Tuesday, April 25, 2017

THE MAD GHOUL

The Mad Ghoul Movie Review

Scientist Dr. Alfred Morris (George Zucco) experiments with a nerve gas used centuries ago by the Mayans, and discovers he can essentially turn people into zombies he can control. He uses this on his right hand man, medical student Ted Allison (David Bruce), in an attempt to win the love of Ted's girlfriend, Isabel (Evelyn Ankers).

Planting a seed

By the way, the only thing that keeps Ted alive is fluid from hearts, so a good bit of grave robbing and cutting out of hearts takes place as well. The acting is actually pretty solid in this movie, which makes up for the slow pace and, at times, tedious dialogue. Around the time this movie was released (1943), some of the most popular monsters in movies were ones that transformed, and Teddyboy falls into that category, going from a handsome fella to a ghastly looking monster.

...or an insomniac

The bodies begin to pile up, and the doctor seems on his way to seeing his plan come to fruition when Ted figures out what is going on long enough to turn things around, leading up to a really good ending. The Mad Ghoul will never be considered one of Universal's best movies of that era, but it's not a particularly bad movie either.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


I couldn't find a trailer for The Mad Ghoul, so here's a look WAY back at a quick promo for the movie on Son of Svengoolie!

Monday, April 24, 2017

THE SHADOWS

The Shadows Movie Review

After a storm topples their boat, five friends end up stranded in a run down house on a small island. They soon begin to hear mysterious noises, see strange shadows, and question their reality. Do you ever pop in a low budget movie, sigh at what you expect, but then as it unfolds you think to yourself "maybe this won't be so bad'? This is one of those movies...for a while at least. The CGI is really bad but will incite a laugh, and is used minimally. The acting is a bit of a step up from what you would expect from a film of this budget and with the same last name appearing repeatedly in the credits--Collett is the name in this one--this includes writer/producer Paul Collett, film editor Dianna Collett, and actor Alan Collett, who sounds like Nathan Lane and looks like...somebody...I couldn't put my finger on it.

Any help?

The movie rolls along, and the storyline is actually somewhat interesting...why are they there? Are they really there? Who is this odd Hispanic lady who sometimes can habla ingles and other times can't? Are they alive or dead? Are there really pirates coming?! Unfortunately, this all gets bogged down with an uninteresting love triangle, and the third act completely falls apart. Of all the disappointments, the arrival of the pirate is the biggest let down. By the time the final couple scenes unfold, you have stopped caring, and the film overlays that come from out of nowhere only add to the annoyance. The Shadows isn't a terrible movie--just a disappointing one.  

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


The Shadows Full Movie (...allegedly. I'm not watching the entire movie again to verify this)

Monday, April 17, 2017

EEGAH (aka Eegah: The Name Written In Blood)

Eegah Movie Review

After spotting a giant caveman, Roxy Miller (Marilyn Miller) enlists the help of her boyfriend, Tom (Arch Miller, Jr.) and her father, Robert (Arch Miller, Sr., credited as William Watters for this role and as Nicholas Merriweather for director and producer of the film), to track the mystery man down. The caveman soon kidnaps Roxy and Robert, taking them to his cave, while Tom looks for them. So half the film is spent in the cave, as father and daughter figure out the caveman's name is Eegah, has dead family members with him, and act much more like husband and wife than father and daughter. With a little help from Tom, they eventually escape, but Eegah, smitten with Roxy, tracks them down at a pool party, where our movie mercifully ends. The film is filled with dialogue that makes little to no sense (and that's not even considering the caveman gibberish), lots of time of nothing happening, and terrible audio dubbing, including the infamous "look out for snakes" scene.

Courtesy of MST3K

Apparently Hall Sr. was determined to make his boy the next Elvis, so with the money they made from the much more enjoyable The Choppers, Hall made this film, which, like The Choppers, has multiple scenes of Hall Jr. singing--these are actually probably the best scenes in this movie. Roxy is a chick who is just guy crazy--aside from dating Tom and practically seducing her father, she takes a fancy for an extra near the end of the film and suffers a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome after escaping Eegah's clutches--the argument could be made she has actually fallen for him too.

The beard, however, had to go

Known as one of the worst films ever made, Eegah was actually a financial success for Hall, allegedly making over a million dollars in drive in theaters--this only adds to the weirdness that surrounds this film.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Eegah Movie Trailer

Friday, April 14, 2017

THE RUINS

The Ruins Movie Review

I pulled this one off the shelf this evening and was surprised to find that for as many times as I've referenced this movie over the years, I've never actually reviewed it--so with nothing better to do on a Friday night, here goes...

A group of youngsters visit the Mayan ruins, and when one stumbles onto the vines hanging from it, the locals lose their minds, force the group up to the top of the structure, and will not let them down. Why? Well the ruins are cursed, of course, and these Americans (and a German) are the latest sacrifices. This is among a string of films featuring Americans being tortured in foreign lands that seemingly all came out at the same time, and this one holds its own in terms of the gore factor.

Who SAW this coming?

What sets this film apart from the many similar films is the level of acting. Jena Malone (Donnie Darko), Jonathan Tucker (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Shawn Ashmore (Frozen), Laura Ramsey (The Covenant), and Joe Anderson (The Crazies) all do a fine job here. The movie succeeds in creating a creepy setting, and you will likely find yourself wondering what you would do in this situation--or even having a complete conversation about it with your girlfriend. The movie isn't for one with a weak stomach, as the picture above is just a sample of how graphic this film is, and the scenes of the vines under Stacy's skin are beyond unsettling.

Cut it out already!

Naturally, a movie about cursed/killer vines is going to get a little hokey at times, but it never gets so ridiculous it loses the audience, and, this being a horror film and all, the characters will make decisions that will leave you shaking your head. Still, The Ruins has a wonderful blend of scares, gore, and surprises that leave it head and shoulders above most similar films.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


The Ruins Red Band Movie Trailer

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

RODAN

Rodan Movie Review

In a small Japanese town, miners begin disappearing and/or turning up dead. It is soon discovered that giant insect creatures are responsible. Some time later in the movie, all of Japan is terrorized by a giant flying monster named Rodan (pronounced Row Don, if you care). Somehow these things are tied together...or maybe not...it really doesn't matter. All that really matters is that Rodan eventually shows up, and chaos ensues. The flying monster wreaks havoc on anything in his path, and not even a brigade of tanks can stop him.

Is there a problem here?

We see Rodan fly with such force that the wind created by his mighty wings destroys everything in his path. Later in the film we discover there is not just one Rodan--there are two, and they are a couple. As is the case with many of the Toho monster movies, what's going on in between the action scenes gets a bit tedious, but between the bug monsters and dual Rodans, there is plenty of monster awesomeness happening here, and Rodan is one of the coolest looking monsters ever created. The ending would have you believe we have seen the last of the flying fiend, but we all know better. I am a big fan of these old Toho films, and Rodan is a blast to watch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Rodan Movie Trailer (This is fantastic)

Monday, April 10, 2017

31

31 Movie Review

A group of carnival workers are kidnapped and put in a game where the only way to win is to stay alive for twelve hours. The group moves from room to room in a maze, facing killers and lunatics of varying degrees, all dressed as clowns. This Rob Zombie-directed film stars lots of people he has worked with in the past, including his wife Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Meg Foster, Richard Brake, and Malcolm McDowell, among others, while also featuring the glorious return to the big screen of the legendary Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, the man who played my personal favorite Sweathog, Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington, on Welcome Back, Kotter.

Boom Boom Mon

This movie is filled with violence, gore, profanity, nudity, trashy characters, vulgar dialogue--everything you come to expect from a Rob Zombie film, and therein lies the problem--after over a half dozen films, Zombie is still not bringing anything new to the table. This movie plays out exactly as you expect it to, all the way to who makes it out of the house and what happens after that. Set in 1976, it's obvious this movie is a nod to the grindhouse exploitation films of that era, and in terms of that, Zombie does a good job with this film, but that novelty soon gives way to uninteresting characters, a story that is a hybrid of many much better films that came before it, and cliche after cliche. 31 is filled with potential, but turns out to be just another run of the mill horror flick.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


31 Movie Trailer

THE BELKO EXPERIMENT

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

A side note before I even get started--I was delighted to see the old Orion Pictures intro before the movie. I'll be honest in saying I had no idea Orion was even back in business!

Eighty workers are trapped in an office building, where they hear the voice of an unknown person telling them the only way to be let out of the building is to follow his instruction to kill their co-workers. If they do not follow the instructions, the unseen enemy will begin killing the employees off. This movie borrows largely from the legendary Japanese film Battle Royale, but if you're going to lift your idea from a movie, you could do a lot worse than that one. There are a ton of familiar faces in this film, including Tony Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane, Hush), Tony Goldwyn (Friday the 13th Part VI, Ghost), John C. McGinley (Se7en, Scrubs), Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls), David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man, The Dark Knight), Abraham Benrubi (Without A Paddle, Parker Lewis Can't Lose), and, of course, Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Tombstone). The death scenes start early, and the violence is relentless all the way to the bloody end.

So, so bloody

Everybody knows this will come down to just one survivor, so a lot of the fun in watching this movie is guessing who will survive (I got it wrong). If you work in an office, you may begin to wonder how you would kill in your office if this were to happen to you...and in what order...and by what means...and if you would delight in it...ahem...moving on...The main drawback for me is the lack of originality in the death scenes. While the way the unseen enemy kills the workers is cool, there are not enough scenes like the one pictured above--most of the killings are with guns. Naturally, some of the decisions the people make are highly questionable as well. Still, that's not nearly enough to take away from this movie. The Belko Experiment is a gory, at times darkly funny, thrill ride all the way to the end. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8


The Belko Experiment Movie Trailer