Monday, 11 June 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Secret Ninja, Roaring Tiger (1982)

The ninjas are not particularly secretive and the Tiger (bad guy for the film) barely breaks into a growl let alone a roar. Other than that this is a reasonable kung-fu flick.

Comical highlights for me include two men not realising that the person they are travelling with is a girl, an obvious transvestite fighter and a man tickled into submission. This is a Godfrey Ho production but this one is blatantly played for laughs.

Fights are slow paced, robotic affairs but that adds a level of charm for me. Dubbing is at times atrocious.

Worth a watch I suppose.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Entangled (1993)

There’s something enthrallingly confusing about Entangled, it’s a thriller without any clear-cut baddies. Everybody blunders through the 90 minutes, making a few mistakes on the way, and then it ends.

Watchable without ever excelling, it’s a thriller-by-numbers. Secrecy, surveillance and a bit of sex are all present and correct along with the obligatory car chases and double-crossing that you would expect from a film of its ilk.

Technically the movie is sound, with no glaring errors left in for IMDb users to spot.

Not what I would call essential viewing but not unbearable either, the whole thing is simply mediocre.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Blood Of Dragon Peril (1980)

Blood Of Dragon Peril is actually all right for one of the old chop-socky films. Granted, the story is sketchy at best but the action scenes are of high quality.

The plot deals with revenge, so nothing new, but this time there is a man in a mask causing chaos in Japanese ruled China, the mask is new to me.

There are some different moves in the fights which kept me watching, although I never turn a film off until the end credits finish anyway.

A better entry in the martial arts genre, and without the spliced in American sections.

Nightmare County (1975)

A socio-political story with random acts of violence makes Nightmare County a disjointed affair.

A group of “hippies” takes on the establishment politically but get thrown in prison for their troubles. I guess there’s a point being made about suppression of the will of the majority but it isn’t particularly entertaining.

Sufficient technically, this film to me was boring. Barely any action and when it did come it was over before I noticed. Special mention however for the soundtrack which fits the “hippy” feel perfectly.

Maybe one for the old flower-power generation more than young people in the 21st century.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Fearless Tiger (1992)

Fearless Tiger is a Canadian take on the old Hong Kong fighting and drug dealing story, although here it is one whole production rather than a cut and splice.

The action is fast and I love the colonial British police chief out in Hong Kong, it’s a shame he wasn’t in it more.

The fight sequences are good and varied with one even taking place inside a dustcart, they probably found the script in there as this is the only bit that lets it down a little.

Probably just about worth watching for the majority, but essential for b-movie fans.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Knights Of The City (1986)

Knights Of The City is a strange one, mixing The Warriors with something like Fame. Two gangs fight over territory but also compete in a talent contest, plus there is a romantic sub-plot. It certainly tries to insert a bit of something for everybody, and in a way it works.

I don’t really know why I enjoyed this, I suppose the pace was quick and the characters were well realised. Maybe the whole crazy story kept me interested. Then it just ended, all the loose ends still untied.

Far from a classic Knights Of The City is just good enough.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Ninja, The Kung Fu Emperor (1981)

There are only two ninjas in this, and they occupy only the first couple of minutes of this film. Other than that it is straight martial arts all the way with plenty of fights and plenty… of stunted… dubbing.

As with all these films the story is an afterthought to string together the action and the plot behind this is suitably baffling. It’s an ascension story with secrecy and betrayal, you probably know the rest already.

I didn’t particularly enjoy this film but I don’t hate it either, I found it mediocre. At least the DVD worked properly this time.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Convict 762 (1997)

Low-budget sci-fi, action, horror, thriller film Convict 762 is poor, straight-to-video fare but it rockets through at a good pace until right before the baffling ending.

A slasher without the gore, sci-fi without the science and thriller without much in the way of suspense, this film shouldn’t be watchable and I admit I was dozing off for parts of it.

There is even some terribly unfinished CGI work going on, presumably as the budget would not stretch far enough for texturing. I always prefer miniatures or matte over CGI anyway.

Not even comically bad, I won’t be watching it again.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Martial Arts break

There is no Martial Arts Monday review this week as I am feeling a bit under the weather and cannot be bothered to watch a film tonight.

I imagine it will be back as usual next week, unless I feel worse in which case it won't.


Friday, 27 April 2012

The Undertaker And His Pals (1966)

A macabre comedy that has a lot more gore than I was expecting for a mid-1960s film, The Undertaker And His Pals is a refreshing break from horror that takes itself too seriously.

Two café owners are slaying humans for their meat and their friend, an undertaker, arranges the funerals. There is a private eye who letches over his secretary far more than would be allowable even for then I guess, and the women are happy to let him!

The film weighs in at just over an hour and doesn’t get boring once. Gore filled but a lot of fun.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Haven (2007)

The Haven plays out in the style of The Wonder Years with events seen in retrospect by the main character, however where that show deals with adolescence this film follows a group of boys post-graduation.

I feel this could be a very underrated and under seen movie. I loved the whole thing and found nothing to criticise. Others might find some of the characters to be clichés but to me they were ordinary young people.

I found myself relating to at least one of the characters which is unusual for me, but this film deserves it.

A wonderfully realised film.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Dark Heritage (1989)

A low budget film that looks a lot older than it is, Dark Heritage is supposedly an adaptation of a Lovecraft story.

Some hammy acting aside this is a pretty good effort. Made in an age before CGI the effects and costumes are still reasonably effective for the presumably small amount of money used to achieve them. Good use of light and dark make for a chilling atmosphere throughout.

There are better films out there that deal with the same kind of story but this one is just about good enough to watch. Dark Heritage is one for the collection.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Martial Arts Monday: The Dragon From Shaolin (1978)

A standard revenge storyline has somehow been derived from the footage for The Dragon From Shaolin, set during the Ming Dynasty era. This is one whole film I think, and a very colourful one at that.

The dubbing is suitably comical, complete with Cockney tax collectors and shouting villains, and sound effects are keyboard generated.

It’s quite a fun film with over the top action sequences right from the start, with some weaponry that I haven’t seen before like spinning blade things that fly across the room.

My DVD was blighted by sound synchronisation problems which ruined it for me.

I will need to do some more research and cross referencing but I cannot seem to find a year for this film, mainly because I cannot find a listing under this title with the same plot on IMDb.

UPDATE: The IMDb community have informed me that this film was originally released in 1978. Possibly the film is listed as "Eagle Silver Fox" but this has yet to be confirmed.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Revenge (1974)

Revenge is a film that is exactly what it says on the box, the story of a man who wants vengeance on some crooks who steal his savings at a post office. He also suspects police corruption along the way but this part was unnecessary for me.

Full of action and bloody gun battles this is one of the better Italian action outings I have seen. It never gets boring other that the corruption bits and the English dubbing is not bad.

This almost certainly won’t become my favourite film but I like it. I would definitely watch it again.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Ninja Dragon (1986)

Another entry into the “cut and shut” style of martial arts movies, but this is a very poor example.

Where this one falls down is that the original film is all about gunfights and the sliced in material is all ninja stuff, they don’t fit together as well as, say, the two segments in Ninja Terminator.

The original film would’ve been fine had it not had the ninja fighting inserted into it, but that is usually the case with these films. Why this was done I don’t really know, to sell it to Western audiences I guess.

Not the best.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

What this is doing in a collection of mostly bad horror films I don’t know as The Devil’s Nightmare is a competent enough movie. It looks a little dated by 2012’s standards, but released when there was a lot of cheap, nasty rubbish coming out it would’ve been good to see something with some class.

The story is intriguing, until the end which I thought let it down a bit. Acting, atmosphere, effects and music are all above par. The whole project is well constructed.

A true fan of traditional horror will find this a good addition to their collection.

This marks the end of disc 3 of Pure Horror, still another 9 discs to go.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Blood Sabbath (1972)

What is there to say about Blood Sabbath? It’s cheaply produced, goes on for half an hour longer than it needs to and is an entry level (s)exploitation flick.

Definitely of its time this would’ve been drive-in fodder at best. There is a coven of naked young witches who writhe around to a psychedelic soundtrack and at one point everything goes into a film negative effect just to screw with your head.

The story just about keeps everything held together. There are some interesting characters as well, but they die well before the end.

One for die-hard horror fans only.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Kickboxer 3 - The Art Of War (1994)

While not strictly a martial arts film this is the closest I have watched this week.

I found this film quite entertaining, with an engaging storyline and relatively believable characters, it was just a shame nobody could act.

It’s a straight-to-video sequel so is very obviously made on the cheap. Most wide shots of Rio look like stock footage and special effects are minimal. However, none of this mattered to me while watching it.

This is the only Kickboxer film I have seen but if they are all of the same quality as this third film then there’s some hope.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Jigsaw (2002)

Jigsaw is one of those no-budget horror films that has plot holes you could sail a cross-channel ferry through. 

Here we have a mannequin that gets burned then comes to life and kills everybody. How and why does it come to life? We have no explanation.

Acting is woeful as is every other aspect of the movie. Jigsaw is as formulaic as slashers get with one survivor at the end but a lack of closure that allows room for an unlikely sequel.

I think I’ll go as far as saying it’s worse than Manos, with no redeeming features at all.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Ninja Terminator (1985)

More cut and splice filmmaking going on here but this time there is more craziness. Footage of the smoothest (i.e. aviator shades, a sharp suit and witty lines) fighter I’ve seen so far is cut to the Western actors encountering small robots and talking on Garfield telephones. It’s wacky but somehow it works.

Special mention must be made to the music which is part funk and part cacophony of noise with screeches and buzzes for minutes at a time.

The story is hokum but no worse than I’ve come to expect. A very niche film for a very niche market.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Brain Dead (2007)

Not to be confused with Peter Jackson’s BrainDead this horror outing is a cheesy, schlocky, low-budget affair.

The gore effects are outstanding for a micro-budget independent film, and while some of the make-up is a bit ropey we can forgive as the whole thing is so well put together.

There are horror clichés abound but I get the feeling that the writer and director were playing it for laughs anyway. None of it can be, or is meant to be, taken seriously.

An enjoyable zombie flick and an homage to all the old films, a worthy addition to the collection.

Danger Zone (1996)

For an action film Danger Zone has a relatively complex story, characters with ulterior motives, local militia conspiracies and an alcoholic protagonist making this an ambitious film.

Billy Zane is the aforementioned protagonist and he plays it well, considering the average material he is given. However, it is Robert Downey Jr. that steals the show with his outrageously over the top character. Even though he is essentially a neutral-to-bad guy I found myself laughing whenever he was on screen.

Still plenty of guns and explosions but my mind started to wander at around the hour mark. Bearable rather than enjoyable.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

When to move on?

While I am enjoying watching films that I wouldn't otherwise have even heard of I am starting to tire a little with the reviews. They can get a bit repetitive, especially as there is not a lot to differentiate between some movies and 100 words doesn't let you go into great detail.

However, I don't want to just stop as I feel that would be unfair on the few people who read (and hopefully enjoy) this blog. As such I have decided to go for the century, that is 100 reviews, and then call it a day. I think that would give it a nice finish.

The blog will forever remain on the internet to access, or at least until somebody decides to remove it.

As of this post I have produced 52 reviews if my maths is correct, so still plenty of reviews to come, including Martial Arts Mondays.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Martial Arts Monday: Golden Ninja Warrior (1986)

Out of the martial arts films I’ve seen so far this is the most grown up. It's also the least comprehensible. Between all the random fighting there is a sleazy prostitution ring storyline, complete with naked flesh and a brutal torture scene.

There is also a rather nasty rape scene, but the girl gets her revenge.

A side story concerns two ninja clans fighting over a statue but there is no focus on this for the majority of the movie.

Usually I would say this kind of thing is nonsense but fun, unfortunately the rape scene spoiled it for me.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Believers (2007)

Believers tells the story of a cult that has used a mathematical formula to determine when the apocalypse will occur, and it’s tomorrow! Some paramedics get caught up in the mass suicide shenanigans but not much else happens.

Mostly set in the cult’s underground lair the film is heavy on obscenity filled dialogue and not much action. It doesn’t help that the main protagonist (the cult are the bad guys) is a dick and treats everyone like morons.

I don’t know what to make of Believers. There is a good story in there somewhere but the execution is somewhat lacking.

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Ultimate Weapon (1997)

In the late 1990s when Hulk Hogan wasn’t in a wrestling ring he was starring in no brains action films such as this. He also seemed to be calling in favours for his mates as Brutus Beefcake is in it as well.

A half-decent little movie to switch off and veg out to there are numerous idiotic enemy henchmen, plenty of explosions and more than enough clichés to keep you watching. Some may call it scrapping the barrel with regards to the script but these things aren’t about high art.

Enjoyable in its absurdity I could happily watch it again.

Martial Arts Monday: Undefeatable (1993)

I’m not sure why this film is so universally derided, apart from a few wooden performances it’s generally a well-constructed film.

The story is coherent, characters sufficiently developed and the fight scenes are excellent and varied. There is sometimes a little confusion as to who is who as murder victims all look very similar, but that is the point of the story.

By no means worthy of awards, Undefeatable held my attention for the full 90 minutes. There is far more good than there is bad.

If you’re a martial arts fan you should track this down. A credible effort.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Video Nasties and Film Classification

Last night I watched a documentary on the Horror Channel about the "Video Nasty" furore that took place in Britain in the early 1980s. It was interesting to hear from some of the people who participated in the various debates and had a hand in proposing (and pushing through) the legislation that we have in place today.

Following the programme I had a discussion with my Mother (who sat through part of the show, and only had a very mild interest in the subject) in which she made the argument that the incredibly violent films that were on the "video nasty" list should be banned, and I made the counter argument. She also said that she doesn't like the looks of at least half the DVDs in my collection and that maybe I should just watch decent, more mainstream films instead.

While we disagreed on this last point we did both come to the agreement that the BBFC film and video classification system that was introduced as a result of the 80s controversy is a good thing. I agree that once somebody reaches the age of 18 and they are legally considered to be an "adult" they should be allowed to watch any material they choose as long as the material was produced legally.I also agree that certain material should not be generally available to children. There should also be some films that are banned outright.

Feel free to add your opinion in the comments box for this post.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Manster (1959)

The Manster is a great little film that far more people should know about. It is one of those old horror/sci-fi B-movie type things but whereas most of them are awful, cheap, quickly made affairs this one seems a little more considered.

Filmed in 1959 you can forgive the sometimes ropey effects as the story and characterisation is generally good. The scientist character is both pioneering and menacing at the same time and the main character is suitably three dimensional.

The women never get hysterical and there is a strange morality behind it all.

Hard to find, but worth finding.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Martial Arts Monday: 36 Deadly Styles (1982)

The plot here is a little difficult to follow but at least it’s one complete film from what I can make out. This one also has some blood on show which was worryingly absent from Ninja Squad.

Nice to see some comic moments, and the copyright infringing insertion of the Pink Panther theme made me chuckle.

The fight scenes are well put together, but would you see any of the moves on screen in a real fight?

The dubbing was okay, only one out of context American accent. An average martial arts film, and just about passable for general audiences.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Yesterday's Target (1996)

Yesterday’s Target is another one of those films that doesn’t really know what it is; part sci-fi, part action, part thriller. The trouble with this example is that it doesn’t do any of them very well.

Action is sparse but there is also a lack of filler or explanation scenes, each section of the film lumbers on to the next without any tension or reason.

Add to this woeful acting of a woeful script and you have on your hands a film that serves no purpose whatsoever.

Being a made-for-television movie is no excuse for a viewing experience so dreadful.

Fist Of Honour (1993)

Fist Of Honour is partly what I’ve come to expect from a PM Entertainment movie, there are a few shoot-outs, fist-fights and cars going up in balls of flames, but this one is a bit different in that it has a semblance of a plot.

It’s an attempt at a story of the same proportions as GoodFellas or The Godfather but doesn’t come close. The worst actor on the payroll is given the lead role and interesting characters are killed off far too soon.

Not unwatchable but could’ve been better if it wasn’t being rolled off the PM production line.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Last Man Standing (1995)

Last Man Standing is more or less what I have come to expect from a PM Entertainment production, which is a generic action story filled with plenty of special effects.

The story here is a cop against a criminal gang who are in league with some bent cops, nothing that hasn’t been done before. Adequate acting, more so from the bad guys, as per usual. The effects are where the budget goes in this kind of film; here we have some chases and some big explosions.

No originality but that isn’t what you are after with a generic action movie.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Hands Of Steel (1986)

An Italian production from 1986 featuring a cyborg assassin, you could be thinking that this is going to be a rip-off of The Terminator, but strangely it isn’t. The cyborg has human emotions but it came out a year before RoboCop so it isn’t even a rip-off of that.

This film surprised me as it is lacking in a few departments but is still largely watchable. The story sort of makes sense and the effects are fairly realistic. Characters are believable and the soundtrack is futuristic yet contemporary.

I was expecting a turkey but got a film that entertained me.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Martial Arts Monday: The Ninja Squad (1986)

I have unintentionally managed to collect a few martial arts films together but so far have only watched Master With Cracked Fingers. As such I have decided to start a new, alliteratively titled feature called Martial Arts Monday. I think the name speaks for itself really, so onto the first film.

The plot for this is difficult to follow until you realise that there is one original film with additional footage spliced in later. Not an uncommon practice back in the day it seems.

God knows when the original material was filmed but my guess is sometime in the late 1970s. This film would work perfectly well without the 1986 footage in my opinion.

Unintentionally funny due in part to the atrocious dubbing, and moments of on screen inactivity set to music with breakneck bpm’s. I laughed out loud a few times.

Poor generally, but a lot of fun to watch.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Land Of The Free (1998)

The star of The Expert is also the star in this, and here he does the same kung-fu moves coupled with wooden, emotionless acting he did in that.

Add William Shatner to the mix and you are close to a so-bad-it’s-bad film.

The only thing saving it is PM Entertainment’s trademark lavish special effects. Cars flip over, buses roll down highways and helicopters fall out of the sky in balls of flames.

The DVD I watched has sound synchronisation issues which spoilt the film as much as anything else.

Not a film worth seeking out, I won’t watch it again.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Darkbreed (1996)

KABOOM! No expense spared on explosions in this very watchable action sci-fi film.

Parasitic aliens have taken over the bodies of a space mission crew. One lot of humans want to stop them, the military wants to keep them alive. Standard story but delivered adequately.

For the low budget there is a lot going on; lots of the aforementioned explosions, some nasty gore effects and a convincing transformation scene. Some of the acting is a bit hammy but you don’t expect much from these sorts of films.

Throw in a slimy man-in-a-rubber-suit alien and you have a fun 92 minutes.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

House (1977)

I first heard about this film on Cinemassacre and thought it looked crazy enough for me to watch. I like strange films where seemingly random things occur. House for the most part did not disappoint.

While not the constant frenetic, surrealist action I was hoping for House has more than enough weird moments to keep me happy. From girls being eaten by a piano to a teacher turning into bananas this is far from conventional.

The plot is a bit ropey but really it’s a showcase for experimental effects. A funky, stereotypically 1970s soundtrack helps keep the pace high.


Monday, 27 February 2012

Exposé (1975)

Exposé was on the infamous “Video Nasty” list back in the 1980s although from the copy I saw it is difficult to see why. However my DVD is the cut version which takes out all but the tamest of violent scenes.

For a cheap British exploitation film Exposé is reasonably well put together. The story is coherent and the lead man’s guilt driven decent into madness is perfectly executed. There are moments when the thing feels a bit slow paced but it was made in slower times.

An average film in general terms but an above par exploitation style thriller.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Zombie Undead (2010)

This British low-budget zombie film is the closest I’ve seen plot wise to Dawn Of The Dead that isn’t a Romero movie, so why is that film so good while Zombie Undead is so bad? I’ll tell you why, nobody in this can act.

Romero’s films also have a sense of humour whereas this plays it straight throughout, to its detriment.

Some of the zombie effects are all right but there is a distinct lack of on screen violence for a modern zombie flick.

There are far better examples of the genre out there; this one is way below par.

More Mill Creek

I have another Mill Creek Entertainment DVD box set on the way, this time Sci-Fi Invasion.

Out of all the obscure films I watch I think I like the sci-fi B-movies the most, just because they are so far fetched that they become comical.

There are a few movies in this set that are double-ups from my other Mill Creek sets but that's to be expected in a way as you get so many at a time, for example Hands Of Steel is in this set and Pure Terror.

Amazon say it will take between 7 and 20 days to arrive from across the pond so plenty of time to build my anticipation.

Immunised Against Mediocrity?

As you can see from the posts below I have been watching a lot of films that many people would consider to be "bad". I have watched this kind of film for many years, probably because I am easily pleased and I don't like to fork out money on newer, well known and often more expensive DVDs.

I have been thinking for a few days now, what if I have now watched so many "bad" films that I am becoming immune to them. With the exception of New Alcatraz and Manos: The Hands Of Fate I have been largely tolerant of the mediocre films I subject myself to. Maybe I need to watch a more mainstream film to remind myself of how movies are meant to be presented. The trouble is I don't own a lot of them and the cinema is a luxury that I do not think is cost effective.

I consider something like Spawn or The Warriors to be mainstream, but are they? They are certainly more well known that what I have been watching but they are probably still niche films mainly for comic book fans. The Shawshank Redemption is generally perceived as one of the greatest films of all time so that might help me put things into perspective but I don't really fancy it right now and I know how it ends. That's one of the problems I have with films sometimes, you can only really watch them once and get the full effect of the story, a problem that was non-existent before home video.

The chances are I will stick to watching the lesser known films, not just to review them on this blog but because I have the fun of a new story with new characters each time I press the play button. Yes, the plots may have all been done before and the characters are a bit one dimensional but perhaps that is part of the fun. I also get a nice surprise if I come across a diamond in the rough.

I would encourage more people to indulge in some cheap and sometimes nasty films, maybe not on the scale that I do, perhaps one in every ten films you watch. You might uncover the next cult classic, or it could be a stinker. At least give them a try I say.

The Expert (1995)

The Expert is a more than acceptable movie. It has a relatively decent storyline (in comparison to other films reviewed here) and while there are a few scenes that are a little pedestrian the action is frequent enough that you don’t lose interest.

Particular praise goes to the original score that makes even the slower paced moments more exciting.

The villain in The Expert is suitably crazy but never becomes a caricature, with the other characters remaining believable throughout.

The ending is fairly predictable but I didn’t go into this looking for a mind-bending experience. Switch off mentally and enjoy.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Firetrap (2001)

After being Superman Dean Cain has carved out a career starring in mostly awful films like Future Sport and New Alcatraz, so I wasn’t expecting anything from Firetrap. It pleasantly surprised me.

From the opening titles to the end credits there is non-stop action, especially when the fire starts raging through an office complex. Yes, there’s obvious CGI for the bigger effects but for the most part the flames are genuine.

Realistic, likeable characters make you care who survives and you’re never quite sure who the real villain is until the reveal.

Firetrap is much better than I was expecting.

Epicenter (2000)

Epicenter is an action movie and a disaster movie, and an espionage movie, and a thriller. Sounds like too many ideas rolled into one and it feels like it too.

There is a lot to be said in praise of Epicenter considering it’s a low budget production, car chases/crashes, well designed sets, inventive props and good use of miniatures and matte paintings. The plot and acting lets the thing down.

As I said before there are too many different elements thrown together. The espionage and action parts would suffice, so why include an earthquake?

A case of trying too hard.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Outcast (1990)

Canadian, no-budget, no-name and straight-to-video, on paper Outcast should be awful and in many ways it is. The lead character is a man of few words, which is lucky as perennial bit-part player John Tench really cannot act.

All other characters are just there to be killed off, which is achieved in an effectively bloody manner. The horror/thriller/supernatural/action story moves along at a good pace until the killing stops, then it starts to drag.

Outcast doesn’t have a lot going for it yet somehow it all fits together. It’s formulaic in its delivery but still an enjoyable, though predictable, movie.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Amazing Transparent Man (1960)

I have seen this one before on the mostly bad satellite channel Showcase. They didn’t put adverts into it which is good for a commercial channel I suppose, although there wouldn’t be much need as the film is less than an hour long anyway.

Due to its short duration the film rockets along but doesn’t feel like it’s leaving the audience behind. The titular man becomes transparent about half way through but the first half doesn’t lumber on.

There are a few things which don’t make much sense but this is a 60s sci-fi thriller so that is standard practice.

This also signifies the end of disc 2 of Pure Terror. Disc 3 is coming soon to my DVD player and as such the following films will be reviewed here at Century Of Obscurity soon;
Hands Of Steel (1986)
The Manster (1962)
Blood Sabbath (1972)
The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

I hope you are looking forward to these, I know I am.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Thirsty Dead (1974)

A cult in the jungles of the Philippines believes that drinking the blood of young Caucasian maidens will lead to immortality, as they have been told by a head in a jar (a la They Saved Hitler’s Brain). Some Western girls are kidnapped and the film follows their escape attempt.

Just an excuse to have semi-attractive women running around with barely any clothes on, this is poor but enjoyable movie. While some of the characters are weak both in terms of plot and performance the story is just strong enough to see you through.

I might watch this one again.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

They Saved Hitler's Brain (1963)

From the days before colour comes They Saved Hitler’s Brain. Now this is a great title and got me hoping for a schlocky sci-fi b-movie. I don’t tend to read other reviews before going into the films I watch so they are always a surprise for me.

Technically they have saved Hitler’s whole head, we see it being carried around in a jar. It can still bark orders and everything.

This is not the film I was hoping for. Really it is just another 60s action flick with corny characters spouting cornier lines with the odd bit of running about.

St Valentine's Day

Usually movie review sites will make some kind of fuss about February 14th being a celebration of all things to do with love and romance and will trot out a review of one or more "romantic" films to mark the occasion. I decided to review crime thriller DeadFall.

There are probably four main reasons why I haven't followed suit and gone down the "luvvie" route.

  1. I don't like romantic films, so
  2. I don't own any romantic films on DVD.
  3. All romantic comedies are hyped so much that they will never really be obscure.
  4. I don't particularly subscribe to the Valentine's Day notion.
There are possibly more reasons but I can't think of them right now.

You can probably rest assured that this site will almost certainly never review a romantic comedy film, unless I happen to stumble across one in one of my box sets of films I've never heard of. If I do I can only apologise in advance.

DeadFall (1993)

A 90s noir style thriller with so many double crosses that I started to lose track of who was working for who, and a half decent twist at the end. All held together by some believable characters but it is Nicholas Cage (doing a favour for his director brother) that steals the show, in a bad way.

Cage’s acting is so over the top for a supporting role that everything else gets ignored, but Cage has made a career out of such performances.

Similar to Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects but vastly inferior to both, DeadFall is still enjoyable.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

New Alcatraz (2001)

Also known as Boa this would be a much more appropriate title. The DVD box mentions nothing about a giant, prehistoric snake on the loose, it just tells us about the location.

Anyway, prison on Antarctica, excavation work releases snake from hollow rock, snake eats almost everyone, palaeontologist couple escape. The story there summed up in a sentence, if only the film was over this quickly.

Obvious CGI snake, explosions and aeroplane aside this is awful. One woman has the worst Irish accent in film history but she is the least of your worries.

I cannot recommend this to anybody.

The Werewolf Of Washington (1973)

A pre-Quantum Leap Dean Stockwell stars as the title character in this film that struggles to decide if it’s a horror, a comedy or a political satire. It tries to do all three but doesn’t really succeed at any.

The main story has Stockwell trying to hide from people, then convince the same people that he’s a werewolf. However he’s a press officer for the President so is in the public eye.

There are some humorous moments but the body count is low. The ending has the typical for the time hysterical woman and a small twist during the credits.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Dungeon Of Harrow (1962)

Two men are shipwrecked on an island inhabited by an insane Count who keeps his leper wife in his castle’s dungeon, along with his staff. The Captain of the ship if captured by the Count and tortured while the other man tries to escape.

Very slow paced with dialogue drearily delivered by characters who appear apathetic to the situation they find themselves in. Even the insane Count (I usually find insanity fascinating on film) is a tiresome man.

All the inherently “bad” characters die and the main protagonist gets the girl.

Not an awful film, just a predictably boring one.

This is also the end of disc 1 of Pure Terror. I will move on to disc 2 soon. This will show me the delights of; The Werewolf Of Washington (1973), They Saved Hitler's Brain (1963), The Thirsty Dead (1974) and The Amazing Transparent Man (1960). I have seen the last of these films before on satellite television.

I must say I am looking forward to these.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Horror Rises From The Tomb (1973)

The late Paul Naschy stars as three related characters in this Spanish production that has been dubbed into English.

We begin by seeing Naschy’s 15th Century character beheaded for being a warlock before cutting to the present day. A group of friends go to the current Naschy’s estate and dabble in some clairvoyance. Then all hell breaks loose.

I think I have seen a sanitised television version of the film as there is not much on screen violence and the sexual overtones have been removed.

Spain has never been renowned for brilliant film-making and this does nothing to address that.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Double Exposure (1983)

This isn’t bad. It’s far from being good but it isn’t bad. A photographer who has dreams that he is murdering his models, then the models turn up dead in the way his dream portrayed. He goes to a psychiatrist and convinces himself that he is the killer, but this is a thriller of sorts so there is a twist at the end.

Really it’s just a vehicle to get a few nudie shots and some bloody kills but it’s relatively well executed.

When you watch a lot of bad films mediocre ones stand out, this is one mediocre movie.