When dinosaurs ruled the earth

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1970 (I’ve also seen 1971)

A tribe of people who live in the rocks look down on blond haired people, use them as slaves as sacrifice women to the sun. Yeah, not a good place to have fair hair. One such would be sacrifice victim Sanna manages to avoid death at the hands o f the crocodile mask wearing executioners and escape to the waters below. She is rescued by fishermen from another tribe who live on a beach. They take her back to say “look what we caught”, but everyone in this film only speaks a caveperson language. One of the guys that found her named Tara is taken with her and his brown haired girlfriend back at the beach becomes jealous. Around this time the beach people battle a seal like dinosaur and mange to defeat it-take that uh Sealosaurus. The jealous brown haired girl is mean to Sanna and they fight. Eventually the sour dudes who tried to sacrifice the blond show up looking for her, but she sees them first and takes off. They follow and one of them gets strangled by a snake and another gets killed by a Tricerotops-ew that’s what you get! Sanna gets part of her hair ripped off by a nasty fungus, but she survives by using her knife to make the mold bleed (!). She later becomes friends with a big, spikey dinosaur mother and her baby. Tara and some friends return from a fishing trip and he can’t believe Sanna is gone. So he ignores his-former brown haired girlfriend and goes after Sanna. He finds her and her dino friends, but unfortunately others see him. He is later tied up for conspiring with a blond. The sun is acting wacky and most people think it has to do with Sanna living rather than having been sacrificed. Tara escapes and goes back to Sanna. There is a guy fighting a pterodactyl around this time just because they could do it I guess. Eventually Tara and Sanna are both brought to the beach to be killed. However the weather is going crazy. Oh, wait it’s been a while since we’ve had any monsters so cue up the stop motion crabs-pinchy pinchy. The ocean is acting up so a lot of people are grabbing boats hoping to ride out the wild waves (what the?). The crazy head of the rock people tries to stop Tara and Sanna, but they knock him back. Then Mr. Crazy tries to stop a giant wave with his hands, but the giant wave wins that round-kersplash. Tara, Sanna and their friends ride out the wave until it stops. Then the moon makes it first appearance and I guess the world has changed for the better-roll the credits.

The negatives-I like all the dinosaurs except the part where they try to pass off a real lizard as a giant dinosaur. I hate when films do that. I also got annoyed by the use of a jungle set like it’s in the middle of the rocky exteriors.

The positives- The stop motion dinosaurs are all pretty cool. The locations (Canary Islands) are mostly fantastic. I overall liked the costumes, the beach village and the boats. The cave language is hard to follow at first, but after a while you’ll get it.

I first saw this film on AMC back in the 90’s and liked it right away. It’s different for sure, but the dinosaurs and the fairly steady action make it worthwhile. Hammer made a few films like this and I like this one the best. Hammer fans are often split on WDRTE, but I definitely count myself as a fan of it.

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80’s arcade games-Missile Command

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1980

Missile are launched at your cities and your use a crosshair to target the missile and shoot them down before they destroy your cities. Sound simple? If you frequented arcades in the early 80’s then you know this game wasn’t that simple. It would get tough fast and you use your track ball and firing buttons to try and keep the enemy at bay and protect your cities. The graphics are very basic with a simple design and colors, but the challenge and the need for quick reflexes is what makes this game fun and memorable. This was a staple of early 80’s arcades and every time I saw a Missile Command game at an arcade around 81-82 there was someone playing it and at least one other person watching them. There was a prototype for a Missile Command 2 and stories go that is was put into an arcade in California, but it was never mass produced. I recently played the game online and with a trackball controller. I was expecting a mild interest due to nostalgia, but that was wiped out by having to act quickly to try to stop all those missiles hurling down at my cities. Yes, it was just as exciting and challenging as it was all those years ago. I think this is a game that youngsters may scoff at when seeing the graphics, but if they tried to play it I think they would quickly have respect for the difficulty level. Definitely a classic that has stood the test of time.

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Monster Squad-The Astrologer

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1976

Guests-

Jonathan Harris as the Astrologer. He was in everything from the Twilight Zone to Bug’s Life, but you likely know him most as Dr. Smith from Lost in space.

James Gammon as Pollox. Gammon was a hard working character actor likely most known as manager Lou Brown in Major League.

Sandy McPeak as Castor. McPeak had over 100 credits and was in numerous shows and films such as Patton and Kelly’s Heroes.

Caren Kaye plays TV hose Mimi Falters. Kaye always seemed to end up in shows that didn’t last long. I remember her most as Jason Bateman’s mom in “It’s your move”.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss Frank Cady playing a farmer. You’ll know Cady most for having played store owner Sam Drucker on Green Acres.

TV personality the Astrologer is always wrong, but gets Walt and the Monster Squad nervous when he predicts a horrific earthquake. The villain and his hench dudes steal and old atomic bomb with the plan of causing an earthquake by detonating it. He thinks he will then make money from people paying him for his predictions. The squad get win of the plot and set out to stop it. Drac goes to find the bomb and Walt looks up to defuse a bomb. Bruce and Frank go to stop the Astrologer. Drac finds the bomb which will soon blow, but Walt walks him through the steps and they think they stop bomb but later it turns out it was a dud anyhow. The Astrologer is not only bad at predictions, but he is bad at fighting as well as even with a 3-2 advantage he and his guys get pounded by Frank and Bruce. The bad guys are stopped, the bomb is no longer a threat so roll the credits.

The negatives-The plot is fairly thin on this one.

The positives-Jonathan Harris is of course over the top which makes it funny.  Nothing special, but decent silliness.

Upcoming junk and stuff

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I still hope to review one more Monster Squad episode on Saturday plus maybe something wrapping my thoughts on the show. Then I’ll aim to do an 80’s arcade game on Sunday. Next week will be Dinosaur week with reviews of Jurassic Park 3, When dinosaurs ruled the earth, The land that time forgot and maybe even an episode of The land of the lost if I can get to it.

Take care!

 

Monster Squad-The Skull

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1976

Guests-Geoffrey Lewis as the Skull. Lewis is a veteran character actor with over 200 credits. He’s likely best known for the several films that he did with Clint Eastwood in the 70’s and early 80’s.

Frank is having his birthday party when the power goes out. Turns out the evil Skull along with his lab assistant Igor are trying to revive a chubby and kind of dirty mummy. They succeed but take out the power in the area. They go on a small scale reign of terror and the mummy knocks down a martial arts dude. Walt has to use bicycle power to run their crime computer during the power outage. The Monster Squad go in search of the source of the outage. Frank gets taken by the baddies. They strap him down and try to drain his power with their machine, but instead in just revs him up so he snaps his bonds. Drac and Bruce the werewolf show up and it’s a three on three monster fight. The Skull and his group are obviously outmatched so he takes off into the graveyard. Bruce gives chase and the Skull gets the jump on him, but Bruce wins in the end. The Monster Squad and Walt unwind the mummy to see what’s left and they find nothing. They are left to ponder what was inside those wraps? Roll the credits and play the Monster Squad theme bump-bump-bump-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bump-bump-bump.

The negatives-It’s silly as always with perhaps less of a plot than usual.

The positives-Geoffrey Lewis is one of my favorite character actors of all time so he is great in this. I liked the addition of a mummy and the whole monsters as villains part. The fight at the graveyard was cool too for a change as it’s usually just a battle inside the villain’s headquarters.

I’ll have one more episode review out tomorrow.

Monster Squad-Ultra Witch

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1976

Guests-

Julie Newmar as Ultra witch. You know Julie most as Catwoman on the 60’s Batman show. She was also very busy in TV in the 1960’s in shows like Star Trek, F-troop and many others.

Johnny Brown as Dandy Andy-He spent a few years on Laugh-in and you may know him as Bookman from Good Times.

Ultra Witch and her henchman Toil and Trouble have taken much of the world’s milk supply by drying up cows (not exactly sure how that was done). This has upset Walt and his monster friends because they like cookies. It has also hurt their friend Dandy Andy and his cookie business. The monsters see Toil when he gets cookies knowing something must up for a guy to get cookies when the milk supply is supposed to drained. Dracula follows him to the lair of Ultra Witch. She is nice to Dracula at first, but eventually Drac is onto Ultra Witch and her evil plotting ways. Frank and Bruce (the werewolf) show up, but Ultrawitch has  her Ronald Raygun (yes, really even before he was president) and uses it to turn the monsters into cardboard stand-ups. She then sends them to Dandy Andy where Walt recovers them, but he knows that he has to find a way to turn them back. Meanwhile Ultra Witch hatches another plot and starts turning all the world’s sodas into castor oil. Walt shows up to see Ultrawitch while pretending to be a reporter. He sort of has her fooled and when she leaves the room he brings the cardboard monsters and gets them turned back 3D and normal and all. Toil and Trouble try to defeat them with their magic brooms which look like regular brooms only with colored circles glues on. The monsters win-hurray-but then Ultra Witch tries to zap them with the Ronald Raygun! They use a mirror to reflect the ray and turn her to cardboard. Oh yeah, take that! Frank admits to drinking a soda that was castor oil and he feels icky and that’s about it so roll the credits.

The negatives-This isn’t any more silly than the rest of the episodes for whatever that’s worth.

The positives-Julie Newmar definitely makes this one of the best episodes. The plot is goofy, but she plays it off well and she and the monsters go with it. I enjoyed Johnny Brown too even though it was a small role. The Ronald Raygun weapon was funny just because of the name.

 

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This episode was originally shown the day before Halloween.

Next up I’m hoping to review the Skull episode tomorrow.

Monster squad (no, not that one-the other one)

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Back in the mid-70’s while I was eating whatever sugary breakfast cereal we had in the house I was watching all kind of stuff on Saturday morning. I  probably watched ever came on whether it was good or bad, but a few shows really drew me in. One such show was the Monster Squad. The 13 episodes were shown on NBC from September to December of 1976 and then re-shown through to September of 1977. Walt (Fred Grandy later of Love Boat) was a criminology student and night watchmen at a wax museum. He had a crime computer that he could use to bring wax figures of Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the wolfman to life. The monsters would fight crime as week after week a new villain would pop up to cause trouble frequently a monster type villain like a mummy or a witch. The monster heroes had their own utility belts they wore and a black monster van that they used to travel to emergencies in. Stanley Ralph Ross who worked on the 60’s Batman, the Monkees and Wonder Woman had a hand in this show. It’s comparable to Batman only much more on the silly side. When I was a kid I took to monsters a superheroes right away.  The villains were over the top and the plots were frequently ridiculous. It came out on DVD some years ago and I bought it and was glad to see these episodes again. I remember in second grade we would have a Christmas party and everyone would buy a gift, wrap it and then you drew names to get one. I don’t remember what I bought, but I think it may have a pack of multiple Hot Wheels cars. Anyone like fours kids got the same Star Wars board game. I got a Monster Squad board game and was thrilled. One particularly worthless second grader said something like “haha, you got that game instead of Star Wars”. I was like “have you watched this show?” he stumbled and said no and then told him it was great and I would much rather have a Monster Squad game over Star Wars. Anyways I hope to get to reviewing three episodes of this show over the next few days. Hope you enjoy them.

 

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It came from the bargain bin-Angry red planet-Ten things I learned from this movie

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1959

Purchased at Ollies years ago for $4.99

1-White overalls are awesome attire for a space ship crew.

2-Spaceship computers have about a million lights, but only like five of them really matter.

3-It’s perfectly acceptable to smoke a pipe on the ship.

4-Stock footage of dull stuff is still dull the second or third time around.

5-Mars is red like red all over as if you are swimming in tomato soup.

6-Alien plants look like they are made fabric scraps.

7-The spider bat moves like a giant, cheap puppet (maybe because it is)

8-The heavy, goofy guy in your crew will always get killed first.

9-If you go to Mars you are liable to come back with your arm covered in an alien virus that looks like jello.

10-Even a jello like arm virus won’t keep a goofy crew member from saying cornball stuff to the one female crew member.

The negatives-It’s at times very slow. The acting ranges from okay to silly. There is more dorky dialog in this film then you can shake a stick at if you are in to that whole stick shaking scene.

The positives-It’s funny even though it doesn’t mean too. It’s worth a watch to laugh at. I like the spider bat creature, but not as much here I like it on the Misfits-Walk among us cover.

Was it worth $4.99? I have to say no because the laughability factor much of it is so hard to take that I wouldn’t watch that often. it may be worth more like $3.

 

Ten cool things that are green

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In no real order..

1-The incredible Hulk

2-The Grinch( the animated one of course)

3-The Green Arrow (not that teeny Arrow from the current show, but the real 70-80’s comic book Green Arrow)

4-The Teenage mutant ninja turtles (with the exception of that crappy movie from last year)

5-Frank N. Stine from the Monster Squad TV show (most of the other Frankenstein monsters I like were in black and white)

6-Frogger

7-The Green Hornet (every version except that horrible film with Seth Rogen)

8-Those aliens from the Toy story movies

9-Orion slave women

10-Godzilla

There you go. Feel free to add any green things that you like in the comments.