Sunday, August 31, 2008

Books on film

I read quite a bit when I'm not swamped with schoolwork. One of my favorite things to read are biographies of filmmakers or production histories of particular movies. I have a shelf full of these kinds of books that I haven't been able to get to yet. I occasionally look at the titles there and long for the days when I can dive in to spend hours soaking them up. Over the past few weeks I've been slowly reading Aljean Harmetz's excellent book "Round Up The Usual Suspects: The Making of CASABLANCA". It's a great run down of the production of one of the best films of all time and its glimpses behind the Warner Bros. curtain are simply fascinating. But sometimes its the author's wit or way with a phrase that gets my attention.

From page 277 of my hardbound copy---

"The movie industry glamorizes everything it touches as instinctively as a wasp stings the arm it lands on."

Monday, August 25, 2008

I must see this film!

Surely this picture says it all. "An explosion of sexual frenzy!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Silly Monster Movie Trailer of the Week! THE GIANT CLAW (1957)

A terrible, terrible movie with laughable special effects and so much stock footage I'm surprised they didn't have to credit other directors- but I still get a kick out of it!

Trailer for one of my favorite blogs

My favorite blog about groovy age horror goodness. And the Doc Savage reviews are great as well! I love the idea of a trailer for a blog! I wonder what one for this place would look like?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fleming on the set of DR. NO

I came across this picture of author Ian Fleming on the set of the first big screen adaptation of one of his James Bond books and was reminded of how much I like that film. Not the best of the series but far from bad. I wrote a review a few years ago of a early DVD release for which I went back to re-read the novel to compare it to the film. Here's what I penned then--

"The plot, locations, characters and flavor of Fleming's book is kept almost intact with only a few additions and deletions made that push the story into more cinematic areas. The changes made to the book are mostly cosmetic — the mined resource of Crab Key was guano, not bauxite; a deadly caterpillar native to Jamaica was used in an attempt to kill Bond, not a tarantula; Quarrel was an old cohort of Bond's specifically requested for this mission; Dr. No was not a member of SPECTRE but a (self-professed) maniac out to dominate the world; there was no messing about with radioactive power. Of course, a few moments from the book were best lost in the translation, including 007's battle to the death with a giant squid (!) and Dr. No's ignominious end beneath a huge pile of bird crap. Some changes were done to curtail nudity (damn those censors!) and speed the story along, while keeping the budget manageable, but a few of them are a bit odd. I'm still not sure why there was a need to include CIA man Felix Leiter here, when he serves absolutely no purpose. But overall this is a very good adaptation of the book, one that keeps a good deal of the tone and intent in place while introducing us to a character for the ages."

The entire review can be found here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gamera Guts!

This is easily one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. I stole it from the cool blog Popcorn & Sticky Floors and they got it from the book "An Anatomical Guide to Monsters". I need that book!

The best thing about this is I cannot get that MST3K song out of my head--

Gamera is really neat
He is filled with Turtle Meat!
We all love him

Monday, August 11, 2008


I have a lot of fondness for the European made muscle man movies (alliteration!) of the late 1950s and 1960s. I've been working my way through the Mill Creek 'Warriors' pack of 50 such films slowly (oh so slowly) and have enjoyed each and every dip into this sweaty pool. A few days ago I caught this one and loved it more than most. I picked it out of the pack mainly because its one of the very strange ones set in a non-Greek locale. Also, Gordon Scott was a hell of a good action film actor and one of the best movie Tarzan's of all time. And now I've read that Retromedia will be releasing a widescreen anamorphic DVD of the film! I can only hope it will be sourced from a clean, bright print. The cropped and faded print on the Mill Creek set is enough to get the idea across but director Riccardo Freda's movie appears to be one that would benefit greatly from a proper presentation. My fingers are crossed!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Movies that can't be as good as their poster art

I have little interest in the soft-core sexploitation genre but I might have to see this one. I love the poster, anyway!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fantastic movie poster art

Because I'm rarely impressed with the sad excuse for poster art we get these days, here are a few images from the past.
Detail of the classic GREEN SLIME artwork.
And some simply amazing art for the French release FORBIDDEN PLANET.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

IRON SKY teaser trailer

I know I'm somewhat behind the curve on this one but WOW! I love alternative history stories and this one looks to be fantastic. It taps into the classic Nazi/WWII 'flip the path of reality' concept used by countless writers while adding a fun 'what if' science fiction idea. It's as if someone read Philip K. Dick's 'The Man In The High Castle' and went in a slightly different direction.

I hope the finished film measures up to this trailer.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What I watched in July

A busy but productive month. I finally got the commentary track for THE GIANT BEHEMOTH recorded and up on the site as well as making it through another class. The big movies news is, of course, THE DARK KNIGHT which was fantastic. I still think the second half needed more breathing room to make the story feel a bit less rushed but it is still easily the best film of its type I've ever seen.

MACISTE IN KING SOLOMAN’S MINES (1964)- 5 (unremarkable Reg Park muscle man film set in Africa, of all places)
SCARECROWS (1988)- 3 (not very good but there are some creepy moments)
THE BUCKET LIST (2008)- 5 (mostly an acting exercise between two old pros)
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)- 8 (rewatch) (where’s the DVD of this?)
ZOMBIES OF MORA TAU (1957)- 4 (terrible but I really like its goofy earnestness)
MR. MOTO TAKES A CHANCE (1938)- 5 (third and weakest so far of the Moto series)
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008)- 9 (oh, yes!)
THE ASSASSINATION BUREAU (1969)- 7 (fun romp with Oliver Reed and Diana Rigg in fine form)
THE BURNING (1981)- 4 (rewatch) (catching up with that new DVD)
YO-YO GIRL COP (2006)- 5 (ultimately too silly and OTT but fun anyway)
DEADLY SHOTS ON BROADWAY (1969) – 6 (my first Jerry Cotton spy film is actually the last made)
WANTED (2008)- 7 (good but not great- the kind of OTT I can like)
SOUTHLAND TALES (2006)- 2 (Richard Kelly- you are NOT Michael Moorcock!)
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3D (2008)- 4 (good 3D-lame movie- kids will love it)
THE ORPHANAGE (2008)- 7 (creepy ghost tale)
THE SKULL (1965)- 7 (rewatch)
YONGARY (1967)- 3 (terrible on almost every level but so bad, its good)
THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)-10 (out of the park)
PETULIA (1968)- 7 (fascinating drama with a great cast)