist threat in this curious example of Cold War exploitation.               

My Thoughts:
In the fifties the nuclear scare film genre was a popular one and the anti-communist propaganda was at a high level. So it was a natural to combine all this and create the first « Russian invasion of the USA with nuclear bomb propaganda scare film ».

This film is known for is use of stock footage, a normal thing at that time. But, when your movie use more than 75% of footage this is problematic. This footage doesn't fit : we see naval combat from the WW2 Pacific combat zone, air bombing against European country, paratroopers with American army uniform,... The fact is that all the attack are against the United States and not one single frame of the battle footage happen on the country. When the attack against Washington happen the air defence is set on a big plain, not a single city is on sight. To contourn the fact that the military uniform are all American the film use this trick : The Russian soldiers are dress up as American soldier and have learn english (this lead to a little funny scene when an American soldier find a Russian because he doesn't know who are the Cubs, so if you know anything about baseball take care if an invasion happen). The rest of the story (the not stock part) is not that great either : the Russian are walking stereotype (drunk, violent, comic accent,...), a love story who appear from nowhere... The end is so cliché that it is stupid, usually I don't spoil the ending but I will do an exception with this one because it was already a cliché in 1952 : The event didn't happen, that was an illusion create by one man who had hypnotize the others.

The good point is not really on the film but on the DVD release by Synapse Films. One of the extra is the short movie (29 minutes) « Red Nightmare » made in 1962 who is a perfect exemple of a good American propaganda film. You have 2 audio to listen with the film in suplement of the movie track : « If the Bomb Fall » (an audio disc from 1961 who teach you how to be prepare and live in a fallout shelter in case of a nuclear attack) and « The Complacent American » (an audio disc released in 1961 by the civil defense to teach you how to survive from a nuclear attack).

So even if the movie is bad as hell, I recommand the DVD because of the quality of the extra material in it. But my rating reflect only my view on the film.   

Rating : Yawning
Movie Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNZaMm5q_BA

If you want to watch « Red Nightmare » you can see it there :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wexMivQi3k
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 07:43:49 PM by Jimmy » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2008, 01:14:26 AM »

 Surrender
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Jimmy
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2008, 02:10:21 AM »

Surrender
Try the French territory  Wink
Maybe it's too easy now  Hmmmm !
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« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2008, 07:59:19 AM »

MOVIE / DVD INFO:

                                 
      DVD Cover                                                          Theatrical Poster

Title: Grapes of Death
Original Title: Les Raisins de la mort
Year: 1978
Genre: Horror
Director: Jean Rollin (Requiem for a Vampire)         
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h30
Video: Widescreen
Audio: French
Subtitles: English

Stars:
Marie George Pascal (Les Petites filles modčles)
Félix Marten (Le Tueur)
Serge Marquand (Frankenstein 90)
Brigitte Lahaie (Je suis ŕ prendre)
Mirella Rancelot (Les Bronzés)   

Plot:
A vacation with a friend turns into a horrifying nightmare when a young woman flees from a train, only to stumble into a remote village overtaken by its zombie-like inhabitants. One by one, the townspeople are slowly turning into violent, deformed killers. The local winery may hold the key to the hellish transformers. Perhaps the pesticide used on the grapes does more than just kill insects…

My Thoughts:
The french cinema is more known for the author movie, the quality of its adult movie and the not really funny comedy (Les Bronzé, everything with Louis de Funčs,...) than the horror genre. In fact this genre is not very popular with the Frenchman, they like foreign horror but not their home product. That's why there are not a lot of good French horror director (I don't consider Alexandre Aja a good one, Haute tension had one of the more stupid ending that I've never seen). Jean Rollin is one of the best French genre director, his vampire movies are a good exemple of sensual horror (I will certainly review some of them later).

First thing first, this is not a zombie gore fest this is more an epidemy movie a little bit like in « The Crazies » by Romero. The film foundation is the isolation feeling that is palpable almost at the beginning at the film in a great train scene and throughout almost the runing time because of the location (I've made some screen capture to show what I want to say). The fact that the film doesn't need a lot of blood or jump scare are the sign of its quality, this is a movie where you must immerse yourself in to appreciate it. Marie George Pascal is extraordinary in this film, all the emotion pass completly nothing seems forced when she's anxious, affraid or relieved that looks natural. The ending is great too
Spoiler (hover to show)
The only little negative aspect is the developpement of the rest of the cast member. They appear but we don't know very much about them, but this isn't really something that much important since the focus is more on the story of the principal actress.

This is one movie that I recommand, even if you don't usually appreciate the horror genre I think that you could like it. The movie is in french, but the english subtitles are easy to read.

Rating :  Grin
Movie Trailer : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajeVz2mJ2UQ
« Last Edit: February 04, 2009, 07:44:55 PM by Jimmy » Logged

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