Wednesday, March 22, 2017

THE UNINVITED (1944)

The Uninvited Movie Review

Brother and sister Roderick and Pamela Fitzgerald (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) buy a mansion for next to nothing, but never suspect the catch--it's haunted. Stella Meredith (Gail Russell), a woman who lived in the house as a child when all hell broke loose there, soon arrives, and the beautiful home becomes a house of horrors. This 1944 film is known as one of the first films to take the idea of ghosts and turn it from silly to scary.

This would become a staple too

The scenes such as the one above create a creepy atmosphere, but unfortunately, this is often overshadowed by Roderick's obsession infatuation with Stella--a good ghost story dissolves into a fairly run of the mill love story. That said, Russell turns in a very impressive performance. The film is wonderfully shot and visually appealing as well. The Uninvited certainly has a place in the history of horror films, and its influence on films to come is obvious, but it is by no means a masterpiece. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


The Uninvited Movie Trailer

Sunday, March 19, 2017

KONG: SKULL ISLAND (From The Theatre)

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

On the heels of the Vietnam War, Government agent/conspiracy theorist crackpot Bill Randa (John Goodman, 10 Cloverfield Lane) gets approval from the U.S. to go to the previously uncharted Skull Island to conduct experiments. He enlists the help of the Sky Devils helicopter squadron headed by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson, practically every movie made in the last twenty five years), British Special Forces agent James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston, Thor), and an anti-war photographer (Brie Larson). What everybody doesn't know, but find out as soon as they reach the island, is that Randa isn't there to map out a new island--he's there to search for monsters. The latest reboot of the classic film is practically non-stop action from beginning to end. While we see Kong very early in the film, it's not until a little later that we get an appreciation of just how big he is in this movie.

This gives you an idea

The impressive ensemble cast assures solid performances pretty much all thee way around (Larson notwithstanding), and the special effects and CGI are strong. This being Skull Island, we expect other monsters to pop up throughout, and we are not disappointed on this front either--in fact, there were even more monsters than I expected, and the final monster is particularly nasty. The soundtrack is also fantastic--of course the movie is set in 1973, so one would expect this. Surprisingly, Kong doesn't fall for the chick in this movie, though it is teased on an occasion or two. 

"What do you mean I'm not your type?!"

There is a bit more comedy in this film than I care for, but the main drawback for me is the use of slow motion time and time again--this is especially bad in the final fight scene, which had potential to be SO much better. Still, these complaints are not enough to take away the enjoyment of this film. 

A couple bonus tips: If you are reading this while the film is still in theaters, it's worth the extra dollar or two to catch it in 3D. While it has the typical shortcomings of any 3D film--the worst being in scenes at the beginning, in an office environment--it is here the people walking behind the main characters appear to be on a green screen--the 3D effect makes Kong (and the other monsters for that matter) appear even larger, and there is a scene involving rain that gives the illusion it is actually raining in the theater. The second tip: there is a scene after the credits that is a MUST SEE! 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8


Kong: Skull Island Movie Trailer

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL

Monster From Green Hell Movie Review

American scientists experiment with launching animals and insects into space, but when a rocket containing wasps crashes in Africa, the radiation-exposed nuisances become gigantic killing machines. Now Dr. Quent Brady (Jim Davis), the lead scientist in the experiment, heads a team to search and destroy the monsters. Straight from 1957, this science fiction B movie has what we love in films such as this--so bad they're awesome creatures.

Wasp out!

Unfortunately, aside from this gem, this movie doesn't have a lot going for it. Brady is a pretty unlikable hero, the acting is awful all the way around, and the movie absolutely crawls--the sheer amount of walking in this is incredible. You may also laugh (or roll your eyes) at the use of stock footage and an entire scene from another film used in this movie. If you're in the mood for a 1950s creature feature, you could probably do worse than Monster From Green Hell...you could also do a lot better.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Monster From Green Hell Movie Trailer

Monday, March 6, 2017

THE GIANT GILA MONSTER

The Giant Gila Monster Movie Review

After a young couple goes missing, the locals of a Texas town, lead by teenage hot rod enthusiast Chase Winstead (Don Sullivan) and the sheriff (Fred Graham), look for clues, leading them to the inevitable discovery of the culprit--a giant Gila monster. This really is the epitome of a 1950s sci-fi monster B-movie. Our monster tramples its way through scale sets, including model cars and a model train, in the most glorious of manners. Oh yeah, it's not a Gila monster at all--the creepy crawly is actually a Mexican beaded lizard. Not that any of this matters of course, as it still looks menacing as it towers over the landscape--except when it is not on a scale set. Then it looks like a regular sized lizard.

Leaping lizards!

This movie will forever live in infamy as a horrible movie. and in many ways it is--the dialogue is absurd, there is painfully unfunny comedic relief around every corner, and the film seems to have no direction whatsoever. That is a lot to sit through for the action, but when the lizard does appear, and we get the scale sets, I laugh with delight. All of this leads to an explosive finale that couldn't fit this movie more perfectly. Should you decide to watch this movie, do yourself a favor and skip ahead to the scenes featuring the lizard--trust me, you're not missing anything in between. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


The Giant Gila Monster Movie Trailer