The Plague of the zombies

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1966

So this small town doctor is having trouble because people are dieing and he is getting the blame. He mails his mentor whose daughter is friends with the wife of the small town doctor. The old doc and his daughter haul off to the small town in question to see what is going on. They run into some dopes chasing a fox and the daughter misleads these dumb dumbs because she likes the fox or doesn’t like the dudes-take your pick. In town the young doctor drinks to forget all the problems and the locals yell at him. The old doc gets the young to start talking about what’s going on to try and get to the bottom of this. Meanwhile young doc’s wife Alice has a cut that won’t heal-hey could that be a clue? We’ll see. The two docs find out the dead are not in their coffins and they work with the police to see what’s the deal with these vanish corpses. Meanwhile the old Doc’s daughter gets attacked by the fox chasers from earlier, but their boss the local squire  wards them off. Margaret is still mad over being shoved about and she leaves. Soon we learn that the squire and his pack are doing something that rhymes with poopoo – that’s right voodoo. Alice dies, but comes back as a zombie! She gets her head lopped off-ploop! Somewhere around this time the old doc realizes the squire is behind the deaths and the disappearances of the bodies. Unfortunately the squire has begun the process on his daughter-oh dearie me. The two docs are in a race against time to stop the squire, his thugs and the zombies. You know that the good people win, the baddies lose and a fire breaks out (because this last part happens towards at the end of many Hammer films). Roll the credits.

The negatives-These are pre-Night of the living dead zombies so don’t expect flesh eaters.

The positives-The acting and the pace really drive this one plus it has an amazing score and the sets are good. Definitely in my top ten Hammer films.

Mecha G’s Monster of the month-Circus vampires

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“I have a missile with your cities name on it, you pathetic little…” Oh, howdy do monster fans! It’s me Mecha G and it must be time for my monster of the month. This time it is circus vampires from the Hammer Film Vampire Circus. Ah the circus, all kinds of fun entertainment going on. The only thing better than a circus would be one where the performers were vampires and they tried to suck all your blood in between performances. Unfortunately some goodie-goodies took it upon themselves to end the show and stop the vampires. That sucks. Ooops have to get back to my other duties. “The end of the world is here because I am bringing it to you right now, worthless worms!”

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My history with and quick thoughts on Hammer films

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I actually the first Hammer movie I saw even though I didn’t know it at was one at the time was One million years B.C.  back in 1986 I think. It was on Creature Feature one night and enjoyed it, but knew nothing of Hammer films at the time. My next brush with Hammer would be 3-4 years later. By this time I was out of school and working a second shift job. When I’d get home I’d see what was on TV and during this period I saw the last half hour of Hammer’s The hound of the Baskervilles and not long after that I witnessed the last hour of The curse of the werewolf. I liked the little I saw, but again I had no idea of what Hammer films was. It wouldn’t until the late 1990’s when AMC was showing a bunch of horror films around Halloween that I began to know about the importance of Hammer. Tim Burton was hosting their monsterfest that year and he talked some about Hammer and what their films meant to him. AMC also showed The Gorgon, When dinosaurs ruled the earth, The Reptile and Dracula prince of darkness at that time. These films had me hooked and had me wanting to see more. So over the next few years I was tracking down all the Draculas, the Frankensteins, the Mummies and more to see them all. Why did I like them? The reasons varied based on the film, but as a whole I loved the gothic look and feel of many the films for starters. Also seeing a lot of the same people was appealing too as people such as Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Michael Ripper showed up frequently in these films. Not all of their films were classics, but many were and they had a variety of horror, sci-fi and thrillers. Anyone with any taste could surely find something to like. Honestly I don’t trust anyone who says ” I don’t care for Hammer films”. Each to their own. Hammer revived horror starting at a time when classic monsters were not in fashion and they kept for a number of years. I always look forward to getting time at the end of a Friday or Saturday to sit down, turn down the lights and put on a Hammer film. So I hope you will enjoy the rest of my Hammer films week here at the blog.

Hammer films week

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This coming week I’ll be focusing on the works of the Hammer studios. I am aiming to review Plague of the zombies, Taste the blood of Dracula and one more. Plus Mecha G will stop by (yeah I know he’s not from Hammer) but his monster of the month will be. Plus something about the importance of Hammer films in the world of horror. So get your tea and sit back for a week dedicated to some British horror.

The thing that couldn’t die

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Wait, this is a horror movie?

1958

This farm family who appear to live not far from LA so they aren’t all that country, but this car is a water witch. If that meant she could ride a summon up a fifty foot tall wave and ride on top and command then that would be cool. Instead it means she walks around with a Y shaped stick and it will lead her to under ground water-not as cool. This time it leads her to a decapitated talking head that once belonged to a conquistador -what the heck? Only now the head is looking for it’s body, but it can control these yokels to do it’s evil bidding- kill this person, carry me there, find my body, blow my nose. There is nothing else going on at this farm so these people follow this old, lumpy, mumbling head. “Must obey the silly head!”. Eventually even the water witch is controlled by the head and she uses her powers to find the body that is connected to the head and the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone and the ankle bone is connected to the wait I think there was a movie going on.  Oh, yeah they dig up the body, but it’s in a coffin so they carry the coffin inside and my doesn’t it look lovely like a coffee table of the dead. Oh wait hey bring that head over here and put it with the body and bomp it fits and the conquistador lives. Well a hammy actor pretends to be a conquistador anyways, he makes Lost in space’s Dr. Smith’s theatrics seem low key by comparison. The lumpy conquistador will rule the entire farm and then the world! The people standing around pull out a cross and bloop old conquistadoofus goes down like a sack of ancient potatoes and he turns into a skeleton. Take that, poor excuse for an ancient evil! Roll the credits.

The negatives-This film is ultra low budget despite being done by big name universal-they were cutting costs on films a lot in 1958 and were glad to do a film like this with not much costs. The acting ranges from okay to cringe worthy.

The positives-I first saw this in the late 1990’s and kind of liked despite it’s shortcomings. I like a horror on an isolated farm and I like the conquistador as the villain.

Apparently this film actually did fairly well when it came out because it was lucky enough to be paired up with Hammer’s The Horror of Dracula over here in the states. The original working title was “The water witch”, I think they chose a better title for the finished product.

 

 

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Aw, man decapitated head for dinner again?

 

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Yes, my face fell in the oatmeal again.

The six million dollar man-The secret of bigfoot

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1976

 

When I was in kindergarten this was probably the highlight of the 1975-76 television season or at least I thought it was. So did my brother actually he was a much bigger fan of the Six million dollar man than I was. He was in middle school then and it was probably his favorite show while my favorites at the time were likely Scooby Doo and The land of the lost. Anyways not content to just take on evil geniuses and foreign spies Steve Austin winds up taking on some different adversaries in this two parter.

Two of Steve Austin’s friends who are also geologists vanish while setting up earthquake sensors. Could it have been the Loch Ness monster? Nope, wrong country. The abominable snowman? Nope, too far south. Chupacabara? Nope, too far west. Plus the big old footprint they find leads them to one only logical, scientific conclusion-it must be Bigfoot. The dude from the vanished couple comes back, but not the woman. The dude is all hazy and not a lot of help. Fortunately Bigfoot comes to them for an attack. Steve Austin does battle with him and rips one of the fuzzy fiend’s arms right off! Leading to the assumption that the effects on this show are really cheap  beast is really a robot of sorts. Old fuzzy runs off and Steve follows. He ends up getting knocked out, but when he wakes up he’s told some tale about being in an alien colony under the earth and stuff about earthquakes and volcanoes. Wait, you sure this isn’t a dream because it sure sounds like a messed up crazy dream. Only it’s not and Steve works with the alien and the Bigfoot robot (created to scare off people from the aliens hideout). There’s lots of talking, cheap sets shaking about and Bigfoot being cooperative so yeah the first part is way better. Everything turns out okay but with good ratings we know that Bigfoot will be back.

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The negatives-The time after we find out what Bigfoot is are not as strong as the parts before we know what he is. As a whole it’s not as good as I thought it was as a kid.

The positives-There is enough going to make a two parter decent enough. Andre the Giant was a good choice for Bigfoot.

The Six Million Dollar might be many people’s choice for best sci-fi show of the 70’s. It was certainly popular for most of it’s run and it ran five years so longer than any other sci-fi show that decade. Frequently the action elements outweighed the usually slim sci-fi parts. This two parter goes more into the sci-fi world then this show normally did and they handled it alright despite cheap sets and that awful wig that Stefanie Powers had to wear.

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Snowbeast

 

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1977

I had these memories about seeing a movie when I was younger on TV about a ferocious monster terrorizing a tourist area known for it’s skiing. I am not sure I ever saw the whole film back then, but I saw enough that it made an impression of sorts. I remember people running and quick flashes of an abominable snowman type creature. I knew it was made in the 1970’s, but thought it was older than 1977 because it seemed longer ago than that. Not long ago I was going through a huge collection of cheapo movies and happened upon one called Snowbeast. I put it in and realized it was this movie I remembered as a kid. A quick trip to IMDB told me it was a made for TV movie. As I watched it 30 some years later the plot was what I remembered – snow creature causing trouble for a Colorado ski resort. However the beast didn’t appear as much as I remembered and it was shown it wasn’t as scary as I recalled it being when I was 7. It’s rather typical 1970’s made for TV stuff  the acting is hit and miss and there’s of meaningless dialog going on because there isn’t enough budget to show the monster often. So instead we get a lot of so-so deaths and people screaming when they see something. The main character (Bo Svenson -Walking Tall and tons of other stuff) is a former skier who walks around acting sour until killings start and then he tries to find out what’s going on. Of course there is a character who doesn’t want to acknowledge that something horrible is going on because it may hurt the tourism. You know how that will turn out. There’s also lots really bright 70’s style snow attire to laugh at if it doesn’t blind you first. The creature doesn’t die in the most convincing manner. It was entertaining enough that I made it through in one sitting. It may be worth one viewing if you are a fan of the abominable snowman, but just expect to see more snow than beast in this one.

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I’m trapped in a made for TV movie and I can’t get out!

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Oh, dear I just soiled myself.

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That’s what they scared of?

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Careful, I know how to use this thing.

The impact of giant monsters

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Is bigger better? Not always, but big monsters have always had an appeal and they always will. From dinosaurs to giant monkeys to mythological monsters and more film makers over the decades have found ways to make giant monsters with varying results. There has always been a fan base for these type of monsters. I remember seeing Godzilla, King Kong and others at a young age and then when the movie was over I’d find toys to pretend they were giant monsters and they’d smash Lego building and threaten plastic human figures. It was great, heck I might go and do that after I finish here. Anyways giant monsters have been both silly and terrifying, but there’s always something about a monster large enough to crush cars, trees and buildings. Although along with giant threats to mankind we do at times get giant protectors as well or wrestling foes for the evil giants. Large threats have certainly made their mark in films and with recent films of big beasties making some impact I expect we will see a few more of these type of films in the near future as well.

 

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Dream monster fights

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Plenty of monsters have taken on other monsters over the years. With Godzilla being back in action more monster match ups may be on the horizon. So I wanted to throw out a few that have not happened.

5-Mechagodzilla vs. MechaKong- MechaKong might need some updated weapons for this to be much of a battler, but having robotic versions of two famous monsters might be cool.

4-King Kong vs. Mothra-Kong took on Big G and Mothra has battled most other known monsters so this may be a good one.

3-Godzilla vs Gargantua- This one was proposed back in the late 1970’s, but the Zilla franchise had dried up by then so it never happened.

2-How about a monster tag teams match? Perhaps Kong and Big G have a temporary truce to take on a more evil pair maybe the their Mechacounterparts or maybe Ghidorah and jungle dinosaur form a menacing team and Kong and Big G have to team up to stop them.

1-Godzilla vs. Gamera- A true clash of titans that has yet to happen, but really should. Godzilla might have fought more enemies and has the popularity, but Gamera has been more consistent in his moods and has won a higher percentage of his fights perhaps.

***Feel free to add any other ideas you may have in the comments.