Friday, November 16, 2018
Local mechanic Chase (Don Sullivan) and his French girlfriend Lisa (Lisa Simone) know that something is amiss but the authorities don't realise what is going on until the monster attacks a train. The monster then heads to town where the youth have gathered for some rock & roll, can Chase save the day with a car load of nitroglycerin?
Although a cult classic, this is a pretty awful film all in all. The "monster" is just a lizard attacking models and with the camera zoomed in close to make it look large (and not always succeeding). It is great fun though, largely because it is such nonsense.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
During the filming of a crime drama the lead actor is shot... for real. Studio manager Steiner (Lugosi) tries to pass it off as an unfortunate accident but the police led by Lt. Sheehan (John Wray) discover it was no accident and a murder investigation begins.
The victim's ex-wife and leading actress Marsha (Adrienne Ames) is found to have a motive, but she isn't the only one. Studio writer Drew (Manners) seems to have plenty of theories about what is going on and conducts a parallel investigation with the police but someone is trying to cover their tracks.
The Death Kiss isn't a bad film but is a little awkward at times but has some decent wit which carries you along. It has some good satire of the inner workings of the film production business and a complicated and engaging plot.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Both men end up being betrayed by their bosses, Leon hides out in Thailand while Lau Ching-wan is paralysed from the waist down and is nursed back to health by his girlfriend Fiona Leung (and who has to do anything to earn the money needed). Lau Ching-wan makes it back to HK to face his boss and take vengeance but requires the help of Leon to finish the job...
It is nonsense of course, endless bloodshed and ridiculous gun play where the bad guys get killed with one bullet but the good guys can survive several hundred. It's not a subtle film but I've always enjoyed it. It was the first HK film i actually saw in a cinema in HK on release and i've always had a soft spot for it.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Mrs Lang (Lillian West) is obsessed with her Swami, whom she hopes will tell her who troubles her (for the right amount of cash of course). Her husband Richard Lang (Phillips Smalley) rails at his house full of gigolos and other low-lives including her daughter's (Gertrude Messinger) hoodlum boyfriend (Louis Natheaux). Meanwhile Richard Lang's friend John Frazer (Lloyd Ingraham) is getting increasingly jealous of how his young wife (Phyllis Barrington) hangs around Lang...
Although a bit slow at times and frequently ridiculous overall it is a decent murder mystery film that plods along. The addition of the occult adds that little something to raise it above the mundane.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Detective Webb (William Frawley) finds Strange and the corpse (who turns out to be a gossip columnist). Strange is arrested, then Geraldine turns up and says he killed the man in self-defence. Not knowing Geraldine's involvement Strange tries to find out what is really going on...
A fast moving drama with some good performances. The plot is a bit far fetched though nicely complicated, unfortunately it does get a bit absurd. For a supposedly smart PI Strange is rather naive. If you suspend disbelief a bit the film is very enjoyable.
Friday, November 9, 2018
Radio Engineer Benjamin Butts (Donald Woods) doesn't believe Steenie has anything to do with it and investigates the murder himself. There are plenty of suspects including the father (Lee J. Cobb) of another girl Kluck was all over like a cheap suit, the radio company owner (Jed Prouty), a gangster (Joe Downing) and a desperate young man (Peter Lind Hayes) who wants to get on-air at all costs.
An enjoyable crime drama with an air of farce. Although a B-movie its very well made with some good performances especially from Grey and Woods who make a nice couple and have some snappy dialogue to play with. The most interesting aspect of the film is the look at how radio was produced in the 1930s. One criticism is that the final unveil of the perpetrator is a bit left field, a character that barely featured in the film. Though the murder method is innovative.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Forbes sets Quetzalcoatl off to kill his "friend" Dr Lambert (James Metcalf) when he angers him. Richard Thorpe (Ralph Lewis) is a mystery writer working as a radio investigator who arrives in town to investigate the murder of Lambert. Forbes decides to set his flying serpent god to kill Thorpe too... He survives that attack but is joined by Forbes' step-daughter Mary (Hope Kramer) to try and find out exactly what is going on.
So far so good (if not that original a story). Naturally the Quetzalcoatl looks ridiculous, in the start of the film it is kept in the shadows and to be honest the film would have been better off if the monster had been kept that way. However the attacks of the Quetzalcoatl are genuinely scary. Zucco also plays a good role.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Holmes and Watson (Warburton Gamble) investigate a series of murders. Someone is bumping off members of a secret society. The notorious blackmailer Merrydew (Alan Dinehart) is involved, he collects the assets of deceased society members and then redistributes them to the others...
This is an enjoyable but frequently ridiculous romp involving murky dealings in Limehouse, secret meetings and coded messages, and a high death toll. Owen plays a decent - though somewhat different to the usual - Holmes, the supporting cast does well too and includes the always exotic Anna May Wong and June Clyde.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
After a failed raid on a stagecoach carrying lots of cash Jesse and Hank end up in the clutches of Frankenstein's grand-daughter (Narda Onyx) (not daughter as the title says - obviously was too long to fit in the extra grand!) She is using local peasants for her depraved experiments to try and replace human brains with artificial ones to create a slave.
Frankenstein decides that Hank will be perfect for her experiment and finally help her achieve her goal...
So it sounds like the most ridiculous idea for a film ever but what makes this nonsense actually fairly enjoyable and watchable is that it is played quite serious and straight. It has many flaws though including the tiny budget. As a western it is mundane and as a horror film it is limited but the sheer strangeness of the premise carries it. Veteran of many Roy Rogers films Estelita Rodriguez plays a nice role as Jesse's love interest though sadly she died at an early age just after making this film.
Monday, November 5, 2018
Only when he reaches his estate he finds it already occupied, including by the girl on the ferry Julie (what a coincidence eh?) For some reason they are very keen to buy his estate and keep him away...
Barry begins to investigate the mysterious goings on and gets entangled with gangsters, hidden treasure, secret formulae and screams in the night at the mysterious house. This is a fairly entertaining film with a good story and some snappy dialogue, though at times is a bit slow and frustrating and you just wish they could have progressed the plot a bit faster. The stiff old English lawyer being bamboozled by Barry's American slang is very amusing.
Friday, November 2, 2018
This film stars Kenneth Brampton as Captain Starlight who is a "gentleman robber", a nicely ambiguous character - a criminal but also a hero seemingly in the Australian tradition. He gets involved with two brothers Roland Conway and S.A. Fitzgerald who join him on his escapades.
The escapades are pretty epic too with plenty of action scenes against a superb backdrop. The Australian countryside being the real star of the film. After many shoot outs and horse chases the gang face the music. The moral angle is played heavily at the end (presumably to get over a ban at the time in parts of Australia for films depicting bushrangers). Crime doesn't pay, apparently.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Charles Starrett is Bill, a reporter who is near the scene when a university student is murdered in a bell tower. How the murder got away is unknown but the police detective (J. Farrell MacDonald) is on the case. Though for some reason he is happy to have Bill along with him for questioning suspects and discussing the clues. Things get hairy for Bill though when one of the prime suspects turns out to be his squeeze Lillian (Shirley Gray).
With things looking bleak for Lillian Bill enlists the help of college professor and criminologist Hawley (Edward Van Sloan) but has Bill made a fatal error?
Although quite low budget and static (there isn't a great deal of action - such that there is is often off-camera) the plot is pretty decent and has a good twist.