Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

Classic British sci-fi, low quality effects but high quality thrills. A British spacecraft crash lands in a field, when Professor Quatermass (Brian Donlevy) orders the craft opened they find only one of the three crewmen accounted for, the other two have vanished. The survivor, Carroon (Richard Wordsworth), is in a bad way. As Quatermass and Inspector Lomax (Jack Warner) of the Met begin their investigation, Carroon begins to mutate...

The scientists discover that Carroon has been infected by an alien organism. It makes him lethal to others who come into contact with him, which is quite a problem as he has escaped hospital and is now loose on the streets of London. Dr Briscoe (David King-Wood) discovers that the organism is due to spawn, London could soon be overrun by thousands of killer alien creatures...

The film is a bit of a slow burner but has an air of menace and alien horror over everything which slowly builds. Maybe the final monster looks a bit ridiculous but the film, by then, has earned you suspend enough disbelief. A great film.

Monday, November 29, 2021

The Devil Rides Out (1968)

A superb Satanic occult horror, one of the best films by Hammer. We are in Interwar Period England. Nicholas (Christopher Lee) and Rex (Leon Greene) are looking for their young friend Simon (Patrick Mower). To Nicholas' horror, he thinks Simon has become part of a dark coven dedicated to the Horned One led by Mocata (Charles Gray). Nicholas, who is well versed himself in the dark arts himself - though for good, manages to save Simon from being baptised into the Satanic coven.

However, Mocata is not easily stopped. He summons dark forces to try and defeat Nicholas and regain Simon and Tanith (Nike Arrighi) who is also due to be baptised in goat's blood. There follows a terrifying battle between good and evil...

A wonderful film and also notable for Christopher Lee being the good guy for a change. The film has a rare depth for horror films of the period.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The French Connection (1971)

A superb, gritty crime drama. Charnier (Fernando Rey) is running a heroin smuggling operation out of Marseille. In New York, hard-nosed narcotics cops Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Russo (Roy Scheider) after a string of minor arrests, finally get wind of a big drugs drop about to arrive in the city. 

While the cops tail Boca (Tony Lo Bianco), Boca is receiving Charnier in the US and trying to make a deal for a huge amount of heroin which has been smuggled in the US in a car.

However, the police and FBI tailing of Boca and Charnier does not go unnoticed and a hit is ordered on Doyle. This results in a thrilling chase along the NY Subway. Meanwhile the car is discovered and the drugs found after a lengthy search. The cops then set up Boca and Charnier who are finally ready to make their deal...

A really great film with a highly realistic feel. The film is dark and violent, humanity (and lack of it) and all the frailties are on show on both sides. The epic car chase is one of the best in movie history.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Dark Future (1994)

Trash movies often make little sense but this one is takes that to a whole new level. It is the future and most of mankind has been wiped out by a plague, the few survivors live underground in a large prison... serving as prostitutes and servants to cyborgs! Quite why cyborgs, also billed as the ultimate machines, require sex and booze is never explained. But much of this film remains explained to be honest...

When a baby is born to two of the human survivors, who previously thought they were sterile, a rebellion is begun by Kendall (Darby Hinton) while Birch (Andria Mann) looks after the baby. The cyborgs, led by Nero (Leonard Donato), want the baby and begin a war against the humans. Finally, when Nero gets Birch and the baby, the dark reason for the cyborgs' need for the baby is revealed...

This is typical low-budget sci-fi nonsense. The film is pretty violent with a very high body count though the fight scenes are generally very clumsy and oddly slow motion. The most interesting thing about the film was that it was filmed in Russia and this gives it a different look and feel to most films of this type.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Lost Continent (1968)

A superbly weird film. Captain Lansen (Eric Porter) has a rusty old tramp freighter full of explosive cargo and a group of passengers who all have secrets. Despite a hurricane warning, Lansen ploughs across the ocean but in the storm wrecks havoc, the crew abandon ship. The survivors awake amid a mysterious hellscape of carnivorous weed. Soon they find the ship, now trapped in a graveyard of other vessels.

One of those vessels is a Spanish galleon, the survivors seeking out other crews to seize their supplies to keep their twisted society of Conquistadors led by the boy king El Supremo (Darry Reed). Lansen and his fellow survivors including Eva (Hildegard Knef) and Tony (Harry Tyler) have to battle the Conquistadors and various bizarre monsters...

A terrific monster romp though we never actually get to see the "lost continent" which is a shame as there is apparently a society of survivors living on there though we only get to see one of them, Sarah (Dana Gillespie). A bit confused but great fun.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Alien Outlaw (1985)

Rednecks vs aliens, in theory it should be brilliant though this film unfortunately fails on many levels. A UFO crashes in a lake, the three alien inhabitants are both rather murderous and also rather dumb. Meanwhile gun show performer Jesse (Kari Anderson) is in town hoping to make it big. Her gun skills will soon be put to the test fighting aliens in one of the lowest wattage action films ever...

The plot is rather basic but what makes this film most notable is the lack of any urgency or bite to any of the action. Everything is all rather slow and lame. However, the film has plenty to entertain with it's (unintentional i'm sure) hilarity and crude stereotypes. 

Western B movie veterans Lash La Rue and Sunset Carson add a bit of interest plus there are a number of other weird characters including a hairy guy who seems to spend all of his day in bed.

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Midnight Girl (1925)

A rather average love triangle melodrama, though interesting to see Bela Lugosi in one of his pre-Dracula roles. Rich arts patron Nicolas (Lugosi) is growing weary of his star act Nina (Dolores Cassinelli), who is also sleeping with. His son Don (Gareth Hughes) has a big row with his Dad and moves out. Don discovers Anna (Lila Lee), a young immigrant singer, and falls in love with her. Unfortunately for Don his Dad also hears and falls in love with Anna. Father and son compete against each other for Anna...

A film of it's time, these days a film about a father and son both chasing the same young girl would not be greeted in quite the same light! This is standard melodrama fare, with a neat ending where everything is sorted out in the end and everyone goes home happily for tea. The film is quite acceptable though not much more. It is mostly worth seeing for Bela Lugosi not in a horror.