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The Last Days on Mars

In space, no one can hear you yawn...
So they set a Zombie Movie in space, and it's BORING! A mission to Mars, on their last day before being picked up, discover a bacteria. Unfortunately, the bacteria slowly turns them into Zombies because of course it does.

The rest is what you'd normally see in a Zombie movie, but in space. Which means you have a whole lot of panic with space suits and enclosed spaces. What they didn't bother to do is actually make the characters interesting so you'd have any investment in them. It's a good cast, but the characters are interchangeable and you don't care if they get turned into Zombies or not.

The sign of a bad horror movie, is when you start counting down how many potential victims you have left so you can finally be done with this.

Victor Frankenstein

It has it's moments
This movie is kind of a homage to the Universal and Hammer Frankenstein movies while still managing to be its own thing. The movie is told from the perspective of the hunchback assistant Igor, who isn't really a hunchback, just a guy with a cyst who is cured and happens to be a medical genius.

The movie builds up very slowly to the final act where the monster is finally created, and frankly, that's kind of where the movie falls apart.

Nice touch to the inspector with the wooden arm, a callback to the inspector played by Lionel Atwell in Son of Frankenstein (and hilariously spoofed by Mel Brooks).

I guess the problem with the movie is what is the lesson? The lesson from most versions of this story is don't meddle in God's domain. But the heroes never really suffer any consequences for creating the monster, and the monster really isn't that much of a threat.

Also- the CGI Prototype Monkey Monster. Really, really bad CGI.

The Judge

Sometimes Film Preservation shouldn't be a thing.
There were too many things going on in the plot of this movie, and you didn't really have time to follow them all. A sleazy defense lawyer finds out his wife is having a totally Hayes Code Non-sexual affair with a court psychologist. At the same time, a former client commits the murder of a handicapped child and his dog (Oh, no, not the dog!!!) He then engages in a very convoluted scheme to get himself killed and frame the doctor for the crime.

Something I am noticing in a lot of these Film Noir movies is just how absolutely incompetent the police are. Most of these plots are based on police not being able to effectively solve crimes.

Finally, the whole eponymous Judge. He's totally unimportant to the plot except as a narrator, and he has knowledge that he plain old shouldn't have at all. How would he know what the protagonist was dreaming right before he was killed?


Surprised this film isn't better known.
It has a good story, an excellent cast, and is a good example of the Film Noir genre...

So the main character is a middle class guy who has decided to experience the sleazy side of life with the girlfriend of an embezzler he is supposed to be getting restitution from. This immediately puts him into a web of intrigue with a low-life private detective who wants the girl for himself. This was in the early part of Raymond Burr's career when he was still playing bad guys.

Lies upon lies cause complications, which leads to the films thrilling climax.

I guess the biggest problem with this film is just how dated its attitudes are. Ironic, since the director was kind of rebelling against those social constrictions.

The film drags in places, but it's a pretty good thriller.

In a Lonely Place

Film Noir look at an abusive relationship
I guess attitudes were different back then, but this is the story about a guy who has serious anger management issues, in an abusive relationship. A Hollywood writer is implicated in the death of a coat check girl, but in the course of being under suspicion, falls for an ex-starlet.

Bogart, of course is always good playing this sort of gritty character, but with none of the charm of his other portrayals. His character just isn't likable, he's self-absorbed and indifferent to the feelings of the people around him, almost all of whom come off as enablers of his bad behavior.

Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go to College

Ghoulies, meet Porky's, Porky's, meet Ghoulies
So our favorite Toilet-dwelling Imps are back... this time at a college where they are in the middle of a Frat Prank war after being summoned by an angry professor.

And despite having a pretty good cast, it isn't really that funny or scary. The puppets have a bunch of dialog in this one, unlike previous entries where they were merely mute monsters.

Not really worth the watch.

The Monster of Piedras Blancas

Creature from the Black Rerun
This movie is really just a poor man's Creature from the Black Lagoon, without the level of technical skill. They followed the old rule of horror movies, don't expose your monster until the last act, but in this case, it was because the quality of the monster suit was so poor.

The human performances are okay, but for a little town being menaced by a homicidal monster, they don't really seem to have much of a sense of urgency, even when they know what they are dealing with.

It's most of the old 1950's Monster Movie Trope that other people did first and better.

The Devil-Doll

Typical 1930's Mad Scientist Revenge Flick
So stop me if you heard this one before. Someone is wronged and uses Mad Science to exact his revenge. This was a typical plot device used for Lugosi and Karloff vehicles, but in this case, it's Lionel Barrymore, who was wronged by evil bankers instead of being the evil banker he was in "Wonderful Life".

The method he uses is miniaturized people whom he can control with his thoughts. Oh, and for some reason, he's dressed as a woman for the whole movie. It was like a 1930's game of Mad Libs...

Unlike most movies of this sort, it's morally gray... we aren't really sure who we should be cheering for. His revenge doesn't actually kill anyone, just leaves on person miniaturized and another paralyzed.

This was also one of the last films done by Todd Browning of Dracula fame...

Superman: Man of Tomorrow

Disappointing coming from the DCUA group
They are usually so much better than the live action versions...

The artwork is kind of bland and they cram in too many characters to make it easy to keep track of. You have Lex Luthor, but he immediately goes to jail, only to be brought back for some predictable treachery at the end. You have Lobo, who is there to collect a bounty on Superman (they never say from who) which he completely forgets about at the end. You have the Parasite, this time as a tragic figure rather than a villian. And you have the Martian Manhunter... for reasons I can't make out.

Lois Lane is poorly realized, the stuff with Ma and Pa Kent is okay. But the bottom line, the Superman Animated series told these stories a lot better, with nicer animation and better voice acting. So what was the point?

Turkey Shoot

80s Action Cheese
This movie is kind of fun, if not well acted. It actually has some names in it that would go on to do other things.

So a sadistic camp commander in a future totalitarian society allows some of his special guests to hunt down and kill prisoners. And that's about it.... It doesn't have to be complicated. The scenes are the hunters and hunted playing games of cat and mouse until the final climax which is a pretty good action set piece.

And there was a werewolf... not sure why there was a werewolf... maybe it just wandered onto the set one day and they said, "let's put that in the movie."

With better dialog and sharper editing, this could have been great.

Warrior Queen

I was cheering for the volcano....
This was kind of a cheap exploitation film about ancient Rome, where a group of new slaves are sold off to be prostitutes and gladiators, because career choices were limited in Ancient Rome and they didn't actually give you choices.

Donald Pleasence is here as a smarmy Roman official, and Sybil Danning plays Berenice, the mistress of Roman emperor Titus.

The movie suffers from a lot of bad editing and no real plot. Berenice intervenes to help slaves but lets them keep being slaves... Then the Volcano erupts, and you have a lot of stock footage of Lava... and the characters you don't like all die. Of course, there were no characters you don't like.

Extra star for nudity...the most off putting nudity I've seen since a later Ed Wood film.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes

A more effective use of Found Footage
Found Footage has been done to death. This one actually is a slightly better because they make sense. It's a compilation of found footage from a serial killer, news reports, interviews with experts and witnesses... So it actually has a little more of a realistic feel than, let's say, the person who is still holding their camera phone steady while the Zombie Apocalypse breaks out.


Student Film Garbage
This movie boasts it was safely made under Covid-19 protocols, which apparently now involves a lack of a coherent storyline or interesting characters.

So these two lesbian characters are hiding out at a house they don't own, waiting for an accomplice to bring them fake ID, and doing vast quantities of drugs. Every time you think you are going to get a sex scene, they break it off.

By the end of the movie, you get the idea that reality has become unhinged and the characters are in Hell because they murdered the Asian girl's family.... which the viewer can empathize with, watching this was pretty much like eternal torment.

Avoid at all costs.

The Corpse Grinders

I watched this and now my cat is looking at me funny....
The premise is that the most unhygenic cat food company ever has decided that human corpses are cheaper as a source of meat than just buying dead animals. At first, they enlist the services of a grave robber (Forget that even in 1971, corpses were shot up with embalming fluid and entombed in concrete vaults) but they eventually move on to taking out the local homeless population.

Against them are a doctor and his nurse, who are convinced that the recent spate of cats attacking their owners is because they've developed a taste for human flesh.... (Like I said, stop looking at me like that, cat!!!) Their investigation is totally incompetent, leading up to the final scene where the nurse is about to get fed into the grinder....

It's kind of anti-climatic when your "heroes" have to be saved by a minor character who only briefly appeared in the rest of the film.

There are enough quirky performances to enjoy this in a "so bad it's good" sort of way, I guess.

Warriors of Terra

The plot is a group of animal rights activists break into a corporate building where they think animals are being tested on... but find a largely abandoned facility where they are just locking up one failed human test subject... which of course, they let out.

Almost immediately, this results in a group of mercenaries arriving, so they can also be picked off in short order.

The characters are instantly unlikable, and it's one of those movies where you are counting down, "Are we down to the final girl yet?"

Drive Thru

A fast food clown only slightly less evil than Ronald McDonald
So this is the typical slasher movie plot, with a Killer Clown mascot coming after the children of the people who killed him 20 years ago. He's kind of a discount Freddy Krueger if Freddy wasn't funny or particularly scary. The other part of the problem is that he's randomly killing people, not just the people he is supposed to be after, and none of the victims are given enough backstory to make us actually care about them.

I think this was supposed to be a kind of Meta Horror movie like Scream, but it doesn't get there...

Hey, props to having Morgan Spurlock of Supersize Me fame as a restaurant manager.

Then you have detective Crockers, who everyone keeps calling "Crackers", and I think there was supposed to be a joke that paid off but never does.

The Jack in the Box

Sorry, there's just no way a toy is scary
So an antique jack in the box is in fact a demonic instrument, with the demon inside needing to kill six people for, um, reason. An American museum curator in a small English town discovers the secret, but has a hard time getting the local police to believe him. He is haunted by his dead girlfriend being murdered because he couldn't pick up the phone, so feels a need to stop this one. Of course, he becomes the number one suspect.

Um, yeah. The logic doesn't really make sense here. The Jack in the Box just doesn't kill people, it makes them disappear into it's box, which apparently is a Tardis or something, given it is bigger on the inside. So how can the police prove murders without bodies? Who cares.

The movie moves incredibly slowly, but doesn't really build up any atmosphere before the highly predictable ending.


Awful Alien Ripoff
This is a British/German co-production, which attempts to copy the plot of alien, but be more sexy about it. A group of archeologists on a planet somehow uncover a mysterious alien, who impregnates one of the female expedition members... She for some reason then proceeds to kill off her shipmates, who all proceed to die from bad acting.

The first sign of trouble should have been the establishing shot from space where the planet just looks fuzzy. This is after Star Wars and Alien, you should be able to make the FX shots look good. The monsters are equally silly looking, which is why most of the killing has to be done by the pregnant lady. Not that there is any suspense, the idiot characters, none of whom have a shred of personality, largely managed to kill themselves off.

It's not good nor is is bad in a way that is fun to watch. It's just kind of, there, and you are just counting the number of nameless characters to get killed off so you know the movie can end.

Now, yeah, you could say the same about the Alien movies.. but Alien managed to actually imbue the monster victims with personality before they were killed, and there were twists and complications... Not so much here.

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines

I "Wonder" why this was made
So the movie starts off with Steve Trevor crashing into Themascara... for about the 20th time. In this version, it is after his stealth fighter is brought down by Parademons from Apoclyps. They are immediately forgotten. Flash forward to five years later, when Dr. Cyber is conspiring to clone Medusa so she can loot Amazon technology. It involves some name characters from WW's rogue gallery, which are not as cool as Batman's or Superman's rogues.

Let's talk about Etta Candy. She's a Golden Age character they brought back. Except now she's a woman of color, gay and super competent (as opposed to the original, who was just comic relief.) Because we're woke, dammit.

It ends with the whole battle at the city of the Amazons that goes too long, and a villain reveal that was kind of predictable. (And I'm not a big fan of WW lore, but this character is a major character in canon.)

Taekoesu Yonggary

Bad Korean knockoff of a Japanese Kaiju movie.
And that pretty much sums it up. The story beats are pretty much the same as any Godzilla or Gamera movie from the same period, except it's set in South Korea instead of Japan. There a whole segment with a rocket in the beginning that ads nothing to the movie before the monster emerges and does what monsters do in these kinds of movies.

We can talk about the model and suit work, which was vastly inferior to Japanese special effects of the same period.

The movie features an annoying child character, again recognizing the big names in Kaiju were going for a juvenile audience at that point, but the action is the more adult horror. The monster is destroying for destruction's sake.

Simply put, I'm not sure why this movie was made, other than traditional Japanese Korean rivalries, where Korea was just trying to have it's version.

The Medusa Touch

Good cast, forgettable plot
The film involves Richard Burton as a novelist who thinks he has telekentic powers to cause disasters. The movie starts when his comatose body is found in his apartment, and a French Inspector working for Scotland Yard begins to unravel the "mystery". Stories are recounted of how he caused an increasing number of disasters, culiminating in the destruction of a church.

It is implied that his next target is a nuclear power station and will kill everyone, but they didn't have the budget to film that. Sorry you missed it.

Richard Burton is phoning it in, and Lee Remick is wondering is she let herself get typecast after "The Omen". Also in bit roles are Jeremy Brett (Sherlock Holmes) and Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius), but they might as well not have been.

Xtro 3: Watch the Skies

stole a name from a good movie, isn't good
So the plot, if you call it that, is that a team of demolition experts is sent to a Island to clear out some unexploded munitions, but instead discover an alien from 1955 who proceeds to hunt them down. And that's about it. This movie was particularly annoying to me in that the "military" characters didn't act like they were in the military, and one of them didn't get a proper haircut.

It has some okay stars who are underutilized, and some not awful special effects, but not great, servicing a plot that is kind of predictable.

Shinkaij├╗ Raiga

Toho is going to sue someone!!!
Or they should.

This movie is a parody of Kaiju films, but I am thinking a lot of the humor is lost in translation. I have to assume this was actually very funny in Japanese. So they follow the exploits of some people who live in a town where a creature that is just slightly this side of copyright infringement of Godzilla, and their whacky reactions as their city is being destroyed . I don't think it takes itself very seriously...

Gojira tai Hedora

Godzilla faces his greatest threat... dirty hippies!!!!
Okay, this is an impossible movie to take seriously, but the plot is that Hedora, an alien monster that feeds on pollution, is threatening Japan because when you are a giant monster, threatening Japan is what you do. At this point in the Godzilla series, the big G is a full on "good guy" monster and the series if geared towards kids. Except that you have so much death, people melting from acid, etc. Japanese kids were hard core back in the 1970's, apparently.

Anyway, you watch this movie and have to conclude everyone involved was high as a kite. The psychedelic images, the weird fish head party scene, the strange animated sequences... "I know, I know, we'll have Hedora take a hit off a smokestack like it's a giant bong, man!!!" "Akira, you're so high right now!!!"

I guess they were trying to make a statement, that pollution in 1970's Japan was really awful. Hedora, however, is not a great metaphor in the way Godzilla was for nuclear war in the 1950's.

And who can forget... Flying Godzilla!!! Yes, it's even sillier than it sounds.

Invisible Invaders

1950's Alien Invasion Cheese
So the movie starts with John Carradine doing an atomic expirment that ends in disaster, but still leaves his body intact enough to be possessed by aliens. A group of scientists is trapped in a secret bunker with lots of equipment trying to figure out how to kill the Zombies before they run out of stock footage of burning building and collapsed bridges.

This movie was made on the cheap, with the thought "in 60 years, Amazon Prime is going to need some filler for free movies!!!"

Best scene... our hero, John Agar, guns down a hapless farmer whose body is later taken over by aliens. Of course, the female lead thinks he's HOT after that... nothing impresses a gal like needless murder.

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