Enter the dragon

imagesHD4ROUMO imagesQUOH2O5H e ble

1973

This guy with a removable hand calls upon martial artists from all over because he forming an army…an evil army wahahaha. Bruce Lee is there to stop this baddie, but pretends to be interested in the martial arts tournament. So we have to view everyone’s back story so we know where they are coming from and their motivation. Except for the bad guy who we know is only motivated by evil wahaha…oh wait I did that laugh already. Eventually bad and not so bad people die before Bruce Lee and John Saxon are discovered a being against the plot of evil waha….sorry couldn’t resist. This leads to even more impressive fights. Plus a bunch of mad, martial arts doing prisoners are released and they join the fight against evi….er the bad people. Eventually Bruce Lee goes after the dude with the removable hand which results in an epic fight big kicks, fake hands and mirrors yeah lots and lots of mirrors. The powers of good defeats the no good types and all is wrapped up. Roll the credits.

The negatives-Only that Lee died before the film came out. So this was it. He never got to see the impact that this film would have on the genre and we never got a another whole Lee film.

The positives- This is not just Bruce Lee’s best, not just the best martial films but rather one of if not the finest action film ever. The supporting cast is fantastic. I always feel that a good action film is made not just by how good the fight scenes with the lead are, but also by how good the fights are with the supporting characters. Here the fight scenes with the supporting characters are certainly memorable and everyone has their own fighting style. Lee was of course wonderful in his fights and charismatic in his other parts. He was really coming into his own in this film. The scenery, sets and filming are all of high quality. Easily one of my favorite films of all time. If you have never seen then first shame on you, but second go see it as soon as possible.

I, Monster

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1971 (UK)/1973 (US)

This Doctor type Marlowe (Christopher Lee) says he thinks all people have a good side and a bad side. To which the other doctor types says you are so full of..oh wait this is 19th century England so they say poppycock, you are full of rot and such. Marlowe thinks he knows best and starts shooting himself full of fruit punch or something. It gives him nasty teeth, messes up his hair and makes a him little more pale than he was. He goes around bars in the middle of the night walking funny and looking goofy so yeah no one notices him much. Then he bumps into a young guy (musician – actor Michael Des Barres) and they get into the lamest knife/blade fight ever and no one even gets killed-boo!Anyways the bad version of Marlowe starts calling himself Blake. Marlowe tells his mentor a little of his theories without telling what he’s actually done, but his mentor thinks he’s a nut bar for even suggesting that a guy could split into two very distinctive versions of good and evil. Marlowe continues to turn himself into Blake and the more he does the worse he looks (oh my) and the worse he acts (the fiend). Eventually he runs into a prostitute who makes fun of how awful he looks. So he waits for her, whacks her with his cane and leaves the broken cane there-guess the drug makes him stupid too. Marlowe gets his mentor to come over and reveals his transformation to him which results in the old guy having a heart attack-way to go Marlowe/Blake. While in a park Marlowe turns into Blake without trying so he know he losing control although not as fast as I am losing interest in this film. Although this does seem to a very strange park with empty cages, a band playing to a handful of passerbys and leaves that seem flying around at impossible angles. Meanwhile attorney Utterson (Peter Cushing) has suspected something was wrong with Marlowe and this guy Blake. When he compares handwriting of Marlowe and Blake he sees that they look the same. Utterson runs into Blake, they struggle, they start a fire and Blake catches on fire-aieee I am all a flame. He falls down the steps kaboom, dies ohhhh and transforms back into Marlowe bumbumbum. So roll those credits as quickly as possible.

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The negatives-Amicus is known more for their anthologies but if this project was in writing in may have said that Amicus films will do a version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. That sounds great. Aw they decided to change the names Jekyll and Hyde to Marlowe and Hyde. Okay, I don’t know why it should still be good. Oh and they are going to film it in 3D. Well, that’s their choice it may be decent. What’s that? They scrapped the 3D process part of the way through filming? The aborted process has taken a lot of the budget and put the film behind schedule. Hey uh that doesn’t sound so good. Exactly so the film has a cheap feel to it much of the transformation scenes lacking much and there’s a lot of standing around and talking in this film. I guess they had to pad the movie with cheap stuff since they didn’t have money left to do much. Christopher Lee who is normally automatic in almost everything struggles and hams it up more than usual. The normally great Peter Cushing can add little to this film either. What we are left with is a rather uneventful, frequently dull movie.

The positives-I read that they used leftover sets from the musical Oliver! and if they good for them because the sets look very nice as do the costumes.

Actually I had seen this film before but only once. I bought it when it first came out on DVD almost ten years ago because it was one of the few Amicus films I had not seen at that point. I didn’t care much for it then and hadn’t watched it since so it was time to give it another viewing, but if anything it seemed worse this time around.

 

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Frankenstein and the monster from hell

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1973

This young Doctor Helder gets arrested for hiring body snatchers, playing with corpses and collecting eyeballs. Then he gets tossed into the looney bin. Fortunately for him a person named Doctor Victor turns out to be the one and only Doctor Frankenstein. He is a resident there but actually he really runs the place in exchange for being hidden from the public and for being allowed to carry out his nasty experiments. He brings on Helder as his assistant and he already has a young mute helping him too. Eventually Frankenstein begins manipulating patients and stitching them together after their deaths-ewww yucko. He creates a great big hairy ape-well a monster – no more of a low budget creation. Really it’s body of a madman, the hands of a craftsman and the mind of a musical and mathematical genius. The results are a great big hairy ape – yeah only with the same guy that played Darth Vader in the suit. Anyways these putting together body thingies never work out. This one goes bonkers and tries to do what it wants. They shoot it down kapowie-ba-boom. Then the rest of the crazies rip his body to bits-shred-shred-shred. The Baron shrugs his shoulders, gets out a broom and begins preparing for the next surely doomed project.

 

The negatives-The monster make-up is very poor. I mean like so bad for 1973 that you can’t believe it.

The positives-I wasn’t big on this one the first time I saw it like 14 years ago, but it has grown on me over the years.

This is the last Frankenstein film from Hammer and it falls 16 years after the Curse of Frankenstein. What we see is a driven madman who continues his goal of reviving the dead into a living being. He has lost the use of his hands, likely his hair, his position, his wealth and yet he just keeps on working at this crazed quest no matter what. That’s the brilliant part of what this films is trying to drive home. Peter Cushing is great as always and the supporting cast is overall good.

 

 

 

 

 

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Beware the whatever it is.

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So Frankestein is your name and what you create is Frankenstein’s monster, I think I got it.

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No, it really is my real hair.

Phase IV

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1973

Ten things I learned from this film.
1-Only wackos build metal domes out in the desert.
2-Metal domes out in the desert look kind of cool.
3-It’s okay to sacrifice hillbillies in the name of science.
4-Ants can evolve and go crazy on people.
5-Someone was brave enough to get close up footage of these psycho ants.
6-Spraying yellow toxins will kill all the people around but only some of the ants.
7-Psycho ants can eat a big old hole in you hand.
8-Ants love to eat wires and cause electrical mayhem for people.
9-If you let ants free because you want to study their craziness they will eventually come back and terminate you.
10-Psycho yet evolved ants want people to mate and evolve too.

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I don’t get modern art either.

This is film about a crackpot and his assistant studying these dangerous ants. We get lots of footage of ants and plenty of narration. Several people die while the beardy scientist waits too long to try and defeat the ants. Two people one male and one female survive only because the ants want them to create a new society or something.

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Next time lay off the beans, Sparky.

The negatives-The story is messy at times, but the highs outweigh the lows. The ants are more likable than most of the people in the film.

The positives-I like that we have ants being smart rather being just radioactive or nasty beasts which is what usually happened in 1970’s natural gone wild films. The cast was overall decent. There are some really great shots of the metal dome and the guys in their protective wear, those were fine images. I like that the ending wasn’t totally negative and gloomy.

Raw Meat AKA: Deathline

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rawmeat
“There’s this flesh eating beast and…..hey a squirrel!”

1973

Who’s in this?

Donald Pleasance as Inspector Calhoun a police who is unwilling pulled investigating the disappearance of an official. Pleasance was one of those who gave his all no matter what he is was in. He was in a lot of films including From beyond the grave, Fantastic Voyage, You only live twice and I also heard in some sort of Halloween films and something called Escape from New York.

Sharon Gurney as Patricia Wilson. She seems pretty cool but she has an American boyfriend who seems to just get into trouble. Gurney was in a handful of things between 1968 and 1974 including the Corpse/Crucible of horror. She is the daughter in law of Michael Gough (Batman, Horror of Dracula).

David Ladd as Alex Campbell a floppy haired American living in England. He has a cool girlfriend and he gets into trouble. The son of Alan Ladd, David got into films as a child and acted into the early 1980’s. Perhaps most known for being in Misty.

Hugh Armstrong as “the man” a cannibal living in a side passage of the subway. He has had twenty some film and tv credits stretching across five decades including roles in The Beastmaster and Girly.

Horror legend Christopher Lee has a cameo in this film too being all snotty and sporting a big mustache.

What’s this about? Some snooty official in a derby is hanging near the subway trying to pick up prostitutes and ends up getting a knee in the groin and then something else attacks him as well. Patricia and Alex run across him while he is knocked out. Patricia talks Alex into telling a policeman about it, but when they go back the guy is gone. A grumpy and hilarious police man named Calhoun ends up getting the report and finds out the man who was seen is a higher up in the government- “some big shit er..shot”. Other higher ups deny he’s missing, but apparently he has vanished-oh, dear. Then once Calhoun stops grumbling and ranting about tea bags and such he realizes other people have vanished at that same part of the subway in recent months. Alex is questioned about all this and he gets huffy and growly even to the point of having and argument with his girlfriend who seems too good for the likes of him anyways (I always strive to put anyways into all of my reviews). Meanwhile down in the subway we see that the missing official has become a meal for a cannibal living down there. Said cannibal is trying to help his dying and pregnant mate but to no avail as she dies awwwww. Seems some time ago workers were sealed off down in the subway and left for dead, but they lived and had children-disfigured, flesh eating children and now there is one left. Mr. arm eater run into some maintenance guys on the platform and promptly kills them all-nasty business, very nasty. Calhoun is still suspecting Alex and getting drunk at going on some incoherent rant. At some point Alex and Patricia get separated at the subway not to be confused with splitting a sandwich at Subway. The nasty underground dweller grabs Patricia as his new squeeze and takes her down to the rat infested pad so he can offer some raw people flesh, rip her top off and try to rape her-lucky girl. Alex eventually saves her, the coppers show up and the ugly guy gets it. Roll the credits.

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“Yes, I did just eat some toes, but that’s no reason for you to call me skunk breath”

The negatives-I’ve heard complaints about the police parts and the first 2/3 of the film not adding to the story and that just need to watch the last third. I think people who feel that way should stick to watching twenty some minute cartoons if their attention span cannot handle a real film.

The positives-Pleasance is awesome, the best role of his long career. You’ll want to rewind parts just to hear him say it again. The story is strong and I like the roundabout of getting there because it adds to fact that it’s hard to believe what is really going on here. Hugh Armstrong doesn’t get enough credit for his performance here-he’s vicious when needed and pitiful when called for as well. The sets, settings and music are also solid. Great film and a must see.

The man mutters “mind the doors” which may make no damn sense to American viewers. However we have been informed over the years by people on the other side of the pond that this term and “mind the gap” were and are terms used to inform passengers that the doors are closing on the subway trains. The flesh gobbler had heard this all his life from living down there and repeated it.

Saturday Morning Flashback-Star Trek (a day early)

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Help, I’m trapped in the 1970’s and I can’t get out!

 

1973

The Magicks of Megas Tu

The Enterprise is going towards the center of the galaxy and everything gets all swirly and colorful, dude. Next thing you know powee this goat guy names Lucien pops up on the bridge all smily and stuff. He has that the laws of physics and junk don’t apply here and like he can practice magic – zowee. Soon Spock draws sort of a pentagram on the floor and they start lighting candles, listening to Black Sabbath and begin practicing magic. Okay maybe the candles and Sabbath didn’t happen, but the pentagram and magic did. Soon plooee the bridge is taken to a planet only it’s like 1700’s dullsville with sourpusses everywhere. They accuse the Enterprise crew of practicing magic like it’s bad thing and spout out some gibberish about their people having been in Salem on Earth and people of that planet couldn’t appreciate witchcraft. Anyways Lucien is supposed to be trapped for ever in a big red bubble. Then Kirk defends him and joy of joys it was all just a test. Lucien is free even though it’s implied he’s the devil. Hey, Kirk you just freed Satan. Roll the animated credits.

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Fear my fuzzy legs!

The negatives-Explaining a part of Earth’s history with aliens from another planet was done before on Trek  several times. Here the idea seems rushed like they didn’t think it through at all. This story seems way out of sync with the Trek universe, more like a Space 1999 script.

The positives-The initial scenes of the planet look good. Some of the supporting crew have more lines than usual.

Animated oddities-Behold McCoy’s changing hair color as it hits like three different colors  throughout the episode. His sleeve changes too as he goes from LT. Commander to Commander and back again. At one point the brdige crew is tossed around. Uhura was at her station, but as Spock gets up from the shake up we see a guy in red sitting at Uhura’s station. Maybe he just saw opportunity and jumped into the chair like super fast.

A really strange episode. It’s like the writer had never seen Trek before.

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Friday night on the Enterprise.

Saturday morning flashback-Star Trek

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These glowing head bands make me feel woozy.

The Lorelei Signal

1973

These woman call out into space with a song and snag the men of the Enterprise like some big old fish and start reeling them in. An all male (of course) landing party beams down to the planet only to have the lifeforce sucked from them and straight into the women on the planet. So the landing party start to look like a bunch of shriveled prunes, okay McCoy already looked a little like that so it’s even more so for him. Uhura knew something was wrong a while and called nurse Chapel over to help her. Uhura assumes the control of the ship from Scotty who is in a daze and singing in monotone just to hurt our eardrums. Uhura, Chapel and an all female landing party beam down and stop the power draining ladies. The process gets reversed on the men of the Enterprise. Turns out the planet had something to do with all this so being the kind crew they are Kirk and company agree to help the woman find another planet to start a normal life on. Roll the animated credits.

The negatives-This one begins rather bland, but it picks up as it goes along.

The positives-This one gets better as it goes along and more of the plot is revealed. It was great to see Uhura and Chapel getting so much to do and a chance to take action. A decent episode if you’re patient with it.

Animated oddities-Apparently McCoy is a Commander now as his stripes show that almost the whole episode. Although he mus have been demoted for a second because he has no stripes when one of the woman drags him along. When the female landing party beam down Nurse Chapel is wearing all red. In the next scene she is back to her regular blue outfit. A few seconds later when she is opening a door her left sleeve is red while the rest of her uniform is blue.

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What Kirk’s bachelor party would look like if he ever got married.

Saturday Morning Flashback-Star Trek

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It’s a giant cloud….again.

 

One of our planets is missing

1973

Guests-

No guests doing voices but James Doohan does Commodore Wesley and Majel Barrett does the cloud’s voice.

What’s this about?

The Enterprise is called in to investigate a large cloud. The cloud appears to be consuming planets. It then changes course towards the highly inhabited planet Mantilles leading Kirk and Spock to conclude that it is intelligent and capable of making decisions. Kirk doesn’t want to kill an intelligent being, but will in this case because it looks like it may be the only way to save Mantilles. Spock hopes he can communicate with the cloud to stop so they don’t have to kill it. Give it a try, Spock. Eventually Spock does a mind meld and lets the cloud know there are people in this ship and on the planet, living beings you know. The cloud leaves for home so roll the animated credits.

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Scotty, can we roast marshmallows over that so we can have smores?

The negatives-This episodes comes five years after the original series episode Obsession and the plot is similar with being about cloud consuming things. So this is not an original plot. The episode seemed a little slow and for twenty some minutes that’s not a good thing.

The positives-The cloud looks kind cool particularly when the Enterprise is in it. I like having Commodore Wesley being in charge on Mantilles and communicating with Kirk showing the presence of Starfleet in this cartoon too. The conversations between Kirk and Spock about whether or not to kill a intelligent being kept in character with how they were in the original series.

This episode is slighlty above average. It’s not bad, but not one of the best either.

Animated oddities of sorts-This is the third episode and now I am seeing a regular shot of Spock at his station where only his head moving to the side is animated just to save money. Also for this shot see no one behind him and we should see at least some of Uhura unless she is laying her head down on her station. Right after this is a front shot of Kirk in the command chair and no Spock or Uhura behind him at their stations. Seconds later an overhead shot shows Spock and Uhura at their stations. Either this was a mistake or Spock and Uhura do a lot of running around the bridge very quickly.

The Vampire’s Night Orgy

vampire night

1973

Top things I learned from this movie

1-Don’t get on a bus where the driver has a heart attack or else you’ll end up in a vampire village.

2-Don’t sport a big Charles Bronson mustache or else the vampires will grab you first.

3-If the Charles Bronson mustache guy asks you to come into a bus at night and then invites you up front don’t do it. The bus is really full of vampires and they’ll jump you.

4-If you’re a skinny geek and a countess asks you to her bedroom don’t do it because she’ll end up feeding you to a pack of hungry vampires.

5-Peeking at the woman next door through a hole in the wall will eventually draw her to you. Only it will also  be because you’re the only human dude left and the vampires are after you.

6-Don’t get your tires caught in the mud or the vampires will almost get you.

7-If you escape the vampire village don’t tell the police because they’ll show you that such a village never existed.

The negatives-The script is all over the place if it ever really existed at all. The male vampires needed better make-up. They look like scruffy dudes gritting their teeth.

The positives-Great scenery with the mountains really setting the mood. The sets were decent too. Even though the plot was sketchy the action and attempts at scary moments made it a better than average film.

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We be vampires with big mustaches…snarl, grrr!

Saturday Morning Flashback-Star Trek

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Put some clothes on, Birdbrain.

1973

Yesteryear

Guests-

Mark Lenard as Sarek, Spock’s Daddy of course.

Billy Simpson as young Spock.

Keith Sutherland as young Sepak.

Being cheap Filmation has Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel) voicing Spock’s mom and just like most other episodes James Doohan (Scotty) does a ton of male guest voices.

What’s this about?

So a landing party is going back in time via the Guardian of forever ( from City on the edge of forever) to do some scientific study in the past. The party comes back through and McCoy and Scotty (who did not go into the guardian) wonder who the dude with the ears is. Kirk and Spock don’t know what’s going on and then it turns out Kirk now has an Andorian first officer and no one on board knows this Spock character. Spock realizes that the time they went to was the same time he as a youth had a rough adventure. In his time he survived, but his future self saved his young self yet when he went on the study with Kirk he couldn’t have been on Vulcan to save himself, confused? Maybe, but it’ll work out. So the idea is now Spock as he is has to go back to save himself as a kid. We see little Spock getting bullied and his father is displeased that Spock showed emotion. Future Spock introduces himself as a relative. Little Spock has a survival test coming soon but takes off early to test himself, but  I Chaya – Spock’s pet sehlat (remember teddy bear with claws from Journey to Babel) follows and gets hurt defending Spock from a green and yellow lizardary type thingie. Little Spock has to choose to have the creature’s life prolonged in pain by medicine or let it die in dignity. He goes with the death choice and in doing so chooses the vulcan way. That wraps up things on Vulcan, adult Spock bounces back to present day where all is normal again. Roll those animate credits.

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If Spock succeeds then I get the animated shaft. Bummer.

The negatives-Slightly confusing time travel plot, but you know Trek they love their time travel stories.

The Positives-We get to see some of Spock’s growth and early life that only briefly came up in conversations in the original Trek. The story ends in a solid way. Glad to see Mark Lenard voicing Sarek. This one is often considered the best of the series and I agree with that.

Odd animated shots-Not a lot here. The usual dark figure on background to save coloring and Scotty has some rank sleeve changes again going from commander to Lt. Commander and back again but that’s about it.

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I can’t make my fingers do that salute thingy.

I am aware that today is not Saturday, but WordPress was and still is being troublesome so I couldn’t post this then and didn’t want to wait until next Saturday so here it is.