Reviews (5,415)

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hapless nightclub pianist Al Roberts (ably played to the antsy hilt by Tom Neal) decides to hitchhike across the country from New York to California. Complications ensue after Roberts makes the bad decision to assume the identity of amiable gambler Charles Haskell Jr. (a solid and likeable performance by Edmund MacDonald) after Haskell suddenly dies. Things get even worse when Roberts crosses the toxic path of the bitter, vengeful, and manipulative Vera (an awesomely forceful and intimidating portrayal by Ann Savage).

    Director Edgar G. Ulmer does a masterful job of crafting and sustaining a potently unsettling feeling of pure dread and despair that never lets up for a minute; the exceptionally bleak fatalistic and nihilistic tone stays fiercely true to itself right to the unflinching grim end. The terrific acting by the three leads keeps this movie humming: Neal astutely nails the raw sweaty desperation of his hard-luck chump character, Claudia Drake registers well as Al's sweet gal pal Sue Harvey, and, most astonishing of all, Savage leaves a strong lasting impression as one of the single most nasty and formidable femme fatales to ever connive her way across the screen. Martin Goldsmith's clever and compact script boasts lots of snappy dialogue and a serpentine narrative that winds towards an inevitable downbeat conclusion with the insidious stealth and unavoidability of a terminal disease. The spare stripped-down two-cent production values further enhance the overall feeling of absolute unease and desolation. Essential viewing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This 75-minute doc covers a lot of engrossing and illuminating ground on the life and career of notorious B-movie maverick Edgar G. Ulmer. Among the folks interviewed are directors Roger Corman, Wim Wenders, Joe Dante, John Landis, and Peter Bogdonovich, film historians Tom Weaver and Gregory W. Mank, actors John Saxon and William Schallert, actress Ann Savage, and Ulmer's daughter Arianne, who has some especially poignant comments to make about her father (for example, she reveals that she saw her dad the most on film sets). Among the things we learn about Ulmer was that he was a nomad from the beginning, that he had a tendency to wildly embellish on the facts concerning his work in cinema, he made ethnic movies in New York City in the 1930's, he was at his happiest working for the low-budget outfit PRC, his films often have displaced figures as the main characters, his last picture "The Cavern" took fifteen years to get made, Ulmer had aspirations of being a big studio director, and he was paralyzed for the last five years of his life. Recommended viewing for Edgar Ulmer fans.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Driven and single-minded scientist Dr. Bill Cortner (an earnest and engaging performance by Jason Evers) searches for a new body for his fiancé Jan Compton (robustly essayed with tremendous rip-snorting gusto and passion by Virginia Leith) after she gets decapitated in a car accident.

    Director Joseph Green keeps the enjoyably inane story moving along at a steady pace, maintains an appropriately lurid tone throughout, treats the outrageous premise in a generally serious manner, and delivers a few moments of shockingly explicit and excessive gore. Better still, Green tosses in several hot babes for tasty good measure, with striking statuesque brunette Adele Lamont a particular foxy stand-out as the bitter model Doris Powell. Green's pulpy script not only makes a spot-on accurate and illuminating statement on how men are prone to crassly objectify women, but also further offers an equally incisive exploration of the depraved and deranged depths of male obsession. Leith brings a fierce intensity to her angry and tragic character that adds a genuinely unsettling sense of pathos to the otherwise insanely sleazy proceedings. Anthony La Penna hams it up deliciously as pathetic crippled assistant Kurt. The freaky pinhead monster (hulking Eddie Carmel) who goes on the rampage at the exciting fiery climax is a hysterical hoot to behold. The cool jazzy score hits the swinging spot. A super fun B-flick.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Dancer and aspiring actress Suzy St. Claire (a solid performance by Mary Jo Keenan) kills her overbearing boyfriend and dance partner Gary Gregory (nicely played to the jerky hilt by Neal Jones). Suzy goes as far as to cut up Gary's body into little pieces only to have one of his legs comes back to life to get revenge on her.

    Director David Misch relates the enjoyably absurd story at a snappy pace as well as gets a good deal of laughs from the amusing sense of goofy gallows humor that includes loads of choice dopey puns. Dan Frazer contributes a sturdy turn as Suzy's pragmatic agent Sam. In addition, we even get a few nice bits of mild gore and the final shot is simply priceless. A real hoot.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Psychiatrist Dr. Blackman (an earnest and engaging performance by Rich Hall) gets an impossible job in which he has to try and help out a pair of famous professional comedians who are also conjoined twins who absolutely hate each other.

    Director Frank De Palma crucially fails to find the correct and comfortable tongue-in-cheek tone that would make this slight and silly premise work. Moreover, the constant bickering between David L. Lander's debonair James and Keith MacKechnie's crude Robert proves to be tiresome and annoying instead of witty and amusing. Karen Huber as the ditsy Elegy Kaiser likewise comes across as extremely irritating and unappealing. The forced "happy" ending rings totally false, too. Only the sincere acting by both Hall and Eyde Byrde as loyal, but long-suffering housekeeper Velma are the sole saving graces of this otherwise painfully unfunny and obnoxious misfire.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Lonely photographer Martin (an excellent anguished portrayal by Charley Hayward) develops an intense and unhealthy fixation on Rebecca (a charming and vibrant performance by the lovely Lisa Zane) after meeting her at a wedding reception. Complications ensue when the liberated and free-spirited Rebecca fails to live up to Martin's romantic ideals.

    This early UCLA thesis film from writer/director Alexander Payne offers a full display of his fiercely mordant wit and skewed worldview, with Payne mercilessly mocking such worthy targets as obsession, pretentious artsy fartsy types, and the more tragic and damaging aspects of love with often wickedly funny results. Moreover, Payne's use of various snazzy stylistic flourishes that include freeze frames, slow motion, and an especially barbed voiceover done by Martin prove that the guy was a substantial cinematic talent to be reckoned with right from the start. The twisted surprise "happy" ending packs a startling kick. A bitterly hysterical hoot.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Callous macho stud Carlo (well played to the hateful slimy hilt by George Eastman) drives his sweet and vulnerable lover Francoise (an appealing portrayal by fetching brunette Patricia Gori) to commit suicide by kicking her to the curb after having his wanton way with her. Her sister Emanuelle (a fine and credible performance by foxy blonde Rosemarie Lindt) decides to exact a harsh revenge by chaining Carlo up in a secret room in her house.

    Infamous Italian sleazemeister Joe D'Amato, who also co-wrote the sick script with Bruno Mattei, keeps the engrossingly sordid story moving along at a steady pace, maintains an appropriately harsh seamy tone throughout, and ends the seedy plot on a pleasing grim note. Moreover, D'Amato not only delivers an extremely satisfying serving of tasty bare female flesh and sizzling soft-core sex (a lesbian threesome rates as a definite arousing highlight), but also tosses in several moments of hideously gruesome violence for gory good measure. D'Amato's slick cinematography provides an impressive glossy look. Gianni Marchetti's groovy melodic score hits the funky-grinding spot. A nice slice of prime 70's Eurosleaze.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Struggling actress Julie Sawyer (a fine and sympathetic performance by Kristy McNichol) adopts a beautiful big white German shepherd that she discovers much to her horror has been trained to attack black people. Determined animal trainer Keys (a superb portrayal by Paul Winfield) decides to try to make the dog unlearn this terrible conditioning.

    Director Samuel Fuller, who also co-wrote the searing script with Curtis Hanson, relates the gripping story at a constant pace, maintains a bold and confrontational tone throughout, and brings a palpable sense of anger and sadness to the grim premise. Moreover, Fuller does a remarkably convincing job of presenting the dog as a pitiable victim instead of a fearsome monster; the poor canine is clearly the toxic product of a cruel upbringing, which in turn makes the potent and provocative point that racism is a learned trait that's ingrained in one's psyche at an early age.

    McNichol and especially Winfield both do sterling work in their roles. Burl Ives plays heart cigar-chomping animal sanctuary owner Carruthers with delightfully lip-smacking gusto. Popping up in nifty bits are such familiar faces as Bob Minor, Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, and even Fuller himself as Julie's agent. Kudos are also in order for Ennio Morricone's haunting melancholy score and the polished cinematography by Bruce Surtees. The five dogs who portray the titular canine all deserve props for their exceptional work. The tragic ending packs a devastating punch. By no means a comforting film, but an undeniably powerful and unsettling one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This 45-minute documentary covers a good deal of interesting and informative ground on the making of Samuel Fuller's controversial "White Dog." This doc features illuminating interviews with producer Jon Davison, co-writer Curtis Hanson, and Fuller's widow Christa Lang. Among the things we learn in this doc was that Roman Polanski was originally slated to direct the picture, five dogs were used to play the white dog, Paramount barely released the film after the word got out that Fuller had made a racist movie, Burl Ives had to use cue cards because he had trouble remembering his lines, Fuller initially wanted to do the dog POV shots in black and white, and Paul Winfield did his own stunts. In addition, we also find out that Jodie Foster was considered to play Julie, Billy Dee Williams was the first choice for Keys, and Fuller originally wanted Lee Marvin to portray Carruthers. Worth a watch for fans of the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Greedy and abusive scumbag Nelson (a nicely slimy portrayal by Tom Gilroy) plots to steal a miraculous melon juice formula that his elderly crippled mother-in-law (a solid and credible performance by Elizabeth Franz) has developed from her plants.

    Director Bette Gordon relates the engrossing story at a steady pace as well as maintains an appropriately serious tone throughout. Finn Carter elicits sympathy as Nelson's sweet, but timid and browbeaten wife Sheila. Moreover, the character of Nelson rates as an extremely hateful jerk; it's very satisfying to see this vile fink meet a highly fitting gruesome end in the form of being eaten by a giant bloodworm. The funky bloodworm creatures look pretty creepy, too. A nifty show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sweet little girl Cindy (a solid and sympathetic portrayal by Mary Griffin) discovers that her horribly abusive elderly foster parents have been replaced by a couple of much nicer and kinder aliens.

    Director Gerald Cotts relates the enjoyable story at a snappy pace as well as maintains a charming whimsical tone throughout. Frank Gorshin and Peggy Cass are both perfectly hateful and grotesque as the bad parents; they also manage to convey a more friendly and appealing side when both their characters are possessed by the benign extraterrestrials. Ann Hillary contributes an amusing turn as ditsy social worker Mrs. Rogers. The nice upbeat ending hits the heartwarming spot, too. While this episode is pretty slight, it nonetheless still makes for a pleasant enough diversion.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Three survivors of a plague that has decimated everyone else in a small town hole up in the basement of a library around Christmastime. Meanwhile, an alien being conducts experiments and does research on the human race on the top floor of the library. Is the alien benign or malign in its intentions?

    Director Peter Stein relates the absorbing story at a constant pace as well as generates a good deal of tension and maintains an intriguing enigmatic tone throughout. The fine acting by the able cast rates as another substantial asset: Jenna von Oy makes a favorable impression as sweet little girl Amy, Mark Hofmaier likewise does well as Amy's sensible father, and Brian Fitzpatrick contributes a perfectly hateful turn as the angry and suspicious Carl. F. Paul Wilson's thoughtful script not only makes inspired use of the yuletide setting, but also offers a strong and provocative point concerning the potential perils of judging a book strictly by its cover. The sad ending based on a tragic misunderstanding between the two different species packs a devastating punch. A super poignant and powerful show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This nifty little documentary covers the seamy world of exploitation cinema in a refreshingly tasteful and straightforward manner from the early days of black and white road show items to the wild'n'heady heyday of the turbulent 1960's. While this doc could have benefitted from being a tad longer and more comprehensive (the gloriously sleazy 1970's aren't even mentioned), the stuff contained herein is loads of trashy fun to both behold and learn about. Covering everything from racy foreign fare to nudie cuties, there's a little something for everyone featured herein. Moreover, the interviews with such top exploiters as Roger Corman (as smooth and eloquent as ever), rascally David F. Friedman, feisty Doris Wishman, a surprisingly laid-back Harry Novak, and the especially sharp and astute Sam Arkoff are delightful and illuminating in equal measure. The lively interview with Maila Nurmi (a.k.a. Vampira) rates as another definite highlight; she was still full of life and humor even at an advanced elderly age. Best of all, this doc does a convincing job of showing how various social upheavals and traumatic events created an ideal climate that enabled exploitation movies to come into being and proliferate throughout the decades. Recommended viewing for fans of exploitation fare.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A group of criminals led by sly mastermind Paul Clifton (an excellent performance by Stanley Baker) devise an intricate plan to rob the Royal Mail train on its route from Glasgow to London.

    Director Peter Yates, who also co-wrote the intelligent script with Edward Boyd and George Markstein, relates the gripping true story at a steady pace, generates plenty of tension, maintains a serious no-nonsense tone throughout, adroitly uses a plain no-frills documentary style that grounds the premise in an utterly credible workaday reality, covers in fascinatingly meticulous detail the precise planning of the heist, and stages both an exciting car chase and the thrilling robbery itself with utmost skill and aplomb. The ace acting from the tip-top cast rates as another substantial asset: Joanna Pettet as Clifton's fed-up wife Kate, James Booth as the shrewd and determined Inspector George Langdon, Frank Finlay as timid banker Robinson, Barry Foster as smartaleck driver Frank, William Marlowe as the pragmatic Dave Aitken, and George Sewell as the greedy Ben. Kudos are also in order for Douglas Slocombe's crisp cinematography and John Keating's spare, yet still stirring and spirited score. An on the money film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Antsy small-time bookie Nicky (superbly played with jolting intensity by John Cassavetes) hides out in a hotel after he steals money from a local mobster. Nicky calls on his old chum Mikey (Peter Falk in peak amiable form) to bail him out of the jam he's now in.

    Writer/director Elaine May relates the simple, yet still absorbing story at a deliberate pace, offers a vivid and compelling evocation of a really sad and sordid criminal underworld, grounds the premise in a plausibly drab workaday reality, and presents a fiercely incisive and affecting exploration on male friendship, with a specific emphasis on the themes of trust, loyalty, and betrayal. Moreover, May manages to see the poignant wounded humanity in the two deeply flawed main characters, who alternate between being sympathetic and repellent throughout.

    Falk and Cassavetes both do sterling work in their roles, with Cassavetes in particular astutely nailing the paranoid desperation of a frightened man who's doomed and knows it. In addition, there are fine supporting contributions from Ned Beatty as rather bumbling businesslike hitman Kinney, Rose Arrick as Mikey's concerned wife Annie, Carol Grace as meek doormat Nellie, William Hickey and Sanford Meisner as a couple of weary mob capos, Joyce Van Patten as Nicky's fed-up estranged wife Jan, M. Emmet Walsh as a huffy bus driver, and Peter R. Scoppa as an anal diner counterman. Victor J. Kemper's stark cinematography further adds to the overall gritty reality. The occasional outbursts of sudden violence pack a startling punch. The downbeat ending is likewise positively devastating. Not an easy film to watch at times, but an impossible one to forget.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A trio of construction workers discover a hidden cave that contains treasure that's guarded by a lethal and territorial troll (Debbie Lee Carrington in a gnarly outfit). Director Greg Cannon keeps the enjoyable and engrossing story moving along at a snappy pace as well as milks a good deal of claustrophobic tension from the claustrophobic setting. The tight script by Michael Reaves makes a nice point about the perils of greed. The sound acting by the capable cast keeps things humming: Jeff Conaway as the cocky Phil, Mary Cadorette as uptight supervisor Sherrie, and T.J. Castronovo as weary veteran Joe. Moreover, there are even a few fairly gruesome moments in which the troll burns folks with its deadly touch. A nifty show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Artist Linda McGuire (nicely played by Laraine Newman) resides in an old house located in the country. One day Linda receives a visit from John Thurston (a smooth and ingratiating performance by Alex Cord), who's doing research on a warlock who used to live in said house.

    Director Mark Shostrom alas crucially fails to generate much in the way of any essential tension or creepy atmosphere. Moreover, the meandering story for the most part proves to be overly talky and uneventful. The hideous monster in the basement looks pretty gnarly, but isn't in the episode enough. Fortunately, Newman and especially Cord both do commendable work in their roles while Terrance Evans contributes an enjoyably grumpy turn as cranky local Mr. Ritzen. A really blah and forgettable show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Famous eccentric horror writer Miles (a solid performance by John Diehl) owns a Lovecraftian monster bed that he feeds women to on a regular basis. Miles has his life thrown out of whack after he meets rival horror writer Viki (the always terrific Mary Woronov).

    Director Carl Stiner relates the enjoyably offbeat story at a zippy pace as well as maintains an engaging tongue-in-cheek tone throughout. David Odell's witty script manages to be pretty sexy in spots and comes complete with a doozy of a surprise ending. Ruth de Sosa has a funny bit as ditsy groupie Barbara. But what makes this particular episode work like a charm is the fact that it doesn't punk out on its outrageous premise. A real hoot.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Young college student Nan Barlow (an appealing portrayal by the fetching Venetia Stevenson) decides to spend her winter vacation at a remote New England town in order to research a term paper she's writing on witchcraft. After Nan disappears under mysterious circumstances, several folks show up in the small town to investigate only to find out about the town's deep dark secret.

    Director John Llewellyn Moxey relates the absorbing story at a constant pace, ably crafts a marvelously gloomy and sinister midnight-in-the-graveyard atmosphere, with especially great and unsettling use of a thick eerie continual fog; and stages the rousing climax with skill and aplomb. Christopher Lee delivers a typically fine and commanding performance as the stern Professor Alan Driscoll. Moreover, there are sturdy contributions from Patricia Jessel as vengeful witch Elizabeth Selwyn, Dennis Lotis as skeptical professor Richard, Tom Naylor as concerned boyfriend Bill Maitland, Betta St. John as sweet librarian Patricia Russell, and Ann Beach as timid mute Lottie. Kudos are also in order for Desmond Dickinson's crisp black and white cinematography. However, Douglas Gamley's often inappropriate jazzy score tends to stick out like a sore thumb. That criticism aside, this worthy fright film overall still works like gangbusters thanks to the potent way it presents a spooky and uncanny mood that positively drips with dread from every last deliciously sepulchral frame.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Mad scientist Dr. Anton Lupesky (a lively piece of juicy lip-licking ham by Pierre De Veaux) creates a drug that's able to free people's souls so they can transport said souls into other bodies. However, the drug also causes anyone who uses it to go insane and die.

    Director/co-writer Pat Bishow presents a funky oddball hallucinatory atmosphere that proves to be genuinely hypnotic, grounds the fantastic premise in a plausibly drab workaday reality, delivers a handy helping of graphic gore, and pulls out the wild stops for the outrageously gruesome climax. Jamie Kinser contributes a solid performance as pesky reporter Kim Castle. Bishow's dynamic cinematography makes nice and invigorating frequent use of a prowling or gliding camera. The shivery score by Hypnolovewheel hits the flesh-crawling spot. Granted, the often sluggish pacing makes this movie a bit of a slog to get through at times, but Bishow's winningly sincere and palpable passion for the horror genre is downright impossible to either resist or dislike. Recommended viewing for fans of obscure underground fright fare.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While this documentary does do an engrossing and illuminating job of covering various aspects of witchcraft in England throughout the ages, there's no denying that writer/director Malcolm Leigh used the documentary format as an excuse to get away with showing attractive young buck naked folks performing initiation rites and dancing around a bonfire sans clothes under the moonlight. What prevents this doc from seeming like a cheap piece of lurid exploitation is the fact that it's actually sharply photographed in crisp black and white by Robert D. Webb, with lots of nicely atmospheric shots of the sun, the moon, and waves crashing on the shore. Moreover, this doc depicts everything from animal sacrifices to everyday superstitions to Christianity's similarities to Wiccan practices in a neat and straightforward manner. Best of all, it's narrated with exquisitely soothing sonority by furiously prolific British bit player Guy Standeven, who spent the bulk of his lengthy career popping up in numerous films and TV shows in often uncredited minor nonspeaking roles; it's a real treat to hear Standeven's mellifluous voice talking throughout with utmost sincerity on the strangest of stuff. Worth a look.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Straight-laced couple Brad (a perfectly drippy portrayal by Barry Bostwick) and Janet (an incredibly sexy and radiant Susan Sarandon) whose car has broken down in a remote area run afoul of flamboyant mad scientist Dr. Frank-N-Furter (a delightfully outrageous performance by Tim Curry) and his quirky minions.

    Director/co-writer Jim Sharman and co-writer Richard O'Brien display a genuinely giddy affection for vintage horror and science fiction movies, with loving nods to everything from "King Kong" to "Frankenstein." Moreover, the lively song and dance numbers are staged with tremendous rip-snorting gusto, with the rousing "Time Warp," the galvanizing "Sweet Transvestite," and the saucy "Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me" rating as definite highlights. Yes, this film comes across as pretty naughty and more than a bit kinky, but fortunately it manages to stay on the right side of racy (i.e., it's never crass or trashy).

    The game cast have a ball with the zany material: O'Brien as treacherous hunchbacked servant Riff Raff, Patricia Quinn as the equally wicked Magenta, Nell Campbell as smitten groupie Columbia, Jonathan Adams as the uptight Dr. Everett V. Scott, Peter Hinwood as Frank's hunky creation Rocky, Meat Loaf as rowdy greaser Eddie, and Charles Gray as a pompous criminologist. Best of all, this film serves as a gloriously unabashed and uninhibited celebration of do-your-own thing individuality and being true to your own freaky self. Don't dream it, be it indeed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Pool hustler Gabe (a smooth and likeable portrayal by Tom Mason) finds himself caught up in a high stakes pool game with seductive vampire Natasha (ably played to the sultry hilt by the lovely Rebecca Kyler Downs).

    Writer/director Alan Kinsberg relates the clever and engrossing story at a constant pace, adroitly crafts a smoky noirish barroom atmosphere, and presents a smart and riveting game of wits and wills between the two precisely drawn lead characters, with Downs in particular making a strong and lasting impression as a wickedly alluring bloodsucker. Moreover, there are nice supporting contributions from Irving Metzman as clumsy lackey Lester and Page Johnson as amiable bartender Cappy. Stylishly shot by Robert Draper, with a cool jazzy score and an inventive climatic staking by pool cue, this ingenious episode rates as one of this show's finest half hours.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A lethal humanoid lizard beast (Wayne Toth in a funky rubber suit) hatches from a capsule in an isolated lab. Several scientists in said lab must figure out a way to kill the monster before it's too late.

    Director Mark Rezyka, working from a tight script by Michael Reaves, relates the enjoyable and engrossing story at a snappy pace, makes the most out of the cramped claustrophobic setting, builds a good deal of tension, and stages the monster attack scenes with aplomb. The sound acting from the capable cast keeps things humming: Kin Shriner as the eager Merrick, Russell Johnson curious senior scientist Jeffrey, and fetching brunette Beth Toussaint as the perky Lisa. Moreover, there's a surprising amount of spilled and splattered blood, plus a satisfyingly grim ending. Tony Cutrono's lively cinematography boasts a few neat overhead camera shots. John Massari's dynamic score hits the stirring spot. A cool show.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Struggling writer Dale (a credible performance by David Brisbin) becomes obsessed with figuring out the secret to legendary silent movie horror star Fulton Pierce. This obsession Dale has with unearthing Pierce's past eventually leads to madness and beyond.

    Director Jeffrey Wolf relates the story at a steady pace, ably crafts a spooky atmosphere, and ends the tale on a pleasing grim note. John Harrison's meaty script, adapted from a Robert Bloch short story, offers a neat take on the more dangerous side of nostalgia along with a strong message on the potential perils of obsession. Moreover, there are sound supporting contributions from Lara Harris as Dale's fed-up girlfriend Debbie and Mary Ann Gibson as aged retired actress Stella. The apparitions of Pierce as various horrific monsters are genuinely creepy. A nifty show.
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