haildevilman

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ABC Afterschool Specials: Pssst! Hammerman's After You!
(1974)
Episode 3, Season 2

THAT was a bully?
We got this kid they call mouse. Why? Well it seems he started messing with an older girl by the swing set once (no, not THAT way) and got a fist to the stomach. Now everyone calls him mouse.

He likes to prank a bit. Mostly drawing captions on everyday items at school. Finally he puts a big kid's name on a poster of a caveman. Only said kid watches him do it. Name? Marv Hammerman. You're classic school tough kid. A little older than Mouse too.

He spends the day trying to elude the obvious beating (he even fantasizes about going back and wiping the graffiti off) but eventually has to face up to it. He's caught by ol' Marv and his stereotype, boot-licking side-kick. The shocker? Marv pops him a couple of times. bloodies his nose, then says "You've had enough." Hands him his jacket and now it's over.

Reality? I doubt it. But showing Marv as a guy who sees excess as unnecessary was a nice little twist. His side-kick (nice Buddy Holly glasses by the way) was annoying though.

Lance Kerwin as Mousie's friend was really the only actor that got beyond this type of role. Among the youngsters anyway. And Jim Sage (Marv) has NO other credits besides this. And he hardly spoke. Just looked tough

Decor wise this is all 70's. All the males had long shaggy hair and everyone seemed to own a lot of denim. Lots of tube socks too. And did girls really wear shorts year 'round in the 70's? Oh well, it was probably California anyway.

Pay attention and you might see Willie Aames in a short cameo.

The Silent Scream
(1979)

Silence wasn't golden.
This film was made twice when everyone was brought back to re do scenes. It didn't help much.

A few college types decide to rent a huge castle/mansion near the ocean when the dorm housing gets full. Except there's an evil presence hiding there.

It seemed to capitalize on the sudden attacks so "no one had time to scream." But the build up was so bad it almost wasn't worth it.

Seeing Barbara Steele and Yvonne (Lily Munster) DeCarlo was nice. And the Cameron Mitchell-Avery Schreiber cop team was worth a look for the weirdness alone. But these names basically showed up for a few days and did their scenes before going back to their bigger jobs.

Most of the other actors were newbies trying to earn their stripes. They gave their all. And if you look....you'll catch Schreiber reading his lines off his notepad.

Strangely enough....despite the ravaging this took from the critics....and the fact that it really hasn't aged well...it did gross between 10 and 15 million.

But the 80's video boom and the distance horror has come since probably made it valuable only to collectors or vintage 70's film buffs.

The Toolbox Murders
(1978)

Setting framework for more slasher entries.
Cam the Man Mitchell lives in this apartment building with a lot of young types. The majority of them are single, and very randy women. And most of them seem to be flight attendants. Perpetuating a stereotype here it seems.

Cam ain't happy with the looseness of said ladies so he slowly (and I do mean slowly) invades their space and kills them. The title gives away the implements used so I would not be remiss mentioning the drill and nail-gun scenes. And I go anyone in the room double or nothing the producers of 'Nail Gun Massacre' got their idea here.

Some of the actresses were porno vets either trying to do 'legit' films or hired due to their willingness to show it all and touch same. The lass killed by the aforementioned nail gun was masturbating in the bath at the time.

Cam covers himself with a ski mask which makes his appearance almost trite these days. But while there were enough scares to make this decent....it did move a bit to slow and got repetitious by the third act.

For Cam Mitchell and slasher prototype fans only.

Human Experiments
(1979)

Genre blending
This is basically a Woman in prison flick mixed with a Mad Scientist flick. Call it a WIPWMS flick then.

A country singer (The lovely Linda Haynes) meets a child that just killed his family. So she shoots him in self-defense. However the sheriff (Jackie Coogan???) Frames her and sends her to prison.

They do it differently in this prison. The inmates are nothing more that fodder for a bunch of twisted experiments. Geoff Lewis hams it up as the local Dr. Frankenstein wannabe. And John Travolta's sis Ellen also appears.

Ms. Haynes was not afraid to do nudity but why they dubbed a singing voice I'll never understand. Especially since the voice was crap.

The best scenes were the nightmare/hallucinations becoming reality. You have to wait for 2/3 of the film to get to it though. And I wonder how many punk clubs tried to book Satan and the Lucifers after seeing this. Otherwise....it's all been done better.

Watch for Aldo Ray as a slimy barman in an early scene.

The Clonus Horror
(1979)

I liked 'Parts' of it.....
The 70's seemed to be chock full of guys with new ideas in the horror/sci-fi field. Or new ways to show old ones.

This wasn't too bad really. Summer camp full of clones of people that don't know they're clones yet. Why keep them around? In case the genuine article needs a new organ/limb.

Peter Graves and Dick Seargent (That's the second Darren gang) slum it here slightly in an attempt to dignify the film. The rest of the troupe weren't bad....maybe a bit too inexperienced. But that's low budget for you.

Some fear builds as the film progresses when it slowly dawns on everyone that this is basically a human harvesting operation. At the time this was released it was probably LOTS more shocking.

And in a bit of censorship....one of the original video box covers showed a woman on a mortuary slab with her arms dangling down. Actually no...the original had the arms lopped off. The new (in the 80's video boom era) re added the arms.

Anyone got a copy of the chopped arms? You may have a collectors item.

I saw this in the said era of its vid release. Liked it fine....but I wonder what it looks like these days.

Blood Diner
(1987)

Blood Feast 2? No, Blood Diner 1
Basically an 80's style comedy with European style gore. OTT gore too.

Two young brothers get a visit from Uncle Anwar. (Really.) He gives them a present right before the cops kill him in a hail of bullets. Unc was a killer apparently.

Years later same bros are running a greasy spoon when they manage to revive Unc's head with a voodoo spell. Now he needs a body. You see where this is going right?

Like Frankenhooker, they get body parts for him from unsuspecting customers. And it being a diner, how do you THINK they get rid of the body parts they don't need???

One poor lass gets deep fat fried, another fat dude gets creamed by a car, and another gets sawed in half.....lengthwise. The kills are creative beyond belief, and it's played as the blackest of black comedies. It almost seems like it could be a Police Academy knock-off at times.

The humor is as gross as the kills too. Don't eat while watching this. And the two leads (Burks and Crews) do a good job with the material. Burks would die in a car crash not too long after the film's release.

I used to own a cassette but got rid of it during on of my many international moves. I'm basing my review on a 20+ year old memory. I wonder if it's still watchable though?

The Being
(1983)

"Being" not that scary.
Typical 80's camp with an all-star cast. The thing is......most of said stars were more famous for comedy.

Dawn Wells, Ruth Buzzi, and even the Unknown Comic (now known as Murray Langston) show up along with Ferrer and Landau. This is Landau's vehicle more or less. But Rexx Coltrane (aka Jackie "I'm the director folks" Kong's then husband Bill Osco) also shares a bit of lead.

Toxic waste gets dumped into a local reservoir and creates a sci-fi monster. Which, despite the video cover art, we never actually see the lower half of. This figure of slime then creates the usual havoc and the local authorities want to keep it mum.

Why? The potato crop might not sell. Did I mention the film takes place in Idaho? Sorry.

Lots of local yokels in trucker and farm gear wandering around the scenery getting killed between jobs and beers. But not that much suspense.

Nope. Not aged to well. Despite all the talent involved.

Devil Girl from Mars
(1954)

This one stood out.
If only slightly.

Mars needs male breeding stock. So they send the most desirable lady they have to go get it. Now you know why the title is what it is.

Classic 50's sci-fi here. And very easy to find at your local DVD emporium. It has all the typical stuff. And if you're into that....you'll be glad.

Ms. Laffan (still with us and closing in on # 100) did a great job in the lead role. Stone faced seriousness with a great body. And that outfit probably turned a ton of heads in its day. She was clearly the one to watch for loads of reasons.

She also has a robot to do all her muscle work. FX geeks will have a blast watching these scenes.

A cheapie? Yes....but let's be FAIR. It's still good fun and easy to find so come on....enjoy it to the hilt.

Things to Come
(1936)

A cinematic crystal ball?
We'll keep this as short as possible. But a film like this inspires volumes.

Wells hated Metropolis. This was his answer.

Lang's film was dark and moody....this one was dark and dramatic. It also predicted World War 2, the space program, and TV. In 1936!!!

H.G. wanted to give us his version of the future. And also letting us know it wasn't coming easy. The war was met with a lot of 'gung ho' but the scenes of the bombing were very well made (and hard to watch) for the time. Keep your eye out for the top-hatted man that shakes his fist at the bombers....right before he gets killed. And of course the dead child that just wanted to play soldier.

Then comes the disease. Trying times for all.

But when technology leaps forward....watch out. The FX here were great without a doubt. You get the idea that the crew took great pains to make it look good without overdoing it.

Having the entire cast play multiple roles was a good idea too. Sir Cedric and Mr. Massey leading the way here. Sci-fi with drama makes a great film no?

Der Untergang
(2004)

As seen from the other side.
A movie about the end of the Third Reich......from Germany no less.

The film is in German so I saw it with subtitles. Once at home, and once in a German restaurant in suburban Tokyo. No...really. The proprietors said it was brilliantly acted and truthful.

The best part of this film is that it sugar coated nothing. The head Nazis got no slack here. History has already taught us this but seeing Hitler slowly lose his mind and watching the Generals decide whether to save their own skin or stay loyal makes GREAT character study. Also the civilians in the bunker too. A classic moral dilemma.

Herr Ganz absolutely ROCKED as Der Fuhrer. You saw the frustration at his lack of success, anger when the Generals didn't obey, and lunacy at trying to get shredded, out numbered armies to go after the Soviet juggernaut knocking on Berlin's door.

You also saw the infighting among the Reichsters. A lot of this makes few history books. It showed who the real sadists were. No one wants to die but they know the little madman won't allow weakness. One by one high rankers run off. And all Hitler can do is yell and order another execution.

Some of the scenes in the bomb shelters may be hard to watch. Hysterical women and children fighting to save what little they have. Old men with looks of utter despair, that is when they weren't getting shot as traitors because they refused to let them selves get shanghaied into a suicide mission. And the civilians running from the final barrage in Berlin. Gives one another view of this dark time. I've seen real footage of this so I'll attest to the factualness.

Also some of the base level surgery (amputations really) in said bunker, despite the briefest of glimpses.....will NOT be easy to stomach.

And you also see what kind of a subhuman Dr. J Goebbels REALLY was. Let's be honest here....the guy was a cold-hearted mutant. And Ulrich Matthes was BRILLIANT in the role. He deserved Oscar consideration at least.

The film was well acted by everybody. And kudos to the German filmmakers for their honesty and artistic excellence. But be warned....we know what happens remember? So this will definitely be a sense tester.

History as some have NEVER seen it before.

Good job Mein Herrn. You deserved the gold statue. Too bad they wouldn't give it to you.

Hokuto no Ken
(1986)

You're already dead!
Starts with the apocalypse.

Then just gets bleaker.

The violence starts off slowly. First with a duel between friends over a woman.

Then we see the oppressive regime brutalize innocents. That's when our wandering hero steps up.

The oppressors gruntwork is done by guys that look like the Road Warrior had a baby with a Punk Rocker. Huge muscles too. They bully a little girl (with a mental gift) and that's when the tide turns.

Ken (Yeah....that's the good guy....in the original Japanese version anyway) starts seriously taking names.

A few quick hits, and in one case, a flamboyant series of kicks, causes these guys to literally explode. Or fall apart like cold cuts.

The violence really gets going then. The final half hour seems like they were trying to fit as many kills as possible. Each one more creative and nastier than the last. It of course is heading toward a duel. And not what you think either.

VERY violent. VERY gory. And the holocaust like setting will be a downer for some. This is NOT NOT NOT for kids that's for sure. But horror/sci- fi fans will love every massive second of it. Just remember the fantasy element.

A live version was released......not worth going there.

Gokiburi-tachi no tasogare
(1987)

A view from below.
The cockroaches replace humans while the humans replace gods?

That's one way to interpret it no?

A commune of cockroaches live and play in a dude's apartment in modern day (well late 80's) Japan. Nobody bothers them. They bother nobody.

Until said dude's girlfriend moves in.

Stereotypically, the female decides this place needs cleaning and what we get is Armageddon seen from the floor.

Of course there's your rivalries between the peace-nicks and the aggressors. And Naomi is our female eye of the storm. Do they fight, run, or die? Find this to find out. It isn't easy. Not even in Japan. There are a few old VHS copies floating around the used shops however.

This combination of live and anime reminds one of "Heavy Traffic" at times. I caught this in an art theater in Philly during a run on rare anime showings. Didn't stand out like "Robot Carnival" but still kept my attention.

And anyone with knowledge of Japanese life might like it too.

SF Shinseiki Lensman
(1984)

Could have been a REAL series......
This was a manga series that later made it to TV/Video. Unfortunately it stayed a minor hit in Japan and barely made cult status in the states.

There was only one feature length film released stateside and it played mostly art theaters.

Young lad (Skywalker-san?) inherits the power of the Lens from a dying warrior. Now he needs to learn to use it to fight off the Boscone. (I spent half the film wondering why they were fighting a chocolate drink.) This was of course after the lad's father sacrifices himself to save his son.

Now he needs to move on.

He learns to use his power while being chased and also chasing. A lone female comes into his life to help. Along with a friend of his late father. You're typical gruff big guy.

This movie clearly got influence from the Spielberg canon. The young ladies Princess Leia hairstyle. The Lens=the Force. And one scene ripped off completely from Indiana Jones. You'll see it easily.

A rocking adventure worth sitting through. And good for younger kids too. Meaning it's more adventure less apocalypse.

And the fight in the disco was a trip.

Singles
(1992)

"You rock my world."
This was a 90's version of all those high school films in the 80's some of us are old enough to remember.

We deliberately date the film and tap into the grunge era of Seattle. When done on purpose....it can be done very well. This was.

We see the baggy shorts and layered flannel on the guys, the leggings and quirky hats on the girls, and the disheveled hair on both. But funnily enough, this flick was in production BEFORE that scene took off. As a result what seemed like cashing in was actually foresight.

The relationships unfolding in the apartment complex were done realistically and the scenes involving the band will be enjoyed by anyone into that era's music. And Campbell Scott almost steals this film. His idea for the city was actually a good one.

And yes that is 3 members of Pearl Jam as Matt Dillons backup band. And see if you can spot Chris "Soundgarden" Cornell coming out to watch Matt show off his new car speakers.

So 90's. But very enjoyable.

Is It Legal?
(1995)

"That's so easy to do."
Not as anarchic as I like to see for England but funny all the same.

A low key approach to a local Solicitor's office in England. A handful of main characters to keep the interest. Along with their personalities.

We have senior partner Dick who seems more interested in golf and sherry.

Stella, the main character and while she's very likable, she can't seem to get her life in order.

Bob the office manager. Same as Stella. Only male.

Colin is the young upstart lawyer full of enthusiasm and ideals. And also a train wreck.

Allison is the office secretary with the permanently bored look and snotty attitude. (And while nice to look at....VERY inappropriately dressed for a law office.)

And Darrin. The wannabe soccer hooligan. He just seems to be a lackey.

These folks just seem to annoy each other to no end. With constant references to Dick's cluelessness, Allison's bitchiness, and Darrin's almost deliberate trouble-making. Bob and Stella were the only normal ones. And the ones we had any feeling for.

Again, a low key Brit-com. But you'll find plenty of laughs. This played in Japan for a while on late night TV.

Laundry Blues
(1930)

Early "racist" Cartoon
Came out in 1930 and LOOKS it.

It's basically a series of sight/spot gags surrounding a Chinese laundry with a few musical numbers mixed in. Of course everybody has the long ponytail and clacks around in wooden shoes. And apart from the brief singing....no one says anything comprehensible. It's all fake chatter.

This one doesn't get played today due to the obvious racial stereotyping. But I'll bet it also doesn't get played due to the outdated "entertainment" value. Anyone over the age of five wouldn't enjoy it that much.

The Van Bueren studios were more famous for their Little King. And like said, this is just a lot of music with visual gags. Also like said, it tends to be repetitious.

See this for what it is.....and old theatrical cartoon that may have gotten laughs way back then but won't be much more than a curiosity/historical piece now. You don't even see this one on DVD's of racist animation. Hell, it hardly gets mentioned at all ANYWHERE.

Two stand out scenes. Despite everyone being Chinese, why did the four laundrymen's singing sound like a jazz quartet? And the Jewish customer (NOT very flattering either) wanting his beard cleaned. And his ticket was written in Hebrew.

I saw a quick blurb about this in a book. The cartoon is on youtube. Check it at your own desire.

Three Little Kittens
(1934)

Musical mayhem.
Went from cute to creepy to crazy in a matter of seconds.

Three kittens are playing in a store. There's your usual soft music accompanying the games. And being an early cartoon....some scenes tend to linger. But young kids would enjoy it.

However....

They shouldn't see what's next.

A large, ugly rat resembling something you'd see painted on a 1960's era dragster steps in and starts the terror. He kidnaps one of the kittens and ties him to what looks like a meat slicer. VERY graphically shown. The cries for help will scare young 'uns for SURE.

But his buddies save him. Then attack the rat in what can only be called an absolute avalanche of violence. They throw everything at him non stop. This might cause more hyper active kids problems for obvious reasons.

Very early cartoon that occasionally shows up on DVD's containing banned animation.

The Herculoids
(1967)

All brilliant!
I wonder where the original idea came from.

Sci-fi animation at it's best. For the time anyhoo.

A family of three with several super pets. Zandor is the Father, Tarra the Mother, and Dorno the son. A basic family except they have great athleticism and futuristic weapons. And for some reason Dorno refers to his parents by their first names.

Zok is a flying dragon that fires bolts of energy from his eyes and tail.

Tundro looks like a triceratops that fires shots from his horn. Has armor plates as well.

Igoo is a giant ape made of rock. And yes that is Ted "Lurch" Cassidy doing the voice.

Gloop and Gleep were jellylike blobs.

Zandor also had a slingshot that was more powerful than most weapons that REALLY exist.

There was no sentimentality here. But you still saw all of them support each other. It comes off like a Japanese monster anime at times.

Why don't they do more like this?

Thundarr the Barbarian
(1980)

Conan knock-off.
Mind you....that isn't a bad thing.

Spice it up with more sci-fi and give him regular companions and we have Thundarr. Which is a cool name by the way.

The apocalyptic intro seems more frightening as a 10-14 year old. (Which I was at the time.) But it sets a great stage. Also the lack of a running story made it a little more fun. However, it also suggests a lack of faith in the project.

This was on a little later in the morning on Saturdays so it was probably aimed at older kids. I didn't see it as much as I'd liked. But it's worth remembering. I'm surprised your comic-con and "cosplay" types don't go here more often. Princess Ariel seems like an American anime at times. Only smart.

Thank you Cartoon Network/Boomerang for bringing it back.

Out for Justice
(1991)

" Anybody seen Richie? I'm gonna keep comin' back until someone REMEMBERS seein' Richie."
Seagal's best. I mean he actually tries to act.

Instead of squinting and mumbling through his usual self righteous blather he actually kicks ass and takes names verbally.....then physically.

He's a cop named Gino in Brooklyn and his partner gets clipped by a guy he knew for years from the neighborhood. He walks a line between loyalty to his job and partner and his feelings for the killer's family, whom he's known all his life.

Said killer, in a role absolutely OWNED by Bill Forsythe, is a drug fried crazoid. No sympathy for him. But you felt for his parents. Old country folks these. That's old country Italy.

Of course the scene of scenes was the bar fight. Great lines and a great Aikido clinic on display. Plus a cameo from martial arts weapons legend Dan Inosanto. He was a student of Bruce Lee. (Maybe you've heard of him?)

Seagal caught heat for his OTT "Noo Yawk" accent but I liked it. He actually acted here. His last decent performance before he headed into "straight to video" hell.

Mondo Mod
(1967)

Mondo 60's
While the Mod era got most of the hype and coverage, the Hippies had their own little spots here too.

We cover the LA area here. We get a good look at the dirt bike races and surfing scenes. A tour of the local clothing shops as well. It's interesting to see the fashions displayed without even a hint of irony.

A few rock bands are shown too. Local acts, many with the greaser look still. But a few are showing Beatles influence too. And in all honesty. the groups and songs were pretty good.

The inevitable scenes of riots and protests are here too. Along with an acid fueled orgy at the end. Lots of close-ups of girls in go-go boots and minis dancing as well.

Not a bad doc at all. The DVD has "Hippie Revolt" as an extra. That's for 60's completests especially.

Let's Do It!
(1982)

The male fantasy for females?
Poor Freddie.

He's got this beautiful girl see? She's hot. She genuinely nice to be around. And she's willing. But Freddie wants to please her so badly he can't get his motor revving if you catch my drift. She's VERY willing to get it on at the drop of her panties (sorry) but he keeps bailing. Much to her sadness. Her misunderstanding mother gets the best line. "These guys seem to think their penises will fall off if they don't use them all the time."

Why?

The analysis begins here.

He talks about it with a college buddy of his. Your typical short, chubby dude. Both of these guys are SEHR sensitive too. These conversations run deep. Then he actually "buys" himself a hooker. Stereotypical bleach blonde new wave California girl. Very well built too. He struggled with this party too.

Freddy has ladies throwing themselves at him non-stop. But he is just to nice a guy. His professor even tries to seduce him. (NO college mentioned but it looked like a UCLA clone.)

Slow moving and erotic. Lots of frontal nudity but the well placed shadows prevent this from being a hard "X." Softcore here gang. Even though the frontal nudity was both genders. Everybody....even the hookers....was sensitive too. No misogyny or misandry here at ALL!

The acting was OK but most people would probably just zip to the sex parts. But take heed....there is a story. And an honest one at that.

Maybe it isn't Bert's métier....but still...........

Mannen på taket
(1976)

Wrong! Nyman was a ******* lousy policeman!
Very verite this one.

I caught a couple of scenes from this during the early days of HBO. Due to my youth, I thought it was funny the way the "lips didn't match the words." (You see....it was subtitled due to the Swedish language.)

I saw it again MUCH later and was blown away.

Bad cop meets a comeuppance in the hospital. Then we get a few scenes of very technical, and seemingly painstakingly filmed, police procedure. Big Bo seemed to be trying to show the world what Swedish Police go through on a day to day.

Bo was a huge fan of The French Connection and wanted to make the Swedish equivalent. Seeing as MOTR got the home country's version of Oscar for best picture....I'd say he succeeded. And the homage shows.

The book it was based on (The Abominable Man) was every bit as thrilling.

A playable DVD is hard to get outside of Europe but keep looking. This is a treasure worth the hunt.

Because of the Cats
(1973)

"Who are you....what do you want?"
In what seems to almost come out of today's headlines.....a group of rich boys decide to rape and terrorize people for a goof.

They rape middle-aged women in their own house while forcing their husbands to see it all. All this while destroying their personal property. You see paintings get slashed, furniture get ripped up, and personal items smashed just for the fun of it. And these are valuable items. And the rape scenes may be hard to watch for some.

Then we get a police drama. The inspector in question targets the group for imprisonment. We see a lot of technical details about police work. Euro-flicks like to do that it seems. (Remember "Man on the Roof?") These bits almost play like a documentary.

The pace seems to get slower as we move on, but the intriguing characters keep it in focus. And the culprits are almost likable despite their sliminess.

This film is hard to find. But worth a look. The director Fons Radermakers (spelling?) later won a Foreign Film Oscar for "The Amateur."

Futz
(1969)

Ode to a pig.
Basically filmed performance art.

O'Horgans troupe put together a (barely) musical skit about a farmer unlucky in love.

Well, human love anyway.

So he falls for his pig. The devotion is almost touching.

Don't worry.....no bestiality here. This isn't one of THOSE underground films. None of that freaky stuff here.

Siskel and Ebert called this one of their turkeys of the week way back when. I found it in a video bin in New Jersey and watched it with a group of half drunk friends.

None of us knew what the hell was going on but we all stayed until the end.

Hypnotic....if you're in the right daring mood.

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